Ian Greenberg, Canadian TV, and Radio Pioneer Dies at 79

Ian Greenberg, who ran Astral Media, a media conglomerate founded by his family over 60 years ago in Montreal and sold for $3.38 billion to Canadian phone giant BCE Inc. in 2012, has died aged 79.

Greenberg died on January 10, with no cause of death given.

Greenberg served as president and CEO of Astral Media from 1995 until July 2013, when he was appointed to BCE’s board of directors. Greenberg was one of four brothers who launched Astral Media in 1961 as a photographic store chain before successfully expanding into Canada’s early pay- and cable TV businesses, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media.

The sale of Astral Media to BCE marked the end of a long and fruitful economic partnership between Montreal’s Greenberg and Bronfman families. Greenberg might not have joined the struggling Canadian pay-TV market in the early 1980s if it hadn’t been for a much-needed investment from Edward Bronfman and Peter Bronfman.

These investments aided in the establishment of The Movie Network, which has since grown dominant in the eastern Canadian pay-TV market thanks to long-standing relationships with HBO and Showtime. 

When the Greenberg family paid out as part of their transaction with BCE in 2012, Toronto-based Paul Bronfman was the second-largest stakeholder in Astral Media.

Greenberg, who was born in Montreal, was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, and he and his brothers got the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanities Award for their contributions to several industrial and charity organizations.

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