Rogers Communications Inc. (ticker: RCI.B.TO, exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (.TO))
News Release -
The Documentary Channel: Interactive Digital Television Network Application Filed By RogersRogers' Proposed New Channel Is A Welcome Home For
Canada's Acclaimed Documentary Filmmaking Community
TORONTO, April 4 /CNW/ - As the next critical move in reinforcing and
growing Canada's reputation for excellence in quality documentaries, Rogers
Broadcasting Limited, in partnership with a number of leading Canadian
filmmakers and distributors, filed an application yesterday for The
Documentary Channel, a new Category 1 digital specialty television channel,
with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Rogers, long recognized as a champion of Canadian documentaries through
the financial support provided by Rogers Telefund and Rogers Documentary Fund,
decided to file the application after receiving extensive support and
encouragement from many of Canada's foremost creators and distributors of
In addition, market research indicated that documentaries rank as one of
the most popular and desirable types of programming among Canadian TV viewers,
second only to movies.
"The documentary is a uniquely Canadian form of expression, worthy of a
dedicated channel in the Canadian broadcasting system," said Philip B. Lind,
Vice Chairman, Rogers Communications Inc. "The Rogers Documentary Fund was
recently renewed and is continuing its support through outright grants to
successful documentary projects. Over $4 million was given to Canadian
documentary producers during the Fund's initial four-year commitment from 1996
Rogers Documentary Fund, in only four years, supported a total of 136
documentaries made by producers from all across the country. In 1999 alone,
the Fund helped finance 37 documentaries (22 in English and 15 in French),
including the critically acclaimed Sheldon Kennedy - A Story of Human Courage
and Camp X, the story of the secret Canadian training base for Allied spies
during World War II.
Rogers Telefund, now in its twentieth year, has also supported, through
interim financing, the creation of more than 100 documentaries. Both the
Rogers' funds are significant and active supporters of the production
industry's major "showcases" such as Hot Docs!, the Canadian documentary
festival held in Toronto every year, the Banff Television Festival and the
Summer Institute of Film and Television in Ottawa, among many others.
The next logical step is for Rogers to take on the challenge and
excitement of creating a new Canadian channel devoted solely to documentaries,
and to use its expertise and industry leadership role to enhance the popular
Rogers has created some of Canada's leading new media services - all of
which top their category. There is no broadcasting company in the country
better able than Rogers to bring documentaries to the widest audience
possible, and to promote the excellence of the genre, and its makers through
Some of Canada's leading documentary filmmakers and distributors have
partnered with Rogers to create The Documentary Channel including Vancouver's
David Paperny; Peter Raymont, Toronto; Jan Rofekamp, Montreal; Alison Clayton,
Ottawa; and Andrew Cochran, Halifax.
"The support Rogers has provided to Canadian documentary filmmakers has
been invaluable. Rogers was the first to set up a much-needed financial
support system for us, and for other Canadian filmmakers," said Peter Raymont,
White Pine Pictures, creator of The Scattering of Seed/Mémoires d'un pays and
the Genie Award-winning, The World Is Watching. "I'm delighted to be a part of
the creation of The Documentary Channel, a celebration of the art and craft of
documentary filmmaking. Canadians want to see more of what we do, and this
channel will provide it."
Mr. Lind concluded, "The Documentary Channel is the extension of our
long-established and highly productive working relationship with Canada's
documentary filmmaking community. It's the most significant commitment we can
make to them, because the channel gives us the added ability to actively
promote and foster documentary filmmaking, as well as support it financially
through the Rogers Funds."
Canadian filmmakers pioneered the documentary genre and have continued to
play a leading role in its development. Canada's pre-eminent place on the
documentary stage is one of this country's greatest achievements in filmmaking
and a source of immense pride for the industry, for audiences and for Rogers.
Increasing audiences via The Documentary Channel will give the work of
documentary filmmakers the exposure at home it deserves. Most importantly, it
will provide opportunities for new generations of Canadian documentary
Rogers Broadcasting Limited operates 30 radio stations (15 AM and 15 FM)
throughout Canada. It also operates the Shopping Channel, Canada's 24 hour
electronic retailer; the country's first multilingual television station,
CFMT; and has minority interests in three television programming services.
Rogers Broadcasting Limited is a division of Rogers Communications Inc.,
(Toronto: RCI.A and RCI.B; NYSE: RG) Canada's national communications company,
engaged in wireless communications, cable TV, high-speed Internet access,
video retailing, publishing and new media businesses.
For further information: Jan Innes, Vice President Communications,
Rogers Communications Inc. (416) 935-3525