Canucks greenlight foreign TV services

TORONTO — Canada’s federal broadcast regulator has opened the door to a host of foreign television services, mostly U.S., that may be used by cable operators, direct-to-home satellite TV companies and other suppliers of broadcast signals to flesh out their channel package offerings to subscribers.

TV services that don’t make the list compiled by the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission are not eligible for distribution in Canada.

Newcomers to the list announced Tuesday include: American Health Network, ART American, BBC World, Court TV, Deutsche Welle, the Filipino Channel, Fit TV, the Golf Channel, Speedvision, TV Food Network, TV Japan, TV Polonia and WMNB-TV: Russian-American Broadcasting Co.

Four more services — American Movie Classics, Game Show Network, KWGN Denver and Turner Classic Movies — have been added to the list for packaging with pay TV channels. Seattle superstation KIRO-TV also may be added to the pay TV tier.

Black Entertainment Television has been upgraded on the list so it may be packaged with specialty or pay services.

The CRTC removed restrictions on CNBC (Consumer News & Business Channel) that limited its broadcast to just a few hours daily to permit full-time distribution. However, a request to add Bloomberg Information Television to the list was denied because it would be competitive with ROBTv, a newly licensed specialty channel with little prospect of getting on the air anytime soon.

Playboy TV also was given the greenlight, provided it is delivered only at the specific request of a subscriber and is packaged in such a way that no one is obliged to take it in order to purchase any other service.

Ironically, an application to add Newsworld Intl. to the list was denied. The all-news channel is carried on DirecTV and is owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Montreal-based Power Corp., but is not seen in Canada. The CRTC argued that Newsworld Intl. is not a foreign service and must apply for a broadcasting license if it wants to broadcast here.

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