|Type||Broadcast television system|
|Availability||Semi-national (Greater Montreal, Southern Ontario, Southwestern B.C./Lower Mainland, Alberta)|
|Founded||by Multilingual Television (Toronto) Ltd.
(Dan Iannuzzi, Jerry Grafstein, Raymond Moriyama, Steve Stavro, Garth Drabinsky, and Nat Taylor)
(Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.)
|Key people||Scott Moore - President of Broadcasting, Rogers Media|
|Launch date||September 3, 1979 (independent Toronto station)
September 16, 2002 (launch of the Omni system)
|Former names||CFMT International / Channel 47/Cable 4 (1979–2002, independent)|
The Biography Channel
|Official website||Omni Television|
Omni Television (corporately styled as OMNI Television) is a Canadian television system that is owned by the Rogers Media division of Rogers Communications. It currently consists of all six of Canada's conventional multicultural television stations, which are located in Ontario (two stations), British Columbia, Alberta (two stations) and Quebec (as a secondary affiliate). In addition, Rogers also briefly operated religious television stations in the Vancouver and Winnipeg television markets under the "Omni" brand before divesting them in 2008.
Derived from the Latin word “omnis” meaning “all”, "Omni" is not an acronym, although the name is written all in capital letters.
Toronto's CFMT launched in 1979 as Canada's first free, over-the-air multilingual/multicultural television station, owned by Multilingual Television (Toronto) Ltd. As its initial format was 100% ethnic, the station experienced financial difficulties, and was on the verge of bankruptcy when Rogers stepped in and purchased it in 1986. Rogers then attempted to launch a similar multicultural station in Vancouver in 1996, 1999 and 2002, but none of its applications to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) were successful. It was, however, given a second multicultural licence in Toronto, and launched CJMT as a sister station to CFMT in fall 2002 to provide room for additional multicultural programming. It was at this point that the "OMNI Television" brand was introduced, with CFMT and CJMT branded as "OMNI.1" and "OMNI.2" respectively.
The Omni brand was expanded in 2005, when Rogers acquired two religious TV stations, CHNU in the Vancouver market and CIIT in Winnipeg, from Trinity Television. CHNU was rebranded from "NOWTV" to "OMNI.10" in September 2005, while CIIT went on air as "OMNI.11" on February 6, 2006.
Several proposed changes to the Omni system were announced, either by Rogers or by the CRTC, during a one-month span from June to July 2007. First, on June 8, the CRTC granted Rogers licenses to operate new multicultural stations in Calgary and Edmonton, beating out a competing proposal from Multivan Broadcast Corporation (which won the bid for the Vancouver multicultural license in 2002 against Rogers and launched CHNM-TV).
On June 28, Rogers made public its offer to sell the religious-licensed Omni stations in Winnipeg and Vancouver as part of its contemporaneous purchase of Citytv (which the CRTC ordered CTVglobemedia to sell them off as part of the CHUM Limited takeover deal). Rogers indicated, however, that it viewed retaining the multilingual licences in Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton (effectively creating twinsticks in those three markets) as compatible with CRTC policy, since they are licensed to serve a different programming niche than the general interest Citytv stations.
On July 7, Rogers announced an agreement to purchase the aforementioned CHNM, finally securing a true multicultural television licence in Vancouver. The fact that Rogers had acquired the Calgary and Edmonton multicultural licences, beating out Multivan's competing applications, was cited as a major reason for the sale.
On September 28, the CRTC approved Rogers' takeover of the Citytv stations, giving the company one year to divest itself of the religious Omni stations. A tentative deal to sell the stations to S-VOX, owner of VisionTV, was announced on November 6. On March 31, 2008, the CRTC approved both Rogers' acquisition of CHNM and its sale of CIIT and CHNU to S-VOX. CHNU was rebranded as "CHNU 10" on October 31, 2007, a year before the Omni brand was transferred to CHNM. CIIT was rebranded "CIIT11" in July 2008, after S-VOX took control of the station. Both stations rebranded as Joytv on September 1, 2008; CHNM rebranded as "Omni BC" on the same date. The two new stations in Calgary and Edmonton launched on September 15, 2008 under the call letters CJCO and CJEO.
Rogers announced an agreement to acquire the one Canadian multicultural television station it did not already own, CJNT-DT Montreal on May 3, 2012, from Channel Zero, after having passed on the opportunity when the station was previously put up for sale in 2009 by Canwest during its financial difficulties. While intending to relaunch it as a Citytv station, Rogers did not rule out the possibility of requesting that CJNT be re-licensed as an English-language station, but in the meantime CJNT aired Omni programs (including Omni News) to fulfill much of its ethnic programming requirements after it became affiliated with Citytv prior to the sale. As part of the sale, Rogers requested that the CRTC convert CJNT to an English-language station, on the condition that it provide services and resources to ICI, a newly-proposed, locally-owned multicultural station. Both were approved by the CRTC on December 20, 2012.
