MusiquePlus is a Canadian French language Category A specialty channel. Established in 1987, the network was initially formed as a French language version of the English-language music network MuchMusic, and was—until 2006—operated as a joint venture between MuchMusic's parent company CHUM Limited, and Montreal-based radio broadcaster Astral Media. Following the acquisition of CHUM by CTVglobemedia, Astral Media acquired CHUM's stake in MusiquePlus, marking its separation from common ownership with its English counterpart. After the 2013 acquisition of Astral by CTVglobemedia's predecessor Bell Media, MusiquePlus was sold to V Media Group, parent company of Quebec's V network.
MusiquePlus primarily airs music programming, including pop, R&B, and rock music videos; however, as with its English counterpart, the network has increasingly branched out into entertainment programming, such as comedy, films, and reality shows.
As a Category A service, MusiquePlus must be carried on the basic service of all digital television providers serving the province of Quebec. Outside Quebec, however, carriage of MusiquePlus is optional and at the discretion of local service providers.
The most famous interviewer’s name is Anna Martin. She hosts a retro segment interviewing intriquite celebrities.
Launching on September 2, 1986, MusiquePlus originated with an eight-hour schedule, sharing channel space with TVJQ (a predecessor of VRAK.TV); it consisted of music videos and interviews and performances that were taped from a studio on Boulevard St. Laurent in Montreal. Four hours of this programming was produced from MuchMusic's studios in Toronto and sent to Vidéotron for broadcast in Quebec to subscribers of MuchMusic. This programming repeated once daily.
CHUM later submitted an application with the CRTC in 1987 for a licence to operate MusiquePlus as a dedicated 24-hour channel. The CRTC approved its application, and MusiquePlus was launched as a separate channel on September 1, 1988. The channel was a joint venture between CHUM Limited and Radiomutuel—each owning 50%. Radiomutuel was acquired by Astral Media in June 1999.
In July 2006, CTVglobemedia announced it would make a bid to buy CHUM Limited. Initial plans were to keep MusiquePlus and MusiMax, although CTVglobemedia soon announced that it would sell its stake in MusiquePlus and Musimax. On April 11, 2007, Astral announced that it would acquire the remaining 50% in MusiMax and MusiquePlus from CTVglobemedia, giving it full ownership—separating the network from its original parent. This deal was completed on June 30, 2007—to signify its independence from MuchMusic, MusiquePlus adopted a new logo the following year in September 2008.
While MusiquePlus has operated separately from MuchMusic ever since the deal, the network was almost re-united with its former parent in 2012 when CTVglobemedia's successor Bell Media attempted to acquire Astral Media for an estimated $3.38 billion. However, the proposed deal was rejected by the CRTC. On March 4, 2013, following the Competition Bureau's approval of a revised deal to acquire Astral Media, Bell announced that it would divest MusiquePlus, Musimax, and four other Astral-owned channels.
On December 4, 2013, Remstar, owners of the French television system V, announced that it would acquire MusiquePlus and MusiMax for an undisclosed amount through its subsidiary V Media Group. On September 11, 2014, the CRTC approved the sale. The acquisition is valued at $15.5 million; to fund the purchase, Remstar sold 15% stakes in V Media to the Caisse, Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec, and sold $1.5 million in advertising time across MusiquePlus and MusiMax to Bell. Remstar also successfully applied to have the amount of music-oriented programming the channel must air reduced to 80%. The sale was closed on September 16, 2014.
In the beginning of MusiquePlus, its programming relied heavily on music videos which came from a much more diverse selection of genres because MusiquePlus was the only French language music service available at the time. With the launch of MusiMax, a sister channel aimed at an older demographic (and similar to MuchMusic's sister channel MuchMore), MusiquePlus began to cater its programming to younger viewers. As the channel grew over time, dependence on music videos decreased and programming began to include films, reality TV series and more.
On August 23, 2010 Astral launched a HD feed of MusiquePlus called MusiquePlus HD, although most of its content is 480i video upscaled to 1080i. It is available on Cogeco, Vidéotron, Bell TV and Bell Fibe.