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Showtime posts Facebook page encouraging students to sign petition

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(Ashley Lesperance/Collegian)

An online petition from Showtime Networks is now available for University of Massachusetts students who wish to have the network included in their cable packaging in their dorms.

Showtime, a subscription television brand consisting of a variety of channels, has launched an online petition for students to sign, which will be used for support when they contact various universities and colleges about including their subscription in the television provided for students.

The petition will not make any finalized decisions, but only act as a voice for college students if there is a large enough response from the college student body.

The network is home to several critically acclaimed shows such as, “Weeds,” a program following a suburban woman who sells drugs to make a living, “Dexter,” a show that describes the life of a serial killer who is also a blood spatter for the Miami Metro Police Department, and “Californication,” a show about a writer who moves to California to sort out his issue-laden life and writer’s block.

Showtime also has contracts with several film companies such as “Summit Entertainment.” “Summit Entertainment” is responsible the “Twilight” series,” “Push” and “The Knowing.” These contracts allow the channels to broadcast many newly released movies before other networks, as well as some occasional special televised events.

Variations of the channels include Showtime Beyond, which features programming relating to science fiction, Showtime Extreme, which has programs that emphasize action and thrill television, and Showtime Family Zone, a channel dedicated to movies that are suitable for all ages.

Students can sign the petition on Facebook, where Showtime officials have created a “Students for Showtime: Hook Us Up” page. It is there that people may sign the petition, browse clips of their original programming and leave comments on the home page. The petition currently has 1,098 fans on the page, many of whom are UMass students.

Located on the page are files of various posters that students can print out to place around their own school.

There is also a discussion board that asks users of the application why they want to have Showtime included in their on-campus housing. There have been no replies to the discussion board, which has been active since Sept. 3.

The homepage wall that students are able to post comments on is primarily updated with Showtime’s own posts, either with links to episodes or offers of merchandise.

UMass students all have varying opinions on the possibility.

“I would like having Showtime in my dorm, but there is obviously the issue of the cost for the telecommunications department,” said junior Tom Kennedy.

Sophomore Maria DeRosa said, “People always want the full package and extra channels and end up never watching them. People can watch their favorite shows online for free. So the money could be put to something better.”

Some students remain indifferent on the matter, like sophomore Alice Trei, who said, “I don’t have the time to watch those shows. It wouldn’t affect me at all.”

UMass currently offers a few home box office channels, along with a basic cable package that students can watch in their dorms. UMass’ own cable provider, the Housing Cable Service Provider, is a privately owned cable service provider as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, and it is operated by housing services.

Showtime will also be visiting several campuses in an attempt to do grassroots marketing. Representatives will advertise the petition and the channels in an attempt to raise excitement and possible sales. There is no word on when or where the company will be visiting as of now.

Tim Jones can be reached at timothyj@student.umass.edu.

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