Bell Media Inc.
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryMass media
  • 1960; 64 years ago (1960) (Telegram Corporation)
  • 2001; 23 years ago (2001) (Bell Globemedia Inc.)
  • January 1, 2007; 17 years ago (2007-01-01) (CTV globemedia)
  • April 1, 2011; 13 years ago (2011-04-01) (Bell Media Inc.)
Headquarters299 Queen Street West, ,
Area served
Key people
  • Wade Oosterman (president)
  • Stewart Johnston (SVP, Sales and Sports)
  • Karine Moses (SVP, Content Development and News)
  • Nauby Jacob (SVP, Product Platforms)
Number of employees
ParentBCE Inc.
Footnotes / references

Bell Media Inc. (French: Bell Média inc.)[1] is a Canadian media conglomerate that is the mass media subsidiary of BCE Inc. (also known as Bell Canada Enterprises, the owner of telecommunications company Bell Canada). Its operations include national television broadcasting and production (including the CTV and CTV 2 television networks), radio broadcasting (through iHeartRadio Canada), digital media (including Crave) and Internet properties (including the now-defunct Sympatico portal).

Bell Media is the successor-in-interest to Baton Broadcasting (later CTV Inc.), one of Canada's first private-sector television broadcasters. Although the company was founded in 1960 as Telegram Corporation, the current enterprise traces its origins to the establishment of Bell Globemedia Inc. in 2001 by BCE and the Thomson family, combining CTV Inc. (which BCE had acquired in 2000) and the operations of the Thomson family's newspaper, The Globe and Mail. BCE sold the majority of its interest in 2006 (after which the company was renamed CTVglobemedia Inc. in 2007), but in 2011, BCE acquired the entire company (excluding The Globe and Mail) and changed the name to Bell Media Inc.


Baton Broadcasting

"Baton Broadcasting" redirects here. For the defunct television system owned by Baton, see Baton Broadcast System.

For all practical purposes, Bell Media is the successor to Baton Broadcasting Incorporated (/ˈbtɒn/ BAY-ton), which by the late 1990s had become one of Canada's largest broadcasters.

Formed in 1960 as Baton Aldred Rogers Broadcasting Ltd., the company was originally created to establish Toronto's first private television station, CFTO-TV. The name of this company derived from its initial investors, including the Bassett and Eaton families (Baton), and Aldred-Rogers Broadcasting (owned by broadcaster Joel Aldred[3] and Ted Rogers); Foster Hewitt was also an initial investor, but in a much smaller role.[4] Aldred sold his shares in 1961, followed by Rogers by 1970, thereby relieving their names from the company title. With the Bassett and Eaton families firmly in control, the company went public in the early 1970s.

CFTO was one of the charter affiliates of CTV when that network formed in 1961, becoming the network's flagship. In 1966, Baton became a part-owner in the network when it was reorganized as a station-owned cooperative. The Board of Broadcast Governors was initially skeptical about the proposal to turn CTV into a cooperative. Since CFTO was by far the largest and richest station in the network, the BBG feared Baton would take advantage of this to dominate the network. However, it approved the deal after Baton and the other owners included a provision in the cooperative's bylaws stipulating that the eight station owners would each have a single vote regardless of audience share. Additionally, if one owner ever bought another station, the acquired station's shares would be redistributed among the remaining owners so that each owner would still have one vote out of eight.

In 1972, Baton began purchasing other CTV affiliates, starting with CFQC-TV in Saskatoon. This did not, however, give Baton a substantially higher investment in CTV, since its shares were redistributed among the other owners. As a result, Baton still had only one vote out of eight.

In 1987, Baton began a concerted effort to take over CTV. It started this drive with a further expansion into Saskatchewan, purchasing CKCK-TV in Regina, Yorkton twinstick CKOS-TV/CICC-TV, and CBC affiliate CKBI-TV Prince Albert. A twinstick CTV affiliate was soon launched in Prince Albert, CIPA-TV.

In the late 1980s, Baton applied for a high-power station in Ottawa on channel 60. The licence was approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), appealed to federal cabinet by rival broadcasters, and ultimately sent back to the CRTC for review.[5] However the license was surrendered when Baton was instead able to acquire the local CTV affiliate, CJOH-TV, from Allan Slaight's Standard Broadcasting.

In 1990, Baton purchased the MCTV system of twinstick operations in Pembroke, North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, and the Huron Broadcasting twinstick in Sault Ste. Marie. In 1993, Baton purchased CFPL-TV in London, CKNX-TV in Wingham and received a license for a new independent station, CHWI-TV, in Windsor.

In 1991, the company launched Ontario Network Television, a secondary affiliation carried by Baton's CTV and independent stations in Ontario. This was expanded in 1994 into the Baton Broadcast System (BBS), which included Baton's Saskatchewan stations. BBS was meant as a backup in case Baton's ongoing acquisitions did not translate into control of CTV itself. A year earlier, CTV had been recently restructured into a corporation, with each owner holding a 14.3% stake in the network. However, any future acquisitions by Baton would come with all of that affiliate's CTV shares. It was around this time that former CBC executive Ivan Fecan joined the company.

