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Britt: McCain's bill should open a discussion

Fri, 05/17/2013 - 1:38pm
Brian Santo

Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt threw his support behind updating the rules and regulations that govern communications services providers, but had a tepid response to the bill proposed earlier this week by Sen. John McCain.

At a shareholder meeting yesterday, Britt also reiterated guidance on some of the company’s business priorities for the next year and beyond.

McCain’s bill proposes to bar programmers from offering channels only in bundles; it aims to make retransmission consent arguments easier to adjudicate; and restricts sports blackouts, among other measures.

Responding to a question from a shareholder about the bill, Britt said, “we are regulated in a very complicated way by a few decades of laws and regulations and various agencies. And we actually support having the federal governments take a look at this whole thing. It may not be as simple as passing one simple law like Senator McCain has proposed, but we do think it needs some looking at. And that it's not working in the right way for consumers at this point. So again, whether that's the right proposal remains to be seen. But we certainly support taking a look at it.”

His remarks echo the sentiments of cable groups such as the NCTA and the ACA, and groups representing other segments of the communications industry, including the NAB and the CTIA: McCain’s bill should be the start of a dialog on how to revise outdated rules and regulations. The inference is that McCain’s bill isn’t going to get much support, even from the people it’s ostensibly meant to help.

Britt’s comments are drawn from a transcript of the meeting provided by Seeking Alpha.

As for Time Warner’s business plans, Britt reiterated that the company has plans for a cloud-based program guide to be introduced in conjunction with a new set-top box (or line of set-tops) scheduled to roll out later this year.

He promised new packaging and pricing, and “a sharp focus on customer retention and superior service to drive revenue and profitability.” To that end, the company is in the process of improving call center operations and dispatch operations “to reduce waste and to standardize the very best practices, and most important, to improve the customer experience.”

Britt also revisited the success the company has been experiencing in business services, where he said annual revenue has more than doubled from a little over $900 million in 2009 to nearly $2 billion last year 2012. “We're going to continue as a priority to strive to further expand our presence in that space.”

 

 

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