NATPE 2012

Diginets Hope To Boost Affil Counts In Miami

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.

My Family TV (formerly Faith TV), now seen mostly on low-power TV stations around the country, is hoping to expand its footprint and raise its visibility by persuading full-power stations to pick it up as a multicast channel.

To that end, it will be entertaining potential affiliates on the first night of the three-day NATPE 2012 (Jan. 23-25) aboard the swanky, 100-foot Midnight Sun yacht moored outside the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach where the conference will be held.

“Our goal is to promote My Family TV. We want to invite those that we work with and also help get some awareness of the network out there,” says Ken Gibson, VP of affiliate relations for the G-rated network, which is owned by ValCom and Luken Communications and programs movies, game shows and classic series such as Bonanza and Highway to Heaven.

For broadcasters, NATPE has traditionally been the place to meet with syndicated programmers and check out their latest offerings. There will be much of that at the Fontainebleau.

But for the past few years, it has also become an active market for multicast channels like My Family TV, which are beginning to show they can generate extra dollars for stations.

One mark of multicasting’s importance to NATPE is the scheduling of a panel dedicated to the business on Monday afternoon (Jan. 23).


The panelists (and their diginets): Neal Sabin, president of content and networks, Weigel Broadcasting (Me-TV); Sean Compton, president of programming and entertainment of Tribune Broadcasting (Antenna TV); and Emily Barr, GM of ABC O&O WLS Chicago (Live Well).

Like My Family TV, some of the bigger and more established diginets like This TV and Me-TV are will be wining and dining current and potential clients.

This TV, a joint venture between MGM and Weigel Broadcasting that features classic TV series and MGM movies, is sponsoring a cocktail party on Monday night (Jan. 23) from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Eden Roc Hotel lobby. It will also have a poolside cabana and suite (862) in the Fontainebleau’s Versailles Tower. “We are really concentrating on bringing in some new customers,’’ says This TV’s Jackie Comeau.

Weigel’s Me-TV, whose programming fare includes classic TV sitcoms and dramas, is hosting a cocktail party on NATPE eve, Sunday (Jan. 22), at 4-6  p.m., in the lounge area of the Scarpetta restaurant in the Fontainebleau. Me-TV will also meet with affiliate groups at its suite in the Fontainebleau (3-0709). “We’ll be talking to our affiliates about some new sales and marketing materials,” says Me-TV’s Sabin.

ABC Owned Television Stations’ Live Well Network, a lifestyle channel, will share a suite (2-1814) in the Fontainebleau’s Tresor Tower with Disney-ABC Domestic Television. “We’ve scheduled a lot of meetings to start talking about renewals and to continue to engage new station groups,’’ says ABC’s VP Peggy Allen.

The network has been growing steadily. Just this week, it cut a carriage deal with five Citadel Communications stations: WLNE Providence, R.I. (DMA 53); WOI Des Moines, Iowa (DMA 72); WHBF Davenport-Rock Island, Iowa-Moline, Ill. (DMA 100); KLKN Lincoln, Neb. (DMA 105); and KCAU Sioux City, Iowa (DMA 147) .

The addition of those stations to the diginet’s roster brings the network’s overall clearance to about 55% of all U.S. television households. And Allen says more affiliation agreements could be announced at NATPE.

TheCoolTV, a music video channel, will be hosting a “Broadcast Partner Appreciation Happy Hour” at the Shore Club’s Sky Bar on Tuesday (Jan 24) at 6-8 p.m. The network executives will have much to talk about. COO David Hampe says that the network will announce new affiliation deals and programming prior to the party. “We are also announcing, what I would call,  a couple of  industry  luminaries, that are joining  our  executive team and our board of advisers,”  he says.

Hampe and the other executives may also have to explain why one of its charter affiliates, Journal Broadcast Group, decided last fall not to renew its affiliations in several markets and to take the network to court over money that Journal claimed it was owned.

Hampe says that the suit has been resolved and that the network now is working to find replacement affiliates. “We filled the gap in Las Vegas [with independent KMCC] and there are several other markets in which we are in discussions with Sinclair Broadcasting,” he says. “Our main focus this year is on gaining distribution in the top seven DMAs,” he adds.

Other networks at NATPE will be keeping a lower profile.

“We don’t have a suite or a party, but we are meeting with tons of people, our clients and some possible new ones,” says Antenna TV’s Bina Roy.

Likewise, Bounce TV, the fledgling diginet that targets African Americans between 25 and 54, won’t be ordering many hors d’oeuvres. Says Bounce TV’s Jeffrey Wolf: “We do not have a suite. Our plan is to really just try and mingle in with the crowd and just talk to our clients, but not make any real formal presentations.”

And WeatherNation, which offers regions weather reporting, will be in the Chateau Tower, Floor 11 , Suite 1160.

Comments (6)

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Roger Lyons says:

January 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hoping that Antenna TV (and possibly TheCoolTV) signs affiliates in the Phoenix market. A couple of the affiliates carry weather subchannels, which have become redundant with smartphones and other technologies.

Christina Perez says:

January 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

What about OTA? If I were running diginets like Me TV and Antenna TV, I’d partner with makers of hand-held DTV sets and offer them to viewers at a deep discount. That strategy would help all broadcasters and would seed the market for FREE, UNSCRAMBLED, NO SIGN-UP REQUIRED mobile DTV service. As it is, the pay TV greedsters have hijacked mobile TV and are trying to construct registration toll booths, even for reception of supposedly free over the air mobile TV signals. This, I believe, is a purposeful strategy to destroy free TV and put broadband companies in charge of “broadcast” TV distribution.

Lady Success says:

January 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Since Me-TV began airing on our NBC station’s .3 channel, I find I’m watching it more than the major networks…even in prime time. I’ll take Dick Van Dyke over Work It or Whitney any day!

mike tomasino says:

January 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Me-TV has a excellent line up of shows and The Cool TV actually plays music rather than “Jersey Shore” type junk. I find AntennaTV somewhat limited, but “All in the Family” and “Sanford and Son” are excellent programming choices. All of these add a great deal of value to broadcast TV and to a station’s “brand.”

Ellen Samrock says:

January 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm

With diginet companies trying hard to entice full-power stations to carry them, many are either ditching low power TV stations or have snubbed them altogether. However, they forget that several of them, like the Luken channels, got their start with low power TV.

    mike tomasino says:

    January 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Luken bought a bunch of LPs and with the number of affilates going down with many of them going to AntennaTV or MeTV you may see a resergence of Luken on LPTV. But,let’s face it, full power station have more clout for cable carriage.

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