×

Canada switching on new feevee net

Net will be first general-interest pay channel in years

Regulator the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has given Edmonton-based Allarco Entertainment a license to operate a pay TV network in the country.

Unnamed net will be the first general-interest pay channel to start up in Canada in years.

The country’s pay TV landscape has been controlled by the Corus Entertainment-owned Movie Central in the west and Astral Media-owned the Movie Network in the east.

Astral and Corus argued with the CRTC last fall that there wasn’t room for another pay TV player. On Thursday, both released statements saying they accepted the decision.

Allarco is a new company, but it is majority owned by Charles Allard, one of Canada’s most seasoned broadcast entrepreneurs. The Allard family has been active in broadcasting in Canada since 1965.

Company’s pay network will include six channels, including one with 100% Canadian-content. They will air movies, series, concerts and other special events.

The Astral and Corus pay webs have deals with many of the Hollywood majors, but Allarco president Malcolm Knox told Daily Variety that there is a lot of available U.S. programming given the slew of Yank specialty cable nets.

“I think we will be able to pick up some studio movies,” Knox said.

“Look at the financial results for pay TV and specialty TV. Both Movie Central and the Movie Network had terrific years last year, and both companies had terrific subscriber growth. That shows the marketplace is growing. Also, our research shows there’s a strong appetite for new channels in the pay universe. There’s strong consumer interest, and the incumbents are making a ton of dough.”

Astral veepee Alain Bergeron said Canada does not need another pay TV service.

“We’ve maintained from the beginning that the Canadian consumer did not need a new channel,” said Bergeron. “We have the best content at the best price. We have agreements with just about every U.S. studio, and we just renewed our agreements with HBO and Showtime. So let’s let the consumer decide.”

Allarco’s plan is to have the network up and running by next year and to broadcast in high definition.

Allarco has committed to investing 100% of its profits in Canadian programming and to invest 32% of its revenues in domestic programming annually. It will also spend C$1 million ($898,000) each year on marketing Canuck programming and $1.8 million annually on script and concept development.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

  • Nordisk Film & TV Fond Announces

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley' Final

    TV News Roundup: 'Silicon Valley's' Final Season Sets October Premiere Date

    In today’s roundup, “Silicon Valley” returns to HBO on Oct. 27 and Quibi greenlights a new cooking competition show “Dismantled.” DATES The fifth season of Netflix‘s “Peaky Blinders” will premiere on the streamer Oct. 4. The newest season will continue to follow one gangster family in the lawless streets of Birmingham, UK during the midst [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content