Turner Broadcasting CEO Says “We’re in the Fan-Engagement Business”

By Etan Vlessing

John Martin told market watchers that the Time Warner division eyes fandom, not mass audiences, to succeed amid peak TV and cord-cutting.

Turner Broadcasting chairman and CEO John Martin said he’d be happier with smaller yet insanely enthusiastic audiences for his network TV brands.

“We’re no longer in the Nielsen, day part, CPM game. We’re in the fan-engagement business. We need fans,” Martin told market watchers Thursday at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York City during a session that was webcast.

Turner and rival broadcasters increasingly face cord-cutters, -shavers and -nevers, as some households can’t afford their current cable bundles or younger viewers head online for video consumption. The result is a cable TV business facing new video aggregators making content available a la carte to cord-cutters.

Given those technological shifts, Martin told investors “we need fans, not viewers.” TV, he argued, had always been about getting as much reach as broadcasters could.

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