Bringing its corporate structure more in line with the multi-platform nature of the modern media biz, Turner Broadcasting System has pulled Stu Snyder away from his GM and VP position on its GameTap broadband venture to run three new aligned portfolios as EVP and COO of Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media.
As part of his new role, Snyder will oversee assets including Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonnetwork.com and online broadband services Toonami Jetstream and Cartoon Network Video, and one of his first priorities after he bones up on the internal workings of the holdings he hasn’t had a hand in will be to refocus Cartoon Network.
The channel has lost a little ground to Disney and Nick lately; in fact, according to MAGNA Global’s most recent analysis of Nielsen ratings for Saturday mornings measuring kids ages two to 11, Cartoon fell from an average 2.29 in Q4 ’05 to 1.93 for the same period in 2006.
Snyder says the turnaround will hinge on content. ‘For me, great shows drive everything. So I want us to be in business with the best, I want us to have the best shows, I want us to challenge ourselves when it comes to programming, I want us to better understand who our audience is and then develop and acquire shows for that audience. Those are all the objectives I’ll be working with the teams to achieve.’
TBS president Mark Lazarus calls Snyder a builder, and he definitely has his eye on new kid connection opportunities, including user-generated content and social networking. This latter activity will play out in the Cartoon Network MMOG that’s in development at Seoul-based Grigon Entertainment for a spring 2008 rollout. ‘We’ll put our content where consumers want our content,’ says Snyder. ‘It may be a little Wild, Wild West right now, but it’s our obligation to try and test new things.’
And if a new venture sticks, it’ll no doubt get rolled into the already strong targeted marketing proposition that Snyder is looking to bolster even further. The goal is to improve the way the team cross-programs content across all the platforms in its arsenal, and then work harder to partner with the advertising community on these events.
To get there, the company just poached Rico Hill to handle scheduling, on-air event planning and pick-ups for Cartoon and Boomerang as VP of programming and acquisitions. Hill worked his way up in the ranks at Nick over the last 10 years, finishing his run there as executive director of production and development for Nickelodeon Animation.