Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: November 03, 2017

JAZZ FM Rocks: Station Ranked #1 in Toronto

Ross Porter’s content-rich and often eclectic Liberty Village-based radio station has been voted #1 by Now magazine, read by a sizeable and influential city demo with disposable income and an apparent disdain for cloned formats and repetitive playlists.

Formerly known as CJRT, the station switched to its current format in 2001 with Porter taking over the reins three years later. He has built the FM’s profile with compelling community outreach programs, an on-air team that isn’t afraid to share its knowledge of roots, blues and jazz music, regular podcasts, and an on-going concert series that sometimes is housed in its Pardee Avenue main-studio and often in high-profile clubs around town.

While its cume audience doesn’t come close to matching the top-ranked Numeris FMs in the market, Porter has cultivated an audience that can be described as smart, well educated, professional, and willing to pony up cash to support the cause in the FM’s fund-raising drives.

Add to this, Jazz.FM91 has built a considerable online audience, with boast-worthy listenership in the US and Asia.

The latest accolade comes in Now magazine’s Readers’ Choice poll that places it out front, with Indie 88 voted into second place.

Bell Media holds its own in Q3

In a seasonally low quarter for the media sector, Bell Media operating revenue increased 1.0% in Q3 to $723M, the result of higher advertising and subscriber revenues.

Advertising revenue was up over Q3 2016 due to continued growth in outdoor advertising at Astral Out of Home (AOOH). Although results this quarter reflected the recapture of advertising dollars following the shift in Q3 last year to the primary broadcaster of the Rio Summer Olympics, conventional and overall specialty TV revenues decreased due to continued market softness and a steady decline in audience levels. Crucially, subscriber revenue increased over last year on higher revenues from CraveTV and TV Everywhere GO products.

Media adjusted EBITDA of $187M in Q3 was unchanged, compared to last year, as higher revenue was offset by a 1.3% increase in operating costs due to higher programming and content costs driven by the ongoing ramp-up of content for CraveTV and pay TV services, deal renewals for specialty TV programming, and increased costs at AOOH as a result of acquisitions and new outdoor advertising contract wins over the past year.

  • CTV was the most-watched television network with 10 of the top 20 programs, and 7 of the top 10 programs during fall premiere week with viewers aged 25 to 54, including the top 2 new fall series: ‘Young Sheldon’ and ‘The Good Doctor’.

  • Bell Media reached 82% of Canadian English-language specialty and pay-TV viewers in the average week in Q3, with 5 of the top 10 Canadian English entertainment specialty and pay channels among viewers aged 25 to 54: Space, Discovery, TMN, Comedy, and CP24.

  • ‘Game of Thrones Season 7’ was the most-watched series ever on Canadian specialty and pay TV and the #1 summer show overall, while the ‘Handmaid's Tale’ was the most-watched new program on Canadian entertainment specialty TV during the 2016/2017 broadcast year. ‘Star Trek: Discovery’, airing on Space and available on streaming service CraveTV, broke records with the three highest-rated series episodes in Canadian specialty TV history.

  • Overall viewership for NFL games is up 10% over last year on TSN and CTV, with average audiences up 53% for Sunday night games, up 18% on Mondays and up 12% on Thursdays.

  • Bell Media maintained its position in the Québec market with Bell Media French specialty and pay TV reaching 70% of all French-language TV viewers in the average week in Q3.

  • Canada's top radio broadcaster again in summer 2017, Bell Media on average reached 17.8M listeners. On August 9, Bell Media agreed to acquire 4 Ontario FM radio stations from Larche Communications Inc. Pending CRTC approval, the addition of these stations to Bell Media's 105 iHeartRadio Canada properties will broaden the network's industry-leading reach across the country.

  • Bell Media continued to lead in digital media among Canadian broadcast and video network competitors, reaching 67% of the digital audience in Q3 with 21M unique monthly visitors, average monthly time of 1.1B minutes spent on the sites, and 358M videos viewed.

  • The exclusive outdoor advertising provider for Toronto Pearson International, AOOH introduced two new large-format digital super boards close to Canada's largest airport in August, providing airport information and advertising opportunities reaching a daily circulation of close to 800K commuters and passengers. AOOH now has more than 40 large digital faces in the Toronto market.

Subscribers can read more about Bell Media’s Q3 in Playback

Torstar takes another hit

Torstar Corp., publisher of the Toronto Star, reported lower revenue for the third quarter of 2017, though growth at VerticalScope helped partially offset declines in print advertising revenue.

Segmented revenue was $164.6M, down $17.1M, or 9.4 percent, from the third quarter of 2016, the company reported Wednesday. That included revenue growth of $0.5M — or 4.8 percent (8.8 percent growth in U.S. dollars) — from its majority stake in VerticalScope, which owns and operates more than 600 online forums and premium content sites across North America.

Print advertising revenue fell 15 percent in the quarter, and overall the company posted a net loss of $6.6M or 8 cents per share, compared to a profit of $1.4M or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.

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