Corus unveils Teletoon integration plan
On the heels of its CRTC-approved US$233 million buy-out of the 50% stake in Teletoon Canada that it did not already own, Toronto’s Corus Entertainment has revealed a divisional restructure based on the programming schedules of YTV and Teletoon being managed separately.
As a result of the purchase, which includes licences for Teletoon, Télétoon, Teletoon Retro, Télétoon Rétro and Cartoon Network Canada, Teletoon now sits under the new Corus Kids vertical, headed up by VP of television Colin Bohm.
As one of six new distinct business verticals, including Corus Média for Quebec’s French-language market, launched by the Canadian media conglomerate last July, Corus Kids includes Corus’ kids specialty TV services (YTV, Treehouse, Nick Canada), Nelvana Studio and Nelvana Enterprises.
To incorporate Teletoon’s French-language services, as well as Historia and Séries+, which were also approved in the takeover, Corus has launched a Montreal-based office led by Mario Cecchini, who’s been appointed president of Corus Média and head of Eastern Ontario.
With YTV and Teletoon being managed separately under the new structure, Corus has implemented a system to ensure that programming and scheduling are complementary.
For Corus Kids, Jocelyn Hamilton remains the VP of programming and original productions responsible for overseeing the integrated strategy for kids programming, acquisitions and original production, including Nelvana and third-party content. She will continue to report to Bohm.
On the YTV, Treehouse and Nick Canada original programming side, long-time Corus executive Jamie Piekarz is now director of content, responsible for original programming and acquisitions. She was previously Corus Kids’ director of original programming.
Over at Teletoon, director of content Alan Gregg also adds acquisitions to his responsibilities and now oversees all original content development and production for Teletoon and Teletoon Retro and their respective multiplatform services.
For scheduling executives, Corus veteran Helen Kim is now director or programming for YTV and Nickelodeon Canada, while Katie Wilson takes on the director of programming role for Teletoon and Cartoon Network Canada. John Rooney, Teletoon’s former director of programming, has left the company and is now an independent media consultant at johnromedia.
Heading up the Teletoon French team as VP of programming, and reporting directly to Cecchini, is long-time Teletoon exec Carole Bonneau. “For French-language specific opportunities, producers and distributors should talk to Bonneau,” says Bohm. She oversees program schedules, acquisitions and original production for Teletoon, Télétoon, Teletoon Retro, Télétoon Rétro and Cartoon Network Canada.
Bohm would not comment on how many Teletoon employees were let go as a result of the integration or additional specific names, but redundancies were made.
From a pitching perspective, according Bohm, any pitches for YTV and Treehouse should go through Piekarz, and any for Teletoon, Teletoon Retro and Cartoon Network should go through Gregg.
Regarding a CRTC stipulation requiring Corus to ensure that content from Teletoon, YTV and Treehouse not overlap by more than 10%, Bohm says the new separate programming teams reporting to Hamilton will manage this accordingly.
“We’re aware this is a conditional license, and it is something we’re monitoring very carefully to make sure we are compliant. The channels have been very successful as ones with distinct voices targeting different demos and dayparts throughout the week.”
The buy-out also comes with CDN$40 million in tangible benefits including Teletoon’s five networks, H&S, Ottawa Radio and indie production spend.
“One of the obvious questions we heard in Ottawa was from the independent production community regarding concern that we’ll divert too much money to our own productions,” says Bohm.
“I think the CRTC, in its wisdom, put restrictions in place around the amount of production that we can buy from our own production company. Our intent is to manage this as carefully as we have and continue to rely on Canadian independent production to bring us great shows in English and French for all of our services. It is a good outcome and we are excited for the growth opportunities ahead.”