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Multicasting becoming a reality for local TV

JacklordAfter years of yakking about it, digital multi-casting on local TV stations is really starting to blossom.

There have been a number of pioneering efforts going on for the past few years at enterprising local outlets around the country. North Carolina-based Capitol Broadcasting has been in the vanguard of putting its extra digital bandwidth to good use with dedicated sports channels. NBC affils banded together in the WeatherPlus venture. And NBC’s Los Angeles O&O KNBC-TV has for more than a year been going without a net with its wonderfully uninhibited News Raw service, which offers C-SPAN-esque live feeds of news conferences and events a la the Phil Spector trial, as well as an insightful look at the newsroom’s daily planning meeting. (Click here for a broadband peek).

But what caught my eye today were two separate news releases that hit the wire today about private companies partnering with major broadcast TV players to bring fresh programming services to the small but growing number of people who have digital TVs at home (whether they can pull in these burgeoning digital offshoot channels via their cable and satellite providers is a whole ‘nother distribution conundrum, unfortunately.) It’s always seemed to me that the surest sign of a gen-u-ine market forming is transactions between unrelated entities, and if it involves “Hawaii Five-O” reruns, well, so much the better.