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  1. #1
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    Stingray Country

    Stingray Country quietly launched this Wednesday, January 15 on Bell (Fibe TV, Aliant TV and MTS TV), replacing Stingray Juicebox in their lineup.

    No press release has been issued by Stingray and it is yet to be determined whether this is actually a new channel or simply a rebrand of Stingray Juicebox, which in this case, I would not be surprised if it ends up being the latter.

    A website for the channel turned up earlier this week, but the full list of providers carrying the channel has not yet been posted. The website for Stingray Juicebox also remains active, and online TV listings have not changed for any providers that have been carrying the channel (including Bell).

    If this is indeed a rebrand, this would mark the fourth change for the channel that initially launched as MTV2 Canada back in 2001 under Craig Media (which was subsequently taken over by CHUM and CTV/Bell).

    2001-2005: MTV2 Canada (Craig Media)
    2005-2011: PunchMuch (CHUM / CTVglobemedia)
    2011-2016: Juicebox (Bell Media)
    2016-2020: Stingray Juicebox (Stingray)
    Present: Stingray Country (Stingray)

    Source: https://country.stingray.com/en

    On another note, Stingray Retro, Loud and Vibe started adding commercial breaks as of this week. Over the span of an hour, there are about three or four breaks, with each one lasting a maximum of two minutes, and consisting of products predominantly seen in infomercials.
    The ads become repetitious rather quickly only because of very limited sponsorships, but for now, the impact is very minimal. In all honesty, I preferred when the breaks were shorter (maximum 30 seconds), only two times per hour and limited just to Stingray services including promos for program blocks on their respective channels.

  2. #2
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    I went on www.stingray.com and apparently Juicebox isn't on there so that could be. There is Stingray Hits simular to Juicebox and maybe they re-located all the music to that service. But apparently it has come up as Stingray Country and if that's so I knew that it was a matter of time that Stingray would come up with that service after Corus killed the Country Music Video's off of CMT which in my case no longer stands for anything. At least Stingray is bringing back Country Music to Television after Corus re-vamped CMT into something more stupid than ever.
    Last edited by Test Pattern; 01-18-2020 at 10:38 AM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Test Pattern View Post
    I went on www.stingray.com and apparently Juicebox isn't on there so that could be. There is Stingray Hits simular to Juicebox and maybe they re-located all the music to that service. But apparently it has come up as Stingray Country and if that's so I knew that it was a matter of time that Stingray would come up with that service after Corus killed the Country Music Video's off of CMT which in my case no longer stands for anything. At least Stingray is bringing back Country Music to Television after Corus re-vamped CMT into something more stupid than ever.

    When you visit the Music Videos TV Channels page on Stingray's website, Stingray Country is listed at the very top but it does not have a link to the channel's website yet. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the page, Juicebox is still listed along with a link to their website. https://juicebox.stingray.com/en

    Stingray Hits is in no way similar to Juicebox as it is a French-language Channel aimed at a wider demographic, has a broader playlist that includes current songs and those from the 1990s and early 2000s, and plays videos in both English and French. It's a hybrid of what MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic, MusiquePlus and MusiMax used to be in their earlier years, long before they cut back on music videos and/or rebranded into something else altogether.

    I see that Stingray could have purchased CMT from Corus and used that license for a country music video channel, but that would have given it an unfair advantage over the other music channels they already carry, as it is a Category A channel, meaning a higher subscription base and its placement in basic packages. At the very least, it would have to be converted to a Category B service. Also, Corus probably continues to own the license to the CMT name for the Canadian market, regardless of what is being programmed on that channel nowadays.

    If anyone on this forum is with a provider (other than Bell) that has been carrying Stingray Juicebox in their lineup, and has noticed it switch to Stingray Country or seen a change just from their listings alone, I would be curious to know.

    It should also be pointed out that before the end of last year, Rogers' Digital and Ignite TV services dropped four of the channels (all of which were sold by Bell) from their lineup, leaving them only with Stingray Now 4K (TELUS and Cogeco so far are the only other providers carrying this channel).

    In any event, of all the music video channels, Juicebox seemed like the odd one out as it was less based on genre, unlike Retro (classic videos spanning 1980s to early 2000s), Vibe (rap/hip-hop), Loud (rock/alternative), Hits (popular English and French videos from the 1990s to today), PalmaresADISQ (French videos with some English tiles recorded by French Canadian artists). Plus, music videos on TV are less likely to be attractive to younger generations (particularly born in the 2000s or later) as they are more inclined to watch them on non-linear and digital platforms. So it almost seems logical that they would use the license for Juicebox and turn it into a country music video channel to fill the hole left by CMT's departure from musical content. As we've seen in recent years, it is a whole lot easier to take an existing channel and rebrand it rather than launch a new one from scratch.
    Last edited by lostjon; 01-18-2020 at 12:39 PM.

  4. #4
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    From what I have gathered thus far, it seems like Stingray Country is only on Bell at the moment, while other providers with Juicebox in their lineup have not done anything.

    So there are numerous scenarios at work here:

    It's possible that Bell worked out an agreement with Stingray to be the first provider to carry Stingray Country, and have been quietly informed that it will be replacing Juicebox down the road.

    Bell opted to move forward and add Stingray Country while replacing another channel (in this case Juicebox) due to lack of space or additional bandwidth. Routinely, as channels get dropped from their lineup, new ones get added or re-added (depending on customer demand).

    Anyways, we'll know very soon as other providers decide whether or not to add Stingray Country to their lineup and when Stingray eventually issues an official press release to confirm the channel's launch.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostjon View Post
    From what I have gathered thus far, it seems like Stingray Country is only on Bell at the moment, while other providers with Juicebox in their lineup have not done anything.

    So there are numerous scenarios at work here:

    It's possible that Bell worked out an agreement with Stingray to be the first provider to carry Stingray Country, and have been quietly informed that it will be replacing Juicebox down the road.

    Bell opted to move forward and add Stingray Country while replacing another channel (in this case Juicebox) due to lack of space or additional bandwidth. Routinely, as channels get dropped from their lineup, new ones get added or re-added (depending on customer demand).

    Anyways, we'll know very soon as other providers decide whether or not to add Stingray Country to their lineup and when Stingray eventually issues an official press release to confirm the channel's launch.
    Ya I checked into Juicebox on Shaw Direct last Night and its still Juicebox. This is just something that just came out from the blue on here. But I did have a sense that there would be a time that Stingray would come up with a Country music service since Corus killed the country Music video's off of CMT. And both Bell and Corus are just not up for the music services anymore and sadly Much is only Much with No Music. It seems big companies like them have destroyed so many great channels. I wonder what the next casualty will be next for the specialty Channels. JUst last year we said goodbye to IFC, Cosmo Tv and FYI.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Test Pattern View Post
    Ya I checked into Juicebox on Shaw Direct last Night and its still Juicebox. This is just something that just came out from the blue on here. But I did have a sense that there would be a time that Stingray would come up with a Country music service since Corus killed the country Music video's off of CMT. And both Bell and Corus are just not up for the music services anymore and sadly Much is only Much with No Music. It seems big companies like them have destroyed so many great channels. I wonder what the next casualty will be next for the specialty Channels. JUst last year we said goodbye to IFC, Cosmo Tv and FYI.
    Yes, it looks like Shaw Direct customers still have Juicebox. After Corus dropped all music programming from CMT, Stingray launched two new music video channels, both in French, being Stingray Hits! and PalmaresADISQ. They first launched on Videotron in June 2018. Within a year of their launch, they were added to other providers including Bell, Telus and Cogeco. At that moment, I figured it was only a matter of time that they would add a country music video channel to their portfolio, pretty much for the obvious reasons that you stated in your last post.

    Now perhaps this is just a theory on my part, but another telling sign that Stingray Juicebox might be possibly coming to an end was their lack of special programming over the holiday period. Unlike the other channels that had specials lined up including year-end and in some cases, decade-end countdowns, the schedule on Juicebox was very much the same as it was during other times of the year. They did air holiday-themed videos, although they were spread across their regular All Day Recess and Afterschool Hang Out blocks, in addition to with their weekly Top 10 countdown and block of dance-themed videos. At the end of 2018, Juicebox had a year-end Top 30 countdown featuring the most pooular videos from that year. It was not the case from this past year.

