Canada's The Movie Network Renews Showtime Series Supply Deal

Deal by Canadian pay TV channel with CBS Studio Int. aims to keep cord-cutters at bay.


TORONTO – This should keep potential cord-cutters happy for a while: Canadian premium pay channel The Movie Network (TMN) has secured U.S. Showtime series for on-air, online and on-demand distribution.

TMN-parent Astral Television Network reupped its supply deal for Showtime series with CBS Studios International to now include making popular U.S.cable series available to subscribers of TMN's OnDemand and TMN OnLine services.

"This new agreement will enable The Movie Network to build on their current stable of Showtime shows while also delivering on its multiplatform strategy to offer programming to their subscribers across multiple screens,"Bruce Swanson, senior vp and general sales manager at CBS Studios International, said.

TMN, which dominates the eastern Canadian pay TV market, currently airs the bulk of Showtime series, including Californication, Dexter and United States of Tara.

New series in the pipeline include Episodes, to star Matt LeBlanc.

TMN also has plum output deals with HBO and the major studios for movie product.

The lure of premium U.S. cable series and Hollywood movies, and heavy marketing promotion, helped lift Astral's pay TV subscriber base for TMN and Super Ecran, its French language counterpart, by 89,000 customers to 1.84 million in all at its latest fiscal year-end mark on Aug. 31.

"As long as we're able to satisfy customers by giving them that kind of programming which they will not be able to get on any other platform. I'm not saying there is not a place for Netflix, but I don't think it will diminish our growth," Astral CEO Ian Greenberg told analysts in October soon after Netflix expanded into Canada as part of its first-ever international expansion.