TVA Group has announced its intention to acquire the Serdy Média inc. and Serdy Vidéo inc. group of companies for $24 million. TVA says the deal will allow it to further diversify the content it offers Quebec viewers by adding the Évasion and Zeste specialty channels. TVA Group has been a founding shareholder of Évasion, whose programming focuses on travel, tourism, adventure and food, since the channel was created in 2000. Zeste, founded in 2010, is a cooking and lifestyle network. Sébastien Arsenault, president and CEO of Serdy Média inc. says the decision is necessary to sustain growth as independent specialty channels find it increasingly challenging to capture the public’s attention.
The CRTC has approved American specialty channel Shalom World for distribution in Canada. The approval comes over the objections of ZoomerMedia, which operates multi-faith channel VisionTV. While ZoomerMedia had argued Shalom World would compete with Vision programming, the CRTC says it anticipates minimal overlap with the more “limited point-of-view Catholic service.”
Convergence Research Group is forecasting that within two years streaming services like Netflix will be more popular in Canada than cable TV. The Battle For The North American Couch Potato: OTT, TV, Online predicts that by the end of 2020, 10.6 million Canadian households will be signed up with streaming services – four per cent higher than the projected 10.2 million who will have traditional TV subscriptions. The report also forecasts an annual average decline of 2.6 per cent in Canadian television subscriptions through to 2020.
Netflix is teaming up with the Hot Docs Festival to launch the Canadian Storytellers Project – a five-year initiative investing in professional-development opportunities for underrepresented documentarians, including Indigenous, French-speaking, visible minorities, or those with a disability. The program will support 10 fellowships annually for the Hot Docs’ Doc Accelerator program for emerging filmmakers. In addition, the CrossCurrents Canada Doc Fund will support 25-40 independent doc projects from emerging filmmakers over the next five years with grants of $10,000 – $50,000. Applications for the first round of funding will open this fall.
BNN Bloomberg celebrated its launch Monday by opening the Toronto Stock Exchange. Coinciding with the launch, BNN Bloomberg is now available in special free preview until June 28, through television service providers across Canada. Monday also marked the launch of the all-new BNNBloomberg.ca and the BNN Bloomberg app, as well as BNN Bloomberg Radio, available for live streaming through the iHeartRadio Canada app, and locally in Metro Vancouver on HD Radio at 103.5 HD2 and on 1410 AM (CFTE-AM).
The Movie Network (TMN) now has exclusive, Canadian, first-window rights for film titles from 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Films; Entertainment One; Sony Pictures Entertainment; Universal Pictures and Focus Features; and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. As previously announced, Bell Media has also entered into a long-term agreement with Lionsgate to distribute Lionsgate’s future theatrical releases in Canada in a first pay window, and bring the Starz brand to Canada.
CBC has announced that Lane Merrifield, the creator of children’s social network Club Penguin, and Vincenzo Guzzo, CEO of Quebec’s Cinemas Guzzo, will join Season 13 of Dragons’ Den. Returning are Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Michele Romanow and Manjit Minhas, while financier Michael Wekerle and fashion icon Joe Mimran depart the series. Wekerle is leaving to focus on the re-opening of iconic Toronto live music venue El Mocambo, while Mimran will continue to devote his time to Gibraltar Ventures and its invested companies.
Gusto is launching new original series Where To I Do? on May 17. Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, the series is the first to come out of the previously announced partnership between Bell Media Studios and Motion Content Group, and has already been renewed for a second season. The eight-episode, 30-minute show is hosted by Canadian design expert Tommy Smythe, as he helps couples find their perfect wedding venue. It will also debut this fall in Québec on Canal Vie.
Gusto has announced the premiere of new docu-series Dog Tales Rescue on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT beginning May 31. Following the day-to-day operation of the King City, ON Dog Tales Rescue and Horse Sanctuary, the 10-episode, half-hour series features sanctuary co-founders Danielle Eden-Scheinberg and Rob Scheinberg as they care and rehabilitate sick, elderly, and abused animals. The docu-series also debuts this fall in Québec on Canal Vie.
Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of sci-fi drama Another Life, to be produced by Halfire Entertainment (Alias Grace). Starring Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, The Flash) as an astronaut leading her crew on a mission to explore the origins of an alien artifact, the series will start production in Vancouver this summer.
CBC Sports has announced coverage plans for the 2018 IAAF Diamond League series, the second season in CBC Sports’ three-year deal for the Canadian multiplatform broadcast rights. The 2018 season includes 14 invitational one-day track and field meets taking place across Asia, Europe, Africa and North America over the course of four months. Beginning with the first event in Doha, Qatar, on May 4, CBC Sports will provide live-streaming coverage of every meet at cbcsports.ca and via the CBC Sports app, while television coverage will be featured as part of CBC Sports’ weekend staple Road To The Olympic Games. Radio-Canada Sports will also offer live-streaming coverage of every meet.
Global Montreal has announced the second annual Greater Montreal Day on May 10, encouraging Montrealers to perform random acts of kindness and post their good deeds on social media with the hashtag #GreaterMontrealDay. Among those supporting the event this year are Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, hockey legend Guy Carbonneau, Montreal Olympic icon Nadia Comăneci, The Bachelor star Vanessa Grimaldi and MSO conductor Kent Nagano.
CBC is embarking on a nationwide search for Canada’s Smartest Person Junior (6×60). The new CBC competition series, taped in front of a studio audience, will premiere this fall. Based on the Canada’s Smartest Person format and produced by Media Headquarters, the competition will crown one young Canadian with the first ever title of Canada’s Smartest Person Junior. Canadian kids, aged 8-12, can apply at cbc.ca/smartestpersonjunior until June 30.