More and more folks are relying on a mix of over-the-air broadcast channels and online services such as Netflix and Hulu to get their entertainment fix these days.
Over-the-air offerings in Austin — channels you can get with an antenna — have increased in recent months and could potentially grow even more later this year.
The latest addition is GetTV, which airs on one of Univision-owned KAKW’s digital subchannels. The network, which debuted in February, specializes in classic films from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Even though Univision’s programming is in Spanish, GetTV’s offerings are in English, a “strategic decision” allowing the station to broaden its reach, GetTV general manager Superna Kalle told me.
The majority of films seen on GetTV — a few examples scheduled this week
include “Man’s Castle” (1933), “The Last Hurrah” (1958) and “Murderer’s Row” (1966) – don’t have a home anywhere else on broadcast or pay TV, according to Kalle. The TCM cable network, which used to air older films, has been showing newer features in recent years, she said.
“We felt there was a hole in the market,” she said. “This is a channel that has been handcrafted by people who love film. We’re respectful of the films and the viewers.”
GetTV is currently available in 31 cities nationwide, representing almost 50 percent of U.S. households. Response, Kalle said, has been “beyond anything we could have ever hoped for.”
“We’ve exceeded our expectations by every possible metric,” she said. “Once people find us, they tend to become rabid fans.”
Movies! – another network that airs, you guessed it, movies – is fairly new in town, too. It can be found on one of KTBC’s digital subchannels. Offerings on Movies! tend to be newer than most of what’s seen on GetTV.
KVUE, Austin’s ABC affiliate, offers viewers two digital subchannels, one airing the Estrella Spanish-language network, the other devoted to round-the-clock weather and traffic.
“I’m always looking at how we can best use every resource we have,” KVUE president and general manager Patti Smith said. “We absolutely understand people turn to KVUE for weather. It’s one of our core products. We felt the weather and traffic channel was an extension of who we are.”
Both of KVUE’s subchannels have been on the air for several years and have developed loyal followings, Smith said.
There are still plenty of other digital networks that aren’t seen in Austin, such as Bounce, which targets black viewers. Antenna TV, Me-TV, Cozi TV and the Retro Television Network all air classic sitcoms and dramas, including “M*A*S*H,” “All in the Family,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “My Three Sons.” None of them are on the air here. And the Live Well Network, home to a variety of cooking and lifestyle shows, is nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, two new networks set to launch later this year – Escape and Grit – have been picked up by some Univision-owned stations around the country, but a corporate spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm if Austin’s KAKW is on the list.
Escape will air programming targeting women, while Grit will focus on shows designed to appeal to men.
There’s plenty of room out there. For example, KXAN, KBVO and KNVA, all operated by Austin-based LIN Media, don’t currently have subchannels. Eric Lassberg, president and general manager of the three stations, says managers are open to the idea but haven’t found anything they think would do especially well in this market.
“We’ve kicked it around and analyzed things,” he said, “but we want something that would really have great Central Texas appeal.”
A look at some of the digital subchannels available over the air in Central Texas
- Movies! (classic movies): Channel 7.2
- Estrella (Spanish): Channel 24.2
- KVUE weather and traffic: Channel 24.3
- Telemundo (Spanish): Channel 42.2
- UniMas (Spanish): Channel 62.2
- GetTV (classic movies): Channel 62.3