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Canada's Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media Unveil Joint Venture

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away Screengrab - H 2012

Coming ahead of Paramount releasing "Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away," the new company will create films, TV, digital and gaming content for the world market.

TORONTO -- Ahead of the Dec. 21 release of the 3D film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, Canada’s Bell Media officially has joined the big-top circus.

The Canadian broadcaster on Tuesday formally unveiled its joint venture with the Quebec-based Cirque du Soleil Media.

VIDEO: 'Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away' Trailer 

Headed by Jacque Methe as president, the Montreal-based company will create film, TV, digital and gaming content for worldwide distribution.

Methe comes over to the new joint venture from his role as executive producer at Cirque du Soleil.

The Cirque will contribute its library of existing content and current projects to the partnership, including the 3D feature film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away for Paramount.

Cirque du Soleil Media also will produce original content, including a Canadian Christmas TV special that chronicles the creation of the joint venture and the release of the 3D film.

Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away features performances from Cirque productions and an original story from Andrew Adamson, who is producing the movie with Aron Warner and Cirque's Martin Bolduc, Ed Jones and Cary Granat.

For Bell Media, the tie-up with Cirque du Soleil comes as parent BCE, the Canadian phone giant, looks to overcome regulatory opposition and complete a $3.38 billion takeover of Montreal-based media group Astral Media.

The bid for Astral Media, which will include asset sales if BCE is to secure CRTC approval, includes an earlier $80 million investment pledge for French-language content production investment to indicate public benefits for the deal.

“Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media together can deliver more incredible content to more consumers than ever before,” Bell Media president Kevin Crull said Tuesday in a statement as he unveiled the Cirque du Soleil Media joint venture.

Added Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil: “With Cirque du Soleil Media, we are defining a new type of creative platform for Cirque du Soleil combined with the expertise and commitment of Bell Media.”