Citing changing viewer habits, Rogers puts its 24-hour news channel to bed.
Toronto bar and café owners will soon have one less thing to put on their ceiling-mounted televisions day and night. Earlier today, Rogers revealed that it’s getting rid of the CityNews Channel. The shutdown comes exactly two years after the 24-hour news channel announced its launch.
The CityNews Channel (not to be confused with CityNews on CityTV, which isn’t going anywhere) occupied a place in the hearts and minds of Torontonians alongside its competitor, Bell-owned CP24. It was background noise—not always welcome, but always informative. Its programming consisted of GTA-related stories from CityNews and overnight simulcasts of 680 News radio, all sandwiched between on-screen tickers that displayed constant streams of weather updates, stock news, and headlines.
In a statement, Scott Moore, Rogers’ president of broadcast, said the decision to shutter the CityNews Channel had to do with “evolving viewer habits and the global structural shift in advertising,” which some have interpreted to mean that the ratings were terrible and the station wasn’t profitable. Also cancelled by Rogers today: OMNI Television’s English-language South Asian newscast, and OMNI’s Alberta operations. Moore’s statement says the changes impact 2.5 per cent of Rogers’ broadcast workforce.
The CityNews Channel’s founding was a result of a messy bout of corporate reshuffling. It started when CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media) bought CHUM Limited, which owned CityTV and CP24. In 2007, as a condition of that takeover, the CRTC made CTVglobemedia sell CityTV, and Rogers became the buyer. And so Rogers owned a chain of city news channels, but it didn’t have CP24 to endlessly replay stories. As a result, it started its own version of CP24. And the rest is history—now in every sense of the word.
According to Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye, the CityNews Channel will show this graphic over 680 News audio until it goes off the air at the end of June.