All pope, all the time: Time Warner plans special channel for papal visit

All pope, all the time: Time Warner plans special channel for papal visit September 7, 2015

time-warner-logoThis is extraordinary—and, I think, unprecedented. It’s also a testament to the intense interest in all things Francis, as he makes his first visit to the United States.

From The New York Times:  

Time Warner Cable is rolling out the Papal Visit 2015 channel, a sort of C-Span for fans of the pope, telecasting around the clock on Channel 199 in most areas from the opening event of Francis’ tour, a Mass in Havana on Sept. 20, until Shepherd One lifts off from Philadelphia International Airport on Sept. 27.

The papal channel will be available to Time Warner’s subscribers in New York and more than two dozen other markets around the country, 15 million households in all. It will also be available online and on the TWC News app.

In addition to showing the events, with on-the-scene commentary and analysis, the papal channel will feature a special edition of NY1’s nightly call-in show and a daily recap show at 10 p.m., recounting the day’s events.

All together, Time Warner officials said, they expect to air more than 80 hours of live programming and documentaries. All night and during other times when the pope is not in public, the channel will provide “encore presentations” of what has been shown.

Steve Paulus, Time Warner Cable’s senior vice president for news, cited two reasons to start the network.

There is a demand for the content, but it is a demand with limits.

“The issue with the papal visit is that he does so many events — some of them include whole Catholic Masses,” Mr. Paulus said. When Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, came to New York in 2008, he said, some viewers bridled at what seemed like endless coverage of “people just going up to get communion.”

Mr. Paulus added, “At a certain point, when you’re a news channel, you still want to be giving weather on the 1s and providing the coverage people want.”

And if news unrelated to the pope breaks and NY1 needs to cover a mayoral news conference, for example, those who seek uninterrupted coverage of Francis can switch to Channel 199.

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