ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 8 May 2013

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Volume 3, 8 May 2013



Application by Astral Media Inc. for authority to change its effective control, and control of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, to BCE Inc.


Capitale Room

Hôtel Gouverneur Place Dupuis

1415 Saint-Hubert Street

Montréal, Quebec

8 May 2013


In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of Contents.

However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission


Application by Astral Media Inc. for authority to change its effective control, and control of its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries, to BCE Inc.


Jean-Pierre BlaisChairperson

Elizabeth DuncanCommissioner

Suzanne LamarreCommissioner

Peter MenziesCommissioner

Tom PentefountasCommissioner


Jade RoySecretary

Romy Ochmann St-JeanLegal Counsel

Anthony McIntyre

Rachel MarleauHearing Manager


Capitale Room

Hôtel Gouverneur Place Dupuis

1415 Saint-Hubert Street

Montréal, Quebec

8 May 2013

- iv -





10. Eastlink642 / 3773

12. Centre d'études sur les médias679 / 3975

13. Alyssa Reid706 / 4119

14. Cogeco Cable Inc.714 / 4176

15. The Canadian Media Production Association811 / 4635

17. Westmount Moving and Warehousing834 / 4766

18. The Producer's Roundtable of Ontario852 / 4900

19. Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec876 / 5074

20. Diversity Emerging Music Collective896 / 5195

21. Documentary Organization of Canada909 / 5260

22. On Screen Manitoba932 / 5396

23. Vaxination Informatique949 / 5466

- v -



Undertaking659 / 3839

Undertaking755 / 4313

Undertaking927 / 5362

Montreal, Quebec

--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 0904

3770   LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.

3771   Donc, bonjour à tous. Nous pouvons procéder à la prochaine présentation, our people from Eastlink.

3772   So, Mr. Bragg, Ms MacDonald, as usual, please make your presentation.


3773   MS MacDONALD: Thank you.

3774   Good morning, Chairman, Commissioners and Commission Staff. I am Natalie MacDonald, VP Regulatory for Eastlink, and with me is Lee.

3775   I'm going to be reading the presentation today and then both Lee and myself can answer any questions.

3776   So we are here today because we oppose the application by BCE to acquire the Astral Media assets. Although this is the second application, Bell proposes to divest a number of Astral properties and has made some other modifications to its original proposal; these changes do not alleviate the concerns raised in the initial application.

3777   The outcome of this proceeding turns on whether this transaction is in the public interest. The onus is on Bell to demonstrate that the transaction would yield significant and unequivocal benefits to the Canadian broadcasting system, and they have failed to do so.

3778   Bell positions this transaction as a small, incremental acquisition that will result in only minor changes to its market shares, an attempt to deflect attention away from its already excessive size and power.

3779   Bell owns the largest conventional TV network in Canada, as well as some of the most popular specialty services, including the most popular sports service, TSN). Bell is also the third largest BDU in the country, the second largest wireless service provider and the largest Internet service provider.

3780   Thus, regardless of how Bell attempts to characterize itself in this transaction, there can be no doubt that Bell is the largest communications company in Canada and clearly holds a dominant position in this industry.

3781   A company of Bell's size, combined with its vertically integrated status, has the ability to exert significant influence and control over other industry players. It does so through its ability to leverage its dominance and acquire the rights to the most popular content for its programming services to impose terms and rates on distributors as the gatekeeper for this content and through its control of key advertising opportunities via its ownership of, among other things, some of the most popular networks, a significant number of radio stations and other media.

3782   Our concerns are based on our experience as a BDU that must acquire distribution rights for Bell's programming services, while, at the same time, we compete with Bell in all of our markets. The revenues that Bell would gain by enticing bundled subscribers to switch from us to Bell far outweighs the potential revenue loss it would experience by not selling its programming services to us, placing Bell's role as retail distributor in a conflict of interest with its role as broadcaster.

3783   But the Commission has heard all of these arguments before. Indeed, the Commission's decision to deny Bell's initial application shows that you understand them well. So, what has changed?

3784   The fundamentals of the proposed transaction have not changed, nor has Bell's dominance over the communications industry lessened. Bell is still proposing to further solidify its already significant market power by acquiring the most popular English-language pay TV service in Canada, as well as several popular French-language services, which would give Bell more control in the francophone market.

3785   One of the key objectives for Bell in this transaction is control over the nonlinear rights to Astral's programming. Bell says it needs these services to compete with over-the-top providers like Netflix and that its ownership of this content will benefit both Canadian distributors and consumers. We strongly disagree.

3786   We have already built and expanded our own nonlinear platforms in order to meet consumer demand. Based on our experience negotiating with Bell, Bell's ownership of the Astral content will only hamper these efforts by making it harder for us to negotiate reasonable access to the nonlinear rights for the Astral content.

3787   In our view, the proposed transaction will only serve to further improve Bell's competitive position in both the retail and wholesale markets.

3788   Our business often involves difficult negotiations and, sometimes, cost increases. We know and accept this. But our experiences with Bell have been unlike any other. Bell's approach involves imposing extraordinary rate increases that are also tied to significant restrictions in packaging flexibility. Thus, Bell, our main competitor, is able to exert a significant level of control over a core part of our business: how we package and price our services.

3789   In our written submission, we described the importance of TMN to Eastlink. We filed evidence demonstrating that TMN is the "anchor tenant" of, and a key driver for, our VOD platform. We expect TMN to play a similar role in building our Eastlink To Go service. Thus, while we currently have access to TMN and the other Astral services, we are gravely concerned about the prospect of all future negotiations regarding these services taking place with Bell.

3790   Our recent experiences suggest that any such negotiations will likely result in us being unable to access those services on reasonable terms and at reasonable rates. Such an outcome would have a major impact on our ability to offer consumers the type of anytime, anywhere TV viewing experience that they demand.

3791   We have filed evidence regarding our recent experiences in trying to negotiate with Bell for access to its content. That evidence shows that Bell's current terms and rates are substantially worse than those of any other broadcaster. They have impacted our flexibility in terms of how we distribute our services and have also forced us to make tough decisions regarding how we handle increasing content costs while also trying to remain competitive in the face of extremely aggressive pricing by Bell in the retail market.

3792   Our philosophy is to invest every dollar we earn back into the business. We have invested millions over the past few years to upgrade our networks across the country, bringing services to Canadians in rural communities that are equivalent or better than services in some major cities. However, each time our costs increase, it impacts our ability to offer competitive pricing and new products and services.

3793   With each programming service that it acquires, Bell gains a little more power and control over its competitors and it continues to chip away at the progress that has been made in this industry through competition, investment and innovation.

3794   At the same time that the Commission and competitive BDUs are focusing on providing consumers with reasonable pricing and greater flexibility, Bell's approach to wholesale access has the effect of denying or delaying access to content by imposing unreasonable rates and packaging restrictions. Such behaviour is harmful to both competition and consumers.

3795   When Bell's aggressive retail pricing behaviour is added into the mix, the effects on competition and innovation within the industry are even more significant.

3796   Thus, while Bell's strategy has been built on parsing out the issues so that, individually, each one may not seem like a material problem, we urge the Commission to examine the totality of Bell's assets and power today.

3797   There is a reason that independent distributors who rely on Bell's content are not supporting this transaction and it is not, as Bell suggests, due to some plan for regulatory arbitrage. It is solely because Bell's current dominance affects our access to content, our flexibility, our costs and our ability to develop new, innovative services and, ultimately, our survival.

3798   Margin squeezing of the type this powerful vertically integrated company can do ultimately drives competition out of business and leads to a single provider, clearly not in the best interest of Canadians. Granting Bell even greater control over these aspects of our business will only worsen the situation. The transaction is not in the public interest.

3799   It is certain that Eastlink will, in the short term, continue to compete in retail markets with all the force, innovation and resources that we can. We will also continue our efforts to offer attractive products and services. But we have built this business on a philosophy of providing high quality products and services at a reasonable price. When the margin squeezing imposed by our largest competitor is such that it impacts our investments, innovation and ability to compete, we will have to decide if there is merit in staying in the business.

3800   While Bell has proposed additional safeguards that it claims should address concerns regarding its acquisition of the Astral properties, our submissions describe in detail why Bell's proposed safeguards are insufficient to provide any comfort to us. All are weak measures that will not address the concerns raised in this proceeding.

3801   As we stated in our submission, we do not see how any remedies or safeguards could be imposed to protect against Bell, given the control it has over the content that is critical for our service offering -- either because it is marquee content or because we are mandated to carry it. Safeguards are not a substitute for a properly functioning market. The only way Bell could not exert dominance over its competitors is in a case where we do not need to rely on Bell to obtain access to the content. But currently, Bell has exclusive control over this content. Even if the rules were changed so that other parties could develop competitive services with the same content, Bell is already so large that it could, in all likelihood, outbid any other broadcasters seeking to acquire the content. And it could also leverage its ownership interests in several popular sports franchises to maintain control over marquee sports content. Thus, a competitive market for some content may be impossible to achieve, even with a major overhaul.

3802   The Commission's decision regarding Bell's initial application noted that:

"... the significance and breadth of the broadcasting assets of a combined BCE/Astral are such that safeguards to properly supervise this level of market power would be extensive and unduly burdensome."

3803   The Commission further noted that such a level of interference would not be consistent with the regulatory policy set out in the Act. We believe that this statement is still applicable to this transaction and the appropriate course of action is to deny the transaction.

   We would be pleased to answer any questions.

3804   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

3805   Commissioner Menzies...?

3806   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That's kind of an abandon all hope approach, when I was reading your intervention the other day, abandoning all hope that any safeguards are possible to be put in place by the Commission that could either prevent or suppress what you might view as anticompetitive behaviour.

3807   So can you give us, to help -- because there is nothing we can do about whether people find conducting business with each other pleasant, and obviously you are not finding it pleasant from reading that, but there is nothing we can do about that.

3808   Can you give some precise examples of where the current structure fails, where it hasn't been sufficient to allow you to conduct business in a manner that you think is fair?

3809   MR. BRAGG: Well, I think one of the challenges is the fact that they are vertically integrated. You know, when we come down to negotiating for content, as I say, when Astral or anybody is independent there is motivation on both sides to come to a deal, because if we can't and the product is not carried we hurt, Astral hurts and so we are both motivated to get there.

3810   But in a vertical integrated structure, Bell actually is benefitted by us not coming to a deal, because they can come to a deal, as I say, with themselves and it puts them at a competitive advantage if we end up -- Eastlink is not carrying the content. Then Bell on the retail side can carry the content and they are benefitted.

3811   So there is no equal amount of pain in not getting to a deal and that's the challenge we have and I can't figure out how you remedy that. So it's just why make it worse? It's painful now because it's just very difficult to get to that point.

3812   Now, are they behaving uncompetitively? You know, those are strong words and it's hard to know, is that anticompetitive behaviour? That's just good economics from their standpoint, but the structure that we have allowed to have happen now, I mean it's -- I don't want to say subject to abuse, but it's in their best economic interest to continue to do that. In the long run, the more they could charge for content -- because it's an internal transaction to them, you know -- that's painful for us and there is no motivation for them to be, I say, reasonable.

3813   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. But Mr. Cope argued and argues that it makes no sense for him not to have that content available through other systems, that his business model -- that he is not acquiring these assets in order to just hold them within his own system, that he is not making money unless he has a deal, too.

3814   So I want your response to that, because I'm wondering a little bit whether some of this isn't coming from -- there has been a lot of new negotiations in the last couple of years and I'm wondering if some of it is structural or whether it comes from a bit of a shock to the system of having a new set of people to deal with that you weren't dealing with before and there is some kind of cultural transition there that's happening.

3815   MS MacDONALD: So what I would say first is, we have, over the years, often had to face new owners in negotiations for programming services and in some of the confidential filing that we have provided I feel we have put forward a very good example to illustrate that what we are seeing with Bell is in stark contrast to that with other companies with whom we negotiate content.

3816   So I don't think it's an issue of the shock factor of dealing with a new owner.

3817   I note what Mr. Cope said, and you referenced it, but the fact remains that our systems represent less than 5 percent of the subscribers in the country and, you know, I note and agree with what Rogers said yesterday, which is that the acquisition of these additional multiplatform rights to Bell as a programming service are typically lower-cost acquisitions relative to the linear service and, therefore, there is much more incentive to use those services which are extremely attractive for multiple platforms, there is greater incentive to use those to win four services from a subscriber, Bell's retail services, than it is to sell us a wholesale service or to sell it at a reasonable rate. So that's where the problem arises.

3818   When you look even to Bell's annual reports, they reported in their last fourth quarter report that 84 percent of their five TV customers have three services and that's their target to expand upon that, which obviously makes sense for them. But the point is that when you are focused on expanding four customers or four services sold to one customer in the retail markets and you have the option of giving less than 5 percent of the subscribers represented by our systems the wholesale service, I think there is definitely a conflict of interest that we don't have the leverage or ability to negotiate with.


3820   How do you respond to Rogers' suggestion that should the application be approved it be done on the condition that TMN, TMN Encore be divested?

3821   MR. BRAGG: I don't know. To me, that's remedy or a safeguard that I just -- it's not enough. I mean that might be a little bit of a solution, but I think ultimately the solution is don't let it happen.

3822   I ask myself, why do we consider -- you know, there are pluses and minuses in every deal and hopefully, you know, a good deal that benefits all has a greater amount of positive than negative, you know, and everybody in general is happy, but I think in this situation we are trying to say, well, there is more negative than positive so that how do we put remedies in place to bring it back to balance.

3823   So I ask myself, well, then obviously it's not a good deal for the general public or generally if we are trying to squeeze it down to make it palatable. This is the type of thing, that's a potential remedy but I keep thinking, you know, it obviously doesn't make sense to do for the general good if we need to carve off or modify it such that it's acceptable. To me that's just a small step, but it's not enough of a step.

3824   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thanks.

3825   Bell argues that this structure, the new structure, a Bell/Astral structure, is necessary to amass the firepower to fend off the OTT world.

3826   What is your response to that?

3827   MR. BRAGG: I mean the content is the content, do they need that size and scale? I personally don't think so. It's not that difficult to roll out new technologies to compete? Since the last time we were here we have rolled out Eastlink To Go, an online video portal that works, it wasn't that difficult. We feel we can compete with some of the over-the-top.

3828   I mean we all have to modify our business as technology changes, as the economic structure, as consumer demands change, so we are all motivated to do that and there is not that much magic to get that done to compete.

3829   I don't really think that you need to be at that scale, that that's a reasonable argument when we are 1/20th the size of Bell and we are able to do it and we feel we are. So I just don't think that's a reasonable argument that that scale is necessary to compete.

3830   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Can you describe -- with as much financial detail as possible or that you are comfortable with, or even percentages -- how much the costs of Bell CTV services have increased to you over the past couple of years?

3831   In your written submission you refer to "onerous terms" and "exorbitant rates" and I'm just trying to -- I'm looking for some facts to support those adjectives, which Bell might describe as hyperbolic

3832   MS MacDONALD: And certainly that is -- you know, we would typically treat the financial information as quite confidential and so absolutely we are capable of providing specific details after this presentation to the Commission, but I believe -- I'm just checking, but I believe we did file some information referencing the extent of the increases in some respect confidentially in our submission and if I can locate it I can certainly reference the paragraph.

3833   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, I didn't want to say any numbers, and I wanted to make sure that you were comfortable. If something is said, that it is you who say it, not me.

3834   MR. BRAGG: We have suffered --

3835   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And there is some on the record, but if there is anything in addition that you can add, to give people a sense of what "onerous" means in terms of terms, or what "exorbitant" means in terms of rates.

3836   It is always helpful to have precision. Otherwise, it is just a battle between opinions, and we are not a court of opinion, in that sense.

3837   Anyway, think about that, and if you could do anything that would be helpful --

3838   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I was wondering, if you think there is a paragraph that you could point to, or, alternatively, supplement, would it be possible for you to do that by tomorrow morning?

3839   MS MacDONALD: We could do that. We are going back this evening and we will try to get people in order to gather that, but we will certainly make every attempt to get that to you in the morning and file it.


3840   THE CHAIRPERSON: If not tomorrow morning, when?

3841   MS MacDONALD: By the end of tomorrow morning. I think I can commit to that.

--- Laughter

3842   THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's, like, noon?

3843   MS MacDONALD: Yes.

3844   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That's fine. So that's an undertaking that we can expect. Thank you very much.


3846   Can you give examples of any services that you feel you have been forced to force upon your subscribers as a result of negotiations with Bell?

3847   MS MacDONALD: First of all, I did actually just find the paragraph reference. Again, we can supplement it, but it is paragraph 31 of the written submission, and it just references the percentage of the increases that we faced.

3848   We did file that confidentially, but I can supplement it with more specifics for tomorrow morning.


3850   MS MacDONALD: In terms of the question of being forced -- just to clarify, it was forced --

3851   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You felt there was a service that you were forced to carry as a result of negotiations, and packaged to your subscribers in a way that you wouldn't have preferred, or they wouldn't have preferred.

