Bell cuts 4,800 jobs, sells dozens of radio stations amid media shakeup

Bell Media's parent company cut 4,800 jobs Thursday, owing to government and regulatory decisions that undermine the industry. They previously axed 1,300 jobs last June to 'adapt' how it delivers the news, after posting annual losses of $40 million in consecutive years.

Bell cuts 4,800 jobs, sells dozens of radio stations amid media shakeup
Jerome - stock.adobe.com
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About one in ten (9%) employees with Bell are now without work after its parent company made cuts Thursday, owing to government and regulatory decisions that undermine the industry.

Among the cuts include 45 regional radio stations, multiple television newscasts and other programs that will affect 4,800 employees. The closure follows annual losses of $40 million, courtesy of declining demand and revenue from their media provisions.

The parent company axed 1,300 media jobs last June in a bid to "significantly adapt" how it delivers the news.

"We continue to face a difficult economy … that undermines investment in our networks, fails to support our business in a time of crisis, and fails to level the playing field with global tech giants," reads an open letter by Mirko Bibic, President and CEO of Bell Canada Enterprises.

The telecom behemoth reported a 23% decline in fourth-quarter profits, reported True North. They project upwards of $200 million in savings this year through restructuring measures. 

Bell executive vice-president and chief legal and regulatory officer Robert Malcolmson said last summer they could no longer wait for regulatory reform after losing $80 million since 2022.

"We are horizontally combining the news production function so that you have one common platform serving news to the relevant outlet from one management team," he told CP24 News.

An internal memo said consolidating costs would allow for "greater collaboration," representing a 6% reduction in Bell Media's workforce. Corporate management positions also received similar cuts, with one-in-five executive roles also receiving the axe.

"The job reductions are consistent with but smaller than similar reductions announced by other leading technology and media companies across North America in recent months," said Bibic.

"We have a responsibility to our shareholders and employees to ensure the business can be positioned for future growth, which means we have to make our cost structure make sense," added Malcolmson.

Other service reductions include the closure of 107 The Source stores across Canada. 

Bell is also raising its wireless phone plan prices this month, as previously reported by True North. A prior open letter by Bibic confirmed they could lose at least $250 million in legacy phone revenues annually.

Of notable concern is a recent CRTC decision against the company that provides third party resellers access to its high-speed fibre network before recouping its multi-billion-dollar investment.

Last November 6, Bell announced it would reduce network investments in excess of $1 billion in fiscal year 2024/25, including $500 million following the decision. 

As a result, the company has rolled back its planned fibre network expansion from nine to 8.3 million locations, disproportionately impacting Western Canada. It puts "access to high-speed fibre Internet at risk for millions of Canadians in rural, suburban, and urban communities," they said.

Bell has since filed for an appeal of the decision in Federal Court, which remains ongoing.

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