July 12th, 2024

CRTC might ease Corus’ Canadian content spending requirements after profit plunge

By The Canadian Press on October 20, 2023.

Canada's telecommunication regulator is proposing to ease Corus Entertainment Inc.'s spending requirements for "programs of national interest" as the company says it is coping with an increasingly challenging financial situation. The Corus logo at Corus Quay in Toronto is photographed on Friday, June 22, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin

OTTAWA – Canada’s telecommunications regulator says it’s looking to ease some Canadian content spending requirements for Corus Entertainment Inc. after the company said in a filing its financial situation is increasingly dire.

Corus vice-president and associate general counsel Matt Thompson wrote to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission last week, asking the regulator to “urgently” change some conditions for its English-language television stations and discretionary services.

That includes lowering its obligation to spend 8.5 per cent of revenues on programs of national interest for its English-language stations to five per cent, as Corus cites a 22 per cent drop in third-quarter profits this year compared with the same period in 2022.

The company says it’s facing multiple challenges, including recent strikes by the Writer’s Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild in the U.S. that have affected its TV lineup, along with ongoing high inflation that has raised programming costs while reducing advertising demand.

CRTC secretary general Marc Morin responded to the application on Thursday, saying the regulator is in favour of granting the company’s request but will first hold a consultation on the proposals.

In June, Bell Canada also submitted two applications to the CRTC, which have yet to be ruled upon, asking the regulator to waive local news and Canadian programming requirements for its television stations amid financial strain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CJR.B, TSX:BCE)

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