HBO Canada is a multiplex television channel of the Canadian premium cable and satellite television service The Movie Network (TMN), which is owned by Bell Media. The channel is primarily devoted to original programming and special events sourced from the HBO and Cinemax subscription services in the United States, as well as domestic motion pictures.
|Launched||October 30, 2008|
|Owned by||Bell Media|
(available as part of The Movie Network package)
MMore (Eastern Canada)|
Movie Central 4 (Western Canada)
|Sister channel(s)||TMN 1-4|
HBO Canada 1|
HBO Canada 2
306 (East) (SD)|
307 (West) (SD)
836 & 1258 (East) (HD)
837 & 1259 (West) (HD)
231 (East) (SD)|
236 (West) (SD)
645 (East) (HD)
646 (West) (HD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||
361 (East) (SD)|
572 (East) (HD)
573 (West) (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||
306 (East) (SD)|
307 (West) (SD)
1306 (East) (HD)
1307 (West) (HD)
209 (West) (SD)|
210 (East) (SD)
1209 (West) (HD)
1210 (East) (HD)
9400 (West) (SD)|
9401 (East) (SD)
400 (West) (HD)
401 (East) (HD)
203 (West) (SD)|
1210 (West) (HD)
302 (East) (HD)|
303 (West) (HD)
172 (East) (HD)|
173 (West) (HD)
Although branded distinctly from TMN's other channels, HBO Canada is not available as a standalone channel; customers must subscribe to the entire TMN service of which HBO Canada is part. Moreover, the pick-and-pay policies being implemented for Canadian specialty channels in 2016 do not affect premium services like TMN.
Prior to October 2008, much of HBO's programming aired in Canada on the various multiplex channels of both Astral Media's The Movie Network, which at the time was available only in Eastern Canada, and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central, which was offered in Western and Northern Canada. A few HBO programs aired in first-run and/or second window on basic cable specialty channels such as Bravo and Showcase.
On September 22, 2008, The Movie Network and Movie Central announced that the two networks would jointly begin offering a dedicated HBO multiplex channel (in both standard definition and high definition formats), which would debut on October 30. For TMN subscribers, HBO Canada replaced MMore and MMore HD, while for Movie Central subscribers, HBO Canada replaced Movie Central 4 and Movie Central 1 HD. As different multiplex channels of a single pay service cannot have separate sets of owners, Astral and Corus each held de jure full ownership of HBO Canada in the designated service areas of their respectively owned pay services. However, in practice, the channel was jointly managed by both companies and the HBO Canada schedule was common to both services, except that TMN's feed of the channel operated on an Eastern Time Zone schedule while Movie Central fed the same programming two hours later on Mountain Time.
Although much of HBO's programming had already aired in Canada as discussed above, many other programs from the network were not previously widely available in Canada; the new channel was created with the intention to fill the gap. Original programming from HBO's sister service Cinemax have also been broadcast at times, particularly action series that Cinemax has aired since broadening its series programming content to include mainstream original series in August 2011 (prior to this, Cinemax's series programming consisted only of softcore pornographic programs).
Some HBO series already carried by TMN or Movie Central were initially simulcast on their respective main channels, but shortly thereafter HBO programming became exclusive to HBO Canada, as opposed to any of the other multiplex channels of TMN or Movie Central.
A selection of Canadian films and series also airs to satisfy Canadian content requirements, and programs from other U.S. sources to which TMN and Movie Central both own rights (such as HBO and Cinemax competitor Showtime) may air as well at times. However, few feature films that had their original theatrical release in countries outside of Canada air on the channel, even when those movies air on HBO's main channel in the United States.
While under the joint management of TMN and Movie Central, the two timeshifted HBO Canada feeds (East/West), in both standard-definition and high-definition, were available nationally to those television providers who wish to carry them; they both remain available nationally under the restructured national TMN service (discussed below). The Movie Network and some service providers refer to the applicable out-of-region feed as HBO Canada 2 on their websites; other service providers simply distinguish them as East and West feeds.
On March 4, 2013, the Competition Bureau approved the takeover of Astral Media by Bell Media. Bell filed a new application for the proposed takeover with the CRTC on March 6, 2013; the CRTC approved the merger on June 27, 2013, effectively turning over control of HBO Canada in Eastern Canada to Bell.
Until 2014, HBO Canada was in many cases only permitted to offer current seasons of HBO programming on its linear channels or on-demand, as second window rights to older seasons continued to be sold to basic-cable specialty channels such as Showcase. In September, Bell and Corus announced a new deal whereby HBO Canada can now offer all episodes of all currently-produced HBO scripted programming through its various platforms.
Simultaneously, Bell announced a separate deal for rights to the "off-air" (i.e., series no longer in production) HBO catalog "for future exploitation", similar to HBO's U.S. streaming deal with Amazon Video. Bell later announced that the off-air HBO library would become part of its then-upcoming streaming service CraveTV, which had been announced at the time as "Project Latte".
On November 19, 2015, Corus Entertainment announced its plans to exit the pay TV business, agreeing to shut down Movie Central in exchange for a C$211 million payment from Bell, which announced plans to relaunch TMN as a national service. As a result, Bell took over full operations of HBO Canada once the changeover occurred on March 1, 2016. Bell also announced a further expansion to its agreement with HBO, giving it exclusive rights to distribute all current and library HBO programming on any of its linear, VOD, and digital platforms.
