Post Tagged with: "Broadcasting"

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

Broadcasters Criticize CRTC Plan for Publicizing Digital Transition examines (sub required) the broadcaster responses to the CRTC’s plan to publicize the forthcoming broadcast digital transition.  CTV argues that the planned public service announcements would result in millions in lost advertising revenue.

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January 18, 2011 11 comments News

Broadcast Vertical Integration Facing Two Rounds of Studies

Concerns over broadcast vertical integration in Canada will be the subject of two proceedings.  The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has voted to conduct hearings later this year, while the CRTC will hold a public proceeding on the issue in May 2011.

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October 25, 2010 Comments are Disabled News

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

Federal Court Rules Internet Providers Not Broadcasters

Appeared in the Toronto Star on July 12, 2010 as Court: Internet Providers Aren't Broadcasters Last year, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission released its new media decision, which addressed the prospect of increased CRTC regulation of Internet activities.  After days of hearings and thousands of pages of submissions, the […]

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July 12, 2010 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive