Turner Broadcasting System Inc. cut a deal with top mall
owner Simon Property Group to launch a private network, which will run content from
TBS-owned networks through monitors at malls nationwide.
In addition to running content from TBS Inc. networks such
as Cable News Network, Turner Network Television and Cartoon Network, the companies hope
to generate electronic-commerce revenue through kiosks offering free Internet access via
cable modems and through a new Web site.
Turner and Simon will also build Cartoon-branded family
zones where they will sell merchandise, and the companies plan to launch a
The yet-to-be-named network offers Turner a new outlet for
ad sales and a platform to promote Time Warner Inc. products, TBS Inc. president and chief
operating officer Steven Heyer said.
"We have big expectations for the kind of value we can
create," Heyer said last week, after the companies announced the deal. "We also
know that it's a one-of-a-kind promotional opportunity that we are grateful to have,
whether it's a trailer for a Warner Bros. movie or for a movie or a show on one of our
TBS Inc. and Simon will share the capital costs through a
50-50 joint venture, which will begin installing the monitors and kiosks for the network
-- to be delivered via satellite and fiber -- at Simon's 200-plus malls by the end of next
A source said the network was branded "Live Media
Network" during the planning stages, but Heyer said the companies will create a name
that will incorporate both the Turner and Simon brands.
Monitors and kiosks could be placed near stores owned by
Time Warner competitors such as The Walt Disney Co.'s Disney Store chain, but Simon CEO
David Simon said that shouldn't be an issue. "We expect all of our retailers to
benefit from that enhancement," he added.
TBS Inc., which distributes CNN Airport Network, has been
looking to extend its presence in the "place-based" media market. Multichannel
News reported last month that the company's Turner Private Networks division plans to
launch a CNN offshoot for retail environments next year, tentatively called "CNN On
On Oct. 29, the company registered the cnnonthego.com
Web address with Network Solutions Inc. But Heyer said the CNN offshoot would not be
distributed in malls, noting that the Simon joint venture "is our mall bet."