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Phil Kent says he has been great friends and colleagues with new Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara for a decade. "He and I talk a lot, and I'm going to do everything I can to help him be a great CEO," Kent says. Tsujihara spoke separately with B&C about how Kent has helped bridge the gap between their two divisions and Warner Bros.' role in TV Everywhere. An edited transcript follows.
What has been your working relationship with Phil Kent to this point? How do you anticipate that evolving in your new role?
We've had a great working relationship. You go back to before Phil got there versus what the relationship looks like now, across all the businesses-whether it's Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS-the business and the relationship has changed dramatically, and I think Phil has a lot to do with it, Phil and [Warner Bros. chairman] Barry [Meyer]. It wasn't always a great relationship. He's done an incredible job of creating a bridge.
I hope it continues to grow. I think that both between Warner Bros. and Turner as well as between Warner Bros. and HBO, I hope that we are all able to create a stronger bond. It's a much smaller company. We're going to try to be much more nimble. And it's going to require a level of collaboration and work together that quite frankly wasn't necessary before.
Time Warner has been a leader in TV Everywhere. Many people think it's moving too slowly; Turner's David Levy said recently he was "embarrassed" by the status of it. How satisfied are you with the state of TV Everywhere within the company and industry-wide?
We're incredibly supportive of TV Everywhere. Obviously we don't own a broadcast network, we own half of one with CBS, The CW. We don't own a station group, which would be the natural kind of partner or the one that has the conversations with [multichannel video programming distributors]. We are definitely supportive. We have been supportive from day one and think that we're an important part of the ecosystem and need to continue to be one. We recognize and view [TV Everywhere] as one of the most important things the industry faces.
On any industry initiative, you always kind of hope that they happen sooner. But there's a lot of constituents, there's a lot of parties that don't always see things 100%. The strategy of TV Everywhere is fairly widely upheld across the industry. It's just how do you implement it and how do you execute on it. There hasn't been 100% alignment on that.
What do you think the studio chief's role is in TV Everywhere?
Well, as a content provider to the networks we do [have a role] to all the cable and broadcast networks. Obviously we play a role in the kinds of business templates we create that allow TV Everywhere to be successful. We do play a role in that process. We definitely are an interested party in trying to keep the ecosystem strong and vibrant because we're the biggest producer of TV programming in the world.
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