It’s no secret that there’s a bit of a “land war” going on for media companies that want to be a part of 21st century homes.
With more options for television and movie watching than ever before, media companies are scrambling to stake their claim in the world of on demand entertainment. To stave off a takeover from the 21st Century Fox Company, Time Warner Inc., is trying to prove that it can survive on its own. The first area of focus is the Turner Broadcasting unit, which includes TNT, TBS and CNN.
Issues on several fronts. Turner has experienced five years of double-digit operating profit growth, but is also dealing with declining viewership on several networks. CEO Jeff Bewkes is turning his attention toward creating more engaging shows. For over 10 years, both TNT and TBS have done rather well with reruns of broadcast network shows.
But in the meantime, other cable networks have successfully developed their own original dramas – like AMC’s The Walking Dead or FX’s Sons of Anarchy. Without “buzzworthy” quality shows, TNT and TBS are lacking. As a result, when media buyers look to buy advertising space they are turning their attention to the original programming on other networks instead of Time Warner’s reruns.
Need some take-charge leadership. However, in order to transform Time Warner’s TV properties into something that audiences and advertisers want to be part of – they are going to need an executive to take the reigns and a clear programming strategy. They are currently searching for an executive to take over at TNT and TBS, their two biggest channels, and retarget their efforts at the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.
One of its first attempts to do so is with “The Last Ship” which premiered in June on TNT. The big budget drama was produced by Michael Bay, and so far the ratings results have been promising. If this show’s performance is any indicator, Time Warner may be able to successfully make the shift to original programming.