BBC Worldwide North America and Blue Ant Media announced today that they have entered into an agreement to launch BBC Earth, the BBC’s premium factual channel in Canada. Scheduled to debut on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, the commercial-free channel will give Canadians exclusive access to BBC Earth’s slate of high-profile programming including Planet Earth II and The Hunt.
The highly anticipated premiere of Planet Earth II, will be broadcast on BBC Earth in Canada on Saturday, January 28, day-and-date with the U.S. premiere, which will air on BBC AMERICA. Blue Ant Media will release further programming information and scheduling details for the channel in early January.
BBC Earth will be broadcast in Canada in HD and will replace Blue Ant Media’s existing radX channel.
Comment: there's no mention of a free preview, but I wouldn't be surprised to see one for the launch.
With Corus talking about pairing back on some of their channels I wonder what this means for BBC Canada. The gushy press release "kindred spirits" makes me wonder if Blue Ant and Corus might make a deal for BBC Canada. Not sure that Corus really is that interested in BBC Canada anymore based on the program schedule and kids, women, lifestyle program focus. Other than the occasional British show and not necessarily BBC, having new kindred owners might mean that it would get a breathe of fresh programming.
According to Dr. Dave, BBC Earth is supposed to be commercial-free. Yet, it's also shown on BBC America, which I assume is like BBC Canada and has commercials. So how is BBC Earth going to accommodate the empty space where commercials were inserted?
Planet Earth II premiere now scheduled for Saturday, February 18 at 9 PM.
The Hunt will premiere in the spring. It is also available on Blu-ray for purchase now on Amazon.com.
Forces of Nature with Brian Cox premiers on Thursday, March 9 at 11 PM (11 PM seems kind of late).
The exact dates of the free preview of BBC Earth are Jan. 24 – April 23 on Shaw and Novus, so others will probably be the same.
The Planet Earth II premiere was also re-scheduled on BBC America to Saturday, February 18 at 9 PM. On BBC Earth: "Beginning at noon that day, audiences will be treated to a marathon of original Planet Earth episodes, as well as an hour-long documentary, Planet Earth II: The Making Of at 8 p.m. ET/PT."
These types of programs about the natural world already appear on Blue Ant's Love Nature (formerly Oasis) channel. Does this mean that Love Nature may itself be about to be rebranded to avoid any programming conflicts?
Looked at the schedule for BBC Earth Canada, at least the initial one, and it actually seems to be mostly different shows from Love Nature (with the required recycled CanCon thrown in). At a glance, it does seem to be largely BBC-sourced content, but they seem to have gotten some stuff from the US Weather Channel and elsewhere. The first few days is mostly marathons of BBC shows, with a "Countdown to BBC" all day on Jan 23.
BBC Earth now in free preview so it will be a while before we know what package or packages it will be in. However, it is likely that it will be placed in a different package than Radx occupied when the preview ends. I see it as being in competition with both Love Nature and even some Smithsonian channel programmes (Canada on the Edge to name one).