Luken RTV affiliate losses not a big hit


Luken CommunicationsIt has been reported that multicast network provider Luken Communications has been losing affiliates on its RTV Network (Retro TV) to other multicast networks like Live Well TV. RTV went from 130 clearances to 80. Since ABC owns Live Well TV, many of those lost affiliations are at ABC O&O stations and/or affiliates.

But one Luken affiliate, WYBN-TV Albany/Cable Ad Net NY President Dan Viles, tells RBR-TVBR the TV trades are missing the big picture: “Luken has RTV, PBJ, Tuff TV and is about to launch (11/1) “The Nashville Network” with Crook & Chase. So rather than having one network like Live Well TV with 70 affiliates or one network like Bounce TV with 50 stations saying they’re covering 80% of the country, CEO Henry Luken is putting placeholders out there for all of these different formats. If you look at the total number of markets Luken is in, he’s probably reaching as many households as these other companies—or more—with some cases two and three signals.”

Henry made a lot of money in the telecom industry. With that money, Luken Comm. launched less than four years ago and now has seven networks. The company built its affiliation and program source concept from the ground up. It’s all-digital. There are five floors in the HQ they have in Chattanooga. One is all servers, one is all technicians. They can feed 2,400 separate streams from their service—be it satellite or online.

The total Luken lineup:

-Retro Television Network

-Tuff TV (jointly owned by Seals Entertainment Company)

-My Family TV (jointly owned by ValCom)

-PBJ (jointly owned by Classic Media)

-Frost Great Outdoors

-Jewelry Television

-The Nashville Network (launches November 1; jointly owned by Jim Owens Entertainment)

-My Car TV (launches fall or winter)

And the hits just keep coming with Luken’s strategy: In January 2011, Luken announced the purchase of 78 low-power translator stations from the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council for $390,000; the purchase was made in order to expand coverage of its ten existing and planned digital multicast networks with hopes to eventually acquire 400 low-power stations.

Many of the other multicast networks out there were outgrowths of other networks. As we said, ABC set up Live Well TV, MeTV and This TV are MGM products, run by Wiegel Broadcasting. Antenna TV is run by Tribune Broadcasting.

Bottom line, if you look at all of the affiliations for Luken, the total is pretty impressive. RTV has 80; PBJ has 30; Tuff TV has 50; The Nashville Network is launching with 11. Luken is covering the U.S. with as many tentacles as it can. In one market they may not have RTV, but they’ve got PBJ and Tuff. In another, they may have My Car TV and RTV.

Luken’s Ku-band satellite has all four of their main channels—RTV, Tuff, PBJ and The Nashville Network. So this way, they did not overlap each other demographically and they only need one bird that feeds the splitter that feeds the receivers at the stations.