Hubbard Broadcasting Inc. announced last week that it has
formed a new subsidiary, Hubbard Media Group, that will be led by many of U.S. Satellite
Broadcasting's former management team.
Former USSB president Stanley E. Hubbard, president and CEO
of the new privately held spinoff, said Hubbard Media will develop video programming that
will "further the interests" of the multichannel industry.
While some of the new content may have interactive or
Internet components, Hubbard was quick to point out, "This is not meant to be an
Internet IPO [initial public offering] play."
The new company is internally funded by its parent.
"At this stage in our development, we're not looking for outside funding,"
Hubbard said, adding that it remains to be seen whether the company will seek outside
strategic or financial partners in the future.
Asked whether he was gun-shy of IPOs following his
experience with USSB, Hubbard replied, "Absolutely not." Even though USSB's
share price had dropped to $18 at the time the company was sold to DirecTV Inc., from an
IPO price of $27, "Going public gave us access to capital. It helped to move USSB
forward, and it helped to move the satellite industry forward," he added.
Part of DirecTV's deal to buy USSB earlier this year
gives Hubbard Broadcasting the option of distributing two new video channels on DirecTV,
as long as they're strong enough to merit space on the direct-broadcast satellite
company's channel lineup.
The new Hubbard subsidiary plans to distribute its
television channels to DBS and cable companies.
Hubbard would not detail any specifics on the kinds of
programming Hubbard Media might develop, but he suggested that digital or high-definition
content was likely. He predicted that it would be late next year before Hubbard Media
would be ready to have something on-air, and early next year before the company would
discuss programming specifics.
Other former USSB executives joining Hubbard Media include
executive vice president Robert Hubbard; senior vice presidents Jan Schuth, Gary Thorne
and Bernie Weiss; and vice presidents Rick Abbott and Bob Bedford.
"The reason why no one on the list has specific roles
assigned to their titles yet is that everyone has to dig in and do a bit of
everything," Hubbard said, adding that it was a good opportunity for everyone to
learn all aspects of the business.
Hubbard said the new company may draw upon the resources of
Conus Communications Inc. and its All News Channel, in which Hubbard Broadcasting is a
general partner, as well as some of Hubbard's broadcasting stations.
Privately owned Hubbard Broadcasting is one of the oldest
broadcasting firms in the country, with 10 owned-and-operated television stations and two
radio stations, plus Diamond P Sports and F&F Productions.
Both Hubbard Broadcasting and Hubbard Media are based in
St. Paul, Minn.