Baton-Electrohome alliance (1996–2000)

In 1996, the CRTC approved two major deals involving Baton. First was the acquisition of CFCN-TV in Calgary from Rogers Communications, which had recently purchased Maclean Hunter. Second, Baton and Electrohome—owner of CKCO-TV in Kitchener and CFRN-TV in Edmonton—formed an alliance, under which the companies would share ownership of CFCN; Baton's stations in Saskatchewan and its independent stations in southwestern Ontario; and Electrohome's CKCO. The deals doubled Baton's own interest in CTV to 28.6%. However, as part of the deal, Baton took control of Electrohome's CTV vote, allowing it to command 42.9% of CTV's shares.[6]

In January 1997, Baton-Electrohome's "Vancouver Television" proposal emerged as the CRTC's choice for the new independent station in Vancouver, beating out four other competitors. The new station, CIVT-TV, would compete directly with Western International Communications's two CTV affiliates in the market when it was launched that fall.[7]

On February 25, 1997, the Baton-Electrohome alliance and CHUM Limited announced that several stations would be swapped between them. Baton-Electrohome would acquire CHUM's Atlantic Television System (ATV), consisting of four CTV affiliates in the Maritimes, the Atlantic Satellite Network (ASN), and a further 14.3% in CTV. CHUM would receive Baton's independent stations in southwestern Ontario, as well as CHRO-TV in Pembroke, which had recently disaffiliated from CTV. The Baton-Electrohome alliance now held 57.2% of CTV.

Shortly thereafter, Electrohome announced it would sell its broadcasting assets—including CFRN, its interest in the alliance, and its CTV shares—to Baton in exchange for cash and shares in Baton. These two deals were approved by the CRTC in August.[8] Baton now held controlling interest in CTV, triggering a put option that allowed the other owners to sell their stakes in the network while still keeping their stations. Accordingly, Baton acquired the remaining CTV shares from WIC and Moffat Communications (Newfoundland Broadcasting, owner of CJON-TV, had effectively relinquished its vote when CTV became a corporation) that fall.

The BBS television system was merged into CTV, with the company itself being renamed CTV Inc. the following year. The Eatons' remaining shares, representing 41% of Baton (estimated at CA$450 million),[9] were sold off to the general public in early 1998. By the end of 2001, nearly all CTV stations were consolidated under network ownership (including one replacement).

NetStar Communications (1999–2000)

NetStar Communications Inc. (previously Labatt Communications Inc., and currently CTV Specialty Television Inc.) was formed by Labatt Brewing Company to hold that firm's broadcasting assets, which included TSN, RDS, Viewers Choice, and Discovery Channel. In 1995, when the parent company was sold to the foreign brewing conglomerate Interbrew, a consortium of four Canadian investors—Stephen Bronfman (22.5%), the Caisse (22.5%), Reitmans (16.5%), and senior management (6.5%)—along with ESPN (32%), took over the company.[10]

After a takeover attempt by CanWest Global that was vetoed by ESPN, CTV announced a friendly bid to take over NetStar Communications in early 1999, with CRTC approval on March 24, 2000. After acquiring Netstar, the CRTC required CTV to divest itself of either Netstar's TSN or their own Sportsnet; they chose to sell the latter to Rogers.[11]

Bell Globemedia (2000–06)

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this message)

At the beginning of the 2000s, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) acquired CTV Inc. (including the NetStar assets) and bought The Globe and Mail, folding the two into a new media venture, Bell Globemedia Inc (BGM).[12][13][14]

This venture was masterminded by former Bell Canada chief executive Jean Monty, largely as a response to Canwest's purchase of the Southam newspaper chain as well as the trend of media convergence, particularly the AOL-Time Warner merger. Monty believed that to survive in a changing technological landscape, and in particular to drive subscriptions to satellite television provider Bell ExpressVu and internet service provider Bell Sympatico, BCE had to have control over content.

The transaction was structured as follows. In 2000, BCE acquired CTV Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at CA$2.3 billion.[15] Soon after, Monty arranged to have Thomson Corporation transfer control of The Globe and Mail, the Toronto-based national newspaper, to BCE in exchange for a significant interest (20%) in the merged CTV/Globe entity. The Thomson family's holding company (The Woodbridge Company Limited) invested in the company directly to obtain an additional 9.9% interest, and it later bought Thomson Corporation's interest.

The resulting company (Bell Globemedia) consisted of CTV, The Globe and Mail, and the Internet portal then known as Sympatico-Lycos (Lycos was later replaced by MSN). Fecan was named the combined firm's president and CEO (a role he remained in for the duration of the BGM/CTVglobemedia era). After Monty resigned and was replaced by Michael Sabia in 2002, it became clear that Monty's vision was not producing anything near the desired results, notwithstanding the good results for the individual units, particularly the CTV network.

The following years provided a few cosmetic changes in BGM's assets. In 2001, CTV acquired CKY-TV in Winnipeg and CFCF-TV in Montreal, and moved the CTV affiliation in British Columbia to CIVT, replacing two affiliates that had been purchased by Canwest. That fall also brought the launch of the first digital specialty channels, including several owned by CTV.

The company acquired partial ownership in TQS in 2002, the Sympatico portal was sold back to Bell Canada, while a further investment from the Thomsons (whose ownership increased to 31.5%) funded the acquisition of 15% of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. However, beginning in 2003, BCE management began to refer to BGM as a non-core asset; as a result, much attention was given to the likely sale of the company, and potentially a breakup into several different pieces.

