Turner Broadcasting "Turns It Up" at 2015 Upfront
First Ever Portfolio-Wide Presentation at The Theater at Madison Square Garden
Features Adult Swim, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Sports
Turner Broadcasting System Inc. brought its entire portfolio of leading entertainment, kids, news and sports brands to The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City this morning for one powerful Upfront presentation. The strength of Turner's diverse portfolio of brands - including Adult Swim, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Sports - was highlighted throughout the presentation, which showcased content and offerings from the networks and brought Turner's "Turn It Up" message to life.
Turner is a global content leader across all screens and platforms, reaching more than 230 million Americans in a given month through its top-rated entertainment networks, leading digital brands, the only kids network with a growing audience, premier championship sports and the global leader in news. Collectively, the company creates 15,000 hours of premium original content each year that reaches and engages with the entire range of adult and kid viewers.
"Turner's portfolio consists of leading multiplatform brands, each with a unique voice and identity that is unmatched in the marketplace," said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting. "Our brands deliver content that resonates with socially connected audiences across a wide range of demos, from kids to Generation Next to Millennials to Generation X and beyond. We also have data and partnership opportunities that give advertisers the insight and tools to engage our viewers in exciting new ways. Turner's collective strength and reach across all platforms and demographics, combined with our ability to connect advertisers with viewers, firmly positions us for success today and well into the future."
The Turner Upfront 2015 presentation tipped off with Turner Sports' award-winning Inside the NBA team - Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O'Neal - followed by the introduction of Turner's all-star ad sales team, led by Donna Speciale, president of Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales.
"Today is a historic day," Speciale told the audience. "For the first time, all of Turner is together on one stage. We're focusing all our assets on your business needs, to help drive your results. To do that, all of our divisions are working together, re-inventing what it means to be a content company. To us, change means opportunity, and we are disrupting our own business model to grab hold of all the incredible opportunities ahead. That's what we mean when we say, 'TURN IT UP!'"
More than 70 stars of current offerings and new shows from across the portfolio were on hand for the presentation. In addition to the stars of Turner Sports' Inside the NBA, the roster included TBS's Rashida Jones (Angie Tribeca), Conan O'Brien (CONAN) and Jason Jones & Samantha Bee (The Detour); TNT's Sharon Stone (Agent X), Sean Bean (Legends), Taye Diggs & Kathleen Robertson (Murder in the First), Jennifer Beals (Proof), Edward Burns (Public Morals), Eric Dane & Rhona Mitra (The Last Ship), and Noah Wyle & Rebecca Romijn (The Librarians); Adult Swim's Eric Andre (The Eric Andre Show) and Seth Green (Robot Chicken); CNN's Anderson Cooper (Anderson Cooper 360), Chris Cuomo & Alisyn Camerota (New Day) and Morgan Spurlock (Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock); HLN's Jack Vale (Jack Vale: Offline) and Robin Meade (Morning Express with Robin Meade); and truTV's Billy Eichner (Funny Or Die's Billy on the Street), Michael Carbonaro (The Carbonaro Effect), Adam Conover (Adam Ruins Everything), Jon Gabrus (Santas in the Barn) and the stars of Impractical Jokers, Those Who Can't, Friends of the People and Hack My Life.
Below are details on each portion of Turner Upfront 2015, including links to news announcements and some of the video pieces included in today's presentation. Turner Upfront news and photos are being posted on social media using #TurnerUpfront.
Turner Ad Sales
In her introduction, Speciale cited two main components in Turner's strategic arsenal that position the company for long-term success: content and data. "Convergence has arrived. Data and content are officially hitched," she told the audience. "Turner is prepared for this critical inflection point. We have what it takes to make big things happen for you and your brands. It starts with our strategy: create the very best, premium content; deliver it across every screen to our valuable, engaged and very big audiences; provide next-generation advertising capabilities so we can truly connect your brands with these audiences; and back it all up with real results for you."
