The Rise of Classic TV Diginets

This week TVNewsCheck published a three-part special report on the expansion of diginets (also known as multicast networks) like Me-TV, Bounce TV, Antenna TV and Ion Life that are carried primarily on the digital subchannels of TV stations across the country. You can find the report here, here and here. The first part includes a list of the top 25 digital broadcast networks ranked by TV households, which can also be found here.

There’s a lot of discussion of the success of classic TV and movie diginets in the report, in part because there are so many of those networks. Perhaps most interesting was the following tidbit from part one of the report:

Owned by Weigel Broadcasting, Me-TV in April ranked 19th among all national cable networks in adults 25-54, outperforming brands like CNN, TLC, Bravo and 79 other outlets, per Nielsen data.

That’s an impressive performance for Me-TV, which launched nationally in December 2010. The second part of the report suggests that CBS might be planning its own digital specialty network focusing on classic movies and/or TV. Some analysts are apparently concerned that there won’t be enough “quality reruns” to go around.

A similar three-part report was published by TVNewsCheck in July of last year, which makes it possible to compare the coverage of our favorite classic television digital specialty networks:

  July 2013* June 2014
Me-TV 84% 91%
This TV 76% 85%
Antenna TV 61% 70%
Cozi TV 37% 59%
Retro TV 23% 54%
*2013 figures rounded to the nearest whole number

As you can see, all of the networks have seen growth since July 2013, particularly Cozi TV and Retro TV.

My hope has always been that at some point, these networks are going to have to expand their schedules and start airing less popular shows. Not necessarily true obscurities. Think Our Miss Brooks rather than My Living Doll. Me-TV already airs Mr. Lucky and The Rebel while Cozi TV airs Life with Elizabeth, Mr. and Mrs. North and The Bold Ones. Not obscure shows by any stretch but not quite as well-known as Bonanza, The Bionic Woman and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

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8 Replies to “The Rise of Classic TV Diginets”

  1. My major complaint with ME-TV is they tend to show only later eps of some shows.
    Would be interesting if they tried to recreate back-in-the-day schedules.

  2. More FREE content! Products like Aereo, Netflix, Hulu, etc. are finally competing with the cable/satellite companies to give us consumers a choice. There has been such a monopoly on this crap for years it’s great that the tide is finally turning.

    I added an HD antenna and tv antenna amplifier last year, cancelled my cable, picked up Netflix and Hulu and actually have more channels.

    1. Off air is great if you live in the right area. The best place in the world is around Niagara Falls because of the number of the TV signals. both US and Canadian channels are available.

  3. I’ve really been enjoying these classic TV shows on so many new subchannels and I don’t have cable. A lot of these shows I have never heard of, or heard of them, but never saw aired before, so they are new to me…I’ll have to say they are much better than many of the new shows being made today…and I’m a pretty young person and many of these shows were made before I was born that I’ve been enjoying.

  4. I agree with your comments about them making a place for some other shows…maybe their midday weekends slots would be good for these or overnight – including shows that for whatever reason just did not last – may have been good shows, but a potential audience simply did not find them with them airing once a week or so they could get some mileage out of shows that only lasted one or two seasons such as Married People, Day by Day, Meego, The Gregory Hines Show, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, The New Andy Griffith Show, etc. RTV / Family Channel has aired some odd shows like this but it appears only some episodes that fell into the public domain so they don’t have to pay for the rights to them I guess.

    1. I don’t think there would be any official release of Meego. It was an embarrassment to the network. It also ensured the end of Bronson Pinchot’s TV career, at least as a lead actor.

  5. RTV has started airing another show I’d never heard of before – Dusty’s Trail – similar to Gilligan’s Island but set as a western. Even has Bob Denver playing the lead role.

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