Will Rogers rebrand City stations?

Might those familiar station monikers that have been with us since the '70s go the way of 'SkyDome'?

‘There are no plans right now to change the brand,’ says Rogers Media spokesperson Jan Innes. ‘We’re very excited about the profile of the stations and their persona.’

How significant the ‘right now’ part of her sentence will turn out to be remains to be seen. But Bruce Classen, CEO of Genesis Media, tells MiC it’s an interesting question. ‘Obviously, you want to put your own brand name on your acqusitions. But the City brand has been around for a long time, and consumers are knowledgeable about what it stands for. City is not just a name, it also comes with people’s perceptions about what it stands for.’

‘But,’ he adds, ‘if Rogers wants to change those perceptions, then I would suspect rebranding isn’t a dumb idea. Whatever happens, you’ve got to give Ted Rogers credit for being a pretty smart (marketing) cookie.’

In the opinion of Sunni Boot, president/CEO of ZenithOptimedia, ‘It would be a mistake to change the branding and brand essence of the Citytv brand. In today’s landscape, where there is so much choice, there is considerable value to having a well recognized and well appreciated brand. Citytv, in the current landscape, is a powerful brand. From the advertisers’ perspective, we do not wish to see the brand change, or a major departure from its format.’

Big changes are definitely on the way physically for at least one of the five City stations formerly owned by CHUM in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary. Innes confirmed that – while premise changes elsewhere will depend on real estate ownership in the respective cities – the flagship Citytv operations in downtown Toronto will be steadily vacated over the next three to five years, because the building now belongs to CTVglobemedia.

MuchMusic, the specialty channel now owned by CTVgm, will remain at the bustling corner of Queen and John Streets – where it has staged many outdoor concerts and frequently attracted thousands of fans screaming for glimpses of visiting celebs.

So where might City Toronto’s kit and caboodle end up? Rogers Broadcasting president Rael Merson told news media yesterday: ‘We own some properties and have television operations in the city,’ he said, referring to the lakefront HQ of the company’s Omni multicultural channels.

With files from Playback Daily.