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BCE Media files with the CRTC to distribute five new French-language channels

    MONTREAL, Jan. 5 /CNW/ - BCE Media has filed a request with the Canadian
Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to obtain the
Canadian distribution rights, in analogue and digital mode, to five
French-language European channels: EuroNews, Muzzik, Paris Première, Planète
and Tropic.
    Following negotiations and discussions with Europeans partners, the
filing of this request is in keeping with the objective of distributing
foreign services in Canada and, at the same time, expanding the French-
language programming offering in Canada.
    ``The addition of these five French-language specialty channels will have
a positive effect on the entire Canadian broadcasting system,'' says Alain
Gourd, President and Chief Executive Officer of the BCE Media group. ``This
new initiative will create enthusiasm among Francophones and Francophiles
throughout the country and will play an important role in diversifying the
French-language programming offering currently available on the Canadian
televisual landscape,'' he adds.
    The five channels in question are: EuroNews, which stands apart from
other information channels by examining world news from a European viewpoint;
Muzzik, a theme channel dedicated primarily to classical music with a
spotlight on jazz and music from around the world; Paris Première, which
focuses on all that evokes the Parisian identity by opening the doors to the
bubbling effervescence that renders the French capital the cultural centre of
the universe; Planète, a documentary channel characterized by a passion for
the new and unusual, which offers news features, profiles of societies and
civilizations; and, lastly, Tropic, a theme channel featuring various styles
of tropical music-all linked by roots and other shared cultural, historical
and rhythmical factors.
    BCE Media sees this initiative as a unique opportunity to fill, in part,
the gap that exists between French and English programming offerings available
in Canada, and the company hopes to be able to offer these services by the end
of 2000.  At the moment, Canadians have access to more than 15 optional
English-language channels of which the majority are American.
    Having committed to the CRTC to offer the five channels under the same
conditions as all broadcast-distributing undertakings, including cable
providers and satellite distributors, BCE Media also plans to take the
necessary steps to offer these specialized services throughout the Americas.
    Based in Montreal, BCE Media distributes communication, information and
entertainment services via satellite to Canada through Bell ExpressVu, Telesat
Canada, Business Solutions and Programming Services.

    French-language foreign services

    EuroNews examines world news from a distinctly European point of view.
The channel provides a continuous information service broadcast via satellite
simultaneously in French, English, German, Spanish and Italian, as well as
Arabic in the evening when audience numbers are higher.
    Launched on January 1, 1993, EuroNews is renowned for the quality of its
programming and today reaches more than 94 million households in over 43
countries throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Basin via cable, direct
satellite reception or terrestrial distribution. In fact, EuroNews is the
leading European channel in four of Europe's largest markets: France, Germany,
Spain and Italy. EuroNews also broadcasts on digital platforms and can be seen
in North and South America as well as Africa.
    EuroNews broadcasts 20 hours a day via a video track with voice-over
commentary. Programming includes information bulletins updated every half hour
throughout the day, and two all-info segments mornings and evenings, followed
by business, sports, weather and current events. This schedule can be
interrupted at any time to make way for direct coverage of major new stories.
This original and creative formula is completely unlike any existing Canadian
news service.

    Broadcast 24 hours a day, ``Muzzik''-an enterprise of MCM Euromusique-is
a French-language theme channel dedicated primarily to classical music (60%),
with a spotlight on jazz (30%) and music from around the world (10%).
    Muzzik's varied schedule reserves front row centre for live entertainment
and the performing arts, including an opera every day and some 80 concerts and
five ballets weekly. Muzzik also offers videos, documentaries and magazine
shows featuring classical music, dance, jazz and music from around the world,
as well as artists' profiles and a daily newscast. Muzzik's dynamic and
balanced programming is designed to reach concert-goers as well as the general
public. Moreover, the variety of shows presented on Muzzik reflects the
diversity of genres found in classical music alone (religious music, chamber
music, opera, symphonies, etc.).

    Paris Première
    This channel focuses on all that evokes the Parisian identity by opening
the doors to the bubbling effervescence that renders the French capital the
cultural centre of the universe. ``Paris Première'' is designed for those who
are curious, eager and passionate about Paris. Programming includes fashion
and profiles of designers, a variety of humorous, musical and theatrical
productions, cultural magazines, daily afternoon plays and weekly magazine
shows. In short, everything that typifies the pulsating life of the world

    ``Planète'' is the only channel dedicated solely to documentary
programming-you won't find films, magazine shows or any other program content.
Planète is the largest documentary channel in the world, and in France it's a
favourite among subscribers, coming in third after the sports channel and the
CinéCinéma movie channel. Today it's the reference channel, and the quality of
its programming is universally recognized. Planète has earned unparalleled
credibility from its audience, the media, journalists and documentary
professionals. The channel is also broadcast in Poland, Germany, Italy,
Switzerland and French-speaking Africa where it is equally well received.
    Planète is characterized by a passion for the new and the unusual-from
portraits of societies and civilizations to science and technology issues to
features and accounts from various viewpoints and themes developed by numerous
writers and directors. Available in France for nearly 10 years now, Planète
chooses, co-produces, broadcasts and researches throughout the world the most
demanding, current, inquisitive and essential documentaries and features.
Planète offers a number of observations on the world in general, and 80% of
its documentaries are premier broadcasts. The Canadian distribution of Planète
would offer viewers a wider selection of French-language programming coupled
with attractive and original service.

    This channel will be available in the fall of 2000 and will air 24 hours
a day, in six-hour cycles, broadcast at intervals, with a weekly broadcast of
24 original hours. Tropic will target young people and communities where
black, urban and tropical sounds like Salsa, Bossa, Rap, Reggae, Zouk, Soca,
Gospel, New Jack and Soul are gaining in popularity. Programming will include
music videos, concerts, magazines and documentaries that reflect the various
artistic and cultural trends presented by the channel.


For further information: Isabelle Hudon, Director, Communications and
Public Relations, (514) 285-8982,


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