When it comes to data, no other media entity can match the depth and breadth of Turner's data-mining capabilities, another area in which the company has been a longtime industry leader. Speciale introduced a video that highlighted one of the company's newest additions to the executive team, Chief Data Strategist Stephano Kim, who highlighted Turner's larger data strategy and recent productivity around the new Turner Data Cloud, a central repository of data, spanning digital and linear ecosystems.
Turner continues to build on its strong reputation for data-driven ad products, with Targeting Now moving out of beta form and available to a much wider range of clients across TBS and TNT. Launched during the 2014-15 Upfront, the product allows advertisers the opportunity to gain significantly higher delivery of their targeted audience compared to traditional daypart ad buys, with lifts ranging between 20% and 30% higher for a target. New to this year's Upfront, Audience Now will widen the scale of Targeting Now and continue to break with traditional ad models by replacing demo guarantees with pure audience-based guarantees similar to digital programming. This move will allow advertisers to target viewers regardless of daypart. Speciale noted, "In this new world, dayparts are dead. These are pure, audience based guarantees for television, just like you get in digital."
Turner will continue to utilize ROI Now to measure the impact of marketing and branded content partnerships. With over 30 case studies completed, across key categories, ROI Now has demonstrated 5-10% increases in sales, and 20-40% increases in online search behavior.
Speciale further enticed advertisers with Turner's success in branded content. Enhancing what CNN has already produced through original programming and premium digital content, Turner Broadcasting will soon debut a newly formed branded content capability utilizing CNN's massive global sale and video storytelling expertise for advertising partners. Turner is also investing in Sociology, a new marketing tool that provides advertisers the social data, insights and optimization to take their branded content to exciting new levels of connectedness and effectiveness.
TBS & TNT
There's a revolution coming to TBS and an evolution coming to TNT, announced Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT and chief content officer for Turner Entertainment, during this morning's Turner Upfront 2015. Reilly revealed his initial strategy for the two networks, including plans for a major TBS rebrand, a shift in focus for the TNT slate of original dramas and an increase in the development and production of original content for both networks.
"We're on the move in a big way at TNT and TBS," Reilly said. "We're doing a proactive makeover of these networks. We'll double the number of our original series on TBS and TNT over the next three years. And we'll sharpen the point of view and be even more adventurous in our programming choices."
Reilly emphasized that both networks are currently very strong. TBS tops the charts as basic cable's #1 network in primetime delivery of adults 18-49, adults 18-34 and total viewers. And TNT is home to more hit series than any other cable network. On a monthly basis, TNT and TBS collectively reach nearly half of all adults 18-49.
Reilly's plans for TNT call for a shift in the focus and tone of its original programming. Today, the network announced an eight-part drama and two pilot orders:
· The Alienist, an atmospheric, eight-part psychological thriller based on Caleb Carr's bestseller and set in the fascinating and gritty world of Gilded Age New York City, from Emmy(R) winner Cary Fukunaga, Oscar(R) winner Eric Roth and Oscar nominee Hossein Amini.
· Will, a series about a young William Shakespeare told in raucous style by Craig Pearce, the long-time writing partner of auteur filmmaker Baz Lurhmann.
· Animal Kingdom, a family crime drama set in a gritty surf community from executive producers John Wells and Jonathan Lisco.
For TBS, Reilly's strategy calls for a major reposition of the network's brand and programming, all of which is set to begin by the end of 2015, as well as an expansion of the network's original programming slate to more than 15 scripted and unscripted series over the next two years.
The first wave of new programming is set to hit in the fourth quarter of this year, with the eagerly anticipated Angie Tribeca, created by Steve & Nancy Carell and starring Rashida Jones, and The Detour, a scripted comedy from former Daily Show correspondents Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, with Jones starring. Bee and Jones are also developing a new issues-oriented series for TBS. Bee is set to headline the new show, which was teased during the Upfront presentation:
Also this fall, TBS will launch Separation Anxiety, a relationship-based game show with a unique twist.
Reilly announced two new TBS projects as part of the network's overhaul:
· Wrecked, a newly greenlit ensemble comedy from up-and-coming writers Justin Shipley & Jordan Shipley and executive producer Jesse Hara.
