Katz Broadcasting Diginets Expand Distribution With Meredith Deal

Courtesy of Katz Broadcasting
Jonathan Katz

It includes the LAFF network, which launches on April 15, and will now reach about half of all U.S. TV homes.

Katz Broadcasting has expanded distribution of three of its diginets, including the LAFF network that is scheduled to launch on April 15, in its first deal with Meredith Corporation, the 15th largest U.S. broadcast group.

In less than two years since it launched, Atlanta-based Katz has put four digitnets on the air. Diginets are networks carried by local broadcasters on the digital portion of their signal.

LAFF, which will air licensed comedies from the past including The Drew Carey Show, Night Court and Empty Nest, like the other networks, is targeted at a specific audience that has appeal for advertisers. In the case of LAFF, it is after adults 18 to 49.

Meredith is also going to carry two other Katz diginets — Grit and Escape.

Grit, which is targeted at males 25 to 54, carries action-oriented and genre fare, including westerns and war-themed shows. Meredith will add it to WGCL-TV, channel 46.3, in Atlanta.

Escape, which is aimed at women 18 to 54, features a mix of theatrical movies and off-network series, including the genres of crime and mystery. It will be on Meredith stations in Portland, Oregon; Hartford, Connecticut; Greenville, South Carolina; and Las Vegas.

That grows the reach of Grit to 78 percent of U.S. TV homes and Escape to 58 percent. LAFF now has commitments to launch in about half of all American TV homes.

“The consumer response to our demo-specific networks, which are unlike anything else found on this platform, have led the leaders in the broadcast industry to embrace our brands,” said Jonathan Katz, CEO of Katz Broadcasting.

Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting executive, is also founder and COO of Bounce TV, a diginet aimed at African Americans.

Katz said other station groups carrying the digitnets include ABC-owned television stations, E.W. Scripps Company, Cox Media Group, Raycom Media, Univision Television Group and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

“Grit, Escape and LAFF will add great value to our stations in these markets,” said Doug Lowe, executive vp of Meredith’s Local Media Group.

Iowa-based Meredith Corporation has been in the industry for more than 110 years. It has several distribution platforms along with its 17 TV stations. They are digital and print, including the flagship magazine Better Homes and Gardens. Their Local Media Group reaches 12 million households.

Katz has positioned the digitnets as a broadcast alternative to the growing number of over the air, online, streaming and mobile platforms delivering content.

“Our strategy to offer viewers diverse new over-the-air choices,” said Katz, “designed to complement the growing number of over-the-top subscription services [that are] proving to be enormously successful for our affiliate partners and our advertisers across the board.”