Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) looks at Turner Broadcasting’s success developing online media properties, something its Time Warner brethren have not had an easy time with.
Turner has developed two of the top Web sites in all of Time Warner: CNN and CNN/Money, a joint venture with Time Inc. Atlanta is no Silicon Valley, but being away from the glare hasn’t hurt the venture.
And now, on its midtown campus here, across the street from the building where Cable News Network was born, Turner has set up a small team to develop more Web businesses. Many of the ideas for new Web ventures originate within the company’s ranks and Turner management has given the team broad license to experiment.
In recent months, the team has launched ACC Select, a subscription site which airs Atlantic Coast Conference basketball games along with other college sports; CNN Pipeline, a subscription-based online news video service; and another such service, Very Funny Ads, which shows humorous television commercials. This month, the company plans to launch SuperDeluxe, a site with original short-form comedy clips.
“We’re building businesses outside our core that allow us to compete for other pools of money,” says Turner Entertainment Group President Mark Lazarus.
The article makes the point that Turner’s low-cost, quick development cycles and focus on niche audiences has helped it outperform rivals. Put another way, to succeed on the web Turner stopped thinking and acting like a big TV network and started thinking and acting like a group of geeks in a garage.