Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Audience share data cloud BCE’s Astral bid

New data from Canada’s broadcast regulator have thrown fresh uncertainty over a controversial bid by BCE Inc. for Astral Media Inc., a transaction that if approved would see the country’s biggest telecom provider cement its position as the biggest owner of TV programming.
Figures released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Tuesday show a combined BCE-Astral would hold 39.7% of the English-language television audience.
That figure, though technically permissible, puts the $3.38-billion deal within the threshold requiring heightened regulatory scrutiny through public hearings next week.
But the calculation excludes audience-share figures for networks and pay-TV channels Astral jointly owns, like HBO Canada, which would add another three percentage points to 42.7% — a level treading close to an automatic dismissal of the current proposal.

Astral jointly owns popular channels like HBO and Teletoon with Corus Entertainment Inc., with each holding a 50% interest in the properties. The question of whether audience numbers from those assets should be included when looking at an overall enlarged Bell Media will be a matter of fierce argument beginning Monday when the CRTC opens a public review of the deal in Montreal.

No comments:

Blog Archive