Upfronts 2015: Turner Shifts Ad Guarantees from Demos to Audiences

Related: Upfronts 2015: Reilly Sets TBS Brand Overhaul

Turner Broadcasting says it is replacing traditional demo guarantees for some of its ad sales with audience-based guarantees similar to digital-based advertising.

At its upfront presentation Wednesday, Turner introduced what it calls Audience Now, which allows advertisers to target viewers regardless of daypart. “In this new world, dayparts are dead. These are pure audience-based guarantees for television, just like you get in digital,” said Donna Speciale, president of ad sales at Turner.

Turner is hoping to generate premium pricing for those viewers, particularly those not watching in traditional primetime.

Audience Now is the latest step in a concerted digital strategy by the cable TV programmer designed to combine content and data. It also signals that while most TV networks at talking about data, Turner is ready to disrupt its traditional ad sales model in search of growth at a time when ad revenue growth is limited because increasingly viewers and ad dollars are going online.

At Turner, Audience Now joins a number of data products, starting with Targeting Now, which is moving from beta to wider availability during this year’s upfront. Targeting Now gives advertisers a more concentrated delivery of viewers within a target.

Turner also continues to use ROI Now, a product that measures the impact of marketing and branded content partnerships. In more than 30 case studies completed so far, ROI Now has found a 5% to 10% increase in sales by using data to target campaigns and a 20% to 40% increase in online searches.

“Data and content are officially hitched," Speciale said. "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."

Turner said it will soon debut a newly formed branded content capability. It is based on campaigns CNN has produced by using its video storytelling capabilities on behalf of clients.

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 new levels of connectedness and effectiveness.

“We're focusing all our assets on [client’s] business needs, to help drive your results," Speciale said. “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.”

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.