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Corus/Teletoon deal approved by CRTC

The Canadian kids TV landscape is undergoing a big shift. First DHX Media bids to buy Family Channel and Disney XD/Disney Junior Canada from Bell Media and now government regulator the CRTC has fully approved Corus Entertainment's full ownership of Teletoon Canada.
December 20, 2013

On the heels of DHX Media’s purchase of Bell-owned kids channels Family, and Disney XD/Disney Junior Canada, and seven months after the initial application, Canadian regulator the CRTC approved on Friday Corus Entertainment’s bid  to wholly own  Teletoon Canada .

But the regulator imposed key conditions on its approval to guard against anti-competitive behavior by Corus.

The CRTC approved the takeover from Bell Media of Teletoon Canada, which includes licences for Teletoon, Teletoon Retro and Cartoon Network Canada, at a cost of CDN$249 million (US$233 million).

Corus bought out the 50% stake in Teletoon that it did not already own, with the other half previously held by Astral Media before it shifted to Bell Media as part of a wider takeover deal earlier approved by the CRTC.

The regulator ruled Corus must ensure that content from Teletoon, YTV and Treehouse not overlap by more than 10%.

Given Corus ownership ties to parent Shaw Communications, the broadcaster is saddled with the same vertical integration restrictions to guard against anti-competitive behaviour that BCE received when it took over Astral Media.

“One of the key objectives of the VI (vertical integration) framework is to ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from a wide choice of programming and are provided with more flexibility in choosing the services to which they can subscribe,” the regulator said in its decision Friday.

Despite Corus and Shaw being related entities both controlled by the Shaw family, the CRTC did not impose vertical integration restrictions on Shaw Communications.

“The commission will assess the appropriateness of imposing additional safeguards on Shaw’s programming and distribution undertakings in future proceedings,” the TV watchdog added in its decision.

The Teletoon approval comes with a CDN$26.2 million (US$24.5 million) tangible benefits package from Corus to be applied over the next seven years, which includes expenditures on indie production.

At publication time, Corus had yet to release a public statement or respond to a request for comment.  How Teletoon will be fully integrated into Corus’s corporate structure and broadcast facility has not been announced.

The CRTC also approved the takeover of Historia and Séries+ for $136.6 million, which gets Corus deeper into the French language market.

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