Today the CRTC announced that it has approved the purchase of CHUM by CTV Globemedia, however, it lopped off the five regional Citytv stations in the process. The troubled A-channel however was approved for acquisition by the growing media company. Critics say that the Broadcasting Act, written in 1991 is outdated and that the mutli-media world has changed significantly since that time. Further, it is said that the antiquated nature of the Act limited options for the CRTC in ruling on the acquisition. Here’s the release:
OTTAWA and GATINEAU, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today approved the transfer of effective control of CHUM Ltd. (CHUM) to CTVglobemedia Inc. (CTVgm). The CRTC did not approve the transfer of five Citytv stations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver to CTVgm, given that such transfer would be inconsistent with the Commission’s common ownership policy. That policy stipulates that a licensee may not operate more than one conventional television station in one language in a given market.
“The purpose of this policy is to maintain diversity of voices within the Canadian broadcasting system,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “Some exceptions to the policy were granted in the past for failing stations in secondary markets. CTVgm asked for the exception using arguments based upon competitive equality and the impact of new media. However, the Commission was not convinced by CTVgm’s arguments.”
Approval of this transaction is conditional on the trustee responsible for the Citytv stations submitting to the Commission, within 30 days, an acceptable plan for the sale of the Citytv stations.
The Commission found, however, that the A-Channel group of television stations did fall into the established exception to the common ownership policy and approved their acquisition by CTVgm. As a consequence of this decision, CTVgm will be able to acquire seven television stations, 34 radio stations and, in whole or in part, 20 specialty television services. Today’s decision follows a public process that included a public hearing held by the Commission, which began on April 30th.
So, what does this mean for you? This will allow the company to change the way that it buys advertising meaning that purchased ads will appear across a wider variety of television stations. So, if you thought Canadian ads were repetitive enough get ready to watch the same Ford Fusion ad on a larger proportion of your TV dial. However, with a larger capability for advertising, the flagship network CTV will be able to purchase bigger and better shows (so the theory goes).
UPDATE: Rogers has picked up the Citytv stations.