Number of employees
2001, Toronto, Canada
Bell Canada, BCE Inc.
Canada and the United States
Mary Ann Turcke President, Bell Media Randy Lennox President, Entertainment Production and Broadcasting, Bell Media Wendy Freeman President, CTV News Stuart Garvie President, Bell Media Sales Luc Quétel President, Astral Out of Home Mike Cosentino Head, Programming for CTV Networks and Crave TV
CTV Inc. Bell Media Radio
CP24, CTV Two, Bell Media Radio, CTV Two Atlantic, CTV Two Alberta
Orphan Black, Killjoys, Bitten, Shark Tank, Dark Matter
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Bell Media Inc. (French: Bell Média) is the mass media subsidiary of BCE Inc. (also known as Bell Canada Enterprises, the parent company of the former telephone monopoly Bell Canada). Its operations include television broadcasting and production (including the CTV and CTV Two television networks), radio broadcasting (through Bell Media Radio), digital media (including CraveTV) and Internet properties including Sympatico.ca.
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- Layoffs new partnerships
Bell Media is the successor-in-interest to Baton Broadcasting (later CTV Inc.), one of Canada's first private-sector television broadcasters. The company in its current form was originally established as Bell Globemedia by BCE and the Thomson family in 2001 combining CTV Inc., which Bell had acquired the previous year, and the operations of the Thomsons' The Globe and Mail. Bell sold the majority of its interest in 2006 (at which point the company was renamed CTVglobemedia), but re-acquired the entire company, excluding the Globe, in 2011.
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Bell Canada has previously owned stakes in the company's predecessor, CTVglobemedia; it was originally formed when a consortium of Bell (80%) and The Woodbridge Company (owners of The Globe and Mail) bought CTV Inc. in 2000. In December 2005, Bell announced it would sell an 8.5% interest to Woodbridge (increasing their total ownership to 40%), a 20% interest to Torstar, and a 20% interest to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. BCE retained 20% of the group - a condition that ensured that Bell TV, Sympatico, and other Bell units continued to have access to Globemedia content. The transaction closed on August 30, 2006. On September 7, 2006, in order to pay for the acquisition of CHUM Limited, BGM sold additional shares to its existing shareholders. BCE did not participate in the refinancing; the net effect was an increase in Teachers' ownership to 25%, while BCE's interest was reduced to 15%. As a result of BCE's reduced ownership, the company was renamed as CTVglobemedia as of January 1, 2007. As of 1980, Ontario still had some 30 independent companies, and Bell has not acquired any; the smaller ones were sold to larger independents with larger capital resources. On September 10, 2010, BCE announced plans to re-acquire 100% of the company's broadcasting arm, including CTV Inc. Under the deal, Woodbridge, Torstar, and Teachers' would together receive $1.3 billion in either cash or equity in BCE, while BCE would also assume $1.7 billion in debt (BCE's existing equity interest is $200 million, for a total transaction value of $3.2 billion). Woodbridge would also regain majority control of the Globe and Mail Inc., with Bell retaining a 15% interest. The overall deal was expected to close by April 2011. However, the sale of the Globe, which did not require CRTC approval, was completed in late December 2010. The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011, and officially closed on April 1, 2011. Cellcom Communications is the largest franchisee of Bell Canada, currently operating 25 Bell stores in both Québec and Ontario regions.
On December 9, 2011, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan announced the sale of its majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to BCE and its rival, Rogers Communications, in a deal valued at around $1.32 billion. Additionally, Larry Tanenbaum increased his stake in the company to 25%. and was closed in August 2012.
On March 16, 2012, BCE announced that it had entered in an agreement to acquire Montreal-based broadcaster Astral Media for an estimated value at $3.38 billion; the assets of which were to be incorporated into Bell Media. The acquisition was primarily centered on Astral's premium services (such as The Movie Network and its stake in HBO Canada) and its French-language radio and television stations. Bell planned to use Astral's premium offerings to enhance its own multi-platform services to compete against the likes of services such as Netflix, and its French media outlets to better compete against the dominant Québecor Média. The merger was notably opposed by a coalition of competing cable providers (which included Cogeco, EastLink, and Vidéotron—the last of which is also owned by Québecor Média, who felt that Bell's control of a majority of Canadian media would harm consumer choice, and lead to increased carriage fees which could cripple smaller cable companies.
