G4 (Canadian TV channel)

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G4
G4Canada.svg
Launched September 7, 2001 (2001-09-07)
Closed August 31, 2017 (2017-08-31)
Owned by Rogers Media
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Country Canada
Broadcast area National
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Formerly called TechTV
(2001 (2001)–2004 (2004))
G4techTV
(2004 (2004)–2009 (2009))

G4 was a Canadian English-language Category A specialty channel owned by Rogers Media. The name was licensed from NBCUniversal, whose parent company Comcast formerly owned a minority stake in the channel. Based on the U.S cable networks TechTV and the now defunct G4, the channel broadcast general entertainment programming, despite marketing itself as a channel focused on technology.[1]

History[edit]

On November 24, 2000, through a joint venture, Rogers Media (33.34%), Shaw Communications (33.33%) and TechTV US (33.33%) were granted approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to launch a Canadian version of the U.S. television channel TechTV, described by its nature of service as "providing programming about computing, technology and the Internet."[2] The channel launched on September 7, 2001 as the Canadian version of TechTV.

After months of speculation, on March 25, 2004, Comcast announced it would acquire TechTV from Vulcan Programming Inc., with plans to merge TechTV with its own gaming-related channel, G4.[3] As part of the purchase, Comcast acquired TechTV's 33.33% interest in the Canadian version, spinning it off into its subsidiary, G4 Media. The transaction was completed on May 10, and the American services were merged into G4techTV on May 28, 2004.[4] TechTV Canada would follow suit and be renamed G4techTV on the same date.[5] On February 15, 2005, less than a year after the merger, the American version was renamed back to G4. In June 2006, Shaw Communications sold its interest in the channel to the managing partner, Rogers Media. At an unknown date, Comcast also sold its interest to Rogers, giving it full ownership.[6]

As the channel's name changed from TechTV to G4techTV, so did the channel's programming. Much like the American service, G4techTV Canada would acquire a mixture of the former TechTV and G4 programs, of which a number of those would be the younger-skewing gaming-related series such as Arena and Cinematech from the latter channel. In 2006, the CRTC granted a license amendment allowing G4techTV Canada to broadcast drama and comedy programs, including animated series such as anime.[7] Less than two months later, G4techTV Canada introduced Anime Current, a programming block consisting of anime series. It was the channel's first venture into the airing of scripted series. Later, in 2007, G4techTV Canada would begin to introduce more scripted series including Code Monkeys and The IT Crowd.

2009–2012[edit]

In June 2009, G4techTV was renamed G4. However, the former brand was not completely phased out from station branding until late 2010.

This marked the shift towards a more entertainment-based schedule with less emphasis on technology, similar to its American counterpart, instead focusing primarily on gaming and other general entertainment geared towards a younger audience. Much of the technology-based programming was removed or scheduled during off-peak hours. New programming introduced included Adult Digital Distraction (ADd), a programming block consisting of comedy and animated series, many of which were non-technology based and sourced from the American cable channel, Adult Swim. Along with ADd, the channel would later add outdoor adventure programming from other Rogers-owned channels (mainly OLN, City and Omni), including Angry Planet and Mantracker, in the fall of that year. Many notable programs from its American counterpart aired on a daily basis such as X-Play, Attack of the Show, and newer series such as That's Tough, Web Soup, Campus PD, and Proving Ground.

In the fall of 2011, all references to ADd was removed from the channel's website, however, the block remained on-air. As well, a vast majority of the programs included in the programming block were removed from the schedule. This move was likely due to pressure from the CRTC during the channel's licence renewal in July 2011; referencing G4's divestiture from its original nature of service as a channel devoted to technology, the CRTC stated that G4's "programming is not in compliance with its nature of service definition" and that it detail measures "to ensure that the service is in compliance with its nature of service."[8] Several Adult Swim programs made a return to the schedule in 2012, including Eagleheart, Squidbillies, and NTSF:SD:SUV::; they have since been removed from the schedule.

2013–2017[edit]

In 2013, the American version was scheduled to be rebranded as the Esquire Network due to low ratings.[9] However, at the last minute, its parent company decided to rebrand Style Network instead due to the latter's more expanded pay-TV carriage. G4 Canada's social media channels went dormant but still active after that point, with its website remaining in the same design since the early 2010s (though new content continued to be cycled in).[10][11] G4 Canada launched a high-definition feed of its own on December 4, 2014,[12] while its American counterpart ceased operations at the end of 2014.

The channel's sole first-run shows, EP Daily and Reviews on the Run ceased broadcast after December 2015, as G4 Canada shifted away from technology-themed programming to more general interest programming.[13] Much of the channel's schedule now consisted of series syndicated from other Rogers television channels, with the CRTC's required tech-related programming relegated to out-of-date library content aired in the morning hours.[14]

On July 5, 2017, Cartt reported via a Rogers representative that G4 would shut down on August 31, 2017, and that it will not be replaced with a new service. The representative cited "the current competitive television landscape" and a desire to focus on Rogers' "core specialty portfolio".[15] The CRTC approved the revocation of G4's licence in August 2017.[16] By coincidence, G4's Canadian iteration outlasted both its American mother network and Esquire Network, G4's intended replacement, which ended all operations on June 27, 2017.

Programming[edit]

Originally, as TechTV, the channel consisted solely of technology and gaming-related programming - mainly originating from its American counterpart - along with Canadian series. Such programming included Call for Help, The Screen Savers and TechLive.

Towards the end of its life, the network carried various syndicated shows whose rights were shared among other Rogers specialty channels.

Distribution[edit]

As a category 1 television service, it is mandatory for all digital cable and direct broadcast satellite providers in Canada that have the capacity to do so to carry the channel in markets where English is the majority language.

G4, under the name G4techTV, was broadcast internationally in Barbados. The government-owned Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados switched from providing the American-based feed, in favour of the Canadian channel for its cable television network known as Multi-Choice TV. The provider discontinued carriage before the network's shutdown.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Welcome to G4 Canada Retrieved 2014-20-02
  2. ^ Decision CRTC 2000-454; CRTC; 2000-12-14
  3. ^ Comcast Agrees to Purchase TechTV; RedOrbit; 2004-03-25
  4. ^ Comcast: TechTV + G4 = G4TechTV; Multichannel News; 2004-05-10
  5. ^ Tech TV Canada gets a new name and new programming Channel Canada; 2004-05-17
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-28. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  7. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-532; CRTC; 2006-09-15
  8. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-447 CRTC 2011-07-27
  9. ^ "G4 gets dumped in the U.S., but Canada is stuck with a TV channel dedicated to tech". Canada.com. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  10. ^ G4TV Canada official Facebook page (accessed December 26, 2014)
  11. ^ G4TV Canada (@G4TVCanada) - Twitter (accessed December 26, 2014)
  12. ^ Changes to MTS TV on December 4, 2014 (accessed March 6, 2015)
  13. ^ "Canadian video game TV show Electric Playground is currently on hiatus". Regina Leader-Post. 2015-12-31. Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  14. ^ "G4TV Schedule". August 15, 2017. Archived from the original on August 15, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Rogers Media pulls the plug on G4". Cartt. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  16. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-283". CRTC. Retrieved 14 August 2017.