Presentation Touts Continued Investment in Premium Content and Fan Experiences, with an Eye Toward Future Ad-Supported, Direct-to-Consumer Product
Less than one year in as part of parent company AT&T, WarnerMedia took the stage at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City this morning to showcase the power and breadth of its expanded portfolio, with unrivaled data and insights. The 75-minute presentation focused on the company’s investment in multi-platform premium content and how it has streamlined the business to enable advertisers to create deeper, more meaningful connections, enhanced by insights from AT&T’s 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships.
Marketers, agencies, members of the press and other industry influencers were introduced to what is now WarnerMedia and its premium ad-supported brands including Adult Swim, Bleacher Report, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, Crunchyroll, Great Big Story, HLN, Rooster Teeth, TBS, TNT, truTV, Turner Sports and Warner Brothers Syndicate – demonstrating the diversity of storytelling from each brand, now under one roof. The combined portfolio reaches over 3 in 4 Americans every month across all platforms, and now boasts more than 1.2 billion followers across social media platforms.
“We’ve combined the creative vision, iconic brands and full content portfolio of WarnerMedia with the global reach, capabilities and direct consumer relationships of our parent company AT&T. It means we’ve streamlined our business to ensure that all of our audiences and platforms are available to you – in one place, with one conversation,” said John Stankey, CEO, WarnerMedia, who opened the presentation with a WarnerMedia video showcasing the breadth of the company’s portfolio. He closed his remarks with some final thoughts, “We all know video consumption is changing. Technology is changing. And our business models are changing. But the need to connect with passionate consumers at scale is not changing.” He went on to say, “We are absolutely committed to pushing the creative and commercial boundaries of the advertising experience, building better solutions for our partners, and working side by side with you – everyone here in the audience – to lead the evolution of our industry.”
Kevin Reilly, president of TBS & TNT, chief creative officer WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, also took the stage to reinforce the company’s commitment to world-class storytelling, and how a future direct-to-consumer product rounds out a partnership model – centered around premium content -- that only WarnerMedia can deliver. He emphasized the value of the entertainment brands and massive audiences attracted annually, with TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, and truTV collectively generating 1.3 billion hours of engagement and reaching 239 million unique viewers each month. Reilly also defined the evolution of both TBS and TNT, with TBS adding dramas to the fold starting in 2020, the most potent slate of originals on any network in its competitive slate and on TNT, a powerhouse of films, premium sports and high-octane original series.
Throughout Reilly’s remarks and in later portions of the presentation, the company reinforced its commitment to investment in premium content. Those announcements, and recent news shared by brands across the portfolio on new and returning series are below.
- Already the #1 destination for young adults, Adult Swim is adding on to its successes, including the Emmy-winning hit Rick and Morty, with several series pick-ups: Three Busy Debras, a live-action comedy series from Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions; Birdgirl, a new animated spin-off from the world of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal, a new animated series from the creator of Samurai Jack.
- Adding to a highly anticipated line-up that already includes new seasons of Claws (June 9) and Animal Kingdom (May 28), and the debut of Ann Curry’s Chasing the Cure, TNT announced an expansive deal with All Elite Wrestling, which will deliver for fans a weekly live telecast starting this fall featuring wrestling superstars such as Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega and more. Further, audiences will get an up-close and personal look at basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal in a new docu-series, Shaq Life.
- TBS is building on its standing as the home of the most popular and critically-acclaimed comedies on cable by announcing the return of The Last O.G. for Season 3 and Miracle Workers for Season 2. Coming soon to the network are two new projects: Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad stars in the single-camera comedy Chad; and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee’s Amy Hoggart is starring in a yet-to-be-titled comedy. And, next year, TBS will add dramas into its line-up, starting with the premier of Snowpiercer, which had a second season already ordered.
- truTV announced greenlights of its first animated series, This Functional Family from comedian Jo Koy, and a new series Game Changers (working title) from Clayton English and Noah Gardenswartz. The Emmy-nominated and critically-lauded series At Home with Amy Sedaris will return for its third season, along with new seasons of Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks and The Carbonaro Effect. And, additional episodes of Adam Ruins Everything will be launching later this year.
