Scripps will continue to operate the Ion Television network on its 48 Ion stations’ primary channels but will cease operations of the Ion multicast networks Ion Plus, Qubo and Shop Ion, effective Feb. 28.
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.
The expansion comes from multi-year deals for Bounce TV, Escape, Grit and Laff with Nexstar, Mission and White Knight.
Scripps-owned ABC affiliate WRTV Indianapolis (DMA 27) is canceling its Hometown Sports & News (HTSN) network on digital ch. 6.2 and is replacing it with Grit, a multicast network from Katz Broadcasting, effective Oct. 1. For five years, HTSN provided local sports to over-the-air audiences and viewers watching on Comcast and Brighthouse cable systems. Grit will deliver […]
Katz Broadcasting’s Escape multicast network is branching into original programming with a brace of true-crime series and has acquired two other similarly themed programs. The company also has a deal with Nielsen for Escape and its sibling diginet Grit to be rated C3 nationally.
Social media veteran Calandria Meadows has been named to the newly-created position of vice president, social media and digital content for Katz Broadcasting’s multicast networks Grit, Escape and Laff as well as Bounce TV. In this role, Meadows will oversee the strategic social media presence and digital initiatives of the diginets. Meadows is based in […]
With the additions for the Katz Broadcasting networks, Laff climbs to 76.3% of U.S. and 86.5 million homes, Grit to 88%/99 million HHs and Escape to 78%/88.4 million.
The agreements for the three Katz Broadcasting diginets drive Grit to 86% of U.S. and 97 million households, Escape to 68%/77 million and Laff to 64%/72.4 million.
Jonathan Katz, who oversees the Bounce TV, Grit, Escape and Laff multicast networks, says that all four are growing viewers and will eventually all offer at least some original programming. The brands were designed to fill a consumer need, he explains, “while helping broadcasters monetize their spectrum and do what they do best, which is serve and entertain viewers in their communities….So over-the-air TV to us is not just the original over the top with the highest reach, but it’s also the original skinny bundle at the best price point imaginable for a consumer: free.”
Nielsen will measure both multicast networks and Marathon Ventures is tapped to lead new sales efforts for the Katz Broadcasting duo.
Male-targeted diginet Grit has licensed the broadcast television rights to all eight seasons and 203 episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger starring Chuck Norris in a multi-year agreement with Sony Pictures Television. Grit will debut Walker, Texas Ranger in July and will air episodes back-to-back Monday through Friday nights between 8 and 10 p.m. ET. “Walker, […]
As the market for subchannel options matures, there’s a new wave of multicast networks with significant distribution, tightly focused brands and programming and, in some cases, a smattering of distinguishing original programming. This is Part Two of a four-part special report on multicasting running this week. Read the other stories here.
The deal covers 18 markets, makes multicast networks Grit available in 93 million households, Escape in 70 million and Laff in 64 million.
The broadcast group will introduce Grit, Escape and Laff in five major markets, bringing U.S. coverage of the networks to 78% for Grit, 58% for Escape and 50% for Laff, which premieres next month.
The deal drives the new broadcast diginet for men to 73% of U.S. coverage following its August launch.
The two new diginets from Katz Broadcasting adds 150 films to its library. The deal comes on the heels of the networks’ Aug. 18 launch and movie package purchases from Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal.
Grit (for men) will open with the Oscar-winning classic High Noon, whilethe female-targeted Escape will bow with Body Heat.
The gender-specific networks have hired Bill Cox to head male-oriented Grit as its SVP of Programming and Walter Naar as the VP of Programming of Escape, which targets women. The networks, scheduled to launch this summer, have also signed deal with Paramount Pictures that allows them to air 200 films.
Univision to carry both in Washington, San Francisco and Phoenix; Cox adds Grit in Orlando, Escape in Charlotte, both in Tulsa; KJWP to air the two in Philadelphia; and Citadel will launch both in Providence, R.I., and Lincoln, Neb. Both networks are now past 50% U.S. coverage.
The new male-centric and female-centric over-the-air broadcast TV networks — Grit (for men) and Escape (for women) — have acquired the television rights to 157 demo-targeted motion pictures in a multiyear licensing agreement with NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution. Action-oriented Grit will reach men 25-54 with a heavy focus on western, war and action theatrical motion pictures. […]
One of the staples of the multicasting universe are networks that offer programming from television and film’s past. While some of the early efforts haven’t survived, there are many that have and more slotted to launch. The diginet with the widest distribution, in fact, is Me-TV, the classic channel from Weigel Broadcasting. This is part 2 of a three-part special report. Read part 1 here.
The agreement for the male- and female-targeted classic programming multicast channels set to launch this summer boosts coverage to 45% of the U.S.
The new channels buy package of 135 movies in advance of the gender-targeted multicast networks’ launches in August.
The new Katz Broadcasting plans to launch Escape, aimed at women, and Grit, which will target men. Both will debut on the Univision Television Group, covering 30% of the U.S.