What does Bell Canada's bid to takeover Astral Media mean for consumers?

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Bell Canada says its takeover of Astral media will be good for Canadian media. Competitors say taking over more than a third of the English language television market will be mainly be good for Bell. Higher quality programming -- or just higher bills?


What does Bell Canada's bid to takeover Astral Media mean for consumers?

You may have missed last year's world cup cricket match when Pakistan clobbered Canada by 46 runs. Bell Media says if its 3.4 billion dollar takeover of Astral Media is approved by the CRTC, there will be lots more Canadian content to watch. So, perhaps Canadian viewers need never miss another cricket clobbering. Bell's competitors however believe another clobbering is on the way if the acquisition goes through. They believe consumer choice will go down and bills will go up.

Alexei Tchernobrivets is the founder of The Media, a small TV-start up based in Toronto. He says Bell is already flexing its muscle against small competing companies such as his and squeezing him out of the market before he even gets in. If Bell's takeover of Astral Media gets the green light, he predicts it will get worse for him and be more expensive for consumers - if the deal goes through. Alexei Tchernobrivets was in our Toronto studio.

What does Bell Canada's bid to takeover Astral Media mean for consumers?

Dwayne Winseck is a journalism professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. He's attending the CRTC hearings this week looking into the Bell/Astral takeover bid. He has just launched the Canadian Media Concentration Research Project to track the numbers for media concentration in Canada. He joined us from Montreal.

What does Bell Canada's bid to takeover Astral Media mean for consumers?

We did invite someone from Bell to join us this morning, but our request for an interview was turned down.

Bell's business strategy however was laid out by BCE CEO George Cope in March during a press conference to announce the deal. We aired a clip.

Richard Paradis is communications consultant and the president of Le Groupe CIC, and he's worked for both Bell and the CRTC. He says Bell's previous takeovers have helped save some Canadian media. We reached him in Montreal this morning.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Sujata Berry and our intern Joan Piloya.


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