Online broadcasts will be restricted to Canadian viewers

TORONTO — Canadians will be able to watch “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” “The OC” and “Smith” online, after the CTV web inked with Warner Bros. Intl. TV for broadband rights for the shows. It’s the first such deal between a Canadian broadcaster and a U.S. studio.

CTV will stream “Studio 60″ and the fourth season of “The OC” soon after their Sunday and Thursday night TV broadcasts. It also will make available previously aired episodes.

“Smith,” canceled after three episodes with four left still to unspool, will bow on broadband at a later date.

CTV’s online broadcasts will be restricted to Canadian viewers by providing access only through Canada-based Internet service providers.

“Today’s announcement contributes to CTV’s strategy of delivering hit programming across multiple platforms, energizing existing fan bases and reaching out to new audiences,” said Susanne Boyce, CTV president of programming and chair of the CTV Media Group.

CTV tested the waters this month by streaming the first two episodes of the fourth season of “The OC” ahead of their TV airdates. They were wildly popular by Canadian standards, notching more than 120,000 downloads in 10 days.

“It is clearly advantageous to explore digital opportunities with our broadcast partners for our series,” said WBIT prexy Jeffrey R. Schlesinger. “Maximizing exposure for our shows brings more consumer awareness, builds audiences and strengthens core fan bases.

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