Viewers Choice logo
|Owned by||Viewers Choice Canada Inc.
Bell Media (70.06%, direct & indirect)
Rogers Media (24.95%)
ESPN Inc. (4.99%, indirect)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Slogan||See It All|
|Available on many Canadian cable systems||Check local listings|
Viewers Choice is owned by Viewers Choice Canada Inc., which is majority owned and managed by Bell Media, with minority partners Rogers Media and ESPN Inc. It is one of two Canadian pay-per-view services controlled by BCE Inc. (Bell Media's parent company), the other being Bell TV's in-house PPV service Vu!.
Channels and content
The Viewers Choice pay-per-view service consists of 45 standard definition channels and two high-definition television channels.[needs update] Programming on Viewers Choice includes movies, concerts, and live sports events such as boxing, UFC, WWE and TNA wrestling, and the World Series of Poker. Pornographic content is also available through the Adam and Eden services. Adam features content for gay men while Eden features content of interest to straight men.
Although Viewers Choice (and pay-per-view services in general) continue to be a main provider of big-ticket live events, much of their movie content has been duplicated by video on demand (VOD) services operated by cable and IPTV companies (and as noted below, Viewers Choice is not currently available on any Canadian satellite provider). As a result many cable systems have been slowly reducing the number of pay-per-view channels carried.
In an effort to compete with VOD, Viewers Choice launched "All Day Ticket", which allows the customer to purchase a movie rental for up to a 24-hour time period until 6am (local time) the next day. They are allowed to view it as often as they wish until the time period expires.
In March 1991, Viewer's Choice Canada, a partnership between Astral Communications with 50.1%, Rogers Pay Per View Inc. (a subsidiary of what is now called Rogers Media) with 24.95%, and TSN Enterprises (part of what is now known as CTV Specialty Television Inc.) with 24.95%, was granted approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for a broadcasting licence for a regional pay-per-view service serving Eastern Canada (Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces).
The service launched in late 1991 using the "Viewer's Choice" name on-air. In its first year and a half, the graphics and logos were the same as the U.S. Viewer's Choice service (now In Demand). In early 1993, the service introduced their own logo and on-screen fully CGI idents, which was used from that year onward until April 2004. The name was later simplified to "Viewers Choice" without an apostrophe. Originally Viewer's Choice was the monopoly provider of pay-per-view service in Eastern Canada, while Western International Communications was granted similar rights for its Home Theatre service in Western Canada, mirroring the provinces held by Astral and WIC for pay TV service (The Movie Network and Superchannel, respectively). This ended in 1999 when Bell ExpressVu (now Bell TV) was permitted to launch its own pay-per-view service, known as Vu!.
From 1993 until 2007, Home Theatre, later acquired by Shaw Communications, operated under the Viewers Choice name and used the same satellite feeds. After Shaw's purchase, it was able to switch its licence to a national one; the transition was completed on December 27, 2007, when Shaw Broadcast Services replaced the Viewers Choice-originated feeds with a "PPV"-branded service. This displaced Viewers Choice from Shaw, Star Choice (now Shaw Direct), and any other system that receives its pay-per-view feeds via Shaw Broadcast. As a result of this change, and since the only other satellite distributor (Bell TV) was already offering Vu! instead, carriage of Viewers Choice is now restricted to cable systems and other providers which are able to receive the feeds via terrestrial fibre.
Viewers Choice Canada Inc. was originally the largest shareholder and managing partner (40%) in the French language pay-per-view service, Canal Indigo, which was launched in 1997. However, on March 20, 2008, Groupe TVA announced it would be purchasing the remaining shares in the service from all other shareholders, including Viewers Choice Canada Inc. The sale was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) later that year and Viewers Choice now no longer holds any interest in the service.
On March 6, 2012, the CRTC approved Viewers Choice's request to remove its regional restrictions and allow it to broadcast nationally.
As a result of Bell Media's 2013 acquisition of Astral, Bell now owns a net interest of approximately 70% in Viewers Choice (through the 50.1% previously owned by Astral, and through 80% ownership of CTV Specialty which itself owns 24.95% of Viewers Choice). Bell has not yet made any statement about any possible synergies with Vu!, assuming it intends to retain its interests in both services.
- Official website
- Decision CRTC 91-160 CRTC 1991-03-26
- history of rogers Rogers.com corporate information on the company's history Retrieved on 2012-03-10
- "Decision CRTC 99-88". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 1999-04-19. Retrieved 2013-07-14.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-135 CRTC 2012-03-06
- Viewers Choice
- Astral Media- Information about Viewer's Choice
- CRTC flowchart illustration of Viewer's Choice Canada ownership structure (PDF file)