Skip to main content

Quebecor Inc. is asking the CRTC to block Bell Media’s acquisition of a French-language television network, arguing that the deal would be detrimental to Quebec’s TV market.

Bell, a division of BCE Inc., announced last summer that it plans to acquire the V channel and its digital assets from privately-held Groupe V Média. The deal also includes video streaming service Noovo.ca, as well as TV stations in Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Bell Media currently owns the CTV Television Network and a number of specialty TV channels.

Story continues below advertisement

Quebecor, which owns TV stations in Quebec under its TVA network, as well as specialty channels and a subscription streaming service called Illico, is asking the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to deny the transaction.

The Quebec-based company, which filed an intervention with the regulator on Friday, claims that if the deal goes through, it would give Bell control over a significant portion of Canada’s total advertising revenue. That would allow Bell to dictate advertising rates, leading to significant revenue losses for other players and ultimately harming the quality of French-language television programming, Quebecor said.

“Bell used to be a monopoly and, unfortunately, I think this is something that they have in their DNA, and certainly they’d like to recreate that monopoly," Quebecor president and chief executive Pierre Karl Péladeau said in an interview.

Bell countered that Quebecor is the one that’s “overwhelmingly dominant” in the province’s media industry.

“As a Quebec company ourselves, Bell sees the rebirth of V as a way to deliver more choices to viewers here, new options for creators and some much-needed competition in the Quebec media marketplace," Bell spokesman Marc Choma said in an e-mail.

It’s not the first time that the two sides have sparred. Earlier this year, they got into a spat over the terms of Bell’s TV services carrying Quebecor’s specialty channel, TVA Sports. After accusing Bell of competing unfairly, Quebecor blacked out the TVA Sports signal for Bell customers just before the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. After a hearing on the matter, the CRTC ordered Quebecor to maintain the signal for Bell subscribers.

Mr. Péladeau said Friday that while he supports competition, Bell’s national presence and diverse array of services leaves others at a severe disadvantage.

Story continues below advertisement

“Competition is good until you’re killing the competition,” Mr. Péladeau said, adding that he plans to raise these issues during the CRTC’s public hearings on the matter, which are scheduled to begin Feb. 12.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies