Specialty TV Services: The new TV services

The primary mandate of Canada's first country music video service, The Country Network, is to promote Canadian country music as a genre.The Maclean Hunter Radio/Rawlco specialty tv service will also look at the regional aspects of the music through short programs...

The primary mandate of Canada’s first country music video service, The Country Network, is to promote Canadian country music as a genre.

The Maclean Hunter Radio/Rawlco specialty tv service will also look at the regional aspects of the music through short programs under the heading of Video Plus.

These independently produced programs will be in the form of artist profiles and mosaics.

Selling the service to the consumer will be primarily through a grassroots cross-promotional blitz with all the key country music radio stations across the country.

Trina McQueen, president of The Discovery Channel, says the new specialty service will deal with ‘serious subjects’ – nature and the environment, science and technology, adventure and world cultures – but with a light touch.

The channel will seek to be credible and have integrity, but also be entertaining.

McQueen has yet to determine what form the marketing and promotional launches will take, but adds The Discovery Channel will have 60% Canadian content, with new programming airing from noon until midnight, with repeats the main fare other times.

The service has acquisition and coproduction arrangements with the National Film Board and TVOntario.

In-house production will include a one-hour topical show on Discovery’s themes, Canada Magazine (working title), including short documentaries and feature items.

Reseau de l’information, the 24-hour French-language all-news service, has an annual budget of $27 million – 85% from subscriber fees, 9% from advertising and 6% from program sales to Societe Radio-Canada.

Advertising on rdi, the French-language counterpart to CBC Newsworld, is restricted to eight minutes per hour.

The service will be distributed on basic cable in Quebec at a cost of 90 cents per subscriber per month, and as a discretionary service in the rest of the country at a monthly cost of 10 cents per subscriber.

The rdi program schedule is made up of round-the-clock news, analysis and interpretation.

Hourly newscasts and headline news on the half-hour are the backbone of the service.

The first edition of Le Telejournal, Radio-Canada’s main evening newscast, will be broadcast daily at 9 p.m.

Also on tap is extended special coverage of major national and international stories, current affairs, religious, educational and sports programs (sports programming excludes coverage of live sports events.)

Programming blocks include a wide-ranging morning magazine show; regional programming produced in Moncton, n.b., Ottawa, Quebec City and Winnipeg for early and late afternoon time-slots; late afternoon international newscasts, and a special 9:30 p.m. magazine show devoted to regional issues.

Showcase, the all-drama service, plans to air 60% Canadian content, with 100% during primetime.

Programming will include children’s live-action and animation shows, adult drama and adventure series, as well as family programming for weekend slots.

The remaining 40% of the schedule is intended for international fare, with a declaration that no more than 5% will be u.s. material.

Cable subscription remains at 32 cents per subscriber per month as does Showcase’s supply agreement with the cbc.

Negotiations with the National Film Board will proceed as they would with any independent supplier.

YOU: Your Channel says it will start with 70% Canadian content and increase that to 82.5% over the course of its licence term.

Although the service is close to signing contracts with some independent Canadian producers, there is still a long way to go before the goal of 10 hours per week of all-new, all-original and all-Canadian programs is realized.

Among the original Canadian series up for consideration are Harrowsmith Country Life and The Marjorie Harris Show, a gardening program.

The remaining programs, which are not original, will consist of shows bought in Canada and other countries.

Cable fee will be 30 cents per month for the first five years of the service’s six-year licence, rising one cent in the last year.

Bravo!, chum’s new entertainment and performing arts service, will not be selling advertising during shows.

The service, which says it is closer in spirit to pay-tv, intends to popularize the performing arts – without vulgarizing them.

Bravo! in the u.s. will provide a significant amount of material to the Canadian service, as well as close to $24 million, slated for Canadian production (including $10 million for ongoing series and $5.6 million for ArtsFacts, the channel’s video performance piece show) over the near seven-year licence period.

Lifestyle Television, owned by Winnipeg-based Moffat Communica-tions, intends to deliver 70% informational programming directed at women.

Among the programs outlined by Lifestyle is a weekly morning one entitled Info Power.

This series is made up of six program subsets addressing particular areas of interest for women: Monday, Time of Your Life (for the over 45s) and What Every Baby Knows (for new parents); Tuesday, diy (home maintenance); Wednesday, Body Talk (health and lifestyle); Thursday, Getaway (travel); and Friday, Money Talks (financial.)

Sharing the Wisdom, a series to be aired twice daily in prime morning and evening slots, has programming in math and science, history, biology and business – with each subject area explored on a designated day, Mondays through Thursdays.

Although a detailed promotional strategy has not been made final, the channel says $1.2 million has been targetted for the launch, which will include cross-promotion through women’s magazines that could take the form of a joint venture in some cases.