CRTC issues directive that Quebecor’s plan to arbitrarily cut off service to Bell customers would breach broadcast regulations
MONTRÉAL, April 8, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Cable and media company Quebecor, owner of Videotron and TVA Group, has threatened to deny Bell TV subscribers access to its TVA Sports channel over a business dispute between the two companies. In an unprecedented move, Quebecor also issued a series of misleading statements on its hockey broadcasts and other media platforms that falsely claimed Bell itself planned to remove access to TVA Sports, and that also directed Bell TV customers to switch to Quebecor’s cable TV subsidiary Videotron.
Bell requested and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued a directive requiring Quebecor to continue to provide TVA Sports to Bell TV and its customers.
“Quebecor’s reckless campaign and illegal actions are all about our negotiations over pricing for its TVA Sports channel and Bell’s Media’s RDS sports network,” said Martine Turcotte, Bell’s Vice Chair, Québec. “Quebecor actually wants to charge Bell more to access its TVA Sports channel than Quebecor/Videotron is willing to pay for RDS. However, the reality is that RDS is the leading French-language sports network by far, consistently outpacing TVA Sports in both content and viewership, and Bell Media will not devalue the clear fan favourite.”
In 2018, the latest period for which audience figures are available, RDS viewership was on average 67% higher than for TVA Sports.
“Bell will continue to negotiate with Quebecor in good faith as we always have and we look forward to a fair resolution. Our focus is always on delivering for the fans, and that’s why RDS is #1,” said Ms. Turcotte.
Founded in Montréal in 1880, Bell is Canada’s largest communications company, providing advanced broadband wireless, Internet, TV, media and other communication services to consumers and business customers throughout the country, and a proud partner of the Montreal Canadiens and their home, the Bell Centre.
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SOURCE Bell Canada