Reupping up north

DirecTV renews deal with Canuck services

BANFF, Alberta — DirecTV has extended its distribution deal with two Canadian programming services in a multiyear agreement expected to generate revenue of $200 million over the life of the contract.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but its duration is longer than the five- to seven-year industry norm, said Patrick Vien, chief operating officer of North American Television, a joint venture of the state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Power Broadcasting, a unit of Power Corp. of Montreal.

The anticipated revenue is based on a conservative estimate of DirecTV’s subscriber growth and advertising sales, Vien told Daily Variety in an interview before the start of the Banff Television Festival.

2.6 mil U.S. subs

DirecTV, which delivers satellite TV services to 2.6 million Americans, has included in its lineup the two Canadian channels — Newsworld Intl. and Trio — since September 1994.

“Newsworld Intl. and Trio deliver distinct and quality programming and we are pleased to continue offering these Canadian-based services to our subscribers,” said Richard Goldberg, DirecTV’s VP of programming.

The deal probably is the biggest TV programming export deal in Canadian history.

Vien said the money will be put back into the two services to acquire and produce more Canadian programming.

Edgy trio

Trio features drama series, documentaries and movies produced by the CBC and independent Canadian production companies: “The Fifth Estate,” “Undercurrents,” “Nature of Things” and “Mysterious Island” among the best-known titles.

Trio was first in the U.S. to present an uncut version of “The Boys of St. Vincent,” a controversial CBC drama about the abuse of children in a Catholic boarding school.

Newsworld Intl. is a 24-hours news channel airing some Newsworld programming such as “The National Newscast”; “Pamela Wallin Live,” an interview show; and “The Lead,” a look behind the headlines, as well as foreign news programming from China, Germany, Japan, India and Europe.

Northbridge Programming, the programming acquisition arm of the joint venture, has purchased more than 2,200 hours of Canadian production since the two services were launched, Vien said.

“Both Trio and Newsworld Intl. are effective competitive vehicles in the United States for Canadian programming,” he added.

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