Bell Media

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Bell Media, Inc.
Industry Media (Television, Radio, Digital Media)
Predecessor CTVglobemedia
Founded April 1, 2011
(through acquisition of CTVglobemedia)
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Key people
Kevin Crull, president
Owner Bell Canada
Number of employees
Divisions CTV Inc.
Bell Media Radio

Bell Media (Bell Média in French) is the mass media subsidiary of BCE (also known as Bell Canada Enterprises, the parent company of Bell Canada). Its operations include television broadcasting and production (including the CTV and CTV Two television networks), radio broadcasting (through Bell Media Radio), Digital Media, and Internet properties including

Bell Media is the successor-in-interest to Baton Broadcasting (later CTV Inc.), one of Canada's first private-sector television broadcasters. The company in its current form was originally established as Bell Globemedia by BCE and the Thomson family in 2001 combining CTV Inc., which Bell had acquired the previous year, and the operations of the Thomsons' The Globe and Mail. Bell sold the majority of its interest in 2006 (at which point the company was renamed CTVglobemedia), but re-acquired the entire company, excluding the Globe, in 2011.

Bell Media's former entities, Baton Broadcasting, Bell Globemedia, and CTVglobemedia.


Bell Canada has previously owned stakes in the company's predecessor, CTVglobemedia; it was originally formed when a consortium of Bell (80%) and The Woodbridge Company (owners of The Globe and Mail) bought CTV Inc. in 2000.[2] [3] In December 2005, Bell announced it would sell an 8.5% interest to Woodbridge (increasing their total ownership to 40%), a 20% interest to Torstar, and a 20% interest to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. BCE retained 20% of the group - a condition that ensured that Bell TV, Sympatico, and other Bell units continued to have access to Globemedia content. The transaction closed on August 30, 2006.[4] On September 7, 2006, in order to pay for the CHUM acquisition, BGM sold additional shares to its existing shareholders. BCE did not participate in the refinancing; the net effect was an increase in Teachers' ownership to 25%, while BCE's interest was reduced to 15%.[5] As a result of BCE's reduced ownership, the company was renamed as CTVglobemedia as of January 1, 2007.

On September 10, 2010, BCE announced plans to re-acquire 100% of the company's broadcasting arm, including CTV Inc. Under the deal, Woodbridge, Torstar, and Teachers' would together receive $1.3 billion in either cash or equity in BCE, while BCE would also assume $1.7 billion in debt (BCE's existing equity interest is $200 million, for a total transaction value of $3.2 billion). Woodbridge would also regain majority control of the Globe and Mail Inc., with Bell retaining a 15% interest. The overall deal was expected to close by April 2011.[6] However, the sale of the Globe, which did not require CRTC approval, was completed in late December 2010.[7] The deal was approved by the CRTC on March 7, 2011, [8] [9] and officially closed on April 1, 2011.[10]


On December 9, 2011, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan announced the sale of its majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment to BCE and its rival, Rogers Communications, in a deal valued at around $1.32 billion. Additionally, Larry Tanenbaum increased his stake in the company to 25%.[11] and was closed in August 2012.

On March 16, 2012, BCE announced that it had entered in an agreement to acquire Montreal-based broadcaster Astral Media for an estimated value at $3.38 billion; the assets of which were to be incorporated into Bell Media. The acquisition was primarily centered around Astral's premium services (such as The Movie Network and its stake in HBO Canada) and its French-language radio and television stations. Bell planned to use Astral's premium offerings to enhance its own multi-platform services to compete against the likes of services such as Netflix, and its French media outlets to better compete against the dominant Québecor Média.[12] The merger was notably opposed by a coalition of competing cable providers (which included Cogeco, EastLink, and Vidéotron—the last of which is also owned by Québecor Média, who felt that Bell's control of a majority of Canadian media would harm consumer choice, and lead to increased carriage fees which could cripple smaller cable companies.[13]

BCE's first proposal was denied by the CRTC in October 2012; the commission believed that the combined company would have had too much market power. Soon afterward, Bell and Astral began to negotiate a second proposal that would involve selling most of Astral's English-language television channels in order to quell fears by the CRTC.[14][15][16] On March 18, 2013, the Competition Bureau cleared the revised proposal, which called for the sale of several channels and radio stations to Corus Entertainment and other parties.[17] Unlike the previous deal, which would have given Bell a 42% share of the English-language television market, the new deal would only give Bell a total market share of 35.7%, but still increase its French-language market share to 23% (in comparison to 8% before).[18] Following hearings by the CRTC in May 2013,[19] the CRTC approved Bell's acquisition of Astral Media on June 27, 2013. The deal is subject to conditions, including the requirement to provide fair treatment to its competitors, to not impose "restrictive bundling practices" on Astral's premium movie channels, invest $246.9 million over the next seven years on Canadian-produced programming, and to maintain the operation and local programming levels of all of its television stations through 2017. The CRTC also approved Bell's proposed exemptions for maintaining ownership of Montreal's CKGM.[20][21]

On June 6, 2013, Bell announced that Bravo would be its first network to implement a TV Everywhere service, which would allow subscribers to Bravo on participating television service providers to stream video on demand content and the Bravo channel live via the Bravo Go app. Apps for some of its other networks will also be released.[22]

Attempted acquisition of the national NHL rights[edit]

Combining with the sales of Astral Media and the stake of MLSE along with Rogers, concerns were again raised by critics, speculating that Bell Media could attempt to acquire full rights to the NHL after CBC's current contract with the league expired in the 2013–14 season – using their ownership of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL's highest valued franchise, as an impetus for such a coup. Concerns were also raised that such an arrangement could prevent wireless service providers other than Bell and Rogers from accessing its content; the CRTC had ruled in favour of Telus in a decision requiring Bell and other media companies to allow other competing wireless providers access to its content, and not exclusively tie it to their own service (as they had attempted to do with TSN Mobile TV).[23] Under such a deal, CTV would likely have carried the Saturday-night games during the regular-season, weekend playoff games in the first three rounds, and the Stanley Cup Finals. TSN would likely have kept midweek national cable coverage of the league and gained midweek early round playoff games of Canadian based teams now seen on CBC. Some midweek regular-season games could have been sub-leased to the various Sportsnet regional networks. Such a deal could also have put a few local midweek telecasts on CTV Two stations in Barrie (Toronto), Vancouver Island (Vancouver), Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton; along with CKY-DT Winnipeg and CFCF-DT Montreal. French rights would likely been kept on RDS.

