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US: Time Warner CEO testifies company needs AT&T deal to compete with Netflix

 |  April 18, 2018

Testifying on Wednesday, April 18, in the trial of the government’s lawsuit seeking to block its merger with AT&T, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes painted a grim picture of the threat posed by tech giants, especially Netflix, Facebook, Google and Amazon.

What Bewkes described as “tectonic changes” introduced by those companies and others over the past five years, are grounded in the amount of data they can gather about viewers. Time Warner, comparatively, is in the dark. “We know how many people are watching” networks such as HBO or TNT,” he said. “But we don’t know their names. Our direct competitors do. …. They know all sorts of things that we don’t.” He hammered home that point on the advertising side, highlighting gains by digital players in a remarkably self-effacing display by a media executive on the eve of the upfronts, where the theme will be TV’s reliability and reach in a time of dubious data practices.

“We didn’t have all this business of direct video” when the company spun off Time Warner Cable, Bewkes said in federal court in Washington, D.C. Back then, he said, “Netflix was still sending you DVDs in the mail.”

Under questioning by Daniel Petrocelli, the lead attorney for AT&T and Time Warner, Bewkes described in detail the two main shifts that have left Time Warner struggling to keep up: technology allowing companies like Netflix and Amazon.com to stream movies and TV shows directly to consumers, and ad spending on Google and Facebook that is taking off “like a rocket.”

Full Content: Bloomberg

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