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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More media consolidation in Canada

Judging by this article, the CBC is not happy with the CRTC and how it handles private sector media consolidation. Can't say I'm impressed either.

CTVglobemedia executives faced tough questions from broadcast regulators Monday as hearings began into its proposed $1.4 billion purchase of CHUM Ltd.

Sure. Tough only when it comes to optics ...

"I'm trying to give you what you want but why couldn't you have made your request for an exemption less monumental?" commissioner Stuart Langford asked.

You have to wonder, what good are regulations when erosive exemptions are so easily granted? (That's a rhetorical question btw.) So much for a "free market" system. Thanks to crony capitalism Canada is fast becoming an oligarchy quite recognizable to Ukrainians and other East Europeans.

The CTVglobemedia/CHUM hearings are the first of three media takeovers the broadcast regulator is considering. The others include:

  • CanWest Global's $2.3 billion deal — in partnership with U.S.-based Goldman Sachs — to take over Alliance Atlantis Communications.
  • Astral Media's takeover of the privately owned radio stations of Standard Broadcasting.
You can be sure that none of these new corporate entities will have any interest in programming to ethnic communities like ours.

As this article illustrates, it's no better south of the border where the big players also keep minority broadcasters shut out.

But it's not not just ethnic communities and racial minorities that suffer, it's anyone in the general listening public who wants (or needs) to know more about them. What I find very puzzling is that industry and governments so stubbornly overlook and underserve these demographics, many of which are quite sizable and/or affluent.

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