The executive who helped launch African-American focused broadcast network Bounce TV has formed his own company to start two new targeted digital multicast channels.
Jonathan Katz, who will remain COO of Bounce TV, has formed Katz Broadcasting, which plans to light up Escape, the first broadcast network for women, and Grit, aimed at men, this summer.
Escape and Grit have carriage agreements with Univision that cover 30% of the country. Initial markets include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Miami. Univision is also a key distributor of Bounce TV.
Katz Broadcasting said it would make more distribution announcements in the coming weeks.
For Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting executive, Bounce TV has proved that there’s a successful business model in multicasting. And like when cable was still new, there’s room in the market for networks that target specific demographics.
"Free broadcast television is experiencing a renaissance in this new age of media disruption, as more and more consumers combine over-the-air with over-the-top services," Katz said. "Distributing Escape and Grit alongside successful demo-specific networks like Bounce TV makes the burgeoning new broadcast ecosystem closely resemble the early days of basic cable, providing viewers diverse new choices."
Escape will look to attract women in the 25 to 54 demographic with crime and mystery programming the network calls “daring and sexy.” Programming will include theatrical movies and off-net series with heroines trying to evade peril that will give female viewers a chance to escape their daily cares.
Grit will be built around the classic male hero archetype with war and action oriented theatrical movies and off-net series that feature stars like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris.
Katz Broadcasting has hired Jeffrey Wolf as chief distribution officer. Wolf also serves as executive VP of network distribution for Bounce TV.
"We are being very strategic and selective when determining our partners for these new networks," Wolf said. "Bounce TV has enjoyed an extremely successful relationship with Univision and we couldn't be more thrilled to call Univision the launch group for both new networks. We look forward to another mutually-beneficial partnership for many years to come."
Katz helped Bounce TV launch in 2011. The network is available in 88 markets and reaches 89% of African American homes. Its programming includes original series, theatrical films, live sports, specials, game shows and faith based programs.
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