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Turner Steps Up Digital Game

As expected, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. will take over the operations of NBA TV and as part of a new joint venture with the National Basketball Association.

The venture, which was expected to formally be announced at an 11:30 a.m. conference call, will be jointly managed by Turner Sports and Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc president David Levy and NBA Deputy Commissioner and COO Adam Silver. It will be operated out of Turner’s Atlanta production facility.

TBS, Inc. will handle programming, marketing and technical operations for the 12-million subscriber NBA TV digital television network, as well as the league’s site, the league’s NBA League Pass out-of-market game package and the NBA’s broadband and wireless businesses.

As part of the arrangement, TBS Inc. and the NBA will jointly sell advertising for all of the digital assets. NBA on TNT on-air talent such as Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith will now appear on NBA TV, under the arrangement.

Secaucus, N.J.-based NBA Entertainment will continue to provide content for all of the NBA’s digital businesses.

Last July, the NBA reached an eight-year extension of its live game carriage deal with Turner and ESPN for $7.4 billion. The new deal also granted both TNT and ESPN the right to stream live games from their air and migrate other NBA-oriented content to an array of platforms.

With the joint venture, Turner has vastly expanded its oversight of national broadband rights as it adds control of the contests available through NBA League Pass to its TNT package.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.