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Bell expands The Movie Network, Corus exits pay TV business

Bell Media of Montreal is set to become the sole operator of specialty television channel HBO Canada. Previous co-operator Corus Entertainment has waived its HBO content rights in Canada as part of an overall exit from the pay television field. Corus has also announced plans to cease operation of its Movie Central and Encore Avenue regional pay television services in order to focus on its national media properties.

Bell Media has also announced plans to expand its pay television property The Movie Network into a national service. The channel is currently available in eastern Canada only. National operations will begin in the first quarter of 2016, according to the company. Corus pay TV subscribers will be moved to the new channel. As part of the agreement, BCE will pay Corus $211 million.

In related news, Bell Media has signed an agreement with HBO to secure exclusive Canadian rights to all HBO programming for linear, on-demand and over-the-top channels.

"Bell Media now has the national scale required to create, negotiate and deliver more premium TV programming to Canadian consumers, across more platforms and more quickly than ever before," said Mary Ann Turcke, president of Bell Media. "Our extensive new content agreement with HBO also announced today, for both traditional TV and next-generation platforms like CraveTV and with significant original co-production opportunities, is a great example of the benefits for Canadian viewers nationwide."

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