Keynote at Turner Broadcasting Strategy Summit

In January 2014, I was invited by the Chief Strategy Officer of Turner Broadcasting to make this presentation to the senior executive team during their annual strategy meeting. The topic was “Survival Skills in a Changing TV Market.” This was a fun talk for a really smart, well-informed audience.

As background, Turner Broadcasting is one of the preeminent pay TV channel groups (including CNN, TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Sports and much more). Pay television contributes the majority of revenue and huge percentage of the total profit of Time Warner.

In general, the pay television business is the engine that drives five of the six biggest media conglomerates in the world. But this revenue stream is not guaranteed. The TV ecosystem is being challenged by startups and rivals on multiple fronts.

This talk reviews the competitive dynamics inside the TV industry and also the forces that are working on dismantling the entire TV ecosystem. Of course the executives in the room were well aware of this, so I needed to direct the presentation towards conclusions that were not immediately obvious.

That’s why this talk includes a section about the new ecosystem for rich media on the Internet, and the new “value control points” that enable giants like Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to extract most of the value from that ecosystem. I think that everyone in the TV industry needs to be very focused on this new ecosystem because it is utterly unlike the cosy oligopoly of Pay TV. It’s a winner-take-all approach that can steal disproportionate value from content providers like Turner.

Finally, I conclude with some predictions about the way that digital media (and specifically mobile) are likely to re-shape the structure of the entire media industry. This is radical stuff for the TV industry to contend with. In my view, television has been absorbed by digital media, and, therefore, TV has become a subset of digital media, just as film has become a subset of television. These are heretical thoughts today but I suspect that they will emerge as the new reality within the next five to ten years. I expect that the “power pyramid” in the major media companies will be entirely inverted. I base this conjecture on the astounding rate of growth of versatile mobile devices.

NOTE: unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the first minute or two were cut off, and there is an audio problem that gets fixed about ten minutes into the clip. Sorry about that.

To see more speeches by Robert Tercek, please visit his Vimeo page: