Broadcasters are capitalizing on that simple equation as they try to squeeze every last advertising dollar out of their 6 MHz channels through multicasting. Hopped-up encoders and advanced video compression have also facilitated channel sharing in the wake of the incentive auction and will come in handy for stacking legacy ATSC 1.0 signals as broadcasters roll out ATSC 3.0.
Broadcasters including Scripps, Tegna, CBS, Sinclair, Ion and Gray have been laying bigger bets in the multicasting business, acquiring some of the more popular diginets and partnering to develop new ones in a market showing signs of further expansion. CBS’s new diginet DABL, for instance, is bringing back the classic lifestyle programming of Martha Stewart and others in the fall.
The $302 million purchase of Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff is “an authentication of the entire multicasting business,” which has needed a feel-good story. The deal also confirms Scripps’ willingness to take some chances in a TV station industry that has been more about consolidation than innovation.
The FCC’s 1996 requirement that stations air three hours a week of educational or informational programming was well meaning, but its later expansion to each of a station’s subchannels has proven to be overreach, rendered moot by the explosion of sources of such programming. It’s time the FCC let the diginets stick to their intended brands of programming.
TUFF TV, a diginet targeting men, announced today that it has signed on two new low-power affiliates — KHIZ-LD Los Angeles and KPFW-LD Dallas. Both stations are owned by DTV America Corp. which owns 52 LPTV stations in over 40 U.S. cities. “Los Angeles and Dallas provide excellent additions to our growing list of affiliates,” […]
Weigel Broadcasting is launching an oldies FM radio service in Chicago as a companion to its classic TV channel, MeTV, that now airs across the country on digital subchannels of TV stations. The radio service, dubbed 87.7 MeTV FM, will not air over a radio station. Rather, it will air over a low-power TV station, […]
The multicast networks that stations are using to populate their subchannels are estimated to generate between $250 million and $350 million a year in total ad revenues, growing 4% to 5% a year. “It’s still early in the game, says Katz TV Media’s Bill Carroll. “They’re in the ‘build-out phase,’ the news being they’ve extended the reach, and enhanced the profile, of broadcast stations. A few are already visible in ratings terms, and others are quickly becoming so.” Here’s a look at the diginet trends and our exclusive ranking of the top 25 by TV household coverage.
The affiliate lineup comprises 23 Univision-owned stations including WFUT New York and KFTR Los Angeles, Word Broadcasting’s WBNA Louisville, Ky., and a station in Bakersfield, Calif., that GetTV is not yet ready to identify. At launch today, the network will be in 17 of the top 20 markets.
With the addition of the NBC affiliate, the diginet’s reach jumps to 17% of TV homes.Also this week, WeatherNation made its debut on two other Gannett stations, KTHV Little Rock, Ark., and WFMY Greensboro, N.C.
The City University of New York cable channel, available in the five boroughs since the 198os, now also broadcasts over the air on WNYE’s ch. 25.3, with a signal reaching 35 miles.
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.
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.
The multicast channel offers a mix of classic TV shows, original network programs and local programs supplied by its affiliates. On board at launch are the 10 NBC O&Os and 14 other stations.
The new multicast channel featuring a mix of classic TV shows, movies and original programming will debut on the 10 NBC Owned Television Stations early next year and the group is looking for affiliates in other markets.
With the addition of WBIR Knoxville and three other affiliates over the past week, the classic TV diginet now counts 136 outlets that cover more than 83% of TV homes.
The Chicago PBS station has signed on as a founding member of the Digital Convergence Alliance, the multi-station master control centralcast facility led by WJCT Jacksonville, Fla.
Even in small markets, broadcasters are generating up to $1 million in annual revenue with a single subchannel, according to panelists at a NATPE session on multicasting.
Multicast programmers will be at this month’s NATPE exhibition hoping to expand and improve their affiliate lineups. And their growing importance to the industry is reflected in the show’s scheduling of a panel dedicated to the business on Monday afternoon (Jan. 23) featuring representatives of Me-TV, Antenna TV and Live Well.
Seeking greater coverage and the ability to telecast in HD, the four-year-old sports channel is making the switch from over-the-air multicast to cable and satellite for distribution.
It’s a little like the Wild West as proliferating multicast channels scramble for carriage on coveted TV station subchannels. And those that win carriage still have to prove they can attract viewers and advertisers. TVNewsCheck’s roundup of these pioneering programming providers turned up 23. In our exclusive listing, we sum up what kind of programming they offer, what their basic proposition to potential affiliates is and how far along they are in distribution.
With the addition of Quincy Newspapers’ WSJV South Bend-Elkhart, Ind., the multicasting channel featuring lifestyle programming now counts 26 outlets and reaches 40% of U.S. TV homes.
Henry Luken, head of RTN parent Luken Communications, says the purchase is the first step in a plan to acquire around 400 translators and low-power stations so that its affiliates will have ample bandwidth to broadcast Luken’s 10 existing and planned multicasting networks.The seller of the translators is David Honig’s Minority Media and Telecommunications Council. The price: $390,000.
What distinguishes this diginet from the host of others vying for subchannel carriage is its heavy emphasis on original programming, which is being produced by the ABC O&Os. It’s leveraging the underutilized talents and facilities of TV stations. And if, as hoped, more get on board, it could become a true programming cooperative where everybody contributes and takes at the same time.
TVNewsCheck picked the brains of some top broadcasters and analysts to see what the year’s important issues will be. For the first time in a long while, the general outlook was optimistic. Getting specific, here are nine things they will be keeping their eyes on: retransmission consent/reverse compensation, the FCC’s spectrum incentive auction, mobile DTV, industry consolidation, Comcast-NBCU deal ripple effects, signs of life in M&A, record off-year for political advertising, evolution of digital subchannels, publicly held station groups to pay dividends and local online and mobile media.
If there’s an elephant in the room this winter as the FCC considers how to repurpose more than 100 MHz of digital broadcast spectrum for other services as part of a national broadband plan, it could be the relative dearth of multicast channels among commercial broadcasters more than a year-and-a-half into the digital transition.