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NAB: Warner Bros.' Rosenblum: "We Are in the Golden Age of TV...Again" - Broadcasting & Cable

NAB: Warner Bros.' Rosenblum: "We Are in the Golden Age of TV...Again"

Strong international markets, healthy U.S. broadcast, cable and syndication sectors and new digital outlets bring in the gold
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Complete Coverage: 2012 NAB Show

VIDEO: Click Here to Watch the Q&A

Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner Bros.
Television Group and office of the president, Warner Bros. Entertainment, argued
that the TV industry was in a new golden age, both in terms of the creativity
of the shows being produced for broadcast and cable, and in terms of the
business.

That came in a wide-ranging
discussion of the state of the TV industry at the NAB Show
Tuesday in Las Vegas with
B&C executive editor Melissa Grego.

"The business has never been better," Rosenblum noted. "Revenue
from international has improved dramatically. The domestic broadcast, cable and
syndication businesses are at a high point and there are new
buyers" in the market like Netflix and Hulu that are boosting the value of
their libraries and new productions.

He
particularly singled out international markets, which now comprises nearly one-third of their revenue, as playing a key role in reducing deficits between the
cost of producing shows and the license fees paid by the networks.

"Even in a
global financial crisis, we have had five years of meaningful increases," to
the point where the revenue "from international more than covers the production
costs of our entire sales of 26 shows," he said.

Rosenblum
also cited the growing importance of digital players like Netflix and Hulu,
which he prefers to call subscription VOD (SVOD) outlets, as a
new distribution channel for library product and new shows.

While
revenues from these outlets remain small compared to their overall business, he
said "it was probably true" that the large Hulu and Netflix deals for CW
content "saved the network."

At the same
time, exposure of the shows on Hulu and Netflix has also helped promote them
and expand their audiences. This has been a net "positive for affiliates as we
have more money to invest in programming," he noted.

Local
broadcast stations are currently probably "the most challenged" part of the TV
industry, Rosenblum noted. "Local ad market was hit the hardest [by the
economy] and amount of competition they face in news and sports has increased."

When asked if
retransmission consent payments might increase the license fees paid for the
studio's content, he said that "Anything that helps create a healthy...business
is good for those of us that produce content."

While most of
the major studios are part of larger media empires that own a major broadcast
network, Rosenblum noted that there were a number of competitive advantages to
being independent. Besides making it easier for them to sell to all the
networks, he also stressed that it has made it easier to attract top talent
because creatives can produce for more than one network. "I like the hand I've
been dealt," he said. "We've gone very well."

Rosenblum
also stressed the growing importance of social media in their marketing
efforts.

"I haven't
seen Facebook and Twitter having an impact yet on what gets selected" by the
networks, he said. "Where Facebook and Twitter can help is when you have shows
that are on bubble. Several shows have gotten renewed [in recent years]
because networks were aware of how much chatter was out there."

Because of
the importance of social media as a marketing tool, he also noted that they
have several full-time executives in the marketing department "to deal with it."

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