Sinclair Broadcast Group is beginning to roll out its new millennial-targeted network TBD, an over-the-air channel dedicated to digital-first content.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Sinclair will distribute TBD to its television stations in many of the 81 U.S. markets.
Sinclair described TBD as a home for “culinary capers, jaw-dropping action, hilarious pranks and comedy, music, fitness, gaming or just random awesomeness.”
“Our recent focus has been on expanding our business with new digital multicast networks that leverage our broadcast spectrum and household reach,” said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, in a statement. “Much of the multicast market today focuses on classic TV and movie content, with little aimed at audiences for whom fresh and relevant pop culture content is important. With the launch of TBD, we aim to pair the very best premium digital-first content with the unmatched branding power of traditional television.”
The launch of TBD comes after Sinclair already launched another multicast network, Comet, which focuses on science fiction. Comet houses older series, cult classics and is the exclusive TV distributor for the Stargate series.
While Sinclair is looking to grow its business organically through the launch of new netwoks, the group could also be looking to expand its broadcast operations through M&A. Sinclair is reportedly in talks with Tribune Media about an acquisition, either of the whole company or of some Tribune stations.
The reported deal activity for Sinclair comes as the FCC’s broadcast incentive auctions are wrapping up and TV station ownership rules are expected to be revised, both of which will likely kickstart a new wave of broadcast consolidation.
Following a relatively strong quarter that didn’t quite live up to analysts’ expectations, Sinclair is looking ahead to 2017 and anticipating big things with the broadcast incentive auctions over, a new FCC chairman in place and ATSC 3.0 approval in the pipeline.
“With the spectrum auction coming to an end and the potential for deregulation on the horizon, we expect 2017 to be a pivotal year for Sinclair and the broadcast industry,” said David Smith, executive chairman of Sinclair, in a statement. “Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission is in process of conducting a rulemaking proceeding for the use of ATSC 3.0 (the Next Generation Broadcast Standard), which we expect will result in its approval later this year. The new technology is expected to revolutionize the broadcast industry and provide for new business opportunities, products and services. We anticipate the long-awaited deregulation of the industry’s antiquated rules and the end of the spectrum quiet period to spur consolidation; a positive given that our industry has been prohibited from competing on a level playing field with other forms of media.”