MONTREAL – the Bell was again asked Thursday to the Council of broadcasting and telecommunications commission (CRTC) to approve its acquisition of the conventional television station V without imposing financial obligations and additional restrictions, during the last two days of hearings held in Montreal.
The president of Bell and Bell Media in Quebec, Karine Moses, has focused on the financial difficulties of the string V and its regional stations to justify the request.
“Subjecting these stations to additional obligations or financial constraints more important would have a direct impact on our ability to maintain these stations”, she pleaded.
Ms. Moses was categorically opposed to the day before, to ensure that information requirements are added to the licence of V, as is the case for its competitors.
Bell has, however, promised to hire journalists, in Montréal and the regions to set up new halls, with the collaboration of its English-language channel, CTV.
Other stakeholders, in the course of the hearings, have raised concerns about the conditions relaxed granted by the CRTC in the past to the string V. According to them, the same accommodations should not be provided to stations once they are built-in in the hands of Bell.
“You can’t, overnight, make it so that the station would become profitable. It takes us time to implement our action plan,” said Ms. Moses.
Bell asked the CRTC to extend the current obligations of the string V for the new regional and local programming until 2022, the date on which the license renewal is expected.
The president of Bell and Bell Media in Quebec is also back on the front-end load conducted the day before by the president and chief executive officer of Quebecor, Pierre Karl Péladeau, accusing him of conducting a “campaign of disinformation”.
“The opposition of the Quebecor is an attempt to crush all potential competition to its advantage and to the detriment of the quebec public in general,” she said.
Quebecor and other opponents of the transaction are concerned about the influence that could have Bell on the canadian telecom market, which already dominates the English-language market.
Wednesday, Pierre Karl Péladeau said particularly concerned about the impact of the transaction on the advertising revenues of other media in quebec. Bell has earned income of $ 2.1 billion last year, compared with $ 1.2 billion for Radio-Canada and 381 million, respectively, for the Group VAT.
By purchasing the chain V, Bell generation would avert nearly half of the advertising revenues in the television sector, she currently has no less than 30 television stations across Canada, 109 radio stations and more than 200 web sites. Bell is also the owner of production services, entertainment, telecommunications and sports teams.
The CRTC has concluded its hearings in Montreal and its commissioners will consult in the coming weeks to determine if the Council gives its approval to the purchase of V by Bell.