ABC O&Os to Multicast Live Well Channel

By Andrew Gauthier 


In a bid to become a supplier of quality content for multicast TV signals, ABCs owned-and-operated TV station group is close to signing its first syndication deal with a station in a top 10 market for its Live Well HD channel. Based on where ABC doesnt own stations, the four potential markets are Boston, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and Dallas. (None of the stations would comment.)

Launched in late April but in development for two years, Living Well runs as a multicast channel in ABC’s 10 O&O markets (including area cable systems), but its also a Web site. Content revolves around home, health and lifestyle programming, all of it produced in high-def.

According to BIA, there are at least 900 multicast channels, but monetization is a big challenge. BIA estimates that only 50 or so–mostly in midsized and small markets–made money in 2008. ABC officials claim Live Well HD is a money-making proposition. Next January, LWHD will expand its original content from three hours to six, on its way to becoming a full-fledged TV channel.

“We want to be the program supplier to stations looking for original programming for their digital signal,” said Bill Burton, executive vp of digital media for ABC’s O&O group More…