Skip to main content

Upfronts 2016: Turner Highlights New Distribution, 1,000 Original Programming Hours

Turner announced a series of non-linear distribution deals, ad-sales initiatives, and content offerings across its portfolio of networks as it gets set to welcome media buyers to its upfront presentation at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The company’s brands will reach subscribers with the introduction of branded apps on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Google Chromecast. The rollout will begin in June with TBS and TNT apps launching on some platforms, followed by additional brands later in the year.

The company is also launching a studio that will produce branded, “original, social first content” under Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco group. The Team Coco Digital studio will be led by Conan executive producer Jeff Ross and Steve Beslow, general manager of Team Coco Digital, in partnership with Turner's content partnership and ad sales teams.

That initiative joins the recently announced Turner Ad Lab and Turner Ignite in seeking to give media buyers more solutions as measurement remains under a cloud. Turner has also said it will be among the major cable networks planning to reduce the ad loads on its flagship networks.

“Last year, I stood in front of you and stated that Turner would help lead the transformation of our industry,” Donna Speciale, president of Turner ad sales, told the audience of advertisers, agencies and journalists. “Our vision has not changed. We are doing it. We have transformed to be a data-driven content creation and distribution company that puts the consumer first.”    

Turner plans to air and host some 13,000 hours of original content, including nearly 1,000 hours of scripted and unscripted series and specials. This year, changing its upfront approach, the network shifted its private lunch to a red-carpet procession leading up to the upfront presentation, in a bid to showcase the stars tied to its networks and properties.

“Not only are we engaged in a massive effort to improve the viewing experience across our brands, Turner is also leading the industry with an extremely progressive approach to advertising, strategic investments in technology and platforms, partnerships with emerging companies and innovative distribution concepts that go beyond the traditional television ecosystem,” said Turner president David Levy. "Most importantly, we have been investing heavily in premium content across the portfolio, from original series to live events, sports and more.”

TNT has ordered Will, a new drama series about the wild younger days of William Shakespeare. TNT has also ordered a pilot for Civil, a drama about a second civil war in the United States, and cast Niecy Nash (Reno 911) in Claws, a dramedy set in a Florida nail salon.

CNN, enjoying a surge in tune-in this presidential year, has greenlit three new series: Soundtracks: Songs That Made History (working title), The History of Comedy and The Nineties.

Adult Swim has ordered a pilot for a new series from Children's Hospital creator and star Rob Corddry. Last week, Adult Swim announced it has ordered the new live-action series Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace and Dream Corp, LLC, along with the new special Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead.

Newly added series on truTV include Jon Glaser Loves GearGreatest Ever and Lifescaping (working title), as well as its feature-length documentary The Problem with Apu (working title) and an all-new Impractical Jokers live special.