Multicasting is a growing component of many TV stations’ top lines. It’s estimated that diginets are delivering at least $200 million in revenue a year. Tribune’s broadcasting chief Larry Wert says: “They are more lucrative right now than online, that’s for sure, and they are still growing.” With continued investment, multicasting could be the next great revenue stream.
There’s been plenty of talk about diginets this week on TVNewsCheck. The popularity of multicast channels offering so-called classic TV shows got me thinking that viewers of a certain age — millennials — need a channel they could feel nostalgic about. I’ve come up with a list of programming options that I think would sell very well and be extremely popular among the younger generation.
When some stations started multicasting digital subchannels there were a number of engineering issues that made the process cumbersome. Today, although there are different methods to launch a diginet — from using network-configured equipment to running second channels through a station’s main master control — most broadcasters say the task is neither tough nor expensive.
After years of experimentation, broadcasting specialty networks on subchannels is starting to draw viewers and revenue in amounts that really matter. Some peg the take at more than $200 million. While classic TV shows and movies are popular formats, others see the future in original programming.
Stations started dabbling with inserting newscasts into their diginet subchannels about five years ago and they say they expect the practice to become more pervasive as more stations recognize the revenue and promotional potential. Among the experiments is producing newscasts that air at non-traditional times — 7-9 a.m. or 9 p.m. — when primary channels are airing network programming.