July 1 - Tribune's deal for Local TV makes it the biggest broadcaster in the U.S. at a time when broadcast is making strides in new media. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Local TV is fast becoming the lead story for Wall Street dealmakers. Tribune is spending $2.7 billion to buy 19 television stations from Local TV holdings- making it the largest TV broadcaster in the U.S. Last month: Gannett said it's buying Belo and its 20 TV stations for $1.5 billion. And Sinclair has been buying up stations- most recently Fisher Communications which owned 20 television stations. Why all the fuss? Dual revenue streams. Stations don't just get ad dollars- they also get retransmission fees from cable companies. And looking forward- there is money in mobile: Horizon Media's Brad Adgate: SOUNDBITE: BRAD ADGATE, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, HORIZON MEDIA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Television per se is a very older medium in terms of the audience. I mean particularly the news and other TV shows. There has been kind of a graying of television. But when you start looking into mobile it's a very strong 18-34 year old demographic that has a lot of appeal to advertisers." As of February 2013 180 local TV stations were available on mobile devices- up from just 60 in 2010, according to SNL Kagan. And that does not even include mobile apps. Then there is the trend of companies moving away from newspapers- and towards broadcasting. Tribune has been making internal preparations to sell its newspapers- according to a Reuters source- and has already attracted interest from Charles and David Koch. News Corp has just split of its entertainment and publishing businesses. SOUNDBITE: BRAD ADGATE, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, HORIZON MEDIA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "TV stations are making more of a profit than publishing. You know, Belo split in two, a few years ago. So did Scripps separate, kind of the publishing- which is not as strong for investors as perhaps entertainment or electronic media. I think News Corp is very interesting. I think they thought by splitting the company in two that the entertainment division the stations the cable networks, the movie studios is going to flourish, and that the publishing part of it was really a downer on their profits." And both Tribune and Sinclair have said they will continue to look to buy more broadcast stations as they become available.