On December 2, 2005, Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE) announced that it would sell an 8.5% interest to The Woodbridge Company Limited (increasing their total ownership to 40%), a 20% interest to Torstar, and a 20% interest to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.[16] BCE retained 20% of the group—a condition that ensured that Bell Satellite TV, Sympatico, and other Bell units continued to have access to Bell Globemedia (BGM) content. The transaction closed on August 30, 2006.[17]

This deal put to rest any rumors about a possible breakup of the company. However, Torstar's involvement led to additional media concentration concerns, mainly from media unions. Torstar insisted it was committed to maintaining the editorial independence of the Globe and its own Toronto Star, and ultimately there were no major regulatory hurdles due to this.

On July 12, 2006, BGM announced a friendly bid to take over CHUM Limited for an estimated $1.7 billion. The acquisition would bring the secondary broadcast system (Citytv), other stations including CablePulse24, MuchMusic, Star!, Bravo!, and Space, and all of CHUM's radio stations, into the BGM fold. BGM originally announced that CHUM's A-Channel stations, Access, CKX-TV, MusiquePlus, MusiMax, Canadian Learning Television, Cooking Channel and BGM's own OLN would not be retained.

On September 7, 2006, in order to pay for the CHUM acquisition, BGM sold additional shares to its existing shareholders. BCE did not participate in the refinancing; the net effect was an increase in Teachers' ownership to 25%, while BCE's interest was reduced to 15%.[18]

CTVglobemedia (2007–11)

The logo for CTVglobemedia since January 1, 2007.

As a result of BCE's reduced ownership in the company, Bell Globemedia was renamed CTVglobemedia Inc. on January 1, 2007.[12]

In April of that year, Rogers Communications announced a tentative deal to purchase A-Channel, CKX-TV, Access Alberta, Canadian Learning Television, and Cooking Channel from CTVglobemedia, if its purchase of CHUM was approved. Astral Media made a similar deal for CHUM's 50% interest in MusiMax and MusiquePlus.

That June, the CRTC approved the CHUM takeover, on condition that CTV sell off the Citytv stations, because of the CTV network's owned-and-operated station stations serving the very same cities. CTV ultimately chose to keep the A-Channel stations along with the rest of CHUM Ltd. assets it had previously said it would sell, except for MusiquePlus/MusiMax. Rogers Communications was announced as the buyer of the Citytv stations on June 11, 2007, and the CHUM acquisition was finalized on June 22.

Subsequently, CTVglobemedia, Inc. sold off its interests in various non-core channels. Rogers purchased several of these assets, including CTV's 33% interest in OLN in late 2007, as well as radio stations CHST-FM in London, Ontario and CHBN-FM in Edmonton, Alberta in 2010.[19][20] Corus Entertainment would acquire Canadian Learning Television, Cooking Channel, and Drive-In Classics for a combined $113 million. TQS entered bankruptcy protection and was ultimately acquired by Remstar (which renamed the network "V"). Meanwhile, Glassbox Television acquired Travel + Escape in late 2010. In two cases, the operations were closed down, specifically CBC affiliate CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba (which left the air in October 2009 after a deal to sell that station to Bluepoint Investment Corporation fell through) and the A station in Wingham, CKNX-TV (which left the air one month prior to CKX and is now a rebroadcaster of the A station in London, CFPL-TV).

CTVglobemedia acquired Toronto station CFXJ-FM from Milestone Radio in 2010.[21][22]

On September 10, 2010, BCE announced plans to re-acquire 100% of the company's broadcasting arm, including CTV Inc. Under the deal, Woodbridge, Torstar, and Teachers' would together receive $1.3 billion in either cash or equity in BCE, while BCE would also assume $1.7 billion in debt (BCE's existing equity interest was $200 million, for a total transaction value of $3.2 billion). Woodbridge would also regain majority control of The Globe and Mail Inc., with BCE retaining a 15% interest. The overall deal was expected to close by April 2011.[23] However, the sale of The Globe, which did not require CRTC approval, was completed in late December 2010.[24] The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011,[25][26] and the company was officially closed on April 1, 2011. It was renamed as Bell Media Inc.[27]

Post-2011 developments

Expansion (2011–13)

On December 9, 2011, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan announced the sale of its majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to BCE and its rival, Rogers Communications, in a deal valued at around $1.32 billion. Additionally, Larry Tanenbaum increased his stake in the company to 25%.[28] The deal closed in August 2012.[29]

On March 16, 2012, BCE announced that it had entered in an agreement to acquire Montreal-based broadcaster Astral Media for an estimated value of $3.38 billion; the assets of which were to be incorporated into Bell Media. The acquisition was primarily centered on Astral's premium services (such as The Movie Network and its stake in HBO Canada) and its French-language radio and television stations. Bell planned to use Astral's premium offerings to enhance its own multi-platform services to compete against the likes of services such as Netflix, and its French media outlets to better compete against the dominant Québecor Média.[30] The merger was notably opposed by a coalition of competing cable providers (which included Cogeco, EastLink, and Vidéotron—the last of which is also owned by Québecor Média, who felt that Bell's control of a majority of Canadian media would harm consumer choice, and lead to increased carriage fees which could cripple smaller cable companies.[31]

