Superchannel breaks premium pay TV  duopoly


TORONTO -- Breaking Canada's long-standing duopoly in premium pay TV, Superchannel is set to launch Nov. 2 on Bell ExpressVu LLP, the country's biggest direct-broadcast-satellite service, it was announced Tuesday.

The launch of Superchannel by Edmonton-based Allarco Entertainment as a nationwide premium pay TV service will provide first-ever competition for Canada's legacy pay TV services, Movie Central in western Canada and The Movie Network in eastern Canada.

Superchannel will bow as two HD channels, four standard channels and a video-on-demand platform.

At the same time, Canada's new premium pay TV service has been hampered in lining up content as Movie Central and The Movie Network have output deals with most of the major studios.

To acquire movies, documentaries and TV series for its upstart service, Superchannel acquired a slate of Channel 4 dramas and comedies as part of a distribution agreement with Channel 4 International. And it signed licensing agreements with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios to air its movies and TV series from MGM and United Artists.

In addition, Toronto-based distributor Maple Pictures, which releases Lionsgate titles in Canada, will supply Superchannel with a range of product, including "Saw 3," "Death of a President" and "The U.S. vs. John Lennon."

Superchannel will also air the day-time soap "Passions" as part of a pact with NBC Universal.