BCE's first proposal was denied by the CRTC in October 2012; the commission believed that the combined company would have had too much market power. Soon afterward, Bell and Astral began to negotiate a second proposal that would involve selling most of Astral's English-language television channels in order to quell fears by the CRTC. On March 18, 2013, the Competition Bureau cleared the revised proposal, which called for the sale of several channels and radio stations to Corus Entertainment and other parties. Unlike the previous deal, which would have given Bell a 42% share of the English-language television market, the new deal would only give Bell a total market share of 35.7%, but still increase its French-language market share to 23% (in comparison to 8% before). Following hearings by the CRTC in May 2013, the CRTC approved Bell's acquisition of Astral Media on June 27, 2013. The deal is subject to conditions, including the requirement to provide fair treatment to its competitors, to not impose "restrictive bundling practices" on Astral's premium movie channels, invest $246.9 million over the next seven years on Canadian-produced programming, and to maintain the operation and local programming levels of all of its television stations through 2017. The CRTC also approved Bell's proposed exemptions for maintaining ownership of Montreal's CKGM.
On June 6, 2013, Bell announced that Bravo would be its first network to implement a TV Everywhere service, which would allow subscribers to Bravo on participating television service providers to stream video on demand content and the Bravo channel live via the Bravo Go app. Apps for some of its other networks were also released over the following months.
Layoffs, new partnerships
On April 9, 2015, Bell Media's president Kevin Crull stepped down and was replaced by Mary Ann Turcke, the subsidiary's former head of media sales. The move came following allegations reported by The Globe and Mail that, after the CRTC's March 2015 decision to mandate that pay television providers offer a la carte packages, Crull ordered all Bell-owned news properties, including CTV News, not to air any interviews with or footage depicting CRTC head Jean-Pierre Blais during reports regarding the decision. Although the CTV News Channel program Power Play and a report aired on local evening newscasts complied with Crull's order, the CTV National News that night defied Crull's demand by airing a story on the changes that included remarks by Blais. CTV News president Wendy Freeman, Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, and the program's anchor Lisa LaFlamme felt that the inclusion of remarks by Blais were necessary due to the nature of the story. In response to the dismissal, BCE CEO George A. Cope explained that the journalistic independence of its news operations were "paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians". Shortly after taking the position, Turcke was criticized for remarks classifying the use of virtual private network services to evade geo-blocking and access the U.S. version of subscription video on demand service Netflix to be "stealing".
In late-August 2015, Bell Media began a series of layoffs, which included directors and vice presidents. On November 6, 2015, additional layoffs of 380 jobs from production, editorial, sales, and administrative roles in Toronto and Montreal were revealed. On November 17, 2015, further cuts were made, which included high-profile on-air talent from radio and television properties in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.
On November 20, 2015, Corus announced that it would wind down the operation of Movie Central, a premium television service that had been granted exclusivity in Western Canada, and cede its regional monopoly to Bell Media's The Movie Network, which was similarly restricted to Eastern Canada, allowing it to become available nationwide in 2016. Bell Media subsequently announced that it had acquired exclusive Canadian rights to all current HBO programming in Canada (rights previously shared with Corus due to its joint venture HBO Canada).
On January 6, 2016, iHeartMedia announced that it had partnered with Bell Media to launch a localized version of its online radio service iHeartRadio in Canada.
On January 31, 2017, Bell Media announced that it planned to perform another round of layoffs in 24 locations, citing various developments across Canada's broadcasting industry, as well as the impact of recent regulatory decisions (such as one that prevents the federal simsub rules from being used on the Super Bowl, whose Canadian broadcast rights are currently owned by Bell Media).
On February 27, 2017, Turcke left Bell to join the National Football League. She was succeeded as president by Randy Lennox.
Bell Media's largest division is Bell Media Television, which owns the following broadcast television assets:
Bell Media Television also owns 40 cable television specialty channels, frequently in partnership with U.S. companies which operate similar channels, and primarily concentrated in the following genres:
1No foreign co-owners or brand partners are involved with these channels. However (like most news organizations) CTV does rely on foreign news sources, such as ABC News and CNN, for some international coverage.
Through its Bell Media Radio division, the company is also Canada's largest private-sector radio broadcaster and Operates iHeartMedia's iHeartRadio Platform In Canada and Orbyt Media Radio Syndication (U.S Based Programing is supplied from iHeatMedia's Premiere Networks)
In addition, Bell Media owns television/radio production studios and websites associated with all of the above properties, as well as the TheLoop.ca (formerly Sympatico.ca) Internet portal previously operated through Bell Canada.
Bell Media has 3 locations: