Blue Ant


One of a large number of digital specialty channels licensed by the CRTC in November 2000 was called Land and Sea, originally intended to provide programming for underserved rural and coastal communities. It was 70% owned by Corus Entertainment, and the CBC held a 30% interest, in part because of what the licence decision referred to as its “expertise….in producing ‘rural’ programming.” It was later renamed Coutry Canada.

In October 2002, the CRTC approved the acquisition of 100% ownership of Country Canada by the CBC, in part because the Canadian content element would increase from 50% to 80%. Part of the deal involved CBC Radio One’s popular Cross-Country Check-Up series moving to television on a weekly basis.

In March 2008 the CBC announced that Country Canada would be rebranded as Bold, to attract audiences looking for “….a deeper experience”, with a mix of performing arts, drama and comedy, as well as live sports and reruns of CBC English Network series. .

The pubcaster re-launched its category 1 specialty Country Canada as Bold on March 27 2008, after telling the CRTC that the change could be done without amending the nature of service of Country Canada. But the Commission disagreed, and scheduled a hearing to determine whether the way that CBC re-branded the channel had negatively impacted “the integrity of the licensing process”. The CRTC suspended the hearing after CBC agreed to make a formal application.

On July 23rd, the CBC announced that it had formally applied to amend the broadcast licence of its specialty channel ‘bold’, formerly known as ‘Country Canada’.

On April 14th 2010, the Commission denied the application by CBC to amend the broadcasting licence for Bold, and directed the CBC to submit, within 30 days of the date of the decision, “…an alternate programming proposal for Bold that will ensure that the majority of the programming is reflective of the living realities of rural Canadians, the nature of service is sufficiently specific and representative of the programming strategy and the service is non-competitive with any existing specialty services”.

On May 3rd 2011, the CRTC approved a revised proposal from the CBC for a program format that would more appropriately address the channel’s designated role as one that would “reflect the living realities of rural Canadians.” The Commission’s decision was noteworthy in that it included dissenting opinions by two of the Commissioners. (CRTC 2011-286)

On August 20th 2012, it was announced that Blue Ant Media had entered into an agreement to purchase the digital specialty channel bold from the CBC, subject to CRTC approval.

Blue Ant already owned specialty channels Travel+Escape, Bite TV and AUX TV, another recent acquisition, along with four commercial-free, high definition channels it purchased from High Fidelity HD, including Oasis HD, HIFI HD, eqhd and radX and their companion websites.

“Acquiring bold will give Blue Ant another platform to engage audiences with unique entertainment content,” Michael MacMillan, CEO, Blue Ant Media, said in a statement. “We definitely see a lot of opportunity with the channel, while also expanding our array of channel offerings.”

On November 16th 2012 the Commission approved the application by Blue Ant Media Inc., for authority to acquire bold from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation , and for a new broadcasting licence to continue the operation of the undertaking under the same terms and conditions as those in effect at the time under the then  current licence.

The Commission also reminded Blue Ant and the CBC that further approval of the Governor General in Council, as set out in paragraph 48(2)(a) of the Broadcasting Act, was required prior to the proposed transaction being closed.

On February 14th 2013,  His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, approved that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as vendor, enter into an asset purchase agreement with Blue Ant Media Inc., as purchaser, and into an assignment and assumption agreement, in which Blue Ant Media Inc. would assign its rights to Blue Ant Media Partnership, for the disposition of the programming undertaking known as “bold”.

On Wednesday September 4th, Blue Ant replaced Bold by launching their new Cottage Life Channel, which , said Blue Ant, “…celebrates all that is weekend living. Born from the iconic Cottage Life Magazine, the channel is an extension of the popular brand that also encompasses consumer shows and online properties.”

Written by Pip Wedge – February, 2013

Ownership: Blue Ant

Start Year: 2000 to 2013