RCN Drops WE, Ovation


RCN Corp. is trimming its analog-TV offerings, and two casualties are arts channel Ovation and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

Customers in New York received notices of channel changes that included dropping those two networks, which had been in RCN’s hefty analog lineup; shifting National Geographic Channel to analog from digital; and bumping The Golf Channel, The Independent Film Channel and Outdoor Life Network to digital from analog.

The changes take effect April 19, the notice said. Four other channels stayed on analog basic but changed channel numbers.

Craig Wert, vice president of video products and programming, said RCN offers large analog lineups as a competitive edge in its markets -- which also include Boston; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco -- but the MSO made a decision to reclaim analog spectrum to make room for more HD channels and in anticipation of digital simulcasting, the first step toward all-digital cable systems.

“We really need to slim down our analog lineups a bit” and bring them more in line with what wireline cable competitors offer, Wert said, adding that RCN’s lineups vary from market to market, but that Ovation and WE -- which were on in systems other than New York -- were dropped across the board.

Ovation is independently owned, while WE is part of Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Rainbow Media Holdings LLC.