Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Bell-Astral takeover: Aftermath

I've been so distracted with G4 Canada and the MuchMTV Group, I almost forgot about another thing that's been on my mind: The Bell-Astral takeover.

To the dismay of watchdogs everywhere, Astral Media has been bought out by Bell Media thanks to the agreement that Astral would put some of it's specialty services - Disney XD, Disney Junior French, MusiMax and MusiquePlus - as well as it's "other" pay service, Family Channel, and it's multiplex, Disney Juinor English, up for auction. They also sold their stakes to some of their other properties, inlcuding the Teletoon channels and Cartoon Network Canada. We know that Corus, who shared the Teletoon channels with Astral, will buy their stakes in their services but my question is: what's gonna happen to the Astral Five? ...Don't ask me how I came up with the name.

Family, Junior, and XD are all homes to programming from Disney, who's brand needs no introduction. Who ever buys these channels will become very, very, VERY rich. As for the french music channels, I'm personally hoping Blue Ant Media will buy them.

Why not? AUX is succeeding Much as Canada's new destination for fresh new music but it's only available in english. When BAM tried to apply for a french version of AUX, they were rejected by the CRTC because it would be competitive with MusiMax and MusiquePlus. I'm calling fowl play on this one because MusiquePlus, in terms of decay, is just as bad, if not worse, than Much. Where Much is airing a LOT more music programming now then they did in recent years, MusiquePlus relies heavily on reality shows, most of which have nothing to do with music (Sound familiar?). So, they allowed BAM to launch AUX as a specialty service in-spite of Much but they can't get a french counterpart because of MusiquePlus? Bullshit.
BAM buying MusiMax and MusiquePlus and aligning them with the AUX brand as it's french counterpart is a no brainer. Why try to create when, you can just take? It's also a nice way to stick it to the CRTC for all the trouble they've been causing this past year.

Meanwhile, once Corus buys out Astral's stakes in the Teletoon channels and Cartoon Network, they will become 100% sister to YTV, ABC Spark, and Treehouse. Corus will have 2/3 of the big three children brands in America - Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon - on speed dial. Now would be a good time to figure out what's in store for Canada's animation station. Maybe The Haunting Hour will hop from Teletoon to YTV, after all, it's live-action and it's not getting much promotion either. Maybe if it had debuted around the same time as My Babysitter's a Vampire and Mudpit...?

Anyway, change is coming. I just hope the changes will be for the best. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to back to obsessing over G4.

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