In view of the recent large numbers of media mergers and acquisitions, one can say that Canada is “liquid,” but to describe the current situation, we have to use the word “fluid.”
Three big commercial groups now control the TV media landscape in Canada: Corus, Bell and Rogers and new developments after the cable unbundling are daily occurrence.
As for Corus, it absorbed all the media units of the Shaw family (with the family still solidly in control of the public company), which now includes the FTA TV network (Global), 45 specialty TV channels, radio stations and Nelvana.
Doug Murphy, a veteran Corus executive who ran Nelvana for many years, is now president and CEO of Corus Entertainment Group.
While Nelvana specializes in production and distribution of children’s programs, Corus is now developing an international content distribution unit for its lifestyle and non-scripted commissioned and internally produced series.
John MacDonald, senior vice president, Women and Lifestyle, is in charge of Corus production and acquisitions for 14 of the 45 channels under his portfolio.
VideoAge met with MacDonald (pictured above) at the impressive new Corus headquarters facing Toronto’s Lake Ontario.
“Last year, Corus distribution executive, Rita Carbone-Fleury, introduced to the international market three new series. At this MIPCOM, we’ll have a total of five series, plus two or three new ones,” announced MacDonald.
In the beginning of this process, MacDonald was considering acquiring an existing Canadian distribution company to market internationally Corus shows outside the Nelvana’s catalog (and Tricon was the most talked about in the press), but now the strategy is to develop the unit internally, “even though we have not yet settle on the new unit’s name,” commented MacDonald.
In order to add volume to the new catalog, MacDonald would consider taking on programs from producers whose shows were commissioned by other outlets. However, for now, Corus is retaining the international distribution rights just for the programs they commissioned.
“We’re a linear-centric network system,” said MacDonald “and we create value for mid-range TV shows [those that don’t get to-ratings, but are not at the bottom] with international distribution in order to keep them on the air.”