Itâs âfans firstâ for Turner this 2019
Cartoon Network’s Move It Movement promotes the healthy lifestyle in Manila schools

It’s ‘fans first’ for Turner this 2019

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2019 - 12:00am

The global entertainment company has fully embraced a fan-centric approach to the TV business, consciously engaging and expanding the fandom not just with content but also with ‘genuine’ experiences, in an effort to keep its brands Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Warner TV top of mind with Filipino audiences.

MANILA, Philippines — Amid a fast-changing television and media landscape, Turner has fully embraced a fan-centric approach to keep its brands top of mind with audiences. In Asia-Pacific, including the Philippines, the global entertainment, news and sports company operates 54 channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Warner TV.

Based on Kantar Media Philippines data, dated July to December 2018, the family-oriented Cartoon Network and Boomerang have won over Filipino kids, with the former channel rated No. 1 in Mega Manila and Boomerang No. 1 for National Urban viewership. Boomerang is preferred by younger kids and young parents; while Cartoon Network is a hit among older kids, teens and parents. Boomerang is also among the Top 5 cable channels for Cable 2+ across all genres while Cartoon Network is in the Top 6. Warner TV, on the other hand, is the leading English general entertainment channel among Cable 2+ in both National Urban and Mega Manila. Turner also claimed to be reaching Pinoy fans through 25 million touchpoints or any form of interaction across Facebook, YouTube, TV, web and apps.

The Cartoon Network Rockstar competition is one of the Turner’s fan-centric events for the Philippine market

From the interview with Phil Nelson, Turner managing director and SVP for North Asia and Southeast Asia Pacific, it can be gleaned that their strategy to sustain if not strengthen this standing is “total consumption,” engaging more Pinoy audiences both on and off screen through premium content and storytelling and fan experiences.

He said, “The foundation will still revolve around the core brands and network outlets. The consumption there continues to rise. But then we will work on all other touchpoints that we have with the Filipino audience. So, in addition to the eight million or so households we’ve reached, we also reach millions of other touchpoints in digital and YouTube and social media, in game downloads, mall activations and that’s quite a lot, right? That sort of 360-degree approach generates not just somebody that likes your products, but somebody that’s really passionate and enthusiastic about your product. And that’s what we hope to continue doing in the Philippines.”

Among the fan-centric events set for this year are Warner TV Pop Expo 2019, the third edition of the pop-culture festival; the San Diego Comic Con, as fans including from the Philippines will be brought to the world’s biggest comic con via a competition; the Cartoon Network Move it Movement to promote healthy lifestyles in Manila schools; the Cartoon Network Rockstar contest, also on its third year, to recognize local, young talents; Empowerpuff Campaign to celebrate girl power via The Powerpuff Girls; and We Bare Bears’ We’ll Be There campaign to bring the fan-favorite bear characters to the Philippines, which launched last Feb. 11.

Color Manila’s Adventure Time-themed fun run in September 2018

Nelson, who started his media career in Internet TV, described the Philippine TV market as “extremely important” from a business perspective and “one of our best-performing markets” from a media perspective. “From a personal perspective, it’s doubly important as well because it’s one of my favorite countries in Asia. Before I was the media business, I was in the US Navy. I was stationed in Japan and my ship would go to Subic Bay (in Olongapo) quite often. I’ve been to Subic Bay 14 times and before I took this job, I was managing Philippines directly. So, I was in the Philippines almost every month for two years. So, I know pretty well the Philippine market.”

Here are excerpts from the one on one, wherein the Turner executive also talked about the changing TV habits of the Filipino viewer and other plans for the Filipino fans:

On the changing Filipino TV habits:

“You know the changing habits in the Philippines are actually some of the most interesting because they’re changing but actually not changing. There’s addtional consumption beyond TV and beyond Pay TV, but there’s a huge amount of consumption on Pay TV. So what we’re seeing in our numbers actually is total consumption where you add up all of our channels and products, and time spent is increasing. That means people are watching our products and content more than they are used to. In addition, they’re watching other things beyond Pay TV. We’ve adapted to that and created a presence in different areas beyond Pay TV. But for the Philippines, it’s quite interesting that the Pay TV is business is really strong and very dominant.

