Bell supports greater TV packaging flexibility to respond to consumer
Proposes new model for local TV to ensure long-term sustainability of
MONTREAL, June 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - To ensure Canadians get the TV
channels they want to watch, Bell today announced its support for both
"pick and pay" options for all television channels not included in
basic packages, and a new model to ensure the long-term sustainability
of local programming.
These proposals support the modernization of Canada's successful
broadcasting system in an era of rapid change, balancing flexibility
and choice in TV programming with consumer demand for content of
quality, variety and value, alongside the cultural imperative of a
unique and relevant Canadian voice in broadcasting.
Focused on empowering consumers and supporting great local and Canadian
content, these proposals are key elements in Bell's submission filed
today as part of the CRTC's consultation on the future of Canadian TV.
Pick and pay flexibility
Broadcast distributors should have continued flexibility to include
discretionary Canadian services in basic packages and offer a range of
TV packaging options, while also having the ability to make all
Canadian discretionary services not in basic available to consumers on
a pick and pay basis.
Bell supports greater competition among programming services and
increased flexibility for all channels to ensure Canadians continue to
have access to the highest-quality viewing options. The proposal would
depend on a commercial marketplace that enables negotiations between
broadcasters and distributors for any channel without carriage rights.
"Bell agrees with Canadian consumers that they shouldn't have to pay for
channels they don't want just to get the channels they do. In addition
to the extensive range of TV packaging options we make available, we
seek to offer pick and pay as an option to consumers," said Wade
Oosterman, President of Bell Residential Services. "Free-market
negotiations are essential if pick and pay is to deliver on the promise
of consumer choice, giving broadcasters and distributors the ability to
develop the innovative and competitive business models required to make
Ensuring the future of local TV
Canada's broadcasting system is built on a foundation of local
television programming. However, the sector is no longer financially
sustainable and to date none of the regulatory measures implemented to
address the issue have managed to address the structural deficiency of
an advertising-only funding model.
Canadians benefit from a wealth of programming options, competitive TV
distribution choices and technological innovations like Fibe TV. While
Canadians have traditionally enjoyed more content choice and lower TV
pricing than consumers in the United States, the US experience has
shown that new models and revenue sources are necessary in order to
sustain local programming going forward.
"Canadians everywhere value local TV because it connects and informs
them about their communities. We need to act now to ensure local TV can
continue to fulfill this mandate," said Kevin Crull, President of Bell
Media. "The CRTC's consultation offers the opportunity to consider an
innovative and up-to-date model that aligns with what consumers want
from their broadcasting system."
Bell proposes to convert local conventional TV stations into local
specialty services, which would continue to be subject to local
programming requirements and be carried as part of basic packages. Like
other specialty services, local channels would be able to charge
wholesale rates to broadcast distributors, subject to existing CRTC
must-carry regulations applicable to local broadcasting. The combined
revenue from advertising and wholesale fees supports a stable and
sustainable future for local programming for all Canadians.
Together, Bell's two proposals will work to ensure Canadians continue to
receive the local programming and other channels they want while
enabling them to manage their overall spending on TV services.
Bell is Canada's largest communications company, providing consumers and
business customers with wireless, TV, Internet, home phone and business
communications services. Bell Media is Canada's premier multimedia
company with leading assets in television, radio and digital media.
Bell is wholly owned by Montréal's BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE). For more
information, please visit Bell.ca.
Bell Let's Talk promotes Canadian mental health with national awareness
and anti-stigma campaigns, like Clara's Big Ride for Bell Let's Talk
and Bell Let's Talk Day, and significant Bell funding of community care
and access, research, and workplace initiatives. To learn more, please
SOURCE: Bell Canada
For further information:
Bell Media Relations