USDTV Signs Agreement with Major Broadcasters to Expand ''Over-the-Air'' Digital Subscription TV
|Fox Television Stations, Hearst-Argyle, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, LIN TV, Morgan-Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV Invest in USDTV's Low-Cost Digital Alternative to Cable|
“The vision and strategic strength of our new investors significantly enhance our ability to change the competitive landscape of the subscription TV industry.”
U.S. Digital Television, LLC (USDTV) today announced that it signed a $25.75 million funding agreement with an investment group that includes Fox Television Stations, Inc., Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc., McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, LIN TV Corp., Morgan-Murphy Stations and Telcom DTV, LLC, providing additional financial and strategic support to expand its low cost, all-digital, "over-the-air" alternative to cable.
"We are pleased with the wide range of industry leaders supporting USDTV's efforts to provide consumers with a new choice for digital television," said Steve Lindsley, Chief Executive Officer of USDTV. "The vision and strategic strength of our new investors significantly enhance our ability to change the competitive landscape of the subscription TV industry."
For less than $20 a month, USDTV offers consumers approximately 30 all digital channels, comprising local digital and HDTV broadcast channels and 12 leading cable networks, including FOX News Channel, ESPN and The Disney Channel.
Consumers receive the USDTV service through a VHF/UHF antenna connected to a proprietary USDTV set-top box, producing digital quality picture and sound on standard TVs. USDTV is able to broadcast its service by leasing spectrum from its television station partners in each market.
"USDTV delivers a competitive consumer offering and has developed a dynamic business model that will help monetize our stations' digital spectrum," said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, Inc. "In addition to those viewers who use traditional TV antennas, I believe there are millions of expanded and basic cable homes who will be attracted to USDTV's low-cost service."
The service is currently being tested in three pilot markets: Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Las Vegas, with other markets expected to launch in the coming months. Planned technology upgrades include the introduction of video on-demand (VOD) content and digital video recording (DVR) services.
"The need for expanded consumer options in the pay TV industry is just one driver of the investment promise behind the company," said Steve Hobbs, Senior Vice President, Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc.
"We believe broadcasters will unite around the USDTV initiative and reaffirm their leadership role in the communities they serve," said Gary Chapman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of LIN TV Corporation.
The USDTV service, including USDTV compatible set-top boxes, will be available directly from USDTV and through national and local retailers.
About USDTV: U.S. Digital Television, Inc. is the first "over-the-air" terrestrial digital subscription TV service in the United States, offering a low-cost alternative to expensive cable. USDTV provides customers all local digital and HDTV channels and 12 of the most popular cable channels such as: Fox News Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, Discovery, TLC, The Disney Channel, Toon Disney, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, HGTV, The Food Channel and STARZ!. USDTV enables viewers to receive a digital-quality picture, theater-quality sound, and HDTV. The company is currently serving subscribers in Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. The company is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. www.usdtv.com
About Fox Television Stations, Inc.: Fox Television Stations, Inc., one of the nation's largest owned-and-operated network broadcast groups, comprises 35 stations in 26 markets, covering nearly 45% of U.S. television homes. This includes six duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C. and Houston, as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix and Orlando. Fox Televisions Stations, Inc. is a unit of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV).
About Hearst-Argyle Television: Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. owns 25 television stations, and manages an additional three television and two radio stations, in geographically diverse U.S. markets. The Company's television stations reach approximately 18% of U.S. TV households, making it one of the largest U.S. television station groups. The Company owns 10 NBC affiliates, and is the second-largest NBC affiliate owner. Hearst-Argyle also owns 12 ABC affiliated stations, and manages an additional ABC station owned by The Hearst Corporation, and is the largest ABC affiliate group. The Company also owns two CBS affiliates and a WB affiliate, and manages a UPN affiliate and an independent station. Hearst-Argyle also is involved in television production and syndication, through a joint venture with NBC Universal Television Distribution, and is a leader in the convergence of local broadcast television and the Internet through its partnership with Internet Broadcasting Systems. Hearst-Argyle is majority owned by The Hearst Corporation. Hearst-Argyle Series A Common Stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "HTV."
About McGraw-Hill Broadcasting: Since 1972, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, has been delivering local viewing audiences dependable news and information, entertainment and community service. With access to over 8 million people in San Diego and Kern County, California, Denver, Colorado and Central Indiana, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting operates KGTV San Diego (ABC), KERO-TV Bakersfield (ABC), KMGH-TV Denver (ABC), WRTV Indianapolis (ABC) and Azteca America affiliates in Denver and Colorado Springs. With cable news channels, high definition broadcasts and local news websites in every market in which it operates, McGraw-Hill Broadcasting is a leader in local broadcast innovation.
About LIN TV: LIN TV Corp. is an owner and operator of 25 network-affiliated television stations in 14 mid-sized markets in the U.S. LIN TV also owns approximately 20% of KXAS-TV in Dallas, Texas and KNSD-TV in San Diego, California through a joint venture with NBC, and is a 50% non-voting investor in Banks Broadcasting, Inc., which owns KWCV-TV in Wichita, Kansas and KNIN-TV in Boise, Idaho. Finally, LIN is a one-third owner of WAND-TV, the ABC affiliate in Decatur, Illinois, which it manages pursuant to a management services agreement. Financial information and overviews of LIN TV's stations are available on the Company's website at www.lintv.com.
About Morgan Murphy: Morgan Murphy Stations is a family owned multi-media company headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The company owns and operates television and radio broadcast properties in Wisconsin, Washington, Idaho and Iowa. Morgan Murphy Stations are leaders in their communities in providing local news, weather and sports and has been on the cutting edge of introducing new media technologies to their markets.
About Telcom DTV: Telcom DTV, LLC and its affiliates, including Telcom Ventures, L.L.C., identify, develop and pursue selected business opportunities in both the domestic and international wireless communications industries. Telcom Ventures and its affiliates are investment vehicles for wireless-pioneer Dr. Rajendra Singh and his wife Neera Singh. Dr. and Mrs. Singh are also the co-founders and the controlling shareholders of LCC International Inc. (NASDAQ: LCCI), one of the world's leading independent providers of radio frequency engineering and design services for wireless communications systems.