Rogers flips to Channel M


TORONTO -- Continuing its TV station buying binge, Canadian cablecaster Rogers Communications on Friday said it will buy Vancouver multicultural TV station Channel M from Multivan Broadcast Corp. for an undisclosed price.

In 2002, Toronto-based Rogers lost out to Multivan for the right to launch a Vancouver multicultural TV station. Now it will simply purchase the broadcast license from Multivan.

Leslie Sole, CEO of television at Rogers Broadcasting, the cablecaster's TV division, said that adding Channel M to the company's stable of ethnic TV stations "greatly enhances our position as Canada's premier multicultural broadcaster."

The deal, which must be approved by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, follows Rogers' June purchase of five Citytv-branded TV stations from rival CTVglobemedia for CAN$375 million ($340 million) as part of a sale ordered by the CRTC.

Rogers already operates multilingual TV stations in Toronto, and recently secured additional broadcast licenses for ethnic-language stations in Edmonton and Calgary.

But the cablecaster has been stymied in securing a similar TV station license in Vancouver. As far back as 1996, its OMNI TV station in Toronto failed to secure an affiliate license for the city.

Rogers failed again in 2000 and 2002 to convince the CRTC to green light its Vancouver multilingual station bid.

Success for the cablecaster came in June when it contacted Multivan to purchase Channel M, which broadcasts in 22 languages and serves the Vancouver and Victoria markets.