Hot off the heels of Rogers announcing new evening newscasts in all its City markets (except Saskatchewan), Bell Media announced today it is also expanding local news across the country, adding 5pm local newscasts on weekdays to CTV stations that don’t already have one.
Details are scarce. There’s no launch date more precise than “fall”, no indication of how many jobs are being added, nor what the programming strategy is for these newscasts. The press release doesn’t even say how long they are (CTV PR confirms to me they will be an hour long).
The markets getting new newscasts are:
- CTV Saskatoon (CFQC-DT), simulcast on CTV Prince Albert, Sask. (CIPA-TV)
- CTV Regina (CKCK-DT), simulcast on CTV Yorkton, Sask. (CICC-TV)
- CTV Winnipeg (CKY-DT)
- CTV Northern Ontario (CICI-TV Sudbury, CKNY-TV North Bay, CHBX-TV Sault Ste. Marie, CITO-TV Timmins)
- CTV Kitchener, Ont. (CKCO-DT)
- CTV Ottawa (CJOH-DT)
- CTV Montreal (CFCF-DT)
For the Prince Albert and Yorkton stations, CTV clarifies that they will rebroadcast the 5pm news from the larger Saskatoon and Regina markets, though those newscasts will have elements of Prince Alberta and Yorkton local news.
The new newscast will be an expansion of the existing 6pm shows. Vancouver, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge and CTV Atlantic already have 5pm local newscasts.
CTV Two stations appear to be unaffected by this announcement.
I asked CTV what we could expect these newscasts to look like, how they would differ from the 6pm newscasts, and how many jobs we can expect to see added. All I was told in response is that more details would come at a later date.
Why the assumption that adding newscasts means adding jobs?
If newscast run from 5 to 7, with the second hour largely a repeat of the first, it’s possible no new jobs will be added.
I don’t think you will see many jobs added here at all. If anything, it would appear to be an effort to make more money with what you already have.
A good example 5PM newscast for CTV would be using much of the national new programming to fill the first 30 minutes, do 10 to 15 minuntes of local, add in a TSN sports common to all markets, local weather bumper, and your hour is filled. Your local anchors for 6 could do the 5:30 cast as well, so you get national, local, and sports all in the first hour, then a more in depth local at 6.
The costs to CTV would be relatively low, if anything it would spread out the costs of their nightly national news all over the local stations, which is another way to move the money out of the local market and back to the mothership.
Overall, the plan is a winner. the CRTC made it possible for them to divert local money into local news, and BELL wisely finds a way to funnel that money back to the head office and almost directly to their bottom line.
Unless head office is producing locally reflective news programming for all CTV markets, this isn’t true.
I think the situation is sort of self-explanatory. CTV / Bell already does much of the control and such in Toronto for local newscasts. Adding an extra hour means basically an extra billable hour for services. Beyond that, if (say) 30 minutes are a national newscast (same in all markets) the potential is that the advertising is sold on a national and not local level, effectively moving the income from the local station to the network station. It would create additional “network” time.
Net effect? 20 more ad spots nationally, 20 less locally, and the money taken from the community channels sort of helps to offset that and make the other 30 minutes work out. For the local station it’s about net break even or a bit better, and for the national it’s 20 extra spots worth of income without big extra expenses (as all the people are already there).
Changing the equation around a bit basically moves the money to the head office, by removing money from “local income” on one side, and the putting the community money back in to offset it.
As usual the CTV2 stations get the shaft. Kitchener and London are more or less equal markets in population (and larger than some other markets CTV serves), and yet CFPL continues to have nothing but an hour at 6 and 30 minutes at 11, no noon show, no morning show (though Kitchener doesn’t have local mornings either).
Also worth noting that CFTO (Toronto) will be showing CP24’s 5:00 show instead of doing their own show at 5.
About two years ago they where talking about shutting down their OTA, now they want more local news! Odd very odd.
Not sure what the benefit will be in all of this. CFCF (12.1) will have almost 4 one hour blocks in a day to repeat the same reports, same talking points, same pre-pack segments. Noon, 5pm, 6pm, 11:30pm (35min show).
If this is all just a knee jerk reaction to CITY offering local news cast on their stations, then not a great idea.
Anyway, we’ll see how this all plays out.
I would prefer that the CTV owned and operated stations would offer CTVtwo on the .2 position of their CTV stations. And add that extra 5pm newscast on CTVtwo in order to justify local content on it. One 1080i (CTV) and one 720p (CTVtwo) is doable. Just look at WPTZ. One 1080i (NBC), One 720p (CW), One 480i (MeTV)
Unless doing so would allow them to use simultaneous substitution in those markets, there’s little reason for them to do so.