Bell Media commends the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling supporting the balanced, pro-consumer carriage arrangement Bell Media offered to the Canadian Independent Distributors Group (CIDG). The CRTC’s precedent-setting endorsement of Bell Media’s final offer, with its innovative flexible-pricing model, confirms Canadians will continue to have access to one of the largest selections of television channels available in the world, at some of the lowest costs in the world.
“Today marks a significant victory for consumer choice and packaging flexibility in Canada,” said Kevin Crull, President, Bell Media. “The CRTC has sent a very clear signal that it supports carriage arrangements that will deliver more packaging flexibility to consumers, while allowing programming services to seek market-established rates to ensure their financial viability. The CRTC’s endorsement of the well-understood commercial principle that the more subscribers a cable company delivers for a service, the lower its per unit costs will be, will ensure the stability of Canada’s broadcasting industry, including the production community, and will ultimately be of great benefit to consumers. With this decision, Canada will maintain its position as a world leader in providing consumers with both a wide array of programming choices as well as packaging flexibility, all at affordable rates.”
In March 2012, the CIDG asked the CRTC to help resolve its negotiation with Bell Media regarding the terms of carriage for 29 of Bell Media’s top specialty services. The CIDG was seeking access to Bell Media’s specialty services at lower than the established market rates. Bell Media proposed a flexible packaging model designed to give cable companies the ability to offer consumers the greatest flexibility in choosing from the widest selection of television channels. In early April, the CRTC provided guidelines for the ongoing negotiation. When both parties failed to resolve the conflict, a final offer arbitration (FOA) hearing was held in late June, resulting in today’s decision.
CRTC Reference Page: Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-393