|Type||Broadcast television network|
|Availability||Quebec, most of New Brunswick, parts of Ontario and northern New York and New England via antenna, nationally via cable and satellite|
|Slogan||C'est vrai (It's true)|
|September 12, 1971|
TVA is a privately owned French language television network in Canada. The network is owned by TVA Group, a publicly traded subsidiary of Quebecor Media. TVA is believed to be short for Téléviseurs associés or Télédiffuseurs associés, depending on the source (both can be roughly translated to "Associated Telecasters;" however, only the initials are used on-air). The name reflects TVA's roots as a cooperative network owned by its affiliates, though this era ended in 1992.
Headquartered in Montreal, the network only has terrestrial stations in Quebec, although parts of New Brunswick and Ontario are within the broadcast ranges of TVA stations. However, since becoming a national network in 1998, it has been available on cable across Canada.
TVA traces its roots to 1963, when CJPM-TV in Chicoutimi (now part of Saguenay), a station only a few months old and in need of revenue, began sharing programs with the biggest privately owned francophone station in Canada, CFTM-TV in Montreal. They were joined by CFCM-TV in Quebec City in 1964 after CFCM lost its Radio-Canada affiliation. While the three stations shared programs for many years, it was not until September 12, 1971 that the informal link became a proper network, TVA, with CFTM as the flagship station. The network began the first private French-language network news service in Canada in 1972. Between 1973 and 1983, seven more stations joined the network.
When the network was formally organized in 1971, its affiliates ran it as a cooperative, much like CTV operated for many years. In 1982, the cooperative became a corporation with the station owners as shareholders.
For many years, TVA's schedule was very similar to that of what CTV offered before Baton Broadcasting took over the network (and similar to what Global offers today) in that it did not have what could be called a main schedule aside from news. For instance, Pathonic Communications, which owned the TVA affiliates in Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Rimouski and provided programming to the affiliates in Rivière-du-Loup and Carleton; offered programming that was radically different from that offered on CFTM. The differences were enough that Sherbrooke's CHLT-TV, whose over-the-air signal reaches Montreal, was carried on Montreal cable systems. However, CFTM dominated the network to an even greater extent that Toronto's CFTO-TV dominated CTV, contributing as much of 90% of the network's programming. That was not surprising as Montreal has always been the centre of French-language broadcasting in Canada.
In 1989, Télé-Metropole, which owned CFTM and CJPM, bought out Pathonic and changed its name to Groupe TVA Inc., a subsidiary of cable company Vidéotron. The other station owners sold the outstanding shares of the network in 1992. Nine years later, Quebecor became owner of TVA.
TVA also owns Le Canal Nouvelles (LCN), Canada's only private French language headline news channel. When TVA completes its broadcast day, the TVA stations simulcast LCN until TVA's next broadcast day begins. As well, the company owns a magazine publishing division unit, a film production and distribution house, and a number of other Internet and cable properties, many of which are often used to cross-promote TVA series and events.
For most of the last 30 years, TVA has been more popular than Télévision de Radio-Canada, the French-language counterpart of CBC Television. All but 10 of the 50 most popular television shows in Quebec come from TVA. For many years, TVA's reach outside of Quebec was only a fraction of that of Radio-Canada, despite its popularity. The only stations with significant viewership outside of Quebec were CHOT-TV of Hull (now part of Gatineau), CIMT-TV of Rivière-du-Loup and CHAU-TV of Carleton-sur-Mer. CHOT also serves Ottawa and has been available on most cable systems in Northeastern Ontario since the early 1980s, owing to that region's large Franco-Ontarian population. CIMT and CHAU both operate rebroadcasters in New Brunswick, and between them provide nearly the entire province with TVA service. However, TVA did provide a cable feed known as TCTV starting in 1981, consisting of most of CFTM's programming and local news from other TVA stations.
In 1998, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission made it compulsory for all cable systems in Canada to carry a TVA station, in order to give Canada's francophone minority communities a second French-language programming choice. The station offered is usually the network's flagship, CFTM. With few exceptions, the cable companies that already carried other TVA affiliates continued to carry those stations after TVA carriage became mandatory.
TVA also provides a time-shifted feed for cable companies in Western Canada. However, this feed is little more than an electronic delay of CFTM's programming, rebroadcast three hours later to viewers in Western Canada through a separate feed.
Although TVA is a full-fledged network, its network feed is basically a retransmission of CFTM, with opt-outs by local affiliates for local news, commercials and locally produced programming. While this allows TVA to air more network programming than any other Canadian network (the basis for its longtime slogan, Le sens de la télé or "The Meaning of Television"), it also means that CFTM usually can't interrupt its programming for news or weather bulletins in Montreal without interrupting the entire network.
In 2004, TVA's parent TVA Group and fellow Quebecor subsidiary Sun Media jointly acquired CKXT-TV in Toronto, an independent station once known as Toronto One under its previous owner, Craig Media, in 2004. The company's first English-language television station, it continued to be run as an independent station, not as a TVA affiliate. It was rebranded "Sun TV", after Sun Media's local newspaper, the Toronto Sun. In early 2005, TVA confirmed to The Globe and Mail that it would continue to look for other expansion opportunities in English Canada, but no further purchase announcements have been made by the company. On April 18, 2011, CKXT-TV began to simulcast the programming of a new news channel, Sun News Network, considered to be an English version of LCN. CKXT ceased operations on November 1, 2011, and the Sun News Network continued only on cable and satellite until being discontinued in 2015.
TVA Group also operates a number of cable specialty channels, including addikTV (formerly Mystère), ARGENT, Casa (formerly Les idées de ma maison télé), LCN, Mlle, Prise 2, Shopping TVA and Yoopa. Groupe TVA is also a minority owner of Évasion, with Serdy Direct as majority owner. TVA Group was also a majority owner of The Cave (now H2), which it co-owned with Shaw Media; it also equally owned Mystery TV with Shaw Media, with Shaw Media being managing partner. TVA sold its share in both channels to Shaw in November 2011.
- Current: "C'est vrai" (It's Real)
- "Le sens de la télé" (The Meaning of Television)
- "Le réseau d'ici" (The Network from Here)
- "Le meilleur de la télé" (The Best of Television)
On February 1, 2007, TVA launched an HD simulcast of its Montreal station CFTM-DT. TVA HD is available via satellite, digital cable or DTT. A simulcast of Quebec station CFCM-DT was launched in 2009, and a simulcast of Sherbrooke station CHLT-DT was launched July 19, 2010, initially available only on Vidéotron cable in their respective areas.
- 1) Italicized channel numbers indicate a digital channel allocated for future use by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission;
- 2) TVA's parent, Quebecor Media, owns a 45% stake of Télé Inter-Rives.
|City of license||Station||Channel
|Year of affiliation||Owned since|
|Quebec City||CFCM-DT||4.1 (17)||1971||1990|
|City of license||Station||Virtual
|Carleton-sur-Mer||CHAU-DT||5.1||5|| 1980 (secondary)|