OVATION TV NETWORK ACQUIRES UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP’S IMF – THE INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FEED
Gains Key Resources in Music Category And Boosts Ovation TV Distribution to 25 Million Homes; Continues Network’s Successful Transformation Into Premiere Destination for Art and Personal Creativity
Los Angeles, CA, January 7, 2008 – On the heels of its successful re-launch earlier this year as the only network devoted exclusively to art and personal creativity, Ovation TV has acquired Universal Music Group’s (UMG) International Music Feed (IMF), the first 24-hour music television network to combine the best music from the U.S. and countries around the world. The acquisition was announced today by Charles Segars, CEO, Ovation TV, Ken Solomon, Chairman, Ovation TV, and Nick Henny, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, UMG.
The purchase of IMF from Universal Music Group, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal (NYSE:V), will provide Ovation TV with access to key resources in the music/arts category which has been a part of its broader approach to presenting programming focusing on art and creativity. As part of the agreement, Universal Music Group will maintain an equity position in Ovation TV. Lazard Freres & Co. acted as financial advisor to Ovation TV in the transaction.
“Music is undeniably a large part of our everyday lives and the music category has been a key element of our programming,” said Segars. “This strategic acquisition is an ideal fit as it provides us with access to the resources of Universal Music Group – the world’s largest holder of music programming, including jazz, classical and world music. The Ovation TV experience is quickly becoming an integral part of the daily lives of hard-to-reach, passionate viewers, with art-based programming that engages them and is not available anywhere else.”
In addition, by combining IMF’s subscriber base with Ovation TV’s current distribution, the network’s national distribution will increase by nearly 60 percent to approximately 25 million homes. The gain comes primarily on DISH Network (Ch. 157) beginning Jan. 9, 2008.
Solomon said, “In just one year, under our new Ovation TV team, the network has dramatically expanded its reach, adding 20 million new homes — from approximately five million homes regionally to more than 25 million homes nationally. By any measure that is a significant accomplishment. However, for an independently owned and operated program service to ascend so quickly to this level of critical mass, especially considering today’s fiercely competitive cable and satellite landscape, is a virtually unprecedented feat. This rapid expansion strongly validates our long-held belief in the mass appeal of the arts and personal creativity programming upon which Ovation TV is founded.”
“Our partnership with Ovation TV further expands UMG’s growing portfolio of strategic media investments,” stated Mr. Henny. “Ovation TV is quickly emerging as an incredibly vibrant property with compelling programming. It’s a perfect fit for IMF.”
IMF was launched in 2005 as the only 24-hour music television network dedicated to delivering all-music programming featuring live concerts, in-depth artist interviews and the most popular music videos from the U.S. and around the world. Under the purchase agreement, IMF will cease operation of its programming on DISH Network on Jan. 9, 2008, at which time it will be replaced by the current programming of Ovation TV. IMF will cease its programming on other distributors by the end of the first quarter of 2008.
Eric Sahl, senior vice president of Programming for DISH Network added: “We constantly strive to provide our subscribers the highest quality, best and broadest programming line-up available anywhere, so we are delighted to start the year by adding Ovation TV to our DISH Network roster. As the only television network devoted exclusively to art and personal creativity, Ovation TV is a welcome addition to our channel offerings and will no doubt be well-received by our customers.”
About Ovation TV
Originally launched in 1997, Ovation TV re-launched in June 2007 with a focus on entertaining, inspiring and engaging the artist in all of us. The 24-hour channel is the only television network devoted exclusively to art, personal creativity and making the arts more accessible to viewers in their daily lives. The network showcases the world’s greatest artists in theater, dance, opera, literature, film, visual and fine art, music, design, photography and architecture. Ovation TV reaches a national audience of 25 million households through its carriage on DIRECTV (channel 274), DISH Network (channel 157) and on cable systems in key markets across the country. The channel has master distribution agreements in place with most major cable operators. Ovation TV also features original programming, a multi-platform content strategy and partnerships with leading American cultural institutions and arts educational organizations. In August 2006 the network was acquired by Hubbard Media Group and a group of other private investors which includes Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II, Perry Capital, and The Weinstein Company. Additional information is available at www.OvationTV.com.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world’s largest music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, Machete Music, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group, Universal Records South, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division, and Universal Music Mobile.
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi, a global media and communications company.