A dark day for the entire TVA family. Massive job losses, regional closures, the group will never be the same again.
• Read also: More than 500 positions cut at Groupe TVA
We sense that it was not with joy that the CEO announced yesterday this avalanche of difficult decisions that had just been approved by the Board of Directors. Painful decisions, but considered necessary for the survival of TVA and its information service.
Because that’s what we’re talking about, survival. Like several other media outlets, TVA lost tens of millions of dollars in recent quarters. No company can allow such bleeding to occur. Something had to happen. The scale of the disruptions announced yesterday indicates how close the closure scenarios were.
The important fact here is that TVA is not in the position of the baker whose customers no longer like their bread. The scout is still there. The TVA group, with the main channel and the specialized ones, continues to dominate the market share. But the income is no longer there.
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VAT is strong!
Advertising money is moving to the web giants. On numerous occasions, Pierre Karl Péladeau has sounded the alarm. He tried to alert governments, the bogged down CRTC and other stakeholders in society that a tragedy was coming. No one has heard it, everyone is locked in the image that TVA is big, it is strong, it is rich, therefore nothing can happen. Oh…
Let me understand correctly. What is happening is not primarily the fault of governments. There are changes in listeners’ habits. Young people aren’t subscribing to cable anymore, and no one is going to force them to. The entertainment dollar is being redirected to Netflix. Even our cultural columnists, supposed promoters of Quebec culture, come excited to announce the new release on Netflix.
Although they are not responsible for what happens, governments still have a responsibility. Need I remind you that Justin Trudeau was elected by promising to significantly increase funding for Radio-Canada?
In his first budget, Justin Trudeau announced $675 million over 5 years to the state corporation. While all of Canada’s private media was starving, the Liberal Party increased Radio-Canada’s annual funding by $150 million.
Towards a monopoly?
We have a right to wonder if Justin Trudeau’s party wouldn’t prefer a Radio-Canada monopoly on information. This is also a question that every citizen must ask in the tragic context that affects the private media.
Would we like to live in ten years from now in a society where there is only one media, a media that belongs to the State? When I talked about this scenario ten years ago, people laughed at me. Today, the question is being asked seriously.
Today I have a thought for those dedicated men and women who are losing their jobs. I would like to pay tribute to them and thank them for what they have brought to our screens over the years.
The sacrifice is terrible. But for our culture and our heritage, TVA must survive.