UPDATED with clearance and schedule. TrueReal and Defy TV, two new multicast networks being launched today by E.W. Scripps, have been cleared in 92% of U.S. households, the company said.
In addition to the reach of the networks, Scripps announced programming details. Defy TV will focus on men aged 25 to 54. Shows will include Swamp People, Counting Cars, American Pickers, The Curse of Oak Island, Forged in Fire, Ax Men, Alone, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Pawn Stars.
TrueReal will concentrate on women 25-54, with a lineup featuring Storage Wars, Hoarders, Little Women: LA, Intervention, I Survived, Married at First Sight, Little Women: Atlanta and Wahlburgers.
TrueReal was called Doozy when the network was first announced last March.
Adding to its multicast network portfolio, the E.W. Scripps Co. is launching two channel offerings focused on reality TV.
Doozy, aimed at women aged 25 to 54, will serve up episodes of Storage Wars, Married at First Sight, Hoarders and other shows. Defy TV will target men 25 to 54, with a slate featuring the likes of Pawn Stars, Forged in Fire and American Pickers. Between the two networks, the combined library will reach 70 shows.
Each network will launch July 1, with reach to 75% of U.S. TV households in all top markets. Scripps, whose network stable already includes ION, Bounce, Laff, Grit, Court TV and Newsy, said additional carriage deals will be announced soon for Doozy and Defy.
The TV industry’s transition to high-definition from standard-definition at the end of the 2000s required a reshuffling of broadcast spectrum inventory. That shift created new real estate for an entirely new subset of programming outlets: multicast networks, which are sometimes called “diginets.”
Local TV station owners like Scripps, Sinclair and Tegna as well as media companies like ViacomCBS and ION have all made multicast investments in recent years. Ad revenues in the sector have been estimated at $250 million to $350 million a year. Operational costs are extremely low compared with those of conventional TV networks given their reliance on off-network programming and automated advertising technology. In the streaming era, the networks have gained additional traction as some viewers have ditched cable-TV for a mix of streaming and over-the-air offerings. Because of their broadcast backbone, multicast networks are available in high-definition via an antenna for free and do not require a pay-TV subscription.
Last fall, Scripps led the $2.65 billion acquisition of ION, which strengthened its capabilities in the multicast arena given ION’s sizable broadcast spectrum holdings.
“By creating compelling new network programming to distribute through ION’s spectrum, Scripps is expanding the ways it creates value from our ownership of ION and its powerful distribution platform,” said Scripps Networks President Lisa Knutson.
Doozy and Defy “solidify Scripps’ position as the leader in free TV, serving viewers across the country with premium programming they can access on any television set,” Knutson added. “Over-the-air television is growing rapidly, as more and more consumers ‘self-bundle’ by combining free television with subscription video-on-demand services. Doozy and Defy TV join our other networks in providing consumers even more entertaining, engaging – and free – programming. And they reinforce our ability to provide advertisers with effective and diverse reach.”
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