ABC Affiliates Concerned About Univision Channel, While Katie Couric Web Show Issues Allayed

By Alex Weprin 

Broadcasting & Cable‘s Michael Malone talks to the chairman of the ABC affiliates board, who expresses some concerns regarding the new cable news channel ABC is developing with Univision, as well as Katie Couric’s new web series on Yahoo!

With regards to the Univision partnership:

“Based on preliminary information, the ABC Affiliates Association’s Board of Governors is concerned about ABC News’ proposed news partnership with Univision,” said Bill Hoffman, ABC affiliates board chairman, in a statement. “The network has broadly discussed this new venture with the board. We hope to receive more information from ABC and an understanding and clarification of the implications of the use of local affiliate news content that is contributed by affiliates to the NewsOne co-op. Our goal is to promote and enhance the news product, the competitive performance, and brand of each affiliate’s local newscasts, and our focus, in consultation with the affiliate membership, will be on the effect ABC News’ partnership with Univision will have on that goal.”


An ABC News spokesperson said there would be an “ongoing dialogue” with affiliates, and believes they are protected under their NewsOne agreements. “We greatly value our relationship with all our affiliates,” added the spokesperson. “As they learn more about this, I think that whatever concerns they have will be diminished.”

The new network, the spokesperson believes, “will ultimately be beneficial to everyone.”

The concerns echo similar concerns over a web series Katie Couric was doing for ABC News and Yahoo! in advance of her upcoming syndicated talk show (subscription required). Those issues were eventually allayed, however.

After seeing the Yahoo show, station partners are taking Camp Couric at its word. “It appears to be part of an online and social media play, which is an important component for this program and everything we do on the local level,” says Mike Devlin, president/GM of WFAA Dallas.