The Sundance Channel is for sale — and Cablevision could be the eventual buyer, according to a Pali research report released today to Bloomberg financial news. Started in 1996, The Sundance Channel was started to showcase Robert Redford’s annual film festival and reaches about 26 million viewers devoted to indie, world cinema, documentaries, short films, and original programming. (Especially Iconoclasts when it paired Eddie Vedder and Laird Hamilton. A cool one coming up: Sean Penn and Jon Krakauer.) Now owners GE’s Universal Studios (55%), CBS’ Showtime Networks (35%), and Redford (10%), who also acts as the creative director, are seeking $400 million to $500 million for the channel, according to analyst Richard Greenfield. The cable operator already owns the Independent Film Channel, IFC Films and AMC Network so this would be yet more media consolidation. But Greenfield sees it as “a positive long-term strategic move” for Cablevision’s IFC. He wrote that Viacom and Time Warner may also be interested, since they have specialty film divisions. “While we believe both NBC and CBS would have interest in owning 100 percent of the network, we believe issues surrounding pricing to an existing owner make it more likely that the network is sold to a third party,” Greenfield wrote. Once commercial-free, The Sundance Channel — an extension of Redford’s non-profit Sundance Institute — already has decided to sell-out by accepting advertising.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.