CTV Inc. and U.S.-based Discovery Communications have filed a joint licence application for a Category 2, 24-hour, high-definition specialty channel, Discovery HD Theatre. The partners say the programming lineup will be a mix of Discovery Channel’s most popular programs, original Canadian productions, live programming events and content from high-definition (HD) producers and broadcasters from around the world. If granted CRTC approval, the broadcasters say that the channel could launch before the end of 2005. CTV Inc. president Rick Brace said the joint venture supports the CRTC’s position on HD, encouraging Canadian services such as Discovery Channel to partner with foreign services. CTV has an existing relationship with Discovery Communications, with Discovery Channel Canada being 80% owned by CTV and 20% by Discovery Communications. The Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA) has had an application before the CRTC for more than two years to get the U.S. channels HDNet and Discovery HD Theater permitted entry into Canada on a digital basis (CCR, Jan. 28/05). The commission has yet to rule on those applications, but Discovery Channel Canada’s Jodi Cook says the application to have Discovery HD Theater added to the list of foreign services eligible for carriage in Canada will be withdrawn, if this licence application for the joint partnership HD channel gets regulatory approval.
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