The DIY Duopoly, Subchannel-Style


I did some poking around on creative, and lucrative, uses for stations’ multicast channels for the issue coming out Monday–including how some of the new dot-two Fox affiliates are faring, and what the major digi-nets, including Live Well Network and Me-TV, have coming up for fall.

One very interesting case study is that of Hearst TV’s KSBW Monterey, which launched an ABC affiliate called Central Coast ABC on its dot-two in the spring of 2011. Airing in HD, CCABC finished up the May sweeps as the No. 2 sign-on sign-off station in DMA No. 125-trailing only older sibling KSBW-and is part of a four-way tie for first in the primetime adults 25-54 race.

CCABC’s fast success is no fluke, says Joseph Heston, president and general manager of KSBW-CCABC. The multicast has distribution on the major subscription players, including Charter and Comcast, and is just one channel position away from KSBW, an NBC affiliate, on all of them. It’s the market’s first truly local ABC affiliate.

KSBW grabs around 35.5% of the revenue in Monterey-Salinas, says BIA/Kelsey, almost double that of the nearest competition, and the main station tirelessly promotes the ABC channel.

Heston has added nine staffers to the ABC side, and says CCABC comes in handy when programming runs late on NBC, such as the Olympics or Sunday night football, and viewers can find late news on the ABC.

“There’s still a contingent that wants to know what’s going on in the market,” he says. “The fact that we’re able to put on a news of record is good for us, and good for viewers.”