Sinclair Broadcast Group has launched a division to create original content for its TV stations, TVNewsCheck reports. Sinclair is the biggest owner of local TV stations in the country.
“Controlling our content and its development not only reduces our dependency on others, providing a hedge against network disruptions, but allows us greater economic upside potential,” Sinclair President and CEO David Smith says in a press release.
As Al Tompkins wrote earlier this month, networks are pressuring affiliates to share some of the windfall they’re receiving from ever-increasing retransmission fees paid to them by cable companies. CBS removed its affiliation from WISH-TV in Indianapolis, “a signal that it is prepared to play rough” over fees, which networks once paid affiliates and which now flow in the opposite direction.
WISH is owned by LIN Media, which plans a merger with MediaGeneral. MediaGeneral on Wednesday “cut the price it is paying for LIN by nearly 7%, or more than $100 million, citing the CBS move, among other factors,” Keach Hagey reports.
For Sinclair, creating successful content of its own would be one hedge against relations with networks getting chippy. Last month, it announced it would create a college sports network to broadcast games on its stations.
The division’s focus “will be on entertainment content and business-to-consumer content such as infomercials and direct response commercials,” the company says in the release. “Initially, shows will be developed for the Company’s MyNets and CWs and will air in prime time and afternoon time periods on the weekend.”