Bell-Astral TV viewership share validated by new CRTC report

Sep 5, 2012

2012 Communications Monitoring Report underlines that BCE-Astral share of total television audience within the CRTC threshold of 35%

MONTREAL, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell welcomes the release of the 2012 Communications Monitoring Report by the Canadian Radio-television Communications Commission (CRTC), which confirms the TV viewership data submitted by Bell to the CRTC in its application to join with Astral Media.

"With the release of the CRTC's latest report, we now have confirmation that the combined Bell-Astral share of all TV viewing is indeed below the CRTC's 35% threshold," said Mirko Bibic, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer for Bell and BCE. "Moreover, the report clearly demonstrates the highly competitive and fast-changing nature of the Canadian media marketplace. Not only are Canadians now able to make viewing choices from some 700 different TV channels, a rapidly increasing number are turning to Internet services from foreign providers for their viewing options."

The CRTC's 2012 Communications Monitoring Report includes all relevant TV viewing data for the 2010-2011 TV season. The report shows that U.S. and international TV channels captured a 13.3% share of all TV viewing in Canada, an increase of 10% from the previous year.

Bell's proposed acquisition of Astral meets all CRTC rules regarding media ownership. The CRTC's report underlines that the combined Bell-Astral total television audience share will be less than 35% in the national English-language market and less than 25% in the national French-language market, both within the threshold at which the CRTC would generally expeditiously approve such a transaction. Similarly, the report confirms Québecor's share of the French-language market will remain the largest, at more than 30%.

"Canadians have a growing array of viewing choices available to them and they aren't limited by national boundaries. That's the reality of TV today, which Canadian viewers themselves clearly understand even if certain Bell competitors do not," said Mr. Bibic. "In this environment, a combined Bell-Astral helps ensure a strong Canadian media presence able to contend directly with both U.S. media and foreign Internet broadcasters, helping to sustain and grow the entire Canadian broadcasting industry."

Bell Media is joining with Astral to bring consumers enhanced choice and competition in media. Bell Media is committed to investing significantly in new Canadian programming and talent, and to making it available across all screens and through whichever cable, satellite or IPTV provider a customer may choose.

Bell Media already invests almost $600 million every year in Canadian content. Bell Canada also undertakes more than $3 billion in capital expenditures annually, far more than any competitor, to fund the country's largest rollouts of new broadband infrastructure and deliver popular and competitive new services such as Bell Fibe TV, Fibe Internet and Bell Mobile TV.

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For further information:

Jacqueline Michelis
Bell Media Relations