Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-574 – aka Bell tries to acquire Astral, arguing that’s the only way it can compete on the international stage. And Chairman Blais calls bullshit – congratulations to him and all involved in this decision, which may be a historic turning point for Canadian media consumers.
Among other things, this bold stroke lends tremendous credibility to the new-look CRTC, and especially to the new Chief Consumer Officer, Barbara Motzney.
Watch this space for more on the CCO and Chairman Blais’ vision for a consumer-oriented regulator. We’ll need time to absorb this decision, which begins thusly:
The Commission denies the application by BCE Inc. (BCE), on behalf of Astral Media inc. (Astral), for authority to change the effective control of Astral’s broadcasting undertakings. The Commission is not convinced that the transaction would provide significant and unequivocal benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system and to Canadians sufficient to outweigh the concerns related to competition, ownership concentration in television and radio, vertical integration and the exercise of market power.
In addition, BCE filed applications for authority to effect corporate reorganizations and to convert CKGM Montréal from an English- to a French-language radio station. The applicant indicated that the related applications were all contingent on approval of the proposed change of effective control of Astral’s broadcasting undertakings. In light of the Commission’s decision to deny the change of effective control, the Commission also denies the related applications.