Post Tagged with: "Broadcasting"

The Canadian Public’s Effect on the CRTC Ruling on Whether BCE could Buy Astral

I appeared on CBC News to discuss how Canadians are taking back the CRTC and our communications system. The CRTC, for the first time ever, included questions submitted by members of the public in the hearing. My interview can be found on Youtube or on CBC’s website for better quality.

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October 1, 2012 Comments are Disabled News Interviews, Tv / Radio

Isn’t There a Better Way to Spend $750 Million?

As is the case with all mergers involving Canadian broadcast companies, the proposed Bell Media purchase of television and radio giant Astral immediately generated interest in the Canadian television production community, who anticipated yet another huge payday that follows from each of these deals. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which must approve the transaction, requires purchasers to “make clear and unequivocal commitments to provide tangible benefits representing 10 percent of the value of a transaction” (the percentage for television assets is typically 10 percent and 6 percent for radio assets).

Given the rapid pace of consolidation in the Canadian broadcasting industry, the size of these tangible benefits packages, which often provide funding for new Canadian productions, has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2007, Astral’s purchase of Standard Radio led to a $12 million benefits package, Rogers acquisition of five CITY-TV stations resulted in a $37.5 million benefits package, and CTVglobemedia’s purchase of CHUM netted over $100 million. In 2010, Shaw’s purchase of Canwest Global generated a $180 million benefits package. The Bell purchase of CTVglobemedia in 2011 topped that with a $239 million benefits package and now the Bell Media – Astral deal could be even bigger.

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May 11, 2012 6 comments Columns

Supreme Court of Canada Rules ISPs Are Not Broadcasters

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Internet providers are not broadcasters for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act when they simply transmit content to subscribers.  The court noted “when providing access to the Internet, which is the only function of ISPs placed in issue by the reference question, […]

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February 10, 2012 4 comments News

Supreme Court Grants Leave To Copyright, Broadcasting Cases

The Supreme Court of Canada yesterday granted leave to appeal in two notable cases – an appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision that ISPs are not broadcasters under the Broadcasting Act (I wrote about that decision here) and the never ending saga of Tariff 22, which involves tariffs […]

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March 25, 2011 4 comments News

Do We Still Need Foreign Ownership Restrictions in Canadian Broadcasting?

In recent weeks, a political consensus has begun to emerge on the benefits of removing restrictions on foreign ownership in the telecommunications sector. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that implementing such reforms faces at least one major political stumbling block that is only tangentially related – the spillover effect onto the broadcasting sector.

As Canadian telecom operators, broadcasters, and broadcast distributors become single entities – Rogers combined with City-TV, Quebecor’s ownership of Videotron, Sun Media, and Groupe TVA, Shaw having purchased Canwest Global, as well as Bell in the process of merging with CTVglobemedia – the biggest hurdle may well be fears about the cultural impact of opening up telecom companies to foreign buyers.

While the link between broadcasting and Canadian culture is obvious, the connection between Canadian broadcasting ownership and Canadian culture is tenuous at best.

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March 10, 2011 59 comments Columns