Chum benefits to biz if Craig merger OK’d

Co. to set aside $ for p'gramming, script development

TORONTO — Media company Chum has promised a C$20 million ($15.2 million) basket of goodies to the Canadian TV sector if the federal broadcast regulator greenlights its takeover of Calgary-based Craig Media.

Toronto-based Chum negotiated a $201 million deal in April to buy Craig’s TV channels in Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba; Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta; and recently launched Toronto and several specialty channels. But it cannot go ahead without regulatory approval.

At the time the deal was inked, Chum agreed to sell Toronto1, since it already owns two Toronto-area channels, Citytv and the New VR.

In its application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, made public Wednesday, Chum promised that if it gets regulatory approval, it will spend an extra $6.8 million over seven years on TV programming, mostly for its Western operations. It will also earmark $1.1 million for script and concept development and bridge financing, and it will open two new bureaus in Alberta.

In addition, it offered to spend $2 million on “Caravan!,” a half-hour improv performance show, and another $2.1 million in other initiatives, including $285,000 for the Banff TV Festival, which recently came through a financial crisis.

The CRTC generally asks that mergers and takeover applications be sweetened by industry benefits worth about 10% of any transaction. Subtracting the estimated value of the sale of Toronto1, Chum’s proposed package amounts to about that.

Chum hopes to receive the thumbs up by the end of the year.

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