You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV blasts into ‘Net

Station groups join to offer digital Web services

Twelve major TV station groups have banded together to try to harvest big bucks from the Internet.

Led by Tribune, Gannett, Cox, Post-Newsweek, E.W. Scripps, Meredith and Media General — all among the 25 biggest broadcast groups in the U.S. — the new Los Angeles-based network, called iBlast, will sell digital content such as music, video and games to Netizens.

Two of the three principals in iBlast, Mike Lambert, co-founder and CEO, and Ken Solomon, president, are former top executives with broadcast companies. Lambert was once the president of domestic TV for Fox and now owns and operates a TV station group. Solomon is a former president of Universal Studios and Studios USA and former co-head of DreamWorks TV. The third principal, Oliver Luckett, co-founder and chief technology officer, has served in network-development positions for a number of technology/communications companies.

What triggered the creation of iBlast, which promises to be up and running within a few months, is the potential revenue to be generated by the digital spectrum, which the government has assigned all TV stations. The new company will use a portion of that bandwidth spectrum to deliver an array of services that client TV stations will then transmit to computers users — in their homes or businesses — with the appropriate receiver.

The services could include everything from news headlines and movie trailers to music videos and updated virus-protection software. Lambert says these uses would not interfere with the more high-visibility applications of the digital spectrum by TV stations, such as delivery of high-definition pictures for theatrical movies and sports events, and simultaneous multicasting of other 24-hour services such as a local-news channel or a local-weather channel.

Lambert declined to discuss dollar figures, but sources say iBlast has amassed a war chest of up to $50 million to make sure it runs smoothly. There are 143 TV stations already on board, covering 102 markets, for a reach of more than 80% of U.S. homes.

All of the stations are putting up seed money in exchange for an equity stake in iBlast. They’ll also share in the revenues and be able to tap into the proprietary technology to send local content to their customers. The goal of iBlast is to get its service into 95% of the country by the time it’s ready to launch, Lambert says.

The other station groups in the iBlast partnership are Lee Enterprises, the New York Times Co., McGraw Hill, Smith Broadcasting and Northwest.

More Digital


    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content