|Slogan||Man's best friend.|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Launched||October 18, 2001|
|Former names||MTV Canada (2001-2005)|
|Available on most cable systems||Channel slots vary on each provider|
|Bell Satellite TV||Channel 577|
|Shaw Direct||Channel 590 (SD)|
Channel 186 (HD)
|Bell Aliant Fibe TV||Channel 226|
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 574|
|Bell MTS||Channel 324|
|Optik TV||Channel 562|
MTV2 is a Canadian pay television channel focused on lifestyle and general entertainment programming aimed at youth and teen audiences. The channel is owned by Bell Media, with the MTV2 name and branding used under an agreement with the ViacomCBS Networks Americas division of ViacomCBS.
On November 24, 2000, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the licensees of the new, much-sought after, Category 1 digital services. Craig Media, in partnership with TD Capital Group Ltd, was granted a licence for a youth-oriented service known as "Connect", which would be catered to teens and young adults (but primarily the former) with programming such as "informal education, human interest, sitcoms, animation, and video clips". Due to genre protection rules forbidding digital channels from unduly competing with existing analog services (in particular, MuchMusic), the channel was forbidden from devoting more than 10% of its weekly schedule to music videos.
Nonetheless, in August 2001, Craig Media announced that it had reached an agreement with MTV Networks to license programming and the MTV brand in Canada for the channel, prompting a pre-launch name change to MTV Canada. Prior to the channel's launch, Craig purchased TD Capital Group's interest in the channel. The channel launched as MTV Canada on October 18, 2001. Shortly afterward, Craig sold a minority interest in the service to MTV Networks. MTV Canada aired a mix of Canadian-produced programs (including Pepsi Breakout and MTV Select), as well as shows from the American MTV channel (such as TRL and The Real World).
The new channel faced a formal complaint to the CRTC from Much's owner CHUM Limited, who argued that it devoted at least 60% of its programming to music videos, in violation of its license. CHUM also accused Craig of using its promise of a teen lifestyle network as a backdoor to gain approval for a channel that would, ultimately, encroach on MuchMusic's protected format instead. Craig disputed the allegations, noting that music was an aspect of youth culture, and accusing CHUM of misrepresenting any programming "that has some connection to the general topic of music or music videos" as counting as "music video clips".
The CRTC program categories distinguish between music videos and music-related programming that did not involve music videos, but the commission ruled that music videos contained within music-related programming such as MTV Select and Making the Video contributed towards the program category, and put MTV Canada over the 10% limit. The commission also displayed concern for the channel's predominant focus on music programming, as it was at odds with its commitment to deliver a broadly teen-based service as licensed. The CRTC also noted Craig's malicious compliance on its promise to devote 15% of its schedule to "informal education/recreation & leisure" programming, which consisted of recreational extreme sports programming aired primarily during overnight timeslots with low viewership, and did not include programming produced by "independent educational authorities" as promised. The CRTC thus ordered Craig Media to address these shortcomings.
CHUM's disputes over the channel were soon rendered moot when it ultimately acquired Craig Media in 2004, primarily to gain control of its A-Channel television stations in western Canada. However, per a clause in the licensing agreement, Viacom exercised its right to pull out of the venture upon the change in ownership. On June 9, 2005, CHUM announced it would rebrand the channel as Razer, a change that took effect on June 30 of that year. The new channel was built on interactivity, allowing its audience to "program, host and contribute to elements to the service and make it their own". In addition to the new programming slate, Razer debuted RazerTXT, a new programming block where viewers could play a selection of SMS games while watching the shows. Razer would later debut Kamikaze, the branding and programming block used for various anime titles as well as shows such as Happy Tree Friends.
Meanwhile, Bell Globemedia (later CTVglobemedia) struck a licensing agreement with MTV Networks to launch its own MTV channel (previously known as talktv) in early 2006. In July 2006, Bell Globemedia announced that it would purchase CHUM for an estimated CAD$1.7 billion, including its interest in Razer. The sale was approved by the CRTC on June 8, 2007, with the transaction completed on June 22.
On August 1, 2008, Razer was relaunched as MTV2. Unlike the original channel (now known as Juicebox), with the vast majority of its programming consisting of music videos, the new channel became much closer in format to its U.S. counterpart. Because of their respective licences, it can air music videos and music programming unlike the current main MTV channel in Canada.
Ownership changed hands again when on September 10, 2010, BCE (a minority shareholder in CTVglobemedia) announced that it planned to acquire 100% interest in CTVglobemedia for a total debt and equity transaction cost of CAD$3.2 billion. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011 and was finalized on April 1 of that year, when CTVglobemedia was rebranded as Bell Media.
Presently, MTV2 airs a mix of comedies, documentaries, reality shows, and dramas. As of 2015, the channel doesn't air any of the original programs of its American counterpart, although some of its acquired shows have aired in syndication on MTV2 in the U.S or were produced by its sister channel, MTV, both domestically and internationally.
A high-definition simulcast of the channel was launched on October 16, 2018 and first carried by Shaw Direct.