Public TV stations form group to explore move to ATSC 3.0

TV tower
The new system offers public television stations the opportunity to create new public services.

Public TV stations have formed Public Media Venture Group in an effort to coordinate their efforts around shifting to ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV standards and taking advantage of new features the standards offer.

The group will work on develop a plan for moving to ATSC 3.0 while maintaining ATSC 1.0 signals, while also looking into revenue opportunities like educational services, emergency communications, new program streams and interactive content.

“Stations participating in the Public Media Venture Group believe that Next Gen TV is just as exciting for public television stations as it is for commercial television. The new system offers public television stations the opportunity to create innovative and exciting new public services, to improve operations, save costs, generate new revenue, and invest more money in content and services that will better serve local communities,” said Marc Hand, CEO of Public Media Company.

Stations involved in the Public Media Venture Group include:

• Alabama Public Television, Alabama

• Iowa Public Television, Iowa

• KCET, California

• KVIE, California

• Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi

• Nebraska Network, Nebraska

• Nine Network of Public Media, Missouri

• Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado

• UNC-TV, North Carolina

• Utah Education Network, Utah

• Vegas PBS, Nevada

• WCTE, Tennessee

• WFYI, Indiana

• WGBH, Massachusetts

• WJCT, Florida

• WNET, New York

• WOSU, Ohio

• WTTW, Illinois

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Public media’s coordination on ATSC 3.0 comes as commercial broadcasters including Sinclair and Nexstar are pulling together like-minded broadcasters for a consortium geared toward figuring out the transition process on a market-by-market basis and exploring revenue opportunities for the new standards.

Jerry Fritz, executive vice president of strategic and legal affairs at Sinclair, said that one such opportunity could be bit pooling, or broadcasters combining their leftover spectrum space and letting a third party lease it to companies looking for wireless network bandwidth.

“Next-gen TV is not just TV. It’s a great, big giant data pipe with TV being one kind of data that can go over it,” Fritz said.