Oceanic Time Warner Cable is moving toward the creation of all-University of Hawaii channel on its statewide system, people involved said.
"The decision has been made that Oceanic will be launching a channel dedicated to all things University of Hawaii," said Norman Santos, Oceanic vice president for operations, in an e-mail.
No date was given for the debut, but signs point to the possibility of it being operational as soon as this fall. While UH athletic events would be a mainstay of the new channel, sports features and classics having been discussed and an academic component would be included. There may also be student involvement.
A UH spokesman said the project "remains in the formative stage" and deferred comment to Oceanic.
Oceanic’s current sports contract with UH runs through 2014 and guarantees UH a minimum of $2.3 million per year plus a share of revenues past certain thresholds. The contract calls for UH to receive $500,000 from KFVE and the balance from Oceanic.
But the future role — if any — of KFVE, which has been part of UH sports for nearly 30 years, is said to be undecided. KFVE has partnered with Oceanic on pay-per-view since 2002 and has recently been a subcontractor.
Under the current contract, 2011 is described as a "transition term" in which Oceanic may elect to produce UH sports by itself for the next three years.
"Final outcome on the relationship with KFVE has not been completed and will not be finalized for another couple of months," Santos said.
The window for negotiations between Oceanic and KFVE was listed as Oct. 1, 2010-Feb. 28, 2011. UH has said the decision is Oceanic’s.
Oceanic has used Northwest Mobile for production of many of the events shown on its OC 16 channel.
Oceanic has looked at operating two channels with sports, adding the UH inventory to its high school component.
The impact of the impending change in conference membership from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West in football and Big West in most other sports remains to be seen.
While things would likely be little changed in the Big West, both UH and Oceanic say they are awaiting word from the MWC whether pay-per-view will continue.