TV, Eh? Industry Roundup: Teletoon, CRTC, Ben’s City, and more

Teletoon: The 90% Animation, 10% Anything Else Station

On February 17, 2012, the CRTC approved Teletoon’s request to draw from “all the program categories set out in item 6 of Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, as amended from time to time.”

Schedule I, Item 6 is all-important. It lists the types of programming a channel can air. In essence, Teletoon can air anything, pursuant to its current 90% animation mandate.

Back in 2004, CBC, CHUM Limited, Global, TQS and SARTEC had a problem with Teletoon airing non-animated material. Nowadays, only the Canadian Media Production Association has a problem with Teletoon, and CMPA’s beef is with Teletoon’s not reciprocating an agreement. Inertia is a wonderful thing.

CRTC streamlines its applications process

On February 20, 2012, the CRTC posted its newest bulletin on streamlining of applications for both transfers of channel ownership/control, and licence amendments/extensions.

The CRTC fast-tracked certain applications, received from November 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011.  Of note:

    • Jay Switzer is no longer the majority shareholder of Hollywood Suite Inc. He now exercises control of Hollywood Suite Inc., through a Voting Trust Agreement.
    • FDR Media Group Inc. was controlled equally by David Martin, Shubhankar Maitra and Fariba Rawhani. The new ownership is split equally between Martin, Maitra, Rawhani, and Prashant Pathak. In addition, Mehndi HD TV and Bollywood Times HD TV, two channels launched by FDR Media Group on November 28, 2011, have the terms of their “broadcast day” amended.
    • GlassBOX Television can’t amend the licences for TREK TV or CURV TV. It must launch TREK TV by March 6, 2013, and CURV TV by May 5, 2014.
    • A bunch of retransmitters can cease operation. The deleted transmitters are owned by CBC, Newcap Inc. (CKSA, CITL), Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited (NTV), and 0859291 B.C. Ltd. (CHEK).
    • Canal Savoir had CFTU’s analog service extended, to December 15, 2011. Canal Savoir is a French-language, educational television channel.
    • Je me souviens, a French-language, alphanumeric channel that will post obituaries, hospital notices, and thanks/prayers, must launch by October 27, 2012.

I consider the GlassBOX Television item the most interesting one. TREK TV, a travel/culture/geography licence, is unnecessary now that GlassBOX owns Travel + Escape. CURV TV is a lifestyle channel aimed at 18-to-34-year-old females, originally announced in 2009.

Currently, GlassBOX owns AUX, Bite, and Travel + Escape. GlassBOX, in turn, is controlled by Michael MacMillan’s Blue Ant Media.

Odds and sods

APTN is the only Canadian broadcaster with “extensive coverage” of the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, held in Whitehorse, Yukon.

This is an odd press release. Of course APTN will provide extensive coverage of the Arctic Winter Games – it is the only network serving the Canadian Northern Territories, other than CBC North. I can’t think of a network, other than CBC North, that would broadcast the event as anything more than all-purpose sports filler. I don’t denigrate the Arctic Winter Games, APTN or CBC North, but what a weird press release.

Animated sitcom Ben’s City recently launched, as a CBC web series. The show previously aired on Radio-Canada, as Pérusse Cité. A “preview” of Ben’s City aired February 19, 2012, at 9:30 PM ET.

Ben’s City isn’t as bad as I expected. It isn’t great – the animation is standard Flash/ToonBoom-style tweening, and the character design is awful. On the flip side, it’s a rare English-Canadian display of François Pérusse’s fast-talking humour. Why CBC streams Ben’s City as a web series is beyond me, but I guess CBC has to do something with it.