Blue Ant Media gets Bold

August 20, 2012  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Toronto’s Blue Ant Media has undertaken a Bold move.

Michael MacMillan

The media company headed by former Alliance Atlantis boss Michael MacMillan has entered into an agreement to acquire digital specialty channel Bold from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The CBC put Bold on the block in April as part of a series of cost-cutting measures intended to offset $115 million in budget cuts by the federal government over the next three years. Toronto-based boutique investment bank Capital Canada Limited acted as the financial advisor to CBC on the transaction.

While CBC is in cost-cutting mode, spokesperson Chris Ball told Marketing that Bold was also no longer aligned with the public broadcaster’s programming philosophy.

“CBC’s programming strategy has evolved significantly since we first launched Bold,” he said via e-mail. “Much of the programming provided on the channel is no longer in line with our current and future strategies.”

MacMillan said in a release that Blue Ant Media sees a “lot of opportunity” with Bold. Blue Ant owns a variety of niche specialty TV services including Travel+Escape, Bite TV and AUX TV. Last year, the company acquired High Fidelity HDTV, which operates four non-fiction HD channels.

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Blue Ant’s digital publishing division also produces daily content for its web and mobile sites, and recently launched a monthly music magazine for tablets named after its music-themed TV service Aux. Blue Ant also owns a minority interest in Cottage Life Media, which publishes Cottage Life, Outdoor Canada and Canadian Home Workshop.

Bold was originally launched by CBC and Corus Entertainment as Country Canada in 2001, part of a wave of new specialty channels to debut that year. CBC assumed full ownership of the channel in 2002, and rechristened it Bold in 2008 with an emphasis on drama, comedy, the arts and sports.

Bold had 2.66 million subscribers and revenues of $4.03 million in 2011 according to CRTC data. National advertising revenues, however, were a mere $56,444, down 47% from $107,227 in 2010.

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