Kids channel their favorite characters during Cartoon Network’s Animate Your Life festival at Ayala Malls during the 2018 Halloween season

“In every country, there’s a different consumption pattern. And if you look at the data and study it closely, some countries are going up, some countries are going down, some countries are flat. But the Philippines is actually quite progressive and quite optimistic about their growth for TV and Pay TV consumption.

On plans for the Filipino fans:

“Regardless where Pay TV is headed, consumers are present everywhere. Our strategy is to be wherever they are. So, we work with our content, our characters, our brands and our franchises, so every area that the consumer is yet. Our digital business is growing, our games business is growing, we are focused on creating a total experience for the fan. So, we’re doing things outside of traditional media itself. For example, we do location-based entertainment which is theme parks, not yet in the Philippines but we have some grassroots efforts along the lines. But we have theme parks in China, Indonesia and Thailand and we’re looking to grow more into those.

“Yes, we’re always looking for that opportunity (to bring the theme park concept to the Philippines) and again, it’s about sort of creating the total fan experience. So, it’s not just about Pay TV, it’s about every engagement and touchpoint you can create with your fan, whether it’s Pay TV or some other medium that you’re working with.”

On his thoughts on streaming services and if these are a threat to TV and Pay TV:

“We’re part of AT&T, it’s one of the largest mediums, telco companies in the world, and our parent company has embraced streaming. There’s a lot of publicity in the US about Warner Media launching a streaming service sometime this year or the end of the year. So, it’s not something we’re afraid of. It’s something you have to embrace just because that’s where the consumer is. But we see it as complementary to the existing platforms that are out there and the existing places where we interact with our fans.”

A kiddie participant at the Animate Your Life festival gets a We Bare Bears face art

On what to expect from their top-performing brands Cartoon Network, Warner TV and Boomerang this year:

“Actually in the Philippines, it’s a great example because we have an advantage because a brand has been present (here) for so long, especially Cartoon Network. There is quite a lot of nostalgia around some of our key franchises and brands, and then the nostalgia is based on the storytelling within each franchise and how it connects with the fans so that’s what we work on the most, that’s what differentiates us and I think that’s what keeps us moving forward. The key franchise we’re working on right now is We Bare Bears. It’s about the three Bears, the Panda Bear, the Polar Bear and the Grisly Bear and they have an amazing story to tell and an amazing connection that they tend to generate with the fans. So, we take those stories and we take the franchise, we present and interact with the fans, not just on TV but in mall events, in games, in our location-based entertainment and various touchpoints around media.

“(For Warner TV), we have a lot of new content coming out. The two key shows are Miracle Workers (premiering tomorrow, March 6, at 10 p.m.) which has Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, those two stars. And the other one is called Whiskey Cavalier (now airing), which is quite this interesting drama and comedy about a CIA agent and a FBI agent. It’s a spy drama with a little bit of humor embedded in it, which also has very interesting stars from The Walking Dead. Those are, I think, the two key temples we’re focused on, in addition to the content we’re bringing back with DC Comics and Big Bang Theory…

Phil Nelson is Turner Asia Pacific’s managing director and senior vice president for North Asia and Southeast Asia Pacific

“(There’s a plan) to reintroduce the Boomerang Channel, which we have some additional distribution created with our Pay TV partners and as a result of that, because the content is so compellling, is so family oriented, we’re seeing a huge surge of ratings and time spent for the Boomerang Channel. We now sort of have a very strong second channel to Cartoon Network on the kids’ side of fence. You keep an eye out for that because it’s coming out of nowhere and performing very strongly.

“It has the kind of content that appeals to the whole family. And so, it has that mass appeal and you have Johnny Bravo, the nostalgia aspect, it’s got some of the old family favorites there. But I don’t know, we spend a lot of time with Filipino families in sort of focus groups and even visiting their homes and everything, but the TV is still quite the family central gathering point, right, where people enjoy watching TV together as a group, as family and friends. Boomerang just kind of appeals to that sensitivity. I guess, if I were to share a more personal perspective, in my view, I think Filipinos have a very good sense of humor, right? It’s because of that, that our content, I think, resonates quite well here.”

BOOMERANG CARTOON NETWORK WARNER TV
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