Bell’s MTV2 becomes latest casualty of specialty channel decline

If you’re a subscriber of Bell Media’s MTV2 channel, you may have already received a notice that the channel is being shut down at the end of March.

The shutdown is not too surprising. It was on my list of endangered channels along with ESPN Classic and Yoopa, which have seen dramatic declines in subscribers and advertising in recent years.

According to the latest CRTC data for the 2021-22 broadcast year, MTV2 had about 750,000 subscribers (including zero satellite TV subscribers), about $215,000 in total advertising revenue, and had cut expenses by 84% in four years to try to shrink itself back into profitability.

Billed as “the ultimate destination for Canada’s 12-24s”, the channel currently runs marathons of reality shows like The Real World, Teen Mom, Catfish, Geordie Shore and Canadian filler shows Cash Cab and Comedy Now!

The channel began service in 2001 during the digital specialty channel explosion, originally as Craig Media-owned MTV Canada, then rebranded to Razer and finally to MTV2. MTV still exists as a separate Bell Media channel under a separate licence, though Bell hasn’t done much more to promote that channel than it did MTV2, and it was also bleeding money according to CRTC data.

UPDATE (May 6): The CRTC has revoked the channel’s licence at Bell’s request.

8 thoughts on “Bell’s MTV2 becomes latest casualty of specialty channel decline

  1. Goofy

    MTV streams recently showing up in Canada on Corus-affiliated Pluto TV signals they’ll be out of business with Bell entirely soon enough.

  2. Anonymous

    The numbers tell the whole story. Not the story of MTV2, but rather the story of how the cable industry and Canadian channel stuffing to inflate cable bills was a thing.

    750,000 subscribers… but with only $214,000 of ad revenue in a year… that means, what? just over $500 per day? That means 0.00078 per day per subscriber. What that tells you is that even with 750,000 supposed subscribers, absolutely nobody would ever even accidentally tune the channel. Why did the channel exist? it was likely there originally to help pad out channel numbers in a package or similar. Once the whole package thing got sort of blown up, all of these channels became junk. Bell, Rogers, and all the others pulled their financial support and stuck the channels onto the cheapest repeated crap they could find.

    End result? the few viewers they had have left the building.

    Very likely MTV itself is next, losing a lot of money and doing nothing.

    This is what happens when monopoly players abuse the system. Empty shells.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s important to remember that the companies that created these channels were not the same companies that owned the cable distributors. Craig Media didn’t run cable TV companies, so had no incentive to inflate cable bills.

      What happened was a gold rush around 2001 in which a bunch of companies thought digital specialty channels were the future of television and everyone wanted to start one. Many of those channels died quickly or never got off the ground, while others lasted a while. Some, like MTV2, kind of coasted off being a cheap channel included by default in cable packages consumers didn’t bother to change. As most TV service packages now involve consumers choosing their own channels, subscription revenue has continued to decline, so some of these low-cost low-viewership zombie channels are finally throwing in the towel.

      1. Anonymous

        Actually, if you look at the history, I think you missed it. MTV2 (originally) was created by Craig Media (a subdivision of Craig Wireless, which is a regional cable / distribution company. However, that is not exactly the channel we are talking about. But yeah, it was created by a distribution company to try to get them some free subscriber dollars.

        See, Craig sold all the stuff to CHUM group. Viacom, who had been a partner in the deal with Craig pulled out and left CHUM with a problem, they lost the branding rights. MTV Canada was renamed Razer, and MTV 2 was renamed PunchMuch.

        Bell (then CTV Globemedia) got a deal with MTV networks and turned the powerful TalkTV channel into MTV Canada, this in 2006

        Later in 2006, Bell bought CHUM. PunchMuch (aka MTV2) was renamed juicebox, and later sold to Stingray. It survives (barely) to this day.

        It should be noted that Bell / Globemedia whatever tried to run these channels without advertising, such was the bonanza of subscriber dollars that they didn’t feel the need to take in any other money.

        MTV2, which was MTV Canada and then Razer, is the one getting shut down.

        MTV2 has been long since disconnected from the MTV mothership (whch itself has been long disconnected from it’s own past) and effectively none of the programming on MTV2 in Canada has anything to do with the brand. It has been about a decade that this thing has been sucking money out of the pockets of consumers who still had “package” cable deals.

  3. Anonymous

    MTV2 Canada was just kinda meh, not as good as MTV Canada, but it’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to MTV2 CA.

  4. Anonymous

    I absolutely loved mtv2 watching old re runs of mtv shows made me fall in love with so many series. I’m absolutely gutted that there’s no more mtv2

  5. Em

    Where am I gonna watch all the real world reruns every weekend the others are on Pluto tv but not real world!

  6. xracer

    The disappointing thing is this isn’t the first channel in the last year or so that has been removed from Bell’s service, but we subscribers do NOT get a discount on our bill for losing channels, nor do we get a replacement channel to compensate for the loss of said channel. Either way we get shafted by losing a channel and paying for less services.


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