Sinclair eyes ATSC 3.0 SFN, business model tests later this summer

Sinclair’s media revenues (excluding barter) increased 13.4% to $602.5 million, up from $531.3 million during the year-ago quarter.

Amid a first quarter that saw its total revenues jump 12.3%, Sinclair Broadcast Group is looking ahead to ATSC 3.0 and planning to test single-frequency network technology and advanced business model tests later this summer.

“2017 is shaping up to be a pivotal year with the FCC’s recent reinstatement of the UHF discount, expected approval of ATSC 3.0 (Next-Generation Broadcast Platform), and much needed modernization of antiquated broadcast regulations. Positive movements by the FCC on these fronts will allow us, among other things, to better serve our local communities through increased investment in local news and other quality local programming,” said David Smith, executive chairman at Sinclair, in a statement. “In anticipation of ATSC 3.0’s approval, we have been laying the groundwork for development of a nationwide network, design of 3.0 chipsets, and will be testing single frequency network technology and advanced business models later this summer. The next-gen technology will transform how we interact with consumers and allow us to implement value-enhancing business models as the convergence and emergence of alternative platforms and companies proliferate.”

RELATED: Sinclair’s One Media, Saankhya Labs team on ATSC 3.0 chipsets

Sinclair’s summer plans for ATSC 3.0, which is nearing finalization and is currently undergoing a rulemaking process at the FCC, come after the broadcaster made two announcements regarding ATSC 3.0 development in March.

Sinclair Broadcast subsidiary One Media 3.0 is teaming with Saankhya Labs to develop ATSC 3.0 chipsets for next-gen TV service.

The companies intend their work to be more of an “incubation” stage for ATSC 3.0 chipset development before a “full-fledged development program” is launched. During this incubation stage, Saankhya Labs will move ahead with chip architecture definition and algorithm identification in collaboration with Sinclair and One Media 3.0 technical leads.

Meanwhile, Nexstar Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group are setting up a spectrum consortium ahead of the finalization of ATSC 3.0 next-generation TV transmission standards.

“The consortium will promote innovation and develop and explore products and services associated with ATSC 3.0 and monetization opportunities such as spectrum utilization, virtual MVPD platforms, multicast channels, automotive applications, single frequency networks and wireless data applications, among others,” the companies said.

While Sinclair continues to move forward with ATSC 3.0 development plans, it can build off a quarter in which revenues totaled $649.9 million, up from $578.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating income for the quarter was $157.6 million, benefiting from a gain of $53 million from the sale of Alarm Funding Associates.

Sinclair’s media revenues (excluding barter) increased 13.4% to $602.5 million, up from $531.3 million during the year-ago quarter.