CRTC Sets New Rules for Broadcasters That Own Both Programming and Distribution

The CRTC has set out some new rules for broadcasters that own both programming and distribution, also known as vertical integration. The new rules were established to prevent anticompetitive behaviour. Such examples include companies refusing to sell mobile rights to a TV show to other companies at fair rates.

Such vertically integrated broadcasters include:

Shaw Communications, which controls Canwest Global Communications Corp.
Quebecor Media Inc., which controls TVA.
Rogers Media Inc., which controls Citytv.
BCE Inc., which is trying to acquire sole control of CTVglobemedia.

CRTC chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein:

“Canadians shouldn’t be forced to buy a mobile device from a specific company or subscribe to its internet service simply to access their favourite television programs…

…Given the size of the Canadian market, there are benefits to integrating television programming and distribution services under the same corporate umbrella…At the same time, we felt that some safeguards were needed to prevent anti-competitive behaviour.”

The CRTC also asked Bell, Quebecor, Rogers, and Shaw to give Canadians ‘more flexibility’ to choose the channels they want in their TV packages.

This is good news for consumers as it ensures content to be streamed to mobile devices cannot be held exclusively by vertically integrated companies. They must charge fair rates to others looking to acquire rights to the content for their own streaming.

We haven’t fully adopted streaming TV to our smartphones yet (the continued expansion of 4G networks will surely help), but when it becomes mainstream these rules ensure all carriers will have access to content at a fair price.

[via CBC]