3852   MS MacDONALD: I guess I would say -- and we spoke to this in our written submission, as well -- that, really, the terms of the contract we are left with today for the 29 specialty services with Bell already have the effect of requiring us -- because of the nature of those terms, requiring us to place those services in certain locations and certain packages that we would not otherwise, necessarily, do.

3853   I gave examples in our written submission with regard to two particular systems that came to mind, where we were actually attempting to create new packaging for those systems.

3854   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: At the Osoyoos and the Trochu, for example?

3855   MS MacDONALD: Yes, and they are small systems, but I think it is important that -- it represents the fact that, in those particular cases, and particularly in the Osoyoos example --

3856   We had invested quite significantly across the country over the last number of years to upgrade all of our systems, to improve high-speed Internet, digital cable, hundreds of HD channels, et cetera.

3857   So this was an example of a service where it was not presently being offered at all in the system, and we were simply wanting to add it, and the terms that were required for us to do that -- we couldn't have placed it in a theme package, which we believe would have been the most appropriate for that service, and not unlike what we were doing at some of our other systems.

3858   And we weren't able to do that because of the terms and conditions that were imposed upon us.

3859   So we would have had to place it in a very, very high penetration tier or on basic to achieve what Bell was looking for.

3860   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Are your services now carrying TSN on basic?

3861   MS MacDONALD: In some of our systems.

3862   We have the basic package, but then we have one or two tiers, analog tiers, that historically have always had higher penetrations, as well.

3863   So the TSN services are across -- are in different systems that we have, either on basic or in one of those very high penetration tiers.

3864   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But it's not across the board. You did that individually, based on each service. So TSN might be on basic in some places and in a tier in other places?

3865   MS MacDONALD: Yes, that's the case for some of our systems, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that, of course, in the business that we have been in, a lot of those systems were acquired over time.

3866   So we got the systems in the condition that they were in, and TSN was where it was located. So some of the variances, while perhaps not 100 percent ideal in all cases, for us -- we would like to have all of the systems line up.

3867   Some of those variances are historical, as well, but again in very high penetration tiers.

3868   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right. Because TSN on basic is becoming much more frequent, in the last couple of years, I have noticed.

3869   And that was one of the issues that TELUS was referring to that interfered with their ability to package and that sort of stuff.

3870   Can you give us your perspective on how it has come to pass that Bell is the only content provider with which you do not have a deal on multiplatform rights?

3871   MS MacDONALD: First of all, we have our VOD platform, and we don't have Bell on that platform.

3872   Certainly, we would say that the terms and conditions for multiplatform rights with Bell are simply unacceptable.

3873   Now, to give it a little more context, we did not receive full details of what those rights would look like -- well, one might even say yet.

3874   But we had asked for access and, for a period of time, did not get any details at all, and then we received what Bell had described as an offer in the very late fall, but it really provided no detail at all to us, in terms of what the content would be, what the windows would be, what the specifics of the terms would be, other than, sort of, it's a bare-bones offer.

3875   And based on what they presented in the rates, it is just simply not acceptable to us.

3876   Now, just within the last week we got a little bit more detail on the content, but not sufficient, as well, to understand the quality and the windows and that sort of thing.

3877   But, again, it really goes to the fact that the rates and the terms are just not acceptable at this point in time.

3878   With our Eastlink To Go service, we only recently launched that, as well, in the late fall, so because it is a relatively new service to us, we just continue to add content with other providers, who we have been able to work with very cooperatively and without any difficulty.

3879   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Bell's TV Everywhere, would it be easier to describe it as a complement or a competitor with Eastlink To Go?

3880   MR. BRAGG: I don't know. I think a competitor, really.

3881   MS MacDONALD: I guess it depends on what happens. It is obviously going to be a competitor if we are not able to carry it.

3882   We, ideally, want to have as much content as we do, and where we are able to negotiate reasonable terms and rates and we carry it, it's a complement.

3883   So it's looking like right now it's a competitor, but we will have to see what happens there.

3884   MR. BRAGG: I mean, that is the challenge we have. I understand that Mr. Cope says that he is motivated to sell content to as many people as possible, which absolutely makes sense. But, I think, given the choice -- there is certainly a fixed number of customers, and whether I offer the content or his subsidiary offers the content --

3885   I mean, he is motivated to sell to himself to offer the content to the customer.

3886   So it depends on where the Bell online product -- whether it is sold through us or sold through his subsidiary, at the end of the day, as long as the customer gets it, my guess is, he is going to prefer if he is distributing it as opposed to us.

3887   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, that's a rational way to look at it.

3888   Can you give any examples -- you are arguing that dealing -- or part of your argument is that dealing with Bell/CTV has been more onerous than dealing with others, and I know there is some detail in the written submission, but can you give --

3889   And you needn't use names, but you could use -- like, in terms of timeframes.

3890   There are other vertically integrated companies that you have to deal with, and I am trying to get a sense, or help other people get a sense, of what it is about their structure, or their approach, that is making it more difficult to deal with them than other vertically integrated units.

3891   Or, is it just because they are a direct competitor with you?

3892   But they are not a direct competitor with you everywhere. They are not --

3893   MR. BRAGG: Who, Bell?

3894   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Bell. Are they?

3895   MR. BRAGG: Yes. They are a direct competitor with everybody, everywhere, through ExpressVu.

3896   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Well, yes, okay.

3897   MR. BRAGG: And, also, a direct competitor with, by far, the majority of our systems through Bell Aliant.

3898   But I think that is part of the challenge. I think that's why we seem to -- I am only speculating -- why we seem to have an easier time to negotiate with the other vertically integrated companies, because they are not directly competing with us on the retail side.

3899   So they are not motivated not to have a deal, where, I suspect, Bell can be motivated to not get a deal done with us, because they do, directly, compete with us on the retail side.

3900   That is back to my point that they benefit if they don't get a deal done with us.

3901   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So what is it about your structure -- just for the detail -- that doesn't make Shaw a competitor with you in Alberta, with your systems there?

3902   MR. BRAGG: Because we have some systems and they have others. We don't overlap our networks.

3903   MS MacDONALD: If I could just add to that --

3904   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But they have a satellite service.

3905   MR. BRAGG: Yes, they do have a satellite service, so we do somewhat compete, but it is not as aggressive, it seems, as Bell.

3906   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: The fact that you are unaware -- that it doesn't feel like you compete probably points to a different --

3907   MS MacDONALD: And I think that really comes from the historical way that the industry was situated. The cable companies, traditionally, built out their networks. They had their boundaries, they filed them, and each cable company tended to have its own area.

3908   And although there is a little bit of overlap that we are seeing in some systems today, typically the cable business was built where cable companies owned separate territories.

3909   So when they overlapped and upgraded their facilities for Internet and local wireline phone, they were there and there might have been some competition, but the real competitor was Bell, and Bell would see them as competitors.

3910   So I think that today is one of the big differences because the cable, the wireline side of the business where you can sell three services; cable, internet and wireline phone, the vertically integrated cable incumbents aren't typically overlapping with one another. Therefore, they have the incentive to sell those BDU services.

3911   However, we don't know what's going to happen in the future because we're seeing overlap now in wireless. So you know, the industry is changing but I think that's kind of where, you know, we've come and that's why we're presently situated where we're not having those kinds of -- the same kinds of issues.

3912   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So how long does it take you to reach a deal with Shaw, compared to how long does it take you to reach a deal with Bell without getting into the terms, just the timeframe?

3913   MS MacDONALD: And I don't know the exact specifics, but I can certainly provide it.

3914   But I do know that we deal oftentimes with the CCSA through the negotiations and the CCSA is actually going to be presenting in the next day or so and they can speak as well, probably with great detail of that.

3915   We haven't really experienced with the other providers unusual or inappropriate problems with getting deals. In fact, we have deals. We get -- you know, we're adding multiplatform access all the time. We continue to do it. We've been doing it ever since we launched in November without any problem and it's only been a few months since we've had those rights.

3916   So I would say we have no issues with the other providers. In terms of specifics and time we can get that from the CCSA, and I can also present it when I check back with the office.

3917   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thank you.

3918   Mr. Cope said the other day that it -- I mean, he sort of challenged the question on whether the impact of this deal would have raised prices for consumers in terms of their cable bills and their satellite bills and that -- well, we don't need to go into the rest of it. But he said that was completely outside of his control in terms of the question like that.

3919   So can you give us sort of some idea -- what's your response to that remark?

3920   MR. BRAGG: Well, I think he is --

3921   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And what's the impact on consumers?

3922   MR. BRAGG: In a sense he's right, it's out of his control except that -- I'll go to extremes. I mean if they charge us $1,000 per sub per month for TSN, obviously we'd have to pass some of that cost through the customers. So is he in charge of that, you know?

3923   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Right, so --

3924   MR. BRAGG: Possibly.

3925   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: What's been the impact so far on the operational efficiency of Eastlink of dealing with Bell CTV for instance?

3926   I mean, have you had to increase rates to subscribers because of these arrangements or the prices that you've paid?

3927   MR. BRAGG: Yes.

3928   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Or have you taken less profit or have you --

3929   MR. BRAGG: Yes. Yes, yes.

3930   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes to all of those?

3931   MR. BRAGG: Yeah, as they increase their content prices, I mean, we tend to have to pass that through.

3932   But the challenge for me is when does it stop? At what point do we say, you know, we can't justify doing this and then we suffer, like we reference a margin squeeze?

3933   At some point in time we become less competitive in the marketplace, where it doesn't matter to them because as the rates go up for the content for their own retail distribution model. I mean, the money goes in a circle. So they don't -- it doesn't matter to them. So they don't suffer the same rate squeeze or margin squeeze that we do.

3934   So eventually, in the long run, we become less competitive and you know, we lose four products to our customers to them. So that's the challenge.

3935   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, well, that's the concern that I'm trying to get to with that, that it's -- and it's implied in both of your presentations, written and oral, that sooner or later this company will become of less and less interest to you in that sense. I mean, the Bragg family has other things to do.

3936   MR. BRAGG: Exactly.

3937   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Then, you end up selling likely to a very large company and perhaps even Bell. The consumers then have less choice and there is less competition and that sort of stuff.

3938   That's not really the direction, I think, people want to see in terms of -- because people like competition and they like choice and they like freedom and they don't get that when there is only a single service provider.

3939   MR. BRAGG: No, and that's exactly our fear in the long run. You know, Bell are -- you know they are painful to deal with, but there is lots of people painful to deal with in the world.

3940   I'd say our biggest challenge is where does this lead us five years from now, 10 years from now as Bell continues to acquire more and more? I mean, they have split this deal down, made it a little smaller to hopefully make it a little more palatable. But what's to stop them two years from now to come back again and buy the rest of it or to -- would you allow them to buy us? I mean, I'm unclear as to where the end is.

3941   If it's the -- if it seems like this is going to continue, then it's in our best interest to exit early while we still have reasonable valuations as opposed to waiting the five or 10 years as they get bigger and bigger.

3942    There is two impacts. One is they continue to take retail customers from us or our business shrinks and becomes less valuable. But also there's less people to sell the business to. So eventually you only have one person.


3944   MR. BRAGG: So then you're -- you know, are you worth anything at that point in time?

3945   I mean, that's the big answer we're looking for a little bit: Is this just the first step in the -- I call it the re-monopolization of Bell?

3946   You know, we need to know that and others need to know that because it has a fundamental impact on whether we decide, can we survive in this business against somebody who continues to get bigger and bigger and bigger and have that much dominance over the marketplace?


3948   Has there been any change in your relationship with your access to Astral content in the past year?

3949   MS MacDONALD: I don't think so. I mean, we have recently struck a deal for access to the multiplatform rights with Astral. You know, like any negotiation they are not always easy but I don't think we've experienced any significant impact.

3950   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks.

3951   And in paragraph 42, you indicate that you found no value in engaging in discussions on non-linear access because you couldn't repeat the specialty services process. Can you expand on that a little bit? It sounded like you were exhausted.

--- Laughter

3952   MS MacDONALD: It's probably a fair interpretation.

3953   Well, you know, to be frank, we want access to the best content we can get. So of course we're interested in having it. We only recently launched the Eastlink To Go. So we have certainly more content to add and we're making really good strides in doing that.

3954   When we received the kind of offer that we described here, which is what we got last fall, it's just based on the experience we had in the past. What it meant to us is, okay, here is the offer. What are we going to do, engage in discussions, have meetings, try to have conference calls, have more meetings until we just keep coming up to here?

3955   We're certainly aren't at this point in time interested in going through the whole dispute process again for all kinds of reasons. We have a business to run. We have more content to add with those providers who are willing to add it.

3956   And so, really, it just became -- plus, there wasn't enough information in this. We just didn't want to engage while we had other things we could do. We would get it done quicker and add more content through other resources. And so that's sort of the approach we took when we got that.

3957   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Would a better dispute resolution, faster, more efficient, be of any assistance?

3958   MS MacDONALD: The challenge, I think -- we tried to think about this, because we understand that the Commission is trying to come up with ways that make this work. And I don't mean the application but I mean just the whole process of coming into disputes over these sorts of issues.

3959   You know, I think with the dispute process, the challenge that exists is it's not easy. It's complicated. You think about all of the different policy considerations and all of the different services we carry.

3960   When you really get into the nitty-gritty of trying to figure out the impact of a certain rate offer based on a certain way of carriage, you almost need to do the math and look at it in this scenario and that scenario and what do we want to do? It's quite, quite complex.

3961   So when you are going into a dispute process where you have a mediation on the basis that both parties are supposed to be wanting to try to resolve it, and you absolutely feel like the other side doesn't really care if you get it or not, and they're going to stick with their rates, if that's how we feel going to that and then you go into a dispute process that involves both parties submitting an offer, it's the offer that sticks. It doesn't mean that the offer has been analyzed or assessed.

3962   You know, the Commission has its guidelines for the Vertical Integration Code. Although there is good attempts made to try and say, okay, this is what we look at, you know consider whether something is reasonable, the language is so broad and there is no really deep digging into comparing those rates to the market, comparing them to what kinds of increases we're seeing with other comparable properties from our other services: What are the historical rates?

3963   And because the dispute process doesn't engage in that kind of detail -- and I'm not sure that it really could, and that's another concern we would have with proposing that -- it doesn't get you the kind of result that really shows a fair and reasonable outcome in terms of the rates and the terms, like it's just a shotgun approach to: Here is the two offers. Pick the best one.

3964   And I don't think -- I don't think with the little bit of leverage that we would have, negotiating with a company the size of Bell, that we're going to get anywhere with that kind of process.

3965   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you very much. Those are my questions.

3966   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions for now.

3967   MR. BRAGG: Thank you.

3968   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

3969   Thank you. In the room when I mentioned that we will likely do an additional process on some undertakings that are coming in, you'll have an opportunity to comment on those. Thank you.

3970   Donc, merci.

3971   Maintenant, nous allons entendre... parce que comme on a annoncé hier, Blue Ant Inc. a décidé de ne pas comparaître, on va entendre du Centre d'études sur les médias.

--- Pause

3972   LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour, messieurs. Bienvenue.

3973   M. SAUVAGEAU : Bonjour, mesdames, messieurs.

3974   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, comme vous le savez, vous observez beaucoup nos instances, vous savez comment ça fonctionne. Donc, on vous entend.


3975   M. SAUVAGEAU : Très bien. Merci de votre accueil.

3976   Je vais d'abord nous présenter très rapidement et vous dire pourquoi nous sommes devant vous aujourd'hui.

3977   Alors, mon nom est Florian Sauvageau. Je suis le président du Centre d'études sur les médias. Je suis aussi professeur à la retraite mais toujours actif, professeur associé à l'Université Laval.

3978   Et vous connaissez certainement mes deux collègues :

3979   - Pierre Trudel, professeur à l'Université de Montréal, professeur de droit des médias, et auteur d'un ouvrage remarquable et remarqué sur le droit de la radiodiffusion;

3980   - et vous connaissez aussi certainement Franklin Delaney, qui a dirigé de nombreuses entreprises de télévision, qui a été à Radio-Canada, à TV5, à TQS, et qui a aussi été au CRTC.

3981   Alors, qu'est-ce que le Centre d'études sur les médias?

3982   Le Centre existe depuis plus de 20 ans. Nos travaux de recherche portent sur des questions concrètes et sur les défis auxquels les entreprises font face, et conséquemment, auxquels font face les définisseurs de politique publique et la société en général.

3983   Le Centre est un organisme autonome, un organisme qui a deux partenaires historiques, l'Université Laval et HEC-Montréal, mais qui travaille aussi -- et c'est ça, je pense, qui fait l'originalité du Centre -- avec des chercheurs d'un très grand nombre d'universités québécoises, canadiennes, et également avec des chercheurs d'universités étrangères. Le conseil d'administration du Centre est formé de personnes qui jouissent d'une grande expérience, comme Franklin, dans le monde des médias et de la recherche universitaire.

