Me-TV Picks Up Big-Market Primary Slots
Weigel Broadcasting’s Me-TV is getting upgraded to full-power TV stations with must-carry on cable services and satellite TV providers in New York (DMA 1) and Philadelphia (DMA 4), the diginet announced Jan. 27.
The classic TV diginet is affiliating with PMCM TV's KVNV New York (Middletown Township, N.J.) and KJWP Philadelphia (Wilmington, Del.), starting in the second quarter this year and on March 1, respectively.
Me-TV is currently seen in some parts of New York on NRJ TV’s WZME Bridgeport, Conn., and on Time Warner Cable. In Philadelphia, Me-TV currently airs on a subchannel of Maranatha’s WFMZ. Those affiliations will be dropped.
“We have been saying for a while that Me-TV is in its own category, in terms of these new networks,” says Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting. “Having primary stations in New York and Philadelphia really underscores that point. “People will be able to see Me-TV no matter what cable or satellite company they have in the entire DMA.”
With the addition of its new full-power affiliates, Me-TV, which airs shows like M*A*S*H, will reach 90% of TV homes. Me-TV airs on primary stations in a few other markets, notably on Weigel’s WWME Chicago and WBME Milwaukee.
“Digital subchannels don’t have must-carry rights,” Sabin says. “Primary stations do. We’ve had terrific response from cable providers all over the country. It has been much harder to get on satellite. Must-carry [rules] eliminate that problem.”
Me-TV last April began subscribing to the national Nielsen Television Index ratings. So far this season, it’s averaging 490,000 viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen. That is comparable to cable networks like OWN and the Travel Channel.
This spring, Me-TV will be active in the upfront for the first time, Sabin says. “We have been very successful with direct-response advertisers. We have begun getting business from the spot marketplace. For the upfront, we’re not doing a giant show, but we will meet with individual advertisers.”
Robert McAllan, managing partner at PMCM TV, says Me-TV is perfect for KVNV and KJWP. “I think a family-friendly schedule is sorely missing from commercial TV today,” he says. “There’s nothing complicated about this. Me-TV fits the bill.”
Me-TV’s new affiliates in New York and Philadelphia have had quite a journey the past few years.
In 2009, McAllan purchased two VHF stations, KVNV Ely, Nev., and KJWY, Jackson, Wyo. His idea was to capitalize on the law that allows broadcasters to move stations from one state to another state if that second state doesn’t have a VHF station.
In 2009, neither New Jersey nor Delaware had a VHF station. KJWP's community of license is Wilmington, Del., which is within the Philadelphia market.
Still, the FCC rejected the move. However, in December 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals overruled the FCC, clearing the way for PMCM to build out the two stations.
McAllan’s plans to mix some original programming in with the Me-TV. “We have provisions to do some local programming, which we intend to do,” he says. “We’ll do some news presentations and some other shows.”