Dean Vernon Wormer: “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
Making money: It’s the reason commercial TV broadcasters exist, explains Television Broadcast Magazine.
DTV multicasts can be akin to getting a second or even a third broadcast license (or more when there’s no HDTV programming). However, they will only pay off if the content being shown makes money, which is what broadcasters are in business to do.
To date, “of the 1,614 U.S. stations that are broadcasting in digital, 632 are multicasting,” says Dave Cechota, director of data product development for Decisionmark Corporation (www.decisionmark.com), which provides software and data solutions to broadcasters.
On secondary digital channels, “weather is huge,” he says. “Also popular are local news and sports, but nowhere to the same degree as weather.” The national average of channels per multicasting station: 2.8.
WHEC-TV 10 (NBC) in Rochester, NY owned by Hubbard Broadcasting, is transmitting local weather on a secondary digital channel, which is also being carried regionally on Time Warner digital cable. WHEC is selling ads on its DTV weather channel, which is cross-promoted on the station’s main analog feed. By combining its local weather data with Weather Plus’ polished 24/7 programming, WHEC will provide its DTV viewers with comprehensive always-on weather information comparable to that of The Weather Channel, but for free.
The Tube Music Network (www.thetubetv.com), is marketing a music video service meant to attract eyes and advertisers by targeting the people who buy 55-60% of all music sold—namely the 35 and older demographic!
Under The Tube’s affiliation deal, the company gets to sell five minutes of national ads hourly, and provides one minute of sellable hourly ad time to its local partners. So how is The Tube doing in signing up broadcast partners? Well, on April 25, 2005, the company announced that Raycom Media would be launching The Tube into 29 markets later this year.
Other potentially profitable secondary digital formats include local news and sports, plus national alternatives thought up by the networks themselves. For instance, during the Association for Maximum Service Television’s 19th annual convention in Washington DC on October 5, 2005, CBS Executive Vice President Martin Franks said that his network is planning a second network-style program feed called CBS.2. According to MediaWeek, Franks said the new service’s lineup “complements or counterprograms, frankly, the mother ship.”
Then there’s U.S. Digital Television (USDTV).
Taking advantage of broadcasters’ opportunistic or left-over spectrum, USDTV offers consumers approximately 30 all digital channels, comprising local digital and HDTV broadcast channels and 12 leading cable networks, including FOX News Channel, ESPN and The Disney Channel, for less than $20 a month. It’s cable without the cable or, if you prefer, digital MMDS.
USDTV leases spectrum from its television station partners in each market, providing those stations with DTV secondary revenue. Meanwhile, consumers receive the USDTV service through a VHF/UHF antenna connected to a proprietary USDTV set-top box.
The service is currently being tested in three pilot markets, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, and commercially launched in the Dallas/Fort Worth market on November 14. Planned technology upgrades include the introduction of video on-demand content and digital video recording services.
Last month, USDTV signed a $25.75 million funding agreement with an investment group that includes Fox Television Stations, Hearst-Argyle Television, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, LIN TV, Morgan-Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV.
“Public service” has nothing to do with it.
Broadcasting pay tv over free television channels is made more effective if HDTV transmissions are eliminated or reduced to 480/720p.
Broadcasters get their channels free. Then they charge you $20/month for over-the-air pay tv (instead of HDTV)? What kind of scam is that? This is probably not helping George Bush, Mr. Martin.
The real money is in soft porn, of course. That should be interesting.
Meanwhile Clear Channel plans provide video podcasts using technology from Maven Networks, starting with conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.
The NPR podcast directory now includes 195 podcasts. The original 17 podcasts it offered this August have been downloaded more than 5 million times. The new alt.NPR brand is an incubator for edgier content.
Podcast Alley and Podcasts.Yahoo index thousands of great programs.
In October, Apple cut a deal with Disney to make popular tv shows on the ABC network available for the video iPod on iTunes for $1.99. CBS and NBC have made similar forays into online content.
The next Mac Mini will probably have the ability to record TV shows.