GCI has completed its purchase of three television stations in Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. The deal means the telecom giant now owns almost every commercial TV station in Southeast Alaska.
GCI announced Monday that its subsidiary, Denali Media Holdings, had officially closed its purchase of Southeast’s three CBS affiliates: KTNL in Sitka, KXLJ in Juneau, and KUBD in Ketchikan. According to GCI spokesman David Morris, the company paid about $1-\ million to buy the three stations from Colorado-based Ketchikan TV.
GCI now owns six broadcast TV stations, five of them in Southeast. In 2013, the company bought the two NBC affiliates in Southeast – Sitka’s KSCT and Juneau’s KATH – as well as the CBS affiliate in Anchorage, KTVA.
Morris says that viewers won’t see any programming changes in the near term. But down the line, GCI is hoping to roll out services that would allow viewers to watch GCI content on demand on their TV, computer or phone.
“Where everything is moving at least in this field is on-the-go-type TV services, so that you can see what you want on the device that you want, and this is all part of the integration strategy, at least, that we’re looking long term on how to provide that kind of thing,” Morris said.
GCI is Alaska’s largest cable TV operator, and also provides internet, telephone and cell phone service. The shift into broadcast television over the last two years marks a big change for the company.
“What we are doing is preparing for future technology developments and quite frankly industry changes,” Morris said. “Entertainment is a ever-changing field, and we want to be able to bring the latest technologies and developments to Alaska as soon as we can, and this is our first steps into being able to do that.”
GCI first announced its intention to buy the three Southeast CBS stations in December 2013. The Federal Communications Commission had to approve the sale; it did so in May.
Asked if GCI has any other acquisitions in the works, Morris would only say, “we’re always looking for some opportunity out there.”