Time Warner's HBO May Add Turner Shows to Web-Only Service

Turner Networks Include TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network

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'Rizzoli & Isles.'
'Rizzoli & Isles.' Credit: TNT

Time Warner is considering broadening its planned HBO Now online service to include shows from its Turner Broadcasting networks such as TBS and TNT, according to people with knowledge of the plans.

Executives at New York-based Time Warner are still debating whether HBO Now should include shows from a channel lineup that also includes Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, said the people. Turner won't be part of the debut of HBO Now, said one of the people. HBO, Time Warner's premium pay-TV channel, plans to debut the Web-only service on Apple products in time for the April 12 season premiere of its hit "Game of Thrones."

A wider array of shows would fortify HBO Now as it competes for young viewers with web-only rivals Netflix, Hulu and Amazon's Prime service. HBO CEO Richard Plepler said in October that HBO Now is aimed at 10 million or so broadband-only homes, consumers who will now have access to HBO without a cable subscription.

The discussions about adding Turner programming to HBO Now are part of a broader conversation at Time Warner about how to deploy its shows online, the people said.

As it stands, HBO Now will offer original HBO programs such as "Game of Thrones," "Silicon Valley" and "True Detective." It will also have movies from studios including Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 21st Century Fox. HBO on Thursday expanded its partnership with Vice Media, the online news group, which will produce a daily newscast.

HBO will sell the online-only service for $14.99 a month, Mr. Plepler said this month. The company is negotiating partnerships with pay-TV providers that also offer broadband service. Cablevision Systems agreed to carry HBO Now last week.

Other media companies are experimenting with streaming products designed for younger viewers, as live viewing of traditional, or linear, television declines. They include CBS Corp.'s All Access, Viacom's Noggin and NBC Universal's unnamed comedy service.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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