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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Time Warner COO Jeff Bewkes on digital distribution

Jeff Bewkes was at an investor conference in Arizona yesterday, and the big news, according to Variety, was that Bewkes thinks Hollywood will grow more dependent on new distribution channels in the future, and less reliant on box office revenues. Steven Zeitchik writes:

    Asked at the Citicorp investor conference in Phoenix Tuesday if there's hope for studios to goose low profit margins, Bewkes pointed to digital delivery, "which offers the ability to reach more consumers all around the world at ever-more efficient and lower costs."

    He said the strategy was sound not only in the long term but even midterm.

    Dick Parsons' No. 2 didn't elaborate on which digital pipes could be filled or how to fill them. But his comments came amid a prediction of a further shrinking theatrical-DVD window.

    "It will continue to get closer," he told investors.

    Far from fearing it, though, he argued that studios should embrace window shrinkage because of potential economic benefits. As technology makes it possible to deliver films more quickly, "it becomes a good tradeoff point to move, and add that to what we're doing."

The more I think about it, the more I feel that before long, lots of films will be released day-and-date (available just about anywhere, on any format)... and only a few very special, big-budget event films will enjoy an exclusive theatrical window. You?