Saturday, 23 March 2013

Turner Broadcasting sets its eyes on Asia for next growth phase

With the new boss, Gerhard Zeiler, at the helm, Turner Broadcasting is eyeing major growth in the Asian region, including in India. The Asia president of Turner, Steve Marcopoto and his management team now has to deliver on a potentially liberating vision and meet Zeiler's blueprint. 
Turner's remit, as per industry analysts Media Partners Asia (MPA), will encompass a number of key strategies, in addition to further strengthening its core brands. 

In the near term, it will focus on building more in India with more local investment and new brands, capitalising on the growth of affiliate fees and the eventual recovery in the ad market. It will also be expanding the current portfolio to resemble TBS in the US by launching new general entertainment channels that meet the needs of pay-TV platforms. 
The focus will also be on launching new pay-TV program networks anchored to Turner's kids entertainment pedigree in some of Asia's largest local markets and on capitalising on free TV as the high-growth consumer media proxy by launching digital free satellite channels in appropriate geographies. 
The execution goes into overdrive starting today. 
"It's a major culture change," said Marcopoto in an exclusive briefing with MPA. "We are transitioning from a culture that has been pan-regional in nature to one that will be about accountability and local empowerment. This enables us also to transition out of a matrix style of management without centralized layers of bureaucracy and overlays." 
"The organization will evolve into a leaner and disciplined structure with new offerings in addition to our core brands and a number of investments in some of the fast-growing local markets," he said. 
MPA said that Turner's product cycle has been heavily reliant on its two historical leader brands Cartoon Network and CNN, and a corporate culture that grew a tad complacent over time. 
According to MPA research, Turner, a Time Warner subsidiary, is a $300 million revenue business in Asia, including all its news and entertainment brands, though excluding HBO Asia, which is 75 per cent owned by Time Warner. 
Revenue could grow to $600 million by the end of the decade with a more profitable margin curve if Turner can execute well, it said. One savvy acquisition, apart from all the organic initiatives, will have significant positive implications for the growth curve. 
“The pillars of the business today are Japan, India and Australia. The focus on India will grow in the future, along with Southeast Asia where there needs to be significant growth,” MPA said. 
Last year, the company completed a regional reorganisation process aimed at improving its operating and financial performance while building a foundation for the future. 
Marcopoto said that the next stage will be about "deploying people into empowered roles and finding new ones to fit into our new local market structures and new business lines." 
The ultimate aim, he said, is to establish a "Turner 3.0 designed to maximise value for our partners in pay-TV and broadcasting, as well as the key advertisers that support us. We aim to produce more dynamic brands to support the growth of an increasingly local business."


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