Corus Entertainment is a Canadian mass media and broadcasting company. Formed in 1999 as a spin-off from Shaw Communications, it is headquartered at Corus Quay in Toronto, Ontario, and has prominent holdings in the radio, publishing, and television industries. Corus Entertainment's voting majority is held by the company's founder JR Shaw and his family, and a 40% stake of Corus stock is owned by Shaw Communications.
Corus' logo used since April 1, 2016.
Western International Communications
|Founded||September 1, 1999|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Revenue||$833 million CAD (2014)|
|Owner||Shaw Communications (40%)|
Number of employees
Toon Boom Animation
Kids Can Press
Corus has a large presence in Canadian broadcasting, as owner of the national Global Television Network, 39 radio stations, and a portfolio of 45 specialty television services. Corus is dominant in Canada's children's television industry through its ownership of the domestic YTV, Teletoon, and Treehouse networks, the animation studio Nelvana and book publisher Kids Can Press, and localized versions of the Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and Nickelodeon brands.
The second incarnation of Shaw's media division—formed from the properties of the bankrupt Canwest Global—was subsumed by Corus on April 1, 2016, giving it control of the over-the-air Global network and 19 additional specialty channels.
In September 1998, JR Shaw and Shaw Media CEO John Cassaday announced plans for Shaw Communications to spin-out its media properties, including radio stations and television specialty channels, into a new company. The spin-out would leave Shaw as a "pure play" telecommunications company. The decision to spin out the properties, into what would be known as Corus Entertainment, was meant to comply with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recommendations at the time which discouraged vertical integration by cable companies who also owned media properties. Corus would be a separate, publicly-traded company, first listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange in September 1999, but would still be primarily controlled by the Shaw family.
In September 1999, Corus acquired the broadcasting assets of the Power Corporation of Canada, which included four television stations and sixteen radio stations. One of these stations, CHAU-TV, was later re-sold to Télé Inter-Rives. In October 1999, it was announced that as part of the break-up of Western International Communications (WIC), Corus would acquire the company's 12 radio stations and most of its specialty channels, including stakes in Family Channel, SuperChannel and MovieMax!.
In September 2000, after negotiations and rumoured offers by other studios, Corus announced that it would acquire the Toronto-based animation studio Nelvana for $540 million; the deal was considered to be a complement to its children's television networks, including YTV, the Teletoon/Télétoon networks, and Treehouse TV, and its stakes in Family (which had already licensed Nelvana programs in the past). Corus also stated that it planned to use the purchase to help launch a preschool-oriented cable network in the United States.
In March 2001, in response to complaints by the CRTC over its near-monopoly on ownership of children's specialty channels in Canada, Corus sold Family Channel to Astral Media for $126.9 million. Corus also sold its stake in the Western Canadian pay-per-view service Viewers Choice to Shaw for $22.6 million, and acquired the Women's Television Network (WTN) from Shaw (which had bought its parent, Moffat Communications, for its cablesystem assets) for $132.6 million. In August 2002, Corus sold CKDO and CKGE-FM to Durham Radio.
In May 2002, Corus announced that it has acquired a 50% stake in Locomotion, a Latin American and Spanish channel focusing primarily of animated series targeting teens and young adults. Hearst Corporation owned the other half.
In March 2004, Corus and Astral announced that it would acquire and swap radio stations in Quebec; Corus acquired the Radiomédia network (including CKAC) and Quebec City's CFOM, while Astral acquired CFVM-FM Amqui, CJOI-FM and CIKI-FM Rimouski, CFZZ-FM Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, and CJDM-FM Drummondville. Corus also sold its Red Deer, Alberta stations CKGY-FM and CIZZ-FM to Newcap Radio.
Additional partnerships, Corus Québec saleEdit
Corus launched a Canadian version of Nickelodeon on November 2, 2009, replacing Discovery Kids. In 2010, Corus's sister company Shaw Communications re-entered the broadcasting industry through its acquisition of the media assets of the bankrupt Canwest, which re-formed the Shaw Media division.
On April 30, 2010, Corus announced that it would sell its Québec radio stations, with the exception of CKRS, to Cogeco for $80 million, pending CRTC approval. Corus cited their low profitability in comparison to their stations elsewhere as reasoning for the sale. On June 25, it was reported that Corus had agreed to sell CKRS to Radio Saguenay, a local business group. The sale of the Corus Québec stations was approved by the CRTC on December 17, 2010, on the condition that Cogeco-owned CJEC-FM and Corus-owned CFEL-FM and CKOY-FM be sold to another party by December 2011. On January 13, 2011, competing broadcaster Astral Media announced that they would seek legal action to stop the sale of these stations to Cogeco, citing the fact that it would own more stations than Astral in the Montreal market, making the competition unfair.
On November 9, 2010, Hasbro Studios signed an agreement with Corus to broadcast their productions on its networks. On March 26, 2012, Corus and Shaw launched ABC Spark, a localized version of U.S. cable network ABC Family, with Shaw owning 49%.
In March 2013, as part of Bell Media's proposed acquisition of Astral Media, Corus reached a tentative deal to acquire Astral's stakes in Historia, Séries+, and the Teletoon Canada group, for $400.6 million. This aspect of the deal, intended to quell concerns from the CRTC regarding Bell's total market share after the merger, was approved by the Competition Bureau on March 18, 2013. In an unrelated deal, Corus also announced that it would acquire Shaw Media's stakes in ABC Spark, Historia, and Séries+ in exchange for cash and its minority stake in Food Network. Corus indicated that these purchases were meant to help the company expand its television holdings in the competitive Quebec market. Corus also planned to open a new office in Montreal following the sale.
