The CRTC authorizes the first specialty television services in the country
It was in 1982, when it authorized pay television channels, that the CRTC opened the door to specialty television services. Two years later, the CRTC approved the applications of CHUM/CITY-TV for the creation of MuchMusic, and Action Canada Sports Network (ACSN) for the creation of TSN. In 1984, the first two specialty channels made their debut on our television screens.
Until then, in Canada, music videos were generally limited to certain programs airing on conventional television stations. According to the Commission, establishing a network that specialized in music would mark a turning point in the production of music videos and showcasing of Canadian artists. MuchMusic would also prompt the Canadian industry to experiment and to meet the demand of an increasingly large audience for music video programming.
This new channel was to complement the offer of sports programming aired on conventional and pay television channels. The ACSN’s objective was to provide fans with a diversified range of Canadian and international sports and to broadcast certain Canadian university and amateur sports. The agreement between the ACSN and the CRTC included, among others, provisions to air a Sports Canada program every week. All of the advertising revenues generated by this two-hour sports magazine show would be retained by Sports Canada to cover the cost of producing and purchasing programs. Other commitments were also made to ensure the promotion and visibility of Canadian amateur sport.
Also in 1982, the CRTC approved three other ethnic services—Chinavision, Cathay and Telelatino—in addition to the distribution in Canada of 17 U.S. channels, including CNN, A&E, CMT, FNN, TLC and The Weather Channel.
In the years that followed, the CRTC periodically approved the addition of numerous specialty channels. With the advent of digital cable, Canadians today have access to hundreds of specialty channels, and the cable industry continues its transformation.