Turner beefing up Asia ops

HONG KONG – Turner Broadcasting System will expand its Asia headquarters staff as it localizes programming.

“We will be creating more jobs in Hong Kong at the network,” said Michael Byrd, managing director of Turner Broadcasting Asia Pacific.

Byrd, who was named to the newly created position last month, also said he sees a “real air of cooperation” between the advertising departments of Turner and its parent company, Time Warner.

“We have already done a few joint deals that would not have happened to the same degree (if we had remained) alone,” he said.

Byrd said there was no reduction in staffing planned because of the Turner and Time Warner consolidation. In fact, Turner recently opened an ad sales office in Singapore, though Byrd emphasized that there are no plans to move the head office out of Hong Kong.

Singapore aggressively courts U.S. media companies; for instance, the new joint venture between ESPN Asia and Star Sports will be based there.

Beginning March 30, Turner will split its Asian satellite signal into three feeds: India, Southeast Asia and Australia/New Zealand. Byrd said the move will allow for more focused programming in local languages. “We will be able to use the satellites more effectively,” he added, “such as putting Hindi programming on the Indian feed.”

The company will be hiring people to separate the signal and to perform as on-air talent in local language, perhaps as hosts of TNT movies or Cartoon Network shows.

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