The new rules basically come down to three limits:
- The same company can’t own a newspaper (daily, paid local paper), radio station and TV station in the same market
- The same company can’t acquire TV stations that would give it a 45% or more audience share in a market
- The same company cannot control all broadcast distribution systems (cable and satellite TV) in the same market
Enough exceptions have been made already that nobody is affected right now. These include:
- The CBC/Radio-Canada and other public broadcasters
- Companies who grow their audience market share to over 45% with existing properties
- The National Post and Globe and Mail, which are considered “national newspapers”
Go nuts, Quebecor
A second, related decision which isn’t getting so much attention is a loosening of restrictions on news gathering. Previously, Quebecor was forced to separate news gathering divisions in its print and television properties. Reporters for TVA and the Journal de Montréal couldn’t so much as talk to each other.
The problem with that restriction is two-fold. First of all, other media like CanWest and CTVglobemedia had lesser restrictions which only required them to manage the news outlets separately. Second, the Internet has forced the CRTC to realize that the medium is irrelevant. Newspaper reporters are shooting video, and TV reporters are writing text. The lines between media are blurring.
So the CRTC has decided to harmonize its rules to the looser CTV/Canwest system, which restricts news management but not news gathering directly. Management of one outlet cannot be involved with managing the other. The reporters themselves, however, are unaffected.
This will come as welcome news to Quebecor, who can now
take frame grabs from TVA to fill Journal de Québec pages have more flexibility in its media management.