Film and TV News In Brief

Bell Media has launched court action against Videotron over claims of trademark infringement, stemming from Bell’s recent merger of The Movie Network (TMN) and its Crave streaming service. Bell says Videotron has made its Crave VOD content available to subscribers, despite failing to agree to new content distribution terms by an Oct. 31 deadline. A statement of claim, filed in Federal Court in Vancouver, seeks $100 million in damages – $20,000 per individual episode of the approximately 2,700 TV shows and films under Bell copyright.

Corus Entertainment has requested permission from the CRTC to shut down 44 television rebroadcasting transmitters, arguing they are too costly to maintain. Corus says approximately 1.5 million Canadians live within the contours of the transmitters to be shut down, estimating less than 20,000 viewers will be impacted, assuming outdoor antennas are still being used in the affected, rural markets. Corus’ application says the transmitters are all located in small markets that are predominantly served by originating transmitters in adjacent larger markets and “generate no incremental revenue, and attract little to no added viewership for Corus.” Corus also wants to abandon upgrades to 20 transmitters and reallocate the funds into Canadian content including $50,000 in support for the Ontario, Western and British Columbia associations of broadcasters, as well as the Radio-Television and Digital News Association of Canada (RTDNA), to allow student delegates to attend the respective conventions, staging of “Career Day” activities, and professional development courses for member broadcasters.

DHX Media is selling its Halifax animation studio as part of the company’s ongoing strategic shift to focus and streamline its production operations. The sale does not include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which continues to be owned by DHX Media and produced in Halifax. The sale is expected to close on or about Dec. 31, 2018. Reporting its Q1 2019 results for the period ended Sept. 30, DHX recorded revenue of $104 million, up 5.5 per cent year-over-year. DHX says the increase was driven by continued strong performance from its WildBrain YouTube platform, higher consumer product royalties, and higher production service revenue. That was offset by reduced revenue of $2.4 million in the quarter due to the implementation of IFRS 151 accounting standards. Adjusted EBITDA was $17.3, compared with $22.8 million in Q1 2018, down $1.0 million due to the implementation of IFRS 151 and by $3.8 million related to the sale of the minority stake in Peanuts.

Boat Rocker Media has acquired U.S. production company Matador Content, which is behind shows like Paramount Network’s Lip Sync Battle. Matador founders Jay Peterson and Todd Lubin will remain heads of the company. Financial terms of the cash and stock deal were not disclosed. The acquisition follows Boat Rocker’s purchase of a majority stake in Toronto’s Insight Productions earlier this year.

The CRTC has renewed the broadcasting licence for English-language educational TV station City Saskatchewan (formerly the Saskatchewan Communications Network). Rogers Media filed an application to renew the satellite-to-cable television service, which serves as the provincial educational broadcaster. During the rest of the broadcast week, City Saskatchewan airs programming from the Citytv network. Rogers had requested that, for the upcoming licence term, City Saskatchewan be required to only devote 50 per cent of the evening broadcast period to Canadian programming, arguing that in keeping with the principle and philosophy outlined in the Let’s Talk TV policy framework, the commission should move away from micro regulation of exhibition requirements that are no longer relevant in a new on-demand TV environment. The commission denied Rogers’ Cancon proposal, but approved the removal of advertising limits for non-educational programming.

The Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund has been upped by $6 million to $26 million for 2018-19. The fund, which is administered by Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI), provides between 25 and 32 per cent of eligible costs such as labour, goods and services purchased from a Nova Scotia-based supplier.

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) 2018 report says $1.7 billion in business was closed or advanced at BANFF 2018 as Canadian artists, creators, producers, and screen industry entrepreneurs took advantage of networking and relationship-building opportunities to grow their export success. The 2018 BANFF delegate list showed significant participation from the U.S., China, Australia, the UK, Scandinavia, and other European regions. This year’s B2B marketplace attracted 1,500 participants from across Canada and over 250 buyers from 25 countries, including representatives from NBC, HBO, Disney and Netflix.

Global has commissioned new Canadian original six-part event series Departure. Produced by Shaftesbury and Greenpoint Productions Ltd., the drama is directed by T.J. Scott (Orphan Black, Star Trek: Discovery), with Malcolm MacRury (Saving Hope) joining as showrunner, and Vincent Shiao (Ransom, Aftermath) as creator. With principal photography now underway in Toronto, the Canada/UK co-production will also shoot in London, England. Slated to join Global’s 2019 primetime schedule, the conspiracy series follows the mystery of a passenger plane that vanishes over the Atlantic Ocean. The cast includes Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) and Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (All the Money In the World), along with Kris Holden-Ried (Vikings), Claire Forlani (Hawaii Five-O), Rebecca Liddiard (Frankie Drake Mysteries), Shazad Latif (Star Trek: Discovery), Tamara Duarte (Longmire), Peter Mensah (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), and Allan Hawco (Caught). This newly greenlit series is the final original series commissioned by Global for the 2019 broadcast year joining Nurses, Ransom, Mary Kills People, Private Eyes, and Big Brother Canada.

mr. d

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) and Screen Nova Scotia have released a report that credits CBC series Mr. D with generating $126.5 million in economic activity over eight seasons of production in Halifax. Of the more than 1,400 jobs created by the series, approximately two-thirds were staffed by Nova Scotia talent. The report also found that in just one single season, 386 Canadian businesses benefited, with 80 per cent of those businesses based in N.S. In a standalone analysis of show’s sixth season, the report found that for every dollar of provincial government incentives the production received in Nova Scotia, it generated $5.63 in economic output and $4.18 in GDP. At the federal level, every dollar of tax credit yielded $15.75 in economic output and $11.67 in GDP. The full study is available here.


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