3984   D'abord, disons que notre intervention touche strictement aux avantages tangibles de la transaction proposée et vise à rappeler l'importance d'encourager les investissements dans la recherche indépendante sur les médias, notamment lors de transactions comme celle qui est présentement examinée.

3985   Je me permets de rappeler le commentaire du Comité permanent du patrimoine canadien de la Chambre des Communes dans son rapport de 2003 intitulé « Notre souveraineté culturelle. » Le document soulignait la difficulté de mesurer le succès de la politique de radiodiffusion, faute de recherche suffisante.

3986   Au Canada, les médias évoluent dans des conditions singulières, vous le savez. Je n'ai pas à le rappeler bien longuement. Le marché est étroit. Les conditions linguistiques sont différentes de celles qui prévalent sur le reste du continent. C'est ainsi que les divers acteurs qui s'intéressent à l'évolution des médias ont besoin de disposer d'informations qui clarifient des enjeux que le contexte rend souvent distincts. La recherche doit donc être spécifique et adaptée à la réalité du milieu. La recherche disponible est souvent américaine et, bien qu'utile, elle ne répond pas toujours aux problèmes particuliers qui se posent au Canada et au Québec.

3987   Par sa politique sur les avantages tangibles, le CRTC a déjà reconnu la pertinence de consacrer des ressources à la recherche appliquée menée de façon indépendante, notamment en 2000, à l'occasion de l'acquisition de CTV par BCE. L'appui financier de BCE et CTV a permis la création du Consortium canadien de recherche sur les médias, dont notre Centre d'études fait partie. Notre Centre a réalisé de nombreuses études et préparé des colloques avec l'appui du Consortium au cours des 10 dernières années.

3988   M. TRUDEL : Les travaux réalisés au Centre d'études sur les médias visent à comprendre les conséquences, tout autant socioculturelles, politiques qu'économiques, des changements significatifs intervenus dans l'organisation des entreprises au cours des dernières décennies.

3989   Cette recherche de caractère multidisciplinaire permet une analyse indépendante, au-delà des intérêts divergents des uns et des autres, non seulement des données que collecte le Centre lui-même, mais des données abondantes qui existent ailleurs.

3990   Au cours des dernières années, nos analyses ont surtout porté sur divers aspects des politiques publiques, notamment la régulation du travail journalistique dans plusieurs pays comparables au Canada, les droits d'auteur dans le nouveau contexte de distribution des oeuvres culturelles, ainsi que les normes et pratiques de Radio-Canada en comparaison de celles de plusieurs grandes entreprises de presse à travers le monde.

3991   Nous avons aussi analysé les divers aspects des aides financières dont bénéficie la production télévisuelle indépendante au Canada.

3992   Nos travaux ont traité également de dimensions socio-économiques : les défis financiers que doivent relever les médias d'ici, tant sur les supports conventionnels que sur les nouveaux; l'évolution des habitudes des publics de l'information, de même que les rapports des membres des communautés culturelles avec les médias.

3993   Enfin, nous avons mené une étude exhaustive de la couverture de la crise étudiante qui a marqué le Québec à l'hiver et au printemps 2012.

3994   Permettez-moi d'insister sur deux de ces études.

3995   Ces dernières années, le Centre s'est intéressé aux changements dans les habitudes de consommation de l'information, en particulier chez les jeunes, ainsi qu'aux usages différents des membres des communautés culturelles. Depuis 2007, le Centre d'études sur les médias mène tous les deux ans une enquête auprès d'un panel de 500 citoyens québécois francophones concernant leurs habitudes en matière d'information. Cette enquête, qui permet de suivre l'évolution dans le temps, est la seule de ce type au Canada.

3996   Une équipe du Centre d'études sur les médias a aussi complété il y a quelques mois une étude qualitative sur les rapports que les jeunes issus de certaines communautés culturelles entretiennent avec les anciens et nouveaux médias, canadiens mais aussi de leur pays d'origine ou les médias d'autres pays. Cette étude permet de mieux comprendre la place des médias dans les processus d'intégration et permet de comprendre aussi les usages émergents des médias.

3997   M. DELANEY : Je voudrais d'abord dire un mot au sujet de ma présence devant vous aujourd'hui.

3998   Les services des unités de recherche dont j'ai pu bénéficier au cours de ma carrière, que ce soit au CRTC, à Radio-Canada ou ailleurs, m'ont convaincu de l'utilité de la recherche et de son importance. C'est pourquoi je me suis impliqué, et je continue de le faire, dans les activités du Centre d'études sur les médias. La recherche me semble indispensable tant aux architectes des politiques publiques qu'aux entreprises et autres organismes intéressés pour permettre le développement d'un système de radiodiffusion qui réponde aux objectifs.

3999   Nous sommes d'accord avec la politique du Conseil de consacrer la grande majorité des avantages tangibles à des projets à l'écran, mais il serait dommage que l'on investisse des sommes importantes dans la production canadienne sans mieux connaître le contexte changeant dans lequel ces investissements sont réalisés.

4000   S'il décide d'approuver la transaction à l'étude, et si le bloc d'avantages proposé devait être revu, nous souhaitons que le Conseil encourage très fortement les entreprises concernées à consacrer une portion significative de ces avantages à la recherche indépendante, comme BCE l'a fait en l'an 2000 en appuyant la création du Consortium canadien de recherche sur les médias.

4001   Nous souhaitons aussi que les entreprises qui se porteront acquéreurs des autres services appartenant maintenant à Astral consacrent une partie des avantages tangibles à la recherche.

4002   À titre d'illustration de ce que cette demande peut représenter, précisons que si les demandeurs s'engageaient, avec l'aval du Conseil, à accorder 200,000 dollars par an au Centre d'études sur les médias sur une période de sept ans, cette somme, représentant 1.4 million de dollars, équivaudrait à 0,8 pour cent du total des avantages tangibles proposés dans le cadre de la présente instance.

4003   Notre intervention peut paraître intéressée, mais la recherche dont il est ici question profite à l'ensemble de l'industrie de la radiodiffusion et à la société en général. Nous vous rappelons que le Centre d'études sur les médias est un organisme sans but lucratif, dirigé par des bénévoles, et que la grande majorité des chercheurs associés aux travaux du Centre ne sont pas rémunérés. Seuls leurs assistants, le plus souvent des étudiants gradués, le sont.

4004   Nous espérons donc vous avoir convaincus de la pertinence de nos travaux de recherche pour le système canadien de radiodiffusion, et peut-être aussi vous avoir incités à les utiliser à votre propre bénéfice -- si vous ne le faites déjà!

4005   Nous vous remercions de votre bienveillante attention.

4006   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup, messieurs.

4007   J'ai quelques questions.

4008   Premièrement, lorsqu'on commence à discuter d'avantages tangibles, généralement, dans l'analyse du Conseil, on est déjà rendu au-delà de la décision d'appuyer ou de ne pas appuyer la demande. Donc, dans votre position, si vous cherchez une quote-part des avantages tangibles, dois-je supposer ou présupposer que vous appuyer la demande?

4009   M. TRUDEL : En fait, le Centre d'études sur les médias n'appuie pas ou ne désapprouve pas la demande. En fait, c'est une intervention qui s'inscrit dans l'hypothèse où le Conseil agréait à la demande qui est présentement devant lui.

4010   Notre intervention vise à rappeler au Conseil qu'il serait important s'il approuve la demande que le Conseil invite très fortement les entreprises concernées à investir une part des avantages tangibles dans la recherche.

4011   Mais ce n'est pas une intervention en faveur ou à l'encontre de la demande. Nous n'avons aucune... Le Centre n'a pas vocation comme Centre à se prononcer en faveur ou à l'encontre d'une transaction, en faveur ou à l'encontre d'une entreprise.

4012   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci pour cette clarification.

4013   Avez-vous eu des discussions avec les demandeurs, soit pour cette demande-ci ou la demande antérieure, justement pour faire valoir votre point de vue que vous voulez de l'investissement, et quelle a été la nature de ces discussions?

4014   M. SAUVAGEAU : Oui. On a eu une conversation, monsieur Delaney et moi avec monsieur Bibic, un entretien très cordial, mais à ce moment-là l'ensemble des avantages avait été transmis au Conseil et c'est bien évident que monsieur Bibic n'avait pas l'intention de dire au Conseil, on va changer les avantages.

4015   Mais l'entretien a été très très cordial et nous en étions, Franklin et moi, très satisfaits.

4016   LE PRÉSIDENT : C'était à quel moment?

4017   M. SAUVAGEAU : Au mois de décembre.

4018   LE PRÉSIDENT : Décembre.

4019   M. SAUVAGEAU : Quelques jours avant Noël.

4020   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord. Est-ce que vous pourriez m'aider à mieux comprendre quelle serait la nature de la recherche que vous proposez entreprendre?

4021   Vous savez, dans le domaine de la science on parle parfois de la recherche pure et de la recherche appliquée et puis certainement il y a de la valeur dans les deux types de recherches, mais je m'interrogeais sur qu'est-ce que vous envisagiez comme recherche.

4022   Est-ce que c'est plus de la recherche pure ou plus de la recherche appliquée ou un mélange des deux?

4023   M. SAUVAGEAU : Pierre qui est le directeur du Centre maintenant pourra très certainement vous donner quelques exemples.

4024   Mais ce que je voudrais dire d'abord avec que Pierre ne s'exprime, c'est que je pense que c'est un faux débat.

4025   LE PRÉSIDENT : Hum, hum.

4026   M. SAUVAGEAU : Le débat en cours actuellement au Québec depuis quelques semaines-là sur ce qu'est la... et à Ottawa aussi avec le Conseil de recherche scientifique, là, dont on semble avoir changé ou vouloir changer la vocation. Mais je pense qu'un type de recherche ne va pas sans l'autre. On ne peut pas faire de recherche appliquée s'il n'y a pas eu quelque part de recherche davantage fondamentale.

4027   LE PRÉSIDENT : Hum, hum.

4028   M. SAUVAGEAU : Et en même temps, les universités, et c'est dans cet esprit-là que le Centre avait été créé il y a un peu plus de 20 ans, ne peuvent pas se limiter à la recherche fondamentale. Les universités doivent être aussi en prise avec les problèmes concrets que vit la société et doivent faire aussi des recherches concrètes.

4029   C'est pour ça qu'au début j'ai utilisé l'expression des « travaux de recherche sur des problèmes concrets » et les problèmes concrets, évidemment on peut dire que la recherche est appliquée, mais nous on ne cherche pas à obtenir des brevets ou des choses du genre, là. Ce n'est pas le but.

4030   Pierre va vous donner des exemples de ce qu'on a fait ou de ce qu'on peut faire qui, je pense, va répondre à votre question.

4031   M. TRUDEL : En fait, la façon dont le Centre fonctionne, c'est ça qui fait son originalité. C'est qu'il est constitué comme une entité indépendante avec un conseil d'administration formé de personnalités qui viennent de différents milieux de l'industrie.

4032   En fait, la liste des membres du conseil qui apparaît dans notre intervention montre bien que la plupart de ces membres viennent soit du monde académique pour un certain nombre, mais surtout du monde de l'entreprise ou des entreprises des médias.

4033   Alors, la façon dont le Centre identifie les recherches, pour revenir sur la question, bien c'est justement en mettant en place périodiquement des activités pour réfléchir, faire des "brain storming". On fait des veilles régulières, on se tient, on a un réseau de chercheurs avec lesquels nous travaillons et on identifie un certain nombre d'enjeux qui doivent être mieux compris.

4034   Ça se fait souvent et presque toujours en coopération et en discussion entre les membres du conseil d'administration, les chercheurs... les chercheurs. Il y a un dialogue, en fait le Centre est un lieu de dialogue entre les chercheurs et les membres du conseil d'administration.

4035   Et dans ce sens-là ça fait une sorte de trait d'union entre les préoccupations que l'on décèle dans l'industrie, les préoccupations que l'on anticipe dans le milieu des médias. Et la recherche universitaire plus fondamentale, plus théorique comme disait Florian, cette recherche, elle est essentielle.

4036   On ne peut pas faire de recherche appliquée si on n'a pas des concepts qui ont été bien développés. On ne pourrait pas penser faire des médicaments pour guérir des maladies si on n'avait pas fait de la recherche sur les molécules, bien c'est pareil en sciences humaines, c'est pareil dans notre domaine et l'un ne va pas sans l'autre.

4037   Maintenant, les exemples de recherche que nous avons menées, par exemple, sur la façon dont les jeunes issus des communautés culturelles et les jeunes issus de populations plus anciennes au Canada, bien voilà un exemple de recherche qui se veut à la fois conçu pour mieux comprendre des phénomènes émergents, mais également pour identifier des enjeux d'avenir, des enjeux qui auront à être pris en charge soit par les entreprises, soit par les décideurs de politique.

4038   D'autres exemples sur les modes de régulation émergents, les modes de régulation du travail journalistique, l'évolution des contextes dans lesquels les médias fonctionnent, le Centre cherche en quelque sorte à mieux comprendre ces contextes-là et, surtout, à éclairer ce qui pourrait être envisagé, ce qui pourrait éventuellement être considéré par ceux qui sont les joueurs dans l'industrie.

4039   Et une des caractéristiques, c'est qu'on le fait à partir de la situation canadienne et si on ne le fait pas au Canada personne ne le fera à votre place.

4040   M. SAUVAGEAU : Si vous me permettez d'ajouter deux choses à ce qu'a dit Pierre.

4041   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, allez.

4042   M. SAUVAGEAU : La recherche dont il a parlé avec les gens des communautés culturelles, c'est une recherche qui a été faite en deux étapes.

4043   D'abord, une première recherche quantitative auprès de plusieurs communautés. Les Haïtiens, les Italiens de vieilles traditions d'immigration et d'autres de traditions plus récentes, les Maghrébins. Et l'idée c'est que ces gens-là, maintenant, en particulier les Maghrébins par exemple, les Italiens aussi, vous vous rappelez du débat sur la diffusion de la RAIL au Canada.

4044   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, je me rappelle bien.

4045   M. SAUVAGEAU : Mais prenons les Maghrébins, par exemple, parce que, ensuite, on est revenu dans une deuxième étape à une étude avec des jeunes Maghrébins. Les Maghrébins ont accès maintenant, comme les autres communautés culturelles, à tous les canaux satellites et via Internet, tous les canaux possibles et imaginables non seulement de leur pays d'origine, mais aussi du monde entier.

4046   Par exemple, les Maghrébins, si vous êtes Tunisien, vous avez accès à des canaux de votre pays d'origine, mais aussi des pays arabes et tout ça change la dynamique de l'intégration.

4047   On a longtemps dit que les médias étaient des outils privilégiés de l'intégration des immigrés et ce, tant aux États-Unis qu'ici. Mais l'hypothèse qu'on faisait, c'est que ça ne marche plus comme ça parce qu'ils ne regardent pas, pensait-on, la télévision d'ici ou les médias d'ici, mais les médias de leur pays d'origine.

4048   Alors, c'est très compliqué tout ça.

4049   Ce qu'on a constaté, c'est qu'ils repartent pour partie les médias d'ici, pour partie les médias de leur pays d'origine, mais ils conservent aussi les habitudes d'écoute qu'ils avaient dans leur pays d'origine.

4050   Par exemple, les Tunisiens étaient fortement branchés en Tunisie sur la télévision française. Alors, ici, ils vont regarder davantage la télévision française que la télévision canadienne.

4051   Leur écoute, et quand on dit... Franklin a dit qu'il serait dommage que les... qu'on consacre des investissements importants sans avoir vraiment étudié comment se fait la réception, bien une chose qu'on a constatée, quand ils regardent la télé d'ici ces gens-là, contrairement aux québécois de souche, les télé-romans, ça ne les intéresse pas.

4052   Ce qui les intéresse, et on va continuer pour comprendre pourquoi, ce sont les humoristes. Ce qu'ils nous disent pour l'heure, c'est que les humoristes, c'est assez extraordinaire comme résultat, les humoristes les aident à comprendre la société d'accueil, à comprendre la société québécoise.

4053   Alors, tout ça, si vous êtes dans une entreprise d'audiovisuel ou le CRTC, humblement, je pense que ce sont des informations qui vous servent.

4054   Une autre étude qu'on a fait aussi si ça vous intéresse comme dit Franklin, si vous ne l'avez déjà lue, on peut vous en laisser un exemplaire en anglais et en français, celle-ci a été faite avec le consortium canadien, avec deux profs de HEC, un prof de Ryerson à Toronto, j'ai aussi participé à cette étude-là, sur la production indépendante.

4055   On a mis en relation, c'est un travail de moine de Jean-Pierre LeGoff des HEC en relation des aides financières avec la diffusion et l'écoute, en anglais et en français. Alors, c'est aussi, je pense, un exemple d'une étude concrète appliquée, si vous voulez, mais qu'on ne peut pas faire sans une réflexion un peu plus fondamentale.

