Participant Media cable channel to offer stand-alone subscription

Programming based around goal to create social change

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Published: March 27 2013 | 3:12 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 1:19 pm in

A new cable channel from Participant Media, backer of movies such as "Lincoln" and "The Help," plans to offer an Internet subscription to customers without a pay television service, its executives said on Wednesday.

The network called "pivot" will reach 40 million homes through deals it struck with Pay TV companies such as DirecTV when it launches in August. Participant is also working with broadband providers to offer a stand-alone streaming subscription to customers without a pay TV package, network president Evan Shapiro said.

The hybrid distribution methods reflect the shifting entertainment landscape, where some customers are dropping pay TV service and watching video content online. Operators such as Cablevision and Dish Network Corp also are complaining about escalating fees to carry networks and advocating an "a la carte" model to let consumers choose the channels they want.

HBO's chief executive Richard Plepler said last week that it would consider partnering with Internet providers for its streaming service, HBO GO, and offer a product for customers who do not subscribe to cable TV.

Participant Media was founded by billionaire and former eBay President Jeff Skoll to produce entertainment programming that inspires social change.

Programming on "pivot", aimed at adults age 18 to 34, will include a variety show hosted by "Inception" and "Lincoln" actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a reality show following Meghan McCain, the daughter of Sen. John McCain, and a scripted series about a young William Shakespeare.

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