Global content in question as Corus swallows Shaw

logo_CorusIt always happens. You come down to LA for the TCA press tour and big TV news breaks back home.

Word that Corus had pulled off a $2.65-billion acquisition of Shaw Media in cash and stock reached the floor of the TCA’s Langham hotel Wednesday morning.

Now, the little I know about ownership at Corus and Shaw is that Alberta’s Shaw family already had a controlling interest in both. I’m sure Wednesday’s announcement is not as simple as money going from one pocket to the next. What is clear is that what has been created is a bigger company, more on the scale of Bell. Shaw and Corus combined generated close to CAN$2 billion in revenues in 2015.

Shaw currently owns the broadcast network Global as well as several specialty stations.

Shaw-Logo2On the network side, Shaw has seemed to me to be in a holding pattern. Twelve-to 15-year-old shows such as Survivor and NCIS were still far and away their top performers. Global has not drafted well in recent years, with Supergirl the one bright spot this fall. At their upfront last June, the three shows they showcased by bringing talent north all seemed snake bit. The Toronto-lensed Heroes Reborn, which NBC announced Wednesday was not coming back, might as well have been called Heroes Stillborn. Another series about a lady surgeon was yanked off the fall sked a day after Global’s upfront when NBC learned the star was pregnant. Jane Lynch’s much-delayed new CBS sitcom, Angel from Hell, is, as the LA Times says, beyond salvation. Minority Report was also an early dud.

Numeris’ most recent Top-30 list of Canadian English programs, looking at the week of Dec. 28, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016 (admittedly an odd week), included only five Global shows, including the decades-old daytimer The Young and the Restless.

Global, to be frank, seemed outplayed recently at the Hollywood screenings.

200px-Global_Television_Network_Logo.svgIn the run up to pick ‘n’ pay, Shaw also failed to make content deals with the sexier U.S, cable providers. Bell’s alliances with HBO and Showtime gives them buzz-worthy shows they can sell for years. Rogers has a similar vault full of goodies from critic’s darling FX.

Another big challenge is on the Canadian content front. Rookie Blue is out of production and the recent Andrea Martin comedy was audience repellent. New originals are in the works, including The Code and Houdini and Doyle. Still, new owner Corus will need a programmer with vision and touch to play catch up in a content game that is getting more competitive by the minute.

Where Shaw has plenty of winners on the content front is in specialty. Channels such as History, Showcase and Food are strong brands stocked with proven winners such as Vikings and Chopped Canada. As Canada heads into a pick ‘n’ pay TV landscape, these are blue chip specialty brands consumers are likely to select a la carte.

4 Responses to “Global content in question as Corus swallows Shaw”

  1. Shaw doesn’t have any radio stations as mentioned above, Corus owns a stable of them.

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  2. Alex Strachan

    Global’s big miss on the specialty front — way back when, when it was Canwest, and even before — was sports. CTV sprang for TSN, remember. Global ended up with Mystery, Prime, the Western channel or whatever it was called, and dallied for a time with Fox Sports. CTV landed Discovery and a handful of other specialties they’re probably still happy with today. With Rogers spending big-time behind Sportsnet, Global-Shaw seems to be, um, shut out on the sports scene. They handed the Super Bowl off to CTV not so long ago (that’s some long game, Skip), and compounded that by staying out of hockey entirely. With ad-supported TV crashing everywhere except live events, sports is even more important to broadcast today than at any time in the medium’s 60-plus-year history. I’m thinking to myself — Corus spent $2-billion-plus for what exactly? Don’t they even get lacrosse rights for that?

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  3. Don’t forget that Corus shutters at some point this year,Movie Central to make the Movie Network/HBO Canada a National pay television network again,Corus could shutter channels that Shaw/Canwest had in competition with channels such as W Network (formerly WTN)…it’s not out of the question that Corus could sell BBC Canada to the CBC for example…or that Deja View may fade to black for another attempt at TV Land Canada with CBC,Rogers (CitvTV),Channel Zero (CHCH) and Bell Media maybe making better CanCon content avaible to it ?

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