In 2016, Nexstar Media Group teamed up with Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting in what was heralded as the “largest multicast distribution launch in the history of broadcast TV.” Now, new partners Shield Media, Tamer Media and Vaughn Media have come on board and have agreed to add multicast networks Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff on 43 additional channels.
At the same time, affiliation agreements have been renewed for 21 current stations — with all affiliations extending well into the next decade.
Once the new launches are in place, the four Katz networks will be available on more than 200 channels across the U.S.
Specifically, the new multi-year agreements cover 52 Nexstar stations in 41 markets and are broken down as follows:
- Bounce will be launched in Austin; Albuquerque; and Colorado Springs; and on a Shield-owned station serving Albany-Schenectady-Troy. Renewals are seen in Indianapolis, Hartford, Norfolk, Grand Rapids, Providence and four other markets Katz declined to disclose.
- Escape will be added to 16 stations in such markets as Tampa, Raleigh, Austin and Birmingham. It has been renewed in Grand Rapids, Dayton and Topeka, and on a Tamer-owned station in Albuquerque.
- Grit will be launched in eight markets including San Francisco, Raleigh and Nashville while being renewed in Hartford, Austin, Grand Rapids and the Tamer-owned Albuquerque station.
- Laff will be carried in 13 new markets—including Washington, D.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Harrisburg; and Birmingham. The channel was renewed in Austin, Grand Rapids, the Tamer-owned Albuquerque station and on stations in 10 other markets.
The latest distribution gains will drive Bounce to 86% of the U.S. and 95 percent of African-American households, Katz notes.
Escape, Grit and Laff will now reach 89%, 87% and 90% of all U.S. TV households, respectively.
“Our new distribution agreements with Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff will bring new value to our acquired Media General stations as all four networks have a proven track record delivering exciting and valued programming to our viewers,” said Nexstar EVP/COO Brian Jones. “Nexstar’s top priority is serving the needs of the people and communities where we operate, and with the launch of these digital multicast networks across the companies’ broadcast platforms we are delivering more exciting content to local viewers.”
Katz Networks President/CEO Jonathan Katz noted that Nexstar “has been a terrific partner for Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff and we are thrilled to expand and extend our relationship with them for many years to come.”
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