The CRTC has allowed CanWest Global Communications Corp to become a national network, but at the same time has quashed a bid by Corus Entertainment Inc to own more analog specialty channels. CanWest is seen to be coming out of the carving up of WIC with the best deal. In its June 6 ruling, the CRTC departed from its usual policy of prohibiting a company from owning more than one TV station in a given market and ruled CanWest does not have to divest any stations, as had been speculated. CanWest concluded the deal for WIC last November following a 19-month tussle with Shaw Communications Inc that ended with the two dividing up WIC’s assets. But Corus, a division of Shaw, can’t keep much of WIC’s specialty business that it coveted. CanWest gets WIC’s outstanding shares, all nine of its conventional TV stations, including ones in Alberta, Quebec, B.C., and Ontario — the last two provinces would give CanWest two stations each in Victoria and Hamilton respectively — and an interest in the business cable channel ROBTv. The company had already committed to sell two stations it owned in Vancouver and Montreal if the deal was approved. The CRTC allowed CanWest to maintain ownership of the English-language stations CIII-TV and CHCH-TV in the Hamilton ON market, and CHAN-TV and CHEK-TV in Vancouver-Victoria, saying these two large markets are already well-served by a several media outlets. In return, CanWest has committed to substantially increase local programming, both on CHCH-TV and CHEK-TV. In acquiring full ownership of WIC Premium Corp, Corus adds 12 radio stations, MovieMax, SuperChannel and Home Theatre to its stable of 44 radio and specialty TV stations. The CRTC says it allowed Corus to keep the specialty channels because they are mainly distributed through digital boxes, in accordance with the same policy regarding the digital specialty licences that it will issue later this year. But the CRTC ordered Corus to sell half of its shares in the mainly analog-distributed The Family Channel. The associations that represent the TV production industry and specialty channel owners applauded the CRTC’s decision to force Global to increase local programming production in Vancouver and Hamilton, and to turn down Corus’ bid to own analog specialty channels. Elizabeth McDonald, president/CEO of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, said the CRTC’s decision will benefit the Canadian broadcasting marketplace. "The opportunity this presents certainly buoys the association’s western producers," said McDonald.