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CCR Short Takes

News | 07/06/2000 4:00 am EDT

Approval of Food Network Canada opens door for Canadian versions of other U.S. channels
The CRTC has approved a licence application by Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc for a Canadian version of the Food Network. Released Tuesday, the decision bodes well for digital channel applicants who are trying to win licences for Canadian franchises of other U.S. channels, such as A&E’s Biography.
Food Network Canada will replace the Food Network on all cable systems that currently carry the U.S. service. Programs will cover the culture of food, food selection, preparation , presentation and cooking instruction. Feature films on the new service will be restricted to theatrical releases with food as a central theme, and no more than one film can be broadcast each week.
Canadian programming must make up 50 per cent of the schedule, with a minimum of 175 hours of original Canadian programming in the first year. That level will increase over the licence term, to a minimum of 350 hours per year by 2006.
Alliance Atlantis owns 51 per cent of Food Network Canada, while Corus Entertainment Inc has 20 per cent (with only 10 per cent voting interest) and Television Food Network G.P. (TVFN) owns 29.8 per cent. If Corus wants to raise its equity stake, it will have to seek CRTC approval. Alliance Atlantis convinced the CRTC that ultimate control of the channel will reside with itself as the majority shareholder. Alliance Atlantis also retains control over Food Network Canada’s program schedule, and will decide which U.S. programs to air.

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