Bell Media acquires rabble.ca in bid to woo progressive audience

| April 1, 2012
Photo: dugspr — Home for Good/Flickr

Editor's Update: noon PST: Wishing rabble readers a Happy April Fool's Day!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BCE Inc. (Bell) Friday announced its acquisition of leading Canadian left-wing news website rabble.ca in order to access the "burgeoning Canadian progressive market."

BCE Inc., whose holdings include Bell Canada, CTVglobemedia and Astral media, outbid Rogers Communications to purchase Canada's most-read online source for progressive news and opinion in an undisclosed deal, which includes all of rabble's ancillary media brands, including rabbletv, rabble radio and babble, its online discussion board.

"We're obviously delighted," said rabble.ca president Duncan Cameron. "This deal will guarantee our organization's long-term sustainability and enable cross-franchise promotion opportunities. We're hoping to bring Lloyd Robertson out of retirement to guest host a Not Rex segment." Robertson could not be reached for comment.

"We hadn't heard of them, to be honest," said George Cope, CEO and President of BCE Inc. and Bell Canada. "But our market research metrics over the last two quarters continued to show a curious bleeding of our progressive audience. Sure, that number was quite small to begin with, but we don't like to see any revenue loss, no matter how minimal -- least of all to a non-profit. This is the 21st century, for goodness sake."

The loss in market share reached a head last weekend when Her Majesty's Opposition elected a new leader in Thomas Mulcair, who has a beard. "Many Canadians thought that the 100-plus NDP MPs in Ottawa were part of some elaborate practical joke. Bell Media certainly did," said Canadian polling firm Ipsos Reid president Darrell Bricker. "But when this Tom Mulcair character showed up in parliament last Monday with the keys to Stornoway, it became clear that Bell had missed a couple of stories over the last year."

Fortunately for Bell, rabble.ca had filled the reportage gap left by this misunderstanding. "Apparently, thousands of Canadians were following this 'race,' which I understand has been going on for months," said Cope Friday. "None of our reporters or news anchors knew anything about it. But when we found out what rubble's operating budget was, we just snapped it up. We basically just cut our donut budget and there we were."

Naturally, the economic downturn dictates that rabble.ca will be adopting some strict but necessary austerity measures. "I have to say, they were coming anyway," said rabble.ca CEO and ex-feminist Kim Elliott. "Which province has the lowest minimum wage? It's just nice that I have Bell Canada to blame now. When I told George we had an equitable wage structure and hiring practice he didn't know what I meant."

www.ctv.ca/rabble will go live Monday, April 2, 2012.

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