BCE's first proposal was denied by the CRTC in October 2012; the commission believed that the combined company would have had too much market power. Soon afterward, Bell and Astral began to negotiate a second proposal that would involve selling most of Astral's English-language television channels in order to quell fears by the CRTC.[32][33][34] On March 18, 2013, the Competition Bureau cleared the revised proposal.[35] Unlike the previous deal, which would have given Bell a 42% share of the English-language television market, the new deal would only give Bell a total market share of 35.7%, but still increase its French-language market share to 23% (in comparison to 8% before).[36] Following hearings by the CRTC in May 2013,[37] the CRTC approved Bell's acquisition of Astral Media on June 27, 2013. The deal is subject to conditions, including the requirement to provide fair treatment to its competitors, to not impose "restrictive bundling practices" on Astral's premium movie channels, invest $246.9 million over the next seven years on Canadian-produced programming, and to maintain the operation and local programming levels of all of its television stations through 2017. The CRTC also approved Bell's proposed exemptions for maintaining ownership of Montreal's CKGM.[38][39] Bell put Family, Disney XD, the two Disney Junior services, MusiMax, MusiquePlus, and five radio stations up for sale, while Corus Entertainment acquired Historia, Séries+, and Teletoon from Astral and competitor Shaw Media.

On June 6, 2013, Bell announced that Bravo would be its first network to implement a TV Everywhere service, which would allow subscribers to Bravo on participating television service providers to stream video on demand content and the Bravo channel live via the Bravo Go app. Apps for some of its other networks were also released over the following months.[40]

Layoffs, new partnerships (2014–17)

In December 2014, Bell Media launched CraveTV, a subscription video on-demand service.[41] Initially, the service was available only through television providers; Bell Media president Kevin Crull argued that Bell did not want the service to cannibalize its linear television business, because its content "[would not] exist if you didn't have the traditional TV system. So you really can't sustainably have one without the other."[42]

On April 9, 2015, Crull stepped down as president of Bell Media, and was replaced by Mary Ann Turcke, the subsidiary's former head of media sales. The move came following allegations reported by The Globe and Mail that, after the CRTC's March 2015 decision to mandate that pay television providers offer a la carte packages, Crull ordered all Bell-owned news properties, including CTV News, not to air any remarks by CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais during reports regarding the decision. Although the CTV News Channel program Power Play and a report aired on the local evening newscasts complied with Crull's order, the CTV National News that night defied Crull's demand by airing a story on the changes that included remarks by Blais. CTV News president Wendy Freeman, Ottawa bureau chief Robert Fife, and the program's anchor Lisa LaFlamme felt that the inclusion of remarks by Blais was necessary due to the nature of the story. In response to the dismissal, BCE CEO George A. Cope explained that the journalistic independence of its news operations was "paramount importance to our company and to all Canadians".[43][44]

Shortly after taking the position, Turcke was criticized for remarks that considered the use of virtual private network services to evade geo-blocking and access the U.S. version of subscription video on demand service Netflix to be "stealing".[45][46][47]

In late August 2015, Bell Media began a series of layoffs, which included directors and vice presidents. On November 6, 2015, additional layoffs of 380 jobs from production, editorial, sales, and administrative roles in Toronto and Montreal were revealed.[48] On November 17, 2015, further cuts were made, which included high-profile on-air talent from radio and television properties in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver.[49]

On November 20, 2015, Corus announced that it would wind down the operation of Movie Central, a premium television service that had been granted exclusivity in Western Canada, and cede its regional monopoly to Bell Media's The Movie Network, which was similarly restricted to Eastern Canada, allowing it to become available nationwide in 2016. Bell Media subsequently announced that it had acquired exclusive Canadian rights to all current HBO programming in Canada (rights previously shared with Corus due to its joint venture HBO Canada).[50]

On January 6, 2016, iHeartMedia announced that it had partnered with Bell Media to launch a localized version of its online radio service iHeartRadio Canada.[51] On January 14, 2016, CraveTV became available as a standalone service without requiring an existing television subscription.[52]

On May 4, 2016, Bell acquired rights to the programming and branding of Canadian specialty channel Gusto TV. The channel was shut down, and re-launched on September 1, 2016, replacing M3 under its existing Category A license.[53][54][55]

On January 31, 2017, Bell Media announced that it planned to perform another round of layoffs in 24 locations, citing various developments across Canada's broadcasting industry, as well as the impact of recent regulatory decisions (such as one that prevents the federal simsub rules from being used on the Super Bowl, whose Canadian broadcast rights are currently owned by Bell Media).[56]

Randy Lennox era (2017–20)

On February 27, 2017, Turcke left Bell to join the National Football League as president of NFL Media. She was succeeded as president by Randy Lennox.[57] That month, Bell also announced that it had partnered with record executive Scott Borchetta to develop a new, international television format that would "uncover, develop, and promote pop culture's next musical superstars", and "leverage Bell Media's massive reach and extensive platforms to showcase musicians on the national and international stage."[58] CTV officially announced the new series, The Launch, in April 2017.[59]

On June 7, 2017, Wow Unlimited Media announced that it would acquire a specialty channel from the company (later revealed to be Comedy Gold; however, the sale would later be aborted, leading to the channel's shutdown in 2019)[60] to form a new network targeting children and young adults, and provide children's television content for Bell's over-the-top ventures. As part of the purchase, BCE will take 3.4 million common voting shares in the company.[61]

On August 9, 2017, Bell announced that it would acquire Larche Communications' four Ontario radio stations, pending CRTC approval.[62]

On October 17, 2017, Bell Media announced its intent to acquire Historia and Séries+—two French-language networks whose Astral-owned stakes were divested during its acquisition by Bell—from Corus Entertainment for $200 million.[63] On May 28, 2018, both transactions were blocked by the Competition Bureau, citing a condition on the Bell/Astral deal which forbade Bell from re-acquiring properties divested in the sale for 10 years after its completion.[64]

