CBC's ContentFilm deal goes through

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TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday completed a controversial deal to sell its international program library to Britain's ContentFilm.

The deal, first unveiled in December to a chorus of criticism that rights to taxpayer-funded TV shows were being sold off to a foreign company, will see ContentFilm's division, Fireworks International, sell 136 titles, or about 1,000 programming hours.

ContentFilm could potentially gain access to another 1,000 hours of programming from Canada's public broadcaster as part of the distribution pact.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CBC will receive a share of gross receipts from international sales. Two former CBC International sales staffers, Smiljka Baljozovic and Kathryn Kozanczyn, have joined Fireworks' Toronto office to help sell the CBC international catalog.

The CBC had to overcome criticism from Canadian distributors that they were frozen out of bidding for the CBC International library as it went to ContentFilm.

As the CBC looked to seal its agreement with ContentFilm in recent months, Canadian producer Peace Arch Entertainment called off a proposed merger with the British distributor ContentFilm.

Peace Arch and ContentFilm in December signed a letter of intent for a $69 million takeover, but the transaction was abandoned in early March.
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