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Today's Big Story

Chum Change

If CTV swallows Chum, what's next?

By Richard Warnica 2 May 2007 | TheTyee.ca

Richard Warnica is a senior editor at The Tyee.

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Good news Tuesday for those who believe there is too much diversity in Canadian televion. Speaking at a regulatory hearing in Quebec, officials for Canada’s broadcast regulator signaled they would not block CTVglobemedia’s $1.4 billion takeover of Chum Ltd.

The deal has been stewing since last July when Chum laid off more than 280 employees and cancelled newscasts across the country in advance of a takeover bid from CTV. If approved, the merger would leave CTV with two stations each in five of Canada’s largest markets: Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

CTV may still be forced to drop some stations or adjust its holdings to gain final approval. But even so, it looks like we’re heading for another wave of major Canadian media consolidation. Something Daniel Gutstein predicted in The Tyee last June, after a major Senate report on Canada’s media largely ignored the effects of concentration.

Some, however, are not content to trudge towards the inevitable. Media unions, the CBC and the friends of Canadian broadcasting have all spoken out against the CTV/Chum merger, according to the Star’s Antonia Zerbisias.

Zerbisias too, is not afraid to proffer her views on the subject. “Not one media merger so far,” she wrote Monday “has proved beneficial to local news programming.”  [Tyee]

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