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Ovation Will Return to Time Warner Cable Lineup in January

TW Cable dropped indie outfit early this year as warning shot to programmers

Arts cabler Ovation and Time Warner Cable have reached a new carriage agreement, ten months after TW Cable dropped the niche outlet.

Ovation bent over backwards to secure renewed carriage on TW Cable systems as of Jan. 1. The cabler vows to 200 more hours of original arts programming next year, rising to 250 hours and 300 hours in subsequent years.

TW Cable dropped Ovation this past January, saying that the channel didn’t serve up enough original fare to justify carriage. The move was seen in the biz as a warning from TW Cable to other programmers that it was prepared to drop low-rated niche channels as it grapples with higher fees for broadcast retrains rights and other rising costs.

It was noted, however, that TW Cable made its send-a-message move against an indie outfit with little clout rather than the harder task of holding the line against channel proliferation from larger cable programmers such as Disney, Viacom and 21st Century Fox. TW Cable also dropped another indie, Current TV, from its lineup in May, shortly before its transformation into the Al Jazeera America news channel.

”We’re pleased to reach an agreement with Ovation that will deliver a much better value for our customers,” said Melinda Witmer, TW Cable’s exec VP, chief video and content officer. “Time Warner Cable has a responsibility to select unique, valuable and compelling options for our customers, and Ovation’s recommitment to its mission as an arts channel strengthens and differentiates their programming.  We always look for opportunities to work with networks to enhance our diverse channel lineup.”

Said Ovation chief operating officer Chad Gutstein: “After losing carriage on TWC, we never stopped listening to what they had to say, and responded to it. Our new ‘Art Everywhere’ branding is a reflection of that.  We were intent on restoring Time Warner Cable’s belief in Ovation.  Consumers demand that the arts belong on TV and Ovation has shown that the arts can encompass many things — from theater, film and music to graffiti, fashion and tattooing. We have committed to presenting over 750 hours of original arts programming over the next several years and are thrilled that TWC have responded by reaffirming their support of the arts and Ovation.”

TW Cable and Bright House Networks systems (which TW Cable manages) reach 15 million subscribers, making it the nation’s No. 3 pay-TV distrib behind Comcast Corp. and DirecTV.

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