Undue preference complaint against Bell regarding the packaging of TVA Sports
Montréal, August 7, 2020 – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CTRC) has confirmed for the second time what TVA Group has been saying for years: Bell is giving undue preference to its RDS channel at the expense of TVA Sports. In a letter sent to the parties earlier this week, which has been kept confidential to protect strategic information, the CRTC stated that Bell's proposed new packaging structure still fails to comply with the decision issued in December 2019. The latest CRTC decision is yet another indication of Bell's bad faith and the anti-competitive practices it unscrupulously employs in order to dominate the market.
“It is unacceptable that Bell has once again attempted to skirt the rules in order to continue favouring its own channel at the expense of TVA Sports,” said France Lauzière, President and Chief Executive Officer of TVA Group and Chief Content Officer of Quebecor Content. “Bell's failure to comply with the CRTC's decision has been clear enough since February but it is now patently obvious to all.”
TVA Group had filed a complaint with the CRTC on February 27, 2019 alleging that Bell was subjecting TVA Sports to an undue disadvantage and conferring an undue preference on RDS, in violation of section 9 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations. The CRTC directed Bell to remedy the situation and report back on a new packaging structure that treats RDS and TVA Sports equitably by no later than February 5, 2020. On February 6, 2020, in response to Bell's filing, TVA Group denounced the deceitfulness of its new packaging, which in no way eliminates the undue disadvantage to which TVA Sports has been subjected for years. Earlier this week, the CRTC ruled in favour of TVA Group and for the second time ordered Bell to stop placing TVA Sports at a disadvantage and to treat it and RDS equitably.
Bell must immediately comply with the CRTC's decision and stop employing illegal manouvres and circumventing the rules that apply to all industry players in order to dominate the market.
TVA Group has instituted proceedings in Québec Superior Court seeking compensation for the tens of millions of dollars in damages that Bell has caused it through the stratagem that has now twice been condemned by the CRTC.