TORONTO — Music videos have struck another sour note at cable channel Much amid fading interest from viewers.
The channel’s owner Bell Media says it’s chopped the weekday block of mainstream videos by six hours.
Bell spokesman Scott Henderson says Much will broadcast a single hour of retro music videos from the ’80s, ’90s and aughts during the “teen-popular” lunchtime window.
The decision comes as Much faces what Henderson calls a “significant erosion” of TV audiences interested in music videos.
Over the past decade, the explosion in popularity of YouTube and Vevo helped wear away at the appeal of music videos on traditional cable channels. Record labels uploaded their seemingly bottomless libraries of classic videos to the streaming platforms, while rising stars used the services to debut their latest clips.
That left channels like Much and MTV looking for other ways to attract audiences, bulking up their programming schedules with reality TV and movies.
But for years, Much still maintained “Playlist,” a weekday slate of music videos that aired from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET.
Henderson says the most recent figures showed “Playlist” drew less than 4,000 viewers on average each day.
Shrinking audiences were also blamed when Quebec company Groupe V Media announced last month it will shut down Montreal-based MusiquePlus in August and replace it with a different channel format.
Groupe V Media had also relaunched sister channel Musimax as a more general entertainment channel called Max three years ago.
Changes at Much have already taken effect with “Much Retro Lunch” landing on the schedule from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET on weekdays.
The rest of the morning hours will be filled with a back catalogue of Canadian reruns, including “Just for Laughs: Gags” and standup comedy showcase “Comedy Now!”
Henderson says music programming still “remains a key element” at Bell Media, which produces reality series “The Launch” and the annual street party the iHeartRadio MMVAs.
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David Friend, The Canadian Press