Upfronts: Turner Delivers Multiplatform Sales Pitch, TNT Rebranding Push

Turner Broadcasting on Wednesday joined the chorus of networks pitching advertisers on the need to embrace the multiplatform viewing revolution, and with it new means of planning and evaluating advertising pacts.

Turner ad sales chief Donna Speciale emphasized at the start of Turner’s upfront at the Theater at Madison Square Garden by emphasizing that the group’s sales operations have combined into one unit serving all its network and digital outlets.

“We are living through massive changes. Consumers are accessing more content across more screens than ever before. TV, online and mobile content is all coming together,” Speciale said. “We can now have one conversation with you about all the great opportunities we can have with your brands.”

“Dynamic ad insertion” has been the buzzword of this upfront week, and Speciale mentioned it early on in her opening pitch. Nets are clearly jockeying to push advertisers to expand the parameters of advertising sales currency beyond the C3 window that is industry standard now. Dynamic ad insertion is designed to allow nets to work in fresh ad spots after the primary C3 window ends, in an effort to make the most out of delayed viewing that takes place well beyond the 72-hour period following the premiere.

“We are increasingly in an on-demand world,” Speciale said, adding that Turner intends to lead “with ad-supported content.”

Programming prexy Michael Wright touted the makeover plan for TNT with an edgier breed of drama. The cabler is retiring the longtime “We Know Drama” slogan in favor of “Boom.” Wright promised “truly binge-worthy storytelling” in its new breed of original series. It is also aiming more squarely at the 18-49 demo in addition 25-54 that has been its stronghold for years.

“If you want to make thrilling drama, you have to take big creative swings,” Wright said.

Standard-bearers for the Boom brand including the actioners “The Last Ship,” from Michael Bay, and “Legends,” from uber-producer Howard Gordon, that are both set to premiere this summer.

After a lengthy rundown of new shows for TNT and TBS, Conan O’Brien came out to wrap with some pointed barbs. Noting Michael Wright’s big contributions to Turner: “He’s the only one who knows which one is Rizzoli and which one is Isles.”

(Pictured: Michael Wright and the cast of “Dallas” at the Turner Upfront presentation)




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