Rogers Media paints dire picture of conventional TV

Copied from Playback - KeithPelley-1

Rogers Media president Keith Pelley told the CRTC Tuesday that Canadian conventional TV’s financial problems are more dire than ever, and will continue to suffer until the regulator gives TV channels sought-after flexibility.

“Some of the trends and shifts I have witnessed over the last couple of years I would have never imagined possible. Just like Blockbuster was wiped out by online VOD, there is a very real risk that OTA TV will become obsolete,” Pelley told the CRTC.

He was addressing regulators during hearings into licence renewals for 17 Rogers-owned TV services, including City and Sportsnet.

Pelley said that, since acquiring the City stations in 2007, Rogers Media has rung up losses of $238 million.

“Last year it became pretty clear that we needed to do things differently or we would continue to see a steady decline in City’s profitability,” he told the CRTC.

He argued fortunes at the City network could be salvaged by acquiring NHL hockey.

The recent $5.2 billion, 12-year rights deal with the NHL for exclusive Canadian broadcast rights promises benefits to City in terms of promotion, revenue, “and perhaps more importantly a chance to reduce our reliance on US programming,” Pelley said.

It’s the same dire picture at OMNI, which is also in crisis, he added.

“Let me be clear, OMNI is not a viable business unless something can be done to reverse its financial situation,” Pelley told the CRTC.

He said OMNI’s revenues have slid from $80 million in 2011 to under $35 million this year.

The cause of the secular decline: US network series aren’t the money spinners they once were in the emerging digital age.

American programming is widely available on specialty channels and over-the-top digital platforms like Netflix.

So OMNI’s revenue from re-runs of US shows has declined markedly by $40 million, or 60%, since 2011.

The upshot is that Pelley called for “flexibility” in content requirements to allow OMNI to restore its competitiveness.

That includes reducing the number of ethnic communities that OMNI stations cover, and a call for ethnic language newscasts to migrate online, to where consumers increasingly get breaking news coverage.

From Playback Daily

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  • Me D. A. Buyer

    While I’m not suggesting Keith is stretching the truth or wrong, this is unusually pessimistic for him. City Toronto seems to have a lot of issues with personnel which I’m sure has added to the costs. Four or five female reporters are on mat leave. Sports and weather anchors are not consistently working traditional M-F and S-S rotations necessitating new hires. K. Humphries for example seldom works a Friday, is off on vacation every few weeks and now is off regularly on Mondays. Its very “inconsistent” for the viewer. I believe John Hinnen, in charge of News, has retired. The whole News/weather/sports area seems in disarray. Is someone in charge?

  • lexington lexington

    Just cuz he has sh*t stations – he chooses to paint this picture. If he had the Bell group of stations, this article would not have taken birth, let alone get printed. To answer the query from Me DA Buyer – John Hinnen (amongst MANY others) was “laid off” (forced retirement). Rogers does not pay for matleaves, the Govt does…EI.
    Back to TV – TV is not going ANYWHERE. Remember when the VCR came on board and everyone predicted the “death of TV” – well that was 30+ years go. 30+ years LATER, we now have MULTIPLE 60″ flat screens in our homes compared to the ONE 28″ we had – then. Please. What NONSENSE is this guy talking about! Shows Rogers (he) desparately need “ink” in an industry pub – perhaps to justify their fat packages.
    And as for “One Call”, it is only more BS. Conjunction did not work, Fusion did not work,so change the title, fire more people and try again. What a waste of time and effort (and money to pay out numerous “retired” folks – most in the mid-late 50′s age range – and some young folk too).
    And it is not Rogers that is going to be “number 1″ – the telecasts still air on CBC. These guys (Rogers) does not have the infrastructure to effectively reach Canadians.
    CBC does.

  • lexington lexington

    One more thing, loss of revenue under this person’s watch – it is something to be embarassed about.
    All of a sudden, OMNI is not viable. It was VERY viable, to the point they got OMNI 2!
    OMNI’s loss of revenue is not because TV is “dying”.

  • lexington lexington

    (Like others) John Hinnen was forcibly retired – that is the rumour mill.