MONTREAL, Sept. 9, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Twenty-six days after being
asked, CTV has finally broadcast its first television commercial
opposing its parent company's ambitions to control an even greater
portion of the Canadian broadcasting space.
Just over a month ago, the SayNoToBell.ca website and public information
campaign were launched, seeking to raise public awareness regarding the
concentration of power and other public policy issues associated with
the proposed takeover of Astral Media Inc. by Bell Canada.
Through a national television, print, radio and online information
campaign the coalition has reached Canadians of all walks of life,
presenting hard facts concerning the proposed deal. So far, over 55,000
Canadians have visited the SayNoToBell.ca website to register their
opposition to the proposed deal by sending emails to Ottawa
decision-makers and signing an online petition.
On August 14, TV advertising space was requested of CTV, among several
Canadian television networks, on a fully-paid commercial basis. TV ads
were produced, in English and French, and submitted to the Telecaster
Services of the Television Bureau of Canada for the customary review
and approval. The approved TV commercials were then provided to
television broadcasters. Over the past few weeks, "Say No to Bell
Canada" public awareness TV ads have been seen by viewers of almost
every Canadian television network…but not on CTV outlets.
Viewers of CBC, CBC News Network, Global TV, Sun News, SRC, RDI, TVA and
LCN have all had the opportunity to hear public messages opposing the
Despite continuous efforts, such ads were not seen by any CTV viewers -
until today, the very eve of tomorrow's historic CRTC hearing. As is
well known, CTV ("Canada's most-watched television network") is a
division of Bell Media ("Canada's premier multimedia company with
leading assets in television, radio and digital").
In its "diversity of voices" policy, the CRTC states: "Given the trend
toward greater consolidation and the consequent impact on diversity of
voices, a plurality of ownership in the private element is necessary in
order to maximize the diversity of voices in the Canadian broadcasting
system."1 The CRTC noted that the Broadcasting Act states that programming
provided by the Canadian broadcasting system should "provide a
reasonable opportunity for the public to be exposed to the expression
of differing points of view on matters of public concern."2
In written submissions to the CRTC, numerous interveners in this coming
week's CRTC hearing have provided examples of Bell Canada already
exercising its ability to exert control over broadcasting content and
distribution. Many warn this situation will only get worse if Bell
Canada is allowed to further increase its market dominance and control.
If the CRTC, Competition Bureau and federal government approve the
proposed deal, Bell Canada would control:
42% of Canadian private commercial television programming revenues;
45% of English-language television audiences;
35% of French-language television audiences;
79 TV channels, 107 radio stations, more than 100 websites, which is twice as big as its nearest competitor;
38% of total advertising revenues from television and 31% from radio programming; and among national time sales, 40% and 38%, respectively.
Concerned Canadians can continue to voice their opposition to the deal
by visiting the www.saynotobell.ca website and by sending emails via
the website to Canada's Ministers of Heritage and Industry, the
Competition Bureau, the CRTC and Members of Parliament.
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
1 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2008/pb2008-4.htm (point 17)
2 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2008/pb2008-4.htm (point 22)
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