Rogers to buy CJNT-TV Montreal, expand western presence, too
|May 03, 2012|
MONTREAL and TORONTO – Citytv is going to Montreal as Rogers Media announced the purchase of Metro 14 (CJNT-TV) from Channel Zero today.
While CJNT is licensed as a multicultural station, Rogers wants to spread the Citytv brand across the country and has chosen not to brand it an OMNI station, which is what its multicultural stations in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta are called.
Terms of the sale of the station were not disclosed (but we bet the sale price is for more than the 12 bucks Channel Zero bought it for from former owner Canwest Global in 2009) and CJNT will begin airing Citytv content, as an affiliate, beginning next month as the transaction awaits CRTC approval. Citytv will be doing the ad sales beginning next month, however and with the acquisition of Métro14 Montréal, which reaches 1.1 million Canadian households, Citytv is now available in 9 million homes throughout the country.
“Breaking into this market with the acquisition of Métro14 Montréal is a key ingredient of our overall strategy to deliver our content to a national audience. It is our goal to become a full national network in the near future, and this is without question, an aggressive and essential step in the right direction,” said Scott Moore, president, broadcast, Rogers Media, in a press release. “Having a direct presence in Quebec offers a more consistent and reliable viewing experience with local and acquired programming not available on any other network.”
The sale of such an asset may jolt the folks at Channel Zero (which also owns CHCH-TV Hamilton, Movieola, Silver Screen Classics and Ouat Media), but in a note to staff forwarded to Cartt.ca, company president Cal Millar urged them not to worry. “We did not proactively seek to sell Métro14. We were approached by Rogers Media. Initially the idea of selling the station didn’t really appeal to us, as we were beginning to see a payoff for the hard work that we’ve put into the station over the past three years,” he wrote. “There’s been solid growth in audience numbers and advertising revenues; the Métro14 brand was building awareness in the Montréal market and the original programming that we’ve developed for the station was establishing a loyal audience. These results are exactly why Rogers viewed Métro14 as a valuable asset and sought to acquire it from us.
“After much consideration, it was clear that the offer from Rogers Media represented a very significant, immediate opportunity for Channel Zero to better position itself for growth. This transaction will help us accelerate our plans to expand our asset portfolio in the shorter term,” Millar continued. “A very tangible example of this strategy is our pursuit of an all-business news radio station, Biz88, which continues at the CRTC hearing in Toronto next week. On the flipside, with the acquisition of Métro14, Rogers will continue the expansion of its Citytv network across the country. And so, in the final analysis, this transaction is a ‘win-win’ for both parties.
Rogers also announced today that Pattison Broadcasting stations CFJC-TV Kamloops, CKPG-TV Prince George and CHAT-TV Medicine Hat have signed on as Citytv affiliates and will air 90% Citytv programming beginning in the fall.
The three stations had been airing Rogers Media content anyway ever since Canwest Global shuttered its E! Network in Canada and walked away from that affiliate arrangement when it entered bankruptcy protection in 2009.
These two announcements follow Rogers recent acquisition of broadcaster SCN Saskatchewan, a $3 million deal the company announced in January which will go before the CRTC on Monday in Toronto. The company will re-brand that station Citytv as well.
Who says OTA TV is dead?