Monday, May 3, 2010

$2 Bil Shaw Deal to Save Local TV: Buy It

Remember those self-serving "Save Local TV" and "Stop the TV Tax" ads? Remember how the CRTC resolved everything by throwing the carriage fee stink bomb back in the laps of the cable giants and networks and basically said, sort it out yourselves?
Well, they did. Global should be able to count on a pretty fair carriage fee now that the cable company that carries it out West also owns it, or will own it once the deal announced today goes through. The agreement would see Calgary-based Shaw take over 11 Global stations across the country as well as such money-making specialty channels as Showcase, MovieTime and HGTV.
It's complicated, but out of a total investment of $2 billion, Shaw had to come up with $700 million to pay off Goldman Sachs, a New York investment bank that has been in the news a little lately. With that debt paid, the Asper boys and their testicles are free to once again roam the land.
Goldman had been trying to block the deal but everybody has apparently agreed to play nice. Global had it. Shaw's Got It.
One Global asset Shaw won't get is Global National anchor Kevin Newman (right). The network quietly announced after 5 on Friday that the former CBC and ABC newsman is walking away from the broadcaster anchor desk after ten years. Newman, a respected newsman and classy individual who put Global on the national news map with a million viewers each night at 5:30, claims to want to step away from the whole racket. Freedom 50, the release suggests. Global says he'll stick around and do some docs and stuff. Maybe he'll tour live like Conan. I'm sure we'll never ever see him on CTV, even if LLoyd Robertson is 76 and his hair changed colour 15 times on the weekend. Nosiree.
Replacing Newman after he walks away in August will be, uh, their obvious backup choice is, er...is Peter Kent still in Ottawa?
The Shaw move to acquire 100% of Global follows a few years after Ontario-based Rogers added Citytv to its stable of OMNI stations. With everything speeding to an all on-demand reality, the filthy rich cable giants are smart to content up. But now that the Church is the State, do consumers still have a prayer? Canada could soon be the Wal-Mart of medialands, where an old Canadian TV personality wearing a Maple Leaf will greet you at the door while you shop for a billion acres of stuff imported from the United States. Have a nice day.
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