Broadcaster

CBC and SIRIUS to bring satellite radio to Canada

12/10/2003

OTTAWA and NEW YORK - CBC/Radio-Canada, and American satellite radio operator SIRIUS, today announced that they will form a joint venture to bring satellite radio to Canada.

The two companies also announced today that the venture will soon file an application with the CRTC for a license to provide satellite radio in Canada.

SIRIUS offers 60 music streams in the States (and Canada as there is a small, but growing, grey market for the receivers here) with no commercials, along with over 40 sports, news and entertainment streams for a monthly subscription fee of US$12.95. Stream jockeys create and deliver music in virtually every genre to our listeners 24 hours a day.

"CBC/Radio-Canada is excited about the opportunity to partner with SIRIUS to bring satellite radio to Canada," said Robert Rabinovitch, CBC/Radio-Canada's president and CEO. "By expanding the choices available to Canadians, this new service will enable the national public broadcaster to better fulfill its mandate by extending its reach and enhancing its services to Canadians."

This new, subscription-based, national service will give Canadians access to a wide range of programming and Canadian content. CBC/Radio-Canada was able to secure the distribution of two of its main channels, namely Radio One and La Première Chaîne.

As a result of CBC/Radio-Canada's involvement, the new venture will also provide significant opportunities for existing and emerging Canadian artists to showcase their talent and be heard not only across Canada, but throughout North America as well, says the press release.

"Our agreement with CBC/Radio-Canada is an exceptional example of a time-honored brand joining with SIRIUS to bring an innovative national service to Canadians." said Joseph P. Clayton, president and CEO of SIRIUS. "Sixty of our 100 premier channels are commercial-free, and this makes SIRIUS an ideal match for Canada's public broadcaster and its unparalleled Canadian programming content.

SIRIUS also has agreements to get its receivers in cars and trucks made by with DaimlerChrysler, Ford and BMW, "who sell nearly 40% of all vehicles sold in Canada, which adds to our reach as well," added Clayton.

"The CBC/Radio-Canada and SIRIUS venture will ensure that Canadians have the greatest possible access to a wide array of commercial-free music, information and entertainment services, as well as their national public broadcaster," adds the release.

"When licensed by the CRTC, this new subscription-based service will be available to Canadians across the entire country, from urban centers to even the most remote regions," it added.

"Fueled by the digital revolution, radio services are changing dramatically," added Rabinovitch. "We are forging ahead to ensure that CBC/Radio-Canada has an expanded reach and presence for the benefit of Canadians. We are also encouraged to know that the CRTC wants to deal with the matter of satellite radio expeditiously."

SIRIUS and CBC/Radio-Canada are holding talks with, and may add, other Canadian financial or broadcasting investors to the venture, the two companies said.

This is the second CRTC submission for satellite radio in Canada as Toronto entrepreneur John Bitove made a CRTC submission in concert with the other American satellite radio company, XM.

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