Bell is a top choice for Canadian businesses, governments, and public institutions seeking superior broadband technology, world-class data products, and leading-edge service solutions. With our leading broadband networks, more Canadian businesses than ever have access to services that offer better reliability, faster speeds, and secure connections.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell has continued delivering innovative products and solutions to help businesses weather the storm. This includes security software for customers with multiple locations, additional access points for video conferencing and new core servers to connect head offices with remote sites.
In 2020, we also continued enhancing our cloud solutions. As a strong complement to Bell Virtual Network Services, Bell launched our new Managed Cloud Security Gateway service to provide better protection from botnets, malware, phishing attempts, malicious websites and other threats, helping simplify branch operations and reduce overall cyber security costs for our customers. We also launched Bell Virtual Office, providing large corporate customers with an integrated suite of services for employees working remotely. And for small businesses in Ontario and Québec, our new Total Business Wi-Fi service provides enhanced and customizable connectivity at their locations.
With ongoing deployments of our fibre networks and our successful launch of Canada’s fastest 5G network in 2020, Bell continues to drive the ongoing evolution of innovative IoT technologies and solutions for Canadian businesses forward.
Bell also continued to champion the customer experience for Canadian businesses following the 2020 acquisition by Equinix of most of our data centres. By Bell becoming an Equinix Platinum partner, enterprise clients that utilize Bell’s advanced broadband network connections and range of cloud solutions gain platinum access to more than 200 Equinix data centres worldwide, further accelerating digital transformation opportunities across a global data ecosystem.
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Delivering compelling content
In 2020, despite sweeping production disruptions and delays due to COVID-19, Bell leveraged innovative solutions and our leading national network to continue connecting, informing and entertaining Canadians throughout the pandemic.
CTV remained Canada’s most-watched conventional TV network for the 19th consecutive year and outpaced other networks to deliver the most Top 10, Top 20 and Top 30 programs. CTV kicked off the 2020-21 broadcast season as #1 last fall, and is on pace to complete the broadcast year as the most-watched again for a 20th year in a row. CTV’s national and evening newscasts remained top choices for Canadians, with CTV National News viewership increasing by 30% during the height of the pandemic and CTV News Channel and CP24 each having their most-watched year on record. TSN remained Canada’s sports leader and RDS remained the top French-language sports network.
With 109 radio stations across Canada and the iHeartRadio Canada brand, Bell Media remained Canada’s top radio broadcaster, reaching on average 14.4 million listeners per week across the country and driving helpful, positive initiatives and campaigns to thank and support communities, local businesses and frontline workers.
At a time when demand for content was reaching new heights, CTV also launched a new all-in-one digital platform for Canadians in 2020. Now streaming from CTV.ca and the CTV app on mobile devices and connected/smart TVs, our customers are receiving more value with livestreams and on-demand viewing from Much, MTV, CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Drama Channel, CTV Life Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel, CTV Throwback, CTV Movies, CTV and CTV2.
Along with the addition of French-language content in early 2020, our streaming Crave service continued to deliver premium Canadian and international content – including from HBO, HBO Max, Showtime and Starz – across Canada, growing to 2.8 million subscribers. Made-in-Canada hit series produced in partnership with Bell Media for CTV and Crave – including Jann, Transplant, Cardinal, Heavy Rescue:401, Mary’s Kitchen Crush and Canada’s Drag Race – continued to attract huge audiences, as did daytime programs The Social and The Marilyn Denis Show.
Enhancing choice and competition in the Québec market and further developing French-language content creation, Bell Media also launched Noovo in August 2020, integrating the V television network and the noovo.ca digital platform. In addition to investing in new French-language news service Noovo Info as well as popular shows such as La semaine des 4 Julie, Occupation Double Chez Nous and other original productions, we are building on other Bell Media properties popular with Québec and francophone audiences, including specialty channels RDS, Canal Vie, Canal D, Z and VRAK.
A driving force behind the Stronger Together/Tous Ensemble fundraiser in April 2020 for Food Banks Canada and frontline workers, the most watched non-sports Canadian broadcast on record, Bell Media also partnered with many other organizations to support Canada’s content production industry, including initiatives with TIFF, Reelworld, Cinemania Film Festival and SPRINT Gala in Québec and BIPOC TV & FILM.
For more about Bell’s investments in Canada’s media industry, please refer to the Economy section.