June 25, 2003  Bell Canada marries TV, Internet in ‘Surf and Watch’ bundleBell Canada has introduced a “Surf and Watch” bundle that offers Bell ExpressVu satellite TV service and Sympatico high-speed Internet service on one bill for $99.95 a month, it was announced June 25. The bundle is based on a 12-month contract and includes a satellite dish, Model 3100 receiver, free Bell ExpressVu professional installation, the Ultimate 7 programming package, and Sympatico high-speed Internet with a free self-installation kit.Bell ExpressVu adds more French-language channels to lineupCBVT, the Radio-Canada signal from Quebec City, has been added to Bell ExpressVu LP’s national channel lineup, it was announced June 19. It will be available to the satellite TV distributor’s French-speaking subscribers.Shea counters CCTA proposal on U.S. channels with different planSubstituting national Canadian advertising on five popular U.S. specialty channels in Canada would make TV a more effective advertising medium and pump millions of new dollars into Canadian content creation, Kevin Shea, CEO of 49th Media, states in a June 23 media release. The company has filed an application to the CRTC to allow it to operate a satellite relay distribution undertaking (SRDU) that would redistribute the signals of U.S. specialty channels, such as CNN, A&E and TBS, but with Canadian ads replacing the American ones. The company says that this is a better option than cable’s request to bring in new U.S. channels (see the next issue of CCR for more details on the CCTA’s plan). 49th Media also released a report that states the advertising industry in Canada spends less than other countries. The report, by FlatIron Information Services Inc., states that the advertising industry spends just $82 per person on TV ads in Canada, compared with $103 per person in Australia, $112 per person in the United Kingdom, and $246 per person in the United States.Craig Wireless partners with WaveCom to bring Internet access to Brandon MBCraig Wireless International Inc. and WaveCom Electronics Inc. have partnered to provide high-speed Internet access to farms and other small businesses in Brandon MB, it was announced June 20. The service, called SkyWeb, will use small roof-mount send/receive antennas and the latest microwave technology designed and manufactured by WaveCom. The service is expected to start July 1, 2003.JumpTV adds Canal Uno to channel lineupInternet broadcaster JumpTV has added Canal Uno, a Spanish channel originating in Ecuador, to its lineup. The channel is only available to high-speed Internet users. It is not available on a dial-up basis, like other channels offered by JumpTV.CHUM to air Expression Awards on June 27CHUM Television in conjunction with the National Film Board will broadcast the Expression Awards on its local conventional and specialty television channels on June 27, which is National Multiculturalism Day. The awards were created to celebrate diversity and excellence in the arts across Canada. The inaugural show was held in Ottawa on April 22. Ontario painter Daphne Odjig, Nova Scotia filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton, Quebec playwright Wajdi Mouawad, and Vancouver multimedia artist Paul Wong were honoured.Planète pleased with progress in Canadian market after first yearThe European French-language channel Planète says it has met its Canadian subscriber target for year one and plans further expansion in Canada. Frédéric Vinzia, executive director of multiThématiques Group, which operates the documentary channel, said June 19 that the channel was planning to target French Canadian viewers outside Quebec. He added that he was confident Planète would soon sign a contract with the cableco serving Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk and Norman Wells NWT. “We are extremely pleased with the results obtained so far by Planète in Canada. As far as market penetration is concerned, we have already exceeded our first-year objectives,” Vinzia said. “We have faced the challenge of fast-growing demand, from an increasingly diversified public, and, have doubled the amount of hours Planète broadcasts each day, from 12 to 22 hours.” He did not specify what Planète’s target was. Planète launched in June 2002 on Vidéotron ltée and Cogeco Cable Inc. systems (CCR, June 21/02). It was added to Bell ExpressVu LP’s channel lineup on October 16, 2002 (CCR, Oct. 17/02).VisionTV partners with YATV on Sri Lanka seriesMultifaith specialty TV channel VisionTV is partnering with Young Asia Television (YATV) to produce a six-part series on Sri Lanka. Entitled From Conflict to Coexistence, the program will look at how people in Sri Lanka are working to restore their communities after nearly two decades of war. The series will air in Canada on VisionTV and will be broadcast nationally in Sri Lanka. Support for the project comes from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).RCMP charges 23 people in Hamilton ON with satellite TV piracyThe RCMP announced on June 10 that it had charged 23 people and 8 business locations of HUWORKS.TV in Hamilton ON with conspiracy charges under sections 9 and 10 of the Radiocommunication Act, which deals with satellite TV piracy. Also charged in a separate investigation are Adam Dicker and his company Satan’s Playhouse. Everyone charged, except Dicker, is scheduled to make his or her first court appearance in Hamilton on July 31. Those charged are accused of illegally selling and distributing DirecTV and Dish Network (EchoStar) satellite systems.Multivan gets CRTC approval to expand coverage areaMultivan Broadcast Limited Partnership, which was licensed for an over-the-air conventional television station in Vancouver, has received CRTC approval to increase its effective radiated power of its yet-to-launch station from 40,000 watts to 76,000 watts (Broadcasting Decision 2003-191). The station’s transmitter will be relocated to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s site on Mt. Seymor, about 200 metres from the existing site.Kontent, CHUM partner on new Fashion quarterlyKontent Publishing and CHUM Television are launching a Fashion Quarterly magazine this September. It will be distributed through The Globe and Mail to select households, and sold at retail outlets. About 200,000 copies of the magazine will be published. Jeanne Beker, host of CHUM’s popular Fashion Television, has been named editor-in-chief. Kontent also publishes the controlled circulation glossy on the entertainment business, Inside Entertainment, in conjunction with Global Television and that is distributed through the National Post.CTF distributes $12.5 million in funding advanced from next year’s budgetThe Canadian Television Fund (CTF) has distributed the $12.5 million that the government advanced from next year’s budget to 26 projects. Among the productions receiving funding are high-profile dramas and movies of the week, and a number of French-language dramas, children’s programs and documentaries produced outside of Montreal (CCR, June 20/03). Click here for a list of productions recently financed by the CTF’s Equity Investment Program.CTF invests $15.1 million in 86 English, French and Aboriginal programsThe Canadian Television Fund (CTF) announced June 10 that it was providing $12.6 million from its Equity Investment Program (EIP) to 70 English- and French-language documentaries and $2.5 million to 16 Aboriginal productions this spring. The EIP has a second application period for documentaries this fall and its Licence Fee Program (LFP) will accept another round of documentary and children’s and youth applications at the same time.Ten low-budget independent feature films get Telefilm Canada supportSeven English-language and three French-language low-budget but audience-friendly feature films are receiving funding support from Telefilm Canada. The funding under the agency’s Low Budget Independent Feature Film Assistance Program (LIFAP) operates with an annual budget of $1.7 million, and has a budget cap of $900,000 per project. Click here for a list of productions receiving support.Canada promotes International Instrument on Cultural Diversity at Dakar meetingCanada promoted its International Instrument on Cultural Diversity (IICD) at the First Meeting of Ministers of Culture of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) that was held in Dakar from June 18-20. Canadian Heritage minister Sheila Copps is pushing the IICD as a means of helping preserve distinct cultures (CCR, Sept. 13/01, June 21/01).Viewing to Canadian Idol continues to be highAbout 1.885 million viewers (AMA, 2+) tuned into the second episode of Canadian Idol on June 16. The premiere of the show drew about 2.013 million viewers (CCR, June 20/03).Alliance Atlantis changes accounting procedures for CSI showsAlliance Atlantis Communications Inc. announced June 18 that it was changing its accounting procedures for its interest in the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) shows to one of joint venture accounting. The change, to be implemented for the last three years, will change the timing of earnings recognition, which will be reduced for past years and increased in future years. “This conclusion has no adverse impact whatsoever on the ultimate value or cash generation potential of Alliance Atlantis’s interest in the CSI franchise or on our previously articulated corporate commitments to increase free cash flow and continue with our debt reduction initiatives,” said Judson Martin, the company’s senior executive VP and CFO.Alliance Atlantis wins 18 awards at PROMAX and BDAAlliance Atlantis Broadcasting won a combined total of 18 Promax and BDA awards in 2003. The awards acknowledge the finest promotion, marketing and design for electronic media work. In the PROMAX category “Cable Channels and Networks – Promotional Animation,” Showcase Action’s Hi-Yaaa Film Festival won a Gold Award. In the BDA category recognizing “Non-News, In-House ID,” Showcase took home the Gold for Remote Maid, Starlet & Paparazzi and Bouncerama Room.Global News Ontario wins award for best newscast in CanadaGlobal News Ontario has won the Bert Cannings Award for best newscast in Canada, it was announced June 23. The award was presented June 21 at the national conference of the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). Global also announced that at the same awards show its Global National news with Kevin Newman won three awards: best spot news, best live special event coverage and best continuing coverage.INTERNATIONAL NEWSSony adds TV tuner to PlayStation2Sony Corp.’s new version of its PlayStation2 video game console will incorporate an analog TV tuner, the company announced last month. It also has a 120GB hard drive and a DVD recorder and can thus function as a digital video recorder. Branded the PSX, it will be available in Japan later this year and early next year in the United States and Europe.Worldwide standard being developed for TV listingsThe International Press Telecommunications Council voted in early June to move ahead with a review and approval of ProgramGuideML, a powerful but simple way to show TV program and channel information in any language. It is hoped the ProgramGuideML will become the standard used by broadcasters, newspapers and web sites to exchange TV listings.ReplayTV drops ad skipping featuresAd skipping features have been dropped from the newest version of ReplayTV’s digital video recorder, ReplayTV 5500. New features include allowing users to record up to a year’s worth of shows. ReplayTV president Jim Hollingsworth has been quoted as saying that the change is an effort to work in partnership with the entertainment industry.