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It is an old adage in the entertainment industry that it is everyone's second business. Here is a young man who seems to know nothing about the real economics of the pay television business. Why should he? He's a free lance writer just a few years out of college. Like many other amateurs he writes about revenues as though they are profits. Since HBO has not abandoned the cable business that it largely drives in the U.S., he assumes that HBO doesn't understand its business. Such arrogance would be quite astonishing if it were not so common. The Internet is awash 24/7 with people like this fellow, who know almost nothing, but who think they know more than people who have successfully built and run an iconic business, and lead it still, after more than 35 years. Young Mr. Manjoo discovers churn---a part of the business that, again, HBO has been dealing with quite nicely for over a third of a century. The Chairman of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes, started at HBO in 1979. His success there carried him to the very pinnacle of the business, running not just HBO, but Warner Bros., Time-Life, and the Turner networks. But he does not know what Mr. Manjoo knows. Very odd, that. I hope, as a stockholder of Time Warner, that even before he arrived at his office this morning that Mr. Bewkes had this oh so
knowing article given to him, so that he can act on it immediately. He must move quickly I think. He should forget everything he has learned about the industry in which he occupies such a respected position, and execute quickly on the advice of the kid writing in Slate, who so clearly knows just about everything.
1 year ago on HBO’s Future is in Standalone Streaming, It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet