MONTRÉAL, August 28, 2012 – Bell and Cirque du Soleil announced today that they have formed a new, far-reaching joint venture to develop Québec-based media content for television, film, digital, and gaming platforms. Headquartered in Montréal, the new company will develop entertainment projects for sale and licensing around the world, leveraging Cirque du Soleil’s creative resources, consumer insight, and infrastructure with Bell Media’s production experience, media platforms, and diverse distribution capabilities.
Supporting the creation of new Québec-based media jobs and linked to Bell’s pending acquisition of Astral Media, the joint venture is another extension of Bell’s strategy of investment in the development and distribution of Québec content. Bell has committed a separate $80 million in new investment in Québec content development when it joins with Astral, and Bell remains the largest private contributor to Canadian broadcasting and content development, spending almost $600 million every year.
“Bell’s multi-million dollar investment with Cirque du Soleil represents two great Montréal companies coming together to further develop Québec’s world-renowned creative industry,” said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell and BCE. “Working closely with Cirque du Soleil aligns perfectly with Bell’s commitment to make Québec’s best content available to as wide an audience as possible.”
“Cirque du Soleil has always put creative forces from Québec in the forefront. Like Bell joining with Astral, this commitment to invest in Québec content and job creation benefits not only consumers but the broader Québec creative and media industry as well,” said Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil.
Inspired by Cirque du Soleil’s unique creative process, projects will be developed by the new company in Québec for sale and licensing to both Canadian and international markets. Cirque du Soleil will contribute its library of existing content and current projects to the partnership, including the company’s previous television productions as well as the upcoming 3D feature film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.
“Bell’s partnership with Cirque du Soleil in this exciting new venture instantly strengthens our ability to share Québec’s creative savoir-faire with the world,” said Jacques Méthé, Executive Producer, Cirque du Soleil.
“Cirque du Soleil’s homegrown and globally admired brand is exactly the kind of unique and compelling Québec content we are eager to nurture,” said Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “This new alliance with Cirque du Soleil underscores how eager Bell is to bring the best of Québec to every screen.”
The partnership will be governed by a board of directors including representatives from both Cirque du Soleil and Bell Media, and managed by a programming team with input from both partners.
Cirque du Soleil’s 3D feature film Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away will be distributed by Paramount Pictures in December. Written and directed by Andrew Adamson (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), and executive produced by Academy Award ® winning filmmaker James Cameron, the 3D film event features artistic and acrobatic performances from some of the most elaborate Cirque du Soleil productions.
About Cirque du Soleil
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries. Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visitcirquedusoleil.com.
Bell offers Bell Mobility wireless, Bell TV, Bell Internet, Bell Home Phone and Bell Business Markets services across Canada, and is wholly owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca.
Headquartered in Montréal since 1880, Bell is committed to the Québec community, employing more people, spending more on Québec infrastructure and R&D, and contributing more to charities (led by the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative) and community events than any other communications company. Bell employs more than 17,000 team members in Québec and invested over $900 million in Québec infrastructure and R&D in 2011 alone – including the rollout of the next-generation Bell Fibe network that is already ramping up competition and choice in TV and Internet services for consumers in Québec.
For more information:
Bell Media Relations
Bell Investors Relations
Cirque du Soleil
514 723-7646 (7366)