DALLAS -- Ted Turner, chairman of the board and president of Turner Broadcasting System, Atlanta, who says he always pursues business with an underdog mentality, made it clear that his company was quickly becoming a force in home video.
Turner told retailers and industry executives gathered here for the Video Software Dealers Association Convention that he was headed to Hollywood to meet with stars, directors, writers and producers at other studios to entice them to his entertainment conglomerate.
In a keynote address here on May 22, Turner outlined the progress his company has made in building its share of the home video market, which he said has gone from less than a 1% market share in 1991 to an estimated 8% in 1995.
Among New Line Cinema, Castle Rock Entertainment and Turner Pictures, the broadcast company will increase its investment in films by 40% this year to over $700 million, according to Turner. He added that the company is responsible for releasing over 50 films a year.
Turner plans to build production to over $1 billion by 1997 to 1998. "That will put us up there with Disney and Warner Brothers," he said. "When I am back here in four years, we intend to be battling for first place like we do in baseball," Turner stated.
Not satisfied with a company that will generate $3.4 billion in revenues this year, Turner admitted he still wants an over-the-air television network and another studio. "One of the original seven," he said. Turner is listed as the eighth member of the Motion Picture Association of America.
On the horizon, Turner sees digital video being important to the industry's growth. However, he strongly advocates one digital video disc format, adding that "it would be a disaster" if the industry can't resolve the format issue.
Various delivery systems from phone, cable and direct broadcast will keep the industry highly competitive, said Turner.
He mentioned Wal-Mart as a benchmark for other retailers, especially in the way the mass merchandiser treats its customers. "I like Wal-Mart. They hire retired people just to greet you at the door. They start your experience when you come into the store with a friendly smile, hello and they get to know your name," he commented.
Turner went on to document the various companies under the Turner Home Entertainment banner, a wholly owned subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System. Reviewing these companies for the first time in a while, Turner told the audience he was surprisingly impressed with his own holdings. Properties mentioned under the banner include New Line Cinema; Castle Rock Entertainment; Turner Pictures, which includes the Hanna Barbera animation series and championship wrestling; and libraries of MGM, Warner Bros. and RKO.