Most-read of 2021: Media Companies

From major players to independent local news publishers, the MiC readers were most interested in.

Sweeping executive layoffs hit Bell Media

The year began on a less than happy note in the senior ranks of Bell Media, with several high-ranking executives caught in a wave of layoffs. They included Mike Cosentino (president, content and programming), Tracey Pearce (president, distribution and pay), Nanci MacLean (VP, Bell Media Studios and president, Pinewood Toronto Studios), Corrie Coe (SVP, original programming) and Kevin Goldstein (VP, regulatory affairs, content and distribution, BCE)

It would end up being the first of many rounds of job losses at one of Canada’s largest media companies this year, many of which also got a lot of attention from MiC readers. More senior staff would be let go later in January and in the first week of February. Job losses also came as Bell shut down radio newsrooms and transitioned other stations to new formats, many of which were among well-liked national and local personalities. Another round of winter layoffs came as Bell consolidated its in-house production companies.

Rogers Sports & Media enters OOH by acquiring Rouge Media Group

While 2021 will likely be remembered for some other key events at Rogers, the company attempted to start the year on the right foot with an entry into a whole new media realm.

The company’s Sports & Media arm acquired Rogue Media Group, along with its staff and network of 2,600 static and digital screens within university and college campuses, resto-bars and salons.

Alan Dark, SVP of revenue at Rogers Sports & Media, told MiC at the time of the deal that it helped fulfill a key need for many of its advertisers, which is the ability to run a fully omnichannel campaign.

Torstar hires adtech veteran to lead innovation

Among the many major moves Torstar made this year, one was bringing on Hisham Ghostine to a new leadership position. Using his experience in the top ranks at the likes of Dentsu and Omnicom Media Group, Ghostine was tasked with leading innovation efforts at Torstar, specifically in areas like performance media and new tech-powered solutions for advertisers.

Ghostine wouldn’t spend long with the company, though. A few months later, Ghostine went to CBC to lead ad sales on the broadcast and digital front, as well as content marketing and partnerships around Canada’s Olympic teams for Toronto and Western Canada. He later had the Olympic side of his remit expanded nationally.

But Ghostine wasn’t the only big addition Torstar made to its leadership ranks in 2021. In October, it named former Microsoft and Postmedia exec Brandon Grosvenor as its new CRO, while also hiring a managing director for a new ad product and moving Toronto Star editor Irene Gentle into a role focusing on exploring new strategic media opportunities.

DAZN Canada adds more rugby to its slate

Just a few days after sports-focused streamer DAZN announced it would be bringing women’s soccer to viewers for free, it also announced an expanded selection of rugby content, namely the Summer International tournament matches.

In addition to growing its options for a growing fanbase of rugby fans in Canada, the move was an effort in DAZN’s “always-on” strategy, through which it has been pursuing deals that allow it to always have fresh and live sports content, even in months when the major sports are in their off-season.

OMG…a new Canadian media company

A year after stepping down as editor-in-chief of Daily Hive, Farhan Mohamed launched Overstory Media Group, an independent media company with a focus on quality, local, fact-based journalism and storytelling. With many people pledging to support local and many Canadians realizing the value of quality, community-focused journalism, Overstory aimed to provide funding outlets providing that need.

Its initial slate of publications was focused on the west coast, with outlets like Victoria-based investigative news portal Capital Daily, Vancouver Tech Journal, and the Fraser Valley Current.