Bewkes: AT&T-Time Warner Merger Creates Advertising Competition

Related: Time Warner Reports Higher 3Q Earnings

Facing the prospect of a lengthy review of its acquisition by AT&T, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the transaction would spur consumer choice and competition in the digital advertising industry.

Speaking on Time Warner’s earnings call with analysts, Bewkes said that both companies are committed to meeting the conditions necessary to clear regulatory hurdles and close the deal.

But Time Warner believes the vertical merger is pro-competitive.

Bewkes noted that the digital advertising business has become increasingly concentrated, with Facebook and Google gaining big and growing shares of that market. The combination of AT&T and Time Warner would be able to offer advertisers more choice and new ad options that could prove to be more efficient and effective.

“It has great benefits for advertisers because it gives them more effective advertising and it gives them more competition in advertising,” he said.

“We’re developing some innovative products already at Turner that focus on data analytics, targeting, and return on investment for clients so they can really value and measure what they’re doing and what the results are,” Bewkes said. If you combine the unparalleled reach and engagement of television with more ability in direct platforms, in terms of whether it’s mobile or its broadband delivered, that can really give you a step up in the efficiency of advertising and the value of advertising.”

“I think we’ve all seen an increasing concentration of digital advertising in just a couple of companies. And it’s basically good for the market, consumers and advertising clients if we have a broader number of competitors in the ad business, particularly the digital ad business.”

In addition to benefiting marketers, improved advertising products would benefit consumers, because “it can shift cost from subscription payments to advertising payments,” Bewkes said.

The consumer also benefits because new programming options are being offered as the combined company innovates how it approaches the market.

“You’ll have more packages and more distribution alternatives for consumers. You’re already seeing some new packages and even more affordable price points that are beginning to come out of this.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.