Business News Network (BNN) is a Canadian English language Category A cable television and satellite television specialty channel that is owned by Bell Media. BNN broadcasts programming related to business and financial news and analysis. The channel is headquartered at 299 Queen Street West in Downtown Toronto; day-to-day operations for BNN are run by CTV News.
As Report on Business Television (RoBTV)
The network was licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in 1996 to a joint venture of Thomson Corporation (50%), Western International Communications (25%) and Cancom (25%). It launched on September 1, 1999 as Report on Business Television (although using the abbreviation ROBTv), borrowing the name from The Globe and Mail's financial section "Report on Business".
In 2000, Canwest acquired WIC and its interest in ROBTv. As part of the agreement transferring WIC's interests in Cancom to Shaw Communications, CanWest acquired Cancom's share of the channel as well.
The same year, the partners came into conflict with each other: CanWest acquired the Southam newspaper chain, including the National Post, the Globe's chief rival. Around the same time, Thomson transferred the Globe and its shares of ROBTv to Bell Globemedia, a newly formed media company which also included CTV, in which Thomson held a 20% interest. Following threats of legal action from both sides, in 2001, CanWest agreed to sell its 50% interest to BellGlobemedia, in exchange for Bell ExpressVu agreeing to carry a new CanWest-owned digital business news channel Financial Post Television. That channel never went on the air.
BellGlobemedia assumed full control of ROBTv in late 2001, the channel was given a new logo, and began to use only the full name of Report on Business Television, dropping the "ROBTv" sub-brand.
As Business News Network (BNN)
On March 12, 2007, the channel was renamed Business News Network. The name change occurred to give exclusive rights to the "Report on Business" name to the Globe and Mail and for the channel to have its own identity. It also removed a common problem with the ROBTv name: other media and viewers called it "Rob TV", rather than sounding out the ROB acronym as preferred by the network.
The Thomson family reacquired control of the Globe (and therefore Report on Business) in late 2010, and CTVglobemedia's broadcasting assets were sold to Bell Canada. The channel and the newspaper are no longer co-owned, although Bell retains a 15% interest in the paper. Following the merger with Bell Canada, on April 1, 2011, Bell Canada renamed its new business unit from CTVglobemedia to Bell Media.
A large majority of the programming carried on BNN is produced in-house. It had been the Canadian broadcast partner of CNNfn, an American business news channel, which ceased operations in December 2004. BNN features a televised stock ticker with real-time data from the Toronto Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and many international financial exchanges. In addition to its homebase in Toronto, BNN also operates news bureaus located at the NASDAQ Market Site in New York City's Times Square, and in Calgary.
BNN attracts approximately 5,000 regular viewers daily and has a strong viewership outside of the home (such as in gyms, restaurants and offices) which is not reflected in its ratings. This is a situation also faced by networks with high out-of-home viewing patterns such as CNBC.
The network hosts a series of special presentations throughout the year, including specials for tax and Registered Retirement Savings Plan seasons. In the fall of 2006, Report on Business Television hosted its first "Live On Location" event in Toronto during which a studio audience was featured during two of the network's most popular shows, Market Call with Jim O'Connell and SqueezePlay with Kim Parlee and Andrew Bell. This was the first time viewers had the opportunity to go live in person with the network during its regular broadcasts of Market Call.
In May 2008, the network relaunched BNN.ca, featuring its first online contest called "The BNN.ca $25,000 Challenge". The updated BNN.ca showcased a new video player allowing investors to search, sort and personalize BNN video; and the new player increased availability of past BNN video by allowing viewers to access content for an unlimited period of time online. Other added features on the site included blogs, a "Market Monitor", feature video clips on the homepage, an online stock ticker, features such as "Hot Stocks" and "Guest Picks", stock indices, and tracking of the latest and popular news stories on the site.
BNN's weekend programming consists mainly of repeats of some of the programs aired on BNN's weekday schedule, and various infomercials from Northern Response, and Kingstar Media.
Notable on-air Personalities
BNN HD is a high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format; the feed was launched on November 28, 2011. It is available on Bell TV, Bell Fibe TV, Cogeco, Eastlink, Rogers Cable, Shaw Cable, Bell MTS and Optik TV. The HD feed is downconverted to a letterboxed format on the standard definition feed.