On January 23, 2018, Bell Media announced that it had reached licensing agreements with Starz Inc. and Lionsgate, and that TMN Encore would be rebranded under the Starz brand in 2019, featuring its programming.[65][66] The following month, Bell launched SnackableTV, a streaming video app with short-form content from Bell Media properties and other sources.[67]

In April 2018, Bell Media acquired a controlling stake in the Pinewood Toronto Studios complex.[68] In May 2018, Bell Media announced that it, along with several other parties, would contribute French-language content to Radio-Canada's subscription streaming service Ici Extra.[69]

In May 2018, Bell Media laid off 17 employees, resulting in the cancellation of Discovery's Daily Planet and Space's Innerspace.[70]

On June 7, 2018, during the CTV upfronts, it was announced that four Bell Media specialty channels would re-brand in September 2019, with Bravo, Comedy Network, Gusto, and Space respectively becoming CTV Drama Channel, CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Life Channel, and CTV Sci-Fi Channel. Two new ad-supported video-on-demand platforms were also announced: CTV Movies and CTV Vault (renamed CTV Throwback on launch). These rebrandings and launches will be incorporated into a larger, unified digital platform containing content from all six services.[71][72][73] Later that day, it was also announced that Bell Media was one of two Canadian companies that had acquired a stake in the Montreal-based comedy festival Just for Laughs.[74]

On August 16, 2018, Vice Media announced a long-term output deal with Bell Media, which would see its networks and properties hold rights to Viceland programming in Canada.[75]

On July 24, 2019, Bell announced its intent to acquire the French-language broadcast television network V from V Media Group pending CRTC approval, as well as its streaming outlet Noovo. CTVglobemedia previously owned a 40% stake in the network prior to its sale to Remstar.[76] On April 3, 2020, the sale was approved; as a condition of the purchase, the CRTC stated that all five V stations must air five hours of local programming per-week through the 2020-2021 broadcast year, and expanding to eight-and-a-half hours per-week in Montreal and Quebec City by 2021–2022. At least half of all local programming must be locally-reflective.[77] The sale was closed on May 15, 2020.[78] V would later be renamed to Noovo on August 31, 2020.[79]

Wade Oosterman era (2021–present)

On October 19, 2020, BCE announced that Lennox would be leaving the organization on January 4, 2021, and that Bell group president Wade Oosterman, to whom Lennox had reported, would take over operational leadership of Bell Media directly, while maintaining oversight of Bell's wireless, residential, and small-business telecom operations.[80] BCE subsequently clarified that Oosterman had taken the title of president of Bell Media while remaining vice-chair of BCE and Bell Canada.[81]

Immediately following Lennox's departure, Oosterman announced a new, simplified executive structure. As a result, several senior executives of Bell Media, some having served with the company's predecessors since the late 1990s, left the company; two of the three senior vice presidents reporting to Oosterman under the new structure also have roles overseeing parts of Bell's telecom business.[82][83] Several other lower-level managers were laid off about two weeks later.[84] This in turn was followed in early February by the elimination of hundreds of rank-and-file positions, including at least 210 in the company's Toronto offices alone, the removal of dedicated newsrooms for news-talk radio stations CJAD Montreal and CFRB Toronto, and the reformatting of three TSN Radio outlets as automated business news or comedy stations with little locally produced content.[85][86][87]

In a memo announcing the end of the restructuring, Oosterman described the moves as necessary to "reflect the reality of sweeping change facing [Bell Media]" including impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing media consumption patterns and "aggressive" competition from global players.[87] They were also widely seen as indicating a corporate shift in focus away from traditional media outlets and towards Bell's streaming services like Crave and iHeartRadio.[82][83] However, observers including Unifor, the main labour union representing Bell employees, questioned the need for the layoffs, given that parent company BCE had accepted $122 million in assistance through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in 2020, while being able to increase its dividend payments to shareholders.[88]

In June 2023, BCE announced that it was cutting 1,300 positions across its telecom and media operations (around three per cent of its workforce, and of which approximately 30% were unfilled vacancies), including six per cent of positions at Bell Media (which had 5,645 employees at the end of 2022).[89][90] The company also announced it would be closing or selling nine AM radio stations, some of which had changed to automated formats during previous rounds of cuts: CFRW, CKMX, CFRN, CKST, CFTE, and CJBK all closed immediately, while CKWW, CKOC, and CHAM were slated for sale to one or more third-party buyers to be named later.[89]

BCE blamed a number of industry changes and increasing losses in its news divisions for the cuts, while questioning the regulatory priorities of the federal government and the CRTC; one BCE executive mentioned having waited for reforms on some items for years, while also citing “relentless regulatory intervention” by the CRTC to cut wireless and Internet service pricing.[89] This rationale was questioned by union officials and other experts who felt Bell should have better prepared for industry changes, or could have waited for the full implementation of the Online Streaming Act (Bill C-11) and the Online News Act (Bill C-18).[89]

In June 2023, The Globe and Mail reported that after the controversial dismissal of long-time CTV National News anchor Lisa LaFlamme in 2022, Oosterman was recorded urging news managers from its CTV, BNN, CP24 properties to get their journalists to "help" by providing favourable coverage when reporting on Bell as long as it did not "distort reality". Oosterman also criticized CTV for not forcing conflict between opposing viewpoints to get more viewers. Oosterman's remarks seemingly violated the company's 2015 journalistic independence policy.[91]

