Designing Deals for TV's Parallel Universes
Jeremy Legg, senior VP, business development and multiplatform distribution, Turner Broadcasting
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2012 12:01:00 AM
If Legg’s description appears a tad oblique, it’s actually an apt description of today’s challenging world of multiplatform distribution, in which deals are made without knowing what that world is going to look like tomorrow.
“It’s difficult to see the future with technology shaping things so quickly,” says Legg. “[There are] things you have to consider when you have a distribution component that adds an exponent of difficulty to the task. The dimensions of these deals are endless, and they often run over multiple years. Whether you are the programmer or the distributor, neither of you are 100% sure what things are going to look like in five years—it’s hard to know what they will look like in 18 months.”
At TBS, Legg oversees digital distribution deals, including ones that allow live feeds of networks such as CNN and Cartoon Network to be streamed to subscribers’ iPads and iPhones as part of Time Warner’s TV Everywhere initiative. The deals are more complicated than simply streaming network signals over the Internet; they include negotiations over all sorts of elements, including content rights and license fees.
“What TV Everywhere is doing in many respects is creating a parallel universe of the linear model, but on the broadband side of the pipe,” Legg says. “That delivery isn’t limited just to the home, it’s all tied back to whether you have a subscription relationship to our networks and to your MVPD [multichannel video programming distributor].
“Part of this is really a technology transition—it’s all just bits traveling over the pipe.”
Legg arrived at Turner in a roundabout way. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in political science. From there, he did a stint at Andersen Consulting, which gave him a good sense of how back-office operations function. From there, he went to Oracle.
“I wanted to get much deeper into the consumer and content side of the Internet business,” Legg says.
After about five years with Oracle, Legg went to AOL, where he did deal and contract negotiation. That brought him to Turner, where “the technology, consumer and advertising pieces all started to collide. I had some good fortune in terms of the skill sets I had and the timing of the changes in the industry.”
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