Two of the biggest US television network owners have signaled a shift in their relationship with Netflix, amid fears that the popularity of the VOD service is accelerating a wave of defections from the pay-television industry by “cord-cutting” customers.
Netflix and its rivals license much of their content from the big networks and have become an important source of revenue for the industry. But investors fear that the success of digital video services could be accelerating a decline in ratings, advertising sales and pay-TV subscriptions. Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner, said that networks such as Turner needed to be sure that licensing fees from Netflix were not cannibalising more lucrative sources of revenues. “We don’t want that money to replace the more money that someone else was paying us,” said Mr Bewkes at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York.
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