Rogers Communications has agreed to buy rival Shaw Communications in a C$20 billion ($16 billion) deal that unites Canada’s two largest cable providers.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has announced that the U.S. streaming giant will open a new office in Canada and hire a content chief dedicated to commissioning local originals. In a blog post, Sarandos said Netflix has spent CAD $2.5 billion (US$2 billion) in Canada since 2017 and it’s time to double down on its presence in the country, which has provided members with shows including Anne With An E and Workin’ Moms.
The U.S. media group, which shoots Star Trek: Discovery locally, will launch the CBS Stages Canada complex, with six soundstages, in mid-2019.
Vice is looking for a new Canadian roost for its Viceland cable network. The bootstrapping media company and the Canadian cable distributor have ended a joint venture in a Vice production studio and Viceland.
Under an agreement with the government of Canada, Netflix has agreed to invest a minimum of $500 million Canadian (about $400 million U.S.) in original productions in the country over the next five years. Netflix will establish a permanent, multipurpose film and TV production presence in Canada — the first time that the company has done so outside the U.S.
On Feb. 5, Canadian viewers of the Super Bowl for the first time will be able to watch those flashy Super Bowl ads live on TV for the first time. Before this year, Super Bowl commercials were blocked in Canada because the Canadian broadcaster was allowed to substitute its ads for U.S. ads on the American feed. This year’s change has infuriated the NFL>
The first step in Canada’s government-mandated plan is partial. At first, pay TV providers only have to offer slimmed-down basic package for $25, with theme packs like sports or entertainment channels as add-ons. Some U.S. cable and satellite companies are already starting to offer slimmer packages, such as Sling TV from Dish for $20 a month. Full channel choice, or a la carte, is due in Canada by the end of the year.
Canada’s federal broadcast regulator is holding hearings examining the current state and future viability of local TV programming, with an emphasis on the health of local TV stations and local news programming. In a study submitted prior to the hearing, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting warned that nearly half of Canada’s local TV stations could go off the air by 2020 at a cost of nearly 1,000 jobs unless they receive money to boost local programming.
In a bid to tap the burgeoning English-speaking Hispanic market in the U.S. and around the world, Mexican media giant Televisa has moved to co-produce a host of English-language TV productions with Canada, starting with spy thriller series Duality starring Dougray Scott (Hemlock Grove, Desperate Housewives, Taken 3). Televisa will offer the debut series at Mipcom.
The Canadian government will soon require cable and satellite television providers to make it easier for customers to buy only the channels they want rather than pay for bundles, the country’s industry minister said on Sunday. “We don’t think it’s right for Canadians to have to pay for bundled television channels that they don’t watch. We want to unbundle television channels and allow Canadians to pick and pay the specific television channels that they want,” Industry Minister James Moore said during an appearance on CTV’s Question Period.
Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand expressed concern to the Secretary of State that the FCC may have to reduce coverage areas of stations along the New York-Canadian border as a result of spectrum repacking, “thereby depriving American citizens of access to the signals of their favorite stations.” The senators want the State Department to assign responsibility for conducting the coordination with Canada and “get the process under way without delay.”
With CTV and Citytv locked in a hard-fought battle for primetime viewers, and long-time combatants TSN and Sportsnet squaring off in a battle for similarly lucrative sports territory, Rogers Media has opened up yet another front in its increasingly antagonistic war with Bell Media: local news. On Oct. 3, Rogers plans to launch a 24-hour news service for the Toronto market called CityNews Channel to challenge Bell’s CP24.