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Sports Media from the Distributors' POV
November 19, 2012 11:02 AM
Sports Media Distributors
Michael Hopkins, Fox Networks
Ryan O'Hara, The Topps Co.
Jeffrey Weber, AT&T
Melinda Witmer, Time Warner Cable
Melinda Witmer, chief video and content officer for Time Warner Cable, talked about being on the other side of the regional sports network equation, as an owner:“It has been an illuminating experience in a lot of ways. Not the least of which has been coming to understand better the challenges that other distributors have. We understand cable really well. We understand the way we package really well. But it has given us an opportunity to understand better how others are addressing and serving their consumers. More than anything, we said we know the value assessments we make, and we have to deliver value that Time Warner Cable would justify on the other side or we’ll end up being the only ones distributing the product. It’s why we did what we did in Spanish, and it also allowed us to create a Korean feed for Lakers games.”
Fox President of Distribution Mike Hopkins discussed the loss of the Lakers to Time Warner Cable, and said, “It’s a valuable product. The Lakers have a passionate fan base. Obviously, we’re disappointed to lose them, but at the end of the day, you look at live sports and the passion behind it. We have a lot of teams in a lot of markets. The fact that distributors are valuing content as highly as they are, we think it’s good for us in the long run. We have a lot of teams locked up for a lot of years. We’re looking forward to the future because regional sports and sports in general are the places where you’ll find passion and rabidity. Not every team in every market. But sports is one of those things that consumers pay distributors for.”
Weber also jokingly responded to Witmer when she reminded him that AT&T had also bid on the Lakers’ rights, saying, “Yeah, but we stopped when it got crazy.”