· The Group, a new comedy pilot about alien abductees from executive producer Conan O'Brien and The Office producer Greg Daniels.
Earlier this week, it was announced that TNT and TBS are the home of the Live Nation Music Awards, a new television event honoring the best live musical performances of the year. Set to be simulcast on both networks on Oct. 1, the star-studded awards ceremony will be produced by Live Nation Entertainment in collaboration with IMG and dick clark productions.
"The new TBS will have a huge slate of awesomely in-your-face and effortlessly diverse programming, while TNT will continue to deliver great drama and live event specials, but our presentation and portfolio will look dramatically different," said Reilly. "Two big established networks with big resources and a renewed focus and energy, new brand positions, a robust slate of new originals, premier sports and an ambitious new digital platform in the making - it's going to be incredible."
Adult Swim, basic cable's #1 network with young adults for over a decade, announced a slate of new and returning original programming in advance of Turner Upfront 2015 and the Adult Swim Party, which will feature a scheduled musical performance by award-winning artist Miley Cyrus. The network, which is continuing to grow its slate of primetime originals, has become a powerhouse of comedy talent and their 2015-16 programming lineup features more than 30 new and returning series, pilots and specials, including a new comedy pilot starring Jason Alexander.
"Adult Swim has always been known as a place for taking risks and for great talent to try interesting and unique things," said Christina Miller, president and general manager, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang. "Mike (Lazzo) and his team continue to raise the bar in knowing what the Adult Swim fan wants and this new slate of original programming adds to our growing line-up of primetime comedies."
Joining the recently debuted The Jack and Triumph Show and network hits Rick and Morty, Mike Tyson Mysteries, Black Jesus and the Emmy(R)-winning Childrens Hospital is the new animated series TV Sucks from Brad Neely, along with live-action comedy specials from Brett Gelman and Jon Daly, and a new miniseries from Jon Glaser.
Momentum and growth across all screens are driving Cartoon Network into the 2015-16 Upfront. Powered by #1 shows and breakout new series, Cartoon Network was the only top kids network to see ratings growth in 2014. The network's momentum has continued into 2015 with double-digit growth and a climb into second place with kids 6-11.
Original series hits Adventure Time, Clarence, Regular Show, Steven Universe, The Amazing World of Gumball, Teen Titans Go! and Uncle Grandpa are leading the charge, further establishing Cartoon Network's position as the #1 network with boys 6-11, while also securing double-digit increases among girls 6-11 through 2014. Additionally, when in premieres, seven out of the top 10 shows among boys 6-11 on all of television were on Cartoon Network.
As the leading choice for the mobile-first generation of plurals, Cartoon Network's success extends beyond television screens into the digital and mobile space with deeply immersive content that transforms its viewers into fans. Cartoon Network was the #1 most-watched network on FOD across all of cable in 2014, with more than 300 million orders. Cartoon Network Digital also published four #1 apps in the App Store and Google Play last year, with highly-engaging and top-rated mobile and tablet apps like CN Anything helping to expand the definition of programming for Cartoon Network by blending television and digital to create a platform-inclusive experience for fans.
"We are seeing great results with our platform-inclusive strategy to expand the definition of programming across all screens" said Christina Miller, president and general manager, Cartoon Network- Boomerang -Adult Swim. "Whether in short or long form, there are no walls for how Cartoon Network can be consumed. Digital, mobile and TV have all come together for this new generation of kids, who are very comfortable with the sheer volume of choice; and when you deliver compelling original content and innovative ways of experiencing it, they will find it, engage with it, and share it on every platform."
CNN announced today two new Original Series, adding to its successful portfolio of high-quality, non-scripted programming in 2016:
· Declassified (All3Media America), an eight-part series, delves into true stories of America's covert operations around the world. Hosted by former U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers, also the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, each episode features a newly declassified mission told firsthand by the agents who lived it, while getting unprecedented access to the riveting and secret world of espionage. Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Stephen Lambert and Mike Rogers serve as executive producers on the series.
