CEO Jack Perry says new ownership including North Carolina broadcaster Jim Goodmon wants to leverage company’s technology to make broadcasters prime local distributors and national syndicators of Web video.
North Carolina broadcaster Jim Goodmon and two private equity firms have bought a controlling interest in Decisionmark with big plans for using its technology to make TV stations the principal distributors of Web video within their markets, according to Decisionmark CEO Jack Perry who will stay with the company in the same role.
Perry, who is at NATPE to brief broadcasters and other clients of the changes at Decisionmark, also said the new owners were rechristening the company Titan TV Media and moving it from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to New York City.
Seller Gazette Communications, the licensee of KCRG Cedar Rapids, will hang on to a minority position in the company, Perry said.
Perry said one of the equity firms was Turnstone Capital, but declined to name the other—a “hedge fund”—or discuss the financial terms of the deal.
The new Titan TV Media wants to license technology and supply supplemental programming and support services to TV stations so that they can become the prime source of quality video programming within their markets and syndicate programming to others, Perry said.
Right now, quality programming is scattered all over the Web, Perry said: “There isn’t a single place that says what’s available to the viewer. It’s like creating a whole bunch of television sets to get different channels.
“We are going to be the glue between the content owners, the broadcasters, the rights holders and the local and national advertisers,” he added.
For at least the past year, Perry has been trying to sell broadcasters on becoming broadband video distributors within their over-the-air markets by using Decisionmark TitanCast technology and databases to interface with Web viewers and to limit reception only to viewers within their markets for copyright purposes.
In effect, TitanCast allows broadcasters to replicate their over-the-air coverage on the Web. Only users who identify themselves as being within the over-the-air footprint of a station with a credit card would be allowed to access the station’s Web content.
The Decisionmark databases have a record of every household in the country and know what DMA it is in.
With the new ownership, Perry told TVNewsCheck, the company now wants to go a step further. It is creating the Content Syndication Platform (CSP) that will allow stations using TitanCast to share programming with other stations using it in other markets.
Of course, he said, broadcasters “syndicating” programming across what would be a national platform would have to have the national Web rights to that programming.
For visitors to his Las Vegas suite, Perry demonstrated the CSP with the help of two station groups, Sunbelt Communications and Morgan Murphy Stations.
Users could log on the Web site of Sunbelt’s KVBC Las Vegas and not only watch KVBC programming, but also programming from Morgan Murphy’s WISC Madison, Wis.
When the CSP is in full force, Perry said, users would be able to log on to KVBC or any other CSP station and find programming from other stations all over the country.
It will be a new way to watch out-of-market programming, he said. “It’s Slingbox without the Slingbox.”
The CSP service would be advertiser supported, with revenue shared between the local distributor and the originator of the programming on, say, a 40/60 basis, Perry said.
The CSP is still a work in progress. Perry said he plans a soft launch of the service in late March during the NAB Futures Summit and a “full launch” in April during the NAB convention. By that time, he said, he expects to have enough participating stations to claim 50% coverage of all TV homes.
To complement the local programming and the programming that the broadcasters would share among themselves, Perry said, the company will also try to acquire the national Web rights to syndicated programming that all the local sites could offer within their markets.
“The syndicators will be happy because they know they will divvy up the U.S. in 210 ways, and the broadcasters will be happy because they know they will have territorial exclusivity for any content they choose to put on their Web site.”
Perry would also like to add network programming to the CPS Web sites, but conceded that it may not be easy to get it. “The network programming is important, but not a deal-breaker,” he said.
Titan TV Media is offering a better deal to affiliates than some of the networks are, Perry also said. The networks want the affiliates to drive viewers to network sites, he said. “Our idea is the keep the viewers in the stations’ worlds.”
Jim Goodmon’s investment in Decisionmark should not come as a surprise. The owner of WRAL Raleigh, N.C., and three other stations has been a vocal proponent of Web video and an early experimenter with the Decisionmark technology.
Titan TV Media is expanding. According to Perry, the business plans calls for the hiring of 28 people over the next 12 months, including executives experienced in affiliate relations and program negotiations.