Bell Media laid off nearly 100 of its TV staff this past Wednesday, with cuts affecting MuchMusic, MTV, M3, Space and E!.
Programs cancelled are 1G5G, After Degrassi, Losing It, MTV News, Today’s Top 10, Video on Trial, The Wedge and Movie Night, with notable “personalities” like Leah Miller, Lauren Toyota and Scott Willats out of jobs.
While MuchMusic has failed at staying relevant in the YouTube era, these cuts affect many professionally trained television crew members, and well, original content, so this sucks. The in-house production cuts mean that the Bell Media channels will have to rely even more on American content, according to the Financial Post. While Much
Music’s has re-focused as of late has been on airing comedic programs from the U.S. like Broad City and Nathan For You, E! and MTV were still producing in-house entertainment programs with the refugee VJs/hosts.
The FP link is a must read as it speaks with former VJs Terry David Mulligan and Denise Donlan, music historian Alan Cross and former editor turned senior VP David Kines.
One of the main points discussed is the downfall (culturally, and from a business sense) is Bell’s inability of figuring how to manage similar products (MTV and MuchMusic after the CHUM takeover), “Bell Media ended up depriving them both resources they needed to stay ahead of the Internet challenge,” since the CRTC had imposed restrictions on MTV (the inability to show actual music videos) in order to protect MuchMusic, said Donlan.
Another point: While YouTube may have played a key role in MuchMusic’s downfall, it’s also the place where fans of the classic era have uploaded clips of their favourite videos and moments and have written about how much the programming back then meant to them. Kines continues: “The thing that killed it is also, perhaps, the greatest commemoration of it.”
So who’s to blame? Bell/CTV for acquiring and mismanaging the channels? The CRTC for allowing the purchase? YouTube?
For those who don’t want to program a bunch of video playlists on their YouTube apps, MuchRetro provides a decent commercial-free flow of videos. Definitely worth the premium digital package rate. It’s on Rogers, not available on Bell for some crazy reason if though they own it.
Around the web:
- Financial Post: Death of Canada’s music-video channel era? MuchMusic left with skeleton staff after job cuts, source says
- Real Screen: Bell Media cancels shows, lays off staff at Much, MTV
- Huffington Post Canada: Bell Media slashes nearly 100 TV jobs
- The Globe and Mail: MuchMusic, MTV take brunt of Bell Media Job cuts
- The Hollywood Reporter: YouTube effect costs jobs at Canada’s MuchMusic channel