Portland Stations Plan ATSC 3.0 Rollout
Meredith Corp. and Nexstar Media Group on Thursday jointly announced plans to launch Portland’s first NextGen TV service powered by ATSC 3.0.
Meredith and Nexstar, along with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna Inc., have filed applications with the FCC for the commercial transition of the Portland, Ore., market (DMA 22) to ATSC 3.0, while Oregon Public Broadcasting will be filing an application regarding its participation in the transition in the near future
Meredith, Nexstar, Tegna, and Sinclair are members of the Pearl TV business group, whose members are collaborating to build out ATSC 3.0 station launches in the nation’s Top 40 television markets. Nexstar and Sinclair are also partners in SpectrumCo, which is working to develop new revenue opportunities for broadcasters in key markets.
Meredith’s KPDX (MNT) and Nexstar’s KRCW (CW) will each serve as a NextGen TV host stations in Portland and are planning to make network programming from Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CW and MyNetworkTV available on NextGen TV broadcasts following FCC approval.
In addition, the stations plan to make available hundreds of hours of non-network, local programming as well. Broadcasters will collaborate to both launch 3.0 service and to maintain existing digital TV over-the-air ATSC 1.0 signals in Portland. Major television manufacturers have announced the introduction of first consumer TV receivers designed to receive NextGen TV broadcasts, and receivers will reach retailers soon.
“For more than 115 years, Meredith has been an innovator in the media industry. We’re proud to lead the charge on NextGen TV and thank our Pearl and network partners for all of their efforts,” said Patrick McCreery, president, Meredith Local Media Group.
“This transition in the Portland market is a significant milestone on the road toward full deployment of NextGen TV,” said Brett Jenkins, Nexstar EVP-CTO. “This is the next step, beyond experiments and trials, as broadcasters move forward with actual commercial deployments of NextGen TV in 2020. Nexstar is excited to be a part of this cooperative effort. It demonstrates that the entire industry is driving forward with technology that will bring new benefits to our viewers and additional opportunities for growth across the entire television industry.”
Anne Schelle, Pearl managing director, said: “This is a significant announcement because the Portland transition includes each of the six major broadcast networks, and we thank our network partners for their participation in this effort. We’ve learned a lot from the ongoing work being done in the Phoenix, Arizona Model Market, and the expansion in Portland will be the first market to learn from the experience in Arizona.”
SpectrumCo President John Hane said: “SpectrumCo believes the introduction of NextGen TV broadcasting opens new windows of opportunity for our broadcasting partners, and the Portland announcement will pay future dividends for Oregon broadcasters.”
Collaboration To Expand Options For Viewers
Meredith’s KPDX intends to broadcast NextGen signals for its MNT programming, for Fox network (from Meredith’s KPTV), and NBC network (from Tegna’s KGW). Meanwhile, Nexstar’s KRCW is planning to broadcast NextGen signals for its CW network programming, CBS (from Nexstar’s KOIN) and ABC (from Sinclair’s KATU) programming. Both of the new NextGen stations also plan to broadcast certain PBS programming, in cooperation with Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Using various channel sharing arrangements, the Portland NextGen market participants intend for all existing ATSC 1.0 streams to remain “on the air” in ATSC 1.0 after the transition with the same “virtual channel” numbers — the channel numbers most familiar to viewers. Details about specific launch dates, initial consumer feature offerings and technologies will be shared following FCC approval.