Sinclair To Launch Internet-Based Diginet TBD

Sinclair Broadcast Group says the new multicast network will be the first multiscreen TV network in the U.S. to offer premium internet-first content. Launching in early 2017, TBD will feature content curated from a range of digital producers.

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today the upcoming launch of TBD, what it calls “a pioneering new over-the-air TV network that will deliver fresh and relevant digital-first programming into millions of U.S. homes while also reinvigorating traditional television for today’s millennial audience.” TBD will officially launch in early 2017 on digital subchannels across Sinclair’s stations.

TBD, Sinclair’s second multicast launch, will include web series, short films, fashion, comedy, lifestyle, eSports, music and viral content, all curated through partnerships with creators, including some of the biggest content companies in the digital world — Jukin Video, Legendary Digital Networks (Nerdist & Geek and Sundry), Whistle Sports, Kinonation, Zoomin’ and Canvas Media Studios, among others.

“With a vast library of varied content under license, and the immense universe of digital content always expanding, TBD’s entertainment promise is always ‘To Be Determined’,” Sinclair says.

Sinclair will be retaining The QYOU, a curator of online video culture for television, to program the network and to provide creative support. 

TBD comes at a time, Sinclair says, “when online video culture is a near-universal entertainment format in consumers’ lives but has only sporadically made the jump to mainstream television where brand awareness can increase exponentially.

“The digital industry has matured over the last several years and has supported the creation and distribution of highly original and professionally produced material from a new generation of creators, ranging from short films to extreme sports to web series to personalities with cult followings.


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“With these factors in play, Sinclair and QYOU have come together to create a multiscreen TV destination for the best of this content, targeted at viewers who have grown up with online video as a core part of their entertainment diet,” Sinclair added.

“Our recent focus has been on expanding our business with new digital multicast networks that leverage our broadcast spectrum and household reach,” said Chris Ripley, recently named president-CEO of Sinclair. “Much of the multicast market today focuses on classic TV and movie content, with little aimed at audiences for whom fresh and relevant pop culture content is important. With the launch of TBD, we aim to pair the very best premium digital-first content with the unmatched branding power of traditional television.” 
To power the channel, Sinclair said, The QYOU will license and package premium digital-first content for television. In turn, this content expertise will be combined with Sinclair’s expertise in broadcasting and distribution to bring the channel to multiple platforms.

“It’s a myth that millennials don’t watch TV; they do, but they want it on their terms,” said Scott Ehrlich, co-founder and CEO of The QYOU. “TBD sets out a different model, showing it’s possible to meet the needs of this generation by delivering the type of content they connect with in a way that’s easy to consume on the range of devices that make up their multiscreen world. To me, as a producer of premium digital content, TBD marks a significant endorsement of what I see as the world’s most vibrant creative community on the biggest stage in television, free to air, which is now more properly seen as ‘free to consumer.’”
Sinclair said that content partners believe that digital-first content making the jump to TV represents a huge opportunity for creators:

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“We have millions of fans who’ve been engaging with us daily on web and mobile, and want to see even more from us on the biggest screen in the house,” said John West, CEO of Whistle Sports. “We’re thrilled to be able to deliver a new Whistle Sports experience combining the digital videos fans love with new original storytelling on Sinclair’s new channel.”

Cameron Saless, chief growth officer at Jukin Media added: “With young viewers increasingly diversifying their viewing choices, we believe TBD is a new exciting opportunity for our programming to continue to reach this important audience, many of whom have already fallen in love with our content online.”

Comments (4)

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Roger Lyons says:

December 7, 2016 at 11:33 am

Shouldn’t they be trying to expand the distribution of Comet (which is stuck on LPTVs in many markets), which actually has some potential, before trying to launch any new networks?

Gabby Fredrick says:

December 7, 2016 at 1:17 pm

At least they are smart enough to be getting ready for the day(soon) when the networks pull the plugs on their affiliates

Robert Vincent says:

December 7, 2016 at 4:32 pm

This is part of the pay to play I have been predicting as part of Sinclair’s own design of ATSC3.0. Its a subscription model for over the air tv. Les Moonves is giddy about the idea of charging the ATSC viewer the same that he charges the cable viewer to watch CBS programming. Stations are also happy that this will give them new revenue streams like they do in England with the teletax. My bone of contention is that we should charge Tv stations heavily on their license renewals since they are going to use the public airways to obtain significant incomes. We are probably just a couple years away from free to air tv going away. When that happens, I will simply unplug and tune out.

Greg Johnson says:

December 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

It is amusing to hear someone talking about launching a “new” linear broadcast channel. If that is the interpretation of what Millennials watch, consider persona research to discover how the group really watches video. I would imagine even DR has used up all the linear spectrum they need. BTW, how much is Sinclair investing in this idea? Is there demand for unmeasurable linear channels on Madison Avenue. I am all for entrepreneurial efforts, this company, Sinclair, just isn’t known for developing programming. Why wouldn’t an advertiser use spot cable where they can at least target audiences with content.

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