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Agrimarketing : November December 2012
November/December Agri Marketing 51 Rural Media Group, Inc. (RMG), Omaha, NE, the parent company for both RFD-TV/RFD HD and RURAL TV, recently announced the purchase of FAMILYNET from Interactive Television and Gaming Networks (formerly Comstar Media). FAMILYNET, a 32-year-old basic cable channel, is currently distributed to 14.8 million homes. The move takes RMG's total distribution into over 61,000,000 homes through its cable and satellite carriers in all 50 states. The acquisition of FAMILYNET will bring RMG's rural-themed program library to many major U.S. cities including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as the countryside of Kansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and California. The RURAL TV program schedule will be merged on January 1, taking RMG's original programs Market Day Report and the RURAL EVENING NEWS into an additional 14.8 million homes. Most of FAMILYNET's existing programming will be kept in prime time and other daytime hours, providing viewers with family- friendly and rural-themed content. "RURAL TV will be part of FAMILYNET with blocks of programming that meet the needs and interests of the diverse family viewers across the country," explains RMG Chief Marketing Officer, Michael LaBroad. "Rural programs will be integrated into the FAMILYNET line-up featuring agribusiness programing in the mornings and evenings. Patrick Gottsch, Founder & President of RMG, adds, "The expanding group of quality advertisers and sponsors who seek family-oriented programming and demographics now has another choice with a proven track record that delivers a large, and growing, Nielsen-rated audience. "Plus, those advertisers who have been focusing on agricultural and Rural Lifestyle programming will have an expanded opportunity to reach a wider audience in larger markets," adds Gottsch. "We also believe the merged channels will be an even stronger network for all viewers, and a more valuable asset for our cable/satellite distributors who are bandwidth challenged at this time." He continues,"The fact that both channels have a long history of dedication to nothing but family- oriented programming makes this an easy transition for all subscribers." LaBroad sees a bright future ahead for the networks. "In the next five to ten years, we believe there will be an ever-increasing interest in all things rural," he says. "And this resurgence of rural-mindedness will be based on interests, not geography or zip code. People in urban areas are attracted to the Rural Lifestyle through farmers' markets, bed and breakfasts and rural tourism. We'll bring that rural and family feel to them every day on RFD-TV and FAMILYNET." VALUE LaBroad also wants to make sure advertisers see the value of not only the networks' programming, but also the audience base. "We want to emphasize the spending power of our audiences to current and potential new advertisers," he says. "78% of the nation's wealth is controlled by those over 50 years old. Many live in the country ... or would like to." "FAMILYNET's distribution footprint and audience are a perfect complement to RMG's current reach with RFD-TV/RFD HD and RURAL TV," explains Steve Campione, CFO of RMG. In like manner, FAMILYNET programming will now be seen by subscribers of DISH Network, Verizon and other cable operators, exposing those programs to a whole new audience." "I am proud of what we were able to accomplish by turning FAMILYNET around," reports Robert A. Schuller, Chairman of FAMILYNET. "RMG's acquisition will ensure the rich tradition of family-friendly entertainment continues on the FAMILYNET." FAMILYNET was founded in 1979 as the Family Christian Network, and renamed FAMILYNET in 1988 under the ownership of Jerry Falwell. The channel was acquired by InTouch Ministries in 2007, then purchased by Schuller 's ComStar Media Fund in 2009. In 2010, FAMILYNET was spun out into its own company, with Schuller as the Chairman. FAMILYNET's programming is geared to families, involving a mix of lifestyle programming, game shows, classic sitcoms and dramas, and movies. RMG's flagship RFD-TV and RURAL TV channels also have a family focus, with particular emphasis on the Rural Lifestyle and agricultural markets. According to RMG, the networks are supported by over 140 independent program producers, feature reports from news bureaus in Washington, DC, Chicago and Sao Paulo, Brazil, and provide extensive coverage of rural conventions, music festivals, farm, livestock and horse shows from around the world. AM COMMUNICATIONS RURAL MEDIA GROUP ADDS FAMILYNET by the Agri Marketing Editors LaBroad
Marketing Services Guide 2013