NEW YORK—You know big corporate media is hurting bad when the chief executive of one of the largest and most powerful players complains about free porn hurting the company’s bottom line, but that’s just what Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt did on a conference call yesterday.
“Time Warner Cable said yesterday that its video-on-demand business dropped significantly in the last quarter,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Peter Kafka in his “All Things D” column. “Asked to explain where the drop came from, CEO Glenn Britt came clean, more or less—much of it is because, instead of renting 3 Way Cheating Wives in HD for $9.98, his customers are getting their fix on the Web for free.”
The Journal further quoted Britt as saying, “One of the things going on with VOD is that there [have] been fairly steady trends over some time period now for adult to go down, largely because there’s that kind of material available on the Internet for free. And that’s pretty high margin. That’s been not just this quarter, but going on for some time period.”
The article further notes that “CFO Rob Marcus said the porn gap is responsible for about a third of the drop, and that the rest is because there weren’t many big pay-per-view events like boxing matches last quarter, and because regular movie rentals are down, too.”
This turn of events is refreshing in one sense but totally frustrating in another. The fact that a Time Warner CEO has finally admitted the extent to which adult VOD matters may be a watershed moment in corporate truthiness, but it also underscores the seriousness of the free content problem and it certainly does nothing to improve anyone’s bottom line.
Still, maybe the porn conversation can now continue forward with a modicum of accuracy, and maybe now people will start believing the industry when it says that free porn is killing it! And maybe now the mainstream media will stop repeating the $12 billion annual revenue number ad nauseam.
Photo: Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt