What the Péladeau-Snyder split means for Quebec’s media landscape

Is this the end of a made-in-heaven synergy strategy?

As you might have heard, Pierre Karl Péladeau and common-law wife Julie Snyder recently broke up . This in itself is hardly news. Like any couple going through divorce, Péladeau and Snyder deserve a certain amount of privacy, particularly because they have young children.

As a media story, though, it is impossible to avoid the elephantesque question in the room: what effect, if any, will the split have on the pair’s respective business interests. Quebecor, the tele-internet-media-wireless juggernaut, looms large in Quebec. Notably, the company is a huge player in the province’s cultural and media realm, as both a producer and broadcaster of Quebec-born content. Snyder’s Production J produces some of the highest-rated television programs in the province—which are so popular, in large part, because they are heavily promoted in and broadcast on Quebecor-owned properties.

Their parting cued the wagging of many tongues. The chief question was what effect would the split have on this seemingly made-in-heaven synergy strategy? Radio-Canada asked me last week , and my answer was, well, “not much.” As I wrote in a feature

about Péladeau last September, PKP and Snyder are business people, and business people tend not to mess with a good thing. Why, just last night TVA premiered “La Voix”, the French version of The Voice . Based on last year’s performance, it will be a ratings bonanza. Some 2,593,000 watched the first episode last year. To put that in perspective, that’s roughly three out of every 10 men, women and children in Quebec. Why on earth would you jeopardize such a thing over a personal matter?

What remains unclear to me, however, is Snyder’s influence within Quebecor media properties. A number of Quebecor journalists I’ve spoken with have said Péladeau’s ex was often quite vocal with journalists about her pet causes—namely, her participation in the Janettes, a group of prominent Quebec women who support the Parti Québécois so-called “charter of Quebec values.” (The Janettes have been prominently featured in Quebecor’s Journal de Montréal, as well as on its news broadcasts.) These same people wonder whether Snyder will continue to have such sway now that she is no longer with PKP. Interesting times at Quebecor, as usual…




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