Source: Montreal Gazette
MONTREAL – Telecommunications company Telus Corp. is urging the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission not to allow its competitors to horde the content for the exclusive use of their subscribers.
The company is the only one of the major telecommunications companies that does not hold television networks as part of its assets.
This year, Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. bought the television network CTV, while last year, Shaw Communications Inc. purchased the television and specialty channel division of Canwest Global Communications Corp.
The CRTC will be analyzing the impact of what it calls vertical integration in June. The deadline to submit briefs on the hearings was Wednesday.
In its brief, Telus argued it would hurt Canadian viewers if telecommunications companies were allowed to keep the content they own exclusively for their subscribers either on televisions, mobile phones or tablets.
“The potential for abuse of market power is real and the risk to consumers is significant,” Michael Hennessy, senior vice-president Regulatory and Government Affairs at Telus, said in a statement. “Without proper regulatory safeguards, consumers could soon be facing increased costs and reduced choice in their TV viewing options.”
In their briefs to the CRTC, Bell and Vidéotron Ltée. took an opposite position, arguing that exclusivity on certain platforms should be permitted.
But Bell has had exclusivity fights of its own. The company last year complained to the CRTC that Quebecor Media Inc., owner of Vidéotron, engaged in unfair practices when it limited programming of the TVA network which it owns to the Vidéotron on-demand service, and refused to provide it to Bell. The CRTC agreed with Bell’s complaint and ordered Quebecor to provide the content. The company has brought the issue before the Federal Court of Appeal.
© Montreal Gazette