General + Regulatory + Telecom + Media NewsRegulatory, Telecom & Media News - TVA Group eliminates 547 jobs in...

Regulatory, Telecom & Media News – TVA Group eliminates 547 jobs in reorganization

Quebecor-owned TVA Group has announced major changes “to secure its future at a time of crisis for the global media industry,” that will include the elimination of 547 positions or 31% of the network’s current workforce. The sweeping layoffs will encompass 300 positions in in-house production, 98 positions related to the operation of TVA’s local stations, and 149 positions in other departments. In its third-quarter financial results, TVA Group reported a year-to-date loss of nearly $13 million in the Broadcasting segment. Citing profound changes, namely the “globalization of television viewing, driven by the proliferation of on-demand digital broadcasting platforms” and “the tectonic shift in advertising spending” to web giants like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, TVA Group says it’s implementing a three-pronged reorganization plan that includes restructuring of Quebecor’s news division, a move away from in-house production, and consolidation of the company’s real estate assets. Read more here.

Canadian Media Guild (CMG) members on the picket line outside 2180 Yonge Street on Sept. 28, 2023 (X/@TVO_CMG)

TVO journalists and producers have voted to accept a new collective agreement, ending 11 weeks of job action. Members of the TVO branch of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG) walked off the job Aug. 21, seeking better wages after what the union said were below-inflation wage increases over the last decade, and improved job security for temporary staff. The deal includes a wage increase of 7.7 per cent over three years, including three per cent retroactive to 2022, 2.75 per cent in 2023, and 1.75 per cent in 2024. The union says the agreement also improves access to permanent job opportunities for temporary staff. Read more here.

BCE Q3 operating revenue increased 0.9% year-over-year to $6,080 million, the result of 1.7% higher service revenue driven by wireless and residential internet subscriber growth, as well as acquisitions made over the past year, including Distributel and FX Innovation, partly offset by a 3.9% decline in product revenue, including lower media revenue due to the ongoing advertising recession. Media operating revenue decreased 1.3% to $710 million as a result of lower year-over-year ad revenue, partly offset by higher subscriber revenue. Advertising revenue was down 5.2%, as advertiser demand and spending, particularly for TV, continued to be impacted by ongoing unfavourable economic conditions as well as the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes. Total digital revenues grew 26%, the result of ongoing Crave and sports streaming direct-to-consumer growth and increased advertising bookings from Bell Media’s strategic audience management (SAM) TV media sales tool. Crave subscriptions totalled approximately 3.1 million customers, including direct-to-consumer streaming subscriber growth of 13% over last year. 

Cogeco has announced financial results for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31. Q4 revenue increased 2.6% to $766.7 million. On a constant currency basis, revenue increased by 1.0%, driven by growth in the Canadian telecommunications segment and higher revenue in media activities, partly offset by a decline in the American telecommunications segment. Canadian telecom revenue increased 4.1%, mainly driven by high-speed internet service additions over the past year, higher revenue per customer and contribution from the oxio acquisition completed in March. Revenue in media activities increased by 8.3%.

TELUS has released unaudited results for the third quarter of 2023, reporting consolidated operating revenues and other income increased by 7.2% over the same period a year ago to $5.0 billion. That growth was driven by higher service revenues in the TELUS technology solutions (TTech) and Digitally-led customer experiences – TELUS International (DLCX) segments. That was offset by lower TV and fixed legacy voice services revenues, primarily due to technological substitution. Total telecom customer growth of 406,000 was recorded, up 59,000 over last year, an all-time quarterly record, driven by strong customer demand. Mobile Phone net additions amounted to 160,000, the company’s best third quarter on record, and a record-setting quarter for Connected Device with net additions of 179,000. Meanwhile, the company noted that TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle has purchased 395,843 common shares for an aggregate purchase cost of approximately $10 million over the past fiscal year. Entwistle now holds a total of 800,000+ TELUS common shares, taking his salary in shares for six consecutive years from 2009-15. 

A Canadian Telecommunications Association-commissioned report entitled Connecting Canadians through resilient networks: The impact of the telecom sector in 2022 and beyond, compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), finds that Canada’s six largest telecoms invested $13.3 billion in capital expenditures in 2022 to continue expanding and strengthening their wireless and broadband networks. PwC observes in the report that for the year ending September 2023, cellular and internet access service prices declined by 17.2% and 7.8%, respectively, while over the same period, the Consumer Price Index for All-Items increased by 3.8%. PwC estimates that the sector directly contributed up to $76.7 billion to the national GDP and supported 724,000 Canadian jobs in 2022. 

Catherine Tait

CBC/Radio-Canada President Catherine Tait outlined her priorities for her second term during an appearance before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last week. The first is the launch of the National Indigenous Strategy; the second to ensure the importance of the public broadcaster in Canada’s news ecosystem and creative sector as the CRTC considers how to implement the Online News Act and Online Streaming Act; with Tait’s third priority to work to secure recognition of journalists as “essential” to the protection of democracy. Tait also told the committee, CBC/Radio-Canada is looking ahead to an uncertain future as it encounters the same challenges as other media in facing the “fierce competition of the global giants.” She revealed CBC’s Board of Directors has asked her to look at a “Transformation Plan” to strengthen the public broadcaster for the future “doubling down on our strengths: proximity, relevance and inclusion.”

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