Closing out the morning presentation, Donna Speciale, president of WarnerMedia Ad Sales, took the stage to articulate the distinct advantage advertisers have by partnering with WarnerMedia’s unified sales organization, now operating at the scale of AT&T. The message was clear: WarnerMedia’s ability to package culturally-relevant, premium content to deliver full funnel solutions that drive impact for advertisers has never been easier. Speciale hit on the company’s ongoing partnership with Xandr, showcasing two first-quarter case studies with McDonald’s, which experienced a double-digit lift in in-store visits, and Volkswagen, which saw a 6.5% increase in dealership visits, representing the power of business outcomes across categories. Since WarnerMedia and Xandr’s news earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), additional advancements include:
- WarnerMedia’s, AudienceNOW solution, which enables advertisers to more precisely reach the most relevant audiences on WarnerMedia’s television networks, has run hundreds of campaigns across every ad category since its launch in 2014. In January 2019, less than six months after the merger with AT&T, WarnerMedia rolled out an enhanced AudienceNOW offering, powered by Xandr’s insights and analytics, which is on pace to deliver more than 25 audience-based campaigns across auto, financial, technology and other ad categories in the first half of the year.
- Since November 2018, marketers have been able to access Xandr Audience Segments through WarnerMedia digital content properties, providing a new level of first-party consumer insights that helps deliver relevant advertising to interested audiences. More than 190 digital campaigns that leverage audiences enhanced with AT&T data have been completed or are live across all major ad categories.
- Xandr, AT&T’s advanced advertising and analytics company, has announced the formation of Community, a curated marketplace of publishers that enables advertisers to reach their audiences at scale in a brand-safe, privacy-protected, premium video environment. WarnerMedia (including Otter Media), has joined as an inaugural Community partner, providing advertisers with extended audience opportunities on its digital properties across CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, B/R Live, Warner Bros., Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and VRV.
For additional information and assets from the show, including photos and videos, please visit the WarnerMedia 2019 Upfront page.
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Please see below for additional quotes from key WarnerMedia executives on hand or who spoke on stage at this morning’s event:
Gerhard Zeiler, Chief Revenue Officer, WarnerMedia
“WarnerMedia is a new enterprise. It is created from companies our business partners rely on and made of talent and brands that people trust. With today’s first-ever WarnerMedia Upfront, we are ready to put our collective efforts into action for our advertising partners.”
Kevin Reilly, Chief Creative Officer, WarnerMedia and Direct-to-Consumer, and President, TBS/TNT (On Stage)
“We’re in the midst of a transformation at WarnerMedia, building upon our significant assets to create new capabilities and new possibilities – more connection, more insight and more value in the complex media landscape.”
“TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, and truTV collectively generate 1.3 billion hours of engagement and reach 239 million unique viewers each month. If we were a country, we’d be the fifth largest in the world.”
“When we introduce our new WarnerMedia service early next year, you’ll see not only a very attractive new alternative in the SVOD marketplace. You’ll see a more integrated approach from WarnerMedia.
The addition of our new streaming connection to the consumer, plus each of our networks’ distinct assets, distinct audience profiles and massive reach – all working together – will be an equation few, if any, will be able to match.”
Donna Speciale, President of Ad Sales, WarnerMedia (On Stage)
“Transforming to WarnerMedia isn’t just a change in name, it’s a change in what’s possible.”
“In this chaotic industry, we have simplified. All of WarnerMedia sales and partnerships are unified. Today you can have one holistic conversation about all of our content, across all of our platforms.”
“What makes us smarter? What makes this year different? What sets us apart? Our ability to leverage AT&T’s data with Xandr’s insights. As part of AT&T, we can now transact on 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships.”
“Today we are the new WarnerMedia. We’ve always had great content. Now, coupled with AT&T, we are a global powerhouse that reaches people wherever they are and delivers engaging content to every member of the family.”
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, truTV and others.
WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).