Local TV

U-T TV Goes Dark

San Diego newspaper’s shot at rethinking local television comes up short 2/20/2014 12:25:00 PM Eastern

U-T TV, a San Diego daily newspaper’s innovative attempt to remake local television, is departing the TV business. Part of U-T San Diego (the former San Diego Union-Tribune), U-T TV aired its last television broadcast February 19. U-T TV instead will be “an all-digital operation, creating programming that can be accessed on any digital device, including computers, tablets and smartphones,” according to U-T San Diego.

“We are out of the over-the-air broadcasting business,” Mike Hodges, U-T San Diego’s president and COO, said. “But we are still in the news-video business big time.”

Spawned in 2012 after the newspaper was acquired by conservative real estate mogul Doug Manchester’s MLIM Holdings, U-T TV initially made a splash with a flashy $5 million studio and a few talent hires from established TV stations.

It goes dark Feb. 20 on Cox Cable and on AT&T U-verse. U-T TV suffered without distribution from Time Warner Cable.

According to U-T San Diego, “a few dozen” of U-T TV’s approximately 45 employees will remain on board to produce videos for the U-T San Diego website, with anchors providing hourly news updates.

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