On May 30, 2013, Rogers announced cutbacks at Omni – including the cancellation of its South Asian newscast, and the shutdown of production facilities at CJCO and CJEO, ending the production of local programming and news content from the Omni Alberta stations.
All Rogers-owned Omni stations are licensed to air programming in no less than 20 languages to communities encompassing at least 20 cultures. Ethnic programming comprises 60% of the Omni stations' schedules, with the remaining 40% consisting of English-language programming. This business model has served as a template for the industry in addition to contributing to Omni's broadcast longevity – in effect, financing the production of their multicultural content. English-language content aired on Omni includes syndicated and simulcast versions of series such as The Simpsons and Two and a Half Men, as well as Late Show with David Letterman (on CFMT and CHNM). Generally, these programs offer viewers alternative programming when other Canadian stations air Canadian content and/or local news during the same hours.
The Toronto-based Omnis are differently licensed with respect to the languages and communities they serve: CFMT airs programming for European and Caribbean language communities, while CJMT airs programming for the Pan-Asian and Pan-African audiences.
While under Rogers ownership, CHNU and CIIT aired many of the same types of programs as CFMT and CJMT, despite the difference in the nature of service of multicultural and religious stations. CHNU and CIIT had previously aired many of the same types of syndicated sitcoms and multicultural programs shown regularly on the Omni stations in Toronto, and the Toronto stations carried some religious teaching programs. The common brand allowed cost savings for promotions and for the acquisition of the general-entertainment programs that all of the Omni stations had used to generate most of their revenues. However, due in particular to Vancouver multicultural station CHNM (while under Multivan ownership) and Toronto religious station CITS, which both opposed Rogers's acquisition of Trinity's religious stations, the Omni stations' core formats remained intact.
Historically, Omni stations have focused on multicultural programming during primetime, leaving the higher-cost first-run English-language programming to the larger Canadian networks. Since 2010, with Rogers increasing its acquisitions of primetime programming from American networks (primarily for carriage on Citytv), Omni stations have sometimes carried such primetime programs in cases where there is a conflict on the local Citytv station, resulting in the ethnic programming that would otherwise air at that time being shifted to earlier or later in the evening.
Omni currently produces national newscasts in Punjabi. In addition, the Omni stations in Toronto and Vancouver produce regional newscasts in the following languages five days a week:
The news programming consists of both Canadian news translated into the language, and news feeds from countries in which the language is natively spoken (or the Indian subcontinent, in the case of the Punjabi edition).
Omni Television stations
|City of license/market||Station||Channel
|Calgary, Alberta||CJCO-DT||38.1 (38)|
|Edmonton, Alberta||CJEO-DT||56.1 (44)|
|Toronto, Ontario||CFMT-DT||47.1 (47)|
|Vancouver, British Columbia||CHNM-DT||42.1 (20)|
|City of licence/market||Station||Channel
|Montreal, Quebec||CFHD-DT||47.1 (47)||2013||4517466 Canada Inc. (Nowrouzzahrai Family)|
In the fall of 2004, Omni launched high definition simulcasts of both Toronto stations, CFMT and CJMT. However, at the time both stations were only available through digital cable. In the summer of 2008, both stations began broadcasting digitally over-the-air. In December 2009, CHNM began broadcasting an over-the-air digital signal and broadcasts in standard definition.
- Network Style Guide
- Decision CRTC 97-39, 31 January 1997 - CIVT-DT (now a CTV station) was licensed instead.
- Decision CRTC 2000-219, 6 July 2000 - CIVI-TV and CHNU-TV were licensed.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-39, 14 February 2002 - CHNM-TV was licensed.
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-82, 8 April 2002
- Rogers offers to sell two stations, Grant Robertson, The Globe and Mail, June 28, 2007
- Rogers Media to Acquire Vancouver's 'Channel M' From Multivan Broadcast Corporation, Rogers press release, July 6, 2007
- CRTC Decision 2008-72.
- CRTC Decision 2008-71.
- Citytv expanding into Quebec & Western Canada, CityNews, May 3, 2012.
- Grant Robertson, "CanWest puts E! up for sale". The Globe and Mail, February 6, 2009
- Rogers Media buys Montreal TV station Metro 14, The Gazette, May 3, 2012.
- New METRO14 Schedule Starting Monday, Channel Canada, June 01, 2012.
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-697, December 20, 2012.
- Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-696, December 20, 2012.
- "Calgary’s immigrant community dealt a blow with loss of OMNI programming". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 31 May 2013.