Media company backed by Byron Allen buys Honolulu ABC affiliate

The move is part of a $10 billion plan to acquire local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox stations across the country.
The logo of Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV.
The logo of Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV. (Logo: Allen Media Group, Graphic: The Desk)

Allen Media Broadcasting has acquired Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV for $30 million, according to a press release on Monday.

The purchase of KITV (Channel 4) from SJL Broadcasting includes several translator stations on other islands, including KHVO (Channel 13) in Hilo and KMAU (Channel 12) in Wailuku.

The addition of the stations increases the number of broadcast outlets owned by Allen Media Broadcasting to 16 across 12 different metropolitan markets, the company said.

Allen Media Broadcasting is a subsidiary of Allen Media Group, which is owned by comedian Byron Allen’s media company Entertainment Studios.

Once a niche player in the streaming and digital cable space, Allen Media has become aggressive in its acquisition of regional cable networks and local broadcast stations over the last two years. The move started in 2018 when Allen Media acquired a financial stake in The Weather Channel, a network co-owned with Bain Capital and Comcast.

Last year, the media entity began acquiring local television stations in small markets, including four stations in Louisiana and Indiana from Bayou City Broadcasting. This year, Allen closed on a deal to acquire nearly a dozen stations from USA Television Holdings, including several broadcast outlets in Northern California.

Allen Media also owns a financial stake in several regional cable sports networks formerly owned by 21st Century Fox. The networks were acquired by the Walt Disney Company, then divested to Sinclair Broadcast Group and Allen Media as a condition of Disney’s purchase of other Fox-owned assets.

“Over the past year we’ve invested over $500 million to acquire best-in-class, top-tier, broadcast network affiliates,” Allen said in a statement released on Monday.

Allen said his media company plans to invest around $10 billion to acquire other local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates throughout the country, an audacious plan that Allen hopes will eventually lead to Allen Media Broadcasting becoming the “largest broadcast television group in America.”

The purchase of KITV makes Honolulu the largest local television market where Allen Media owns a station.

Allen Media’s primary products are late-night low-budget television shows that “hardly anyone sees,” Allen said in a Bloomberg Businessweek profile several years ago. Despite their low audience, they attract enough advertisement revenue to generate around $100 million in revenue every year.

In addition to the broadcast properties, Allen also owns The Grio, a multimedia-centric news website that produces stories and informational videos about African-American issues.

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