Turner Broadcasting Acquires Content for GameTap Venture

Apr 27, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Turner Broadcasting is getting into the game business through a new venture called GameTap.

Turner announced Wednesday it has acquired exclusive and long licenses to thousands of arcade, console and computer games from 17 publishers. It will make those games available to subscribers for $10 to $20 a month via broadband.

The service, which will launch in fall, will be bolstered by short-form original programming created by Turner. One potential show features Space Ghost, host of Cartoon Network’s “Space Ghost Coast to Coast,” interviewing video game designers. The service will also accept a limited amount of advertising, some from game-related marketers.

Games are available some time after their original release and are played on computers. A future generation of the game may include multiplayer gaming over the Internet, a fast-growing segment of the gamer market.

The video game market is one that cable operators have eyed as a revenue generator, but unlike a new television network, Turner will not have to make distribution deals to get GameTap to broadband subscribers.

While cable operators will not be paid by GameTap subscribers, Andy Heller, president of domestic distribution for Turner, said that game playing will create greater demand for enhanced high-speed Internet access and there will be joint promotional opportunities for cable operators.

Mr. Heller likened the game service to Turner traditional TV business, in that Turner buys secondary windows for content–in this case games–then packages, promotes and distributes it.

The idea for GameTap came out of exploration of interactive television by Blake Levin, VP of product development and innovation for Turner Broadcasting System.