On August 16, 2023, Vrak and Z were removed from Vidéotron. As a consequence, Vrak closed down on October 1, 2023. [92][93]

On October 3, 2023, BCE announced that Oosterman would be retiring from the conglomerate by early January 2024, and would be replaced as president of Bell Media by Sean Cohan, a former executive for the American media companies A&E Networks and Nielsen.[94] On October 23, 2023, Bell Media acquired Outfront Media's Canadian business for $410 million.[95]

On February 8, 2024, BCE announced that it would cut 4,800 positions (10% of which coming from Bell Media), citing declining revenues, and new CRTC requirements mandating that the company offer wholesale access to its fibreoptic telecom networks to competitors. Due to the restructuring, Bell Media announced that it would cut most noon and weekend newscasts across all CTV stations, cut programming at CTV News Channel and BNN Bloomberg, and sell 45 of its 103 radio stations to Arsenal Media, Durham Radio, Maritime Broadcasting System, My Broadcasting Corporation, Vista Radio, Whiteoaks Communications, and ZoomerMedia.[96][97][98] Bell executive Robert Malcolmson told the Canadian Press that radio was "not a viable business anymore".[99]

MTV2 was closed on March 29, 2024. This left the main MTV network to be the last remaining licensed Paramount Global channel under Bell Media.

On June 10, 2024, Rogers Sports & Media announced that it had acquired the rights to all of Warner Bros. Discovery’s factual and lifestyle brands starting in January 2025. This will mark the end of Bell Media and CTV's long-running relationship with Discovery and its sibling networks.[100] Bell filed a court injunction seeking to halt the agreement, arguing that their contract with WBD provides for a two-year non-compete clause ("window to adjust") if the company does not renew its licensing agreements. Rogers claims the suit is without merit.[101]


Main article: List of assets owned by Bell Media

Bell Media's largest division is CTV Inc., which owns the following broadcast television assets:

Bell Media also owns 29 specialty television channels, frequently in partnership with U.S. companies which operate similar channels, and primarily concentrated in the following genres:

Genre Key channels[102] American partner
Sports TSN (TSN2) RDS (RDS2, RDS Info), and others ESPN (part-owner/licensor)
Music and comedy CTV Comedy Channel, Much, and MTV Paramount Global (licensor – MTV channels only), Comedy Central, truTV, TBS (program suppliers for both Much and CTV Comedy Channel only)
Factual and science fiction Discovery (Discovery Science, Discovery Velocity, and other various spinoff channels), Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery Warner Bros. Discovery (part-owner/licensor)
News (CTV News) BNN Bloomberg, CP24, and CTV News Channel Bloomberg L.P. (licensor – BNN Bloomberg only)1, ABC News, CNN (program suppliers)
Speculative fiction/technology CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Z Syfy (program supplier)
Entertainment CTV Drama Channel and E! NBCUniversal (licensor – E! only), TNT, USA Network (program suppliers for CTV Drama Channel)
Pay-per-view Vu! and Venus n/a
Premium HBO Canada, Crave, Starz, Super Écran, and Cinépop HBO, Max, Showtime, Starz and Paramount Global (program suppliers)
Other Canal D, CTV Life Channel, and Canal Vie n/a
Radio iHeartRadio Canada iHeartMedia (licensor), Premiere Networks (supplier of American programming for Orbyt Media)

1Until the rebranding of Business News Network as BNN Bloomberg as part of a licensing and content agreement with Bloomberg L.P. on April 30, 2018, no foreign co-owners or brand partners were involved with these channels. However, like most news organizations, CTV does rely on foreign news sources, such as ABC News and CNN, for some international coverage.

Through its Bell Media Radio division, the company is also Canada's largest private-sector radio broadcaster and operates a localized version of iHeartMedia's iHeartRadio platform in Canada, even owning the radio syndication company Orbyt Media, which supplies its American programming from iHeartMedia's Premiere Networks division.

In addition, Bell Media also owns television & radio production studios and websites associated with all of the above properties, as well as the (formerly Internet portal previously operated through Bell Canada.

Bell Media has five locations:

