Telus calls for regulatory safeguards against self-dealing content carriers

The content carrier rings the alarm over potential anti-competitive practices by major Canadian broadcasters.

An advantage of being the only major Canadian content carrier to not own and run a conventional TV network is you get to raise the alarm over potential anti-competitive practices by major Canadian broadcasters.

That’s exactly what Telus Corp. did Wednesday in a submission to the CRTC where it called for safeguards to protect Canadian TV viewers from self-dealing broadcasters.

“The unprecedented concentration of market power in the broadcasting sector created by the common ownership of programming services and distribution platforms requires regulatory safeguards to protect consumers,” Michael Hennessy, Telus SVP regulatory and government affairs, said in the submission.

“The potential for abuse of market power is real and the risk to consumers is significant. Without proper regulatory safeguards, consumers could soon be facing increased costs and reduced choice in their TV viewing options,” Hennessy added.

Telus said much the same at recent CRTC hearings on vertical integration in the Canadian broadcast sector, warning that BCE, with its newly acquired CTV network, and other major carriers were hoarding content.

As a remedy, Hennessy told the CRTC to ensure content carriers with TV assets did not give themselves undue preference, and instead were compelled to make their content available to rival carriers on a level playing field.

With Canadian TV content now largely owned and controlled by domestic cable and satellite providers, Telus also urged the CRTC to guard against preferential or exclusive programming rights, or TV viewers having to switch program suppliers to view their favorite shows.

Telus also urged that vertically integrated broadcasters not be allowed a head start when launching new programming services.

From Playback Daily.