Sinclair Plans National Rollout of Allbritton's NewsChannel 8

Cable News Net Is Key Facet of $985 Million Acquisition
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David Smith, Sinclair president and CEO, said the main takeaway from Sinclair's $985 million agreement to acquire Allbritton is the "strategic significance" of the transaction—very definitely including Allbritton's NewsChannel 8.

The cable channel has 2 million subscribers in the D.C. area, and Smith—addressing investors July 30—painted a picture of a vastly expanded national franchise.

"Because Allbritton has limited reach, the channel has yet to be fully developed outside the D.C. area," Smith said. "We believe we have a distinct opportunity to accomplish that."

Smith described NewsChannel 8 as a "launching point" for a national news channel, airing both within the Sinclair group and on MVPD systems for a "unique hybrid model."  

Smith threw out a $300 million figure for incremental revenue garnered from the MVPDs for carriage, using CNN's 57 cents a sub as a model.

"The takeaway is, we believe there is significant value we can unlock when we couple the cable channel with the rest of our news channels and roll it out to more than just D.C.," said Smith.