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Optus Vision gets artsy with Ovation

SYDNEY — Just weeks after buying out warring shareholders Kerry Packer and Kerry Stokes, feevee cabler Optus Vision (OV) on Wednesday unveiled Ovation, Australia’s first dedicated arts channel.

Launched by federal communications and arts minister Sen. Richard Alston at a bash at Sydney’s State Theater, Ovation will air exclusively on OV beginning June 1. The service will be headed by former federal arts ministerial adviser Carey Badcoe.

Local content is being developed with Opera Australia, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Melbourne Theater Company and the Sydney Dance Company. Firstrun local content is estimated at 5% and more than 20% of the lineup is new to Oz.

OV also is prepping Odyssey, a science documentary channel. Daily Variety has been told that Optus production exec Jim Kosub has been tapped to helm the service.

OV was owned by telco Optus Communications (46.5%), US West (46.5%), Kerry Packer’s Nine Network (5%) and Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network (2%) until Optus’ Easter buy-out of the warring media barons and US West.

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