In the TV business’s rush to embrace new platforms, much of the industry focus has been on prime-time programming from broadcasters and cable operators. While “Lost” episodes on iTunes are a big deal, numerous opportunities exist out there marrying syndicated product with cellphones, iPods and the Internet, said Brett Bouttier, Telepictures Productions’ VP of new business and strategy.
“It’s the war horse,” Mr. Bouttier said of TV syndication. “We bring in this loyal audience every single day. People create relationships.”
The syndication model is the perfect format for building digital platforms, Mr. Bouttier said, noting that it combines the national launches from companies such as Telepictures with the flexibility of local partnerships with individual stations. That background plays well with potential partners, he said.
“When I sit in a major wireless carrier’s conference room and talk to them about why the syndication model is so successful, because of our ability to partner up with people to localize approaches yet manage it on a national level, that becomes very compelling to a Sprint, Verizon or even a Target-because at the end of the day they’re local,” Mr. Bouttier said. “We bring that mind-set to the table.”
Since joining Warner Bros.-owned Telepictures in September 2004, Mr. Bouttier has been making deals to leverage Telepictures properties in various directions. He was Telepictures’ point man in crafting the joint venture made with sister company AOL to launch the new broadband entertainment Web site TMZ.com. The Web site, which has become a top entertainment news destination, has access to Telepictures’ thousands of hours of footage compiled by the company’s newsmagazine “Extra” and its canceled spinoff “Celebrity Justice.”
The TMZ.com partnership was the “perfect example of a deal for a company that produces tonnage,” Mr. Bouttier said, noting that he has declined many offers to partner on other deals because he wants to concentrate on what works best for Telepictures.
He was also the executive behind the company’s partnership with XM Satellite Radio, which now runs the audio from Telepictures talk shows “Ellen DeGeneres” and “The Tyra Banks Show.” But the XM agreement is not just about putting the company’s content on another platform.
“It represents the two sides of the requisite of any deal I do for us,” Mr. Bouttier said. “It has to promote our show, and make money for us.”
XM also promotes “Tyra” and “Ellen” on its local traffic stations, which plug the TV stations on which the shows appear.
“It’s good for broadcasters as well,” he said. “You start to add these things together that in the aggregate are important to our business overall.”
Mr. Bouttier’s ability to home in on specific deals is an asset to the company, particularly the XM agreement, said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, executive VP and general manager of Telepictures Productions.
“We weren’t completely focused on that-he ferreted it out,” Ms. Estey McLoughlin said. “He’s a real sort of persistent, smart, creative guy. He really does understand all aspects of our business.”
During his third year at UCLA Mr. Bouttier got into syndication when he took a full-time job as a research analyst for Universal Television’s domestic TV group. After graduation he switched to sales and moved to New York. After four promotions in four years, Mr. Bouttier returned to Los Angeles to manage Universal’s West Coast sales office and station group sales. In 2002 he was given responsibility for cable sales, where he set a target to build revenue by selling the Universal library to cable networks. He beat his target by 400 percent.
Thanks to all of his experiences, he admits he “fell in love” with the syndication model, which he argues is “in a great position” to take advantage of digital opportunities.
“To take that and apply it to all things that have become mainstream is really exciting,” he said.
Title: VP of new business and strategy, Telepictures Productions
Date of birth: Sept. 30, 1975
Place of birth: Pasadena, Calif.
Big break: Being offered a full-time job at Universal while still a junior at UCLA
Mr. Bouttier is married to Sheila Bouttier, VP of programming at Telepictures, who is responsible for the daytime talker “The Tyra Banks Show.”