Bell Canada appoints new CTV executive
TORONTO - Consumers can expect more TV content on their computers and wireless devices as telecom giant BCE (TSX:BCE) integrates the newly acquired CTVglobemedia television assets and uses them to boost its subscribers.
"I think the goal is to deliver great content to consumers anywhere and any time they want it," said Kevin Crull, who will take over next year from longtime CTV executive Ivan Fecan.
Crull was in charge of Bell's Internet, TV services and residential phone services and recently launched its Internet-based TV service in Toronto and Montreal.
He said his job will be to work closely with Bell's wireless division as well as its Internet and TV divisions to make sure "we're building the delivery platforms and getting the right content."
"I believe we are weeks, if not very few small months away, from virtually all of CTV's content available on your mobile phone," Crull said from Toronto.
He noted that Bell has about two million TV subscribers but with viewing possibilities on multiple screens that's expected to increase to 15 million by 2015, a prediction BCE chief executive George Cope also made when the acquisition was announced last month.
With technology allowing TV content to be viewed on multiple screens, Crull said television is experiencing a "renaissance or a new golden age."
"I think for all of the explosion of time spent online, time spent in front of the TV has only grown during that time."
Crull said another goal is to bring advertising to these new platforms, including the possibility of ads targeted at an individual's interests.
"There's no question that the technology does allow you to potentially insert an ad on my smartphone that's different from the ad that's inserted on your smartphone."
He said now that BCE also owns TV content, it's not going to restrict other provides from having access to it because "it's not good for business."
Crull becomes CTV's chief operating officer on Jan. 1 and once the acquisition has regulatory approval, he will become CTV Inc's president.
Fecan, who has been involved with building up the CTV network since the mid-1990s, plans to retire next year.
Bell Mobility president Wade Oosterman will take on leadership of the residential services business, while John Watson becomes executive vice-president of customer operations and will be responsible for residential and wireless customer service.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Jonathan Allen said Crull's appointment is positive.
"We have high respect for his nuts-and-bolts operating focus at Bell, which could help streamline CTV," Allen wrote in a research note.
Allen noted that Oosterman arrived at Bell in 2006 with Cope from Telus and Clearnet before that, and that Oosterman played a key role in BCE's brand repositioning and service improvement.
Last month, Bell Canada's parent agreed to buy the 85 per cent of CTV Inc. it didn't already own for $1.3 billion.
The Globe and Mail newspaper, which was part of the television company, will now be controlled by the Thomson family of Toronto, with BCE as a junior partner.