CRTC might make room for USA


TORONTO -- Canada's broadcast regulator said Friday that it will consider allowing USA Network to enter the Canadian TV market.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it has received an application from cable giant Shaw Communications to sponsor the U.S. cable TV network's possible migration north of the border to the digital cable dial.

In the highly protected Canadian TV market, the CRTC generally grants entry to foreign TV services only if they do not compete directly with existing Canadian TV channels.

Shaw contends in its application that the USA Network is not competitive with any Canadian pay or specialty service. The CRTC requested that Canadian broadcasters or other parties wishing to take issue with that stance should file written comments, indicating the source and target market for USA Network programming that competes partially or directly with existing Canadian services.

A number of popular USA Network shows, including "Monk," "WWE Raw" and "The Dead Zone," already air in Canada as part of separate exclusive licensing deals with domestic broadcasters.

Calgary-based Shaw, in its application to the CRTC, argues that making the USA Network, a division of NBC Universal, available to Canadian cable and satellite TV subscribers "would provide Canadian consumers with the broadest possible choice in programming services."

"USA Network will be a wonderful addition to our programming lineup," Shaw president Peter Bissonnette said in a statement.
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