Turner Broadcasting channels TNT and TBS held its upfront presentations today at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, and while the bulk of the show was about new programming, the impact of social and digital media permeated the presentation. The big news was that TBS and TNT will begin streaming their linear channels online starting this Summer. It is a real network feed, including MLB and NCAA games… and of course including the same ad loads as on TV.
The channels will stream on TNTDrama.com and TBS.com, as well as on new TBS and TNT iPhone and iPad apps, with other platforms to follow. Turner is a big advocate for “TV Everywhere,” so users will need to authenticate their devices using a login from a cable or satellite company.
On the social front, TBS touted the social media prowess of host Conan O’Brien at the upfront, as well as its new late-night host Pete Holmes. Dwayne Johnson, (aka “The Rock”) appeared via video, where he noted that for his new show “The hero,” the winner would be decided by viewers at home voting via Facebook, Twitter and text message.
The company also revealed that it has been using a new tool called “ATHENA (Advanced Tool for Harnessing and Evaluating Network Audiences)” to measure the success of viewer engagement through social media and digital platforms.
“This is a time of great changes in our business – new technologies, new distribution platforms, new creative voices,” said TBS, TNT and Turner Classic movies head of programming Michael Wright in a statement. “But with all that exciting change, one thing remains constant: Great stories are the centerpiece of our business. And great stories come from great storytellers. Fortunately for us, some of the best, most talented storytellers in television are bringing their gifts to Turner.”