Big media mergers remind us of past mistakes

The CRTC has approved two big media ownership changes:

Astral Media, owners of The Movie Network, Teletoon, Astral Photo, and lots of radio stations in Quebec and Atlantic Canada including the Énergie (CKMF 94.3) and Rock Détente (CITE 107.3) networks, will take over Standard Broadcasting, which owns stations in Western Canada, but also three English Montreal stations — CHOM 97.7, CJAD-800 and CJFM Mix 96. Montreal is the only market where there’s any overlap, and even then they work in two different languages.

Rogers (telecom, Maclean’s, Rogers Sportsnet, OMNI and 51 radio stations) will buy Citytv (5 stations in Toronto and Western Canada) after CTVglobemedia (Globe and Mail, CTV, TSN/RDS, Discovery Channel Canada, Comedy Network, MuchMusic, Bravo! Canada, A-Channel, your first-born child) was ordered to divest itself of the competing TV network in its acquisition of CHUM Ltd.

More details in this Wikipedia article.

Neither decision is particularly bad for competition in Canada. The radio deal involves two companies that weren’t really competing, and the TV deal gives Rogers a foot in the door to network television.

Of course, it’s the deals that preceded these that are cause for concern. The fact that CHOM and Mix 96, which should be highly-competitive stations, are owned by the same company is troublesome. And CTV’s takeover of CHUM was ushered through without any apparent concern that their mega cable channel powerhouse has only gotten bigger. It now includes, for example, two all-news stations: CTV NewsNet and City’s CP24, which for some insane reason they were not required to sell off as part of Citytv.

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