Fact Check: Setting the Record Straight on Bell Canada's Mega-Merger with Astral Media Inc.
OTTAWA, Aug. 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - While thousands of Canadians are making their concerns known regarding Bell Canada's proposed takeover of Astral Media Inc., sources and stories in recent days have continued to present inaccurate, incomplete or misleading numbers about the extent of market dominance this deal would give Bell Canada. The SayNoToBell.ca website and campaign will continue to set the record straight about what this would mean for Canada's communications consumers and providers.
If the Bell Canada acquisition of Astral Media Inc. is approved by federal regulators, the merged company would put $80 million into French-language programming, a step that would be good for Quebec.
The numbers that Bell Canada have revealed in recent days are actually components of their already existing benefits package and would do little to support French-language programming in Quebec. The money would be spread out over at least five years and, in addition, does not justify the potential loss of the Quebec head office of Astral Media Inc. The suggestion that the head office of Astral Media Inc. would leave Quebec has not been countered directly by Bell Canada, and only addressed through a vague reference to programming control resting in Montreal.
Ultimately, the $80 million "investment" from Bell Canada would be spread so thin that it would make little difference in a programming market worth many hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Canadians may end up paying for this "investment" with higher prices for services offered through Bell Canada.
The SayNoToBell.ca website and public information campaign are initiatives of Canadians who are concerned about increasing media concentration in Canada. We are opposed to the proposed $3.38 billion Bell Canada acquisition of Astral Media Inc. and wish to inform the public and regulatory bodies about the risks posed by the merger. We call on the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and the Government of Canada to block this deal.
SOURCE: SayNoToBell.caFor further information: