Blue Ant

BBC First (Formerly HIFI)

In August 2011, the former Treasure HD specialty channel was re branded as HIFI.  Treasure HD had been launched in March 2006, after John S. Panikkar had originally been granted a licence by the CRTC to launch ArtefactHD, a digital HD specialty channel devoted to collectors and their collections.

The rebranded channel was owned by High Fidelity HDTV, and its program service included  musical and art-based programming in the form of films, concerts and documentaries. 

In October 2011, in an effort to broaden public awareness of the channel, HIFI  partnered with Toronto jazz radio station JAZZ.FM91 in becoming presenting sponsor of the station’s “commercial-free Sundays”.  In assuming this role, HIFI succeeded another High Fidelity-owned specialty channel, OasisHD, which had been the station’s first sponsor of its commercial free Sundays.

 While originating from Toronto, JAZZ.FM offered its daily program schedule nationally via the station’s Internet website. 

On December 23rd 2011 Blue Ant Media announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire Canadian broadcaster High Fidelity HDTV and its four premium high definition channels – Oasis HD, eqhd, radX and HIFI HD. The transaction was pending CRTC approval. The Company would initially purchase 29.9% of shares in High Fidelity HDTV, with the remaining 70.1% closing subject to CRTC approval.

On July 18, 2012 the CRTC gave the go-ahead to Blue Ant Media to proceed with its acquisition of independent broadcaster High Fidelity HDTV.

Blue Ant Media was a newly established independent media company led by media veteran Michael MacMillan, and already had controlling interest in GlassBox Television, which operated Travel+Escape, Bite TV and AUX TV.

As HIFI, the channel put an emphasis on music and arts-based programming, but in 2016 moved to airing more general entertainment programs.

On March 16, 2021, Blue Ant Media rebranded HIFI as a Canadian version of BBC’s international entertainment channel brand BBC First. A number of programs that had been carried by BBC Canada (closed December 31, 2020) including Top Gear and Antiques Roadshow would be picked up by BBC First.

Ownership: Blue Ant

Start Year: 2011