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CTD to Dabble in Diginets With Lifestyle Net Dabl

CBS Television Distribution is launching its first diginet, a lifestyle offering called Dabl, featuring the libraries of Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse, said Steve LoCascio, chief operating and financial officer of CBS Global Distribution Group.

The network — which is currently cleared on TV stations covering more than 70% of the country, including on the CBS Television Stations — will launch on Sept. 9.

“The strength of our distribution and ad sales teams, combined with our [owned-and-operated] station group and the depth of our library, provides us with a lot of opportunities to mine in the digital landscape,” LoCascio said in a statement. “We chose Dabl as our first foray into the space because we see a huge upside in the marketplace for lifestyle programming. We are excited to partner with our CBS stations group to bring this advertiser-friendly network with some of the most beloved personalities in the genre to life.”

Diginets air on the digital spectrum of TV stations, occupying a digital subchannel, such as 6.2 or 6.3. Dabl will share this space with other diginets such as MeTV, AntennaTV, This TV and so forth. Dabl is thus far the only diginet to focus specifically on lifestyle programming, starting with the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse libraries with more likely to join the network prior to launch, said LoCascio.

CTD provides many library programs to other diginets and considering its own resources, decided it made sense to launch one itself.

“We’ve been in this space for a long time selling library content to the likes of Weigel, Cozi TV, Bounce and others, and it’s been quite lucrative for us,” said LoCascio. “We thought, 'why don’t we do it ourselves?' When you think about what you need to make this work — distribution, content, operations — we have the content and with our domestic sales team and the relationships we have, we thought it would be relatively easy to go and secure distribution. And our ad sales team would support the primary revenue stream, which is advertising. It all made sense to us.”

Diginets usually attract direct-response (1-800) advertising to start, and then expand into standard advertising as they become nationally rated. The lifestyle genre is very advertiser-friendly, which was another reason CBS thought it made sense to start there.

Viewers often combine over-the-air offerings, which now include diginets, with subscription streaming services to create their own cost-effective TV packages. Since these viewers often do not subscribe to cable, there’s a need for free over-the-air networks that replicate what pay cable offers.

At launch, Dabl will feature informative, project-based content for viewers interested in cooking, home renovation, design, DIY, pets and travel. By September, LoCascio expects the network to be able to offer more lifestyle programming in addition to the libraries of Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse.

“We are excited to support our colleagues at CBS Television Distribution with the launch of Dabl on our stations,” said Peter Dunn, president, CBS Television Stations, also in a statement. “We share our partners’ great enthusiasm for this new digital network, the superstar lineup of content providers and the anticipated strong appeal to our viewers and advertisers. We truly believe this is a recipe for success!”

Martha Stewart is an Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur, bestselling author, lifestyle expert and teacher. Stewart founded her namesake lifestyle empire Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which includes TV shows, books, magazine Martha Stewart Living and merchandise.

“When CBS approached Martha Stewart TV to provide shows for their new lifestyle network, we were happy to have a fresh TV platform on which to share our extensive library,” Stewart said in a statement. “We think everyone will benefit and learn from these beautiful shows. It’s a good thing.”

Emeril Lagasse is a world-renowned chef, restauranteur and television personality. He is chef-proprietor of 12 restaurants including his first, Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans, and the best-selling author of 19 cookbooks. He also has hosted more than 2,000 episodes of shows on the Food Network, including Emeril Live and Essence of Emeril.

“I’m excited to be a part of CBS’s new lifestyle network Dabl,” Lagasse said, also in a statement. “Folks are always asking for where they can watch my shows... now there is a place... Dabl! See you in the fall.”

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.