Logo history

See also


  1. ^ a b "Federal Corporation Information". Corporations Canada. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "Bell Media President Kevin Crull – Canada's Media System and Vertical Integration". Canadian Business Journal. September 17, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  3. ^ Joel Walkden Aldred
  4. ^ Michael Nolan (2001). CTV, the Network that Means Business. University of Alberta. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-88864-384-1.
  5. ^ Order Referring back to the CRTC a Decision Respecting Nation's Capital Television Incorporated Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine, 28 April 1987
  6. ^ Decision CRTC 96-251, June 21, 1996
  7. ^ Decision CRTC 97-39, January 31, 1997
  8. ^ Decision CRTC 97-527, August 28, 1997
  9. ^ Anderson, Peter S. 2011 November 28. "Baton Broadcasting Incorporated." The Canadian Encyclopedia (last edited 2015 July 17).
  10. ^ Broadcast Dialogue newsletter, January 21, 1999 Archived March 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Rogers Media | History of Canadian Broadcasting". Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "CTVglobemedia". Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  13. ^ "BCE-CTV deal remakes media landscape". The Globe and Mail. September 10, 2010. Retrieved May 10, 2024.
  14. ^ "BCE's takeover of CTV approved". CBC. March 7, 2011. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  15. ^ BCE announces $2.3 billion bid for CTV,, February 25, 2000 (modified November 11, 2000); accessed August 9, 2006
  16. ^ "CTV Television Network | History of Canadian Broadcasting". Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  17. ^ "BGM Ownership Deal Closes Archived December 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine", BGM press release, August 30, 2006
  18. ^ Bell Globemedia Completes Financing to Pay for CHUM Limited Shares Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine, BGM press release, September 7, 2006
  19. ^ Canada's Rogers Radio acquires Edmonton top 40 station 91.7 The Bounce Archived 2010-06-27 at the Wayback Machine — Retrieved 2010-06-22
  20. ^ Canada's Rogers Radio acquires 102.3 Bob FM in London, Ontario Archived 2011-08-04 at the Wayback Machine — Retrieved 2010-06-22
  21. ^ Toronto's rhythmic station Flow 93.5 is sold to CTVglobemedia, Inc. Archived 2010-06-30 at the Wayback Machine — Retrieved 2010-06-24
  22. ^ Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (December 23, 2010). "ARCHIVED – Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-964". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  23. ^ Bell Canada (September 10, 2010). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  24. ^ "Torstar completes first stage of CTVglobemedia sale". Toronto Star. January 4, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  25. ^ CRTC approves BCE's purchase of CTVglobemedia Archived 2015-03-05 at the Wayback Machine, CRTC, March 7, 2011
  26. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-163, Change in effective control of CTVglobemedia Inc.'s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, CRTC, March 7, 2011
  27. ^ CRTC approves BCE's purchase of CTVglobemedia, Inc. Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Hamilton, Kevin (December 9, 2011). "Rogers and Bell buy MLSE (and now own every Canadian sports team, stadium and channel ever)". Toronto Life. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  29. ^ "Rogers, Bell finalize MLSE purchase | The Star". August 22, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  30. ^ Sturgeon, Jamie. "Bell snaps up Astral Media for $3.38-billion". Financial Post. Retrieved April 29, 2012.
  31. ^ Johnson, Julia. "Cable company opposition to Bell's Astral purchase heats up". Financial Post. Retrieved September 19, 2012.
  32. ^ "Astral confirms talks with BCE to resurrect takeover deal". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. November 16, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  33. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-574". CRTC. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  34. ^ "CRTC kills BCE-Astral merger deal". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  35. ^ "Competition Bureau clears Corus acquisition of Astral assets". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: Canadian Press. March 18, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2013.
  36. ^ "Competition Bureau OK's BCE-Astral deal, with conditions". CBC News. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  37. ^ "Bell resistant to CRTC's TSN 690 proposal". Montreal Gazette. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  38. ^ "CRTC approves Bell/Astral deal with conditions". Toronto Star. June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  39. ^ "CRTC approves Bell-Astral merger". CBC. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  40. ^ "Bell Media to give subscribers full online access to Bravo". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  41. ^ "Bell Media's Cravetv launches with low-cost subscription". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  42. ^ "CraveTV 'not cannibalizing' resources away from traditional TV, says Bell Media president". Financial Post. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  43. ^ "Bell media head Kevin Crull departs over journalistic meddling". The Globe and Mail. April 9, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  44. ^ Bradshaw, James (March 25, 2015). "Bell head meddled in news coverage". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  45. ^ "Accessing U.S. Netflix is 'stealing,' new Bell Media president says". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  46. ^ "Netflix 'stealing' comment nets backlash for Bell Media chief". Toronto Star. June 4, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  47. ^ "Netflix 'stealing' comment shows Boomers are out of touch 0". Toronto Sun. Postmedia Network. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
  48. ^ "Bell Media to cut 270 jobs in Toronto, 110 in Montreal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  49. ^ Bateman, David (November 18, 2015). "Bell Media mass job cut affects TV personalities". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
  50. ^ "Bell buys HBO rights across Canada as Corus backs out of pay TV". Canadian Press. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  51. ^ "iHeartRadio joins Canada's streaming market through partnership with Bell". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  52. ^ "CraveTV now available to all Canadians with Internet". London Free Press. Postmedia Network. Canadian Press. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  53. ^ "Ottawa's Gusto TV to expand after deal with Bell Media". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  54. ^ "Bell Media goes for Gusto, eyes lifestyle channel launch". Realscreen. Retrieved May 5, 2016.
  55. ^ "UPDATED: Bell Satellite TV dropping several channels, including CNBC, Shopping Channel". Retrieved August 24, 2016.(subscription required)
