Time Warner CEO Isn’t Worried About Cable TV’s Fate: “Netflix Is Good, But Not That Good”

While cable companies’ investors might be shaking in their boots whenever the word “Netflix” pops up, the streaming video service isn’t the giant slayer it’s been made out to be — at least according to Time Warner Inc. Jeff Bewkes, who says his HBO is better than Netflix.

Bewkes spoke at a cable conference in Amsterdam yesterday, saying investors don’t need to freak out as customers continue cutting cords and leaving cable providers for services like Netflix, reports Bloomberg.

“Netflix is good, but not that good,” Bewkes said. “The pessimism in the market about the sector is overdone — our industry will figure out how to take content and sell it on demand.”

It’s true that they’re making an effort: traditional broadcast and cable networks like HBO, Showtime, Starz and CBS have all hopped on the streaming bandwagon recently. But most of the pay-TV competition isn’t coming from cable, it’s coming from Netflix (with 65 million subscribers) and the likes of PlayStation and Dish, both of which offer streaming content without a cable contract.

Bewkes’ reassurances come on the heels of a slew of disappointing second-quarter earnings reported earlier this month by companies like Time Warner, Discovery Communications, and the biggest player, Disney, which has continually had to defend its high-cost sports behemoth ESPN.

The Time Warner CEO says his company doesn’t need acquisitions to grow, and instead is just going to sit back and distribute its HBO’s video-on-demand service HBO Now, which has been thriving on the backs of popular shows like Game of Thrones and True Detective, as well as expanding the service to more countries.

These comments aren’t all that different from those made by Comcast’s David L. Cohen at an industry conference in July, who, while admitting that cord-cutting is partly the fault of cable companies who “have made video too expensive,” noted that traditional cable companies won’t ever entirely go away. In fact, Netflix relies on some of those same cable companies to beam its service to customers over the Internet.

“Remember, you can’t get Netflix without broadband service,” Cohen said, which is good for Comcast as it’s a broadband provider as well as a company.

Netflix also needs companies like Comcast and Time Warner, both which create original programming that could at some point, ostensibly, be licensed for viewing through Netflix.

Bewkes Says TV Can Withstand `Not That Good’ Netflix [Bloomberg]

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