The Movie Network

Infobox TV channel
name = The Movie Network
logofile = The Movie Network Logo.svg
logoalt =
logosize = 150px
launch = February 1, 1983
closed date =
picture format =
share =
share as of =
share source =
network =
owner = Astral Media
slogan = Always Riveting (since April 2007) [cite news|url=http://www.astralmedia.com/en/media/press/news1290.idigit|title=The Movie Network Shows Off Its "Always Riveting" Position With A Network Rebrand|accessdate=2008-07-28]
country = Canada
broadcast area = Eastern Canada
headquarters = Toronto, Ontario
former names = First Choice
First Choice Superchannel
replaced names =
sister names =
timeshift names =
web = [http://www.themovienetwork.ca/ The Movie Network]
terr serv 1 =
terr chan 1 =
sat serv 1 = Bell TV
sat chan 1 = Channels 300-304 (SD)
Channel 840 (HD)
sat serv 2 = Star Choice
sat chan 2 = Channels 601-605 (SD)
Channels 282, 296 (HD)
cable serv 1 = Available on many Canadian cable systems
cable chan 1 = Check local listings, channels may vary

The Movie Network (TMN) is a Canadian English language premium television service. TMN is designated to operate east of the Ontario-Manitoba border, excluding the territories. The Movie Network is owned by Astral Media. The name was formerly abbreviated to TMN, which remains a common informal name, including in this article (to avoid ambiguity).

The Movie Network is carried by various Canadian cable and satellite television providers in Eastern Canada including Bell TV, Star Choice, Rogers Digital Cable, Vidéotron, EastLink, Cogeco and more. It is the equivalent of Movie Central, which is available in the rest of Canada.

Channels and content

The Movie Network consists of a total of five 24-hour multiplex channels and two high definition channels that deliver diverse and entertaining programming in an uncut and commercial-free television environment. TMN operates as a separate service with a separate licence then its sister network, Mpix, although often Mpix is sold together in a package with The Movie Network.

Offering premiere access to Hollywood hit movies, critically-acclaimed HBO and Showtime series and first-rate Canadian programming, The Movie Network presents Canadians with some of the best television entertainment available. The Movie Network service includes five 24-hour multiplex channels - M, MMore, MExcess, MFun! and MFest - which deliver diverse and entertaining programs in an uncut and commercial-free television environment. The Movie Network also offers "The Movie Network HD" and "MMore HD", two dedicated high-definition channels providing hundreds of titles in HD; and "The Movie Network OnDemand", a Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service, available in select areas across eastern Canada.

In terms of Hollywood films, movies air on The Movie Network approximately 10-12 months after they were in theatres, 3-6 months after pay-per-view and over 1½ years before regular television. In 2005, TMN introduced a video on demand service, "The Movie Network OnDemand", to digital cable subscribers. Content includes films and television series from The Movie Network and its five multiplex channels.

On September 22, 2008, TMN and Movie Central announced they would jointly begin offering a dedicated HBO multiplex channel (in both SD and HD), HBO Canada, on October 30. For TMN subscribers, HBO Canada is expected to replace MMore.

Programmes broadcast on TMN are rated according to the Ontario Film Review Board.

Noted series

*"Big Love"
*"Brotherhood"
*"Californication"
*"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
*"Dexter"
*"Durham County"
*"Entourage"
*"Generation Kill"
*"The Life & Times of Tim"
*"Little Britain USA" (debuts September 29, 2008)
*"Meadowlands"
*""
*"ReGenesis"
*"Rome"
*"Sanctuary"
*"Stargate Atlantis"
*"Tell Me You Love Me"
*"Terminal City"
*"Tracey Ullman's State of the Union"
*"True Blood"
*"The Weight"
*""

HBO Canada

On September 22, 2008, both TMN and Movie Central announced they would jointly begin offering a dedicated HBO multiplex channel (in both SD and HD), called HBO Canada, on October 30. For TMN subscribers, HBO Canada is expected to replace MMore and MMore HD. It is currently unknown at this time whether HBO Canada will replace an existing channel for Movie Central subscribers.

The channel will focus on programming from the U.S. premium service Home Box Office, including several HBO series, specials and sporting events not previously available in Canada. A selection of Canadian films and series will also air to satisfy Canadian content requirements. [http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2008/22/c6918.html Astral/Corus press release] , September 22, 2008.]

HBO Canada will be common to both services, possibly with the exception of Eastern / Pacific timeshifting. However, it will be wholly-owned in each region by the parent company of the applicable premium service, (Astral Media or Corus Entertainment); HBO will not be a shareholder. The channel will be available, in both standard definition and high definition formats, free of charge to all TMN / MC subscribers, pending carriage by the applicable service provider.

