CTV: massive shuffle, new image campaign

The sales division is being revamped. Susanne Boyce will be in charge of programming on all platforms except sports. And an extensive promotion of Toronto's top-rated local news began today.

As the dust settles on the CTVglobemedia takeover of CHUM, Susanne Boyce and Ed Robinson have emerged top of the heap at CTV after a wide-ranging corporate reorganization. Ivan Fecan, CEO of both CTVgm and its CTV network, unveiled a slew of new promotions and reporting lines yesterday, following a recent cull of senior executives at both CTV and CHUM.

Boyce, Fecan’s longtime lieutenant, becomes president of creative, content and channels – charged with overall control of programming and scheduling at CTVgm’s enlarged stable of conventional, specialty and digital platforms, excluding sports. The network’s corporate two-step will also see Robinson become second in command to Boyce as EVP of programming at CTV with Brent Haynes, who has been promoted to VP of The Comedy Network and Space, reporting to Robinson.

CTVgm has also revamped its sales division, most notably with top sports executive Rick Brace promoted to president of revenue, business planning and sports. Ahead of CTV’s coverage of the 2010 Olympic games, Brace will oversee the network’s revenue streams, whether from conventionals, specialty channels, interactive advertising, cable and satellite distribution or new media subscriptions. Brace will also continue to oversee CTV’s sports group and its Olympic joint venture with Rogers Communications. Reporting to him will be Rita Fabian, EVP of sales and marketing and Bart Yabsley, EVP of business planning and distribution.

On the promotions front, Rick Lewchuk has been kicked upstairs to SVP of the newly created CTV creative agency and brand strategy departments. In his new role, Lewchuk will oversee a one-stop shop for design, marketing and media buying services for all CTV channels. Working under him is David Johnson, who has been promoted to VP of promotions.

Also on the CTV programming side – which recently saw Bill Mustos and Tecca Crosby leave the building – longtime publicist Mike Cosentino shifts to SVP of program scheduling, making room for Scott Henderson, who’s been bumped up to VP of program communications. Cosentino will oversee the acquisition and scheduling of programs on CTV’s conventional channels. Pat DiVittorio, VP of programming with responsibility for A-Channel programming, will report to Cosentino.

Meanwhile, Louise Clark, as VP of program development, will control development of original scripted and alternative programming at CTV, overseeing development offices countrywide from her Vancouver base.

Fecan says the shuffle was prompted in part by the recent takeover of CHUM, but also by encroaching competition from U.S. media giants in a multi-platform digital world. ‘Our challenges come from more than our usual competitors. They also come from the fact that our entire industry is being transformed by digital media and technology,’ he explains. ‘In order to deal with this we needed to grow stronger, and thus we bought CHUM. The key to successful growth is to use our new scale to improve our programs and better differentiate our channels and new media experience, while becoming more efficient offscreen.’

The new CTVgm leadership team includes Robert Hurst, president of news and current affairs, who adds CP24, Court TV Canada and current affairs documentaries to his existing duties at the CTV news division. Fecan also named Robert McLaughlin as VP of CP24 reporting to Hurst, as will Bob Culbert, VP of documentaries.

After the CHUM executive team was dismantled – with recent departures by Jay Switzer and Roma Khanna, and pending exits for David Kirkwood, Paul Palframan, Ellen Baine and Paul Gratton – Fecan added control of Access and Canadian Learning Television to existing duties for Paul Lewis, president/GM of Discovery.

Elsewhere, MTV’s Brad Schwartz, SVP and GM of youth and music, will take over the reins at MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic, MuchVibe, MuchLoud, MuchMoreRetro, PunchMuch and Razer. CHUM executive David Kines will report to Schwartz as SVP of youth and music. Jordan Schwartz – SVP and GM of CTV’s entertainment group, already responsible for eTalk – has added Star!, the FashionTelevision Channel and SexTV to his portfolio.

CHUM executives surviving the recent cull include Isme Bennie, who is taking the wheel at Bravo! and Book Television as VP/GM, and Marcia Martin, who is steering production of major in-house projects as SVP and XP of specials.

In another development, today CTV launched an extensive new image campaign in support of CTV News at Six with Ken Shaw and Christine Bentley, which is Toronto’s top-rated local news program. The ‘My Toronto Is…CTV News’ campaign showcases CTV’s prominent role in the city, while celebrating unique places, people and experiences in the Greater Toronto Area. CTV News anchors and reporters will join everyday Torontonians in praising and profiling their favorite local things.

Among the city’s facets that will be featured are the Famous People Players theatre troupe, authentic Jamaican food on St. Clair Avenue, dog-walking in a local park, window-shopping on Bloor Street and a fishmonger in Kensington Market. The spots vary in length and include 30- and 15-second versions as well as custom station IDs. They will air throughout the 2007-2008 season.

The campaign also comprises an eight-week outdoor component featuring images of CTV News anchors and reporters out in the city and engaging with Torontonians. Different executions will be displayed prominently throughout the GTA via billboards and transit postings in targeted areas. All OOH executions include the tagline ‘My Toronto is CTV News.’

Coinciding with the launch of the outdoor campaign is a street team promo in the downtown corridor. They’ll be distributing CTV News-branded lanyards for access passes to thousands of office workers coming through Union Station.

As part of the campaign – which was developed and executed in house, including media buys – viewers are invited to create their own ‘My Toronto is…’ news story and post it on www.toronto.ctv.ca. Monthly prizes will be awarded for the best submissions and selected entries will air on CTV News at Six.


Part of this story also appears in Playback Daily.