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Media General’s Merger with LIN Complete

media general_304x200Media General says its “business combination” with LIN Media has closed, which means the two are now one company.

“We are pleased to have finalized the merger transaction that delivers numerous strategic and financial benefits, including a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, enhanced scale and a diverse geographic footprint that will provide important opportunities to continue growing our business,” said Media General’s president and CEO, Vincent L. Sadusky. “We look forward to a smooth integration, capitalizing on our new, combined strength and achieving our synergy goals.”

The merger was approved by the FCC Last week.

Sadusky, the former head of LIN and new head of the merged company, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he plans on keeping the company headquarters in Richmond.

He and other top executives will be mobile and spend a lot of time traveling to the company’s offices and TV stations around the nation, he said. The combined company will have 71 stations in 48 markets, reaching 27.5 million, or 23 percent, of U.S. television households. Read more

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Local TV Broadcasting Companies Team Up. Look For New Way to Measure Audience

tv_304FOX Television Stations, Tribune Media and Univision are teaming up with Timeline Labs to launch what they’re calling a “broader based measurement tool that will accurately measure audiences across the entire spectrum of linear and digital platforms.”

The venture, called NewCoin LLC, will beta test in the Dallas, Texas market. The companies said they will look for input from the local ad community during development.

NewCoin uses Timeline Labs’ SaaS platform which is described as “enabling media companies and brands to analyze billions of social media messages daily in real-time, find and broadcast relevant newsworthy social trends and insights, and measure audience engagement.”

“We are glad to be partnering with Timeline Labs and expect that what works in Dallas will move to other local markets,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of FOX Television Stations.

Kevin Cuddihy, president of Local Media, Univision Communications, Inc., added, “We know our Hispanic audiences are driving media use on linear and digital platforms and are pleased to work with Timeline Labs to develop a much needed tool to effectively capture total media consumption.”

Nexstar and NBC Sign Long-Term Affiliation Deal

nexstar_304Nexstar Broadcasting says it has signed a long-term affiliation deal with the NBC Television Network.

“We are delighted to extend our affiliation agreements with NBC in a manner that recognizes the value of NBC programming to our stations and the value that our stations bring to the NBC television network and our local viewers. NBC continues to have great momentum with a solid and successful lineup in all dayparts,” said Nexstar president and CEO Perry A. Sook about the deal covering 16 of Nextsar’s owned or operated stations. “With our stations also producing high quality, original, local news and other exclusive local programming, we are delivering great entertainment and information to viewers and an excellent platform for marketing solutions for local and national advertisers.”

Nexstar Gives DISH Third Extension in Retrans Negotiations

nexstar_304Nexstar Broadcasting has given DISH Network until Midnight on Wednesday, December 10, to agree to terms for the right to broadcast what the station group calls its “highly rated programming.” This is DISH’s third extension in the two month retrans negotiations between the two.

The retrans agreement covers 60 local stations in 46 markets.

DISH recently reached a carriage agreement with CBS. The Huffington Post reported the blackout between the two lasted about 12 hours, starting at 7:00 pmET Friday.

In a press release, DISH said in addition to extending DISH’s right to broadcast CBS owned local TV stations, Showtime Video-on-Demand and authentication rights for Showtime Anytime, the two companies said they agreed to drop all pending litigation between the two.

The agreement will result in dismissal of all pending litigation between the two companies, including disputes over PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop. As part of the accord, DISH’s AutoHop commercial-skipping functionality will not be available for CBS Television Network-owned stations and affiliates during the C7 window.

Sinclair Group Manager Dies Suddenly

Sinclair BroadcastSinclair Broadcast Group has announced Doug Gealy, group manager for multiple markets, has died.

“We are grieved and shocked at the sudden loss of one of our own,” Sinclair CEO and EVP David Amy said in a statement. “Doug brought over 30 years of broadcast television experience to our Company and we will miss his talent and leadership. He was a very dedicated husband and family man and deeply valued the friendships he had in our business and many will miss him greatly. We wish to express our condolences to his family in this time of sorrow.”

Gealy oversaw Sinclair’s stations in the Washington, D.C, Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA, markets.

Before being named group manager in November 2013, Gealy had been president, CEO, COO and founder of ACME Communications. Before that he was EVP of Benedek Broadcasting. Gealy had previously worked as GM of WCMH and WWHO in Columbus, Ohio and WHOI in Peoria, Illinois. He had also worked at various stations in Ohio as general sales manager, local sales manager, national sales manager and account executive.

Graham Media Group Buys Social Media Startup

Graham-Media-Group-jpgGraham Media Group announced it has acquired SocialNewsDesk, a company providing social media management tools for newsrooms.

“We are excited to bring SocialNewsDesk into the Graham Media Group family,” Emily Barr, president and CEO of Graham Media Group, said in a statement. “In fact, we have been their client and appreciate, firsthand, the value they provide to our newsrooms.”

According to the release, SocialNewsDesk gives local TV stations the tools to publish content and manage their social media presence “while providing news producers and writers the ability to better manage the flow of information put out on social platforms.”

SND said its next product “SND On Air” will allow TV stations to “curate, style and broadcast social content.”

Alison Engel Named VP of Finance at Gannett

gannett-articleAlison “Ali” Engel has been named vice president of finance at Gannett Co. According to TVNewsCheck, Engel will report to Gannett president-CEO Gracia Martore.

Engel previously worked at A.H. Belo Corp. as senior vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer. Engel joined Belo Corp. in 2003 as director/accounting operations. She has worked at A.H. Belo since its spinoff from Belo Corp. in 2008.

“Ali has strong leadership skills and outstanding financial expertise in addition to experience with the A. H. Belo spinoff, which will be invaluable to us as we continue to move forward with our separation plans,” Martore said in a statement.

Gannett acquired the 20-station Belo TV station group for $2.2 billion back in December 2013. This past August, the company announced it was splitting its broadcasting and newspaper businesses. Belo itself split its TV and newspaper businesses in 2007.

Tribune Adds VP to Lead Programmatic and Data Driven Revenue

TribuneMedia_CMYK_pri_LrgTypeWilliam Ammerman has been named Tribune Broadcasting’s VP of Programmatic and Data Driven Revenue.

This new job was created by Tribune to “have responsibility for maximizing revenue opportunities through programmatic direct, private exchanges, and yield optimization on mobile, desktop, and video.”

Ammerman comes to Tribune from Capitol Broadcasting’s New Media Group where he was the general sales manager. Before that, he was president of DVD Marketing.

“With 42 TV stations in 33 markets, Tribune’s scale represents a tremendous opportunity to build a programmatic advertising presence,” Ammerman said in a statement. “I am honored to be part of this team and look forward to building a data-driven revenue stream for such a respected organization.”

Scripps 3Q TV Station Revenue Up 22%

scripps logo

The E.W. Scripps Company today reported that its TV station revenue was $121 million in the third quarter of 2014. That’s up $21.8 million, or 22%, from the same quarter in 2013. According to TVNewsCheck, the increase was fueled by a combination of higher local, political and digital revenue.

Here’s what the ad revenue looked like, broken down into categories:

  • Local, up 1.8% to $55.6 million
  • National, down 2.8% to $26.6 million
  • Political, $17.4 million compared to $1 million in the 2013 quarter
  • Retransmission fees, up 46% to $15.2 million
  • Digital revenue increased 8.5% to $4.6 million

High network fees linked to the increase in retransmission revenue was responsible for $2.3 million of the $10.9 million increase.

“Our local TV brands proved to be the venue of choice for candidates and issue backers in several of the most active election states,” Scripps chairman-president-chief executive officer Rich Boehne said in a statement. “For us, this is a low-cost revenue stream that at its peak displaces some core local advertisers. Now with the elections behind us, we expect core advertisers to return through the remainder of the fourth quarter.”

Gray Television Renews with NBC

New_Gray_304Gray Television says it has reached an agreement in principle with NBC to renew all of the station group’s network affiliates.

The agreement covers 24 stations in 21 markets across the US. The terms of the deal were not revealed.

“Today is another historic day for Gray Television because we proudly announce the long-term extension of our deep relationship with NBC,” Gray CEO Hilton H. Howell, Jr. said in a statement. “Most of our NBC affiliated stations have been partners with the network since they first began operation.”

Check out the list of affiliates covered after the jump. Read more