In a move which surprised many of the Canadian media observers, BCE (aka Bell) just bought 100% of CTV. Although they owned a small amount of the CTVGlobemedia shares it was always speculated that Bell’s competitor, Rogers Communication would be the winner in the media wars currently being waged in Canada. The major communications companies are consolidating their control over media production and distribution which is reminiscent of the stranglehold the Hollywood studios had in the last century, of the motion picture business. Rogers is not out of the game completely since they own CityTV but compared to Bell owning CTV they come out in at best in third place, most likely fourth.
Quebecor Media owns much if not all of the Quebec telecom and media market, Shaw is in the final phase of adding Canwest-Global to their broad communications empire, Rogers owns CityTV and now Bell owns CTV. One journalist pointed out that Telus, the only other major Canadian tele-com, is left out in the cold. There are smaller regional networks out there but none that would elevate Telus to the level held by their cohorts. The last major broadcast network is the CBC and even though it is a federal government entity it might not be too surprising to have the government set them free in order to divest themselves of a chronic money loser. Strange things are happening in the world of Canadian media and this wouldn’t be all that out of line. The real big winner in this deal is Bell and no doubt the ghost of Ted Rogers is turning over in his grave at having his legacy missing a great opportunity. Sorry guys, ya snooze – ya lose!
On a side-note, CTVGlovemedia announced today that they are selling all but 15% of their ownership of the Globe and Mail, a venerable Canadian newspaper steeped in history, to Woodbridge Co. Ltd., the holding company of the Toronto-based Thomson family. In a move some say makes sense to support Bell’s consolidation of their broadcast assets it may be that they see the writing on the wall and are jettisoning a dying media platform.