CRTC public hearing
At the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) public hearings on the acquisition of the conventional television network V (V) and its digital assets by Bell Media (Bell), Quebecor repeated its concerns about the takeover’s potentially serious impact on an already fragile broadcasting system in its entirety. Quebecor called on the authorities to categorically reject the transaction.
Highlights of the address by Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and CEO of Quebecor :
The proposed acquisition is the missing piece in Bell's portfolio of media properties. Commission approval would further strengthen Bell's dominance of Canadian media and advertising revenues, and cement its buying power vis-à-vis local and foreign players. Bell is dominant from A to Z; all it’s missing is V.
As we have repeated on many occasions, the Commission and the industry must now contend with a company so dominant that it can no longer be controlled. Bell has adopted the following logic and course of action: in the relentless pursuit of profit, it is more advantageous to pay fines and penalties than to comply with laws and regulations. Therefore, fines and penalties are no longer sufficient to constrain Bell, which can well afford to pay.
Note that if the Commission approves this transaction, Bell will control more than 48% of private conventional television advertising revenues in Canada and 43% of total advertising revenues. This unparalleled dominance is unsustainable in Canada’s already fragile advertising market.
Since the prices and volumes of English-language content acquisition in Canada are much higher than for French-language content, Bell will use the acquisition of English-language rights to force content providers to bundle in French-language content, thereby bypassing any competition in the French market.
This damaging acquisition is contrary to the public interest and the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. Even the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) opposes this transaction, which will undermine the information, news and diversity of voices that are the foundation of a healthy democracy.
In fact, the time has come for regulatory and government authorities to dismantle Bell before it is too late.
- Address by the President and CEO of Quebecor
- big-bell.ca microsite
- Quebecor's submission on the acquisition of V by Bell (in french only)