Ad-Starved Canadian Broadcasters Cut Jobs, Costs

The cash-strapped CBC is weighing the closure of its in-house documentary unit, as rival Bell Media cuts 120 TV jobs in Toronto due to "advertising and subscription challenges."

TORONTO – The cash-strapped CBC is weighing the closure of its venerated in-house documentary unit.

The move is the latest sign of a Canadian broadcast sector feeling the strain of a soft advertising market and cord-cutting, and includes rival Bell Media eliminating 120 Toronto TV jobs this summer.

A CBC spokesman on Tuesday told The Hollywood Reporter that "everything is on the table."

The prospect of shuttering the in-house producer of Canada: A People’s History and The Canadian Experience prompted a letter to CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix and newly installed head of English programming Heather Conway signed by 17 leading staff at the public broadcaster.

The CBC has already imposed deep budget and job cuts, and diversified its primetime lineup away from procedurals and shiny-floor reality competition shows, in a bid to close a $130 million (about $121 million U.S.) budgetary shortfall.

The network's blow from a continuing advertising revenue crunch includes losing prized Canadian NHL rights to Rogers Media after the private sector rival signed a blockbuster $5.2 billion ($4.9 billion U.S.) deal with the pro hockey league.

Meanwhile, rival Canadian broadcaster Bell Media on Monday said it plans to cut another 120 jobs this summer at its Toronto TV operations due to "financial pressure related to advertising and subscription challenges across our TV services."

Bell Media president Kevin Crull in an internal email to Toronto employees said the TV business is subject to a "competitive and fast-changing business environment,” and that efforts would be made to ensure "minimal disruption."

A consolidating Canadian TV market has been buffeted by ad dollars increasingly chasing consumers online, and cable and satellite TV operators facing increased cord-shaving and cord-cutting.