4056   Je m'excuse d'avoir été un peu long.

4057   LE PRÉSIDENT : Non, non. Je vous en prie. Je comprends bien, donc, de votre réponse que les domaines de recherches porteraient sur le Canada dans son ensemble, soit le marché anglophone, francophone et des nouveaux marchés multi culturels, multi ethniques canadiens?

4058   M. SAUVAGEAU : Oui. Évidemment, on est basé au Québec, alors les problèmes auxquels... avec lesquels on vit constamment, ce sont des problèmes qui se posent ici, mais on ne peut pas séparer les problèmes du Québec des problèmes du reste du Canada et le travail qu'on a fait avec le consortium, ça aussi si vous voulez on pourra vous laisser une liste des travaux qui ont été publiés et qu'on a fait avec le consortium canadien de recherche sur les médias.

4059   C'était avec UBC, Ryerson et York, au cours des dix dernières années et on le fait aussi avec des chercheurs étrangers, mais pas seulement avec des chercheurs américains. Au fil des ans on a constitué un réseau de chercheurs des pays scandinaves, de la francophonie, britannique. Par exemple, Robert Picard, qui est un des chercheurs les plus respectés en matière d'économie des médias est venu au moins cinq ou six fois participer à des travaux du Centre d'études. On a accueilli au milieu des années 2000 le World Media Economics Conference qui réunit les économistes.

4060   On essaie à la fois de s'intéresser à ce qui se passe ici, mais avec une ouverture sur le monde.

4061   LE PRÉSIDENT : Comme tout groupe de chercheurs, pour faire des travaux qu'on pourrait comparer de temps en temps.

4062   M. SAUVAGEAU : Exactement.

4063   LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous avez répondu à une de mes questions. Vous avez un système de gouvernance pour assurer l'indépendance des choix de domaines de recherches si je comprends bien. Oui?

4064   M. SAUVAGEAU : Oui.

4065   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.

4066   M. TRUDEL : Oui. Alors, ça c'est un aspect important pour la recherche, effectivement. Il y a un conseil d'administration formé de personnes de toute provenance, donc on essaie d'avoir... le conseil en lui-même représente les principales ou la plupart des tendances, mais également les projets de recherches sont analysés par des comités scientifiques indépendants.

4067   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord.

4068   M. TRUDEL : Qui font... donnent des avis à l'égard de la valeur des recherches et des améliorations qui doivent être faites des... éventuellement des correctifs qui doivent y être apportés.

4069   LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous avez peut-être suivi les débats hier et PIAC qui représentait son association et bien d'autres groupes et sous-groupes de consommateurs ont parlé davantage... d'un avantage tangible qui fait partie de la demande et à leur avis, oui, il y avait un besoin de faire de la recherche, mais surtout, à leur avis, puis je dis le terme anglais, pour avoir des résultats qui "empowers consumers".

4070   Est-ce que vous... est-ce que ce genre d'objectifs fait partie possiblement de genres de travaux que votre Centre pourrait faire?

4071   M. TRUDEL : Bien, la recherche que font les groupes de pression comme les groupes de consommateurs a sa place et elle est légitime. Mais ce dont on parle ici c'est de la recherche qui a à coeur d'essayer de faire le plus possible, de se détacher le plus possible de tout groupe d'intérêt.

4072   Ce n'est pas toujours facile, il faut être réaliste, chaque chercheur... il y a des chercheurs qui travaillent au Centre d'études, c'est-à-dire qui ont des points de vue tout à fait différents, mais c'est précisément ça la différence, c'est-à-dire que c'est un centre qui regroupe des chercheurs de différents horizons, de différentes tendances et ce n'est pas un groupe de pression.

4073   C'est pour ça qu'on parle de recherche indépendante et quand on dit ça, ce n'est pas pour discréditer ou dénigrer la recherche que font les groupes ayant des intérêts, mais nous pensons que c'est essentiel qu'il y ait au Canada des lieux où il se fait de la recherche en dehors des groupes qui ont des intérêts par ailleurs tout à fait légitimes à défendre.

4074   Mais il faut qu'il y ait de la recherche qui se situe à un autre niveau, un niveau d'observation qui ne va pas nécessairement aller dans le sens des intérêts ou d'être orienté vers la recherche ou les intérêts des groupes de pression.

4075   M. SAUVAGEAU : Rien n'empêche, par contre, des groupes de consommateurs d'utiliser les analyses que l'on fait comme rien n'empêche des entreprises d'utiliser les analyses que l'on fait.

4076   Mais je suis d'accord avec Pierre ce qu'on essaie de faire, et on l'a écrit quelque part, c'est de la recherche qui est au-delà -- ce n'est pas toujours facile -- au-delà des intérêts divergents des uns et des autres.

4077   Ce n'est pas facile, d'ailleurs, a l'intérieur même du Centre toujours de concilier les perspectives de chercheurs qui ont une formation en économie ou en administration avec quelqu'un qui a une formation en sociologie ou en sciences sociales ou en sciences politiques ou... Mais je pense qu'on y arrive.

4078   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord. Ma dernière question porte, juste pour mieux comprendre, quel est votre... vos budgets annuels? Il doit peut-être y avoir une fluctuation, là, mais en général.

4079   M. SAUVAGEAU : Oui.

4080   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et vos sources de financement?

4081   M. SAUVAGEAU : Les mauvaises années, le budget tourne autour de 200 000 $ ou 250 000 $. Les bonnes années c'est 300 000 $ ou plus de 300 000 $ et le financement, le Centre vit depuis 20 ans grâce à un financement de base du ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. Et on a toujours eu quels que soient les gouvernements en place, on a toujours eu ce financement depuis 20 ans qui a même augmenté au fil des ans.

4082   Une partie importante du financement au cours des années 2000 est venue grâce à la création du consortium et grâce à l'appui de CTV et de BCE et à l'aval du Conseil à l'époque, là, par le biais des avantages tangibles. Et du financement est aussi venu constamment, au fil des ans, moins élevé de plusieurs entreprises.

4083   On a eu plusieurs contrats de Radio-Canada. Par exemple, le Centre a fait lors des dernières élections fédérales et provinciales, une analyse de la couverture indépendante toujours qui a été critique de la couverture que Radio-Canada fait des élections.

4084   On a eu de l'aide de plusieurs autres entreprises, de La Presse, du journal La Presse parce qu'on fait aussi des travaux sur la presse écrite. On a eu de l'aide pour organiser des colloques, on a eu de l'aide d'Astral aussi. On a eu de l'aide de l'UNESCO et j'en oublie sans doute là.

4085   LE PRÉSIDENT : Mais si je comprends bien, ça tourne entre 250 000 $, 300 000 $ par année, diverses sources?

4086   M. SAUVAGEAU : 350 000 $; je n'ai pas tous les chiffres en tête, mais certaines bonnes années.

4087   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, une injection de 200 000 $ serait substantielle?

4088   M. SAUVAGEAU : Ah! bien ce serait pour les prochaines années une garantie de pérennité.

4089   LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous n'avez pas...

4090   M. SAUVAGEAU : Et ce n'est pas facile...

4091   LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous n'auriez pas peur que certains diraient, mais étant donné que vous avez ce financement-là, surtout avec les pressions budgétaires qu'on connaît à divers niveaux des gouvernements, qu'on s'en servirait comme excuse pour réduire la contribution de divers...

4092   M. SAUVAGEAU : De Québec?

4093   LE PRÉSIDENT : Du Québec ou d'ailleurs.

4094   M. SAUVAGEAU : Oui. Bien, j'ai oublié d'ailleurs dans ma liste, là, on a eu surtout dans les années 90 énormément d'appui ponctuel de Patrimoine Canada et du CRTC aussi à l'époque. J'allais vous oublier, monsieur le président, quelle maladresse de ma part.

--- Laughter

4095   M. SAUVAGEAU : Alors, on a eu... à ce moment-là, on a fait de nombreux travaux sur le sujet qui était à l'ordre du jour et qui l'est encore, celui de la concentration des médias et à la fois le ministère du Patrimoine, le Comité sénatorial aussi si mes souvenirs sont bons.

4096   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, mais je reviens à ma question. Si on vous donne de l'argent supplémentaire...

4097   M. SAUVAGEAU : Je ne pense pas.

4098   LE PRÉSIDENT : ... par l'entremise des bénéfices tangibles, vous n'avez pas peur que d'autres couperaient ou vous diraient, bien, il y a moins de besoins?

4099   M. SAUVAGEAU : Je ne pense pas. Je pense qu'on peut dire qu'on a grande confiance que le Gouvernement du Québec poursuive son aide parce qu'au ministère de la Culture et des communications on est convaincu que ce qu'on fait c'est utile, ça leur est utile parce qu'ils utilisent aussi les travaux qu'on fait.

4100   Je ne pense pas qu'à Québec on coupe son aide et depuis quelques années à Ottawa l'aide est plus complexe à trouver.

4101   M. TRUDEL : Et pour ajouter, les programmes... notamment le programme du Gouvernement du Québec en vertu duquel le Centre est financé sont des programmes qui exigent que le Centre génère une contrepartie, c'est-à-dire, il génère son propre autofinancement et c'est précisément là que la différence se ferait, s'il y avait des investissements comme ceux que vous mentionnez.

4102   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, parce qu'il y a un effet de levier.

4103   M. TRUDEL : Il y a un effet de levier. Et ce qui garantit, d'ailleurs, l'indépendance d'un centre comme celui-ci, c'est précisément cette diversité des sources de financement et ce serait... enfin, le danger de mettre en péril non seulement cette indépendance, mais cette apparence d'indépendance, bien ce serait d'aller en financement à source unique.

4104   Et le Centre a toujours eu la chance de ne pas être pris dans cette situation-là, toujours avec un financement suffisamment diversifié pour justement ne pas être perçu... car dans ce domaine la perception parfois l'emporte sur les faits, être perçu comme étant... comme pouvant avoir un intérêt à orienter des recherches en faveur de... ou à l'encontre de quelque groupe.

4105   M. SAUVAGEAU : Si je peux ajouter simplement une chose, on a eu aussi par le biais des avantages tangibles, une somme relativement importante il y a plusieurs années pour faire l'étude de la violence à la télévision, il y a sept ou huit ans, une dizaine d'années.

4106   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord. Mais c'est très bien. Donc, si je comprends bien, vous voulez qu'on n'oublie pas la possibilité que les avantages tangibles c'est pas mal conforme à notre politique existante, pourrait être dirigée vers de la recherche et on verra ce qu'on fait avec votre présentation.

4107   M. SAUVAGEAU : Je pense que si le Conseil disait simplement qu'il trouve que la recherche c'est important.

4108   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.

4109   M. SAUVAGEAU : Ce serait déjà pour nous quelque chose, un grand pas en avant.

4110   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et à un certain niveau on l'a déjà dit dans notre politique sur les avantages tangibles de '93 et, à ma connaissance, n'a pas changé d'idée depuis et, donc, l'institution normalement annonce lorsqu'elle...

4111   M. SAUVAGEAU : Ces changements.

4112   LE PRÉSIDENT : changements de politique, oui.

4113   M. TRUDEL : Oui, mais peut-être que certains ont pu l'oublier.

4114   LE PRÉSIDENT : Ah! bon. Et, donc, vous avez eu du temps d'écoute et un peu de visibilité justement pour rappeler aux gens que ça fait partie des avantages possibles. Donc, merci beaucoup, messieurs.

4115   M. SAUVAGEAU : Merci à vous. Merci de votre accueil.

4116   LE PRÉSIDENT : Nous allons prendre une pause d'une quinzaine de minutes, jusqu'à 10 h 35.

--- Upon recessing at 1021

--- Upon resuming at 1042

4117   LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît. I apologize for that delay.

4118   We will hear now from Alyssa Reid. Please go ahead.


4119   MS REID: Good Morning Mr. Chair, Vice Chair and Commissioners. My Name is Alyssa Reid and I am a singer/songwriter. I was born in Edmonton, Alberta and raised in both Edmonton and Brampton, Ontario. I have been singing since a very young age, since I was about 3 years old, and performing just about everywhere.

4120   In 2009 I posted a YouTube video of myself covering a Justin Bieber song that had been rewritten to a female perspective and it caught the attention of my record label, Wax Records, and I was offered a record deal.

4121   Over the following two years, I wrote and recorded what was to become my debut album, while touring extensively across Canada, struggling to make a name for myself in the competitive pop music market.

4122   My big break came in late 2010 when I released a song called "Alone Again". In January 2011, "Alone Again" was chosen by Bell Media Radio as the Emerging Indie Artist Song of the Month. As a result of Bell Media's promotion of my single, the song took hold and went on to become a major breakthrough of the year.

4123   "Alone Again" ended up being the most played song by a Canadian artist in 2011. The video for the song went Number 1 at MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic and MusiquePlus, and by year's end the song had sold close to 200,000 digital track downloads. It had broken the record for most consecutive weeks at Number 1 on Billboard Canada's Emerging Artist chart, which was 26 weeks, and chocked up dozens of accolades and nominations, including a SOCAN songwriting award for "Pop Song of the Year", a Juno nomination for "Best New Artist", and a MuchMusic Video Award nomination for "Best Pop Video".

4124   The airplay success of "Alone Again" here at home began to attract attention internationally and led to a worldwide deal with Ultra Records, who released the song in the U.K. and Europe in early 2012. The song debuted at Number 2 on the U.K. singles chart and Number 1 on their video charts and surpassed Gold sales there. All of the airplay and sales success led to live shows, performing to hundreds of thousands across the U.K. in the summer of 2012 including a half a dozen festival and arena shows with One Direction and a performance in Hyde Park at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

4125   It's been a very busy and exciting couple of years for me, but I don't believe that any of this would have happened without the early support of Bell Media Radio. Pop music is very competitive and there are hundreds of already well-known and established international and Canadian artists dominating the radio, making it very difficult for an artist just starting out to be heard. Thanks to opportunities like Bell's "Emerging Artist" program I, and many other young artists get that opportunity.

4126   It was this early airplay support that gave "Alone Again" the attention it needed to attract audiences and show both Bell stations and others across the country that the song connected with their listeners. Without this opportunity provided by Bell, "Alone Again", might never have gained the foothold it needed to become the worldwide million selling hit song that it did and propel my career forward. Their expansion of their program to two artists per month is a welcome proposal as it will give more Canadian artists like me a chance to be heard.

4127   The ongoing support of radio chains like Bell and Astral have been instrumental in providing me with a platform to reach my fans by playing my songs and welcoming me into their stations to perform live and to speak to their audiences through interviews.

4128   Not only has Bell supported me on their radio stations, but also on ETalk where I have been about eight times in the last three years, as well as a few appearances on MuchMusic. Even yesterday when I arrived in Montreal I did interviews at Virgin Radio and MusiquePlus.

4129   I am very grateful for the opportunities they continue to provide me with.

4130   I am also extremely grateful for the ongoing financial support that we have access to, through FACTOR and Radio Starmaker funding. The resources needed to compete on the global stage are considerable. Over the course of the past year, I have been to the U.K. and other European markets about a dozen times to help develop and build my audience. This would not have been possible without the financial support of these organizations and the level of success that I have had in those markets would have been greatly diminished.

4131   Bell will also be financially supporting Coalition Entertainment's business education program for artists through their Bell Media Artist Development Program. As a current enrolee in this program, I can personally attest to the value of this program in both educating artists about how to succeed in today's challenging music business as well as enhancing their musical skills.

4132   In closing, I would like to say, as a Canadian and as an artist, I am proud and grateful for the strong promotional and financial support system provided to our artistic community by great radio stations like Bell's and Astral's. It's a platform from which we as artists can attain our dreams.

4133   Thank you and I would be pleased to answer your questions.

4134   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Reid.

4135   Monsieur le Vice-président.


4137   Good morning, Ms Reid. How are you?

4138   MS REID: I'm very good, thank you.

4139   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you for being here this morning.

4140   You have had a great working relationship with Bell and later on in your document you spoke equally about Astral. Is that a more recent development, your relationship with Astral?

4141   MS REID: Actually, it isn't. I have been working closely with Bell over the past couple of years since I started developing as an artist. I have partnered with Bell on a couple of different things. Most importantly for me, I did a campaign called "True Colours" in which myself and a couple of other artists got together and did a big promotion for anti-bullying and Bell was a big partner in that.


4143   And with Astral?

4144   MS REID: I'm not quite sure.

4145   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: When did you start working with Astral? You talked about yesterday you were on Virgin Radio and MusiquePlus -- I think it was MusiquePlus -- yes.

4146   MS REID: I have been tied in with a lot of the radio stations from Astral as well from the beginning of my career. I have been on MusiquePlus about three times. They were very supportive from the very beginning of my career and allowed me to sing in French for the first time on national television, so that was pretty great.


4148   And with the other radio stations that are owned by other Canadian companies, speak to me about that relationship.

