As predicted in this space a few months ago, the Shaw move to buy for $1 each small CTV stations in Windsor, Wingham and Brandon has fallen through. I noted it was just a cheap stunt for the benefit of the CRTC to argue that CTV/Global over-the-air stations don’t need fee-for-carriage and can be profitable without it. I suspect the bean counters at Shaw finally argued economic sense to senior management, and convinced them that buying money losing stations in an ad depression is a guaranteed money-loser. Interesting that the story comes out on a holiday and that Shaw management, in the manner of titans of industry who screw up everywhere, are unavailable for comment. Keep after them boys, to explain what happened to this. Meanwhile, CanWest sold its smaller stations in Montreal and Hamilton to something called Channel Zero, which has a radical approach to profitability: change the format to something they can afford, to wit all news during the day and movies at night. This will be good for news in those communities.
Globe and Mail, July 1 2009