Media News Digest: Sportsnet richer than TSN, Evan Solomon goes national, Gazette and Globe cut columns

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At the CRTC

  • It’s Sept. 1, which means a lot of new licences take effect today, including those of TV services owned by Bell, Rogers, Corus, Quebecor and V. Also starting today, OMNI starts charging a mandatory 12 cents a month to all TV subscribers in Canada.
  • The commission has finally released financial details of specialty (now referred to as discretionary) channels for the year ending Aug. 31, 2016. Among the highlights:
    • Sportsnet saw a huge nine-figure jump in ad revenue, and made $93.6 million in profit in 2015-16, making it the most profitable television channel in Canada. Add in Sportsnet One ($44.8 million), Sportsnet 360 ($1.2 million) and Sportsnet World ($2.7 million) and the Sportsnet channels had $142.3 million in profit in one year. This is the first year that Sportsnet (just the regional channels) surpasses TSN in total revenue, total expenses and total profit. But TSN still has slightly more subscribers and slightly more revenue from subscriber fees.
    • The acquisition of national NHL rights meant a huge change for TVA Sports, causing its subscriber revenue to quadruple in a year. But its programming expenses also quadrupled, and it went from losing $20 million in the year before the rights change to losing $40 million the year after. Reducing expenses has allowed it to recover slightly in 2016.
    • Early numbers for Viceland Canada don’t tell us much. The channel was rebranded from Bio halfway through the 2015-16 year, and was on free preview for a while.
    • FXX Canada, the little sister to FX Canada, has squeaked into the black in its third year.
    • Numbers for G4 Canada show a dramatic 87% drop in the number of subscribers in 2015-16, pushing it into the red despite spending $0 on Canadian programming. This explains why Rogers has decided to shut down the channel, which no longer exists as of today.
    • RDS Info is continuing to bleed money, with revenue covering only about half of expenses. Profits from RDS more than make up for that, though.
    • Zombie channel Book Television, which has zero staff, zero original programming and little worth watching, still has more than 2 million subscribers and made $1.28 million in profit that year.
  • The commission has renewed the licence of CIRA-FM (Radio Ville-Marie) in Montreal and its retransmitters. The five-year renewal reflects some compliance issues, including appeals for donations that said without money the station could cease to exist — CRTC policy prohibits such threats.
  • With licences set to expire, the CRTC has given itself an extension until Dec. 31 to process the renewals of several radio stations, including CHXX-FM (Pop 100.9) in Donnacona, Quebec, near Quebec City. It also gave itself another year for CIBL-FM 101.5 Montreal.

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One thought on “Media News Digest: Sportsnet richer than TSN, Evan Solomon goes national, Gazette and Globe cut columns

  1. Marc

    Videotron has become the latest TV provider to announce it will incorporate the Comcast XFinity X1 platform in its service.

    That’s all fine & good, but Videotron needs to add direct access to Netflix and/or CraveTV from the Illico terminal. Of course you’d still have to subscribe but you wouldn’t need to use Internet bandwidth as it would just come through your Illico box. Every other cable service offers this. I suspect they just want to protect their turf but like other cable providers, they’re losing lots of subscribers so they should look into that.

    Reply

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