CRTC Sets Rules On Exclusive Mobile Video Deals
Companies such as Bell can’t offer streamed hockey games or TV shows exclusively to their own mobile and internet customers — such content must also be available to competitors “under fair and reasonable terms,” the CRTC has ruled.
“Canadians shouldn’t be forced to buy a mobile device from a specific company or subscribe to its internet service simply to access their favourite television programs,” said CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein in a statement Wednesday.
The statement accompanied the release of new rules for large companies that own both programming and distribution arms — a phenomenon known as vertical integration.
“Given the size of the Canadian market, there are benefits to integrating television programming and distribution services under the same corporate umbrella,” said von Finckenstein. “At the same time, we felt that some safeguards were needed to prevent anti-competitive behaviour.”
The new rules do allow companies to offer exclusive programming to their internet or mobile customers if that content was produced specifically for the internet or a mobile device, such as behind-the scenes video clips.
The CRTC has also proposed a code of conduct to “prevent anti-competitive behaviour” among companies negotiating for rights to certain content. The code bans certain practices, such as charging an “unreasonable rate,” requiring the buyer to have minimum revenue or market penetration levels, or requiring the buyer to buy other programs in order to get the content that they want.
Measures intended to make sure independent distributors and broadcasters are treated fairly by big, integrated companies were also included. For example, at least 25 per cent of specialty services distributed by large integrated companies must be owned by an independent broadcaster.
This is an excerpt. Click here to read the full article on CBC.ca.