Friday, February 6, 2009

Fire sale

Canwest is looking for a buyer for its E! television network. Calling the network “non-core,” Canwest has hired RBC Capital Markets to help unload the five stations in Montreal, Hamilton, Red Deer, Kelowna and Victoria.

They could be sold as a group or as individual stations.

“These stations have proud histories of serving their communities with strong independent voices,” says Leonard Asper in the Canwest release.

Apparently, Canwest was never able to square its strategy of using the stations to dump excess Hollywood programming it had to buy to get the stuff it really wanted for the Global schedule with that proud local history.

The word is the stations could be sold for a song, if only to save Canwest the costs of winding them down. Is there an investor out there who is actually interested in reviving some proud local history in one or all of the stations? Or is it time for the good people of Montreal, Hamilton, Red Deer, Kelowna and Victoria to find another way to save their local TV stations?

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