More multicast networks announced from Scripps, Tegna
Days after Scripps shut down several digital subchannels (now called “multicast networks”) related to their acquisition of Ion, the Cincinnati-based company announced Tuesday two new channels: Defy and the amply named Doozy (yes, Doozy.) Both are cleared in 75 percent of the country for a July 1 launch.
Defy is targeted to male audiences 25-54 which fare such as Pawn Stars and American Pickers, while Doozy is targeted to female audiences 25-54 with fare such as Married At First Sight and Storage Wars.
They join another new multicast network announced last week called Twist, from Tegna and feature shows such as Dance Moms, Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, and Dr. 90210. The channel is expected to launch this spring.
Both Defy and Doozy are joining the existing array of multicasters already on Ion’s system, including Bounce, Court TV, Court TV Mysteries, Grit, and Laff. Some of these diginets were used to replace Qubo, ShopIon, and Ion Plus channels in some markets on February 26 – two days earlier than expected. Scripps acquired Ion last year and earlier acquired Katz Communications’ stable of multicast channels a few years ago.
In Chicago, Qubo was replaced on WCPX-Channel 38.2 by Court TV, already on WGN-Channel 9.3; Ion Plus was replaced by Court TV Mysteries (also available on WXFT Ch. 60.2); and Laff (now on WGBO-Ch. 66-2) replaced ShopIon. The contracts currently with the non-Scripps stations are not being renewed.
Meanwhile, Tegna is launching Twist on their own station group and made a deal with Univision in larger markets including New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, and here in Chicago, where Twist will show up on the digital subchannels of either WXFT or WGBO and is likely replacing one of the Katz/Scripps channels.
Fueling this multicast growth is the availability of off-network reality cable series. Many of these shows aired originally on Bravo, History, the former Spike TV, etc. in the 2000s when the genre was fairly new. The same off-network programming makes up the centerpiece of Discovery’s new streaming service, featuring backlog programming from their six cable networks (which ironically, were once owned by Scripps before the company split up.) Tegna already has several channels with such material – Qwest and True Crime (formerly Justice) and both are on the subchannels of Univision’s stations.
Earlier, CBS Media Ventures launched Dabl with a reliance on off-cable series as does newcomer Fave TV, who launched with a much lower profile over CBS-owned stations.
Also new on the multicast beat is Byron Allen’s new Grio.TV, targeting Black audiences.