Quebecor Media Inc.
TSX : QBR.A
TSX : QBR.B

Quebecor Media Inc.

April 21, 2009 13:01 ET

Quebecor Media Spent Over $370 Million on Cultural Content in 2008, Including $123 Million on Quebec Television Programming

Canada's largest private producer of original content

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - April 21, 2009) - In its appearance yesterday at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage hearings on the current state and future of conventional television broadcasting in Canada, Quebecor Media underscored the impact of its substantial investment in cultural industries, particularly television and cinema. In fiscal 2008, Quebecor Media spent more than $373 million on developing, creating, producing, broadcasting and promoting Canadian content, making it the largest private producer of original content in Canada. The figure includes $123 million spent by TVA Group on original television content.

"For nearly 60 years, our business model has been rooted in an unshakeable faith in local content and culture," said Pierre Karl Peladeau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quebecor. "And we make a very significant contribution to home-grown culture by supporting original production and disseminating it. Our subsidiaries broadcast and distribute Canadian content across the land on a full spectrum of media and platforms."

Time of crisis and unbalanced regulatory framework

"However, our investments, particularly those by TVA Group, are being made in a time of crisis, when over-the-air television is seeing ongoing audience fragmentation and erosion of advertising revenues," said Mr. Peladeau. "They are also being made under a regulatory framework that unduly favours the specialty channels, granting them exclusive access to fees for carriage without placing them under the same obligation to invest in ambitious projects, such as dramatic series and big-budget variety shows."

Pierre Dion, President and Chief Executive Officer of TVA Group, noted the impact of the original productions broadcast on the TVA Network, which currently devotes approximately 90% of its programming expenditures to original Canadian content: "Not only do we spend significant amounts on local content - well in excess of regulatory requirements - but we spend the money on genres that are critical to our broadcasting system, particularly television dramas, which demand the greatest resources and, given their immense popularity with audiences, have for decades played an important role in fashioning our collective identity." Conventional broadcasters such as TVA are the first window for the majority of original content.

Promoting local programming requires a strong network

Local television stations are not unaffected by the crisis that has overtaken conventional broadcasting and all traditional media. They are losing more and more advertising revenues to the Internet and will have to change their strategies in order to capitalize on the opportunities to renew their presence in outlying areas being created by new media. Quebecor Media fully intends to continue investing in local television by using its resources as effectively as possible, particularly its journalistic resources, and broadcasting on all available platforms, local and national.

Investments of more than $1 billion in distribution networks

In addition to the spending on Canadian content by Quebecor Media and its subsidiaries, the Company is making a significant investment in content distribution networks through its Videotron subsidiary. Over the past five years, Videotron has spent more than $1 billion on its infrastructure in order to deliver content over multiple channels and platforms, thereby providing greater consumer choice and an optimal customer experience.

Videotron also supported the creation and distribution of original content through the Quebecor Fund and the Canadian Television Fund. In 2008, Videotron contributed approximately $200 million to various cultural industry players in the form of royalties, carriage fees for specialty channels and community channel programming.

$2.5 million for digitization of and access to Quebec cinema

Quebecor Media is investing not only in the production but also the preservation and dissemination of Canadian content. For example, the Company announced in 2007 that it would spend $2.5 million over five years on Elephant, memoire du cinema quebecois, a major project to restore and digitize Quebec movies. All the feature films ever made in Quebec will be made available in HD on illico on Demand. As well, the largest existing database on Quebec cinema will be created and made available on the Web. Without the Elephant project, preservation of and access to Quebec's cinematic heritage were in jeopardy.

See the appendix for the full list of Quebecor Media's expenditures on culture in the 2008 financial year, the productions financed by broadcast rights fees paid by TVA, the Company's investment in Canadian content, as declared to the CRTC, and the projects supported by the Quebecor Fund and TVA Films.

Quebecor Media

Quebecor Media Inc. is a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.A)(TSX:QBR.B), a communications company with operations in North America, Europe and Asia. Quebecor Media owns operating companies in numerous media related businesses: Videotron Ltd., the largest cable operator in Quebec and a major Internet Service Provider and provider of telephone and business telecommunications services; Sun Media Corporation, the largest publisher of newspapers in Canada; TVA Group Inc., operator of the largest French language over the air television network in Quebec, a number of specialty channels, and the English language over the air station Sun TV; Canoe Inc., operator of a network of English- and French language Internet properties in Canada; Nurun Inc., a major interactive technologies and communications agency with offices in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia; magazine publisher TVA Publishing Inc.; book publisher and distributor Quebecor Media Book Group; Archambault Group Inc. and TVA Films, companies engaged in the production, distribution and retailing of cultural products; Le SuperClub Videotron ltee, a DVD and console game rental and retail chain; and Quebecor MediaPages, publisher of print and online directories.

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