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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Bewkes’

Amid CNN Cuts and Layoffs, Time Warner Boss Promises Growth

jeff_bewkes-300x300As CNN employees learned of more layoffs and show cancellations, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was addressing investors in another part of the Time Warner Center, promising huge growth in the company’s earnings.

Plans for growing revenue include added spending for original programming, reports The New York Times:

Another concern is Turner, the home to CNN, TBS and TNT. The group of cable networks has faced ratings declines, and Turner has said it would expand its original programming in response. The company said that it would double its investment in original programming to $1 billion by 2018 from about $500 million. “We need to do more with more impact,” John Martin, the chief executive of Turner, said.

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CNN Responds to Reese Schonfeld’s ‘Cratering News Network’ Criticism

ReeceCSPANReese Schonfeld has not been shy in his criticism of CNN, a network he worked for in the 1980s. With the byline ‘Founding CEO of CNN,’ Schonfeld has, for years, written critical pieces for Huffington Post, including one yesterday titled, CNN: The Cratering News Network.

Now, CNN is firing back.

An CNN executive tells TVNewser, “Reese Schonfeld, who didn’t create CNN but happened to work there when it went on the air, hasn’t been involved with CNN since he was let go over 30 years ago. Holding him out as having insight into CNN is like seeking travel advice from someone who still thinks Yugoslavia and East Germany are countries.”

Okay then.

Schonfeld’s most recent piece was about this week’s NLRB decision compelling CNN to rehire 100 people it laid off in 2003. “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options,” a CNN spokesperson told us Tuesday. As for Schonfeld, author of “Me and Ted Against the World,” he surmises:

It’s time for Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, Turner CEO John Martin, and CNN President Jeff Zucker, to find their way out of this mess, lest they face another buy-out threat from Rupert Murdoch or someone else while their stockholders are still reeling from CNN’s latest screw-up.

What’s Larry King Think About Abandoned Fox Bid for Time Warner?

And here’s some other commentary on the matter:

  • The AP: 21st Century Fox would have had to navigate potentially daunting antitrust hurdles to buy Time Warner. Cultural clashes also loomed had the two companies combined…
  • Forbes: The timing of Murdoch’s withdrawal certainly raises the stakes for Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes
  • The Guardian: The deal seemed personal for Murdoch who had lined up a key position within the merged entity for his son James Murdoch, whose career seemed all but over at the height of the hacking scandal.

Time Warner Rejected $80B Takeover Bid From 21st Century Fox

time warnerShares of Time Warner were up sharply this morning on news that Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox made an $80 billion takeover bid for the company in recent weeks. The New York Times reports that Time Warner’s board, after discussing the proposal at length, “sent a terse letter rejecting the offer, saying the company was better off remaining independent”:

As part of the proposal to buy Time Warner, people briefed on the proposal said, 21st Century Fox indicated that it would sell CNN to head off potential antitrust concerns since Fox News competes directly with CNN. Putting CNN on the auction block would likely stir up a bidding war for the news channel; both CBS and ABC, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, have long been viewed as interested suitors.

The company first approached Time Warner in early June, these people said. Chase Carey, the president of 21st Century Fox and a longtime top lieutenant to Mr. Murdoch, met privately with Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, these people said. Later that month, the company delivered a formal takeover proposal worth $85 in stock and cash for each Time Warner share. Read more

The Monday Ticker: Shares, Emmys, Books

  • At the Time Warner shareholders meeting Friday, an investor challenged CEO Jeff Bewkes, claiming CNN is politically biased. According to THR, Bewkes thought the questioning was “very constructive” and encouraged the shareholder to keep monitoring CNN.

  • Kathy Griffin will host the Daytime Emmy Awards this Sunday. USA Today reports the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences couldn’t come to a deal with a broadcast partner, so the awards will be livestreamed. HLN had aired the awards ceremony the last two years.

  • Luke Russert says writing the new introduction to his late father’s best-seller, “was a very cathartic experience.” FishbowlDC was at the Father’s Day book event during which the NBC News correspondent shared memories of his dad, Tim Russert, who died 6 years ago Friday.

Time Warner Sells Manhattan Headquarters; CNN, Other Nets, Will Be On the Move

Time_Warner_Center_May_2010It’s now a done deal. Time Warner has sold its iconic Manhattan building at Columbus Circle and is already preparing a move 30 blocks south to the as yet undeveloped Hudson Yards neighborhood. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes sent an email to staff this afternoon letting them know about the move, which is still years away.

“[W]e’re moving forward with a plan to relocate our New York City-based employees at Corporate, HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. to a new building beginning in late 2018,” Bewkes writes. “[O]ur company currently occupies seven buildings in Manhattan, including our space in Time Warner Center. We expect that moving into a single location will save us three-quarters of a billion dollars in ongoing real estate costs over the next 20 years, which we can reallocate to doing more of what we do best – creating and sharing high-quality entertainment and journalism through great storytelling.”

