VANCOUVER — Canuck TV viewers are facing a slew of confusing changes on their screens this week.
Those changes include the addition of 16 digital English language channels to the cable menu across Canada and a switch in network affiliations in British Columbia that will also affect Vancouver-based newsshows going to the rest of the country.
Ownership changes at the Vancouver-Victoria area’s four network TV stations are driving name and programming changes.
In addition, two new stations will start in the next month: NOW TV, owned by Winnipeg-based Trinity, a Christian broadcaster; and CIVI Victoria, owned by Toronto-based Chum Ltd., owners of Citytv.
When these stations go on air, there will be several channel changes for Vancouver cable viewers. Some popular U.S. stations carried here, such as KOMO-ABC Seattle and KVOS-12 Bellingham will be moved to new channels.
In Canada, the unofficial start of the new fall season for U.S. shows is Sept. 17 — and many of them will be moving to new homes. That’s when irate viewers looking for the shows are expected to howl.
Anticipating confusion and anger, Vancouver’s television broadcasters and local cable carrier have cooperated in a publicity campaign to prepare viewers.
“I don’t think there’s ever been anything quite like this in Canadian broadcasting,” said Robert Hurst, CTV BC general manager.
How confusing are things? Consider: Dominant Vancouver station BCTV has been renamed Global BC and will now carry CanWest Global programming. It formerly carried CTV shows. VTV is now CTV British Columbia and will carry CTV shows. Global TV is now CKVU 13 and will carry Chum/Citytv programs. CHEK TV has been renamed CH Victoria, and will carry CanWest Global shows.
The 16 new digital channels slated to launch Friday must be carried by every Canadian cable and satellite company. A set-top descrambler will be required to access them, and viewers must pay for the new services they want.