Designing Deals for TV's Parallel Universes

Jeremy Legg, senior VP, business development and multiplatform distribution, Turner Broadcasting
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“I live in the space between the monkey bars, the
space where there’s no handles,” says Jeremy Legg.

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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