US arts network Ovation has appealed to Time Warner Cable (TWC) to reinstate the channel, following the cable provider’s decision to drop it on January 1.
Ovation delivered a petition signed by 25,000 people to the cable provider urging TWC to reconsider, receiving support from the likes of actor Alec Baldwin and veteran TV producer Nigel Lythgoe – whose competition show Chance to Dance airs on Ovation.
“The outpouring of support we have seen over the past few weeks demonstrates that the arts matter to people and that Ovation is fulfilling an important role as the only cable network dedicated to the arts,” said the net’s chief operating officer Chad Gutstein.
TWC first warned Ovation in mid-December that it planned to drop the channel, after its CEO Glenn Britt told delegates at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference in New York earlier that month that he would look to drop services that “cost too much relative to viewership.”
In a programming legal notice issued this week, TWC said Ovation was among a host of broadcast deals that were soon due for renewal, from networks including the Starz suite of channels, Lifetime, Encore and Style Network.
“We are usually able to obtain renewals or extensions of such agreements, but in order to comply with applicable regulations, we must inform you when an agreement is about to expire,” said TWC, warning that it “may be required to cease carriage of one or more of these services/stations in the near future.”
Though Ovation does not publish its number of paying subscribers, it claims that last year it saw a 55% audience increase, and that, according to Nielsen data, more that 2.5 million viewers in TWC subscriber homes tuned into Ovation during Q3 2012. The channel is still available in the US on DirecTV, Dish, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.