On September 1, 2013, Corus's television business was reorganized into five divisions; Corus Kids, Corus Women and Family, Corus Content Distribution and Pay TV, Corus Airtime Sales and Corus Média (for French-language assets). The Corus Kids division was subdivided into operations for YTV and its sister networks, the Teletoon Canada group (Teletoon, Teletoon Retro, and Cartoon Network), and Nelvana and Kids Can Press.
Acquisition of Disney Channel program rights, wind-down of Movie CentralEdit
On April 16, 2015, Corus Entertainment announced that it had reached an agreement with the Disney–ABC Television Group to acquire long-term, Canadian multi-platform rights to distribute Disney Channel's programming library and associated brands. Alongside the licensing deal, Corus announced that it would officially launch Canadian versions of Disney Channel in English and French on September 1, 2015. New Corus-run Disney Junior and Disney XD channels were launched on December 1, 2015.
On November 20, 2015, Corus announced that it would shut down Movie Central and Encore Avenue to focus more on its specialty channels. Subscribers to the networks were migrated to Bell Media's The Movie Network and TMN Encore—ending the regional monopolies that TMN and Movie Central held in eastern and western Canada respectively. Bell Media made a payment of $211 million to Corus for assistance in coordinating this migration.
Subsumption of Shaw Media, attempted sale of French channelsEdit
On January 13, 2016, Corus Entertainment announced that it would acquire Shaw Media for $1.85 billion, with Shaw Communications taking a 39% share of Corus stock. The division consisted primarily of the broadcasting assets of the former Canwest, including the over-the-air Global Television Network and other specialty channels, and were operated separately from Corus. The transaction was being used to fund Shaw Communications' purchase of wireless carrier Wind Mobile. Corus CEO Doug Murphy described the transaction as being a "transformational acquisition that redefines Corus and Canada's media landscape".
Although referred to by Corus as an acquisition, the transaction was officially a reorganization of the assets of JR Shaw, since both companies already share effective control via Shaw and his family. Corus and Shaw are considered to be a single entity by the CRTC for regulatory purposes, which exempted the transaction from the CRTC tangible benefits policy and scrutiny surrounding concentration of media ownership. The reorganization was approved by the CRTC on March 23, 2016, and completed on April 1, 2016. At the same time, multiple Shaw Media executives joined Corus (including its former CEO Barbara Williams, as its new executive VP and COO), and the company adopted a new logo.
On October 17, 2017, Bell Media announced its intent to acquire Historia and Séries+ from Corus for $200 million, which would have reunited them with the former Astral Media channels. Corus stated that the two channels were not part of its "strategic priorities" at this time. On May 28, 2018, the sale was blocked by the Competition Bureau for violating conditions imposed on Bell Media during its purchase of Astral Media, which prohibits the company from regaining ownership of divested Astral properties for 10 years.
Losses, exploration of saleEdit
In its third-quarter financial report, Corus reported a year-over-year loss of $91 million, in comparison to a profit of $133 million in 2017. Corus also made a $1.013 billion write-down on its broadcasting businesses, resulting in a quarterly loss of $935.9 million, and cut its dividend to 24 cents. Doug Murphy acknowledged changes to the market climate for television, and stated that the company would have a larger focus on automated and "microtargeted" advertising sales going forward (in particular, using artificial intelligence to analyze information from set-top boxes to determine the best advertising strategies).
Sponsorships and industry partnershipsEdit
Corus is an industry sponsor of the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus; Gary Maavara, Corus' Corporate Secretary, sits on the Waterloo campus' advisory board. The company also funds a couple of endowed chair positions, including Chair in Women in Management at the Ivey Business School (London, Ontario, Canada) beginning in 2003, and a Chair in Communications Strategy at the Rotman School of Management (Toronto) beginning in 2002.
Relationship with Shaw CommunicationsEdit
Corus Entertainment was formed from media assets that had been owned by Shaw Communications. Shaw and Corus are independent, publicly traded companies, but nonetheless, some reports indicate that the two companies continued to have a close relationship. For several years, Corus managed advertising operations (such as TV listings channels) for Shaw's cable systems, although this operation has since been discontinued. Executives have also occasionally moved between the two companies, with former Corus Television president Paul Robertson joining Shaw to head Shaw Media (the former Canwest broadcasting operations) in 2010.
Following Shaw's 2010 acquisition of Canwest's TV assets, the two companies incidentally became partners in certain channels including Dusk (later replaced by ABC Spark) and Food Network Canada; these partnerships were unwound in 2013. Otherwise, there was no connection or common programming between Corus's conventional and specialty television operations and those of Shaw Media. For example, Corus owns three over-the-air TV stations which were longtime CBC affiliates, and which agreed in 2015 to switch to Bell Media's CTV network, despite Shaw owning the rival Global network at the time. Since September 2016, following the merger of the Shaw Media properties into Corus, the Corus-operated CTV affiliates have also carried Global News programming.
As the two companies are both effectively controlled by JR Shaw, the CRTC considers Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications to be a single entity in regards to certain policies, such as the "Diversity of Voices" policy and a vertical integration rule requiring television providers to carry three channels owned by unaffiliated parties for each co-owned channel they offer: due to the effective control, Corus networks carried by Shaw television services are subject to this rule. Additionally, the CRTC considered Corus's "acquisition" of Shaw Media to be a corporate reorganization of JR Shaw's assets, and not an outright purchase.
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