I read you're merging with another company. Can you give me more details?
Yes, we are excited to share that KCET, the nation's largest independent television station, is merging with Link Media, an independent nonprofit public media company based in San Francisco, to form KCETLink, a single 501(c)(3) organization.
Based in Burbank, the new KCETLink will build upon both companies' strong traditions of entertaining and informing our culturally diverse audiences with unique quality programming across a variety of broadcast and digital platforms.
The newly formed company will be available in 33 million households via DIRECTV and DISH Network on Link and 5.6 million households on KCET in Southern California, the nation's 2nd largest television market.
Beginning January 1, 2013, Link TV programming will be available on one of KCET's multicast channels. We also will incorporate LinkAsia into KCET's international news broadcast schedule, a unique half-hour program combining state news from Asia with trends from blogs and social media.
Who is Link Media?
LinkTV offers a wide variety of rich culturally focused programs, news and current affairs, comedies, world music, film and documentaries that allow its audience to become inspired and involved in the world.
A couple of examples include LinkAsia and Earth Focus. One of its most popular programs is the award-winning Danish political drama called Borgen.
The Daily Beast calls Borgen "the best political show ever," and The New York Times calls it "one of the best shows on American television."
Where will KCETLink be based?
We will be headquartered in Burbank, CA at The Pointe with offices in San Francisco, CA and New York, NY.
Does this mean you're going out of business?
Not at all. This deal fits perfectly with the three-year plan we laid out from when we left PBS. We are now in year two of independence, and as planned, we have rid ourselves of debt and relocated to a state of the art facility -- on schedule -- that allowed us to develop a sound infrastructure to build capacity and produce new shows.
With the merger, we see many synergies that will allow us to run a smarter, further-reaching and more efficient media company and at the same time, build capacity.
Will you be producing any new shows?
We're excited about the possibilities of what we can produce together that leverages the skills and talent of both organizations. Ultimately, we feel we have an interesting intersection of great content that can be developed for a wide public television audience.
In addition KCET's new state-of-the-art production facility in Burbank provides an ideal base from which we will create a one-stop shop for producers in the creative community on the West Coast to produce and distribute top quality content locally, nationally and across multiple media platforms.
How will the merger affect me?
KCET will continue to air its own locally produced and acquired programs that explore the people, places and topics that are relevant to our dynamic region. Rest assured, that's not going away. You will still be able to watch your favorite original and acquired programs on KCET's schedule, including Doc Martin, Foyle's War, Primeval, Open Call, SoCal Connected and Huell Howser.
Viewers can also continue to access LinkTV through satellite networks including Dish Channel 9410 and DIRECTV Channel 375, as well as select local cable channels.
There are a lot of exciting developments in store for our viewers:
- Beginning January 1, 2013, Link TV programming will be available on one of KCET's digital multicast channels.
- LinkAsia will be added to our international news line-up.
- LinkAsia is a unique half-hour program combining state news from Asia with trends from blogs and social media.
- One of the first new offerings of the joint KCETLink will be a transmedia project -- offering curated content on mobile devices and Google TV.
Will you still be Community Television for Southern California?
Please rest-assured that our commitment to our community will remain intact; KCET's primary channel will continue to air its own locally produced and acquired programs that explore the people, places and topics that are relevant to our dynamic region. Viewers will still be able to watch their favorite original and acquired programs on KCET's schedule, including Doc Martin, Foyle's War, Primeval, Open Call, SoCal Connected and Huell Howser.
Will you have a different channel position?
KCET's current channel position with the various cable providers will not change. To find out where we are in your neighborhood, visit kcet.org/findkcet.
Will we see immediate changes?
You can expect a "ramp up" period, as we get to understand the capability of the combined organization, but we certainly anticipate and welcome a time when KCETLink will produce and distribute original programming on multiple platforms. We intend to combine digital tools and technological innovation with good old fashioned story-telling and classic television production.
We look forward to being your trusted independent storyteller for years to come!
Why should I continue to support you?
KCET remains passionate about the mission of public media and committed to the Southern and Central California communities it serves. KCET will continue to operate as a non-profit, viewer-supported public media organization, operating under a non-commercial, educational television broadcast license. So we'll still rely on the generosity of viewers like you.
We will also continue to offer your favorite programs like Huell Howser, Open Call, SoCal Connected, Doc Martin and Foyle's War. That's not going to change.
We look forward to being your trusted independent storyteller for years to come!
How can I continue to support you?
You can continue to make contributions to KCET or Link TV as 501(c)(3) organizations. Thank you for your generosity!
How have your funders reacted?
Since the two organizations are so synergistic in terms of mission and culture, and we expect that donors' money will have even greater impact than before. We are confident that our supporters will recognize the merger as an opportunity to continue to grow and expand.
Reaction from many of our major funders has been positive so far -- with donations already coming in.
I'm a producer with a show idea. Whom should I speak to?
Each organization has a submission process in place that will be streamlined over the next several months. In addition, KCETLink Acquisitions staff will continue to travel around the world -- to festivals, markets, distributors -- seeking the best global content for both channels.
What will the New York office do?
Traditionally, LinkTV's New York office has served as the hub for its program acquisition department. The office has acquired an extensive library of international feature and documentary films, as well as television series from independent producers, and music videos from all over the world.
What will the San Francisco office do?
The KCETLink team in San Francisco will focus on digital innovation, new technology, and programming opportunities for web, mobile devices, and other platforms while also developing new apps, and other ways that address the rapidly changing media landscape. We anticipate that this team will work in close coordination with the digital staff in Southern California to expand the offerings for KCETLink audiences on television, on-line and on mobile devices.
San Francisco will also house an editorial team that curates and produces the Link TV World News mobile application for iPad and Google TV. Specialists from Asia and the Middle East will continue to translate and produce news from those regions.
What were the financial details of the deal?
We don't disclose financial information.
What kind of governance structure will be in place for KCETLink?
We will be governed by a single Board of Directors with representatives from the current boards of each organization. The current KCET Board Chair Channing Johnson would continue in his role; Link Media's Board Chair Don Buder would become a Vice Chair of the newly formed Board that governs the merged organization.
How will this merger affect your on-air fundraising drives?
In the short term there will be no significant shift in how we conduct on air fundraising, but we are always looking for new ways to refresh that process.
Will donations to KCET still be tax deductible?
Yes. We're both non-profit organizations.
With this merger, who is the "parent" company?
KCET is the controlling company.
Who will lead the new company?
KCETLink will have an Office of the President that includes Al Jerome as KCETLink's Chief Executive Officer and Paul S. Mason is its Chief Strategy Officer, and Mare Mazur as Chief Operating Officer. Wendy Hanamura will also have an executive leadership role as part of the Office of the President and be based in San Francisco.
Will KCET still serve the same geographic region?
Yes. KCET remains committed to providing the 11 counties in our broadcast region with quality programming that reflects the rich diversity of the communities we serve.