Toronto - Rogers Cable Inc. on Friday announced it will take advantage of its fibre network to launch the largest number of new channels among any of the distributors on September 7th.
"This makes the Rogers digital offering more varied than that of any other provider in Canada," said John Tory, president and CEO of Rogers Cable, "and Rogers Digital Cable customers will have the opportunity to sample that variety at no charge."
Starting Friday, September 7th, Rogers Digital Cable will offer an additional 67 new digital channels in Toronto (49 in English, three in French and 15 in other languages). Other areas will get fewer channels to start with while network upgrades allowing for more capacity are completed. See www.rogers.com for full regional releases.
The English and French channels will be offered in a free twelve-week preview to all existing Rogers Digital obtaining a digital terminal for $10.95 a month. However, many in the industry are predicting the free preview period will last until after Christmas.
While pricing and packaging has not yet been announced for any of the new channels, the third language channels will "be marketed and priced similar to the ethnic services we already offer," Michael Allen, vice-president, programming, Rogers Cable told www.cablecastermagazine.com. Currently, ethnic services through Rogers are available from between $11.95 to $19.95 a month, including terminal.
Allen also pointed out that it's a little known fact that, right now, Rogers has more room for new channels than any distributor, including DTH, because it doesn't have to rely on satellite distribution for some of the channels. For example, LeafsTV and MuchLoud do not currently have carriage deals with any SRDU (satellite relay distribution undertaking) company, but will be delivered to Rogers customers - as well as Cogeco Cable customers in southwestern Ontario - via the Rogers' fibre network.
"For many of them, including a number of the multicultural services whose primary market is the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), we don't need to use satellite transportation," said Allen. "We have the ability to distribute any channel that can get its signal to our headend."
In fact, with the transponder space on Bell ExpressVu satellites limited to approximately 50 new channels - and about 30 channels with Star Choice - Rogers has an advantage until planned new satellite Nimiq II is launched next fall. Rogers' Toronto system has room for an estimated 90 new services.
When the free preview period ends, customers will be able to pick channels in packages, by themes or one at a time.
Here is the list of new channels. (Existing specialty services which Rogers has added to its digital lineup are marked with an asterisk. New foreign digital channel additions are noted with a number sign.)
BBC Kids (coming November 1)
The Biography Channel
bpm:tv (dance music channel)
* Canal Evasion
Court TV Canada
# Discovery Wings
The Documentary Channel
ESPN Classic Canada
# Eternal World Television Network
# Eurosportnews (coming later this year)
Fox Sports World Canada
The Independent Film Channel
i Channel (Issues Channel)
M (Men TV)
Movieola: The Short Film Channel
The NHL Network (coming October 4, the start of the NHL season)
One: Body, Mind and Spirit
RDS's Reseau Info Sports
TRN (The Racing Network)
In addition Rogers will be launching 15 new multicultural channels on digital which are:
All TV Korean
Alpha Punjabi Channel
B4U Hindi Movies
Festival Portuguese Television
HTV (launching Q4 2001) (Spanish Music)
ITB Television Canada (Tamil)
Muslim Television (coming Q4 2001)
Odyssey II (coming mid-October) (Greek)
PSN Soccer (launching February, 2002)
Sur Sugar TV (SSTV) (Punjabi)
* Talentvision (Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean)
Telemundo (launching Q4 2001) (Spanish Entertainment)
Video Italia (launching Q4 2001) (Italian Music)
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