Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The rules that govern Canada's broadcast industry are in need of a reboot.

That's the idea behind a new set of guidelines – officially known as a "Code of Good Commercial Practices" – to be released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission this week.

The CRTC is responding to new challenges raised by technology, as well as by vertical integration – the term for cable and satellite companies that have bought up many of the television channels they distribute to customers through TV subscriptions. It held a hearing in June to examine these issues, and asked companies for suggestions as it formulates a new code to regulate a changing media industry. It is also an attempt at balance: the CRTC has been pushed to de-regulate as much as possible, and the code may be an experiment, to put new guidelines in place without writing an entire new set of rules. How easy such loose guidelines will be to enforce, could be a recurring question for the regulator going forward.

Story continues below advertisement

The code will address whether new rules are needed to ensure integrated giants don't abuse their market power. Among the other issues it will address: whether cable and satellite companies should offer cheaper "skinny basic" packages for their services and more "pick and pay" options allowing customers to choose which channels they want, and how to regulate TV content on new platforms such as the Internet and mobile phones.

In March, the CRTC declared a ban on companies making exclusive deals on new platforms until it decided on how – and whether – it should regulate this new world. That ban will now be lifted, replaced by whatever recommendations the new code sets out. The CRTC has been considering making the ban permanent, preventing integrated players from locking up their content to serve only their own wireless customers.

"Vertically integrated carriers have the means and incentives to behave in an anti-competitive fashion and that can harm competition and consumer choice," Telus Corp. – which offers Internet, telephone and mobile phone services but is one of the companies that did not invest in media recently – wrote in its final submission following the hearing.

Predictably, the companies that are most opposed to new rules are the integrated companies themselves. In its submission to the CRTC following the hearing, Shaw Communications Inc. said the call for more regulation of integrated companies – including Shaw, because of its ownership of the former CanWest broadcast assets – is based on "vague, speculative and exaggerated concerns." And BCE Inc., which owns the CTV network and a host of specialty stations, said in its final submission that companies who did not make the strategic decision to buy media assets to complement their distribution businesses, such as Cogeco Cable Inc. and Telus Corp., were looking to the CRTC to protect them against competitive risk. "This is not, nor should it be, the Commission's role," BCE's submission stated. "…There is simply no evidence of a problem in need of a regulatory fix."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
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

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

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