Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting is about to accelerate the effort by traditional media companies to offer subscription streaming services for their content.
“Before the end of this year we’ll have at least a couple of direct-to-consumer products in the marketplace,” Turner CEO John Martin said today at a luncheon with reporters.
He wouldn’t specify what Turner will offer but said they “could be at our existing networks” and might be “brand extensions for passions where people might be willing to pay us.”
Turner President David Levy added that the company will “try to capture” the so-called cord-nevers — people, especially young adults, who don’t want to pay a high monthly rate to receive a lot of channels they don’t watch.
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That could make it similar to services such as CBS All Access and Hulu.
Martin says the planned offerings are among the changes that make this “a new day at Turner.”
In addition, several “big, well-capitalized companies” — in the U.S. and abroad — “seem very serious” about creating online video services that might include Turner’s networks.
If alternatives emerge to the traditional cable and satellite packages, then “we’re going to have very strong participation,” he said — adding that his current carriage deals leave him with “flexibility to sign with any distributor.”
Existing distributors might even lead the drive toward online pay TV services similar to Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue.
“The first big one that comes in is going to spark innovation,” Martin said.
Meanwhile, the Turner chief remains upbeat about his bread-and-butter offerings on cable and satellite. “We’re going to buck the trend, or buck the feat that Wall Street has, that this is a revenue-constrained business.”
Execs say that they expect strong ad sales in the forthcoming upfront market. Martin also says that subscription revenues from current distributors will “accelerate meaningfully” beginning in the current quarter.
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