4149   MS REID: As an artist I have relationships with all radio stations that support my song, it's very important to me.

4150   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And they are all supportive.

4151   MS REID: Yes, completely.

4152   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Does Bell support stand out? Is it in some way different than the support you receive from others -- and I won't mention any names?

4153   MS REID: Are you trying to get me in trouble?

--- Laughter


4155   MS REID: I definitely have to say --

4156   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I won't touch that, but go ahead.

4157   MS REID: Yes. I am very close with Bell. Whenever I would like supportive radio stations I do have to say I come to Bell first.

4158   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. And the reaction and the support and the accueil, the welcome from other radio stations that are owned by other Canadian companies, how is that?

4159   MS REID: It's all great.

4160   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's all good. Everyone is nice to you.

4161   MS REID: Everyone is really sweet.

4162   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Everyone is supportive of your music?

4163   MS REID: Hopefully. I would hope so.

4164   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Speak to us concretely, do you feel that they are all supportive of your music?

4165   MS REID: Not everybody, but that's the deal with music.

4166   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Not everyone to the same extent. Okay.

4167   Okay. Well, thank you very much.

4168   Mr. Chairman, that's all for me. Thank you.

4169   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for participating.

4170   MS REID: Thank you.

4171   THE CHAIRPERSON: As I said yesterday, it's always good to have creators and artists here participating in our hearings because in the end that's what we are all about.

4172   So thank you very much. Thank you.

4173   Nous allons entendre maintenant des prochains présentateurs, Cogeco Câble

--- Pause

4174   LE PRÉSIDENT : Alors, bienvenue, Monsieur Audet et votre équipe.

4175   Donc, comme vous le savez, vous devez présenter les membres de votre panel et allez de l'avant, s'il vous plaît. Merci.


4176   M. AUDET : Merci, Monsieur le Président.

4177   Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Vice-président, membres du Conseil, mesdames, messieurs, nous vous remercions de nous donner l'occasion de présenter de vive voix notre point de vue durant cette deuxième audience publique sur le projet d'acquisition d'Astral par Bell, qui est encore une fois d'une importance capitale pour l'avenir non seulement du système canadien de radiodiffusion mais aussi de toute l'industrie des communications au Canada.

4178   Mon nom est Louis Audet, président et chef de la direction de Cogeco Câble.

4179   Les autres personnes qui m'accompagnent sont connues du Conseil:

4180   - maître Yves Mayrand, vice-président, affaires d'entreprise, à ma droite;

4181   - madame Suzanne Blackwell, présidente de Giganomics Consulting, qui nous a assistés dans la préparation de cette intervention et de plusieurs de ses annexes, qui est à sa droite; et

4182   - finalement, à l'extrême droite, le professeur Roger Ware de Queen's University, l'auteur de rapports d'expert qui sont également annexés à notre intervention.

4183   Cette deuxième tentative de faire approuver l'acquisition d'Astral par Bell par votre Conseil vous a été présentée par les requérants comme étant une proposition très différente qui remplit maintenant supposément toutes les exigences du Conseil et répondrait à toutes les préoccupations qui ont mené au refus de la transaction proposée originalement.

4184   Mais je pense qu'il faut mettre les choses bien au clair : ce projet de transaction demeure toujours en fait la plus grosse transaction dans l'histoire du système canadien de radiodiffusion, une transaction qui implique toujours un niveau sans précédent et malsain de concentration de propriété à travers la télévision hertzienne, la télévision spécialisée, la télévision payante, la radio et les nouveaux médias, de même qu'un niveau d'intégration verticale sans précédent entre la production, l'assemblage et la distribution de contenus audiovisuels de tous genres dans les deux langues officielles sur toutes les plateformes de communication électronique à travers le Canada, y compris le Québec.

4185   Nous avons souligné à nouveau dans notre mémoire que ces niveaux de concentration et d'intégration verticale sont essentiellement sans équivalent dans le monde développé parmi les pays du G8.

4186   Thus, the proposed transaction raises the very same overarching public interest issues and concerns which were specifically and clearly noted in your decision issued last October. Please allow me to review them briefly, since they go right to the heart of the matter of what you must deal with in this proceeding.

4187   First, paragraph 63 of your decision states that convergence, integration and scale may lead to a point at which the size of an entity on a national level becomes so large that it hinders effective and healthy competition among Canadian broadcasters.

4188   In addition to being already Canada's largest communications company, Bell is still attempting to control even more broadcasting properties, including movie pay television services, more profitable Category A specialty services and a greater number of commercial radio stations in more commercial radio markets, both in English-language and the French-language across Canada and, I would add, without precedent either.

4189   Second, paragraph 64 of your decision states that the market power of a combined BCE/Astral could threaten the availability of diverse programming for Canadians and endanger the ability of distribution undertakings to deliver programming at affordable rates and on reasonable terms on multiple platforms.

4190   BCE, Canada's largest vertically integrated broadcasting group, is still attempting to absorb Astral, Canada's largest remaining non-vertically integrated broadcaster and Bell's competitor in the supply of television programming to downstream broadcasting distribution outlets.

4191   As a graphic illustration of the resulting consequences, let me quote a number from our public financial statements that 40 percent of Cogeco Cable's programming service affiliation payments at current wholesale rates would now be paid to Bell if this transaction were approved. Yet, Bell is our direct competitor as a BDU, with both a nationwide satellite footprint and a regional IPTV footprint in Ontario and Quebec. Bell's share of the Canadian downstream broadcasting distribution market is not insignificant, it is in fact already about two and a half times the size of our own customer base in distribution at Cogeco Cable.

4192   Third, paragraph 65 of your decision states that, in the event of an approval, BCE's level of market power would be so significant that the vertical integration framework would be insufficient to effectively address disputes and facilitate program availability and distribution.

4193   It is Bell who originally insisted that you replace the words "shall not" by the words "should not" in the Code of Conduct, and this in ex parte proceedings after the decision had been issued.

4194   Coming into this hearing, Bell once again resisted any meaningful regulatory safeguards and Bell is still denying that it can use the regulatory process to its advantage, despite having done so previously.

4195   Fourth, paragraph 66 of your decision states that the significance and breadth of a combined BCE/Astral are such that safeguards to properly supervise this level of market power would be extensive and unduly burdensome, contrary to the regulatory policy set out in section 5(2) of the Broadcasting Act.

4196   This is obvious given Bell's insistence on being able to put forward its own interpretation of the rules in any dispute, as well as the sheer complexity of writing, let alone policing, formal conditions of licence or other regulatory safeguards.

4197   Nous vous représentons que Bell et Astral, malgré avoir été avisées par votre décision du mois d'octobre dernier, ont clairement fait défaut de relever, et encore moins de surmonter, ces préoccupations fondamentales pour l'intérêt public, que ce soit dans leur demande, dans les documents qui ont suivi, incluant leur réplique aux interventions, ou, voire même, leur comparution de lundi à cette audience.

4198   En fait, George Cope est allé aussi loin que d'affirmer qu'il était à 100 pour cent erroné de même considérer la possibilité d'abus dans le marché de la distribution de radiodiffusion en aval. Pourtant, plusieurs petites entreprises d'EDR qui apparaissent au dossier public de la présente instance confirment que c'est précisément ce qui s'est passé.

4199   Les ajustements dans la nouvelle demande qui vous est soumise présentement visent clairement à :

4200   1) aboutir plus près, mais pas en deça, du seuil de 35 pour cent des auditoires selon la politique du Conseil sur la diversité des voix pour le marché de la télévision de langue anglaise;

4201   2) disposer des actifs en coentreprise d'Astral, ainsi que des obligations reliées aux avantages tangibles de radiodiffusion qui s'y rattachent, et ce, en faveur du deuxième plus grand groupe de radiodiffusion intégré verticalement au Canada, Shaw/Corus, qui a d'ailleurs appuyé la demande initiale et, bien sûr, appuyé la deuxième demande.

4202   Troisièmement, conserver toutes les entreprises d'Astral visant les films, incluant les services de télévision payante monopolistique dans le marché de langue française.

4203   Et, quatrièmement, conserver le même nombre écrasant de stations commerciales de langues française et anglaise qui totalisent 107 stations.

4204   We submit further that Bell and Astral have also clearly failed to even acknowledge mush less address in a meaningful way the continued opposition of Canadian consumers themselves and their advocacy groups to this proposed transaction.

4205   As in the previous proceeding last year, Bell and Astral had the burden of demonstrating that on balance, their proposed transaction is in the public interest. We submit that Bell and Astral have failed to make this demonstration and to discharge their burden of proof.

4206   On the contrary, we submit that Bell's behaviour throughout this process demonstrates once again that it views its own private commercial interests as equivalent, might we say superior, to that of the public interest. Bell also considers itself entitled to have this extraordinary transaction approved with only very few ordinary or vague commitments for the real benefit of the Canadian broadcasting system and the community served.

4207   Nous souhaitons réitérer que l'acquisition proposée d'Astral par Bell est non seulement sans justification crédible selon le test de l'intérêt public et manifestement préjudiciable à la concurrence efficace et au meilleur intérêt des consommateurs canadiens, mais qu'elle n'est par ailleurs aucunement nécessaire, puisque de toute évidence, Bell et Astral continuent de prospérer de part et d'autre comme des concurrents indépendants l'un de l'autre. Et vis-à-vis de leurs autres concurrents respectifs basé, que ce soit à l'intérieur ou à l'extérieur du marché canadien.

4208   Pour toutes ces raisons, nous vous représentons que vous devriez tirer la même conclusion que celle que vous avez énoncée dans la décision de radiodiffusion CRTC 2012-574 et juger que les préoccupations soulevées par les questions de concurrence, de concentration de propriété dans les secteurs de la télévision et de la radio, d'intégration verticale et dans l'exercice du pouvoir de marché sont sans équivoque et fatales également pour la présente demande.

4209   Nous demandons instamment d'assumer pleinement et jusqu'au bout votre responsabilité essentielle en tant qu'autorité supérieure de régie des industries de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications au Canada, de préserver l'intérêt public, de protéger les consommateurs canadiens de services de radio et de télécommunications, radiodiffusion contre la possibilité d'abus en rejetant cette demande.

4210   Bell est déjà dans la situation actuelle trop dominante au sein des industries de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes. Bien franchement, nous sommes excessivement heureux de pouvoir participer à cette instance, qui est une instance ouverte et publique, ce qui fait contraste avec certaines instances privées. Mais nous sommes arrivés à un point où, si vous n'intervenez pas, ça devient un environnement excessivement dangereux pour les autres.

4211   Alors, le Conseil doit fixer la limite, selon nous, ici maintenant et refuser toute acquisition supplémentaire de propriété de radiodiffusion à Bell dans les termes les plus fermes et s'assurer que Bell Astral, et Bell en particulier, ne feront aucune autre tentative pour combiner leurs soumissions respectives.

4212   Il nous ferait maintenant plaisir de répondre à vos questions.

4213   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup, monsieur Audet et vos collègues. Je vais avoir plusieurs questions. Et vous allez comprendre que, bien que je comprends bien votre position, je dois explorer et bâtir le dossier et parfois vous poser des questions par rapport à votre point de vue sur des options qui ne seraient peut-être pas votre première position, mais peut-être une option B, C ou D dans votre analyse, mais j'aimerais quand même que vous nous aidiez à formuler et bâtir un dossier public dans cet esprit.

4214   Ma première question porte sur un commentaire que j'ai relevé dans votre présentation écrite. Et vous dites que la politique sur la diversité des voix n'est pas un outil suffisant pour mesurer l'intérêt public. Donc, quel est l'outil avec quand même une obligation de la part d'une instance comme la nôtre, d'avoir une prévisibilité dans... pour que les demandeurs sachent qu'est-ce qu'ils doivent rencontrer comme fardeau de la preuve. Est-ce qu'on doit mettre complètement de côté la politique sur la diversité des voix? Et, sinon, je présume que ça va être la réponse, que ça fait partie de quoi d'autres qu'on devrait examiner à votre avis?

4215   M. AUDET : Merci, Monsieur le Président. Je comprends bien votre question. Vous avez la tâche souvent non enviable d'avoir à départager les choses. Et ce n'est pas facile. Vous avez, le Conseil a tenté en 2008 d'établir des politiques qui lui permettraient de guider lui-même ses décisions à l'avenir et d'aider les gens à se comporter dans le marché. Et, au moment où tout cela s'est fait, je pense que tout le monde était bien content.

4216   La difficulté à laquelle on fait face aujourd'hui, c'est qu'au moment où ces politiques ont été élaborées, l'intégration verticale n'existait pas au Canada. On était en 2008, elle n'existait pas. Il y avait une seule exception.

4217   L'exception avait été accordée en 1980 lorsque Vidéotron a obtenu la permission d'acheter Télé-Métropole. Et, si vous vous souvenez, à ce moment-là, c'était vraiment une exception parce que ces entreprises-là opéraient dans la langue minoritaire au pays, le français et que cela avait été jugé à l'époque nécessaire pour permettre à un ensemble opérant en français de prospérer et de survivre.

4218   Alors, aujourd'hui, on se retrouve dans la situation où vous avez des gens intégrés verticalement. Et, là, on ne peut plus juste regarder la part de marché détenue, disons, en télévision ou en radio. On est obligés maintenant de tenir compte du fait que celui qui a une part de marché en radio ou en télévision contrôle également un satellite qui arrose tout le pays ou contrôle les réseaux de distribution, qui est la plus grosse, le plus gros réseau de distribution filaire au pays. Donc, vous êtes obligé de tenir compte de ces notions-là. Alors, ça, c'est pour le volet télévision peut-être.

4219   Pour le volet radio -- et je m'en souviens encore très bien d'une époque où il était difficile de départager qu'est-ce qui est raisonnable, qu'est-ce qu'il ne l'est pas. Et, à cette époque-là, vous aviez des gens qui achetaient cinq stations de radiance de leur voisin ou 10 stations de radio à l'autre bout du pays. Et, la question, c'était : « Oui, mais comment qu'on va faire pour s'assurer que ça a du bon sens, ça? »

4220   Et la solution qui a émergé est la limite de propriété des stations, qui a été construite pour un univers où 10, 15 stations de radio changeaient de main. Mais cette politique n'a jamais été conçue pour quelqu'un qui veut en détenir 107 et qui représente au total à peu près un peu plus de 40% de l'écoute d'une nation toute entière. Ca n'a jamais été bâti pour ça.

4221   Donc, on comprend que c'est des outils qui étaient louables, utiles, qui sont une façon de regarder le monde, mais pour arriver à isoler où se situe l'intérêt public, malheureusement, ce sont des outils qui ne sont pas parfaits. Je ne sais pas si mon confrère, Yves Mayrand veut ajouter quelque chose à cela.

4222   M. MAYRAND : Oui, Monsieur le Président, au plan de la question de réglementation et de vos critères, je pense que nous partageons entièrement le point de vue du Conseil. Et nous avons été, je pense, très bien instruit sur la façon de voir comment le Conseil aborde les questions de propriété à la lumière de politiques, dont celles sur la diversité des voix. Alors, je ne vous citerai pas évidemment les paragraphes pertinents de la décision d'octobre dernier, mais c'est très clairement exprimé là.

4223   D'une part, une politique n'est pas une directive absolue. Ce n'est pas un règlement. C'est quelque chose qui fournit une perspective aux requérantes qui veulent s'adresser à vous sur certaines des choses que le Conseil regardera. Votre décision dit bien clairement que ce n'est pas suffisant en soi pour vider la question, qu'en fait, il y a d'autres considérations pertinentes au-delà des politiques en vigueur, y compris celles de la diversité des voix. Et nous souscrivons entièrement au point de vue du Conseil à cet égard.

4224   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord. I'll do like you and go back and forth to English and French, if that's okay with you.

4225   Mr. AUDET: That's fine, thank you.

4226   THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's go down the radio route. Your point is that this is much, it becomes a large percentage of the global revenues in the radio market. But would you not agree that, to a certain degree, the issue is somewhat for radio because of a linkage, radio's available over the air. It is not as dependent on distribution as television, which we'll get to in a moment, that it's a very different environment to consider issues that you're bringing forward first of all.

4227   And second of all, in a sense, the large presence of a potential approval of this results not so much of Bell's ownership of radio, but Astral's previous ownership of a number of stations across the country. In other words, they were already a major player in radio and that the incremental radio asset here is minimal. So if we had a problem, why didn't we have a problem before?

4228   Mr. AUDET: Thank you for that question, Chairman. Yes, I agree, we would agree that they are two very different questions, which I will try to answer as best I can, setting aside the reservations that were expressed yesterday by Telus about access to advertising time, which is critical to them. It might not be as critical to us, but I think they have a fair issue there, but one on which I'm not equipped to comment because that situation is very much their own.

