Five things you should know before you start your work day on Jan. 23
Good morning. Editor Nicole MacAdam (@nicole_mac1) here, with your morning business headlines, including why Bell and the NFL are asking the Supreme Court to expedite an appeal of the CRTC’s decision not to allow Bell to substitute Canadian ads during the Super Bowl.
Rogers abandons its venture with Vice
Rogers Media has abandoned its stake in a joint venture with Vice Canada, ending its three-year relationship with the edgy media company to redirect money to content that “better aligns” with its brand, reports Emily Jackson. The venture included a production studio called Vice Studio Canada and the money-losing TV channel Viceland.
Bottom line: The deal – the brainchild of former Rogers CEO Guy Laurence and Vice co-founder Shane Smith – was pitched as a way to attract young people to Rogers’ services with exclusive content. Viceland, which lost $2.5 million in the year ended Aug. 31, 2016, will stop broadcasting on Mar. 31. Vice confirmed there will be job losses as a result of its break up with Rogers, but a spokesperson would not say how many.
Bell makes Hail Mary Supreme Court bid
Bell Canada and the National Football League are asking the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the broadcast regulator’s decision to ban the substitution of U.S. TV commercials for Canadian ones during the Super Bowl, Jackson writes.
Bottom line: The court filings are the latest in a protracted legal battle over the CRTC’s August 2016 decision that banned the decades-old practice known as simultaneous substitution or “simsub.” Bell said the decision cost it $11 million in 2017. The company and the NFL have asked the court to expedite the process in hopes they’ll be granted leave to appeal and a stay before the big game on Feb. 4
Producers spar with TransCanada
A regulatory hearing for TransCanada’s North Montney natural gas pipeline project opened amid tense exchanges, reports Geoffrey Morgan, as parties argued over the prospect of flooding the already oversaturated Alberta market with B.C. gas.
Bottom line: The 305-kilometre conduit will connect the promising shale-rich Montney region to TransCanada’s main NOVA Gas Transmission system. While it may seem ironic that some producers are against a new pipeline, their primary concern is that TransCanada is gathering more supplies from new production centres without expanding the existing system.
IMF hikes growth forecast
The International Monetary Fund is raising its forecast for Canadian economic growth in 2018 and 2019, as recent tax reforms in the U.S. are expected to increase demand and give the entire North American economy a boost, writes Neil Power. The organization now believes Canada’s economy will grow by 2.3 per cent in 2018 and 2 per cent in 2019, up 0.2 and 0.3 percentage points respectively from its previous forecast.
Bottom line: The IMF expects corporate income tax reductions that are part of U.S. tax changes to increase investment and have a positive impact on U.S. growth through 2020. Lower U.S. growth is forecast for a few years after 2021, since some of the tax policies are temporary.
Sobeys signs deal with Ocado
Sobeys has signed a deal to use the ecommerce platform of Ocado to expand its online business. Under the deal, the two companies will develop a customer fulfilment centre (CFC) in Toronto and will also consider developing more centres in dense urban areas.
Bottom line: Ocado, which has helped drive online shopping in Britain, one of the world’s most advanced ecommerce markets, has been to trying to sell its proprietary technology to international supermarkets in recent years, with new deals seen as key to the company’s valuation.
Quote: “Our end-to-end ecommerce solution will allow Sobeys to build an online offer in a manner that is profitable and creates exceptional value for our customers, investors and supplier partners.” — Michael Medline, CEO of Sobeys.