At its first upfront as WarnerMedia, executives from the AT&T unit told media buyers about all the content that it would create and how they can better connect advertisers with consumers.
WarnerMedia -- which is comprised of what was Time Warner’s Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. units, plus AT&T’s digital media brands -- is among the companies planning to launch a new streaming service to go with its traditional TV channels.
“We’re in the midst of a transformation at WarnerMedia, building upon our significant assets to create new capabilities and new possibilities – more connection, more insight and more value in the complex media landscape,” said Kevin Reilly, chief creative officer, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer and president of TBS and TNT.
“When we introduce our new WarnerMedia service early next year, you’ll see not only a very attractive new alternative in the SVOD marketplace. You’ll see a more integrated approach from WarnerMedia,” Reilly said. “The addition of our new streaming connection to the consumer, plus each of our networks’ distinct assets, distinct audience profiles and massive reach – all working together – will be an equation few, if any, will be able to match.”
Reilly said the second phase of the unnamed streaming service would be ad supported.
Donna Speciale, president of ad sales for WarnerMedia, said advertisers are already benefiting from the acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T. WarnerMedia has been working with AT&T’s Xandr advanced advertising unit to use AT&T data to create an enhanced version of its AudienceNow targeted ad campaigns and guarantee the business outcomes.
She talked about how working with WarnerMedia and Xandr, McDonald’s saw a double-digit lift in in-store visits and Volkswagen saw a 6.5% increase in dealership visits.
Overall she said an ad dollar invested with WarnerMedia had a return of $7.56 compared to an average for all of TV of $3.57. "I like it when the money I invest pays dividends," she said.
Xandr on Tuesday had its own presentation, outlining new products for advertisers.
“In this chaotic industry, we have simplified. All of WarnerMedia sales and partnerships are unified. Today you can have one holistic conversation about all of our content, across all of our platforms,” Speciale said.
“Today we are the new WarnerMedia. We’ve always had great content. Now, coupled with AT&T, we are a global powerhouse that reaches people wherever they are and delivers engaging content to every member of the family,” she said.
At the Upfront, Reilly emphasized the continuing value of the entertainment brands and massive audiences attracted annually, with TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, and truTV collectively generating 1.3 billion hours of engagement and reaching 239 million unique viewers each month.
Reilly also talked about the evolution of both TBS and TNT, with comedy oriented TBS adding dramas to the fold starting in 2020.
The first new TBS drama will be Snowpiercer. The network has already ordered two seasons of the show.
New comedy projects on TBS include Chad, a single-camera company from former Saturday Night Live cast member Nasim Pedrad, and a yet to be titled comedy from Amy Hoggart from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
TBS will also be returning The Last O.G. for a third season and Miracle Workers for season two.
TNT will be returning to the mat with a weekly telecast from All Elite Wrestling, an outfit featuring grapplers including Chris Jericho. Other new shows include Ann Curry’s Chasing the Cure (trailer), The Jenna Lyons Project and Shaq Life, about NBA on TNT personality and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal.
TruTV greenlit its first animated series, This Functional Family, from comedian Jo Koy, and a sports comedy show Game Changers.
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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.
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