TBS To Bow New Comedy Broadband Network

Turner Broadcasting in January will debut a broadband comedy network that will meld features of TV networks like Comedy Central with social networking sites like MySpace. Dubbed "Super Deluxe," the new network will feature material from new and established comedians and give users the chance to participate by sharing videos and creating profile pages.

In addition to the Web, Turner plans to make Super Deluxe content available through a cable video-on-demand channel, mobile devices and other technology platforms.

The new network is a separate venture from online comedy initiatives launched recently by Turner's TBS Network, including its "Funny or Not?" video-sharing site to be unveiled in November. TBS, the "very funny" network, also started veryfunnyads.com in tandem with the premiere of "World's Funniest Commercials" on TV back in August.

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Super Deluxe is a more ambitious effort, encompassing a variety of original content ranging from episodic shows to short films to stand-up routines and sketches. Most will be less than five minutes long. The video-centric network will allow comedians to showcase their talents on their own pages that will offer exclusive content, blogs and promotional information.

Drew Reifenberger, senior vice president and general manager of Super Deluxe, said the site seeks to combine television-quality programming with the social, interactive elements to appeal to the coveted 18- to-34-year-old demographic. "They watch a lot of TV and movies and they're wildly social," he said. "We're just trying to feed that demand, but with quality, original pieces."

Reifenberger declined to name any comedians or performers that would appear on Super Deluxe because deals are still being finalized. But he said some of those negotiating with the network will be "extremely recognized" names in comedy.

On the business side, no advertisers or sponsors have been named in relation to Super Deluxe yet, either. But Reifenberger noted that the network will emphasize campaigns that closely tie promotions to content. "We find that [marketers] really want to get beyond banners and buttons into a much more tailored, integrated experience," said Reifenberger. That approach can range from a customized promotional page to original comedy pieces commissioned by an advertiser, he said.

Although Reifenberger wouldn't say how much Turner is spending to launch Super Deluxe, he called it "a significant investment."

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