However, on November 26, 2013, the NHL had sold 12 years of all Canadian television rights to Rogers for $5.2 billion beginning with the 2014-15 season and extending through the 2025-26 season. While Rogers sub-licensed Saturday night and playoff games (including the Finals) to CBC, thereby keeping that network's iconic Hockey Night In Canada in place until at least the 2017-18 season and French rights were also subleased to Quebecor Media's TVA Sports. The moves left CTV, TSN and Bell Media effectively shut out of NHL broadcasts except the regional properties. In retaliation, BCE filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in October 2014 over the exclusivity of GamePlus, a feature added to the Rogers NHL GameCentre Live service provide additional in-game camera angles for subscribers who also subscribe to Rogers' cable, internet, or wireless services, was anti-competitive, and violated the CRTC's rules banning vertically integrated telecommunications companies from being the exclusive distributor of television content on internet and mobile television platforms (a precedent, ironically, set by a complaint over an exclusivity deal between Bell Mobility and the National Football League).[24]


Bell Media's largest division is Bell Media Television, which owns the following broadcast television assets:

Bell Media Television also owns 44 cable television specialty channels, frequently in partnership with U.S. companies which operate similar channels, and primarily concentrated in the following genres:

Genre Key channels Foreign partner
Sports TSN, TSN2, RDS, RDS2, RDS Info, others ESPN (part-owner)
Music / youth / comedy (Much MTV Comedy Networks) The Comedy Network, M3, MuchMusic, MTV, MTV2, Juicebox, others Viacom Media Networks (licensor – MTV channels only), Comedy Central (program supply - MuchMusic and The Comedy Network only)
Factual programming Discovery Channel and various spinoff channels Discovery Communications (part-owner or licensor)
News (CTV News) Business News Network, CP24, CTV News Channel n/a1
Science-fiction / technology Space and Ztélé Syfy (program supply)
Entertainment Bravo and E! NBCUniversal (licensor)
Pay-per-view Vu! (part-owner) n/a
Premium HBO Canada (Eastern), The Movie Network, Super Écran, others HBO / Showtime (program supply)
Other Fashion Television, Canal D, others n/a

1No foreign co-owners or brand partners are involved with these channels. However (like most news organizations) CTV does rely on foreign news sources, such as ABC News and CNN, for some international coverage.

Through its Bell Media Radio division, the company is also Canada's largest private-sector radio broadcaster.

In addition, Bell Media owns television/radio production studios and websites associated with all of the above properties, as well as the (formerly Internet portal previously operated through Bell Canada.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bell Media President Kevin Crull – Canada’s Media System and Vertical Integration". Canadian Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-03-08. 
  2. ^ BCE announces $2.3 billion bid for CTV,, February 25, 2000 (modified November 11, 2000); accessed August 9, 2006
  3. ^ Decision CRTC 2000-747, Transfer of effective control of CTV Inc. to BCE Inc., CRTC, December 7, 2000
  4. ^ "BGM Ownership Deal Closes", BGM press release, August 30, 2006
  5. ^ Bell Globemedia Completes Financing to Pay for CHUM Limited Shares, BGM press release, September 7, 2006
  6. ^ Bell Canada (2010-09-10). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  7. ^ "Torstar completes first stage of CTVglobemedia sale". Toronto Star. 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  8. ^ CRTC approves BCE’s purchase of CTVglobemedia, CRTC, March 7, 2011
  9. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-163, Change in effective control of CTVglobemedia Inc.’s licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, CRTC, March 7, 2011
  10. ^ CRTC approves BCE's purchase of CTVglobemedia
  11. ^ "BCE and Rogers team up to buy 75 percent of MLSE(Toronto Maple Leafs)". 
  12. ^ Sturgeon, Jamie. "Bell snaps up Astral Media for $3.38-billion". Financial Post. Retrieved 29 April 2012. 
  13. ^ Johnson, Julia. "Cable company opposition to Bell’s Astral purchase heats up". Financial Post. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Astral confirms talks with BCE to resurrect takeover deal". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012. 
  15. ^ "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-574". CRTC. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "CRTC kills BCE-Astral merger deal". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "Competition Bureau clears Corus acquisition of Astral assets". The Globe and Mail (Toronto: Canadian Press). 18 March 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Competition Bureau OK's BCE-Astral deal, with conditions". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "Bell resistant to CRTC's TSN 690 proposal". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "CRTC approves Bell/Astral deal with conditions". Toronto Star. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "CRTC approves Bell-Astral merger". CBC. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "Bell Media to give subscribers full online access to Bravo". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 6 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Kelly, Brendan (December 17, 2011). "Hockey team sale changes game in Canada". Variety. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  24. ^ Kelly, Brendan (December 17, 2011). "Hockey team sale changes game in Canada". Variety. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  25. ^ 21 is CTV's official count, which includes all stations in the CTV Atlantic and CTV Northern Ontario groups, as well as the CFCN-TV semi-satellite in Lethbridge, but not any other semi-satellites.

External links[edit]