Bell Media announced a “bold” new strategy this past week for their specialty channels. Space, Bravo, Comedy, and Gusto will become CTV Sci-Fi, CTV Drama, CTV Comedy, and CTV Life later this year where they’ll be joined by two new VOD services CTV Movies and CTV Vault. Those services, along with programs broadcast on CTV and CTV2 (previously stylized as CTV Two), will be part of CTV’s new digital “super-hub.”
“In today’s crowded media landscape, it’s essential for our services to have the same scale and brand ubiquity as our international competitors,” said Bell Media President Randy Lennox. “As a result, we’re focusing on amplifying CTV so that it is stronger than ever.”
Think of it like a centralized hub where you’ll be able to find and watch The Handmaid’s Tale (CTV Drama), Star Trek: Discovery (CTV Sci-Fi), The Bold and the Beautiful (CTV2) and The Big Bang Theory (CTV) all within one app. At launch, the new CTV super-hub will be available on the web, iOS (including Apple TV), Android, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, and Samsung smart TVs.
“The launch of this multi-genre, next-generation digital super hub instantly makes our expansive portfolio easy to find through one point of entry,” said Mike Cosentino, President of Programming and Content. “It’s an enormously powerful collection of CTV-branded services, live and on-demand, encompassing hit programming from every genre.”
While Netflix is subscriber base, CTV’s new digital hub will remain free to consumers but will be ad-supported. I’d imagine you’d sign in with your cable subscription log-in to access the specialty networks.
CTV Movies isn’t replacing a network, but being added as VOD service. Bell Media has a new partnership with Sony Pictures Television and will offer blockbuster titles like Spider-Man and Men In Black. CTV Vault will meanwhile be the home of entire series catalogs of classic shows like Community, Damages, Rescue Me and The Larry Sanders Show. The VOD and digital versions of both CTV Movies and CTV Vault will be free to consumers and ad-supported.
Bravo, Space, and Comedy were all launched by CHUM Limited between 1995 and 1997 before being acquired by Bell Media (then known as CTVglobemedia). Gusto was launched as an independent network in 2013 before being acquired by Bell in 2016 when it replaced M3 (previously MuchMoreMusic).