TIME WARNER CFO WARNS CABLERS: EXPECT A BIG FEE HIKE
Time Warner CFO John Martin has served notice to cable operators that he intends to negotiate “aggressively” with them beginning this year when affiliate deals start to expire. By 2016, he observed, virtually all contracts for the company’s cable networks, including the Turner Broadcasting channels and HBO, as well as the CW broadcast network, which it owns jointly with CBS, are due to expire and Martin told a media conference in Las Vegas on Monday that he plans to demand double-digit increases when they do. Martin dismissed recent studies indicating that viewers are watching less TV and more Internet video. “A lot of the [advertising] growth in the Internet is due to better and more high-profile video moving online,” he said. Netflix, he maintained, represented virtually no threat, Martin maintained, noting that it accounted for just 3 percent of all viewing. “It’s not big enough to have a meaningful impact,” he remarked. Besides, he noted, Time Warner’s Warner Bros. TV unit has just concluded a deal with Netflix for many of the serialized TV dramas it produces. In addition, the company also owns Flixter, a video site that it intends to grow in 2013, he said, particularly with movies and TV shows linked to the UltraViolet digital locker.