Sky Arts picks up Ovation programming

U.S. network Ovation is in Cannes on the hunt for "tentpole" arts programming that will make it stand out from the crowd, and has had several of its titles picked up by UK net Sky Arts, via a deal with distributor DRG.
October 2, 2011

UK pay-TV network Sky Arts has picked up a number of titles from U.S. arts-focused net Ovation, including Everything is Art, Art & the City and Jeff Koons: Beyond Heaven, via a deal with distributor DRG.

Talking to realscreen in Cannes, Ovation’s senior VP of programming and production, Kris Slava, said that Sky Arts was a good fit for a lot of his channel’s programming. “In many ways it parallels the sensibilities that we are going for,” he said.

Slava is in France at present looking for arts docs “that can be tentpoles and really represent for us,” adding that titles should “for one reason or other really stand out, either because of star power or because they focus on a controversial or edgy topic.”

He cites French production Andy Warhol’s Factory People: Welcome to the Silver Factory as a good example of a title that really works for the network.

“We do need to look for some kind of name value that will resonate with a U.S. audience,” said Slava. “We’re not HBO and don’t have the muscle and the visibility to have someone watch us just because we’re running something – we need to have a hook, or an entree.”

That said, he did point out that Ovation’s reach has grown dramatically over the past five years – from being available in some five million U.S. homes in 2007 to 44 million U.S. homes today.

“We’re about 80 per cent acquisitions and 20 per cent commissions,” Slava added. “We haven’t really been active in the pre-buy and coproduction area but it’s an area we’re really looking at now.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.