BARCELONA – As Turner continues to reinvent itself from the inside out, its Chairman and CEO sees the media giant becoming a “fan engagement company” to better monetize content. In this interview with Beet.TV at the Mobile World Congress, John Martin discusses Turner’s ongoing investments in data-enabling technology, partnerships with new distribution players and the potential impact of an AT&T-Time Warner merger.
“There has never been a time with more challenges, but there’s never been a more intellectually interesting time to be in the business,” Martin says in a reference to the explosion of both content and consumer choices for consuming it.
Turner has set an ambition for itself to “literally reinvent the company from the inside out.” While it intends to dominate its core businesses with premium content, Turner also knows it must keep abreast of shifting distribution venues, according to Martin.
“With these new distribution mechanisms and with so much choice available for consumers, we really want to be a fan engagement company,” he says. This is because engaging with fans “who come back over and over and over again are the easiest people to monetize.”
Such engagement needs to span all age groups. While the average age of a CNN viewer on linear TV in the U.S. is 58, the equivalent figure on Snapchat is early 20’s. “Nobody would have thought that people in their early twenties would have been interested in CNN, but that’s not true,” Martin says.
“Massive investments” in technology have enabled Turner to reach these varied audiences, in addition to new distribution partnerships, according to Martin.
And then there is the proposed merger with AT&T, which Seeking Alpha believes is on a track toward approval. Martin sees the deal as being able to “supercharge our growth” with the addition of 25 million DIRECTV subscribers and AT&T’s 130 million mobile customers.
While Turner won’t offer its content exclusively to AT&T’s customers “because we make money by being agnostic, we’re going to be able to learn a lot.”
Martin is optimistic about this year’s Upfronts and Newfronts negotiations with media buyers, given its lightened commercial loads and the improved quality of ads on its networks. “We’re seeing really great early success and I’m quite confident going into the Upfront this year. I think it’s going to be healthy,” Martin says.
This video was produced in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2017. The series is sponsored by Turner. Please visit this page for additional segments from MWC.