NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Two months after Time Warner announced plans for TV Everywhere, an industry-wide initiative that would make cable TV content available online for verified cable subscribers, the company is restructuring its Turner Broadcasting System cable division to put more dedicated resources behind it.
Andrew Heller, a 25-year distribution veteran of Time Warner Cable, HBO and Turner, has been promoted to vice chairman of TBS, where he will act as Time Warner's coordinator for TV Everywhere.
Mr. Heller has worked on the project for the last several months, and expects to announce details on the first national test "soon," although Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has been quoted recently as saying that tests could appear as early as the end of second quarter. But in the meantime, Mr. Heller said TV Everywhere's most important task is to get networks, distributors and advertisers all on the same page as soon as possible in order to preserve the value of the cable business model to consumers.
"It's important we do this as quickly as we can because there is such disparate treatment of access to commercially produced long-form content as an industry that it's confusing to the consumer, and that's unhealthy," he said. "The sooner we can find technical solutions to make this work and reward our customers for their loyalty, the easier it will be for consumers to understand what we're doing and tell us what else they'd like to see."
The price of TV Everywhere has also been a subject of recent debate after Time Warner Cable canceled plans, after a huge outcry by customers, to test metered consumption of broadband video in certain markets.
"The consumer's going to speak with their pocketbook," Mr. Heller said. "We do know they want a new model, we do know they want more choice and they use their computer as an additional outlet. We will do what we can to listen to them."
Additionally, David Levy, president of Turner Sports and head of ad sales for Turner's entertainment, kids and news divisions, was elevated to the newly created position of president-sales, distribution of sales, distribution and sports for TBS. Mr. Levy will oversee all advertising, marketing and affiliate sales relationships for Turner Entertainment networks, a unique role that puts him in charge of all of the company's monetization and distribution efforts. Coleman Breland has been elevated to chief operating officer of Turner Network Sales, reporting to Mr. Levy.
Phil Kent, Turner's chairman-CEO, said he had long wanted to have a "single point of accountability" to manage all of Turner's domestic revenues," as a result of the ongoing blurring of lines in the cable industry.
"Major distributors are also our major advertisers, whether you're talking about Comcast or DirecTV, and newer forms of distribution and advertising come up much more regularly than they have in the past," he said. "And if you look at the other part of David's job, which is sports, every time you look at how to go after additional sports rights, you often take into account for advertising, distribution and rights issues."