Five days of CRTC public hearings got underway Oct. 31 to tackle the practice of “differential pricing” for Internet customers. The hearing was sparked by complaints that Videotron charged customers as much as 800 per cent more to use music streaming services. There is public pressure on the CRTC to ban data caps on wireless and Internet plans outright, based on the principle of net neutrality, which argues all ISPs should treat all content equally. In the U.S., broadband service like a public utility preventing ISPs from offering preferential treatment to sites that pay for faster service.
TVA Group is reporting a $32.5 million net loss attributable to shareholders for the third quarter of 2016. The $0.75 per share loss compares to a loss of $0.84 per share in the same quarter of 2015. The Quebecor Media Inc. subsidiary saw a drop in operating income despite a strong performance by the TVA Sports channel, buoyed by the broadcast of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. The company says its film production & audiovisual services continue to suffer from the lack of major Hollywood productions.
Thomson Reuters Corp. announced plans Nov. 1 to cut 2,000 jobs across 150 locations upon releasing third quarter results for 2016. The company will shave at least $200 million from its cash run for 2017, allowing it to re-invest in priority areas. Profit was down slightly to $286-million or 37 cents per share, while adjusted earnings amounted to 54 cents per share. Revenue for the third quarter was $2.74-billion. Thomson Reuters announced in October, it plans to establish a new technology centre in Toronto, with hiring of 400 jobs to begin in December.
Rogers Communications Inc. announced Nov. 1, it has priced a US$500 million offering of debt securities of 2.90% senior notes due 2026. The net proceeds from the issuance will be about US$487 million and will be used to repay outstanding bank credit facilities and general corporate purposes. The debt securities will be issued by RCI, guaranteed by Rogers Communications Canada Inc. and are not being offered in Canada or to any Canadian resident.
Quebecor Media Group is eliminating 220 positions, or eight per cent of its workforce, mainly affecting managers, professionals and administrative support staff as well as 125 positions at TVA Group. Newsrooms and news coverage will not be affected. The company’s sales forces, including newspapers, will now be fully integrated under the responsibility of the existing Advertising Network, which was already responsible for national sales, media creativity and research. TVA Publications will cease publication of two magazines — CHEZ SOI and Tellement bon — in order to concentrate its efforts on its flagship brands.
A coalition of media organizations and press freedom groups is calling on the Canadian government to endorse a Reporters without Borders campaign to appoint a Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the safety of journalists. A joint letter was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, citing research that 787 journalists and media personnel were killed while exercising their profession over the last 10 years, including 77 in 2015 alone. In 9 out of 10 cases, these crimes remain uninvestigated and unpunished. The letter was signed by Rogers Media, RTDNA Canada, Newspapers Canada, National Newsmedia Council, The Tyee, Rabble.ca, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Freelance Union, CWA/SCA Canada, Centre for Free Expression, Canadian Freelance Union, and the Fahmy Foundation.