President of Bell Media
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - President of Bell Media
Television broadcasting is 80% of Bell Media, and our Television Performance
in ‘14/’15 Season is UNPRECEDENTED...
In “network broadcast” television we have grown
ratings 11% STD (CTV/CTV2), Global is down 2.5%,
Rogers is down 4% (City/Omni), and CBC is down 12%
In “specialty broadcast” television Bell, Shaw, and Rogers
are all up 3%, & Corus is up 1%... But in absolute viewing
we have outgrown the rest of the industry combined!
CTV wins every single prime time hour of the week (with the key
ad sales demo) except for Saturday “Hockey Night in Canada). CTV
dominates with 14 of the top 20 shows in the country.
President, Bell Media, Inc., September 2010 – April 2015
With IPTV gaining momentum it was apparent that TV distribution would fuel our growth for years. However, we
were facing rapidly increasing content costs, new competitive threats, and the prospect of distributing content
across our latest network and device investments. Plus, with the cellular market maturing BCE itself had
meaningful growth challenges. In late 2009 I wrote a white paper which outlined our strategic options, it
recommended that we invest in owning content. After getting board approval in August 2010 we acquired CTV,
the country’s largest television and radio broadcaster and I was immediately installed to run the business.
CTV brought us excellent broadcast assets and a leading market position; however, it lacked management
discipline and strategic focus. In March 2011 I overhauled the management team, made seven internal
promotions, and removed a complete executive layer. We attacked the “off air” cost structure and saved ~$35M
annually. We invested in HD broadcast, sales tools, and content. By 2012 revenue had grown 8% from our
acquisition basis and EBITDA had grown 61%.
However, we needed French language assets and we were too reliant on low-margin network broadcast. So we
acquired the number three media company,
Astral Media, which offered a perfect fit. A new,
integrated, executive team was formed –
changing four of my eleven direct reports.
Another $55M of annual costs were removed.
We successfully negotiated deals with HBO,
Showtime, CBS, Warner Brothers, Disney, and
others to assemble the best content line-up in
Canada. Our internal productions (CTV News,
Etalk, The Social, Marilyn Denis, Canada AM,
etc) grew and broke ratings records. We
commissioned several award winning drama
and reality productions (Amazing Race
Canada, Saving Hope, Motive, 19-2, Orphan
Black, etc). In 2014 we produced 4 of the top 5
Canadian programs and won several national
and international awards.
From 2010 to 2015 Revenue grew 44%, EBITDA grew 141%, and free cash flow grew by 147%. 60% of this
growth was organic from revenue and cost initiatives, and 40% came through acquisition (figure 1). As of April
2015 our assets are stronger than ever (figure 2)! Our television channels and radio stations lead in ratings
growth, our sales teams turn ratings into dollars better than anyone in the industry, and we have invested for the
future with TV-Everywhere, CraveTV SVOD, and New Media ventures with partners like Hubub and VEVO. We
have also launched our own Multi-Channel
Network (MCN) on Youtube.
Analyst community comments (from 2012 and
2013), in 2014 growth slowed but we still led
“Bell Media’s performance has been stellar”,
Colin Moore, Credit Suisse
“Media is showing strong execution”, Jeff
Fan, Scotia Capital
“Media again reported significantly better-
than-anticipated results”, Maher Yaghi,
“Media EBITDA was off the charts”, Vince
Valentini, TD Securities
“Media outperformed expectations and their
peers”, Tim Casey, BMO Capital Markets