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CEO: Turner Broadcasting Eyeing International OTT Service

12 Nov, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Turner CEO John Martin

Streaming forays would be patterned on HBO’s pending SVOD service

Turner Broadcasting, whose properties include Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, TNT and Boomerang, is considering launching over-the-top video services internationally, CEO John Martin told an investor group.

Speaking Nov. 12 at the Wells Fargo Securities Technology, Media and & Telecom confab, Martin said any OTT ventures would occur in countries without Turner network access, and would hinge on the success of HBO’s pending domestic subscription service in 2015. Both Turner and HBO are owned by Time Warner.

When asked if going a-la-carte with OTT could jeopardize the current bundled pay-TV ecosystem, Martin cautioned that any such move would not take place in the United States, where Turner is heavily invested with CNN, TNT and sports programing (NBA), among other bundled channel services.

Indeed, Turner plans to up investment in original programing to $1 billion by 2018 — funded in part by recent mass layoffs across the company. The company recently signed content distribution deals with Warner Bros. Television — one of the largest creators of network programing.

“I don’t think it will [upset the pay-TV ecosystem],” Martin said. “Its our responsibility to maximize our strategic opportunities as time progresses.”

The executive said HBO’s pending OTT service would be a “terrific” learning experience for Turner, and in the future provide “optionality” to be able to work more closely with its brands.

“I don’t think HBO going over the top is going to destabilize the pay-TV ecosystem,” Martin said, adding that the premium channel’s SVOD venture is aimed at the 70 million broadband homes that don’t get HBO.

“HBO is growing subscribers at rates we haven’t seen in years,” he said. “I think [Turner] would try to explore those opportunities, maybe with HBO and maybe without, and work with the experience of what happens with HBO here in the U.S.”

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