· Also in 2016, The Eighties follows in the footsteps of the critically-acclaimed series The Sixties and The Seventies (premiering in June). From the multiple Emmy(R)-winning producers Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, in association with HBO and Emmy-winning producer Mark Herzog, each hour-long episode explores the individuals and events that shaped the decade.
CNN has also picked up a second season of The Wonder List with Bill Weir (CNN) and a third season of This Is Life with Lisa Ling (part2pictures) for 2016.
These series join previously announced CNN originals launching in 2016: Race For the White House (Raw/Trigger Street Productions), narrated by Kevin Spacey and executive produced by Spacey and Dana Brunetti, which examines the most dramatic and compelling presidential campaigns in history; in addition to Believer (Whalerock Industries), a spiritual adventure series hosted by New York Times bestselling author Reza Aslan, and United Shades of America (All3Media), which follows comedian W. Kamau Bell around the country in a thought-provoking, serious and humorous look at diverse cultures.
In just three years, CNN has acquired or produced more than 200 hours of Original Series programming. The 2015-2016 slate will feature new seasons of returning series, including the Peabody and EMMY(R) Award-winning hit Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown (ZPZ Productions), along with This Is Life with Lisa Ling (part2pictures), Morgan Spurlock Inside Man (Warrior Poets), The Seventies (Playtone/Herzog & Company), Mike Rowe's Somebody's Gotta Do It (Pilgrim Studios), The Hunt with John Walsh (ZPZ Productions) and Death Row Stories (Jigsaw/Sundance Productions). High Profits (Bat Bridge Entertainment), an eight-part docu-series about a young Colorado couple looking to franchise recreational marijuana, is currently airing on CNN.
In January 2015, HLN rebranded as the first all-screens home for the best social news and lifestyle content in the world. To date, the network has jumped double-digits in total day, including its key adults 25-54 (+28%) and adults 18-49 (+39%) demos, and has grown in Monday-Sunday primetime by +4% and +10%, respectively. Additionally, HLN is now a Top 40 ad-supported cable network in adults 18-49, up eight spots vs. the same time period year ago, and is the youngest cable news network with a median age of 55.
Taking a social first approach, HLN's The Daily Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instgram, Vine and YouTube have garnered 1.3 billion impressions since its October launch.
"HLN has hit major targets since rebrand. As of April, HLN and The Daily Share beat most other digital publishers and global broadcast news brands in engagement on social," said Albie Hecht, executive vice president & general manager, HLN. "This, coupled with our significant ratings gains, proves that the strategy for engaging our audience on what they are searching, shopping, playing, sharing, creating and watching, is working."
HLN's 2016 programming slate will feature the highly-anticipated premiere of Heads Up!, the TV series based on the mega-popular game and best-selling smartphone app from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. This 65-episode half-hour game show strip, produced by DeGeneres' A Very Good Production in association with Telepictures, will be hosted by Loni Love, comedian, actress and co-host of syndicated talk show The Real. From famous names, to song titles, to animals - players must guess the word before them from their teammate's clues before time runs out. Each team is made up of one celebrity and one civilian. In the first few rounds, two teams go head-to-head, but only one team will make it to the final round and play for the jackpot prize. And heads up: There are a lot of laughs along the way.
Returning to HLN's lineup for a second season in 2016 will be the first hit HLN Original Series, Jack Vale: Offline with six episodes. In this weekly series, HLN follows YouTube megastar Jack Vale, along with his wife, Sherry, and five kids, to see how he sets up the pranks that have become a chaotic family business. The series is produced by Relativity Television.
On the HLN digital front is Get Forked (working title), from James Beard Award-winning producer-director-storyteller Liza de Guia (foodcurated.com), a new digital documentary food series that covers where a chef's culture, influence and background meets the plate.
In October 2014, truTV flipped the switch on an extensive brand makeover. Since then the network has been on a roll, rapidly expanding its lineup of original programming and scoring across-the-board ratings growth and chart-climbing competitive rankings.
