Monday, April 10, 2006

WNBC Adds Second Multicast Channel

WNBC Adds Second Multicast Channel: "While many of the nation?s TV stations are still prepping their first digital channel, WNBC, NBC Universal?s flagship in New York will be the first to launch a second.

“We wanted to utilize our digital tier and have another platform to make money on,” said Frank Comerford, president and general manager of WNBC, which also multicasts NBC Weather Plus. “We can either become a victim of technology or become one of the players.” Available over the air since last December, the station also recently secured carriage on Time Warner’s digital tier. In May, WNBC4.4 will also be available on Cablevision Systems’ digital tier. In total, WNBC4.4 will reach about 2.5 million homes. WNBC4.4 content will eventually be archived on WNBC.com, bringing the branding, reach and promotion of all WNBC’s digital content offerings full circle.

The second phase of the launch, in progress now, will increase the loop to 12 hours and fold in programming from the station’s content partners such as Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center, MOMA, the New York Public Library and the Bronx Zoo. There are also plans to carry some shows from other NBC-owned stations that are relevant to New Yorkers, such as Wine Country and Tech Now from KNTV in San Francisco. By September, WNBC4.4 will unveil original programming, including some viewer-contributed video content, which Comerford described as “blogging for TV.”

The station is also looking for a more creative approach to advertising sales that harks back to TV’s early days when entire programs were sponsored by pursuing advertisers that want to “own” specific programming events. “We’re not relying on the 30-second model,” said Comerford. “And that may help us handle programming and advertising on the big channel.”

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