BlogTV adds news and comedy channels

Toronto-based community videocasting site blogtv.ca is adding two channels: one for comedy and the other for news and politics.

The channels are scheduled to launch tomorrow [Friday].

Although blogTV.ca is a platform for anyone who wants to videocast [including some who are a long way from being video professionals], it’s owned by a genuine television network, Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Alliance Atlantis is in the process of being acquired by CanWest Global Communications and Goldman Sachs.

CanWest unveils local search and directories

CanWest Mediaworks has announced plans to publish local directories, in print and online, in three cities.

Ottawa is first on the schedule, with a directory to be launched this summer. Similar products will appear in Regina and Saskatoon early next year. According to the announcement:

The Ottawa directory will offer consumers complete business listings, glossy print maps, a complete and easy to reference government section, community information section including schools, recreation, and parks information, a restaurant guide for dining selection, and large ads full of information to help fine-tune buying decisions. The initial online offering will also include mapping, search and driving directions.

CanWest’s portfolio includes the Ottawa Citizen, Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix daily newspapers, the canada.com portal, and broadcasting stations.

In addition to advertising in the print directory, businesses can advertise online in their local pages on the canada.com network, offering advertisers potential cross-promotion alongside the CanWest network. Online advertising can be purchased with specialized packages to meet individual businesses’ needs, offering advertisers the choice to include ad creative, URLs, email addresses, additional descriptive text, and more.

Canwest pulls out of Vancouver and Ottawa free papers

CanWest MediaWorks is pulling out of a partnership that publishes the free Metro newspapers in Vancouver and Ottawa.

The two other partners in the papers — Torstar and Metro International SA — will now each own approximately half of the businesses.

The two companies already jointly own the Metro editions in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.

From a news release:

“This new ownership structure extends the solid foundation that already exists in the Metro operations in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton,” says Jagoda Pike, President Star Media Group and Chair of the Board of Directors of the English Canada Metro newspapers.

“With a consistent ownership structure now in place in all five English Metro markets, the Metro newspapers will be managed with a single-minded focus on the development and growth of the Metro brand across English Canada.”

CanWest owns the paid dailies in Vancouver and Ottawa, so its withdrawal from Metro will likely deny the free papers any support on content and advertising. This could be good news for readers, though, with Metro becoming a genuine competitor to the paid titles.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CanWest profit up, helped by 30% online ad growth

CanWest’s Canadian web portal canada.com

Winnipeg-based media giant CanWest Global on Friday reported strong results for the second quarter and half year ending February 28, helped by the surge in online advertising and a turn-around at the company’s Canadian television operations.

The official announcement said:

Publishing revenues were flat as compared to the prior year, reflecting a soft print advertising market bolstered by growth in the Company’s online classified revenues (up 30% as compared to the prior year).

Canadian television revenue rose eight per cent to C$166 million. The company did not provide a figure for online revenue, but said its canada.com portal “achieved a 55 per cent increase in audience over the same period last year to over 5.2 million unique monthly visitors”.

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