With free TV experiencing a mini-renaissance, a pioneer within the digital broadcast house is launching a brand new enterprise — with assist from a number of huge gamers.
Jonathan Katz, who based Katz Broadcasting (Bounce TV, Courtroom TV, Laff), is launching Free TV Networks with two diginets on Jan. 1. The brand new channels might be provided over the air and by way of free, ad-supported streaming in partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery and Lionsgate — which can each present content material for the channels — and station proprietor Grey Tv.
The 2 channels set to launch on New Yr’s Day are The365, geared toward Black viewers, and Outlaw, which can function basic westerns. Each might be out there in about 80 p.c of the USA. Streaming variations of the 2 channels will launch later subsequent yr, together with channels titled VCR Motion and VCR Haha, that includes films from “the VHS period” (i.e., the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s).
“By no means underestimate the facility of ‘free,’” Katz stated in an announcement. “Audiences and advertisers have pushed the thriving advert marketplace for digital broadcast networks to nicely over $1 billion, with FAST channel revenues now greater than $5 billion. The Free TV Networks workforce has a profitable and worthwhile monitor document scaling well-defined manufacturers designed to serve the ever-growing variety of value-conscious shoppers combining free over-the-air and FAST channels with their favourite streaming companies.”
Free TV Networks counts human rights activist and philanthropist Martin Luther King III and music supervisor and boxing supervisor Alan Haymon amongst its founders and board members. Katz will function president and CEO. Former Scripps Networks exec Maria Harvey joins the corporate as CFO, and Phil Oppenheim, a veteran of Lionsgate, Epix and Turner Broadcasting, might be chief content material officer.
“We have now an extended and profitable technique licensing our world-class content material to each platform — from networks and syndication to digital and streaming,” stated David Decker, president content material gross sales at Warner Bros. Discovery. “Free TV Networks matches this completely, and we’re completely happy to supply our hit movies and tv exhibits to their audiences.”
“These digital broadcast and FAST channels carry collectively two content material leaders, one of many nation’s largest broadcast firms, and a revered business pioneer in help of a powerful lineup of African American and Western programming,” stated Jim Packer, president worldwide tv distribution for Lionsgate. “This can be a nice alternative to serve two massive and scalable demos with world-class IP in a well-defined market phase.”
Added Grey Tv president and co-CEO Pat LaPlatney, “Serving various communities is a key piece of our technique at Grey and has served us nicely for many years. Our partnership with Free TV Networks is one other illustration of our robust dedication to the continued progress of broadcast tv inside right this moment’s media ecosystem and the significance of delivering high-value leisure with out excessive prices to our viewers.”
Katz most lately was president of Hen Soup for the Soul Leisure, which owns Redbox and Crackle along with its namesake AVOD and FAST streaming outlet. Previous to beginning Katz Broadcasting, he headed program planning and acquisitions for Turner Leisure.