Time Warner wants in on binging phenom; seeks ‘stacking’ rights to fight Netflix

By Jim O'Neill on Jan 08 2016 at 8:30 AM
Time Warner wants in on binging phenom; seeks ‘stacking’ rights to fight Netflix

File this in the “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” folder: Time Warner – parent company to HBO, TNT, TBS and others – wants to be able to offer full seasons of shows, a la Netflix, on its cable networks.

“Stacking rights” enable networks to offer up entire seasons at once and are what has allowed binging – commonly defined as watching three or more episodes of a single show in one sitting -- to become something of a national pastime in the United States.

According to Deloitte, 68% of consumers have binged, and a third of those viewers do it weekly. (Some 42% of younger viewers, between 14-25, are binging weekly, Deloitte found.)

Howard Averill, Time Warner’s CFO, at a Citigroup media conference in Las Vegas Thursday, said TNT and TBS have "made it clear" to studios that they want to be able to air full seasons.

“You are starting to see momentum,” Averill said. “We have to continue to move along that path to make sure we provide the consumer what they’re looking for.”

Service providers have made more content available through TV Everywhere offerings, but they usually don’t include full current seasons or entire past seasons of a show because those rights have been sold to SVOD services.

That limited content availability may be one of the reasons TV Everywhere adoption has been slow—fewer than 20% of pay-TV subscribers in Canada and the United States used it in 2015 – despite its being available to nearly all subs.

Time Warner hopes, of course, that making more content available on pay-TV to binge watch will be able to stem – or at least – slow the tide of subscribers moving away from traditional outlets to SVOD services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, which, among others, have been at the core of the binge revolution.

But, it faces an uphill battle for those rights.

Netflix and Amazon have freely spent – more so than networks – for full-season rights.

That’s created a conundrum that CBS Chief Les Moonves discussed in October, pointing to the internal battles for content within CBS. He said CBS is constantly evaluating the value of its content and the deals streaming services – including its own CBS All Access offering -- are offering it.

“The guy who runs All Access is saying every day, ‘don’t sell this to Netflix,’” he said, laughing. “I have another guy saying ‘Netflix has offered us a zillion dollars for these 12 shows… let’s sell it there’ or to Amazon or Hulu.”

And, he said, it’s the way the content business will continue to evolve.

“As much as I love (Netflix) as a buyer of our content, they’re also a competitor to me,” he said. “They’re a friend and they’re also a competitor… as are most of the companies out in the universe. Comcast? They air CBS but they also own NBC and they’re our biggest competitor.

“That’s the way that the world is and you have to learn to get along with your competitors.”

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn


SVOD, Content, Live sports
Original content, sports to push SVOD revenue to $120B by 2022
Dec 13 2017 9:00 AM

New research posits that global revenue from subscription video on-demand (SVOD) will increase 88% to more than $120 billion in 2022, up from an estimated $64 billion this year.

The report from Juniper Research also says more than 25% of all global households will have at least one SVDO subscription in five years.

LatAM, SVOD, Mobile
Latin America seeing golden age of TV in form of SVOD
Aug 22 2017 7:30 AM

Globally, subscription video on-demand (SVOD) is on a rocket trajectory and Latin America is deeply in the mix. While Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have been the leaders of subscription video on-demand growth, an increasing array of subscription services – there are more than 100 in the U.S. and Canada alone – are seeing fast subscriber growth and adoption across demographic groups.

SVOD, Pay TV, Millennials, Cord Cutting
Q2 likely to be miserable as operators brace for big customer losses; OTT anyone?
Jul 24 2017 3:00 PM

Could second quarter pay-TV subscriber losses in the United States top 1 million, the highest figure ever? In a word, yes.

The second quarter routinely is a weak one for operators and in the current environment – remember the first quarter saw more than 800,000 subscribers cut the cord, according to Kagan – reaching one million may be an easy task.

SVOD, Operators, Netflix
Should European operators worry about cord cutting as Amazon, Netflix push deeper into their market? Absolutely
May 25 2017 8:15 AM

When the Big Two come to play in your backyard, it’s time to up your game.

Netflix and Amazon have launched a push into Europe that will likely result in some bad nights of sleep for operators, pay-TV channels and broadcasters looking themselves to do more business over the top.