It has been a wild week at Corus Entertainment.

All was well last Wednesday when the Canadian media company hosted their annual Upfront to advertisers. By Friday, they had to issue a release addressing some shocking news: Warner Bros Discovery was not going to renew their long-standing specialty channel brand relationships with Corus beyond the end of 2024. Affected are some of Corus’ major specialty brands, including HGTV Canada and Food Canada.

That was quickly followed by news that Rogers will be the new home of those brands in Canada in 2025.

Monday morning, Corus’s stock price slipped over 20 per cent and stood around 36 cents by 11:23 in the morning.

No surprise, therefore, that industry players packed Monday’s “Canadian Industry Perspectives” session at the Banff World Media Festival. Troy Reeb, the tell-it-like-it-is, top programming executive at Corus, was a featured panelist along with Lionsgate’s Jocelyn Hamilton and others. The title of the session had to have stung: “Best Case Scenario.”

Just last week, Reeb was able to boast that Global, part of Corus, was doing well in the ratings, challenging CTV’s long dominance post-Super Bowl week in prime time. Not bad for an independent company. That, however, in a point he’s now amplifying, is the disadvantage that will be tough to overcome in today’s Canadian broadcast media landscape.


I am not in Banff this week, but I have heard directly from industry sources in the room. Reeb vented about “serious structural problems” in the way the CRTC allowed major carriers to also own networks, something that was once very verbotten.

In an “only the strong survive” universe, Bell Media boasted at their upfront Thursday that they are the one Canadian media company positioned to play ball with the big international giants. Rogers, clearly thinking beyond their traditional Sports-first stance, seem to be making the case that there are two Canadian teams in this playoff.

Which leaves Reeb raging. “Anyone from Rogers here?” he said at Monday’s Banff session. “They’re probably over at the school yard taking someone’s lunch money.” Reeb went on to call the sudden specialty content transition an abuse of the system and “a thumb in the eye to the production sector, to consumers and to the CRTC.”

By the way, Rogers stock was also down Monday morning, by nearly a dollar — although by 12:29 pm ET it still stood at $52.45.

Reeb quickly fought back. He stresses that it is the Canadian content that are the true drivers of the company’s specialty brands. Viewers tune in to see Canadian hosts such as Scott McGillivray and Bryan Baeumler on HGTV, as well as homegrown shows such as Farmhouse Facelift (back soon for a third season). Reeb vows that those associations will continue into 2025 under new names for those Corus specialty channels.

Still, what I wouldn’t have given to moderate that session. There are rumblings that Discovery may also be leaving Bell. According to one source, there was no bidding war for the Warners-Discovery brands, just a flat out departure from Corus and a new deal for 2025 at Rogers.

Meanwhile, Rogers Sports & Entertainment’s virtual, taped upfront was streamed Monday afternoon. President Colette Watson confirmed on the video that the Warners Bros – Discovery cable brands will be firmly under the Rogers tent in Canada by next January. Stay tuned as further details emerge.

Correction: this original article read that, when the Warner Bros. — Discovery deal ends at the end of 2024, Corus will also lose the History specialty brand. That is not the case; History remains at Corus. regrets the error.

1 Comment

  1. He has no one to blame but himself.

    For all his nonsense about Canadian brands, roughly half of Corus is nothing but American brands and programming. The Canadian brands that actually matter (Showcase, Teletoon, YTV) have become generic import farms thanks to endless CanCon programming cutbacks and job layoffs.
    The CRTC and Competition Bureau deserve the blame for their relaxed regulations and changes that have done nothing but harm to the broadcasting industry. But it’s nothing short of hypocritical when corporate suits
    blame the government and U.S streamers for this broken landscape that they themselves created and took full advantage of.
    What’s happening to Corus right now is nothing short of karmic justice, and they’ll get no sympathy from their customers or their ex-employees.

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