Pioneering mega-rep Interep is out of the radio business, after a federal bankruptcy court last week approved a deal to have Clear Channel-owned Katz Media Group pay $3.64 million for all radio clients to be released from their contracts. Katz immediately announced deals to sign Interep’s two largest radio clients, CBS Radio and Entercom, to rep deals. And on Friday bankruptcy trustee Kenneth Silverman also filed a deal to sell Interep Interactive for $300,000. But Interep’s two television rep firms continue to operate, although Silverman says that can’t continue for long. Just what happens to them should be known very soon.
Compared to the network O&O in-house reps and the collections of rep firms owned by Cox, Petry and Katz, the two TV rep firms at Interep are rather small – but they are in a desirable growth niche, US Hispanic television. Azteca America Spot Television Sales (AATVS), established in 2005, sells national spot for most of the major Azteca America network affiliates. Hispanic Independent Television Sales (HITS), established in 2007, represents independent Hispanic TV stations, and its HITS Network division also reps several cable and satellite channels aimed at US Hispanics. Both TV rep firms are based in New York and headed by President Tom Marsillo, with staffers in six other offices across the country.
Unlike ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, who are barred from repping their affiliates, Univision and Telemundo were granted FCC permission to represent affiliates as well as their O&Os back when Spanish television was a struggling upstart. So they now handle the overwhelming majority of the national spot business in Spanish. But because of their success, the number of competitors in US Spanish television (not to mention bilingual TV aimed at Hispanics) has grown dramatically in recent years.
Certainly there is a growing market to be served by national reps such as AATVS and HITS. Now that the bankruptcy trustee has dealt with the biggest issue, radio, it will be interesting to see what comes of the Hispanic TV rep business at Interep.