‘Tis the season to experiment with digital multicast channels.
Sony Pictures Television is looking to spruce up the programming on its GetTV multicast channel, which mines the studio’s vault with blocks of vintage movies and TV series.
Starting next year, Sony plans to add a block of superhero, sci-fi and action-themed movies and TV shows that will feature more contemporary and higher-wattage titles in the studio’s vault. Titles likely to show up include such vehicles as “Spiderman,” “Ghost Rider,” “Jumanji,” “Men In Black,” “Ghostbusters,” “District 9,” “Blade Runner” and “Total Recall.” The studio is also promising to curate gems from its TV and animation libraries, as well as programs licensed from outside distributors and even some originals.
GetTV airs as an ad-supported multicast channel on TV stations in 85 markets covering 80% of U.S. TV households. The channel also has some MVPD distribution via Dish. The effort to upgrade the movie programming is likely a bid to entice more digital and linear MVPDs to carry the channel. Even without a license fee, the distribution is valuable to Sony on the advertising side.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to refresh our brand while bringing a new audience looking for free, high quality content to GetTV,” said Jeff Meier, senior VP and general manager of GetTV. “Tapping into these wildly successful genres, we can’t wait to uncover some of the most beloved superhero classics and to bring fresh series in the genre to existing and new viewers alike.”
GetTV debuted in 2014 as Sony’s entry into the multicast channel business that has sprouted during the past decade following the nation’s switch to all-digital broadcasting in June 2009. Fox, MGM and other content owners and distributors have leveraged their deep library assets to craft themed channels that are carried by local TV stations using their extra channel capacity on the digital spectrum.
Sony sees GetTV as an underdeveloped property given the many changes in the pay TV eco-system. The channel is not available as a free streaming offering, which also boosts its appeal to MVPDs.
(Pictured: 1997’s “Men in Black”)