Post Tagged with: "Shaw"

Media Mergers the Last Stab at Failed Walled Garden Strategy

In the years before the emergence of the Internet, three online service providers battled in the United States for market supremacy.  America Online (later AOL), Prodigy, and Compuserve each adopted “walled garden” strategies that pinned their hopes on exclusive content to attract large subscriber bases.  

AOL ultimately won, becoming the largest online service provider in the world in the late 1990s. With tens of millions of subscribers, the company continued to bet on its walled garden approach, even as many people merely wanted their services to access the Internet.  Over the years, AOL saw its market share shrink dramatically, overtaken by an open Internet that offers infinitely more choice than any single company can.

While others attempted to erect their own walled gardens – Minitel in France, early Internet access on wireless devices that only pointed to company-approved sites and services – consumer demand for open Internet access consistently won out.

Despite the poor track record, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that walled gardens seemingly still hold appeal to companies that believe the best way to distinguish their services is to offer exclusive access to content.  In recent months, Canada has experienced perhaps the last stab at a walled garden strategy with Shaw Communications’ purchase of Canwest Global Communications and BCE’s acquisition of CTV.  Throw in the broadcast assets owned by Rogers Communications and Videotron and control of the major Canadian private broadcasters is solidly in the hands of telecom and cable companies.

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September 23, 2010 4 comments Columns

Media Mergers the Latest Stab at ‘Walled Garden’ Strategy

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 20, 2010 as Media Mergers the Latest Stab at ‘Walled Garden’ Strategy In the years before the emergence of the Internet, three online service providers battled in the United States for market supremacy.  America Online (later AOL), Prodigy, and Compuserve each adopted “walled […]

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September 22, 2010 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Making Sense of the Canwest – Shaw Deal

Ira Wagman puts the Canwest – Shaw deal in context, noting that media concentration in Canada is a direct consequence of a broader media policy.

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March 4, 2010 2 comments Must Reads

Canadian ISPs Fall Short In Meeting Net Neutrality Requirements

Last fall, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued its much-anticipated Internet traffic management ruling, better known as the net neutrality decision. The case attracted national interest as the CRTC established several key requirements for Canada’s Internet providers.

These included new transparency obligations that forced ISPs to disclose their network management practices, such as why the practices were introduced, who will be affected, when it will occur, and how it will impact users' Internet experiences (down to the specific impact on speeds). The CRTC also opened the door to complaints about network management practices by establishing a test that any harm to users be as little as reasonably possible.

Several months later, Canada's ISPs have had ample time to comply with the new requirements, yet my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) reviews the policies from the biggest ISPs – including Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc., Telus, Cogeco Inc., and Groupe Vidéotron – and reveals a decidedly mixed bag.

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February 16, 2010 13 comments Columns

Shaw, Canwest and the Fee-For-Carriage Campaign

Derek DeCloet notes that Shaw's plans to purchase the Canwest TV assets may leave CTV isolated in its campaign for fee-for-carriage.

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February 16, 2010 5 comments Must Reads