Tribune To Multicast Music Service

Tribune Broadcasting will launch a new music video service, the Tube Music Network, on its digital broadcast channels later this summer.

Tribune and the Tube cut a deal Thursday to distribute the service on 22 Tribune-owned outlets in 26 markets. The venture marks Tribune’s first foray into digital multicasting, in which TV stations use some of their new digital spectrum allocation additional services beyond the replication of their analog signal.

“To say this is a colossal deal for us would be an understatement,” said the Tube’s President/CEO Les Garland. “Their markets are strategic for us: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, nine of the top 10 markets and 18 of the top 30.”

The Tube runs music videos from classic bands and newer artists, from The Rolling Stones and U2 to Coldplay and Alicia Keys. About 60% of the content is older artists while 40% is recent fare, with the programming refreshed weekly. Stations can insert local programming and local commercials.

To differentiate itself from cable nets like MTV and Fuse, the Tube will stick to music performances – concerts and videos – and steer clear of the reality series and awards shows that dominate other music networks.

The Tribune deal is the Tube’s second distribution pact with a major station group. Raycom Media launched the Tube on many of its stations last summer. To watch the channel, viewers can tune in to a participating station’s digital over-the-air channel or, in some markets, get it via digital cable.

"This agreement allows us to capitalize on our stations' digital broadcast capabilities and provide enhanced content to viewers in our markets,” Tribune Broadcasting CEO John Reardon said in a statement.