HBO Canada HDEdit
HBO Canada HD is a high definition simulcast feed of HBO Canada that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. The channel launched its HD simulcast feed with the launch of the standard-definition feed on October 30, 2008. Among others, HBO Canada HD is currently carried regionally by satellite provider Bell TV, and cable providers Rogers Cable, Bell Fibe TV, Access Communications, Cogeco, Novus, Shaw Cable, Optik TV, Westman Communications, Source Cable, EastLink and Vidéotron.
HBO Canada On DemandEdit
HBO Canada operates a subscription video on demand service called HBO Canada On Demand, which is available at no additional charge to new and existing HBO Canada subscribers of The Movie Network and Movie Central. The HBO Canada On Demand service, which launched with the channel on October 30, 2008, offers program content available in standard or high definition including feature films, episodes of original series from TMN and Movie Central as well as imported series from American premium services HBO and Cinemax, and special behind-the-scenes features including interviews. HBO Canada On Demand's rotating program selection incorporates select new titles that are added each Friday, alongside existing program titles held over from the previous one to two weeks.
HBO GO CanadaEdit
On February 27, 2013, The Movie Network launched HBO Go Canada as part of The Movie Network Go, a website and mobile app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch; the service features program content available for streaming in standard or high definition. Content featured on the service includes original programming produced domestically by HBO Canada and acquired from HBO U.S. and its sister service Cinemax, along with movies, comedy specials, documentaries and sports programming. HBO Go and TMN Go were made available at launch to TMN subscribers of Bell TV, Bell Fibe TV, and Cogeco Cable, and has since also been made available to customers of several other providers including Rogers Cable, Eastlink, Source Cable, Shaw, and Telus.
While in operation, Movie Central offered similar web and mobile access to its programming (including HBO Canada series), but did so through websites and apps maintained by individual service providers and not through a general TV Everywhere scheme.
HBO Canada carries the vast majority of original programming produced or distributed by HBO (U.S.), and certain original programs produced for Cinemax (such as Strike Back). From time to time, this has included older HBO movies and series no longer available through the American service, including Mr. Show with Bob and David. In the vast majority of cases, newly produced programs are carried day-and-date with HBO in the U.S., though several notable programs such as Going Clear and Lemonade aired several months after their American premieres.
HBO Canada did not air Vice News Tonight at launch; the newscast instead aired on the now-defunct Canadian version of Viceland despite HBO Canada airing the main weekly Vice series. It picked up the daily series in fall 2017 alongside sister channel Much, later replaced by MTV.
Notable HBO original programming not seen on HBO Canada includes Sesame Street (to which HBO acquired the U.S. first-run rights in 2016), which continues to air in Canada on Treehouse TV and in second-run on American PBS stations.
While HBO boxing coverage is carried on HBO Canada, several other HBO Sports programs are not seen on the channel, including Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and Hard Knocks. Some of these exclusions may be due to issues involving leagues or other rightsholders which sometimes retain international distribution rights. For example, the Canadian rights to 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic were sold separately by the NHL to Rogers-owned Sportsnet. Hard Knocks, co-produced with the NFL, is believed to be in a similar situation.
Since the launch of HBO Canada, many of the Canadian series produced by The Movie Network (and previously Movie Central) have also begun airing primarily on the channel. Nonetheless, these shows are still indicated in introductory bumpers as being TMN and/or Movie Central original programs (as opposed to HBO Canada original programming).
Current and upcomingEdit
- Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
- Call Me Fitz
- Funny as Hell
- Good Dog
- Good God
- Hip-Hop Evolution
- Less Than Kind
- Living in Your Car
- Sports on Fire
- The Yard
HBO Canada airs a large selection of original films and documentaries produced by or for HBO, as well as Canadian films from various distributors to which TMN holds broadcast rights. The latter is required as part of TMN's Canadian content obligations, which much be met separately by each of the service's multiplex channels.
The channel does not generally air any non-Canadian theatrically-released films; however as of 2016, the vast majority of theatrical films aired by HBO and Cinemax in the U.S. – specifically those released theatrically by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, and Twentieth Century Fox and their respective labels and subsidiaries – are carried in Canada by the other TMN channels.
- Astral/Corus press release, September 22, 2008.
- BCE takeover of Astral OK’d by Competition Bureau[permanent dead link], The Montreal Gazette (via The Canadian Press), March 4, 2013.
- Astral and Bell Comment on New Acquisition Application to CRTC, Broadcaster Magazine, March 6, 2013.
- CRTC approves Bell-Astral merger, CBC News, June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Bell Media (2014-09-04). "Bell Media and Corus Entertainment Sign Landmark Deal with HBO". Retrieved 2014-09-06.
- Bell Media (2014-09-04). "Bell Media Acquires HBO's Iconic Programming Library". Retrieved 2014-09-06.
- "Bell launches Project Latte streaming service with entire HBO catalogue". CBCNews.ca. 2014-10-30. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
- The Canadian Press staff (2015-11-19). "Bell expanding TMN into national pay TV service; to be sole operator of HBO Canada". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- "Bell Media and HBO Sign Historic Agreement Bringing Canadians Unprecedented Access to HBO Programming". Bell Media. 2015-11-19. Retrieved 2016-03-09.
- "The Movie Network Launches Three Video Streaming Services". Broadcaster Magazine. February 28, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- "Big-Buzz Documentary GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF Premieres September 6 on HBO Canada". Bell Media Press Room. August 19, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- "Beyoncé's Lemonade lands at HBO Canada". Montreal Gazette. June 23, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
- "Sesame Street". TreehouseTV.com. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
- "Sportsnet secures rights to '24/7′ documentary" (Press release). Sportsnet. 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- Whittock, Jesse (2016-03-02). "Throop: TV, Family staying strong for eOne". Television Business International.