CBC signs Giller Prize broadcast deal

The pubcaster will televise the annual Scotiabank-sponsored event for the next five years under the agreement.

The CBC will be the home of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards show broadcast for the next five years, under a new deal the pubcaster has signed with the gala event.

The new partnership was announced jointly yesterday by the CBC’s EVP of English services, Kirstine Stewart, and Giller Prize founder Jack Rabinovitch. The exclusive media partnership includes television rights to the event for five years starting with this fall’s event, with possible rights extending to the Ceeb’s other multiplatform channels as well.

In an Empire Club luncheon speech in Toronto yesterday, Stewart shared her vision for the CBC’s new approach, and said that building a public broadcaster for today’s consumer entailed being available to ‘everyone, every way’. The recipe for this is to develop and build audiences for more distinctly Canadian programming, resonating with all of Canada by adressing diversity, and recognizing new viewing habits by delivering digitally. With Rabinovitch in attendance at the head table, the deal bringing the Gillers to CBC was announced as a great example of the kind of programming that reaches across Canada’s rural and urban divides. Scotiabank, which has a lock on entertainment sponsorship in Canada, also sees great opportunity for the Gillers to benefit from spinning out across the breadth of CBC’s programs and platforms.

The Giller Prize broadcast has been hosted by a variety of channels since 1998, including Bravo in 1998 and 1999, Bravo and CBC in 2002, CBC in 2003 and 2004, TalkTV in 2005 and CTV from 2006 to 2010.

The annual event recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction and offers a cash prize of $25,000, Canada’s largest purse for a literary award. Scotiabank has been the presenting sponsor of the event since 2005.

The CBC is a natural fit for the Giller, with high-profile literary properties already in place, such as its radio-centric Canada Reads competition, a series of radio shows dedicated to literary arts, and a new web portal, CBC Books.

In other CBC news today, the network annouced it is expanding its HD capabilities to include its Edmonton and Calgary affiliates. HD programming will be available to Shaw Cable subscribers starting this Friday, while Telus TV subscribes will have access starting May 27.