Turner Launches Ignite Sports Marketing

Building on the services it has already begun offering its advertising clients, Turner Broadcasting said it is launching Turner Sports Ignite.

Turner Sports Ignite will offer clients that want to reach fans one-stop shopping. Its areas of expertise include intellectual property, live events and experiential marketing, creative services and data solutions.

The announcement was made by Turner president David Levy at CES during Turner’s Sports Business Innovation forum.

Related: Turner Launches ‘Catch Sports’ App

The new unit follows in the footsteps of Turner Ignite, which offers clients of networks including TNT and TBS data and branded content solutions.

Will Funk, executive VP of sales and property sponsorships at Turner Sports, will head Turner Sports Ignite.

Turner Sports Ignite “will deliver enhanced value and solutions directly to brands, mitigating the waste of working across multiple properties and agencies,” said Funk. “Powered by our unrivaled line-up of properties, we will change the paradigm for sports and lifestyle marketers. These services will be blended with our owned and operated media scale to provide a better, more streamlined way for advertisers to connect with consumers.”

Related: CES 2017: Dell Partners with Turner’s ‘ELeague’

Turner’s sports properties include the NBA, Major League Baseball, and March Madness on TV plus digital properties such as Bleacher Report.

Turner Sports Ignite taps into the data, analytics and technology used for advanced targeting and distribution of content across all screens, Funk said.

Turner Sports Ignite will also provide brands with a single partner to work with for commercial and branded content production that puts sports fans at the center.

Related: Turner, IRI Study Urges Shifting Dollars to Ads

Right now, sports marketing “requires a marketer to navigate a meandering path through vast agency networks, middle men, layers of technology and mountains of data. And you have to pay all of them, for strategy, consulting, creative ideation, production, talent, distribution, intellectual property rights and the list goes on. The landscape has become a labyrinth of marketing services, intellectual property, content distributors and publishers,” Funk said. “We think there’s a better way of doing business in today’s world.”

Turner has been adding advanced advertising capabilities over the last few years and has begun reporting the favorable results that those are showing in the marketplace.

With Turner Native Plus, the company says in 2016 it replaced 200 commercial pods with branded content—nine hours’ worth of programing. Turner says it has found that viewers pay 59% more attention to the native content pods. When branded content is paired with commercials, engagement to the commercial is 62% higher.

Turner also optimizes the social media distribution of branded content it creates. It says it has optimized more than 80 campaigns, which have collected 354 million video views.

More than 100 campaigns have utilized Turner’s audience targeting products, Targeting Now and Audience Now. Delivery of the target audience has been up by 21%, cost on per one thousand viewers (CPM) basis of reaching targeted consumers is down 14%. Sales for brands is up 14%. Turner says it expects to do hundreds of campaigns using audience targeting in 2017.

Turner has announced that it is limiting the amount of commercials in original shows, which have been reformatted to take advantage of the extra time for storytelling.

The first show to take advantage of the new format was TNT’s Animal Kingdom. Turner says commercials in the show have higher unaided brand recall, higher word of mouth and higher purchase intent.

As significantly, fewer viewers are tuning out during breaks, and the show has grown its ratings week over week since the premiere.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.