The battle between jocks and art freaks wages on this week, as Ovation, the only television network devoted entirely to visual and performing arts, announced that it will no longer be available to Time Warner subscribers, in part due to the cable giant's decision to favor more sports-related content.
Ovation released the news today, outlining Time Warner Cable's plans to drop the arts-heavy programming at the end of its current contract. The network added its own interpretation of the contract expiration, claiming that TWC is continuing to invest in significant amounts of sports content while allowing the carriage agreement with Ovation to run out.
According to The Wall Street Journal, TWC has confirmed its decision to cut its ties with Ovation starting December 31st, 2012, citing the network's recent underperformance and limited arts programming.
"We’ve paid more than $10 million in carriage fees to Ovation over the past several years," TWC said in a statement. "They’ve had ample opportunity to improve the ratings and the content, and have failed to deliver."
Ovation, which features everything from dance, theater, conceptual art, music and filmmaking, has grown from 5 to 51 million home viewers in its six year existence. Yet TWC has stated that the network is "among the poorest performing networks, and is viewed by less than 1 percent of our customers on any given day."
TWC hammered the point home with the following indictment of Ovation:
"They claim to be an arts channel but a quick look at their lineup indicates that most of their programming is not. An analysis of Ovation’s programming shows that it’s not a channel devoted to the arts. One seven-day period in November 2012 shows that 70 percent of their schedule was old movies that are repeated, numerous repeats of the PBS show 'Antique Road Show,' Infomercials that are unrelated to the arts, and repeats of TV shows from broadcast networks."
Ovation has responded by creating an online petition to keep the network on TWC air. What do you think of TWC's decision to drop Ovation? Is this a case of the arts community getting sidelined once again, or is the cable distributor just doing its job by saying goodbye to underperforming channels?
See fine artists attempt to make a name for themselves on mainstream TV in the slideshow below: