The Ovation Channel is set to disappear from Foxtel and Austar platforms in early 2010.
A statement appears on the Ovation Channel’s website which says:
The Ovation Channel has been advised that from early next year it will no longer be broadcast on Foxtel.
As a result Ovation will also not be available on Austar.
In the meantime, Ovation will continue to provide you with the excellent arts and entertainment programming that you have enjoyed for over 13 years.
Ovation thanks you, its large and loyal audience, and invites you to make a comment if you wish.
The channel, which focusses on classical music, concerts, theatre, ballet, and the performing arts, was started by Optus TV and sold to Sydney based firm Independent Entertainment in 2006. It also airs on the SelecTV subscription network.
The channel is popular with many elderly viewers, and has been almost single-handedly responsible for the success of Andre Rieu in Australia. Some have cheekily branded it “Channel Andre.”
Its original hosts have included Leo Schofield, Ita Buttrose, Glenn A. Baker, Lenny Bartulin, Michelle Hanna and Cyrus Meher-Homji. It supports several arts organisations including Sydney Symphony, The Australian Ballet, Glen Street Theatre and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. This year it recorded specials at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival including Bernadette Peters.
Whilst the reasons behind the move are unclear, the channel was included in the new pricing packages as part of the Knowledge & Adventure in early November. A new satellite giving Foxtel extra capacity for its new channels went up in August. Only last week Foxtel included the channel on its list of current widescreen channels to TV Tonight.
At this stage it is unknown when the channel will exit the platforms, if it will be replaced with a new Arts channel, or whether subscribers will see a reduction in their subscription package.
The Ovation website is also encouraging viewers to express their feelings to Foxtel via email [email protected]
TV Tonight will be following this story with interest….
UPDATED March 9: Ovation will no longer be on Foxtel packages, to be replaced by arts channel STVDIO, but will become available as an add-on channel from June 1st at $9.95 per month. More info.