A powerful cast of players including The Weinstein Co. and Hubbard Media Group closed Tues its purchase of Ovation: The Arts Network, but new CEO Charles Segars said in a Tues conference call that new names for the net are under discussion. Relaunch goals include increased distribution (above the current 5.3mln subs), higher ad sales and better connections with local communities, execs said. "People all over seek to put creative outlets into their lives, and we want to tell the stories of local markets," said COO Ron Garfield, adding that distributors and advertisers have been receptive to the new direction. Distributors (Ovation has master agreements with several undisclosed MSOs) are particularly excited about SVOD and VOD possibilities, said Segars, who aims to double the net’s distribution within a year. "This is a wide open category that is quite compelling, and distributors are reacting to that," said chmn Ken Solomon, who holds the same post at The Tennis Channel and noted possible synergies between the 2 L.A.-based nets, as well as Hubbard’s ReelzChannel (launching late Sept from L.A.). All operate singularly now, but there are "certainly efficiencies, and we will explore them," he said. Weinstein’s Hollywood expertise is also expected to pay dividends. "We are looking to those guys to let us know all the good stuff out there," said Segars. Former net owners JP Morgan and the NY Times achieved profitability without advertising, so the stage is set for a smash hit, said Solomon. Only time will tell if net stakeholders call for an encore.

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