Turner Makes Branded Entertainment Push

Dumbdumb-ADuring their upfront presentation in New York last week, Turner twins TBS and TNT revealed a new strategy that will see the cable networks expand their offerings by creating or distributing more branded video entertainment across devices.

As it turns out, the Time Warner company has wasted little time adopting the new strategy, having already struck partnerships with two prominent online video producers -- Funny or Die and DumbDumb -- this month.

Whereas Funny or Die is itself an online destination, DumbDumb is a production studio for branded videos and series that are distributed on sites like CollegeHumor.com. Both companies focus on comedy and are backed by big-name Hollywood talent: Funny or Die was founded by actor Will Ferrell, writer/director Adam McKay and writer Chris Henchy, while DumbDumb was co-founded by actors Will Arnett and Jason Bateman.  

The industry-exclusive agreement between TBS and DumbDumb will see the branded entertainment company produce as many as six short-form branded comedy videos featuring DumbDumb’s “stable of comedic stars.” The shorts will be distributed across TBS digital properties, which include TBS.com, Teamcoco.com, Adultswim.com, and NBA.com, and will also be promoted on-air during TBS programming. The sponsors featured in the six comedy shorts have not been named yet.

“Jason Bateman and Will Arnett are two of the funniest and most creative guys in the industry,” said Laura Dames, senior vice president, Business Operations, Turner Entertainment Networks. “We are thrilled to pair their very funny, sponsor-driven videos with TBS’s reach and distribution to bring this content to our young, comedy-loving audience on TBS.com as well as across TBS’s social network footprint.”

The Funny or Die arrangement with Turner, announced during its upfront, is more far-reaching. Under terms of the deal, Turner is taking a 10% stake in Funny or Die, and Turner Digital Sales becomes the exclusive seller of all ad inventory for the online comedy site. The content-sharing agreement will see Funny or Die content distributed on TBS and Adult Swim, in addition to select Turner digital outlets. 

Both online companies stand to benefit immensely from the expanded reach of Turner’s online and offline properties, not to mention its considerable marketing resources. For its part, Turner stands to benefit from DumbDumb and Funny or Die’s strong relationships with A-list Hollywood talent and its hard-to-reach young adult audience. The partnerships could also open the door to a wider range of ad partners for all parties.   

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