Turner Broadcasting said it plans to expand its successful Adult Swim block by an hour and make its Boomerang network ad supported.
Adult Swim, one of the top rated networks for young adult viewers, shares channel space with Turner's Cartoon Network, which will lose an hour when the changes take place. Cartoon will be adding new original content online at CartoonNetwork.com.
When the new schedule launches March 31, Adult Swim will begin its programming daily at 8 p.m. and finish at 6 a.m. It started in 2001 as a late-night network airing grown-up shows after the kids who watch Cartoon Network went to bed.
"As Adult Swim continues to succeed with record ratings and connects with its audiences more than ever, it is imperative that we find a way to grow this part of the business that keeps the essence of what has made it successful and competitive," said Stuart Snyder, president and COO of Turner's animation, young adults and kids media unit. "An additional hour in primetime answers these needs and gives us the opportunity to develop more original content for primetime that will engage our audiences even further."
Online is becoming a more important entertainment source for kids, Snyder added. "So we're developing a new slate of original content that will premiere on CartoonNetwork.com and our other digital platforms to feed that ever-growing appetite," he said. "Cartoon Network will always be on when and wherever our audience wants to experience it."
Opening Boomerang to advertisers will help Turner compete with the leaders in the nearly $1 billion kids upfront advertising marketplace, Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon and its offshoots, and Walt Disney Co.
"As viewing habits continue to evolve, advertisers are looking for opportunities to engage and connect with audiences in a variety of ways that provide greater reach for their brands and messages," said Donna Speciale, president of Turner Entertainment, kids and young adults ad sales. "These are distinct brands and this expansion will allow for additional opportunities for advertisers to reach a cross-section of demos across proven platforms."
Adult Swim's new 8 p.m. hour will feature two episodes of the off-net animated series King of the Hill.
Cartoon Network's top original series Regular Show and Adventure Time will air from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The channel will run on-air messages asking viewers to log onto Cartoon Networks' digital platforms for content, including shorts, interstitials, traditional series and games.
Boomerang features classic cartoons from the Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Warner Bros. libraries. It airs classic Cartoon Network shows such as The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory and is being programmed to appeal to parents who grew up with these shows and their kids.