Saturday, 8 September 2012

As CRTC Hearing Nears, Canadians Rally Against Monopolistic Media Merger

As CRTC Hearing Nears, Canadians Rally Against Monopolistic Media Merger

As we ready for this imminent CRTC hearings on the $3.4 billion dollar Bell-Astral merger, the question is—does this merger bother you, or do you not think it is an issue? 50,000 Canadians have signed the petition, up from 20,000 just a couple of weeks ago.
Below are some articles to get caught up on the dramatic politics and salient impacts of this massive acquisition.
1. It’s not just Bell. Vertical integration is rampant in Canada. It's an iron-fisted oligarchy. Canada is the worst country in the world for television industry concentration.
2. Canadians vehemently oppose vertical integration; Telus opposes merger.
3. Bell-Astral deal would give Bell an even bigger premium content monopoly.
4. Bell Has Been More Innovative Than Competing Companies with Bell FIBE TV, as Canada has much room to grow in terms of laying down fibre optic cable.
5. Bell committed to $80 million in French-language content development as part of merger, enters joint partnership with Cirque Du Soleil.
6. Bell-Astral deal will give Bell an increased cross-media monopoly.
7. Bell and Rogers officially acquire Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, forced to produce $7.5 million in independent Canadian sports programming over seven years. Do large Canadian media companies need to be further luxury taxed?
8. Does the Bell-Astral merger really matter considering today’s new media world?
9. The CRTC’s newly released Communications Monitoring Report suggests that Canadians watched more television in 2011 than 2010, despite digital and mobile’s insane growth.
We shall see what happens as the CRTC hearings unfold next week. There are presentations on the industry side by Quebecor, Eastlink, Cogeco Cable, Rogers Communications, Telus, and Canadian Cable Systems Alliance. On the consumer side, there are presentations by Option consommateurs, Union des consommateurs, and the Public Interest Adovacy Centre (PIAC). They will all take place from Monday September 10 to Thursday September 13.
Further, other organizations who have clearly opposed the merger include, the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), Canada Without Poverty, the CWP Advocacy Network, the Canadian Media Guild, the Consumers’ Association of Canada, the Council of Canadians, and the Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of British Columbia.

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