BBC Earth (Canada)
|Launched||September 5, 2006|
|Owned by||Blue Ant Media|
(branding licensed from BBC Studios)
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
|Formerly called||Rush HD|
|Sister channel(s)||Love Nature|
|Bell TV||Channel 1627|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 134 / 534|
|Available on every Canadian cable system||Channel slots vary on each provider|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 477|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 1662|
|Bell MTS||Channel 1604|
|Optik TV||Channel 931|
BBC Earth (formerly named Rush HD and radX) is a Canadian discretionary service channel that is owned by Blue Ant Media. The brand and much of its programming is licensed from BBC Worldwide, the commercial subsidiary of the BBC in the United Kingdom, who owns the originating BBC Earth channel. The channel broadcasts factual programming related to natural history and wildlife.
In April 2006, John Panikkar (co-founder of the channel's original owner, High Fidelity HDTV), was granted a licence by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to launch AHD (for Adrenaline HD), described as "a national, English-language Category 2 high definition (HD) specialty programming undertaking... that would focus on the impact of high definition imagery on high-octane, limit-defying human activity and adventure that tests individual personal limits, both physical and mental."
The channel launched on September 5, 2006 as Rush HD, with its name, and much of its programming, licensed from Rainbow Media, the owners of the Voom HD Networks, owners of the original Rush HD-branded channel in the United States.
Like its American counterpart, Rush HD originally broadcast programming largely focused on high adventure and extreme sports such as snowboarding, windsurfing, bungee jumping, and cliff diving. Over a year after the American version shut down, Rush rebranded as radX on August 23, 2010. With the rebrand, programming was expanded to include a broader range of action-related programming such as feature films, outdoor lifestyle, travel, reality television, and other programming aimed primarily at men.
On December 21, 2011, radX's parent company, High Fidelity HDTV, announced that it had entered into an agreement to be purchased outright by Blue Ant Media, majority owners of Glassbox Television and minority owners of Quarto Communications. While initially purchasing 29.9% of the company, the remaining 70.1% was purchased after it was approved by the CRTC.
In December 2016, Blue Ant Media announced that it had reached an agreement with BBC Worldwide to rebrand radX as BBC Earth in January 2017, later confirmed officially as January 23, 2017; however, unofficially the channel launched on January 23, 2017 as radX broadcast its last program under the radX brand at 5:00am and transitioned to a BBC Earth Countdown clock at 6:00am that same day. Blue Ant Media has had a history of partnerships with the BBC, while its CEO Michael MacMillan assisted in launching the BBC Canada channel (now owned by Corus Entertainment) whilst working for Alliance Atlantis. BBC Worldwide North America president Ann Sarnoff remarked that Blue Ant Media had a strong interest in factual programming, and that the timing of BBC Earth's launch was "perfect" due to the then-upcoming North American premiere of Planet Earth II, which would air in Canada on the newly rebranded channel.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-172 CRTC 2006-04-27
- High Fidelity HDTV Launches 'Rush HD' and 'Equator HD' Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Broadcaster Magazine 2006-09-05
- High Fidelity Rebrands Rush HD, Equator HD Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine TVB.ca 2010-08-20
- Blue Ant Media Enters Agreement to Acquire High Fidelity HDTV CNW press release 2011-12-21
- "Blue Ant Media to launch BBC Earth channel in Canada, shut down adventure-focused radX". Financial Post. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- BBC EARTH UNVEILS PROGRAMMING LINE-UP FOR CANADIAN LAUNCH ON JANUARY 24 Blue Ant Media press release 01 10 17
- "BBC Earth to Launch in Canada Following Blue Ant, BBC Worldwide Deal (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 21 February 2017.