No plans to change Citytv brand, says Rogers

The new owner of the five Citys says it wants to keep the profile and persona of its new channels intact

On the heels of its announced $375-million purchase of the five Citytv stations, Rogers Media says there are no major changes in store for the former CHUM channels, which it acquired after the CRTC ordered CTVglobemedia to sell them last week as a condition of its purchase of CHUM.

‘There are no plans right now to change the brand… We’re very excited about the profile of the stations and by their persona,’ Rogers Media spokesperson Jan Innes tells Playback Daily, adding that the City stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary ‘really complement our other media assets.’

Of the five, Citytv Toronto stands to see the most immediate change from the deal, since it will have to move out of the flagship CHUM building on Queen Street in downtown Toronto, following CRTC approval of the transaction.

‘We will have to find a new home for the City station in Toronto, since CTVglobemedia owns that building,’ Innes says. ‘It’s different in each center. In some cases they’re just leases, so it depends on whether real estate is owned or not.’ She notes that Rogers is not planning any staff changes at the Citys at this time.

Industry analyst Ian Morrison of watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting favors Rogers’ purchase of the City stations, and says the Toronto channel’s pending move from the CHUM building is largely irrelevant in the overall scope of things.

‘The biggest change would have been if the Citytv stations had been taken over by CTV… that would have been the biggest change to their culture,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t matter what building they’re in — there are still three private TV networks in Canada, and there would’ve been only two.’

The City stations are the latest acquisition for Rogers Communications, which also owns Rogers Cable and Telecom — Canada’s largest cable operator — as well as numerous publications, the Toronto Blue Jays, Rogers Sportsnet, and Omni Television, which operates stations in regions including Victoria, Winnipeg and Toronto.

The new owner sees little crossover between the Omnis and Citys.

‘The Citytv station [in Toronto] is an English station and quite different from the other two [Omni] stations that we currently have in the market,’ says Innes, noting that the Omni stations in Toronto air in different languages.

Morrison believes that Rogers will eventually want to rebrand the City stations, as it did when it acquired Rogers Sportsnet, formerly CTV Sportsnet, and the Rogers Centre, formerly known as SkyDome.

‘They might well want to get the Rogers name out there,’ he says, though he doesn’t foresee any other major alterations to the brand.

‘Rogers is a sophisticated company and I don’t think they would muck around with a successful brand,’ Morrison adds. ‘They spent money on it so they’re going to want to make it work.’