Magazine article Variety

Ted Turner's Cents Sense

Magazine article Variety

Ted Turner's Cents Sense

Article excerpt

Small fee had big impact on launch

Fifteen cents a month - that's all he asked.

Ted Turner broke ground with the launch of TNT in 1988 by persuading cable operators to pay a significant monthly subscriber fee for an entertainment channel. Until then, that kind of coin was reserved for regional sports channels, ESPN and his own CNN.

But TXirner wanted TNT to be a major player in the primetime landscape, and for that he needed revenue, more so than what he could bring in from advertising.

"I figured I had the cable industry's goodwill behind me for all the other things that I'd done, so they would go ahead and cough up the 15

"It was hard to get him to part with money," TXirner says. "Cable operators weren't used to paying for programming. …

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