4229   Over the air is different, but this is no longer from our standpoint a distributor related issue. The issue of radio does not attack our integrity as a distributor, but it attacks our intelligence as a citizen, because you have more than 40% of Canadian radio audiences now managed by one group across the nation. And I know there can be variations from city to city. And these occur. And we understand that. Some markets, one is better at; others, one is not good at.

4230   But, when the average across the nation is 40%, then we have another question we must ask ourselves. And that question is when that player is one that produces television advertisements that turn senior citizens into ridicule, you have to ask yourself how that air time will be used.

4231   I don't have the answer, but I have the feeling that it's probably not very good.

4232   THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I don't understand your reference to advertising. I listen to a lot of radio, but I'm really not getting your reference.

4233   Mr. AUDET: No, this is a television advertisement that recently on the air ridiculed Canadian senior citizens. It shows how far that company is prepared to go. And now the question is: do you want to entrust them with 40% of Canadian radio audiences? It's a public interest question. It's not, this is not our self-interest. It's just a public interest question.

4234   THE CHAIRPERSON: But I've heard it said that on the radio side, it's an -- and you're an operator in that environment as well -- that it's in, very much in the interest of radio operators today particularly with the plethora of streaming musical content through other platforms, Internet delivered platforms, that it's in their interest to be very local.

4235   And although the revenues nationally may be important, the strategy, the business strategy is a very local strategy. It involves making sure that you're giving local news, local information, local traffic, local weather. And, in a sense, it could be argued, looking at it from a national perspective actually denies the very nature of a very super local media.

4236   Mr. AUDET: I understand that perfectly well and I think your description of the essence of the radio service is -- we are perfectly aligned with your perception on that account. And, as I said, our direct commercial interests are not touched by this. So these comments are essentially public interest comments.

4237   But I suggest to you that what decision the Commission has before it today is whether it will accept to have a state within a state in radio. That is what I am positing to you as the risk you're incurring. But I'm not here really to debate that extensively, that has not much if anything to do with our commercial interest.

4238   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord. Et qui m'ouvre la porte sur ma prochaine question, plus particulièrement au paragraphe 5 de votre présentation écrite ce matin où vous parlez de différents groupes, puis même dans votre présentation écrite, au début, vous parlez du film, des services de catégorie A spécialisés et de la radio.

4239   Donc, une des options -- puis je comprends que ce n'est pas votre premier choix, probablement même pas votre deuxième choix -- mais une des choses qu'on doit considérer, nous, dans notre processus décisionnel, c'est des hypothèses de dessaisissement. Donc, si vous regardez le groupement, là, des propriétés reliées au film, des propriétés reliées à des catégories A et ainsi que la radio à la fois dans le marché francophone et anglophone, pour vous, où devrait-on mettre en ordre de priorité les dessaisissements possibles?

4240   M. AUDET : Je vais faire de mon mieux pour répondre à votre question. Je ne suis pas sûr que je vais réussir. Nous sommes dans ce milieu maintenant depuis 54 ans. Nous avons vécu toutes les étapes de la tentative de ne pas avoir de monopole dans les années '60, '70 sur la propriété des réseaux de câbles; dans les années '90 sur la mise à mort des alternate service providers, qui sont tous morts sur le bûcher.

4241   Dans les années '90 à 2005, la tentative désespérée des compagnies de câble d'entre en téléphonie, qui ont dû se battre pour essayer d'expliquer combien les barrières tarifaires de nature capitale et de nature dépense d'exploitation, il y en avait à peu près 10 dans chaque catégorie que défendait Bell était en fait des barrières en entrant en téléphonie.

4242   Et ce à quoi nous assistons aujourd'hui, et, là, on arrive à la bataille des années 2010, la décennie 2010, ce à quoi on arrive, c'est maintenant la bataille pour essayer de monopoliser des contenus non réplicables, non substituables nécessaires aux autres joueurs de l'industrie par une compagnie qui est déjà devenue, nous l'avons comparé dans d'autres instance à un gorille.

4243   Bon, dans l'instance, Bell a essayé de lui faire enfiler une peau de mouton, mais vous comprendrez avec moi que le jupon dépasse quelque peu. Alors, quand on regarde ça, nous, on dit : bien, ce n'est plus une question de priorité; c'est une question d'un non pur et simple. Oui, est-ce que vous voyez ce que je veux dire?

4244   LE PRÉSIDENT : Je comprends bien votre position. Puis c'est pour ça que j'ai dit au début en préambule que vous préféreriez dire non à l'ensemble, mais je vous écoute puis vous parlez du contenu qui est non réplicable et non substituable, puis je me pose la question : en radio, la musique, qui est une grande partie du contenu, est largement disponible, même si c'est un gros groupe, le contenu devient disponible, c'est un contenu qui appartient aux entreprises des producteurs de disques. C'est eux qui détiennent ça. Et puis on peut obtenir des licences de droit d'auteur puis diffuser.

4245   Dans le domaine des catégories A, oui, il y a de la programmation. mais, encore une fois, il y a des terms of trade en place qui donnent certains marchés pour que les producteurs indépendants qui produisent ce contenu puissent le diffuser sur plusieurs plateformes. Mais déjà un petit peu moins réplicable et substituable.

4246   Dans le domaine du film, est-ce que c'est là plutôt votre... en termes de priorité. J'essaie de prioriser vos niveaux de préoccupation, même si ce n'est pas votre première... votre première position.

4247   M. AUDET : Alors, Monsieur le Président, on va essayer de vous aider le plus possible. Je vous rappelle cependant que, dans le cadre de ce que vous avez énoncé au paragraphe 63 de votre décision en octobre dernier, la problématique à laquelle nous faisons face certainement à l'égard de l'emprise globale d'un groupe au plan national sur une variété de propriétés de radiodiffusion, c'est difficile de dire, je pense, bien, c'est moins prioritaire si on laisse partir par exemple une plus grande concentration en radio ou c'est plus prioritaire si on essaie d'amener d'autres dessaisissements dans le domaine des services de film, de télévision payante, par exemple, bien difficile de faire ça. Pourquoi? Parce qu'on a atteint un tel niveau de concentration au global qui fait en sorte que la concurrence en général dans le secteur de la radiodiffusion est mise en péril.

4248   Ceci étant dit, je pense que nous avons fait valoir plus particulièrement l'effet extrêmement dommageable qu'aurait la possibilité pour Bell d'acquérir des propriétés qui touchent aux films et aux grandes séries à succès dont les contenus de HBO combiné aux propriétés que Bell contrôle déjà en matière de sports.

4249   Alors, clairement, vous avez une... la meilleure indication de ce qui est le plus hautement problématique dans tout le paysage. Mais, ceci étant dit, on se situe encore dans le cadre d'une transaction qui vise tous les médias sur toutes les plateformes. Et, ça, c'est particulièrement unique à cette situation. C'est particulièrement unique à cette tentative.

4250   Et je tiens à souligner que c'est une tentative qui survient après plusieurs autres acquisitions de propriétés de radiodiffusion. Alors, une tentative d'aller chercher les quelques créneaux les plus avantageux qui manquent encore à ce portefeuille idéal que Bell souhaiterait avoir. Le problème de fond, c'est ça.

4251   THE CHAIRPERSON: So maybe just shifting a little bit towards audiovisual content, I read clearly that what you're saying is the risk is that there would be control over what you describe as must have services in both languages markets, the language markets and that the quantitative test that we have in terms of viewership is insufficient. And I think even the Commission said that in the last decision.

4252   And therefore we have to look at qualitative aspects of this must have. And therefore, highly a desirable content such as sports and movies is perhaps where we should be focusing not only but at least au premier plan.

4253   MR. MAYRAND: Yes, most definitely this is a very -- very, very substantial issue in this proceeding. As you know, it is an issue that we've spent considerable effort dealing with and it is the reason why we have asked Dr. Ware to prepare some expert evidence and is the reason why we asked Dr. Weeds, who is, you know, a well-known expert in this area, to provide some expert evidence as well. So certainly we have gone out of our way to provide the Commission with what we think is the best demonstration of why this is such a critical issue.

4254   And, you know, Dr. Ware is here with us. We would invite you to -- I don't know if it's in your plans, but we invite you to query this thing further with him because he's present. Dr. Weeds is caring for a very, very young family member, so she could not make the trip to Canada.

4255   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And I have read that and I will have questions in a moment, but my question in fact springs mostly at first blush from Dr. Weeds' study because what I'm reading there is that in fact the pay services are the jewel in the Crown, that that's what drives business in the foreseeable future. But I am also aware of the comments made Monday by the applicant and BCE to the effect that the revenues -- and you point that out in your presentation, that although the revenues for pay services are very high on a per subscriber basis compared to the revenues from specialty services, the reality remains that it's the hardest part of the market to maintain. In other words, that there's more churn. Yes, the revenues are higher, but one almost has to invest a little bit more to get and maintain. Do you disagree with that position, that -- I think it was B.C. that put that forward on Monday?

4256   MR. MAYRAND: Well, I certainly wouldn't pretend to dispute the inherent characteristics of pay television and the, you know, movie product. That's not the point. The issue here is that the combining this highly, highly popular, highly desirable entertainment content with the other most highly desirable, highly popular content, such as sports and events, creates a situation where consumers will look forward to accessing that content in the way that it is offered to them and pretty well whether it is available at the same time or at a different time on certain platforms, and hence, we think, is the whole game plan here involved. You are regulating essentially and traditionally have been regulating linear platforms and that is well understood and that is fine. We are now clearly not just contemplating but actually very, very materially involved in multi-platform distribution and it's not unique to Canada. It's very much the case in the rest of North America. It's very much the case elsewhere in the developed world. In that context it becomes really a key component of the competitive game, certainly for distributors such as ourselves, to have the ability to make all of this content available in a competitive way concomitantly, or at the same time, as our competitors. And that is a very, very crucial issue. We are very concerned about the multiple opportunities for gaming the system that will arise if, again, you allow this further increment of market power to be obtained by Bell and then to be deployed on platforms that they themselves say you have no jurisdiction to really interfere with.

4257   I would like to quote statements that were made in earlier proceedings and I could give you the exact reference, where Bell has clearly stated that when it provides rights for licensing in non-regulated platforms it is acting in precisely the same way as any Hollywood studio on an unregulated business and that, in fact, the Commission should not be at all involved in overseeing that. That's what they say and that is what we are facing in very concrete terms unless you give the signal here and now that enough is enough and that this further increment of market power cannot be obtained by Bell as they wish. That's our position.

4258   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll get to nonlinear rights in a moment, but I take this opportunity to point out that I never talk about regulated and unregulated. I always talk about licensed and unlicensed for the very fact that one couldn't have exempted programming undertakings distributed over the internet or the web if we didn't have jurisdiction over it in the first place. That's the nature. And in fact, an exemption order is a form of regulation. We just don't require them to hold broadcasting licenses in the traditional sense, but I'll close that parenthesis and go back to linear for just a moment.

4259   And it does come back to the fact that you say, you know, these are the must-have services. And I take it that you obviously in your presentation talk about the must have being sports-based services and, quite frankly, you're -- you know, B.C. already has some very attractive sports properties. But I would be -- I'm surprised that you aren't taking the position, granted in the alternative, in the same way that Rogers did of requiring the divestiture of TMN and TMN Encore and perhaps even Super Écran.

4260   MR. MAYRAND: Well, of course this brings us to a discussion and we've heard questions addressed to other distributors about the Rogers solution. You know, Rogers said, well, what matters to us is really that Bell divest of the English language movie properties. They didn't really say anything about the French language ones. And of course, Super Écran is not only an important part of the equation in the French-language market, it is also a monopoly service, which is not the case in the rest of Canada.

4261   The difficulty we have notionally with trying to extract, because make no mistake it will be very, very tough slugging for the Commission to try and extract further divestitures that the applicants themselves have not put forward. It will be extremely difficult to remove these crown jewels from the transaction and have that decision enforced without the possibility of litigation and protracted discussions that this would inevitably lead to.

4262   In our view, the applicants made their case. They told you what they were prepared to divest and what they were not prepared to divest by way of consequence. So that is clear. It is their application. It is their second application. And I would submit to you that you have to look at the application as it is and you have to look at what is reasonable in the circumstances to do. And we have to tell you certainly our view is that any incremental addition to the broadcasting property portfolio Bell at this juncture is clearly not in the public interest. But additionally, trying to segregate and extract some properties that Bell clearly wants to keep for itself will not work. Hence our view that all you have to say -- and it is indeed the most simple solution to that very big problem, all you have to say is no for a second time.

4263   THE CHAIRPERSON: We're getting exactly where I was afraid we'd go in that your see afraid to undermine your principal argument that you're -- we're having difficulty having a conversation on subsidiary arguments or alternatives. So again, I'll repeat, it's not to undermine your principal position; I'm just trying to develop and explore the record on the alternative. Would it be your view that if we were to come to the conclusion that a divestiture of TMN was required, that the same logic would apply to Super Écran?

4264   MR. AUDET: Before we answer that question, we must mention that the French-language specialty services of Astral are indispensable to operating a video service in the French market. And the access to VOD --

4265   LE PRÉSIDENT : J'étais pour explorer les spécialisés dans ma prochaine question. Je voulais juste me concentrer sur le film.

4266   M. AUDET : Oui, mais c'est parce que vous nous demandez de faire un choix tout de suite. Alors, avant de vous donner le choix, on va au moins vous dire ce qu'on pense.

4267   Alors, cette programmation-là, elle est indispensable, le droit d'utiliser la programmation dans nos propres TV Everywhere. Donc, on ne peut pas juste dire, il faut que vous disposiez des canaux pay anglophones. On est obligé de dire, il faut que tu disposes du pay anglophone, du pay francophone, puis des spécialisés francophones. C'est ça qu'on est obligé de dire. Sans ça, tout ce qu'on fait, on solutionne le problème de Rogers, et puis les autres, bien, débrouillez-vous. Et puis ça, bien, on ne peut pas vivre avec ça, nous.

4268   Alors, j'essaie de vous répondre bien honnêtement là, c'est ça notre problème.

4269   LE PRÉSIDENT : Moi, je visais spécifiquement le fait que si on a une certaine logique, si on était convaincu que dans le cas de TMN et de TMN Encore qu'il y avait une logique du point de vue de l'intérêt public, devrait-on nécessairement suivre la même logique pour Super Écran?

4270   M. MAYRAND : Je vous dirais absolument oui, Monsieur le Président, la logique est la même, l'impératif serait le même. J'imagine que la raison pour laquelle Rogers s'est contenté d'adresser ses commentaires sur seulement l'un des marchés linguistiques, c'est parce que c'est celui qui les préoccupe.

4271   Mais, écoutez, la preuve d'expert que nous avons versée au dossier, je pense, vaut tout aussi bien pour des services de télévision payante de langue anglaise que des services de télévision payante de langue française.

4272   THE CHAIRPERSON: I was a bit surprised of your point earlier, saying that because it's extremely -- it may be extremely difficult to impose a divestiture, that we shouldn't go down that road, the Commission has done it in the past by approving things subject to suspensive conditions, as we say in the civil law. But -- so it's been done before. It's -- it wouldn't be unique for a Canadian regulator not to see necessarily eye to eye with a regulated entity. It's -- if they think that they are correct legally, they have rights to seek recourse. It's their right. Surely we shouldn't be intimidated by the risk of litigation in we think it's in the public interest.

4273   MR. MAYRAND: Well, I certainly will not dispute the fact that the avenues of appeal and judicial challenge are -- you know, are available under the Act as it is. I don't think that that's really the issue that I was referring to here. What I was trying to convey to the Commission is that this is a kind of avenue -- or let's put it this way a kind of remedy that is inherently much more difficult to implement. And of course I don't have the benefit of knowing at this stage whether this particular additional type of divestiture would be something that would be acceptable to Bell and Astral. I can't comment on that because I don't though what their position is on that. All I know as I am appearing here as an intervener is what they have put forward in the public record and what they have decided to divest of and what they have not decided to divest of. And I'm quite sure the Commission is aware that in the arrangement agreement between Bell and Astral there are very overarching conditions that are involved in the deal where the parties reserve all their options should some material adverse conditions be imposed by either regulator.

4274   THE CHAIRPERSON: It's pretty standard in all these things and you've come to the regulatory table and assume the risk. That's pretty standard. And indeed we will let, you know, Bell react to this, as they have because they obviously responded to Rogers' position on this on the record.

4275   MR. MAYRAND: And based on the logic that we discussed a little bit earlier, I would assume that Bell would come back and say whether they are prepared to divest all the movie pay services in both French language and English language.

4276   THE CHAIRPERSON: Indeed. Now, I do recall Mr. Greenberg at the first hearing on a related application back in September was saying, you know, we had -- he would have preferred to sell it as -- all the assets as a group, but I think we've crossed that river since then because they themselves have put some divestitures on the table; isn't that correct?

