National Datacast closing ‘substantial portion’ of operations

By Dru Sefton

National Datacast Inc., which since 1988 has leased data-transmission space to commercial clients on participating public television stations’ analog channels, is closing “a substantial portion of its business operations” by June 30, according to the PBS fiscal 2014 budget.

PBS Enterprises, a for-profit subsidiary of PBS, owns 88.58 percent of NDI.

Denise Wise, NDI chief financial officer, said the company is “exploring opportunities to achieve the most value from assets held by the company,” which include investments in technology firms. Wise declined to provide information about those investments or reveal the number of pubTV clients or size of the NDI staff. Wise said details on the future of NDI may become available “over the next few months.”

Jacqueline Weiss, NDI chief executive officer and co-founder, declined Current’s request for an interview.

“In this new phase of the company,” Wise wrote in an email, “the NDI Board of Directors will play a key role in evaluating a range of options as we move forward and chart the course for our future.” Board Chair Lloyd Wright, president of WFYI in Indianapolis, also declined comment.

Other shareholders in NDI are Rovi Corporation, a Santa Clara, Calif.–based digital entertainment technology firm; WNET in New York; KPBS in San Diego; and Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver. Kellie Specter, WNET spokesperson, said the station is a “passive investor” and not actively involved in its operation.

According to PBS’s FY14 budget, NDI expects to incur total expenses of $2.4 million and earn total revenues of $100,000 in FY13.

This item was first published in Current, June 24, 2013.
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