Since Scripps was already a 5% owner in a portion of the business, its net purchase price is $292 million for the multicast networks Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff.
The new agreement extends carriage of the Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff multicast networks through 2024. In addition, Univision will add Bounce in Washington on Sept. 30.
Scripps was already a 5% owner in a portion of the business, so its net purchase price is $292 million for Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff. Founder Jonathan Katz will continue to lead the Katz networks business. The company, with about 130 employees, will remain based in the Atlanta area.
While diginets still have some hurdles to face — such as rising program license fees — they have captured the attention of general-market advertisers and they are looking forward to the rollout of the upcoming ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard with its expanded capacity. What’s more, the multicast networks are relieved that the FCC’s incentive auction and ongoing repack of the TV band isn’t affecting their station carriage deals to any significant extent.
The veteran cable net sales executive will oversee sales at Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff.
The Big Five plus Univision have all suffered ratings declines with 18-49s this season. But Telemundo and a host of smaller networks are growing.
While the spectrum auction and repack could raise challenges, most multicast network players say they’re bullish on the business, especially with the likely adoption of ATSC 3.0. Diginets keep adding affiliates and expanding coverage and the top ones have begun attracting general market advertising. This is Part 1 of a four-part special report on multicasting. Parts 2 and 3 also appear today. Part 4, running Thursday morning, will focus on the technology of compression and channel sharing. You can read the other stories here.
E.W. Scripps and Cox Media are among the five station groups launching the Katz Broadcasting diginets.