Did You Know?
- Astral’s French-language specialty television services broadcast more than 2,300 hours of Québec-produced programs every year.
- CANADA AM has been providing Canadians with the first news headlines of the day for the past 40 years.
- TSN produced more than 700 hours of live game coverage in the 2011-12 hockey season.
- In 2011, local morning shows called CTV MORNING LIVE were launched in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, producing more than 20 hours of local programming every day.
- In 2012, Astral launched the first Canadian on-demand music streaming and music video service.
- Bell Media donates over $15 million dollars through in-kind promotional resources to local charitable and community initiatives on an annual basis.
- Bell Media invests almost $600 million each year on Canadian content, more than any other private broadcaster.
- In 2011 and 2012, Astral’s financial support of more than 600 organizations across Canada exceeded $40 million.
- Bell Media greenlit more Canadian programs in the past 18 months than CTV did in the previous three years.
- Bell Media’s DEGRASSI is the longest-running Canadian drama ever with over 400 episodes.
- Viewers watch way more Canadian content on CTV than any other channel, including CBC/SRC.
- Apple has recognized CTV News for its innovative newsgathering technology, using iPhones to capture HD video on location and send it for TV or web broadcast.
- Bell Media Radio reaches 7.8 million Canadians every week. More than 220,000 listeners are unique users online, listening to 850,000 streams per week.
- Astral-backed films and documentaries received 80 out of 94 nominations for the 2012 Genie Awards.
- Bell Media is Canada's top sports radio brand with six sports stations featuring NHL play-by-play of the Montréal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, and soon, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
- MuchMusic’s original series DISBAND and DISCOVERED helped launch the careers of successful Canadian bands Stereos, These Kids Wear Crowns, and Nightbox.
- Astral’s French-language specialty channels have acquired more than 1,000 hours of Canadian independent productions, including 350 hours of documentaries.
- Every year, Bell Media Radio stations support new and emerging Canadian artists with airplay, financial assistance, promotional exposure and live concerts.
- Bell Media has increased its Canadian programming expenditure by more than $100 million, compared to what CTV spent two years earlier.
- MuchMusic proudly supports and broadcasts WE DAY, the largest youth-empowerment event of its kind.
- Bell Media is the first conventional broadcaster in Canada to offer a simulstreamed television lineup for mobile with its CTV Mobile service.
- To date, Astral’s French-language specialty channels have invested more than $40 million to support and develop Canadian programs
- The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program is recognized as an essential source of trained writers and newly developed projects for the TV marketplace.
- BACKPACKERS is Bell Media’s first broadcast-quality, stand-alone digital series, created specifically for digital platforms.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Canadians want a better understanding of the proposed union between Astral and Bell Media. This website provides access to the facts in response to any questions you may have about the proposed new company.
The combination of Astral and Bell Media will bring together two respected and long-standing Canadian media brands to create a truly national, bilingual private media group – Québec-based and Canadian-owned and controlled.
This new company will be better positioned to fund, promote, broadcast, and otherwise distribute the best in Canadian content, available and affordable to all consumers on the device of their choosing.
We have heard Canadian listeners and viewers, and understand they are looking for:
- More CHOICE in radio and television
- More COMPETITION, in Québec, throughout Canada, and against foreign broadcasters
- More INVESTMENT in Canadian radio and television content, channels, and talent
- More COMMITMENT for local TV and radio news
- More PRODUCTION and PROMOTION of hit Canadian content
- More INNOVATION in delivering content anytime, anywhere, on any device
- More FUNDING for Canadian arts and culture
As leaders in Canadian broadcasting, Astral and Bell Media share the common goal of responding to what Canadian viewers and listeners seek. Together, we can deliver more.
Astral and Bell Media fundamentally believe that together, we can offer more to Canadians, creators, advertisers, distributors, and, most importantly, to viewers and radio listeners. We have explored every opportunity to realize these benefits for Canadians, and believe it’s our responsibility to submit a new application that addresses the issues raised by the CRTC. Our new application more clearly states the benefits of the transaction to radio listeners and television viewers, and highlights the immense value that our union can bring to Canadians and to the Canadian broadcasting industry.
We are unable to address the specific details of the new application until the CRTC makes it public, most likely in early 2013. However, in addition to more clearly stating the benefits of the transaction to consumers and responding to the concerns set out by the CRTC, we have submitted a revised and significant tangible benefits package, with a minimum 85% investment for on-screen initiatives.
Applications to the CRTC like the Astral-Bell Media proposal are most commonly released to the public (or "gazetted") by the CRTC, not the applicant. We are simply respecting the process. The same process happened with our original application.
It will lead to more competition, especially in the Québec market, where Québecor is the dominant broadcasting and media brand. Québec consumers, creators, and advertisers want more choice, more competition, and more diversity from their distinctive broadcasting system. By bringing our companies together, we can ensure greater choice for Québec consumers, creators, and advertisers in a media marketplace where true competition and new innovation is long overdue.
