CRTC approves new national pay TV service
Last Updated Thu, 18 May 2006 13:06:05 EDT
Canada's broadcast regulator gave its approval Thursday for a new pay TV channel that will compete nationally with regional services The Movie Network and Movie Central.
FROM JULY 21, 2005: New channels circling Canada's pay TV universe
In granting the licence to Allarco Entertainment Inc. for the English-language, general-interest station, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rejected proposals from three other applicants: Spotlight Television Ltd., Channel Zero and Archambault Group Inc.
The CRTC also said no to Archambault's application for a national French-language pay-TV service.
As the only general-interest pay channel to broadcast nationwide, Allarco's new station will compete regionally against Astral Television's The Movie Network in eastern Canada and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central in the west.
Combined, those two services had more than 1.8-million English-language subscribers in 2005.
The new digital channel will broadcast feature films, original series, specials and mini-series in high definition.
Allarco is owned by Charles Allard, whose Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc. operates radio stations in Calgary and Edmonton.
It said 25 per cent of the new station's schedule will be given over to Canadian programs, and that the quota will rise to 30 per cent between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
In granting the licence, the CRTC gave Allarco 24 months to get the channel up and running.
The Allard family pioneered Canadian pay TV with Superchannel in the early 1980s before it was sold to Shaw and then Corus.
Rejected applicant Channel Zero had proposed the Canadian Film Channel, which would have been devoted to all-Canadian programmming.
"We are obviously disappointed with the commission's decision, but we know how much thought and care was put into the process, and we thank them for the opportunity," said Cal Millar, vice-president and general manager of Channel Zero.
Copyright ©2006 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved