By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR
It’s not exactly “the great affiliate switch,” but viewers in California’s southernmost metropolis will soon be seeing a second TV network shift to a new home.
In late January, XETV-6 operator Bay City Television confirmed that it is dissolving its business operations following the loss of the Baja California-based station’s affiliation with The CW Network.
It is now known that NBCUniversal‘s Spanish-language Telemundo network is set to shift from an Entravision Communications-run facility that’s also licensed to Baja California, Mexico.
Where’s the network headed? NBCUniversal is moving it to an owned-and-operated facility. But, no one is talking about when the move will happen, and if it involves a DT multicast tied to NBC O&O KNSD-39 (Cable 7) in San Diego. However, RBR + TVBR has determined that a shift will likely happen on July 1, based on a Securities & Exchange Commission filing made nearly four years ago.
Since fall 1990, XHAS-33 has been the Telemundo affiliate for the San Diego DMA. The station, however, also has a strong focus on Tijuana and Baja California.
XHAS’s owner is Televisora Alco, which is 40% owned by Entravision. Studios and business offices for XHAS are in San Diego, which puts the Telemundo affiliate side-by-side with perhaps its No. 1 competitor — Entravision’s wholly owned Univision-affiliated KBNT-CD, at Channel 17 in San Diego.
This puts Telemundo in a unique position in a marketplace that competes for dollars with Los Angeles, to the north, and with viewers that have access to TV Azteca and Televisa-affiliated stations from just south of the border.
With a five-year investment in local news across Telemundo O&Os, it appears that San Diego is a top 30 DMA NBCUniversal seeks to better compete in.
While Entravision declined to comment to RBR + TVBR on the loss of Telemundo affiliation after nearly 27 years, the company did confirm the cessation of its relationship with NBCUniversal in a Form 10-K reflecting its full-year 2012 financial results.
In the SEC filing, Entravision states that XHAS’s network affiliation agreement with Telemundo expires at the end of June 2017. “The affiliation agreement grants Telemundo a right of first refusal in the event a third party makes an offer to purchase XHAS-TV, and a right to purchase XHAS-TV upon a change of control of Entravision,” the filing states.
The filing also states that Entravision’s Time Brokerage Agreement for XHAS with Televisora Alco is not set to expire until 2035 and is set for an automatic, perpetual 30-year renewal unless both parties consent to termination.
Telemundo declined to comment when reached by RBR + TVBR.
However, NBCUniversal on Friday placed an advertisement in digital Hispanic marketing and advertising trade journal HispanicAd.com seeking a VP/Sales for “a new Telemundo-owned station in San Diego,” following a posting Jan. 30 on NBCUniversal’s own Careers website.
“This is an exciting project that will expand KNSD’s news staff with a new team of Spanish-speaking and bilingual journalists to launch the new station,” the job description reads. “Both news teams will serve local Spanish- and English-speaking viewers. The new Telemundo station team will work closely with KNSD team members in NBC 7’s new state-of-the-art facility in Kearny Mesa, Calif.”
This would put NBCUniversal’s San Diego operation in sync with its O&Os in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and Miami, among other markets.
Aside from Midwest Television, NBCUniversal competes for ad dollars and English-language TV viewers in San Diego with The E.W. Scripps & Co.‘s ABC-affiliated KGTV-10; Tribune Media‘s KSWB-69, branded as “FOX 5”; and McKinnon Broadcasting‘s independent KUSI-51.