Will Rogers bid on more U.S. shows? That’s the question many media watchers are asking now that Canadian cable giant Rogers Communications has bought the five CityTV stations from CTVglobemedia, thanks to a forced divestiture by the CRTC after CTV bought Chum, Ltd, the former owners of CityTV.
Rogers is buying CityTV formatted stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg. Rogers already owns CFMT-TV (Omni 1) and CJMT (Omni 2) in Toronto, but both are multicultural-formatted, though both channels do carry some English-language syndicated and local programming. (Omni 2 is also getting late afternoon NFL games on Sundays this fall.)
Three major networks exist in Canada – privately-owned CTV and Global, and public broadcaster CBC, which does not air American programming in prime time.
The secret to winning the ratings wars north of the border is to acquire U.S. programming, something CTV and Global has done with great success.
But one has to wonder – at what cost to home-grown Canadian programming?