Time Warner may extend SVOD holdback window

gameofthrones15_15Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has indicated his media giant may begin holding back key programming from subscription on-demand platforms.

The move to extend linear broadcasts to “a multiyear period more consistent with traditional syndication” is a clear attempt to keep viewers on Time Warner’s traditional channels by withdrawing sought-after programming from the SVOD space.

“We are evaluating whether to retain our rights for a longer period of time and forego or delay certain content licensing,” Bewkes said during an investor call yesterday.

Time Warner owns Turner Broadcasting System, whose key channels include TNT and TBS; Hollywood studio Warner Bros., which is a part-owner of broadcast network The CW; and premium cable provider HBO, which counts Game of Thrones (pictured) on its slate.

“We’ll continue to evaluate and see what window works best for different types of content: the pay TV originals, the broadcast premiers, the cable premiers,” said Bewkes yesterday.

“We’ll look very carefully at the health of our networks and all of Warner’s network partners to make sure that we optimise the value of content to provide support for the diversity of what you’re seeing today

Time Warner has a number of long-running agreements with SVOD services including Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video in place, but this may change going forwards in light of Time Warner’s latest market assessment.

Time Warner’s share price sunk yesterday after the company revealed larger-than-expected subscriber losses at Time Warner and high anticipated original programming costs next year.

Having been as high as US$78.15 a share on Tuesday afternoon, shares dropped to US$70.30, though it has now partially recovered at US$72.25.

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