4277   MR. MAYRAND: Yes, indeed. We heard a lot, if you can pardon my expression, in round one of this -- these proceedings where it was very, very forcefully argued that there was an overarching public interest consideration in keeping Astral as a whole and ipso facto keeping it as a whole within the broader fold and arms of the BCE group. Clearly that bridge has been crossed. Clearly that is not possible. The question is now is it possible to do it for any number of reasons. More carve outs of what is currently in the portfolio Astral or not.

4278   Now, let's not forget throughout all this discussion that Astral as a group as it is now, with the make-up of the property that it owns in radio and television broadcasting, is doing very well, thank you, as an independent operator. And we have no problems dealing with Astral as a distributor ever in the renewal of affiliation agreements or negotiating new rights for multi-platforms, for example, around demand. And I think the reason quite simply is that Astral is, in its circumstances as a group, as a whole, not a vertically integrated group. It is genuinely interested in doing what Mr. Cope says he is interested in doing but in practice we think he is not doing, and that is to maximize rents from the broadcasting properties that are distributed by others and being in good terms with all distributors, whether big or small.

4279   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And I think I said that when asking the questions on the first day. So we're well aware of that.

4280   Just before I move to -- because I promised Monsieur Audet that I would be talking about the categories in the French market in a moment. Before I move on to that I wanted to ask another question on the film and the edgy U.S. drama. Somebody observing this might come to the conclusion, well, why should we, the Commission, who is more concerned about -- historically about Canadian content, be so concerned about services that are largely driven and popular because of Hollywood films and HBO-styled edgy drama?

4281   MR. AUDET: Well, you have a valid point. You know, you could decide that this is no longer licensed services; anybody can offer it. Anybody can negotiate; anybody can cover it. It's one of the decisions you could make. Perhaps not in this proceeding but in a future proceeding it's a decision you could make. But then, of course, if you did that, you would deprive yourself of one of the tools, which is to ensure that Canadian movies are exhibited within that context and that audience -- and that that helps build audience. So there would be a trade-off; there would be a public interest trade-off there.

4282   THE CHAIRPERSON: Though it's your view that that foreign programming, that very popular and quality programming, I don't want to disparage it in any way, shape or form, I watch it like a lot of Canadians, but you're saying it still has a leveraging effect for a Canadian?

4283   MR. MAYRAND: Yes, absolutely. Whether we're talking about pay services, specialty services, conventional television, you know, the whole construct of our Canadian broadcasting system in terms of rights to programmes and exhibition of those programmes is still fundamentally based on a model that was instigated many, many decades ago. And that is, the packaging of very high profile, very high value and very valued non-Canadian, mainly U.S., productions with a component of domestically produced productions that allow Canadians through their system to have a reasonable view of what is of Canadian interest as opposed to non-Canadian interests. That's the fundamental construct of the system and it is still very much the construct because, you know, as a distributor the rules that we have to follow ensure that we cannot deal directly with non-eligible satellite services coming from outside the border, and that we cannot deal with the supplier of our choice for certain programs due to the licensing rights that are negotiated by Canadian licensees, in this case many of them owned by Bell. And that's fine; we understand those are the rules of the game.

4284   LE PRÉSIDENT : Je vais tourner maintenant vers les catégories A francophones.

4285   Si je comprends bien vos commentaires, c'est que vous dites que bien que... puis je n'étais pas partie aux négociations, aux discussions avec le Bureau de la concurrence, mais vous semblez indiquer que BCE semble vouloir se dessaisir de propriétés pour réduire le pourcentage en termes de l'écoute, mais qu'il continuerait de détenir des services qui ont à peu près 60 pour cent des revenus dans le marché francophone, et, en plus, c'est des catégories A, donc qui ont des droits d'accès dans le système, qui sont encore plus intéressants.

4286   À la lumière de ça, et encore, je suis dans l'hypothèse du dessaisissement, il serait possible d'envisager -- puis on va poser la question plus tard évidemment aux parties intéressées -- d'envisager des dessaisissements supplémentaires au-delà de ce qui a été proposé comme condition d'approbation, et je me demandais si, de votre point de vue, en voyant vos commentaires du « must have content » que vous pensez être important, si on regarde les autres, VRAK, Ztélé, Canal Vie, Canal D, pour vous, ce sont lesquels qui, à un certain niveau, vous auraient rendus plus agréablement favorables, même si vous n'êtes pas favorables, mais plus favorables -- si c'est possible de le dire comme ça -- si on regardait un dessaisissement de ses actifs, qui, carrément, d'un point de vue d'affaires... Je comprends là qu'ils ont décidé de garder certaines choses. Je ne suis pas au courant du contexte des négociations avec le Bureau de la concurrence. On opère séparément. Mais de votre point de vue, est-ce qu'on devrait... est-ce qu'il y a de ces services-là qui pourraient être dessaisis?

4287   M. AUDET : Alors, écoutez, encore une fois, je vais essayer de répondre à votre question, mais c'est difficile parce qu'on parle d'à peu près... D'abord, on part du principe que du contenu francophone attrayant, il n'y en a pas tant que ça. Donc, on parle d'un nombre limité de canaux.

4288   Et je ne me plains pas là. Le marché, c'est un marché de 7 millions de parlants français. Ce n'est pas un très gros marché. Il y a une grande diversité d'offres, mais le fait demeure qu'en langue française, il n'y a pas tant de choix que ça.

4289   Donc, est-ce qu'on va lui dire, bien, tu vas te départir de la moitié du peu qu'il y a ou des deux-tiers du peu qu'il y a? Puis là, on va commencer à choisir qui ne passe pas et qui passe.

4290   Je suppose qu'intellectuellement on peut le faire, mais moi, ce que je vous soumets, c'est qu'il n'y a pas beaucoup de choix de canaux francophones, ils sont tous importants, et on dépend déjà assez de Bell, d'une façon qui s'est avérée excessivement malheureuse au cours de la dernière année sur les transactions qu'on fait et qu'on a essayé de faire avec eux pour s'abonner, pour pouvoir avoir accès aux produits de CTV, qu'on ne veut pas certainement voir ça rééditer sur les produits francophones, que ce soit trois, six ou 12, vous savez.

4291   Alors, je dirais, ça, c'est la réponse philosophique. Maintenant, je ne sais pas si Yves veut ajouter quelque chose à ça.

4292   M. MAYRAND : Je pense que la réponse est pas mal complète.

4293   Vous savez, Monsieur le Président, on essaie de vous aider dans cet exercice et on comprend que c'est votre rôle d'examiner toutes les possibilités, mais permettez-moi d'utiliser une analogie.

4294   Vous savez, combien de pétales peut-on enlever à la marguerite avant qu'il ne reste essentiellement plus de marguerites? C'est le problème qu'on va avoir ici.

4295   Parce que vous savez, si on prend un, deux ou trois canaux de catégorie A, ça l'a une conséquence à chaque tranche qu'on coupe, une conséquence directe et significative, sur, évidemment, l'enveloppe des revenus qui restent, et je ne peux pas parler pour Bell, loin de là mon intention, mais je pense que l'exercice devient extrêmement difficile.

4296   Est-ce qu'en bout de piste, après avoir fait tout cet élagage, il reste une marguerite ou bien s'il y a vraiment plus rien dont on peut se parler? C'est un peu ça le problème.

4297   LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est une belle question existentielle. Malheureusement, on est dans le domaine réglementaire.

4298   Premièrement, sur vos ententes d'affiliation avec les services de programmation spécialisés, payants, discrétionnaires, tant sur le marché anglophone que le marché francophone, est-ce que vous négociez ces ententes-là pour tous vos systèmes en même temps ou comment ça se déroule?

4299   M. MAYRAND : Bon, alors, dans certains cas, les discussions sont regroupées. Ça été le cas notamment avec Bell pour les services actuels de Bell Média. Dans d'autres cas, c'est fait distinctement, et Astral est un très bel exemple de ça. Nous avons des ententes avec des échéances qui diffèrent selon qu'il s'agit de services de langue française ou de langue anglaise. Alors...

4300   LE PRÉSIDENT : En fait, c'est ça le but de ma question. J'aimerais savoir où vous êtes en termes de vos échéances.

4301   M. MAYRAND : Oui. Alors, en termes de nos échéances, nous avons déposé, dans le cadre de la première ronde et en annexe de notre mémoire, des indications précises sur le renouvellement de nos ententes pour les chaînes télé Astral, qui nous mène, si je ne m'abuse, jusqu'en 2018.

4302   Dans le cas des...

4303   LE PRÉSIDENT : Ça, c'est pour toutes les chaînes francophones et anglophones ou seulement francophones?

4304   M. MAYRAND : C'est la plupart des chaînes francophones.

4305   LE PRÉSIDENT : D'accord.

4306   M. MAYRAND : Ce n'est pas la totalité, mais la plupart.

4307   Et je pourrai vous le confirmer aussi de façon précise. Si vous voulez avoir exactement le décompte et que vous voulez un engagement de notre part...

4308   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.

4309   M. MAYRAND : ...on pourrait vous soumettre...

4310   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui. Faites donc ça par engagement. Comme ça, ça va être moins fastidieux de l'obtenir comme ça.

4311   M. MAYRAND : Oui.

4312   LE PRÉSIDENT : Pour demain matin pour 9 h?

4313   M. MAYRAND : Il n'y a pas de problème pour le faire demain matin.


4314   LE PRÉSIDENT : Parfait. Merci.

4315   Bon, là, je vais revenir sur the question of linear and nonlinear rights.

4316   I'm trying to understand whether -- because you speak of both in both your oral presentation and your written intervention, and I'm trying to see if going forward your preoccupation is mostly with linear rights, nonlinear rights, and if it's for both, which I suspect will be the answer, in what proportion. Are you mostly concerned about the future in terms of the nonlinear world?

4317   MR. AUDET: Well, as you correctly predicted, it's all of them.

4318   THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, at one point I probably could answer the questions for everyone but --

4319   MR. AUDET: But I'm happy to discuss each one in turn.


4321   MR. AUDET: So we just went through a highly difficult, I would say unfair -- some of the people who testified at this table used more guarded words but that's not my habit -- process to try to renew the CTV affiliations. It has been extremely difficult and the outcome is less than satisfactory.

4322   And I am not here rearguing. Just in case anyone gets the idea I'm rearguing the independent distributors group, I'm not rearguing the case. If we had wanted to reargue it, we would have contested it. We decided not to contest it, so we're not talking about rearguing here.

4323   We're talking about useful information for you as a regulator with the conduct of future business. If that is the picture about renewing linear rights with Astral under the aegis of Bell, then I beg you, don't throw us into that, don't throw any of us into that, because eventually you will have one Canadian monopoly again and it won't be us. So that's number one.

4324   Number two, the project of a TV Everywhere platform was presented to you by Bell as an intangible advantage and this merits in-depth comment.

4325   TV Everywhere is a concept that the definition varies according to who you're talking to. For us, TV Everywhere is the ability to make available to consumers in their homes programming of every nature, whether linear or on demand or free on demand or pay on demand, throughout any TV set in the home, throughout any tablet or any cell phone in the home.

4326   That's our definition of TV Everywhere and that's the definition on which all other distributors -- as Yves indicated earlier in one of his responses, that's the plan that everyone is pursuing pretty much at the scale of the globe. Everyone is doing -- they're doing their own thing and they're doing so successfully.

4327   It is particularly odious and troublesome to hear Bell come here and tell you: "We have this great idea and we're going to package all this together, you know, and so it will be a package, it will be our TV Everywhere but we'll make it available to everyone."

4328   That's preposterous. That's an insult to our intelligence. And that is unfair.

4329   So as you can see, access to nonlinear rights has now risen to another level of complexity. Not only are the rights offered at unreasonable prices but they're now going to be sold as a package.

4330   I submit to you that this is further evidence that this transaction is very dangerous and, in fact, I very much regret that we didn't intervene when they bought CTV because we wouldn't be in this mess.

4331   THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, you can't roll back the tape.

4332   Just so I understand, their proposed TV Everywhere solution, how would it interface, prevent you from offering -- is there a technical -- I understand the rights issue. Is there a technical --

4333   MR. AUDET: It's not technical.


4335   MR. AUDET: They're just telling you: "Let me buy all the rights to that, I'll send them to you as a package."

4336   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.

4337   MR. AUDET: "It will be my Bell TV Everywhere."

4338   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.

4339   MR. AUDET: And we say: "Well, wait a minute, we don't need your Bell TV Everywhere. Just sell us the nonlinear rights, we'll be okay. We're smart enough, we're innovative enough, we're working in that direction. Don't try to be Big Brother in one more N+1 way to us. You don't have to. We're smart enough to do it."

4340   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And this often comes down to questions of fair market value and rights; correct?

4341   MR. AUDET: Well, fair market -- do you want to address that, Yves? Yes.

4342   MR. MAYRAND: Yes.

4343   Well, there's been considerable mention during this second round of proceedings, because it wasn't on the table in the first round, that there is an offer out there for TV Everywhere, and our experience -- I can confirm that our experience in this regard has been the same as the experience of other non-Bell-related distributors.

4344   We received a PowerPoint presentation on November 20th of last year. Interesting timing, because that was after your decision in Round 1 came out, and it was right after, obviously, Bell and Astral had decided to make another application to try to get approval.

4345   But, anyway, I won't read too much into that.

4346   It was in late November of last year, it was a PowerPoint presentation, and it was very broad and general in terms of content and scope. There was sufficient information, though, to determine that the pricing that we were talking about here was several multiples -- the pricing that we had already secured with other program suppliers, Canadian program suppliers, for the same types of rights.

4347   Now, obviously I am not at liberty to give exact numbers here. These are preliminary discussions. The discussions have abated for a while. They are now, I gather, a little bit more focused on some technical issues.

4348   They haven't really gotten to the hard, crunchy part of sending out what is the fair compensation for that, or, if you want, the reasonable commercial terms.

4349   The history of this shows that when Bell is not ready to provide certain types of rights, it says to us: Sorry, we don't have a model yet, we need to think about it. We will tell you when we are ready.

4350   So they control the timing.

4351   Then, when they decide that the timing is right, they come to us with proposals that are, to put it mildly, extremely rich.

4352   Now, if the history of bargaining the prices, wholesale rates that is, for the linear programming channels that we have gone through is a harbinger of things to come, our experience -- and that is an experience that, in our case, has been, typically, only with Bell. We have never had any serious problems in reaching agreement with Astral or any other providers of services, including the integrated ones, except Bell Media.

4353   The harbinger of things to come, I would submit to you, is that we will see, once again, great inflexibility and, in fact, a non-negotiation.

4354   That is the concern. I can't tell you that that is necessarily going to be the case, but based on what we have gone through in the past, and having to go right to the bitter end of final offer arbitration, there is, you would imagine, I think, cause for concern, as far as we are concerned.

4355   THE CHAIRPERSON: If we were wearing our telecom hat and looking at fair market value, we would normally look at cost plus reasonable markup.

4356   Would that be your definition?

4357   MR. MAYRAND: Well, the problem we have here, Mr. Chair, is that I think Bell, in the first place, would tell you right away: We are not in the telecom world here, we are in broadcasting --

4358   THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just using it by analogy, like daisies and that sort of thing.

4359   MR. MAYRAND: And they will say to you, as they have said to us, I assume: Look, we negotiate these additional rights separately from the linear rights. We negotiate on what we think are the appropriate market rates, and this is what we offer you, and you don't have to take them, but this is what it is.

4360   And there is never -- as far as I know, there is never any consideration of a "reasonable markup" based on the actual cost of acquiring or producing the programming.

4361   MR. AUDET: I would like to point out, if I may, that the report from Dr. Helen Weeds is very instructive in this regard, and comments extensively on the regulatory tussle and problems and difficulties that have arisen as a result of BSkyB's dominant position in premium programming, and Ofcom has had to, in fact, attempt to regulate the wholesale rates.

4362   And then there have been a number of proceedings and counter-proceedings, and lack of alignment between the competition authority and Ofcom.

4363   What this suggests, really, when you get right down to it -- it's a mess. It's a mess, and you are far better off preventing it from happening than having to fix the pieces thereafter.

4364   I think her testimony in that regard is absolutely clear and invaluable.

4365   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and I have read it, and you are correct that there is perhaps a cautionary tale there.

4366   I am now going to go through your written -- I have some questions on your written submissions, just to understand more clearly what you have put forward.

4367   At paragraph 72 -- and I am going back now to linear -- you say that in the negotiations, sometimes the quality of the programming supplied is affected... (72, oui)... Est-ce que vous pouvez peut-être m'expliquer un petit peu plus votre expérience sur le terrain? Par exemple, vous parlez de la qualité de l'image, la haute définition, les formats, la composante interactive...

4368   M. MAYRAND : Alors, juste pour être bien sûr, j'ai entendu « le paragraphe 72 de l'intervention écrite » ?

4369   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, voilà! Oui, c'est bien ça. En haut de la page à la page 18.

4370   M. MAYRAND : Alors... Et je pense que vous cherchez des exemples. Bien, le genre d'exemples qui me vient immédiatement à l'esprit, c'est la situation où, par exemple, on lance un nouveau service, comme RDS2.

