Turner set to go SVOD, group president says

As its parent company, Time Warner Inc., is throttling back on the amount of content it licenses to outside SVOD platforms like Netflix, Turner Networks is getting set to deliver a direct-to-consumer OTT offering.

"We have to have consumer-facing products," said Turner President Dave Levy, during a panel discussion Friday at the Paley Center for Media in New York, an event covered by The Street. "We're not in the television business. We're in the content creation distribution data business. We're not in the television business."

Levy said Turner will launch an SVOD platform within the next five years. But his rhetoric belied what could be a shorter timeline. 

"Cable has done a poor job marketing how good $80 is, what you get for that $80," Levy said. "So, we as a company have to find ways to find new revenue streams, whether in new pockets, sports, over-the-top, direct to consumer."

Turner Networks operates TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network, which in addition to original series including Major Crimes, Legends and Conan, also has sports licensing deals with the NBA, Major League Baseball and NCAA's March Madness.

Time Warner has already taken one of its major platforms, HBO, direct-to-consumer with the launch of HBO Now in April. 

In August, Turner paid around $200 million to take a majority stake in iStreamPlanet. At the time, an individual familiar with the company's strategizing told FierceCable that Turner had no plans to go direct to consumer in the near future. However, "the company now has the software and technology in place internally to be able to move forward when and if that time comes," the source said.

For his part, however, Levy on Friday indicated that Turner is actively looking for ways to distribute channels like Cartoon Network in the direct-to-consumer mobile video marketplace.

"We've got to figure out the monetization strategy for mobile," he said. "But I think that comes later. For now we have to continue to push the products out."

For more:
- read this article from The Street

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