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A sign is pictured on top of the Rogers Communications Inc. building on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 21, 2015. The communications giant has purchased wireless company Mobilicity. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)
A sign is pictured on top of the Rogers Communications Inc. building on the day of their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 21, 2015. The communications giant has purchased wireless company Mobilicity. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Rogers Media to cut 200 jobs across TV, radio, publishing divisions Add to ...

Rogers Media announced Monday it plans to cut 200 jobs across its television, radio and publishing divisions.

The company said the layoffs, which represent 4 per cent of its work force, will begin in February and “conclude as soon as possible.”

“The media industry continues to experience significant pressures from a softening advertising market, fierce competition from global players, and shifting audience consumption habits,” spokeswoman Andrea Goldstein said in an e-mailed statement.

She said the Toronto-based company identified cost savings in production, operations and procurement and “made the difficult decision to reduce head count.”

The cuts will primarily affect Rogers’ conventional television, radio and publishing operations as well as back-office roles, Ms. Goldstein said. She added in a separate e-mail that “today’s announcement impacts all areas of Rogers Media, except for the Toronto Blue Jays.”

Rogers owns the City and Omni television networks, more than 50 radio stations and more than 40 consumer and trade magazine titles as well as specialty television channels including the regional and national Sportsnet channels. The company also owns the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and has a 37.5-per-cent interest in sports juggernaut Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

The division’s owner Rogers Communications Inc., which earns most of its revenues from its communications business, including cable television and Internet and wireless services, is set to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

In the third quarter of 2015, the Rogers Media division posted an 8-per-cent increase in sales to $473-million. However, it attributed that to the playoff success of the Blue Jays , which led to higher advertising and revenue growth at Sportsnet, Rogers’ specialty sports station.

Meanwhile, the company said conventional broadcast television and print advertising continued to struggle.

Monday’s job cuts follow a wave of layoffs in the Canadian broadcasting and print media industries over the past year.

Bell Media told the federal government in early November that it planned to cut 380 jobs - 270 in Toronto and 110 in Montreal - and also made further cuts in other offices and bureaus from Ottawa to Vancouver.

Rogers itself announced 110 job cuts last year as it scaled back its Omni stations and Shaw Media also said it would cut at least 30 jobs as it consolidated news production functions across the country.

Montreal-based La Presse, which is owned by Gesca Ltée, a subsidiary of Power Corp. of Canada, stopped publishing weekday print editions of the newspaper in early January. In the process of moving to a tablet-focused publication, it cut almost 160 full- and part-time jobs across its newsroom as well as circulation, administration and customer service.

Earlier this month, the Toronto Star said it plans to outsource the printing of its paper and will close its printing plant in Vaughan, Ont., likely in July. The move means 220 full-time and 65 part-time staff at the plant will lose their jobs, and the Torstar Corp.-owned paper also said it is cutting 13 digitally focused positions from its newsroom, 15 from circulation and offering voluntary buyouts to remaining newsroom staff.

Last week, Postmedia Network Canada Corp. announced plans to merge competing newsrooms in cities where it owns multiple newspapers and said it would cut 90 jobs in the process.

News of the job cuts at Rogers Media also comes on the same day as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) begins an eight-day hearing on the future of local television news programming.

Among other things, the commission is considering whether a new funding mechanism should be established to help support local news.

Channel Zero Inc., the owner of CHCH-TV Hamilton, appeared at the hearing Monday morning.

Channel 11 LP filed for bankruptcy in December and the network laid of 129 full-time and 38 part-time staff members then offered to hire back 71 people to similar roles under a new, numbered company contracted to create daily news.

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