TVA Group is laying off 547 positions (31 percent of its current workforce) as part of a restructuring in the face of declining audiences and ad revenues.
In the third-quarter financial results released today, TVA Group reported a year-to-date loss of nearly A$13 million for its broadcasting segment, compared with A$1.6 million for the same period last year.
TVA Group is implementing a three-pronged reorganization plan approved by its board of directors. As a first step, it will focus on its role as a broadcaster and end in-house production of entertainment content by its TVA Productions subsidiary. The second measure concerns the news outlets of TVA Group and Quebecor: TVA, LCN, Le Journal de Montréal, Le Journal de Québec, QUB radio, 24 heures, TVA Sports, TVA Publications magazines and the other digital brands. TVA Group will reorganize its news crews based in Montréal, Québec City and its local stations in the rest of Québec and call for closer collaboration among all of Quebecor’s media properties. The third measure concerns TVA Group’s real estate holdings, whereby TVA Group’s Corporate Services and the Quebecor Content, Quebecor Expertise Media and Quebecor Out-of-Home teams will move into Quebecor’s head office building.
The layoffs, meanwhile, include 300 positions in in-house production, 98 positions related mainly to the operations of TVA’s local stations and 149 positions in other departments.
“The deficit TVA Group is currently running is simply no longer sustainable,” said Pierre Karl Péladeau, acting president and CEO of TVA Group and president and CEO of Quebecor. “We have a responsibility to correct the situation. TVA has historically been an important vehicle for Québec culture, language and news. We have a duty to preserve it and ensure its sustainability. The necessary measures we are taking today will change the way we do business in order to withstand the market pressures and face the competition. We will refocus our activities, reduce our operating costs and concentrate on the strengths that set us apart and make TVA Québec’s favorite television network. Our goal is to be able to continue offering viewers original Québec content, to continue investing and to bring all Quebecers reliable coverage of news and major sporting events.”
“While the situation leaves us no choice but to make these major decisions, it is difficult to see such committed and talented people leave us,” said Péladeau. “They have helped make TVA Québec’s most popular network. I am grateful for their dedication, and I thank them sincerely.
“For over ten years, TVA Group has been telling government bodies and regulators that the situation is urgent. Canada’s private media companies must be able to operate in a modernized ecosystem that can adapt to a borderless digital world. More than ever, this demands regulatory relief, flexibility and tax credits that more adequately and equitably reflect the conditions facing broadcasters and producers in the television industry. The fact is that not only has nothing changed, but the situation is now worse than ever. The lack of consideration for our industry, coupled with the mounting challenges it confronts, has forced us to take unprecedented action.
“There is no question of TVA Group disappearing from Québec’s media and television landscape. Its programs are landmarks on Québec’s distinctive cultural landscape. They bring Quebecers together. We have always been able to innovate and adapt to major upheavals in the industry. Just as we rose to the challenges in print media, which were similarly disrupted by the Internet in 2000, I am confident that we will meet today’s challenges in television.”