Turner rolled out the general entertainment channel in amid much fanfare in May 2014, but it struggled to gain a foothold with centerpiece launch series Conan removed from the schedule and an audience share of under 1%.
The launch marked the pay TV group’s move into free-to-air in the UK, with truTV on digital terrestrial and satellite platforms.
Having sold truTV, Turner’s UK channels footprint comprises: CNN, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and TCM and an Adult Swim block on Fox. Its only presence in free-to-air is the CNN news net, which is on Freesat.
Asked if the deal would result in job losses, Turner told TBI: “We have secured and repurposed the near totality of jobs that were dedicated to truTV.”
Internationally truTV is also in the Lat Am and Asian markets, but the company told TBI that the UK deal has no implications further afield.
Sony Pictures Television Networks has now taken on the channel, and as of today it is part of SPTN’s growing stable.
SPTN has been bulking up in recent times, buying the CSC Media kids offerings, Viasat channels from MTG in Hungary, a stake in kids SVOD service Hopster, and launching channels including True Crime. It now runs 18 nets in the UK.
The truTV deal gives Sony the channel and a selection of its programming library including Snapped, Paranormal Survivor and Ink Master.
Kate Marsh, executive VP, western Europe, international networks at Sony Pictures Television, said: “The acquisition of truTV increases Sony’s already broad reach in the UK TV market and the channel’s strong mix of unscripted and original programming will be a great complement to our portfolio.”
Sky Media sells advertising for the Sony channels, but truTV will be an exception, with Turner continuing to handle sales after the Sony deal.
“The acquisition of truTV increases Sony’s already broad reach in the UK TV market and the channel’s strong mix of unscripted and original programming will be a great complement to our portfolio,” said Kate Marsh, executive VP, Western Europe.
Turner, meanwhile, said it will focus on its core brands and new digital services such as those from recent acquisition Bigballs following the truTV disposal.
“Turner will focus on continuing to create long term value for our own franchises and brands in the UK – CNN, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito and TCM – which are enjoying unprecedented levels of fan engagement across multiple platforms, as well as nurturing new digital first propositions such as eLeague and Bleacher Report,” said Ian McDonough, senior VP and managing director of northern Europe at Turner.
“This is reflected in our recent investment in Bigballs Media.”
The sale of truTV comes as several of the largest international channel operators focus on their strongest channels. Viacom’s turnaround plan is based on its six key channels and Discovery said this week its five main nets generate 85% of its channels income.