Bell-Astral will hurt consumers PIAC says

PIAC lawyer Janet Lo will be representing
 consumers at the Bell-Astral CRTC hearings
 this week in Montreal. Photo: CBC News
Janet Lo, counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, opposes Bell Canada's $3.4 billion plan to take over Astral Media. Lo says a Bell that big will limit choice and raise prices.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings into the takeover begin today in Montreal.

PIAC  is acting as counsel for the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC), Canada Without Poverty (CWP) and Council of Senior Citizens’ Organization of British Columbia (COSCO).  PIAC's Aug. 9, 2012 CRTC filing is at

On Wed. Sept. 12 Lo is scheduled to appear before the Commission.  J. Goss + Associates provides communications services to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. CPAC is streaming live coverage of the hearings, the Montreal Gazette's Steve Faguy is tweeting @fagstein and a twitter feed of other top Bell-Astral reporters is @jgoss associates.

Janet Lo, You’re going to get more Bell whether you want it or not

"Canada’s four largest media companies — Bell Canada, Shaw Communications, Rogers Communications, and QMI Agency, a division of Quebecor Media — currently control 86 per cent of cable and satellite distribution, and collect 70 per cent of wireless revenues and 54 per cent of Internet Service Provider revenues, according to the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), a national consumer interest group," the Toronto Star's Kenyon Wallace reported on Sept. 9

"The group has banded together with a number of other consumer organizations and unions to form the Stop the Takeover Coalition, which is appealing directly to Industry Minister Christian Paradis and the federal Competition Bureau to stop the deal.

“This deal will give Bell more market power because they’re going to control so many television services,” said Janet Lo, PIAC’s legal counsel. “They will have the power to negotiate the wholesale rates with competitors in a way that restricts the competitor’s ability to package services. So even if you go with Rogers, you’re going to have to get Bell’s channels in the most basic package, which means a higher cost to you and more channels you don’t necessarily want,” the Toronto Star reported.

CRTC Hearing Agenda
Montréal, Quebec
10 September 2012 at 9:00 a.m.
Palais des congrès de Montréal
1001 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle Montréal, Quebec
Hearing Room: Room 518 ABC
Temporary Examination Room: Room 519 B - 514-789-3485
Reference Documents: Broadcasting Notices of Consultation CRTC 2012-370 and 2012-370-1.

PIAC readings

CRTC hearings on Bell Media transaction makes for broadcast company drama worth watching
Byline: Steve Ladurantaye, Page: B2
The Globe and Mail - Mon Sep 10 2012

Bell enters CRTC ring to do battle; Possible Astral merger angers competitors
Steve Faguy, Source: Postmedia News, Sep 10 2012

La transaction portee devant le CRTC
Michel Munger, Le Journal de Montréal, Sep 10 2012

The Bell Tolls; BCE says it needs to grow to fend off global giants
Jamie Sturgeon, National Post - Mon Sep 10 2012

Guess Which Network Has Been Blocking "" TV Ads?
Canada Newswire - Sun Sep 9 2012

Le CRTC entame lundi les audiences publiques sur la transaction Bell-Astral; Bell-Astral: debut des audiences publiques
LuAnn LaSalle, La Presse Canadienne - Sun Sep 9 2012

CRTC makes consumers its top priority
Michael Geist,  Toronto Star, Sep 9 2012

CRTC will look at how much of the market Bell will control with Astral deal
Steve Faguy, Montreal Gazette - Sun Sep 9 2012

Agence QMI, Télé : les chiffres de Bell contredits par le CRTC

Qui dit vrai sur les parts de marché en télé dans le cadre de l'achat du diffuseur Astral par Bell ? Le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC) tranche en faveur des adversaires de la transaction. Dans son Rapport de surveillance des communications, publié mardi, le CRTC cite les sondages BBM Nielsen pour 2010-11. 

Le résultat ? Ensemble, Bell et Astral détiennent 39,7% de l'écoute en anglais au Canada. Une fois ajoutées les chaînes partiellement détenues par Astral, comme Télétoon et HBO Canada, le pourcentage grimpe à 42,8%. Les deux chiffres sont supérieurs aux 33,5% que Bell mettait de l'avant au début d'août. Selon le rapport du CRTC, ce dernier pourcentage correspond à la part de marché excluant Astral en 2008-09. Agence QMI, Michel Munger 5 septembre 

Financial Post, Ahead of hearings, BCE swings back at TV audience concentration claims

"Mirko Bibic, (BCE Inc.) chief legal and regulatory officer for the sprawling telecommunications and media conglomerate, said independent data released this week by regulators “validated” BCE’s own claims that the bid would see audience share held by its media unit fall well below the mark which would force changes to the $3.38-billion offer or worse. 

“If you calculate Bell and Astral’s share of total viewing, the numbers will confirm that we’re less than 35% and less than 25% in French,” Mr. Bibic said in an interview. Jamie Sturgeon, Financial Post Sep 5, 2012

CRTC Monitoring Report Confirms Bell Canada Has Understated Audience Share Numbers

MONTREAL, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released their annual Communications Monitoring Report providing television viewing numbers for the 2010 - 2011 season. The numbers presented prove that Bell Canada has understated their audience share numbers in relation to their bid to acquire Astral Media Inc. and confirms that the proposed transaction is well over the CRTC's threshold for concern.

The CRTC data confirmed that Bell Canada's English-language market share would amount to 39.7%. When Astral Media Inc.'s jointly-owned channels are included, Bell Canada's English-language market share would be 42.8%.  

Le Rapport de surveillance des communications du CRTC confirme que Bell Canada a sous-estimé sa part de marché

Le Rapport de surveillance des communications du CRTC confirme que Bell Canada a sous-estimé sa part de marché

MONTRÉAL, le 4 sept. 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Aujourd'hui, le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC) a publié son Rapport de surveillance des communications annuel, dans lequel il fournit les chiffres relatifs à l'auditoire télévisuel pour la saison 2010-2011. Ces chiffres prouvent que Bell Canada a sous-estimé le nombre d'auditeurs qui résulterait de l'acquisition d'Astral Media inc., et confirment que la part de marché affichée au terme de la transaction proposée dépassera largement le seuil jugé préoccupant par le CRTC.

Les chiffres produits par le CRTC confirment que la part du marché de langue anglaise revenant à Bell Canada serait de 39,7 %. Si l'on inclut les chaînes appartenant conjointement à Astral Media inc., ce chiffre serait de 42,8 %.

Le CRTC publie son rapport annuel sur l'état de la situation dans l'industrie des communications

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, le 4 sept. 2012 /CNW/ - Aujourd'hui, le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes (CRTC) a publié  l'édition annuelle du Rapport de surveillance des communications, lequel brosse un tableau du secteur des communications au Canada. En 2011, la famille canadienne moyenne a dépensé plus de 180 $ par mois pour les services de communications.

CRTC issues annual report on the state of the Canadian communications industry

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Sept. 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued its annual Communications Monitoring Report providing an overview of the Canadian communications sector. In 2011, the average Canadian family spent more than $180 per month on communications services.

"This report is used to gauge whether the communications industry is meeting the needs of Canadians as consumers, citizens and creators," said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. "The information it contains will help them make more informed decisions in the marketplace and enhance their participation in our public proceedings."