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Ovation Buys Dish Homes Via IMF Music Net

Ovation TV Network said it has acquired the International Music Feed channel from Universal Music Group, gaining a berth on Dish Network and elevating Ovation’s U.S. distribution to 25 million homes.

Ovation's investors paid a combination of cash and equity in the 24-hour music channel, network CEO Charles Segars said in a teleconference held after the news was released. Ovation also plans to add IMF resources, particularly in the realms of international music (individual countries) and world music, to the arts channel's programming

Dish Network – which added IMF in April 2005 and kept the channel on its lineup as part of a litigation settlement with Universal Music – will position Ovation on IMF’s channel location (157) Wednesday. Nearly all of IMF's 8 million plus subscribers come from Dish Network, which carries IMF on its second most widely distributed tier, Ovation chairman Ken Solomon said.

Ovation had about 17 million homes under contract before acquiring these 8 million subscribers, officials said.

Verizon's FiOS TV, which has a carriage pact with the arts network, is one of three other IMF affiliates. Solomon said Ovation is confident it will find a home on IMF's other affiliates: AT&T's U-verse and WideOpenWest. Ovation had already been in talks with those distributors separately about Ovation carriage, Solomon said.

IMF programming as a standalone will be eliminated over the course of the next 90 days, Solomon said.

Lazard Freres & Co. advised Ovation TV, which was purchased in August 2006 by Hubbard Media Group and private investors including Arcadia Investment Partners, Corporate Partners II, Perry Capital and The Weinstein Co. The channel relaunched in June 2007 and has expanded from a base of about 5 million homes under former ownership.