New York Times to exit TV


Yes, the New York Times Company already sold its TV station group, but it still has one more little-known television property – however, not for long. The company’s Herald-Tribune newspaper in Sarasota, FL says it will no longer operate its local cable TV news channel after this year, but it has a would-be buyer.

The newspaper reported that publisher Diane McFarlin sent staffers a memo that “a difficult business environment has caused us to explore expense reduction in various parts of our operations. As part of this process, we have determined that the Herald-Tribune Media Group can no longer operate SNN News 6 after this year.”

A deal is pending, however, to sell the operation to its General Manager Linda DesMarais and her husband, Doug Barker, both veteran TV executives. They are in the process of raising cash to close the deal. If they succeed in buying SNN TV News 6, little wil change. The 32 staffers will have a new employer, but the news operation would remain inside the downtown Sarasota offices of the Herald-Tribune.

RBR/TVBR observation: SNN News 6 currently bills itself as “the nation’s only 24-hour cable news station fully integrated into a newspaper” and it seems to be a pretty good product. But what makes it most unusual is its narrow distribution – limited to about 118,000 Comcast subscribers in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. It’s not available at the RBR/TVBR bureau in adjacent Manatee County because that’s Bright House territory, not Comcast. That’s a small coverage area for a full-time, all-news channel – and makes profitability a real challenge.