History

In 1976, Communications Minister Jeanne Sauvé was quoted as saying "(Canadian) pay television is inevitable".

During the 1970s when HBO and Superstation WTBS became available on satellite in North America, some Canadians who were living in underserved rural areas, wanted access to these services. The Saskatchewan government together with Cable Regina set up a provincial pay-TV network called Teletheatre in 1979.

Growth of grey market TVRO dishes by 1980 led the government of Pierre Trudeau to allow for pay television in Canada, and that there would be hearings to licence Canadian pay television networks.

In September, 1981 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) held a hearing in Hull, Quebec to licence Canada's first pay-television networks. There were more than 24 applicants.

A pay-TV licence was issued by the CRTC to First Choice Canadian Communications Corp. on March 18, 1982. When First Choice, as TMN was then known, was launched on 1 February 1983, it was a national pay-TV service. After a disappointing run for pay services in general, the industry was restructured and First Choice was restricted to eastern Canada, with competitor Superchannel (now Movie Central) taking territorial rights in the west. Both services briefly used the First Choice-Superchannel name. In the 1990s, First Choice took the slogan "The Movie Network", which became the name of the channel itself in 1993.

The first movie ever to air on First Choice (now TMN) was "".

They were also licensed for and owned a French-language channel called Premier Choix, which merged with another (Quebec-based) pay-television network TVEC, to form Super Écran, which is still in operation today.

Ownership

When First Choice initially made its application to the CRTC in September 1981, the following individuals and companies were part of the proposed channel:

* Donald Sobey - of the Sobeys supermarket chain
* J. R. McCaig
* Norman Keevil
* Royfund Equity Ltd. - Royal Bank of Canada mutual fund division
* AGF Management Ltd.
* Manufacturers Life Insurance Co.

Together they had $19 million in equity financing and proposed to spend $310.4 million over five years on Canadian television production. Estimated profit (over five years) would be $3.1 million.

Today, The Movie Network is owned by Astral Media of Montreal.

Management

* Donald MacPherson, First Choice President 1983-1984
* Harold Greenberg, First Choice President 1984-1996

Programming

Before other Canadian specialty networks like TSN and MuchMusic were licensed, First Choice was the network for watching premium (commercial-free) professional sporting and concert events. Sports came from such sources as ESPN, USA Network, and HBO.

Before the advent of stereo television and home theatre systems we have today, subscribers who paid for cable FM service could receive a stereo feed of First Choice.

Its slogan was: "Look out for number one! Look out for First Choice!"

Controversy

First Choice originally aired programming from the American Playboy Channel. Feminist groups voiced their opposition to this.Fact|date=February 2007 First Choice aired a two-hour block of Playboy programming during a late night time slot on Friday during its first year.

Pricing

When First Choice applied to the CRTC, they initially estimated that to program major American movies, entertainment specials and Canadian movies and specials, pay for satellite time, and marketing of the channel, they could sell it to the cable companies at a wholesale rate of $7.50/month. However, by the time the channel launched, and the cable companies had their take of the pay-TV pie, the retail cost of First Choice jumped significantly to $15.95.

Duopoly issue

For many years, the "de facto" duopoly of The Movie Network and Movie Central has been subject to criticism. At the time, no other similar premium services broadcasted within Canada. Critics argued that this limits competition and consumer choice, while proponents say there is very little in content or functionality that it is not already offered by the existing services.

In July 2005, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Canadian federal broadcast regulator, announced that public hearings would begin on October 24, 2005 on four broadcast group applications for new national pay TV licences. Each applicant said they would commit towards the creation of more Canadian program content.

On May 18, 2006, it was announced that the "Allarco Entertainment" application was accepted, while the other three were rejected. [http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Decisions/2006/db2006-193.htm] This approved application effectively ended The Movie Network/Movie Central duopoly in Canada. While on November 2, 2007, the new service launched as Super Channel.

CRTC licence-related links

* CRTC Public Notice 1981- - Applicants for pay television licences
* CRTC Decision 1982- Original licence (March, 1982)
* CRTC Decision 1984- Superchannel and First Choice reorganization

See also

* Mpix
* Viewers Choice
* Movie Central
* Super Channel
* List of Canadian television channels

References

* Westell, Dan. "Pay-TV: Visions of riches lure big bidders", "Globe and Mail", September 26, 1981

External links

* [http://www.themovienetwork.ca/ The Movie Network]
* [http://www.themovienetwork.ca/hdtv TMN HD]
* [http://www.hbocanada.com HBO Canada]
* [http://www.sask2005.com/facts/skfactsresults.asp?ID=1473 Saskatchewan 2005: Teletheatre info]
* [http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/M/htmlM/movienetwork/movienetwork.htm TMN on MBC]


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