Rogers Communications Inc. is cutting the cord on several broadcast operations including the fledgling CityNews channel, affecting 2.5 per cent of its broadcasting staff — about 60 people — as part of an effort to cut costs in its broadcast division.
The telecommunications and broadcast giant blamed the “global structural shift in advertising” for the cutbacks, saying the entire media industry is in transition as advertisers shift how and where they spend their money and audiences change their consumption habits.
For many Canadian media companies, ad revenue has still not recovered from the 2008-2009 recession, as the global economy remains fragile and many businesses continue to sit on cash rather than spend as they wait to see what the economic future holds.
Rogers, along with its media peers in both print and broadcast, have faced a downturn in revenue from advertising as more marketers focus on digital media, where advertising is cheaper and more targeted.
The company said Thursday it will also cancel an English-language South Asian newscast on its OMNI lineup and shut down programming operations in Alberta on account of “the changing marketplace.”
“Today, we made changes to the company’s television strategy to reflect evolving viewer habits and the global structural shift in advertising,” said Scott Moore, president of broadcast at Rogers Media.
“Today’s changes impact 2.5 per cent of the company’s broadcast workforce. While difficult, these changes enable us to continue to focus our efforts where we know the market is growing, while helping us to effectively manage our costs,” he added.
Rogers confirmed that 62 full-time jobs will be lost.
The company said it plans to focus broadcast news in Toronto on its all-news radio station 680News and the CityNews program on Citytv. The shut down at CityNews Channel is effective immediate.
The 20-month old CityNews Channel launched in October 2011 as a 24-hour news alternative to competitor Bell Media’s CP24 news channel. It aired on big screen TVs in Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square as well as on television.
The channel has been struggling with low ratings, according to media blogger Steve Faguy.