The 21 popular local sports channels were pulled from the satellite carrier and Sling TV after Dish and Disney were unable to come to terms on carriage fees. Disney is in the process of selling the RSNs to Sinclair, which is said not to have been involved in the negotiations. No word on how the impasse might impact Sinclair’s ability to finance its $9.6B acquisition of the channels.
The platform will enable 4G and 5G wireless operators to offload OTT and live content on to the “one-to-many” broadcast Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) networks that broadcasting are building with 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.
A judicial panel has consolidated at least 18 antitrust suits against five TV station groups for allegedly colluding on spot pricing in the federal district court in Chicago. The defendants, which include Tribune, Sinclair and in some cases Gray, Hearst, Nexstar and Tegna, had pushed for the consolidation. The proliferatng suits are an outgrowth of a Justice Department review of the merger of Sinclair and Tribune, which was scuttled after the FCC found evidence of misrepresentation by Sinclair. (Free registration required.)
The imminent collapse of Sinclair’s merger makes the combative station group one of the all-time losers in FCC regulatory history, but they’re not the only ones who’ve lost. Here are some of the other losers caught up in this week’s train wreck along with some of the winners. At the top of the latter group is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has clearly signaled that he is no pushover.
Sinclair, Nexstar, Univision and American Tower partner on developing a next-gen TV single frequency network that will be a test of a developed model for the transition from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0 and the deployment of SFN sites in preparation for future national deployment of 3.0 broadcast services.
The FCC has finally gotten around to asking Sinclair how it intends to comply with the national and local ownership rules. The merger puts it in nominal violation of the caps and it will have to do something to get below them. I applaud the FCC move as the public has the right to know just how Sinclair plans to proceed.
The news this week that Fox and Blackstone are forming a joint venture to acquire Tribune Media had researchers, analysts and plain old columnists like me wondering why, and sorting through the implications not only for Fox, but also for Sinclair, Nexstar and CBS.
The company attributes the softness to weakness in the food and retail categories and the loss of revenue from for-profit technical schools that have gone out of business. The good news was auto, which grew 3%.
21st Century Fox’s plan to form a joint venture with Blackstone to buy Tribune Media would create value from cost synergies and by putting Fox into six more NFL markets, says the securities research firm. What’s more, it blocks Sinclair from acquiring the Tribune stations — a move that would boost Sinclair’s national programming ambitions and get it more leverage in reverse comp dealings.
Evidence is emerging that if station groups are allowed to scale up, they will become better broadcasters, pumping still more news and entertainment into the expanding TV ecosphere to the benefit of all — viewers and advertisers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to move to loosen the ownership caps this year. Those opposed had better bring more to the debate than just theories about the inherent badness of bigness.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is offering 12 million primary shares of Class A common stock. The company said it intends to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.8 million shares of Class A common stock on the same terms and conditions. Sinclair said the money raised will “be used to fund future potential acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.” It didn’t say how much it hopes to raise.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has begun to roll out a first-of-its kind, over-the-air multicast network showing digital programming that’s designed to appeal to millennials. TBD will feature web series, short films, fashion, comedy, lifestyle, online video game competitions, music and viral content and will air on many of its stations in 81 markets.
It plans to align Tennis magazine and Tennis.com with its Tennis Channel on a unified platform. It’s paying $8 million plus an additional $6 million earn-out potential based on certain contingencies.
The $115.35 million deal, first reported in March, adds three Fox, two CW and one CBS affiliates in California, Nebraska and Iowa to Sinclair’s portfolio.
Brad Zaruba will head sales efforts at Fox affiliate KBSI and MNT affil WDKA in Paducah, Ky./Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Sinclair is now using Harris OSi media software solution to manage business operations at 73 stations. The new Magellan Network Management System allows monitoring and controlling content creation, aggregation, playout and delivery across multiple facilities. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.
The Four Points group includes seven stations in four markets, including the CBS affiliates in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. The seller is Cerberus, a private equity firm. Sinclair will operate the stations under an LMA prior to closing.
Time Warner Cable’s North Carolina news operation, News 14 will produce newscasts at 6:30 a.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. next year for Sinclair’s WXLV Greensboro as part of the recent retransmission consent agreement.
The latest wrinkle in the retrans war is that Time Warner Cable systems can pick up Fox primetime and sports programming if they are denied carriage of the local Fox affiliate. It would appear to undermine the retrans efforts of affiliates, but the network maintains that it really wants to help the affiliates by getting TWC to pick up a “cooling off feed” that comprises the entire affiliate signal for a year. Affiliates are skeptical. Some see it as parternalistic meddling. Others simply aren’t sure what Fox’s intentions are and what the Fox-TWC agreement will mean to their future retrans earnings.
Time Warner Cable is telling local subscribers in Buffalo, N.Y., that it will continue to carry Fox network programs into January and beyond, even if its deal with Sinclair’s WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, expires and the station is dropped from the local cable system.