Time Warner’s Bewkes Tells UK’s ITV: No Need For Micropayments

Some unsolicited advice on Telegraph.co.uk today, from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes to ITV (LSE: ITV), which, under new chief Adam Crozier, is keener than ever to find some content it can charge viewers for…

Bewkes: “Don’t worry about that [the advertising market]. The recession will end and the ad market will recover. Don’t take the short-term events in advertising and forget the underlying value of your programming or the strength of the model when you put the network or the programming on-demand.

“If they took the ITV schedule and offered it on demand then their viewership would go up and they’d have more viewership and more advertising. So there’s no reason not to do it.”

Indeed, the UK’s main commercial TV broadcaster is now finding a growing audience for its ITV Player VOD catch-up service, carried on web and on Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) with advertising. And YouView, the joint venture of UK broadcasters which will next year take such services on to connected Freeview TVs, will mean a big increase in the number of show views against which ITV can serve those ads.

But ITV is still looking to capitalise on the industry’s sporadic discovery of paid content success. It wasn’t Crozier’s idea – long before his recent appointment, FremantleMedia (one of ITV’s most important independent producers) was calling for a micropayment inside YouView, ITV has been helping fund the Digital Britain-funded Technology Strategy Board’s investigations in to creating a nationwide micropayment network, and the broadcaster was speaking about online payments over a year ago.

But Crozier has picked up this ball and wants to score a goal with it within 12 to 18 months.