BELL FAULTED BY THE CRTC
MONTREAL, Dec. 19, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC) has handed down a clear and unequivocal finding that Bell is giving itself an undue advantage at TVA Sports' expense.
Excerpt from the CRTC decision:
"The Commission finds that Bell has conferred an undue preference upon RDS, its discretionary sports service, and has subjected the service TVA Sports to an undue disadvantage by packaging the two services in a different manner. The preference and disadvantage are undue since they have caused a material adverse impact on TVA Group and on the achievement of objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
"Accordingly, the Commission directs Bell Canada and Bell ExpressVu Inc. to remedy the situation and include TVA Sports in the same program offering as RDS, and report back to the Commission on a new packaging structure that would neither unduly disadvantage TVA Sports nor unduly prefer RDS, by no later than 5 February 2020."
In February 2019, TVA Group filed a complaint against Bell on behalf of TVA Sports alleging undue preference that places the channel at a significant disadvantage. TVA Group contended that Bell unduly favours RDS over TVA Sports by excluding it from its "Good" package, its most popular plan, while RDS has been included since plan's inception. The CRTC's decision in favour of TVA Group ends a harmful practice that has persisted for years.
The CRTC's decision is unambiguous: "Having concluded that the two services are comparable, the Commission considers that, given significant differences in packaging, the treatment of TVA Sports by Bell is dissimilar from that of RDS." TVA Group welcomes the Commission's finding, which supports TVA Sports' repeated claims. Bell will now have to recognize the fair value of TVA Sports, just as it should recognize the value of all the TVA Group specialty channels that are currently under negotiation. Bell is the only major broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU) in the French-language market that has not recognized the market value of TVA Sports.
Bell has again been penalized by a tribunal for its dubious tactics.
"The CRTC has found in favour of TVA Group: TVA Sports and RDS are comparable channels and must be treated in an equitable manner," commented France Lauzière, President and CEO of TVA Group. "Now Bell must recognize TVA Sports' fair value. The TVA Sports team did outstanding work and the outcome shows we were right to fight to continue offering all sports fans high quality programming."
SOURCE TVA Group
For further information: Véronique Mercier, Vice President, Communications, TVA Group, [email protected]