When YTV was licensed in 1987 to a group of cable companies and producers of children's and youth programming, Rogers Cable and Geoff Conway's CUC Broadcasting were the two major shareholders. YTV was launched on September 1st 1988, with eight major cable operators committed to carrying its program service. In 1995, Shaw Communications' acquisition of CUC Broadcasting Limited brought with it a 34.3% interest in YTV and by 1998 Shaw owned 100% of the specialty channel.
YTV was a cable channel devoted to programming for children, both pre-schoolers and those already in the school system. From the start, the YTV schedule contained a significant proportion of Canadian programming. along with acquisitions of the best available children's programming material from foreign sources.
In 1999, YTV was one of a number of broadcast properties spun off by Shaw into Corus Entertainment. While in 2006 YTV had its licence renewed for seven years, Corus made early application for a renewal in 2010 under the CRTC's newly developed Group Licensing Policy, and on July 27th 2011 the YTV licence was renewed to August 31st 2016.