Pivot shuts down after just 3 years despite ample backing and carriage

Source: Pivot.tv

Participant Media has confirmed that it plans to shutter its three-year-old millennial-targeted cable channel, Pivot.

Backed by Canadian billionaire Jeff Skoll and his Participant Media with a reported investment of around $200 million, and carried by most major pay-TV operators, the linear network is now set to shutter later this year. 

"As the media landscape changes, we have been evaluating how we fulfill our mission to entertain and inspire social action around the world's most pressing issues,” said Participant Media CEO David Linde in a statement. “That process has led us to the decision to move away from owning and operating a cable network. While this conclusion was not an easy one, it is ultimately in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and allows us to allocate more resources toward the production of compelling content across all platforms.”

The move comes as a set-back for not just for smaller programmers trying to gain a foothold in the era of the skinny bundle, but also for those seeking to target young-adult audiences with traditional linear channels. 

Despite participation from well-known talent including Joseph Gordon Levitt, who produced the crowd-sourced HitRecord, Pivot could never generate enough buzz to develop a real, sustainable audience. Off-network shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Friday Night Lights also failed to ignite a sizable following.

Carried in 50 million homes, the channel isn’t rated by Nielsen, making its ad-sales efforts a bit tougher. The shuttering of Pivot comes a few months after Al Jazeera America — another channel launching at around the same time — called it quits, as well.

"This was a decision made over a lengthy period of analysis," Linde added. "The network's real achievements can be wholly attributed to the Pivot team, of whom we are incredibly proud. This very talented group's commitment to our broader mission has been absolute, and we are very grateful for their significant contributions to the organization.”

During Comcast’s second-quarter earnings call last month, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke indicated that a wave of shutterings by smaller cable channels is in the offing. 

"You'll see us and others trimming channels," he said. "There are just too many networks."

Burke added, “We will continue to invest what we need to invest into our bigger channels, and we'll continue to trim the smaller ones."

For more:
- read this Participant Media press release
- read this Variety story

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