The networks generate revenues from general-market and direct-response advertising.
“In today’s fragmented television ecosystem, a growing number of viewers are consuming content from new over-the-air networks as a complement to over-the-top services,” Scripps CEO Rich Boehne said. The acquisition, he added, “will increase our opportunity to serve the nation’s largest advertisers, who see tremendous value in the networks’ content and the large, targeted audiences they draw.”
The company expects the networks to generate $180 million in revenue and about $30 million in segment profit in 2018. Jonathan Katz will continue to run the networks with about 130 employees based near Atlanta.
Scripps already owned 5% of the business, giving the enterprise a valuation of $302 million.
Scripps said it plans to pay for the networks by borrowing $250 million, and using $50 million of cash on hand. It expects the deal to close on October 2, following a federal antitrust review.
Bounce TV, created in 2011, bills itself as “the first and only African-American broadcast network on television.” Grit, introduced in 2014, targets middle-aged men ages 25-54 with Western, war and action films, while Escape, also from 2014, seeks middle-aged women with shows “anchored in stories of investigation and mystery.”
And Laff, from 2015, aims for 18-to-49 year olds with comedy including off-network sitcoms and movies.