Why Bell-Astral? More from Winseck on Canada’s shame (3)

With customers like this guy, I’d sell Astral too

[Correction added – Sept 16]

If you’re just joining us, we recently had a lengthy conversation with Dwayne Winseck about media concentration in Canada. Dwayne provided many insights not merely on Astral but also on the big picture – in particular how this proposed acquisition will be entirely in character for Canada’s spineless regulator. In other words, we didn’t get into this horrible mess a few months ago. This relentless pattern of mergers and acquisitions has been going on for more than a decade. What’s different this time? Well, apart from being high up – 2nd – on the international list of developed countries ranked by degree of concentration, Canada will also win the gold star for having the highest degree of media cross-ownership in the developed world.

What’s especially galling about this comeuppance is the gist of the CRTC’s just released 3-year priorities plan, which I blogged about on Tuesday (preceding post). The Commission has announced they’re finally going to make the consumer a priority. Genius idea. Somebody in Gatineau woke up recently and figured the public should be included in the mandate to look after the public interest.

Don’t hold your breath. When Jean-Perre Blais puts his seal of approval on Bell’s latest refinement of our oligopolistic media market (with the usual Ottawa puffery about how good this’ll be for our health), it won’t be just Telus and QMI who suffer as a result. It’ll be you and me. And later on, here’s more twisted logic to look for: the Commission and Harper flunkies explaining how, in the planet’s most concentrated media market, we still have enough competition to continue making crucial regulatory decisions on the basis of “market forces.” It’s that old Canadian magic. If the CRTC says our media markets aren’t distorted, well, they aren’t.

But enough from me. Here’s Dwayne – and if you’ve missed parts 1 and 2, do yourself a favor and give them a listen first. Plus if you want to see all the gory deets up close, including interactive motion charts, check out the new website at the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project (CMCR). [haiku url=”post-dwayne-part3-2012-09-10.mp3″]