A Sinclair-Tribune Merge Isn't Exactly A TV Network

In the wake of the big potential $4 billion Sinclair and Tribune Media deal, you might hear the one loaded word that gets everyone in an uproar: network.

With a possible nationwide coverage of 72% in combining the two TV station groups -- in addition to Tribune Media-owned cable network WGN America --  it could mean far more national ad revenues. 

Traditionally, having TV station coverage of more than 70% of U.S. TV homes has meant the ability to attract national/network TV media dollars.

To be fair, Sinclair executives didn’t talk specifically about creating a new national TV network -- only other ways of attracting new advertising dollars. For example, the new broadcast technology standard, ATSC 3.0 is poised to allow TV stations to develop all kinds of new products -- including national TV platforms.

Chris Ripley, president/CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, says the new technology will bring the company closer to having a national footprint. "It's that sort of [national] network that opens up all the incremental revenue that are beyond core broadcasting,” in speaking at a press conference about the deal.



But national advertisers might be cautious when considering other remarks -- especially it pertains to WGN America.

Ripley believes this network needs to cut back on high-cost programming in favor or low-budget originals and reruns. "WGNA does not have a revenue problem. It's got lots of revenues. It's got a nice contractual ramp of affiliates over the next couple of years and a nice base of advertising revenue.”

Trouble comes when national TV advertisers make choices, they look increasingly at what is “premium” TV programming and what isn’t -- especially against some of the swill that exists on digital media.

Reruns, low-budget originals? Are we talking the early days of U.S. syndication or cable TV?

Against a fast-growing TV-video world, TV networks now continually try to distinguish themselves as the producers of high-quality programming, which also goes for top established cable TV networks (TNT, USA, FX, etc.), and other cable networks.

Sending a signal to investors and other potential business partners you want to cut costs is financially prudent. But also telling them you want to program TV networks/platforms on the cheap -- in a world of $6 billion TV production budgets from Netflix -- doesn’t offer up much TV confidence.

A low-rent TV network? A guess it depends on the neighborhood.

2 comments about "A Sinclair-Tribune Merge Isn't Exactly A TV Network".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 9, 2017 at 9:09 a.m.

    More likely, they are thinking about launching syndicated talk shows and, probably, selling national ads via their version of an "unwired network", Wayne.

  2. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, May 9, 2017 at 3:53 p.m.

    The ATSC 3.0 technology roadmap is severely impaired and DEAD ON ARRIVAL for mobile.

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