Broadcasting Commission Letter addressed to Peggy Tabet (Québecor Media inc.) and Kevin Goldstein (Bell Média inc.)
Ottawa, 16 March 2020
Regulatory Affairs, Broadcasting
Québecor Media Inc.
Regulatory Affairs, Content and Distribution
Bell Media Inc.
Re: Procedural letter – Request to file further information Québecor Media Inc., on behalf of Videotron Ltd. Application number: 2019-0462-3
Dear Madam, dear Sir
In respect to the procedural request filed on 28 January 2020, by Québecor Media Inc., on behalf of Videotron Ltd. (Videotron), regarding a request for authorization to file additional information to application 2019-0462-3, pursuant to section 7 of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure).
In its procedural request, Videotron reiterated its complaint under the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (original application 2019-0462-3), added a new reference to section 11 of the Discretionary Services Regulations, and took the opportunity to report certain developments regarding the distribution of Super Écran by Bell Media Inc. Videotron stated that it had to revoke access to Super Écran multiplatform content for its subscribers on January 21, 2020, increasing Bell’s unfair advantage in the context of Videotron’s complaints.
BCE Inc., on behalf of Bell Media Inc. and Bell Télé (Bell), responded to Videotron’s authorization request on January 29, 2020. Bell stated that the additional information is in no way related to the subject of the existing complaint, that the record of the complaint is closed, and that the application does not comply with the public interest or fairness standard set out in section 7 of the Rules of Procedure.
The Commission notes that the public record of this proceeding has been closed since 18 September 2019. The Commission considers that Videotron failed to demonstrate how the public interest or fairness standards would justify adding information to the public record when that information has been known to Videotron since at least September 2019, as indicated in Bell’s letters filed by Videotron in the appendix to its authorization request. Furthermore, the Commission considers that the link between this information and the original complaint is very limited. The focus of the original complaint is the inclusion of Super Écran to Bell’s Alt Télé package, which Videotron claims it cannot do at a competitive price, while the information that Videotron is currently attempting to add to the record concerns the new way in which Bell is offering Super Écran on-demand content, not specifically the addition of Super Écran to Alt Télé.
That said, the Commission is committed to providing Videotron and Bell with a fair proceeding. If Videotron wishes to bring this information to the Commission’s attention, it can do so separately. Furthermore, if Videotron wishes to file a new complaint under section 11 of the Discretionary Services Regulations concurrently with its original complaint, Videotron will be required to withdraw its original complaint and file new undue preference complaints.
In conclusion, the Commission considers that Videotron has not met the burden of proof and denies its request to file additional information: the Commission will make its decision on the basis of the original public record. Please note that this procedural request will create additional delays in the publication of the Commission’s decision.
The Commission considers that it would be appropriate to address the issues raised in this request in the context of negotiations between parties, during which they could resolve the dispute bilaterally or with the help of staff-assisted mediation.
A copy of this letter and of any related correspondence will be added to the public record of the proceeding.
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