|Type||Broadcast television system|
|Availability||Semi-national (Greater Montreal, Southern Ontario, Southwestern B.C./Lower Mainland, Alberta)|
|Owner||Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications
(Rogers Broadcasting Limited)
|Guy Laurance - Rogers President & CEO
Keith Pelley - President of Media Business Unit, Rogers Media
Scott Moore - Senior Vice President, Sportsnet and NHL Network, Rogers Media
|September 3, 1979 (independent Toronto station)
September 16, 2002 (launch of the Omni system)
|CFMT International / Channel 47/Cable 4 (1979–2002, independent)|
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Omni Television (corporately styled as OMNI Television) is a Canadian television system that is owned by Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications (through its Rogers Broadcasting Limited division). 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 both Channel Zero and Rogers provide services and resources to CFHD-DT, 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. 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.
The remainder of their lineups, particularly in the daytime and early evening hours, were formerly programmed similarly to independent stations and consisted of mainstream, syndicated sitcoms and talk shows (such as Access Hollywood Live, How I Met Your Mother, Rachael Ray, and Two and a Half Men). In essence, these English-language programs served to attract advertising revenue, which then were used to finance the multicultural programs. The Omni stations have historically aired multicultural programming as part of their primetime lineup, as opposed to the U.S. series carried by other Canadian networks. However, the Omni stations have occasionally aired U.S. programming in primetime in the event of scheduling conflicts with sister network City (thus, allowing Rogers to maintain their simsub rights in its duopoly markets). As of the 2014-15 season, the only American programs regularly aired in simulcast by Omni are Two and a Half Men and the CBS late-night talk show Late Show with David Letterman; all other American programs have been dropped in favor of increased ethnic programming and documentaries.
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.
Omni Television stations have occasionally aired sporting events in minority languages, and in English as an overflow for City or Sportsnet. Prior to their move to City and the eventual acquisition of late games by CTV, the Omni stations aired late-afternoon NFL games for a period, and simulcast selected Thursday Night Football games with CBS and Sportsnet. During the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Omni stations broadcast coverage of the games in minority languages, and on June 27, 2013, Omni.2 in Toronto broadcast Mandarin-language coverage of a Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball game started by Taiwanese player Chien-Ming Wang, marking the first ever Canadian MLB broadcast in the language.
Beginning in the 2014-15 NHL season, the Omni stations air Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition, broadcasting a doubleheader of NHL hockey games on Saturday nights with commentary in Punjabi, carried over from CBC's past digital coverage of games in the language. The Omni stations will also produce and broadcast other hockey-related content, such as weekly Your Hockey segments during Omni News (which will feature player profiles and stories related to local minor hockey), along with the informational series Hockey 101, which will be oriented towards those who are unfamiliar with the sport. In total, across television and digital platforms, Omni will produce hockey-oriented content in a total of 22 languages. Rogers had acquired national television rights to the NHL in November 2013.
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.
- "OMNI to air Blue Jays vs Red Sox in Mandarin, Thursday". Citynews.ca. Rogers Media. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- "OMNI TV To Air First Mandarin Broadcast of MLB Game in Canada". Broadcaster Magazine. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
- Sax, David (April 26, 2013). "A Punjabi Broadcast Draws In New Hockey Fans". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
- "Canadians to Experience NHL Content in 22 Languages, This Season on OMNI Television". Rogers Media. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- "What the new Rogers-NHL deal means for Canadian hockey fans". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). November 26, 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2013.