Photo: Getty Images / Astrid Stawiarz
At our IGNITION conference yesterday, I asked Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes what he thought about Netflix, which it seems is following HBO’s playbook.
Bewkes built HBO into the powerhouse it is today. The service started by licensing movies. Then, later, it moved into original content like The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, et al.
Netflix is now doing the same thing.
Bewkes seems favourably disposed toward Netflix, and also as yet unconcerned by the competitive threat.
But Bewkes’s most salient remark about original content was a reference to YouTube, which is now investing $100 million a year in original content.
When Google announced that number, the tech industry gawped: $100 million! On content!
And tech industry pundits heralded the announcement as the latest nail in the coffin of TV.
Bewkes, however, put this number into perspective.
This year alone, he pointed out, Time Warner will spend $5 billion on content.
In other words, YouTube, welcome to the kiddie table.
Here’s the video. The YouTube remark comes at the end: