Corus puts content division restructure into play

Following its acquisition of Shaw Media, the Canadian broadcasting company has cemented its top line divisional structure, eliminating some roles and creating new titles for assorted execs.
May 11, 2016

Following its acquisition of Shaw Media, Canadian media and broadcasting company Corus Entertainment has cemented its top line structure, eliminating some roles and creating new titles for assorted execs.

According to an internal memo issued by Corus’ president and CEO Doug Murphy¬†on May 10 and obtained by realscreen sister publications Media in Canada and Playback, “The overarching goal as we design our new combined structure is not only to integrate the teams and eliminate any duplication of work, but more importantly, to design an organization that will best position us for the future.

“As a result, some roles have been eliminated, and others have been changed or are currently open, as we’ve created some brand new positions that we are hiring for in order to bring new skills and expertise to the company,” he added.

Sales, marketing, technology, content and international development were among the divisions impacted by layoffs at the company this week, confirmed Dervla Kelly, VP of communications at Corus Entertainment. The number of staff affected was not disclosed. The layoffs are intended to provide the “elimination of duplicate costs, capture operating efficiencies and create the structure that will enable future growth,” said Kelly in an email to Media in Canada.

In Corus’ acquisition of Shaw Media, first announced in January of 2016, the latter media company brought to the table such specialty channels as National Geographic, History, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, BBC Canada, Lifetime Canada and Slice. Also part of the acquisition were conventional stations from the Global television network, owned by Shaw, in Vancouver, Okanagan, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Saint John. The deal to acquire all of Shaw Media’s assets carried a price tag of CAD$2.65 billion.

Daniel Eves, formerly VP of programming and specialty at Shaw Media, was appointed as SVP of kids and general entertainment content in early April. Channels under his watch include Showcase as well as National Geographic Channel, now jointly owned between Corus and National Geographic, and History, now operated by Corus in Canada under license from A+E Networks – in addition to the kids portfolio, including YTV, Teletoon, ABC Spark and Disney.

Amy Sutton, previously director of programming for women and family at Corus, moves to the director of general entertainment programming role.

Susan Riedl, meanwhile, takes the role of director of digital for general and kids entertainment. Previously, she was director of digital engagement and kids digital for Corus.

Also in early April, it was announced that John MacDonald, previously EVP for women and family networks, would take the role of SVP of the rechristened women and lifestyle division. MacDonald will be responsible for Corus’ “original content center of excellence” which will feed the general and lifestyle specialty nets in the Corus roster, and will oversee the company’s investment in online video network Kin Community and its Corus Live initiative.

Reporting to MacDonald are Lisa Godfrey, VP of original content, previously head of original content at Shaw Media; and Jennifer Abrams, Darrell Jose and Tracy Martin, all serving as directors of women and lifestyle content. Abrams was previously a director of specialty content and digital media at Shaw, and Jose was director strategic scheduling at Shaw, while Martin hails from the Corus side, and was previously director of programming, women and family.
Hale, Eves and MacDonald report to Barbara Williams, named EVP and COO of Corus Entertainment at the beginning of April.

Maria Hale, named as SVP, Global Entertainment and content acquisition in early April, will oversee the content strategy for Global Entertainment across all regions and platforms. She will also oversee an “acquisitions center of excellence” which will manage content acquisitions across the entire Corus portfolio. Her direct reports include Arthur Reinstein, VP of acquisitions, and Richard Jones, director of strategic scheduling. Reinstein was previously senior director of acquisitions for Shaw Media.

Also in early April, it was announced that Christine Shipton, chief content officer at Shaw Media, would be exiting her role but would stay with the merged company through a transition period of a few months.

(With files from Katie Bailey, Sonya Fatah)

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.