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Cable Technology Feature Article

April 03, 2013

Pivot: the New Face of Television

By Wayne Adam, Contributing Writer

Come August 1, 2013, Pivot, a new cable television network, will make its debut, and it means to take television in a new direction.

Pivot, whose slogan is “It’s Your Turn,” will target its programming to the “The New Greatest Generation,” 27 million “passionate millennials” and viewers’ 15-to-34-year-olds. This is the same age group many reports have dubbed “cord cutters,” who view traditional TV as an outmoded way to watch media, and prefer viewing videos through online steaming platforms like YouTube (News - Alert), or some other moneysaving option.

But Pivot’s research has found otherwise, according to Pivot president Evan Shapiro; "There is no such thing as a cord-cutter," Shapiro said. "They all have broadband – and it's bringing them everything they want, including video. So we decided to reframe the conversation."

"It's the first channel that's available both through traditional pay-television bundling, and via your broadband provider as a standalone (service)," he said. For an extra monthly fee (described as less than the cost of a cup of diner coffee) through the Pivot app on any device, "subscribers will be able to take this channel, both live streaming and on-demand, with you wherever you go in the world."

Pivot will program around the clock with no long-form infomercials during fringe periods. A large amount of their programming schedule will be documentaries from film festivals, world premieres and the Participant library.

Programmed series include "Friday Night Lights," a high school football drama; and "Farscape," a cult classic previously aired on the Sci-Fi Channel.

In addition, "TakePart Live,” a talk show, will air nightly. Topics will be chosen earlier by viewers who go online to TakePart.com, Participant Media's social action hub.

Just as well, Pivot will introduce viewers to "Little Mosque on the Prairie," a long-running Canadian sitcom focused on a Muslim community in a fictional Saskatchewan prairie town. "It has never been seen in the United States because the word `mosque' is in the title," Shapiro said.

"The mandate of Pivot is entertainment that inspires social change and our target is millennials, but other than that we are a general entertainment network with all types of content: drama, comedy, talk and documentaries," said Shapiro.

 The company is dedicated "to creating lasting sustainable change through the power of storytelling, and now we're bringing that to TV,” he said.

Pivot, a division of Participant Media, was founded in 2004 by entrepreneur-philanthropist Jeff Skoll, who helped mastermind eBay (News - Alert). Participant has produced more than 40 fiction and nonfiction films, including, "The Help," "Charlie Wilson's War," "Food, Inc.," "An Inconvenient Truth" and Steven Spielberg's recent "Lincoln."

"The market is a gauge of our success. But social change is an equally important, if not more important gauge." Together, said Shapiro, they're what the company refers to as its "double bottom line."

Edited by Braden Becker

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