"We have turned over a whole new network, building momentum with a premium lineup of new series that will keep viewers coming back for more," said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV. "We now have 17 new shows, with a slate that represents nearly 200 hours of original programming. These new shows, specials and pilots are the kind of fresh and innovative programming that will help us build on the success our 'Way More Fun' brand is generating."
Over the past six months, the truTV audience has been getting younger, and the network has been climbing the charts as a result of its brand and programming refresh. Since the rebrand, truTV has garnered a median age of only 38, and its median age for the first quarter of 2015 was four years younger than first quarter last year. Primetime deliveries were up across the board compared to the first two months of the network's brand and programming update, including adults 18-49 (+36%), adults 18-34 (+35%), men 18-49 (+45%), men 18-34 (+54%) and total viewers (+35%).
truTV also finished the first quarter as one of basic cable's Top 20 networks with men 18-49 and men 18-34, climbing 13 and nine spaces, respectively, among the two demos compared to the opening months of the rebrand. Among total viewers, truTV has risen 10 spots, while its rankings among adults 18-49 and adults 18-34 have improved six and four spots, respectively.
truTV's current hits include Impractical Jokers, The Carbonaro Effect, Fake Off, Friends of the People, Hack My Life, How to Be a Grownup and Barmageddon. The network's extensive lineup of upcoming series include the scripted comedy Those Who Can't, the genre-busting half-prank/half-sketch show Fameless and the unscripted series The Hustlers, Santas in the Barn and Six Degrees of Everything. In addition, the streetwise game show Funny Or Die's Billy on the Street with Billy Eichner is set to become a truTV original series, starting with its fourth season later this year. And truTV just launched MetroPCS Friday Night Knockout, the network's first live boxing series.
To keep its momentum going, truTV announced today that it has greenlit two new series:
· Adam Ruins Everything, an investigative comedy in which Adam Conover hilariously debunks social conventions that most people take for granted.
· The Driver's Seat (working title), a show that literally hits the road to discover what people really dish about in the privacy of their own cars.
truTV has also given the go-ahead on three specials from the fan-favorite Impractical Jokers. And on the development front, the network has ordered five new pilots, including a television version of CollegeHumor's long-running Jake and Amir. Also going to pilot are a guerilla-style game show, a docu-series about a weed distribution business run by four women, a new project from How to Be a Grownup's Tom Segura & Christina Pazsistky and a docu-series that will follow a season of the FXFL's Brooklyn Bolts football team.
Turner Sports made two major announcements during Turner Upfront 2015, including a multi-year extension for its award-winning Inside the NBA studio team and a brand new TNT series that capitalizes on the enormous popularity of the NBA.
TNT's iconic and critically acclaimed Inside the NBA studio show - the recipient of 13 Sports Emmys(R) - will continue to offer fans its dynamic combination of basketball insight and analysis, entertainment and social commentary with its unduplicated team of host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal. Turner Sports today announced multi-year extensions for each member of the studio team.
"We truly believe Inside the NBA is among the best studio shows of all time and a large part of its success is due to the unrivaled chemistry between Ernie, Charles, Kenny and Shaquille," said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. "We're looking forward to continuing the creativity and pioneering spirit behind the show for a very long time."
Turner Sports also announced that it is producing The Dunk King, an all-new reality competition series set to premiere on TNT during the network's exclusive coverage of the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals. The definitive dunk competition show will feature top dunkers as they take center stage to showcase their best dunks in a contest for bragging rights and a cash prize of $100,000. The show will follow the dunkers from tryouts to the competition rounds, with their fate being sealed by a panel of celebrity judges and fan voting. The final "Dunk Off" will take place live during TNT's first-ever presentation of the NBA Awards Show, which is set to air after the completion of the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
The Turner Sports portfolio provides viewers with a wide range of premium sports offerings including NBA regular season, playoffs and All-Star weekend coverage; MLB regular season and postseason telecasts; and exclusive NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship coverage (with CBS), as well as such digital platforms as NBA.com and Bleacher Report.
About Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.