ClimateGate news

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sun News launches fairness fight vs. Bell

Straight from the horse's mouth:

OTTAWA - The operators of Sun News Network filed a complaint Friday with Canada's broadcast regulator against Bell Canada.

The complaint alleges Bell gave the all-news networks it owns - CTV News Channel, CP24, and Business News Network - "undue preference" and put the fledgling SUN News Network at "undue disadvantage" in their carriage fee disagreement.

Luc Lavoie, head of development for Sun News, says Bell has refused to treat SUN News Network the same way it and other television distributors treat all news channels.

"Could it be because we're competition?" asked Lavoie.

"Are they afraid of us? And is it acceptable in Canada that they give themselves preferential treatment? It goes against all the concepts of regulatory affairs in Canada."

The complaint filed with the CRTC says even though Sun News asked to be paid a carriage fee that is less than what Bell's all-news outlets charge, Bell still considered the fee excessive.

"I don't know how one can come up and say that what we're asking for is excessive if it is below, for instance, CP24," says Lavoie. "I am not criticizing the work that CP24 is doing, but it doesn't have a fraction of the infrastructure that we have in place. It's not at all the same level of services that are offered."

Satellite TV operator Shaw accepted the same fee agreement Bell found excessive.

Earlier this week, Quebecor, which owns SUN News Network, asked Bell to stop broadcasting SUN News because there was no carriage fee agreement in place.

Since then, Quebecor has been asking SUN News fans to call Bell at 1-888-759-3474 or e-mail the company at to demand a deal be signed with SUN News.
It seems like Bell will only be happy if they can get Sun News for free. A strategy designed to either rob the network of revenues or shut them out of the market.

The fact the Bell TV owns competing news channels like CTV Newsnet, CP-24 and BNN is a clear conflict of interest. If Bell cannot deal fairly with a competitor, then it should not be allowed to have a broadcast carrier's license. Or it should not be allowed to own competing channels. Period.

No comments: