Charter CEO Tom Rutledge seemed a bit like Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel talking about his amp going to 11 when CNBC’s Jon Fortt asked exactly the right question in a panel today at the National Cable Show: What changed to make him support Comcast’s $45B acquisition of Time Warner Cable, which Charter opposed last month saying would leave Comcast controlling “nearly 40 percent of the broadband market, around 33 million TV subscribers and a major programmer in NBCUniversal”? The real answer is that Charter was bought off this week when Comcast agreed to sell it many of the subs it had already promised to divest, making Charter the industry’s No. 2. Rutledge couldn’t say that, of course. Instead he avoided the core issue and said that “It’s a smaller deal from Comcast’s perspective and from an organization of the industry perspective it’s a much better outcome.” The companies “are committed to serving their communities and their employees and their customers.”
Related: Cable Show: FCC Chair Says “All Options” Open For Net Neutrality
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts was a little smoother in addressing a question about concentration concerns raised by critics including Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). “When you net this all out, we’re buying 7M net customers” — … Read More »
Disney Media Networks co-Chair Anne Sweeney talked up the controversial idea in a panel of program execs at the opening session of the National Cable Show this morning. Comcast and other cable operators hope to land series that might go to subscription streaming services such as Netflix by offering opportunities to broadcast them on VOD with ads, and the fast forward disabled. That would be “a very positive thing for the economics of television and television production,” Sweeney says. Even so, she says that with the burgeoning number of platforms for TV “The consumer has taken control and they’re not giving it back.” Programmers here say that they don’t fear time shifting. Showtime’s Matt Blank noted that with DVRs and other on-demand technologies “80% of the people who watch Nurse Jackie watch it after the premiere on Sunday night.” As much as 70% of the people who watch Homeland and Dexter also see episodes after they first air. “The more ways we can provide an on demand platform the more successful we’ll be.” AMC Networks chief Josh Sapan agreed, observing that VOD platforms have given his channels “a rich, rich, rich opportunity to expand the fan base and audience….The calendar is not quite the calendar anymore.”
“Everyone was writing our obituary” a few years ago when Showtime cut back on theatrical films and filled more air time with original shows, CEO Matt Blank tells Bloomberg Television today. But with shows such as Dexter and Homeland setting ratings records at the network, and movies becoming more ubiquitous, “they’re not writing our obituary anymore.”
I came across this story about Bon Jovi in the Daily Mail. It is accompanied by 2 photos illustrating the longevity of the New Jersey rock band. The caption on the first photo reads: Rock Gods: Bon Jovi at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Castle Donington in 1987. The caption on the second pic says: Still going strong: The band in New York last year. Just one problem — in the second photo, band members David Bryan, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora and Tico Torres are flanking Showtime CEO Matt Blank at last year’s premiere of Bon Jovi: When We Were Beautiful. Bon Jovi has been a quartet ever since former bassist Alec John Such left in 1994. Maybe they’ve finally found a 5th member.
Shortly after Showtime officially announced today that David Nevins will be the network’s new entertainment president, succeeding Robert Greenblatt, Showtime Networks’ chairman and CEO Matt Blank and Nevins got on the phone to discuss the change at the helm of the pay cable network. Blank confirmed that no one at the company was particularly surprised by Greenblatt’s decision as he had been discussing for months the possibility of leaving at the end of his current contract, but the resolution did come down pretty quickly. “Over the past couple of weeks it became more clear that Bob’s decision was more imminent, and we were able to commence a search (for his replacement), Blank said. He wouldn’t discuss if he interviewed other candidates for the job, noting only that “David was the first choice.” Blank said that he didn’t know Nevins personally before he approached him but quickly discovered that “David and I have a pretty easy shorthand in terms of the type of shows he likes and admires.” According to Blank, some of the series Nevins shepherded at Imagine, including Arrested Development and Friday Night Lights, “would’ve been great on Showtime.”
Nevins said the call from Showtime was “a little bit out of the blue.” “I loved being a network executive when I did that job but I wasn’t looking to leave producing. However, that 7-8 years itch does come along (Nevins had been at Imagine since 2002). And I feel like this may be the best executive job in television right now.” Nevins’ … Read More »