The Time Warner Center news comes a day after Comcast, the owner of NBC, announced it was building a new state-of-the art facility in what will be Philadelphia’s tallest building. TVSpy has more on the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center.

Bewkes’ note after the jump…

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Phil Kent To Step Down as CEO Of Turner Broadcasting, John Martin To Assume Top Role

Phil Kent, John Martin

Breaking: The chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, Phil Kent, will step down from the CEO role when his contract ends next year, he announced in a memo to staff today.

Time Warner CFO John Martin will take over as CEO of the unit on January 1, 2014, with Kent staying on as chairman for a transition period. Time Warner owns Turner Broadcasting, a unit that includes the CNN networks, TBS, TNT, Turner Sports, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

“A dozen years is a long run in a top leadership position, particularly in such a dynamic and fast-changing industry as ours,” Kent wrote in a memo to staff today, obtained by TVNewser. “I’m very proud of Turner’s business results over the past decade. But I’m equally proud of the culture that we have built together to foster creativity, collaboration and risk-taking in the pursuit of excellence.”

Martin, like Kent, will report to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.

“John is one of the most capable and strategically-minded executives I know,” Bewkes said in a statement. “As CFO, he led the design and implementation of our financial strategy that has helped Time Warner deliver superior shareholder returns. But he is also a broad and thoughtful business thinker whose inclusive management style and focus on driving the business forward will fit well with the Turner tradition. I have great confidence he will build on the success Phil has achieved to take Turner to even greater heights.”

More below, including Kent’s letter to staff.

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Moguls, Journalists Descend On Sun Valley For Media/Technology Confab

This week, the world’s media, entertainment and technology moguls are converging on Sun Valley, Idaho for the annual Allen & Company shindig. What happens in Sun Valley usually stays in Sun Valley, but according to a number of reporters in attendance, we can glean a few things.

For starters, CBS News anchor Charlie Rose, NBC News’ Tom Brokaw and CNN’s Erin Burnett are all attending, with Rose and Brokaw scheduled to moderate (secret) panels. CNBC’s Julia Boorstin, FBN’s Dennis Kneale and Bloomberg TV’s Jon Erlichman are getting as close as they can to cover the action for their networks.

In terms of moguls, all the usual suspects are there: 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, along with sons Lachlan Murdoch and James Murdoch (above), Disney’s Bob Iger, ESPN’s John Skipper, Comcast’s Brian Roberts, CBS’ Les Moonves, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IAC’s Barry Diller among many, many others.

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Time Warner CEO Talks About CNN’s Gameplan Under Jeff Zucker

During a conference call with investors this morning, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was asked about CNN. It was the first quarterly earnings call since new CNN president Jeff Zucker began implementing his gameplan to turn the channel’s fortunes around.

On the call, Bewkes said of Zucker: “we think that [he] is off to a great start.”

Aside from a few public appearances however, Zucker has not really given any interviews with regard to what his plan for CNN is. Through Bewkes, however, we can glean some general ideas for where the channel sees the most growth potential.

“Whenever there is a global news item of interest, CNN is the first place to go,” Bewkes said. “Having said that, CNN can’t just mean politics and wars, we will cover those, but we won’t start a war just to have success at CNN.”

In terms of revenue, CNN was cited as one of the weak spots in Time Warner’s Q1. While the entertainment networks like TBS and Adult Swim were up, it “was more than offset by declines at its news networks, due to lower demand,” time Warner CFO John Martin said.

That said, “We are seeing improvement in the news category domestically and internationally in Q2,” Martin added.

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Jeff Bewkes Has No Comment On Zucker, But Says CNN Will Be ‘One Of The Fastest Growing Networks’

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes declined to talk about the rumors of Jeff Zucker taking over CNN during a discussion at the Business insider Ignition conference Wednesday afternoon, only saying “well, we are going to have an announcement soon.”

He did, however, use the rumor as a jumping off point to launch a staunch defense of CNN and its business, and a preview of what may be coming to the network when the new leadership finally takes over.

“I think a very good example of the current strength of CNN is how really superior the coverage was on election night,” Bewkes said. “Our interest and aspiration for CNN is that it does that kind of authoritative, objective, global perspective and deep analysis coverage on everything, we are aiming to do it every night and across all kinds of subjects.

Our aim for CNN is more about that mission, it is not, as so often reported, just about ratings, it is not even primarily about that,” Bewkes added. “Some nights we will win and some nights we won’t do that.”

While CNN’s financial performance is not broken out from the rest of Turner Broadcasting, Bewkes argued that it is one of the company’s most lucrative brands:

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