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Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:41 pm Post subject: CTV slashes 118 jobs at A Channel stations
CTV slashes 118 jobs at A Channel stations
By David Friend - THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — CTV Television Inc. is slashing 28 per cent of the staff or 118 jobs at its A Channel television stations and cancelling morning shows in some cities.
The company announced Tuesday that it was cancelling the 6 p.m., 11 p.m. and weekend newscasts in Ottawa, while also shutting down three-hour local morning shows in Victoria, London and Barrie.
“These are extremely difficult and challenging decisions to make given it’s not about the quality of our ‘A’ programming or that we have achieved double-digit audience growth,” said CTVglobemedia spokesman Paul Sparkes.
“We simply can’t monetize our success. We are doing everything we can to hang on to conventional television but, as we continue to stress, the conventional model is now broken.”
Earlier this month, CTV said it will not seek to renew the licences for two southwestern Ontario A Channel stations — CKNX-TV in Wingham and CHWI-TV in Wheatley and Windsor — when they expire at the end of August.
The latest staff reductions include cuts at those operations.
The moves are symptomatic of a broader restructuring under way in Canada’s conventional TV sector, which has been watched advertising revenues dwindle during the economic downturn.
CTV, Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS) and other broadcasters have been streamlining costs and cutting jobs. The networks have also said the CRTC’s decision last fall to deny fee-for-carriage charges — which are essentially subscriber fees — would have pumped up to $300 million in additional money into the broadcast industry.
In Barrie, A Channel station manager Peggy Hebden said 24 employees will be cut and evening and nightly newscasts will be repeated every morning to fill the time slots left vacant by the cancelled morning show.
Under the plan, the 6 p.m. news will repeat the following morning at 6 a.m. while the 11 p.m. newscast will re-air at both 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. with an “enhanced” screen with updates on the latest news and school bus cancellations.
“We will still be fulfilling all of our conditions of licence and our expectations as far as the CRTC are concerned, we will just have more hours of repeats,” Hebden said.
Also, CTV is looking at either selling or closing CKX-TV Brandon in Manitoba.
The CTV filed regulatory documents with the CRTC saying that the A Channels have continued to be a money-losing enterprise for the company since they were acquired from CHUM Ltd. in 2007.
“Despite the most robust economic cycle in the post-war era, the ‘A’ stations have consistently lost money for almost 20 years,” CTV wrote.
However, the company said despite a revamped schedule and year-over-year ratings growth of 40 per cent in 2008, CTV hasn’t been able to make the stations profitable.
“Given the plight facing conventional television and the global economic crisis, we have not been able to monetize these viewers and the ‘A’ stations posted a loss in the tens of millions of dollars in 2008,” it added.
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