Channels available free on net's Web site

CTV became the most aggressive Canadian web to enter the multiplatform universe with the launch of four broadband channels with primetime, news, documentary and celebrity strands on Tuesday.

The advertising-supported channels are available free on the net’s Web site, www.ctv.ca.

Programming includes home-grown fare such as “Corner Gas,” “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “Canadian Idol.”

It will also make the second season of “Instant Star” available a day ahead of its TV airing, something network brass are gambling will not cannibalize TV auds.

There will be a selection of CTV news and information updated hourly, outtakes from interviews and other programming harvested from CTV entertainment program “etalk” and full-length programming from CTV’s Discovery Channel.

“We want to be in the game, on our own terms and at our own pace, which is accelerated from the other broadcasters,” said Kris Faibish, CTV’s VP of digital.

It was the steep learning curve from the launch of the Canadian version of broadband service MTV Overdrive in March that prepared CTV (which owns the MTV Canada brand) for the ambitious release, Faibish added.

“It gave us a huge dry run,” she said. “More importantly, it taught us how to monetize, deal with advertisers and get commercial inventory into the lineup.”

This is phase one of the launch. Phase two launches in the fall and will include an option to personalize the service.

Although the network does not have rights to broadcast any U.S. programming on its broadband service, Faibish said CTV will look into it.

The network also announced on Tuesday the launch with Bell Canada of a mobile video news service featuring three-minute video news reports from CTV News and ROBTv updated hourly. The made-for-mobile programming will be available to wireless customers of Bell Mobility.

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