CanWest Global Awarded Licence in Quebec.
Commenting on today's announcement, Israel Asper, O.C., Q.C., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CanWest Global Communications Corp., noted that "This is one of our most important milestones in recent years, as we develop our Canadian national TV system. It is our fourth start-up in Canada and we expect it will be our most successful."
"We are pleased to add the Global Television Network (Quebec) to the CanWest Global System of stations across Canada," Mr. Asper added. "The capital cost of the new station, including start-up costs, will be approximately $25 million. We anticipate that Global (Quebec) will make a positive contribution to our operating profit before amortization in its first year of operation. That contribution should grow significantly in future years as the new station matures in the Quebec market."
Glenn O'Farrell, President of the Global Television Network (Quebec) and Vice-President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs for the CanWest Global System, said, "We are thrilled with the CRTC's decision and we look forward to serving the vibrant English-speaking communities in Quebec. This decision marks an exciting new development in the history of CanWest Global, and the establishment of a beach-head that we've worked very hard to achieve. We have no doubt that it will lead to further expansion in Canada's second largest province."
"We are proud to be able to offer our new viewers in Quebec the best in Canadian programming choices including such Gemini Award nominated programs as Traders, Outer Limits, The New Red Green Show and The James Mink Story, as well as critically acclaimed series television including Jake and the Kid, PSI Factor and Ready or Not," said Jim Sward, President & COO of the CanWest Global System.
"In addition to top regional and national News and Information programming such as First National With Peter Kent, we will provide viewers the finest foreign program properties such as Seinfeld, Friends, Frasier, The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Chicago Hope, 3rd Rock From The Sun, Sliders and many, many more", said Mr. Sward.
"We look forward to working with the talented independent production community in Quebec and providing a national window to their productions through the CanWest Global System, the parent of the Global (Quebec)," he added.
"We have a huge amount of work to do to meet our Labour Day start-up, and our partners at Tele-Metropole, who have shared and supported our vision, are equally optimistic about this opportunity," Mr. O'Farrell went on to say.
"It's great that the partnership between TVA and CanWest Global has been recognized by the CRTC. This is a win-win situation for the partners, but more importantly, for Quebec viewing audiences," said Claude Thibodeau, General Manager of Regional Stations for Tele-Metropole.
CanWest Global Communications Corp. (NYSE: CWG and TSE: CGS.S and CGS.A) is a leading international television broadcaster. In Canada, the Company owns and operates the CanWest Global System, Canada's most profitable private sector broadcaster. Internationally, the Company owns substantial economic interests in Australia's Network Ten and New Zealand's TV3. Through these broadcasting operations, CanWest reaches approximately 35.8 million English-speaking people in markets that are estimated to have generated approximately C$4.4 billion in advertising expenditures in 1995.
As a result of today's decision by the CRTC, CanWest Global has acquired a controlling interest in Quebec television station CKMI-TV. Its partner in this venture is Quebec broadcaster Tele-Metropole Inc. CanWest Global will have a controlling interest in, and will operate, CKMI-TV.
CKMI will disaffiliate from the CBC and be renamed Global Television Network (Quebec). Its plan of operation calls for the extension of its broadcast signal, currently received only in Quebec City, to Montreal and Sherbrooke, Quebec.
Disaffiliation from CBC will allow CanWest Global to program Global (Quebec) with its full schedule of popular Canadian and U.S. programs. The extension of its signal to Montreal and Quebec will give the new service access to one million English-speaking Quebecers, as well as to a significant portion of the province's bilingual francophone population, which is increasingly being drawn to English language television.
The capital cost of the operation, including anticipated expenses to be incurred between now and the September 1, 1997 start-up date of the new service, are anticipated to be approximately $25 million.
Global (Quebec) is expected to make a positive contribution to the company's operating profit before amortization (EBITDA) in fiscal of 1998, the first year of its operation. As Global (Quebec)'s broadcasting operation matures, EBITDA contributions in subsequent years will be significant. CanWest Global already purchases the Canadian national rights for most of its programming, although it currently sells very little of that programming into the province of Quebec.
Year one sales are forecast at $15 million and are forecast to double by the fourth year of operation. Incremental profit to the CanWest Global System is expected to be in the range of 35 percent when the operation fully matures.
With a population of approximately seven million people, Quebec is the Canadian province least served by English language television. Only two Canadian broadcasters currently serve the province -- CBC and CTV. The addition of Global (Quebec) should therefore be a valuable addition to the province, offering additional viewing choices to the province's English language and bilingual populations and also additional choice to both national and local advertisers, many of whom currently place advertising on U.S. border broadcasters. The entrance into the Province by CanWest to the one million English-speaking market is expected to lead to further broadcast opportunities regarding the remaining six million French-speaking people.
CanWest Global System coverage to the Canadian English-speaking market will now increase to 78 percent from 72 percent.
CONTACT: CanWest Global Communications Corp.
Glenn O'Farrell, 416/446-5310
CanWest Global Communications Corp.
I.H. Asper, 204/956-2025