Broadcasting - Commission letter addressed to Peggy Tabet (Quebecor Media)
Ottawa, 17 March 2021
Ms. Peggy Tabet
Regulatory Affairs, Broadcasting
Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-379 – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC) licence renewal – Procedural request by Quebecor Media Inc. (Quebecor)
This letter is further to Quebecor’s appearance at the public hearing for the CBC/SRC licence renewal process announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-379, and to your letter dated 19 January 2021. In accordance with the instructions set out during the hearing, any request made during the hearing would be taken into consideration. The Commission indicated that it would rule on the requests at a later date.
In this regard, Quebecor submitted new documents to the Commission and requested that those documents be added to the public record. The documents in question include a letter, a survey conducted by the firm Léger entitled Study on the Role and Complementary Nature of Public and Private Television Channels in Québec, and a file of documents that includes, according to Quebecor, examples of alleged anti-competitive practices by the SRC.Footnote1
Request to add the Léger survey
The notice of consultation for this process was published on 25 November 2019 (CRTC 2019-379), and the initial deadline to file interventions was 13 February 2020. On 28 January 2020, the Commission extended the intervention period to 20 February 2020.
Quebecor’s request was made more than 11 months after the close of the public consultation period. In addition, the survey in question, which was conducted between 6 and 12 November 2020, across Quebec, has been available on the web for a few months.Footnote2 It should be noted that the request to add the survey was submitted to the Commission without any explanation as to why the survey was neither conducted nor submitted earlier in the process. The Commission also notes that adding a survey to the public record at this stage of the process could be detrimental to the SRC, which would not have a full opportunity to respond.
Consequently, the Commission considers that it would not be appropriate to add the survey to the public record for this proceeding.
Accordingly, the Commission denies the request to add the Léger survey to the public record.
Request to add examples of alleged anti-competitive practices by the SRC
During its appearance, Quebecor also requested that four files alleging anti-competitive practices by the SRC be added to the public record, in confidence. Specifically, the file you submitted includes:
- public media articles about the Tandem initiative;
- examples of SRC advertising offers alleging that the broadcaster is attracting advertisers by engaging in “price dumping” of its advertising space;
- examples of ads aired before online podcasts, which allege that the SRC [translation] “is indirectly doing what it can no longer do directly”; and
- a list of foreign programs for which the SRC has bought the rights, which alleges that the SRC is outbidding and harming the private sector.
The articles are public; therefore, parties to this process could have included them in their final submissions. Further, the issue concerning the Tandem service was addressed during the oral phase of the hearing. In regard to the allegations relating to advertising and foreign programs, the Commission recognizes that these issues are part of the public record; as such, the Commission may take them into consideration when making its decision. However, although Quebecor could have addressed these issues during its appearance in accordance with its February 2020 intervention, the Commission consider that it would not be appropriate to allow Quebecor to add new elements at this stage of the process. Given the nature and quantity of the documents filed, it would not be possible for the SRC to respond to them in a fair and equitable manner.
For these reasons, the Commission denies the request to add this information to the public record.
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