Sinclair Original Programming will be headed by COO Arthur Hasson. The unit will focus on creating shows primarily for the group’s MNT and CW affils in addition to business-to-consumer content such as infomercials and direct response commercials.
Sinclair Starts Original Programming Division
Sinclair Broadcast Group today launched Sinclair Original Programming, a division that will develop and create original content.
SOP’s focus, Sinclair said, will be on entertainment content and business-to-consumer content such as infomercials and direct response commercials. Initially, shows will be developed for the company’s MNT and CW affiliates and will air in primetime and afternoon time periods on the weekend.
The division will be led by Arthur Hasson, who is being named chief operating officer of Sinclair Original Programming, reporting into David Smith, Sinclair’s president-CEO. Hasson will also continue as GM of Sinclair’s Harrisburg, Pa., CBS affiliate WHP, which also airs MNT programming on a subchannel, and CW affil WLYH.
“Combining content ownership with our premier distribution spectrum of over-the-air television and related digital/web platforms is one of the last key components in securing the value of our platform,” said Smith. “Controlling our content and its development not only reduces our dependency on others, providing a hedge against network disruptions, but allows us greater economic upside potential. SOP will be in addition to the over 1,800 hours of local news programming we produce a week; our planned cable news network; Ring of Honor Wrestling; high school sports and our newly launched American Sports Network, which will produce and air a minimum of 160 NCAA Division I collegiate games per academic year. The media landscape is evolving and controlling distribution, as well as the content delivered through that platform, is even more imperative in order to remain competitive.”
Hasson said: “Sinclair is a major television broadcaster with multiple distribution platforms and needs for a variety of shows. Our stations have tremendous reach and a wide-range of audience demographics. This venture will provide opportunities for us to meet viewers’ needs and to contribute to the company’s bottom line. By developing original content in connection with talented program producers, we can provide cost effective, flexible projects that can be readily monetized. In addition, we believe there is potential to distribute shows beyond our platforms both domestically and internationally. From the creative side, our large footprint of stations allows us to test concepts and talent efficiently.”
While Hasson will oversee original content development and work directly with production companies and studios, Bill Butler, VP of programming and promotion, will continue to manage the syndicator and studio relationships, identify programming needs, negotiate content license fees, and oversee promotional budgets and operations.
Prior took over leadership of Sinclair’s Harrisburg operations in 2010. Prior to that and from 2006, he was principal/president of MultiPlatform Distribution Co., a producer and distributor of television programming. From 2009 to 2011, he was co-creator and executive producer of Crowd Sourced Hero and Subway High School Heroes, and various other social entertainment programs and competitions.
Prior to that, Hasson was COO and co-founder of ClubCreate Inc., a music creation software and services company. From 1990 through 2005, he served in various roles at NBC Universal Television Distribution, including EVP–cable, Canada and ancillary sales; EVP–sales and new business; and various sales management roles.
Hasson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in experimental psychology and a film/video production minor from Binghamton University.