I'm not sure I get the full impact of this, but KCET has announced what it's calling a merger with Link Media, the non-profit media company in San Francisco that produces LinkTV. Their new non-profit creation will be called KCETLink and based in Burbank. Programming will be available on DirecTV and the DISH network. No financial details were announced. KCET board chair Channing Johnson becomes chair of the new company's board.
In the flackage, KCET president Al Jerome says,"With our combined resources, we are taking a bold step forward to become architects of a new sustainable model for the industry to keep public media thriving as a vital resource in the digital age." Plus this from Paul S. Mason, president and CEO of Link TV:
This is more than just a merger of two organizations, but an enormous opportunity to reinvent the value and purpose of 'independent media' as a vitally important source of cultural ideas, global connectivity and diverse perspectives in the U.S.
From the on-air side of things, the brands will pretty much remain distinct at the outset. You'll be able to watch LinkTV programming starting January 1 on one of our three digital channels. The channel will offer a lot, including great international feature and documentary films and original Link shows like "Mosaic," "LinkAsia," and "Earth Focus." And for those who follow news about TV might remember the a New York Times article that called "Borgen," a Danish drama that airs on Link, "one of the best" shows currently on American television (and earlier this summer The Daily Beast said it was the best show you've never seen)."
The FAQs say that this is in keeping with KCET's plan when it left PBS. "This deal fits perfectly with the three-year plan we laid out from when we left PBS. We are now in year two of independence, and as planned, we have rid ourselves of debt and relocated to a state of the art facility -- on schedule -- that allowed us to develop a sound infrastructure to build capacity and produce new shows. With the merger, we see many synergies that will allow us to run a smarter, further-reaching and more efficient media company and at the same time, build capacity."
Here's what the release says.
KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station, and Link Media, an independent non-profit media company that operates the Link TV national satellite network and online international news portal, LinkNews (news.linktv.org), today announced a merger to create KCETLink, a powerful new independent public transmedia company that acquires, produces and distributes provocative global programming targeted to a national audience across multiple media platforms.
The newly-formed company will be available in 33 million households via DIRECTV and DISH Network and 5.6 million households on KCET in Southern California, the nation’s 2nd largest television market. On TV, web and mobile platforms, KCETLink will offer viewers more direct access than ever before to high-quality culturally diverse content.
KCETLink will be led by Al Jerome as Chief Executive Officer, with Link TV’s CEO and President, Paul S. Mason, becoming Chief Strategy Officer based in Los Angeles. The company will be headquartered in KCET’s new state-of-the-art production facility in Burbank, CA, where it will tap into the diversified, creative community on the west coast as a go-to, one-stop source for producers whose mission is to create high-caliber programming.
“With our combined resources, we are taking a bold step forward to become architects of a new sustainable model for the industry to keep public media thriving as a vital resource in the digital age,” said Al Jerome, President and CEO of KCET.
“This is more than just a merger of two organizations, but an enormous opportunity to reinvent the value and purpose of ‘independent media’ as a vitally important source of cultural ideas, global connectivity and diverse perspectives in the U.S.,” said Paul S. Mason, President and CEO of Link TV, and an Emmy-Award-winning veteran of ABC News.
Link Media, which harnesses the latest technology to engage a next generation audience with breaking news from across the globe, will join KCET’s award-winning digital media team to focus on developing new technology and programming for web and mobile, such as an upcoming app that curates world news videos for the iPad and Google TV.
United by a shared mission to bring powerful stories and media to diverse audiences, the new KCETLink will be a single organization supporting two distinct brands. Link TV will continue to serve audiences via DIRECTV and DISH Network, providing a wide array of rich, culturally focused programs that inspire, inform and engage audiences with the world around them. Hits include the internationally award-winning drama series Borgen, which airs in the U.S. exclusively on Link TV. The Daily Beast calls Borgen “The best political show ever,” and The New York Times calls it “one of the best shows on American television.”
Beginning Jan.1, LinkTV programming will be available on one of KCET’s three digital multi-cast channels in the Southern California market, providing viewers in the 11 counties of the Los Angeles market with access to Link TV’s news, documentaries and music from around the world. In addition, LinkAsia, a unique half-hour program combining state news from Asia with trends and commentary bubbling up through social media, will be added to KCET’s current international news broadcast schedule.
KCET’s primary channel will continue to air its own locally produced and acquired programs that explore the people, places and topics that are relevant to the vibrant region of California that it remains committed to serving. Viewers will still be able to watch their favorite original and acquired programs on KCET’s schedule, including Doc Martin, Foyle’s War, Primeval, Open Call, Huell Howser and SoCal Connected.
Also from the FAQs, Jerome will be CEO of the new KCETLink and Mason the Chief Strategy Officer. KCET veteran Mare Mazur will be Chief Operating Officer.