ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-702

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Decision CRTC 2001-702

Ottawa, 16 November 2001

Corus Entertainment Inc.
Across Canada 2001-0640-3 

Application processed by
Public Notice CRTC 2001-86
dated 26 July 2001

Change of ownership for Lifestyle Television


The Commission approves the application by Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) for authority to acquire effective control of Lifestyle Television (1994) Limited (Lifestyle) by acquiring all of the issued and outstanding voting shares. Lifestyle is the licensee of Women Television Network (WTN), a national English-language specialty television service.


Lifestyle has been in trust pursuant to a voting trust arrangement approved by the Commission when Shaw Communications Inc. (Shaw) acquired Moffat Communications Inc. The divestiture of Lifestyle is pursuant to Decision CRTC 2000-186 in which the Commission required Shaw, as a condition of approval, to sell Lifestyle within 30 days of the decision. The current application was submitted to comply with the Commission's condition of approval.



The Commission's television policy set out in Public Notice CRTC 1999-97 states that applicants to acquire specialty services must make commitments to clear and unequivocal tangible benefits representing a financial contribution of 10% of the value of the transaction, as accepted by the Commission.


The value of the transaction is $205 million. Corus proposed a tangible benefits package of $20.5 million to be spent over a 5-year period. The benefits will be distributed as follows:

· $15 million to the Corus Women Programming Fund. This fund supports the development of original programming that is relevant to women.
· $2 million to the Corus Chair in Communications Sector Strategy at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. This initiative will investigate the impact of convergence, increasing competition and new technologies on all aspects of the Canadian communications industry.
· $2 million to the Corus Chair in Women Management at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. This initiative will establish a multi-level program to create opportunities for Canadian women to lead Canadian communications companies in an increasingly competitive and converging environment.
· $0.5 million to Canadian Women in Communications. This money will be used to create an educational development program with an emphaisis on technology training.
· $0.5 million to the Corus Young Filmakers Program. This program will allow first-time producers to develop their ideas from concept to post production alongside a seasoned veteran.
· $0.5 million to the Corus Export Initiative. This initiative will assist small and medium sized Canadian producers and distributors to gain access to international broadcast markets.

The Commission accepts the benefits package that Corus has proposed. It notes that Corus has confirmed that the $20.5 million will be incremental to the current obligations for Canadian programming expenditures of any of its programming services. The Commission further notes the licensee's commitment, made in response to concerns raised by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association (CFTPA) and The Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association (AMPIA), that the majority of production funds made available will be allocated to independent producers.


The Commission reminds Corus that it should submit a report upon completion of the five-year benefits term setting out details concerning how the $20.5 million was spent. The portion of the report dealing with the Corus Women Programming Fund must include details on projects budgets, the number of hours of independently-produced programming, production locations and details regarding the location of the producer's home base.

Presence in Western Canada


In its intervention, AMPIA noted that WTN has had a long-standing presence in Western Canada. The Commission encourages Corus to maintain and build on WTN's orientation as a Western-based service.

Concentration concerns


Corus is affiliated to Shaw, a company that operates broadcasting distribution undertakings in numerous Canadian locations. In Public Notice CRTC 2001-66, the Commission removed restrictions on cable undertakings and their affiliates from owning pay and specialty services. However, the Commission also indicated that, while it was prepared to permit greater cable ownership of analog discretionary services, it would continue to be concerned about maintaining a diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcasting system, and would examine this issue when considering such applications.


All 107 interventions submitted with respect to this application were in support, and after examining the application and the interventions the Commission does not consider that the acquisition of Lifestyle by Corus raises substantial concerns with respect to concentration of ownership. It rather considers that acquisition of Lifestyle will make Corus stronger and able to compete more effectively in the television and specialty service industries.


The Commission further considers that approval of this application will ensure stability for WTN by allowing it to become a member of a strong group of specialty services. The resulting synergies should enable WTN to operate with greater efficiency. The Commission further considers that the benefits package put forward by Corus in relation to this transaction will provide assistance to those involved in the production of programming relevant to Canadian women.



The Commission acknowledges and has considered the interventions submitted in support of this application.

Other matters


The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.

Related CRTC document

. Public Notice 2001-66 - Ownership of analog discretionary services by cable undertakings

Secretary General

This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site:

Date Modified: 2001-11-16

Date modified: