NAB launches Future of TV Coalition to encourage diversity programming on digital subchannels

In an effort to leverage the value of minority-targeted multicast channels in the fight to save broadcast spectrum, the NAB has launched a Future of TV Coalition to promote diversity in broadcasting. A press event Nov. 1in Washington, D.C., featured a coalition of local officials and media organizations that rely on broadcast television services, including programming distributors, electronic equipment manufacturers and multicast networks.

Broadcasters' main lobbying group described the coalition as representing "a broad array of constituencies that rely on broadcast television" and supporting "the evolution of broadcast television and its integration with other technologies and across many platforms."

Members, the NAB said, would work together to advance public policy initiatives that allow broadcasters to rigorously innovate and invest in technologies to better serve viewers.

For months, the NAB has argued that one way for broadcasters to serve a minority population is through digital subchannels. These channels were established when the digital transition occurred. Such spectrum could be lost due to broadcast auctions for wireless broadband spectrum, the NAB has warned.

One network that has been building an audience through multicast channels deals is Bounce TV, an African-American-targeted OTA programming service. The unveiling of the coalition featured a special announcement by Bounce that it has signed a distribution agreement with Gannett Broadcasting to make WUSA-TV the exclusive provider of Bounce TV in Washington, D.C.

Attending the press event to launch the new initiative were: Gordon Smith, NAB President and CEO; Andrew Young, Bounce TV co-founder and former Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador; Carmen DeRienzo, founding president of Spanish-language broadcast network Vme Media; Dave Lougee, Gannett Broadcasting president and member of the Open Mobile Video Coalition executive committee; and Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct, which provides high-performance digital and HDTV antenna systems.

"Broadcasters are just now unveiling the new innovative services made possible by the DTV transition, which has enabled the promotion of more community voices on local television," said the NAB's Smith. "The members of this coalition understand the importance and benefit of preserving this expansion of consumer choice on television. We look forward to working with the coalition to help policymakers understand the enduring value of broadcasting and ensuring that our best and brightest days are still ahead."