We also know that Canadians want more access to their favourite Canadian content anytime, on the devices of their choice, and through the cable, satellite, and IPTV provider of their choice. For this to happen, strong Canadian companies are needed; companies with the ability to compete not only against one another, but also against unregulated foreign over-the-top service providers, such as Netflix. We thrive with this kind of competition because it guarantees that we all work harder to give back to our viewers and listeners with more meaningful, compelling content.
No, for the simple reason that your cable, satellite, or IPTV company determines what you pay, not Astral or Bell Media. The CRTC has clear and extensive rules governing how Astral, Bell Media, and other content providers sell TV channels, and how your cable, satellite, or IPTV company packages them. Our competitors buy content from us under these rules, and we fervently respect these rules. Competition in this market is healthy; there are many players in the Canadian broadcasting system. The wholesale cost of Canadian TV channels provided by companies like Astral and Bell Media is well below comparable properties in the U.S. – savings that should be passed on to you, the consumer.
No. The radio business model operates on a local level, responding to the needs of local listeners and local advertisers with specific radio genres that work for each market. We will continue to deliver the best in local radio content, and will seek to offer even more local coverage. Astral’s radio properties will benefit from Bell’s innovation and expertise in emerging technology, providing access to radio content on more platforms than ever before. We’re also committing to Canadians that the new company will preserve the level of excellence that has made our news properties the most respected in the country and uphold journalistic standards of objectivity, balance, and accuracy, devoid of any influence.
No. The channels available to you and what you pay for them is determined by your cable, satellite, or IPTV company. Astral and Bell Media sell their services to cable, satellite, and IPTV companies according to rules set by the CRTC. They then decide how to package Astral and Bell Media television channels, and the prices they charge you. Bell Media is at the vanguard of providing extensive packaging flexibility for our properties to cable, satellite, and IPTV companies, flexibility that should be passed on to you, the consumer.
No. You buy your TV channels from a cable, satellite, or IPTV company, not directly from content providers like Astral or Bell Media. While your cable, satellite, or IPTV company might offer you discounts to encourage you to buy other services from them, Astral and Bell Media have no control over that.
No. Bell Media very much respects the Québec-based legacy that Astral has created. Bell Media’s parent company, Bell, is also a Québec-based company with strong roots in the province. Together, we will continue to build on Astral’s success to the benefit of Canadians everywhere and our industry as a whole. In fact, we can build a stronger Québec-based media company to compete with the dominant Québec broadcast and media company, Québecor. This includes a continued investment in French-language content showcasing Québec creators, and a commitment to growing consumer choice and innovation in Québec broadcasting. Additionally, Astral CEO, Mr. Ian Greenberg, will join BCE’s Board of Directors should we receive approval for the transaction, and Mr. Jacques Parisien will join the new Bell Media executive team.
We heard sports fans in Montréal loud and clear. Their passion for sports talk radio is unparalleled. Loyal and devoted, they responded in droves in an effort to preserve CKGM (TSN Radio 690) as an English-language sports radio station. As a result, as part of our new application, we are filing a request for an exception to the CRTC’s Radio Common Ownership Policy to keep TSN Radio 690 as an English-language sports radio station. As a result of tremendous listener response, we think it’s a discussion worth having. We believe an exception to the Policy is reasonable, consistent with previous regulatory practice, and the only way to preserve CKGM as an English sports talk station. Montréal sports radio fans deserve it.
Québec viewers, creators, and advertisers want more choice, more competition, and more diversity from their distinctive broadcasting system. Together, Astral and Bell Media will deliver more competition and provide more choice by investing even more heavily in television and radio content reflective of Québec viewers and supporting more significantly Québec’s extremely talented artists. This will unleash even greater competitive intensity, to the clear benefit of viewers and listeners, of all those who work within the system, and of all those who use Québec media as an advertising vehicle.
Astral and Bell Media will leverage the companies’ combined strengths to assemble new programming services for French-language viewers, new services that speak to Québec audiences. The new services we develop will give Québec-based content creators an even bigger door to knock on. Astral’s programming team has long worked closely with independent producers in Québec. It has demonstrated its commitment to its producer partners through the only French-language Terms of Trade agreement currently in place, adherence to which Bell Media has confirmed it is prepared to accept as a condition of licence. That programming team will remain intact and in place, with its headquarters in Montréal - but now it will have more to offer to independent producers. The Québec broadcasting system will be more dynamic than ever before.
Viewers and listeners tell us they want to be able to access content anytime and anyplace. Both Astral and Bell Media have an unparalleled range of content, a deep culture of creativity, and an insatiable appetite for innovation. Together, we will provide an opportunity to deliver robust multi-platform experiences in both official languages, but superior to what you might find on the range of over-the-top services currently available to Canadians. We will develop bilingual multi-platform offerings that will provide a proud home for Canadian film and television programming, home-grown content unavailable from the current offerings of foreign over-the-top broadcasters. And unlike foreign services, our services will contribute directly to the growth and sustainability of the Canadian broadcasting system, as well as provide employment opportunities for Canadians.
After we submit our filing, the CRTC will “gazette” our application, or make it public. The CRTC will then set the agenda for the next steps, including a new hearing. Once again there will be an opportunity for all Canadians to participate in the process.