Bell Media is cutting 91 employees from its production staff as it makes big changes to programming, with the brunt of the losses hitting music channels Much, MTV and M3.
The layoffs are part of a plan announced by parent company BCE Inc. last month to cut 120 jobs from Bell Media's Toronto workforce due to "financial pressure" in its advertising and subscription TV services.
A notice sent by Bell Media's human resources department outlined some of the cuts, which included editors and producers at Much, formerly known as MuchMusic. All of the changes will be made before mid-October, the letter said.
Bell Media spokeswoman Amy Doary confirmed that 72 union jobs were being eliminated and another 19 non-union positions were being cut, affecting channels that include CTV, Space, E!, Much, MTV, and M3, formerly known as MuchMoreMusic.
"This is a result of stopping production on several in-house productions," Doary said in an emailed statement.
Unifor, the union which represents some Bell employees, says the majority of its affected members work at TV shows like Video on Trial, Top 10s, and The Wedge, all which air on Much.
For several years, executives at Bell have been urging the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission to let them make changes to Much that would scale back its requirements for showing music videos.
They argue that the popularity of YouTube has sapped its viewership as more teenagers log onto their computers for instant access to their favourite artists.
Under its current licence, the speciality channel must show 12 hours of music videos per day. A request filed with the CRTC in 2010 to cut that amount in half was shot down. MTV does not operate on the same type of licence and doesn't air music videos.
Including all of its TV channels and radio stations, Bell Media has about 2,400 employees in the Toronto area and about 6,500 staff across the country.