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Marcus: TWC OK With OTT

Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Rob Marcus said at an industry conference that if recent over-the-top video offerings lead to more flexibility in programming contracts, he’s all for it.

Recently, Home Box Office and CBS have announced plans for an online video product that doesn’t require a pay TV subscription and others are expected to follow. While Marcus wouldn’t comment on those products specifically, he said if it means that programmers are beginning to loosen the reins on some programming issues, it could lead to overall growth in the video product.

“We’ve been articulating for quite some time that we thought that delivering video with a greater degree of flexibility would be very customer friendly,” Marcus said at the UBS Global Media & Communications conference in New York Monday. “Whether that is flexibility around devices, place- shifting, time-shifting , or flex in the way we package video services so we could make different customer demands. To the extent any of these recent announcements are reflective of programmers’ greater willingness to play ball on that front, greater willingness to explore new models, we’re in.”

Marcus didn’t seem to be worried about the potential that these services and other over-the-top offerings from Sony, Verizon and Dish Network could have in luring away pay TV customers. He said that right now, his focus is on traditional competitors like satellite TV and telco TV.

“I tend to focus more on our traditional competition than I do on the threat from OTT,” Marcus said. “There is no question that there is some element of cord-cutting out in the universe, but I don’t think it is having anywhere near the impact that  losing customers to traditional competitors has on our lives day to day. …We are confident about the value proposition we offer on the video side and we’re getting more confident as we enhance the product with a better guide, more VOD, improvements to our TWCTV app. We think we can compete with any variation on the video theme.”

 To that end, Marcus said that subscriber metrics have been strong and that Time Warner Cable has every intention of growing video subscribers in 2015.