Tech at Turner: Extending a Key Partnership to Enhance our Application Development Efforts

You.i TV is a privately held company based in Ottawa, Canada, serving TV and media companies worldwide with a multi-screen video app platform. The platform, You.i Engine, lets brand owners build personalized, profitable experiences quickly on most major platforms – Smart TV’s, mobile devices, OTT set-top boxes and gaming consoles leveraging a single underlying code base for common technology components. For over a year, Turner has been partnering with You.i on the development of new apps for some of its leading brands, including TNT and TBS and Turner Classic Movies’ soon to launch direct to consumer app, “FilmStruck.” 

Today, it was announced that Time Warner has made a strategic investment in You.i to further an already close partnership. To understand more about the relationship and shared efforts, we sat down with Jeremy Legg, Turner’s Chief Technology Officer for a brief Q&A:

Q: What is your current role at Turner?
I am the Chief Technology Officer of Turner - responsible for, in general, our overall technology strategy and more specifically, our linear and digital technology stacks and resources.

Q: When did Turner first become involved with You.i?
We first met You.i about a year ago. We were impressed with their approach to applications development and their understanding of the challenges we are facing as a company (and industry) and have been working with them ever since.

Q: How is Turner partnering with You.i on app development?
We are partnering with You.i to build out an ‘origin layer’ for our front-end consumer application technology stack. This enables Turner to maintain a single code base for alike capabilities across applications -- things like DRM, Authentication and Registration services. You can create as many origin blocks as you’d like and reuse them. The business logic within the UI/ UX can be different across apps and allows for personalization/customization by each brand/channel. This allows us to gain maximum efficiencies, because we don’t have to recreate the wheel. The components can be used for other apps we are developing.

Q: What are the technical implications for Turner?
This should greatly increase our ability to build and iterate applications. It also simplifies our code bases and allows us to deploy apps to multiple platforms at once as opposed to building technology platform by platform – which is both costly and time consuming and does not guarantee a great user experience. It does require a competency in C++  (since it compiles across most chipsets), however those resources are harder to come by than Python, Java or other similar languages, but it’s worth the effort.

Q: What are the business implications for Turner?
With my CTO hat on I’d say over time our application development costs will be reduced, because we will gain plenty of efficiencies that should save us money; with my Turner hat on I’d say, if we do this right, it should improve our customer experience and increase our audiences – and those are two things that are good for revenue.

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