  56. ^ Jackson, Emily. "Bell Media cites CRTC Super Bowl ad policy as a factor in latest round of layoffs". Financial Post. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  57. ^ "Bell Media juggling executives as president leaves for job at NFL". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  58. ^ "Scott Borchetta's Big Machine, Canada's Bell Media Ring Up Deal on New TV Talent Property". Billboard. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  59. ^ "CTV Unveils THE LAUNCH, A New Six-Part Original Music Series and International TV Format – Casting for the Next Big Breakout Artist Open Now!". Bell Media. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  60. ^ "The Interview: Bell Media president Randy Lennox talks rich uncles, teeter-totters and Ty Cobb". Retrieved October 30, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  61. ^ Reid, Regan (June 8, 2017). "Wow Unlimited to acquire channel from Bell Media". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  62. ^ "Bell Media to Acquire Four Ontario Radio Stations from Larche Communications Inc". Bell Media. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  63. ^ Faguy, Steve (October 17, 2017). "Corus agrees to sell Séries+ and Historia to Bell Media for $200 million". Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  64. ^ "Analysts predict steeper Corus dividend cut after watchdog blocks $200-million sale of TV stations to Bell". Financial Post. May 28, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  65. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 23, 2018). "Starz Expands Into Canada With Bell Media Pact". Variety. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  66. ^ Hayes, Dade (January 23, 2018). "In First Global Foray, Starz Sets Long-Term Deal With Bell To Enter Canada". Deadline. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  67. ^ "Bell Media Launches SnackableTV App With 'The Launch,' HBO Clips". Billboard. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  68. ^ "Canada's Bell Media Buys Control of Pinewood Toronto Studios (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  69. ^ "Are Quebec media slightly ahead of our time?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  70. ^ "Bell Media cancels shows 'Daily Planet' and 'Innerspace', lays off 17 positions". The London Free Press. Canadian Press. May 24, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  71. ^ "Bell Media Reveals CTV-Branded Bouquet of Channels". TVCANADA. Worldscreen. June 7, 2018. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  72. ^ "Bell Media creates digital super-hub for new VoD services, rebranded channels". Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  73. ^ "Magnum P.I. reboot, new Jann Arden comedy on CTV's fall lineup". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  74. ^ "Bell Media, Groupe CH among group that has acquired Just For Laughs". Montreal Gazette. June 8, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  75. ^ White, Peter (August 16, 2018). "Vice Is Back In Business In Canada After Striking Long-Term Deal With Bell Media". Deadline. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  76. ^ Tomesco, Frédéric (July 24, 2019). "Bell Media set to add Quebec TV networks with V Média purchase". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  77. ^ Faguy, Steve. "CRTC approves Bell's purchase of V". Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  78. ^ "Bell's acquisition of V officially closes". Newswire Canada. May 15, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  79. ^ The Canadian Press (uncredited staff) (August 19, 2020). "La chaîne V deviendra Noovo". La Presse. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  80. ^ Posadzki, Alexandra (October 19, 2020). "Bell Media president departs, to be replaced by vice-chair". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  81. ^ "About BCE: Wade Oosterman". BCE Inc. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  82. ^ a b Faguy, Steve (January 5, 2021). "Oosterman chops Bell Media executive suite". Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  83. ^ a b Vlessing, Etan (January 5, 2021). "Canada's Bell Media Hit With Management Restructuring". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  84. ^ Thiessen, Connie (January 21, 2021). "Bell Media makes more management layoffs weeks after exec shuffle". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  85. ^ Faguy, Steve (February 2, 2021). "Larger wave of cuts coming at Bell Media this week; UPDATE: 210 positions eliminated in Toronto". Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  86. ^ Lorinc, Jacob (February 2, 2021). "Bell Media cuts more than 200 jobs at stations including Newstalk 1010 and CJAD 800". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  87. ^ a b Faguy, Steve (February 9, 2021). "Ongoing Bell Media cuts see three TSN radio stations pulled today; Oosterman memo says changes are "now complete" (UPDATED)". Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  88. ^ Rubin, Josh (February 9, 2021). "Cuts keep coming at Bell Media as it eliminates three sports radio stations". Toronto Star. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  89. ^ a b c d Hudes, Sammy (June 14, 2023). "Bell cutting 1,300 positions, closing or selling 9 radio stations". Financial Post. The Canadian Press. Retrieved June 14, 2023.
  90. ^ BCE Inc. (March 2, 2023). "Annual Information Form for the Year Ended December 31, 2022" (PDF). Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  91. ^ Fife, Robert (June 26, 2023). "Top Bell Media executive urged CTV to avoid 'negative spin' on coverage of parent company". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  92. ^ "Bell Media axes VRAK, the French-language youth TV channel based in Montreal". CBC News. August 18, 2023. Retrieved August 18, 2023.
  93. ^ Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (September 25, 2023). "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2023-324". Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  94. ^ "Bell Media president Wade Oosterman to retire, to be replaced by Sean Cohan". The Canadian Press. October 3, 2023. Retrieved October 5, 2023.
  95. ^ "Bell Media signs deal to buy Outfront Media's Canadian business for $410 million". Yahoo Finance. October 23, 2023. Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  96. ^ Thiessen, Connie (February 8, 2024). "Most noon, weekend CTV newscasts cancelled as part of cuts at Bell Media". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  97. ^ Thiessen, Connie (February 8, 2024). "Bell to reduce workforce by 4,800, divest 45 radio stations". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  98. ^ "Bell Media planning cuts to CTV, BNN Bloomberg following BCE layoffs, sale of 45 radio stations". CTV News. February 8, 2024. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  99. ^ "'Not a viable business anymore': Bell Media selling 45 radio stations amid layoffs". CityNews. February 8, 2024. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  100. ^ Thiessen, Connie (June 10, 2024). "Rogers scoops Warner Bros. Discovery rights from Corus and Bell". Broadcast Dialogue. Retrieved June 10, 2024.
  101. ^ Hudes, Sammy (July 2, 2024). "Bell files injunction seeking to block Rogers from broadcasting Warner Bros. content". Canadian Press. Retrieved July 3, 2024 – via Toronto Star.
  102. ^ "The Lede". Bell Media. Retrieved May 2, 2021.