Media News Digest: La Presse union deal, Cogeco drops TSN/RDS streaming, new CEOs at Postmedia and Videotron

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At the CRTC

  • The CRTC has filed its submission to an expert panel proposing broadcasting and telecommunications regulation changes. Among the requests for new powers are to be able to order telecom access to “non-traditional structures” like light poles and bridges, to apply telecom rules to service resellers, to regulate Netflix and similar online content services, to fine broadcasters directly, to offer funding to encourage independent public participation in the CRTC process, and to set up advisory committees. Lots of other groups have also made submissions to the panel.
  • A complaint against the Bell Fund, an “independent” production fund that receives its funding from Bell’s required contributions to Canadian programming, that it was not sufficiently independent and that its new criteria for TV funding unfairly discriminated against small broadcasters, has been dismissed in part. The commission found that the structure of the fund’s funding envelopes was not against policy and did not need to be changed, but it ordered the fund to change its bylaws to ensure that independent board members make up 2/3 of the voting board members at all times and that vacancies of independent members be filled within 90 days.
  • New applications for radio stations in Atlantic Canada:
    • Marystown, N.L.: Commercial FM station (88.3 MHz, 59.3kW), owned by Stingray, to replace AM station CHCM (rebroadcaster of VOCM)
    • Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L.: Low-power community FM station (94.5 MHz, 50W), owned by Exploits Valley Community Radio Inc.
    • Sydney, N.S.: Low-power campus FM station (107.3 MHz, 50W), owned by Caper Radio Inc. (Cape Breton University)
    • Saint John, N.B.: Christian music FM station (96.1 MHz, 2.5kW), owned by New Song Communications Ministries Ltd., to replace low-power station on same frequency.
  • Unsurprisingly, Bell and Cogeco have written to the CRTC to say they are opposed to have issues with the request by Leclerc Communication for an exception to ownership limits to allow it to buy CHOI Radio X in Quebec City while already owning two other radio stations there. Bell and Cogeco, the other major private players in the market, who both received such exceptions in Montreal (Bell to keep TSN 690 after it bought Astral Media, and Cogeco to keep 98.5FM after it bought Corus’s Quebec radio stations), say Leclerc’s request is not exceptional, and would result in it having a commercial market share just short of 50% in the market. Bell opposes the exception, while Cogeco says if the exception is granted, it should be with exceptional conditions of licence. Several other interventions from individuals concerned the plan to turn Montreal’s 91.9 Sports into a music station. Leclerc has not replied to the interventions, but Update: Leclerc has replied to the interventions in a document posted Friday. It counters the argument about market share by pointing out that Bell has the top two stations in several Quebec markets, and a 75% share in anglo Montreal. All it says about the loss of a sports talk station is “we understand the disappointment” and “we will take advantage of our appearance to discuss these issues with the commission if it wants.” A hearing has been set for Feb. 20 in Quebec City to consider the proposed purchase.
  • The commission is calling for comments on a new standard for measuring the accuracy of closed captioning for live English-language TV programming, after broadcasters found the previous standard was not practical.
  • The CRTC has approved a transmitter site, channel and power change for CHNU-DT Fraser Valley, B.C. (Joytv). The ZoomerMedia religious TV station has to move because the transmitter site is being decommissioned.
  • The licence for BBC Kids Canada has been officially revoked after the channel ceased operations on Dec. 31.
  • The commission has approved a plan to add a third area code to the 450 area around Montreal: Code 354 will be overlaid on top of the 450/579 area as of Oct. 24, 2010 2020.

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5 thoughts on “Media News Digest: La Presse union deal, Cogeco drops TSN/RDS streaming, new CEOs at Postmedia and Videotron

  1. Michel Arpin

    Two comments on your story regarding Leclerc Communication
    1) Cogeco is supporting the purchase of CHOI-FM with conditions.
    2) Leclerc has filed its reply to non-appearing interventions (Bell, Cogeco, Communications Lévis, etc.) on January 14 th. The reply is on the CRTC website since Feb. 16.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Karine Moses has been promoted to President of Bell Media Quebec and not Vice-President. See link to press release.

    Reply
  3. Dilbert

    The CRTC are at least consistent in trying to grab as much power as possible. They also have a terrible problem in thinking that they can somehow magically CanCon the internet. It’s as if they don’t realize that the internet is a thing that doesn’t care much about borders, and in fact that lack of restriction is what makes it so appealing.

    The CRTC (at best) should be limited to assuring faster internet connections, open (net neutrality) access, and allowing as much content from all over the world including Canada to be at everyone fingertips. Trying to regulate this back to the good old days of three broadcast channels and “you must have 50 hours a week of local programming” isn’t going to work.

    Reply

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