    From the few times I have actually sampled Juicebox, I was rather amazed to see how vast their playlist is, and how there's little to no overlap with the other channels. In addition to the family-friendly and Canadian content, it also features videos of lesser known hits and promotes both established and upcoming acts from Canada and elsewhere that simply do not get any attention on the other channels, that can make it appealing for both younger and older demographics.

  7. #7
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    Shaw Direct is the next provider in line to add Stingray Country to their lineup as of next week (January 27), and it wil be replacing Stingray Juicebox, so this is definitely a rebrand instead of a brand new music video channel altogether.

    Stingray has indeed confirmed this through part of the following reply to a recent visitor post on their Facebook page:
    "Knowing that there’s a real appetite for Country music we have decided to provide a broader reaching music video channel by offering Stingray Country. Stingray made the difficult decision of making Country widely available at the expense of Juicebox."

    Loud, Retro and Vibe eventually stay put, given their existing broad reach and popularity, so rather than start a new music channel from scratch that would take time to reach an audience to qualify for a CRTC license, Stingray is taking the current license for Juicebox to convert it to their own country music video channel.
    The transition has already started.

    Source: https://www.facebook.com/stingray.music/posts_to_page/
    Last edited by lostjon; 01-20-2020 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8
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    Well, if Stingray Country is currently on the air and Juicebox is too, its not a rebrand. They just seem to be replacing it on a gradual basis... assuming the other TV providers want to pick it up. There will be no using Juicebox's licence to rebrand.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by musimax View Post
    Well, if Stingray Country is currently on the air and Juicebox is too, its not a rebrand. They just seem to be replacing it on a gradual basis... assuming the other TV providers want to pick it up. There will be no using Juicebox's licence to rebrand.
    We'll see what happens. At the early stages, it is similar to what Bell Media did with M3 and transitioned it to Gusto (now CTV Life Channel). Only this happened simultaneously across multiple providers on the same day back in September 2016.

    On Bell Fibe, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS, Stingray Country launched in the space that belonged to Stingray Juicebox. The Channel Finder list on Stingray Country's website has expanded to include Shaw Direct, TELUS Optik TV (for western Canada and Quebec), and Cogeco, so it is expected that these providers will be picking up the channel very shortly. No channel numbers have been assigned yet for these providers, but going by the statement issued by Stingray, it will be presumably in the same space where Juicebox is presently airing.



  10. #10
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    CMT US doesn't really air music videos either. Mostly limited to early morning hours between 4-8am (varying by day). The US version is mostly re-runs of Home Improvement, Reba, Roseanne, Last Man Standing and Mom.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigoranget View Post
    CMT US doesn't really air music videos either. Mostly limited to early morning hours between 4-8am (varying by day). The US version is mostly re-runs of Home Improvement, Reba, Roseanne, Last Man Standing and Mom.


    True. And most if not all of the music videos are airing on a spin-off channel called CMT Music (originally launched as VH1 Country in 1998 then rebranded as CMT Pure Country in 2006 until 2016). Their schedule consists of a rotating block that lasts about 6 to 8 hours, and is then repeated within a 24-hour period, similar to how MuchMusic and MusiquePlus programmed their blocks during their first years on the air. CMT Music previously programmed in the same manner like the Stingray music video channels are doing with their themed music video blocks.

  12. #12
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    Videotron is also replacing Stingray Juicebox by Stingray Country on January 27.

  13. #13
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    Apparently Stingray Country officially launched in late May 2019 on Roku. I came across a logo for the channel on Logopedia and whomever posted the logo also posted the following link that gives info about the channel launch on Roku. They added a bunch of other stingray channels in addition to Stingray country. Here is the description for the channel that is listed in the article:

    Stingray Country – The best of new country, bro country, ‘90s country, pop country, and smooth ballads and more. Check out storytellers like Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Casey Musgraves, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and many more.
    https://allyourscreens.com/index.php...-music-channel

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDN Viewer View Post
    Apparently Stingray Country officially launched in late May 2019 on Roku. I came across a logo for the channel on Logopedia and whomever posted the logo also posted the following link that gives info about the channel launch on Roku. They added a bunch of other stingray channels in addition to Stingray country. Here is the description for the channel that is listed in the article:

    https://allyourscreens.com/index.php...-music-channel


    Yes, I came across some sites online regarding the channel launching on Roku. If that was the case, this was a rather quiet launch, which I find rather strange, since Stingray normally puts out a press release during the course of an acquisition or launch of a channel or service.

    Here's another link that I came across: https://www.rokuki.com/roku-channel-...usic-channels/

    It looks like the launch was limited to the U.S. only.

    Except for Stingray Latin Hits, most of the channels are already here in Canada and even in other countries like Mexico. Juicebox is even being offered by some providers there, but if the plan is to phase it out, I can see it being replaced by Stingray Latin Hits for their market.
    Last edited by lostjon; 01-26-2020 at 05:09 PM. Reason: Vibe already in Canada; Originally meant to post that Vibe is only channel on list not already available outside Canada

  15. #15
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    The first Roku link from CDN Viewer states that Vibe plays EDM and dance videos along with the other hip hop and R&B, while the link through lostjon omits EDM and dance.

    I wonder if the Canadian channel might take a bit of a turn with some EDM and dance, or would make more sense to launch one for that format... since bpm:tv is gone.

    But then again... all these channels dedicated to just music videos? What would make more sense is some other content added other than videos, like concerts, interviews, behind the scenes, news, documentaries, reality shows.... all truly dedicated to the topic... not something like Much playing Pimp My Ride just because it was hosted by a rap artist.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by musimax View Post
    The first Roku link from CDN Viewer states that Vibe plays EDM and dance videos along with the other hip hop and R&B, while the link through lostjon omits EDM and dance.

    I wonder if the Canadian channel might take a bit of a turn with some EDM and dance, or would make more sense to launch one for that format... since bpm:tv is gone.

    Vibe plays some EDM and dance content but mostly during a four-hour block every late Saturday nights. Otherwise, it is predominantly hip-hop, rap, R&B and rhythmic pop music spanning from the 1980s to the present. If anything, Stingray Hits! has more EDM and dance content spread across its schedule during the week. And Stingray Hits! has quite a number of videos that I have not seen on Stingray Retro, which is notable especially because the former plays both English and French videos.

    Quote Originally Posted by musimax View Post
    But then again... all these channels dedicated to just music videos? What would make more sense is some other content added other than videos, like concerts, interviews, behind the scenes, news, documentaries, reality shows.... all truly dedicated to the topic... not something like Much playing Pimp My Ride just because it was hosted by a rap artist.

    Both Stingray Retro and Loud actually added concerts to their schedules as of last summer, but for some reason, that stopped in the past few weeks. These were probably intended to promote the content available on Stingray's Qello Concerts on-demand service. Once or twice a month, they also had artist interviews, which are also available to stream on Stingray's YouTube channel.

    And just around the holidays, Stingray Retro had a show with journalists giving critical reviews of music recorded by the likes of Madonna and Bon Jovi early in their careers, also featuring clips of archived footage of interviews and concerts. I thought it was rather interesting and that they were going to continue with it but that lasted only two weeks. Again, something they experimented with to promote the content for documentaries and interviews of Stingray's Qello Concerts.

    Within the past few weeks, the listings for these channels changed. Retro, Loud and Vibe still have their themed music video blocks in the same timeslots, but the listings now divide them into hour-long blocks, so you have the same block listed about three or four times instead of just one block stretching over three or four hours. Coincidentally with this change, these channels have added commercial breaks - as many as four per hour. And when tuning in the mornings, one break sometimes lasts for four minutes with back-to-back breaks broken by a brief title card of the video block airing at the time. The breaks are mini-infomercials. With limited sponsorship, the products and services being advertised become repetitive very quickly (SoClean, Dr. Ho come to mind). This probably factored into their decision to go exclusively with music videos, as other content they aired ran continuously without any breaks. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing.

    In all honesty, I prefer they stay away from the reality shows (it's very tempting these days simply because they are a lot cheaper to program) and that's why many channels ended up drifting from their original mandate to the point that they are no longer watchable. I like the idea of reserving the other content (concerts, interviews, documentaries) as occasional featured programming. There are channels out there that have and are still getting by with just music videos 24/7, but I do like the idea of these channels adopting a format similar to what the former Much channels did few years following their launch. Have music videos make up the majority of their schedule with themed blocks, with some space reserved for other content tied in to the genre of the channel. For Retro, I would like to see a block of music videos surrounding a particular year, with a different year each week so we get to discover not only the big hit songs but some of the long forgotten singles released at the time. Or similar to what MuchMore did, something like 80s at 8, 90s at 9, 2000s at 10...


    Last edited by lostjon; 01-26-2020 at 05:11 PM.

  17. #17
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    It seems like Stingray has been in a testing phase with their music video channels over the past few weeks.

    I am trying to recall a post from a while back - not sure if it was on this forum or elsewhere, about how many of the existing zombie channels currently operate. I understand how given the low operating costs, with virtually no staff, all that's keeping it on the air is some video server that is programmed with the content and runs on an automated schedule.

    In terms of how Stingray has been handling the gradual transition of the Juicebox music video channel over to Country, and the operation of other channels, here is part of what I extracted from a post on another forum, which was rather interesting:

    "They install a server with all their content at the TV provider's head-end and manage it remotely, changing the playlist or occasionally adding new songs as needed. So these aren't traditional channels that are broadcast "live" across the country. They will eventually rebrand the channel at all the providers."

    I thought the server was based on Stingray's end rather than the provider. But here, each provider has a server for Stingray's content physically located onsite while being administered from Stingray's master control headquarters. This is more of a soft and gradual approach that has been taken to launch of the Stingray Country music video channel, rather than a major one happening across all providers on a particular date. I am still curious as to why Stingray did not already put out a press release back in May that the channel was being first launched on Roku's streaming service.

    Stingray is using this period to test out the channel, so all content currently on air is a work in progress while their playlists are repetitive than usual and more videos are expecting to be added in the next few weeks or months. Presumably, Stingray is using this time to gather feedback from subscribers of providers that have already made the switch, while possibly looking to add the channel for other providers still carrying Juicebox, as this is the channel that they are looking to phase out in the process. And if Stingray is looking to secure a license with the CRTC for this channel, they need to reach the threshold of 200,000 subscribers, which can be accomplished a lot quicker with providers making it available in regular packages (as is the case with the Bell providers mentioned below).

    Through the month of January, the following providers have already added Stingray Country to their lineup, taking over the channel placement filled by Juicebox:
    Bell Fibe, Bell Aliant, Bell MTS, Shaw Direct, Videotron (Illico and Helix systems) and Tbaytel.

    I figure not long after that, Cogeco and Telus will follow among the remaining major providers as they already carry all of the music video channels (including the 4K ones).

    Beyond that, it does not look like Rogers will figure into this plan given how recently they dropped the regular music video channels. And not so sure about Eastlink, as someone had posted that they also took the same action as Rogers - it just says Stingray on their website and only lists channel numbers without making any mention of the actual video channels. A number of minor and independent providers also followed suit, including those that carried only Juicebox.

    And then once all the providers have made the transition, Stingray will use that occasion to put out a press release and confirm the channel's official launch.

    Perhaps all the advertising breaks being populated with infomercials on the other music video channels is also part of some testing that is intended to be only temporary instead of permanent.

    As for the two French music video channels, nothing has changed - yet.

  18. #18
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    The official press release issued today by Stingray:
    https://www.stingray.com/about-us/pr...g-and-launches

    Currently offered to Bell, Cogeco, Telus, Shaw and Videotron subscribers.

    UPDATE:
    Officially replacing Stingray Juicebox for Telus subscribers as of March 3.

    Last edited by lostjon; 02-29-2020 at 01:14 PM.

 

 

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