4371   Alors, vous savez, nous avons une structure tarifaire et une structure de modalités de distribution pour RDS. On nous arrive avec un nouveau service.

4372   Et en passant, Bell nous dit : Bien, c'est pas vraiment un nouveau service, c'est juste un multiplex du précédent. C'est la même chose.

4373   En fait, c'est pas la même chose. C'est un service qui est marketé de façon distincte et qui comporte une programmation différente.

4374   Alors, là où on voit qu'il y a des chances que ça glisse, c'est qu'il y a des contenus -- donc, on parle d'émissions ou des événements ou certains droits sportifs qui tout à coup ne se retrouvent plus sur le seul véhicule qu'on avait auparavant, qui était RDS, mais se retrouvent maintenant sur RDS2, de sorte qu'il y a...

4375   Je pense que c'est une des raisons pour lesquelles on a écrit ce qu'on a écrit, ici au paragraphe 72.

4376 y a un problème de variation de qualité, ou si vous voulez, de choix ou d'ampleur de choix qui se déplace d'un canal à l'autre.

4377   Et à travers tout ça, là, on fait face à une négociation pour établir les modalités dont les tarifs de gros pour ce nouveau canal.

4378   Alors, d'où notre préoccupation qu'il y a des... ce genre de jeux-là est susceptible de se produire lorsqu'on a affaire à un contenu qui va faire en sorte que les abonnés... nos abonnés, dans le marché de la distribution à Laval, vont appeler le centre d'appel puis dire : Comment se fait-il que je n'ai pas accès à ce nouveau canal? Comment se fait-il que je n'ai pas accès à tel ou tel match ou telle émission qui se trouve sur ce nouveau canal? Et pourquoi ne pouvez-vous pas nous l'offrir?

4379   C'est ça le genre de problématique qui se pose.

4380   LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est un exemple...

4381   Oui?

4382   M. AUDET : (sans micro) Excusez-moi de vous couper.

4383   Puis-je compléter la réponse?

4384   LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui... Oui, absolument.

4385   M. AUDET : Il faut ici rappeler au panel que les canaux RDS2, Space HD et Discovery HD ont été lancés par Bell à la mi-août 2011, que nous avons voulu pouvoir les distribuer, que nous étions en plein processus qui a fini par mener à un... « final arbitration » et que ces canaux ne nous ont pas été fournis.

4386   Et c'est à ça que maître Mayrand fait référence. Nous avons déposé une plainte au Conseil en décembre et finalement, nous avons reçu une réponse en juillet, quand tout était fini --

4387   Peut-être aimerais-tu parler de la réponse...

4388   Alors, je pense que c'est plus à ça qu'il fait référence.

4389   M. MAYRAND : Bien alors, c'est un autre exemple concret des situations que nous avons observées.

4390   Maintenant le paragraphe 72 recoupe autre chose aussi. Il dit : Écoutez, on peut voir des variations aussi dans la façon dont les droits sont regroupés ensemble ou vendus séparément. Et il est très possible qu'il y ait certaines options de droits de licence qui ne soit pas rendues disponibles au même moment pour toutes les parties en cause, et particulièrement par rapport aux nouvelles plateformes. Je pense que c'est ce qu'indiquait notre paragraphe 72 également.

4391   Et notre expérience, effectivement, a été que nous avons essayé d'obtenir des droits de distribution pour les nouvelles plateformes sur des contenus, des chaînes appartenant à CTV. La réponse que nous avons eue, pendant un bon bout de temps, c'était qu'il y avait pas de modèle puis ces droits-là n'étaient pas disponibles.

4392   Alors, imaginez le nombre de permutations possibles, dans un environnement où... là, on a des consommateurs qui consomment leurs produits sur des tablettes, des téléphones intelligents, de l'Internet, sur différents sites Internet, sur des canaux linéaires traditionnels, sur des canaux de vidéo sur demande à l'abonnement ou des canaux vidéo sur demande gratuits. Imaginez le nombre d'itérations possibles lorsqu'on commence à disséquer chacune de ces composantes-là, puis à établir une série de modalités séparées pour chacune d'entre elles.

4393   Je pense que vous comprenez la complexité de l'affaire.

4394   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et si je comprends bien votre point de vue, c'est que ce n'est pas des situations d'exception, mais c'est une tendance lourde?

4395   M. MAYRAND : C'est bien notre point de vue.

4396   LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K.

4397   Je vais vous amener maintenant au paragraphe 91. Et je lis ce paragraphe-là, qui semble parler des paiements intercorporatifs pour les droits d'affiliation.

4398   Dois-je comprendre de votre point de vue qu'à votre avis BCE se charge des tarifs moins élevés entre ses sociétés de programmation et de distribution qu'elle ne charge à des indépendants et que, pour une raison quelconque, ceci ne serait pas acceptable?

4399   M. MAYRAND : Ce que nous avons relevé -- et d'ailleurs il y a une annexe dans notre mémoire qui porte spécifiquement sur cette question-là... Ce que nous avons relevé, c'est ce qui nous semble être une anomalie dans le taux de croissance des tarifs de gros payés par différents distributeurs dont nous, dont Bell, pour les services de programmation.

4400   Alors, il y a un exposé très détaillé, qui est littéralement pris des statistiques publiées par le Conseil à ce sujet-là et qui a été compilé par madame Blackwell. Si vous le souhaitez, elle pourrait vous en dire plus là-dessus.

4401   Mais sincèrement, nous avons pris vos statistiques et on a trouvé une anomalie.

4402   THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not challenging the analysis, I am asking what conclusions should we draw from it.

4403   Wouldn't it be normal that intercorporate payments would be less than you would charge to a competitor?

4404   MR. MAYRAND: I think that's where we get into an issue. When you have very large integrated entities such as BCE, we get into an issue where undue preference, or undue disadvantage problems, number one, are not immediately transparent, to say the least, and, second, do take place.

4405   And, in our view, an undue preference, or an undue disadvantage, is precisely that, it is undue and unacceptable.

4406   What we have seen here is a situation that is clearly indicative that this might happen.

4407   Bell has replied that there was a mistake made in the reporting of the relevant figures for their satellite customer payments.

4408   We understand that a revised set of figures was filed just before this hearing, which, of course, allows very little time to comment usefully. At any rate, there seems -- irrespective of the new filing -- and Suzanne can talk about this a little bit more -- there seems to be, still, some kind of anomaly here.

4409   I would be concerned if we were to take the view that if you are vertically integrated, the Commission shouldn't be worried at all about a group giving itself preference or advantages.

4410   Suzanne, go ahead -- and Roger, as well.

4411   MR. WARE: Sorry, maybe I could just -- Suzanne is much more of an expert on the figures than I am, but if I could just add, Mr. Chairman, that I think you just said that would be the norm, if you were supplying your own distribution arm at a lower price than the price at which you were selling to outsiders, to unaffiliated distributors, and I would have thought not.

4412   I mean, that is the essence of a margin squeeze. What you are doing then is providing a competitive advantage to your own distribution platform in its retail competition with the independent distributor's retail platform, and that is exactly what a margin squeeze is.

4413   THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that may be a regulatory concern, but it would be normal in terms of what one would want to do in a business practice.

4414   For instance, I assume that Cogeco, in its radio stations, would give itself a better price than it would third parties.

4415   MR. AUDET: And that doesn't harm anyone. In this case it does.

4416   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I take that point, and that's why I said: What do we draw from that as a conclusion from a regulatory perspective.

4417   MR. WARE: I don't know the facts of the radio stations, but just as a matter of competition economics, the fundamental question is: Is there market power. Is there presence of market power. Are these transfers and transactions taking place in the presence of market power.

4418   Because if they are, and if there is a margin squeeze, then you have a situation where the vertically integrated company is disadvantaging the independent distributor in the retail business, and this will lead to a fundamental competitive disadvantage, which is harmful to consumers and it is not something that should pass regulatory scrutiny.

4419   THE CHAIRPERSON: In fact, I was just asking myself: Is there not -- if, indeed, the intercorporate transfers are less than what they would be to a third party -- an indicia that we should be going forward in one shape or another.

4420   MR. AUDET: May I complete our answer, Mr. Chairman?

4421   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please. I don't want to cut off --

4422   MR. AUDET: And I apologize in advance, it is going to be a little longwinded, but I will keep it as short as I can. But it is very important to the understanding of the problem that Dr. Ware has clearly identified.

4423   And now, I think, to the satisfaction of Commissioner Menzies, I will put numbers on it, to the extent that our confidential agreements agree to, and my not being sued for having violated them.

4424   We went through the process of negotiating the CTV linear rights over the course of a year and a half, through fits and starts. We eventually found ourselves in arbitration, and the result of the arbitration was that our program rights paid to Bell were 37 percent higher after than they were before.

4425   So, Commissioner Menzies, that's your number, 37 percent.

4426   Now, in the same time interval, the chief financial officer of Bell reports in his third quarter results that Bell's TV properties have brought in 32 percent more revenue.

4427   That would suggest that it came from a lot of people, not just ourselves.

4428   Now, what happened for that 32 percent to materialize? Was there a revolutionary new product that overwhelmed the weighted average of everything and that brought it up 32 percent?

4429   No, I don't think so.

4430   Was there a consumer rush to buy something really unexpected, which was going to make a difference in the world?

4431   No, that didn't happen either.

4432   Is it that programming costs rose so much that this was absolutely necessary?

4433   Look at your latest statistics, make your own mind up.

4434   No, that's not the reason.

4435   What is the reason?

4436   The reason is unbridled market power.

4437   Now, with the other vertically integrated players -- we had this discussion at the vertical integration hearing. We had this discussion in Bell-Astral Round 1.

4438   What happens? The vertically integrated players make deals amongst themselves, whereby the money goes in circles, such that one recovers from the other what he has just consented to the other.

4439   Who remains holding the bag? The non-vertically integrated company and its consumers.

4440   What is this telling us? This is telling us that market power and vertical integration have caused the majority of companies, or of subscribers served by these vertically integrated companies, to agree to have the wholesale rates go up.

4441   That is market power and it is horse trading.

4442   Then we arrive, and we are not at 32 percent. We are, in fact, at 37. That is our reward for having participated in a final offer -- so-called baseball final offer arbitration. That's our reward, we get to pay more.

4443   Now, having said that -- and Bell will argue this on Friday, so we might as well talk about it right now -- there are provisions in these agreements that came out of that arbitration, such that we can reduce some of our prices, and we will. And we will. And we will do the exact opposite of what we fought to do, and what we asked Commission help to do time and again: we will take some channels that were in smaller packages and we will put them on basic.

4444   That is exactly the opposite of what we want to do, and yet we are going to do it because -- what else can we do? We have no choice, so we are going to do it.

4445   It's the opposite of what we want to do.

4446   And, by the way, we are in the process right now of designing smaller packages, and hopefully, now that we have more freedom, we will be able to offer them.

4447   How this is going to work from a margin standpoint I don't know yet, but we are working in that direction.

4448   So, now step back a moment. We have availed ourselves of some of the advantages of a penetration rate card, so what is the increase of our programming costs now? It was 37 percent before, what is it now that we avail ourselves of it? It's about 32 percent.

4449   So here we are now, our cost increase is about the same as everybody else, except we are not vertically integrated. We haven't had any horse trading.

4450   So, in fact, our consumers are carrying the full brunt of this, hence our contention that the issue of that process was inappropriate for consumers.

4451   In fact, because they end up paying the increase that nobody else is paying, our increase should have been less.

4452   So I say this not because I am crying over spilt milk. The milk is already spilled. The ground has absorbed it and we're onto a new chapter. But I think that this is illustrating in spades what Roger is saying about foreclosure and how foreclosure works and what the risks are.

4453   Excuse me for this long explanation but I think it was absolutely necessary to illustrate Rogers' point.

4454   THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Blackwell, did you want to add something? Please do so. These are important issues we need to get our heads around.

4455   MS BLACKWELL: I just wanted to put on the record the issue was the revision that Bell made to the 2011 and we did have an opportunity to take a look at that fairly quickly.

4456   What has happened then is it just simply shifts that dramatic decrease that we saw between 2011 and 2012 for Bell into a 2010 to 2011. If you think of the timing of the deal, the negotiation process, it might very well be that Bell TV and Bell Media were able to complete their negotiations and have that impact occur in 2011, whereas for the other companies who have to go through perhaps more protracted negotiation process, would have had that impact occur in 2012.

4457   So in essence, the analysis that was in Appendix 7 of the Cogeco submission, it still occurs. Just in the case of Bell Media that dramatic decrease occurs one year earlier because of the speed with which they negotiated, would be my hypothesis.

4458   THE CHAIRPERSON: There is something wrong with that mike. It's not as loud as all the others, but maybe if you get back on mike maybe use one of the other ones that's closer by, for some reason. We just want to make sure we hear you well.

4459   That being the case, the situation, and I'm not saying -- I'm not pronouncing on it. It's your position.

4460   You know, you talk about the horse trading. It reminds me of -- it's almost like a reverse MFN, right? MFNs normally have the idea of, if you lower prices, you get the price the other guy got to negotiate and it all goes down. This almost seems to inflate it.

4461   The other issue is, if it is such a system-wide issue, wouldn't it not be best dealt with in a broader policy scope than, you know, on the margins of a specific transaction? In the following sense that, you know, what you're saying and what you're arguing is that the regime or the framework we have in place is actually working against the notion of more choice and more flexibility for consumers.

4462   That's perhaps best dealt with, and I know that's frustrating, but maybe in a bigger, broader context.

4463   MR. MAYRAND: Well, and Mr. Chair, you referred to your three-year plan and to the fact that it seems you have in mind a review really of that particular framework and how it actually works or doesn't work.

4464   We're not at all opposed to that, quite the contrary. We are in favour of that.

4465   The immediate issue, though, that you have until that occurs and until the rules have been tightened, clarified, re-jigged, re-adapted, whatever, the issue we have is that there is a very, very key signal that must be sent to BCE as Canada's top communications company. That's how they describe themselves.

4466   And the message that has to be sent is, "Look, not only will you have to deal with a framework that you don't really like and that will impose some requirements on you and that may change and get tightened, but at this juncture we will not let you acquire more market power."

4467   And I think that's a persistent theme that we've heard in a number of interventions. Please, please, Commission, do not compound the problem as we are moving towards better tools to deal with the existing situation because if you provide more market power you are helping to compound the problem in the meantime.

4468   THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.

4469   Just a few more areas of questions. I'm bringing you to -- aux paragraphes 120 et 121 de votre intervention écrite.

4470   Je comprends là que le lait est absorbé dans le sol, et puis vous voulez peut-être passer à autre chose, mais on peut toujours apprendre de situations, et ici, vous parlez des délais dans nos procédures de préférence indue, les délais qui sont inhérents dans ces procédures-là.

4471   J'aimerais savoir si vous aviez des recommandations à nous faire, parce que c'est pertinent à un certain niveau. Lorsque nous nous saisissons de ce genre d'instance de préférence indue, tout en assurant une procédure équitable pour tous, comment expédier ou avancer ou accélérer -- c'est le meilleur mot -- accélérer le processus?

4472   M. MAYRAND : Alors, Monsieur le Président, je pense qu'il faut comprendre au départ que tout processus réglementaire ne peut pas être comprimé dans une question de quelques jours. On comprend très bien que ce n'est pas juste bon de faire vite pour faire vite. Il faut faire aussi vite que possible, mais surtout bien.

4473   Et nous ne sommes pas en train de suggérer que les processus du Conseil devraient être comprimés au point où on fait moins bien les choses.

4474   Je pense qu'il faut qu'on comprenne tous que ce genre de processus, que ce soit un règlement de différends, que ce soit le traitement d'une plainte, inévitablement, il y aura des délais jusqu'à l'issue finale, et, inévitablement, il y a un risque qu'il y ait des contestations ou des interprétations qui mènent à d'autres délais.

4475   Alors, de ce point de vue là, je ne voudrais pas que le Conseil pense que nous nous attendons à une mission impossible. Certainement pas. Je crois que nous avons déjà fait part au Conseil d'un certain nombre d'améliorations pratiques au plan procédural, au plan du traitement des plaintes et des différends, qui pourraient améliorer le processus sans nécessairement le comprimer à une question de quelques jours.

4476   Le point, je pense, le plus important que je voudrais faire dans la discussion de toute cette question des processus, c'est qu'on parle toujours ici de mesures ex post facto, et jamais -- et le professeur Ware pourra vous en parler -- jamais on ne pourrait... on ne saurait s'attendre à ce qu'un processus ex post facto soit aussi efficace qu'un processus ex ante, particulièrement un processus qui mène à la conclusion qu'un changement structurel ne doit pas être autorisé.

4477   Et c'est la dernière phrase de notre paragraphe 120, je pense, et je le cite, il est en anglais :

"A voluntary code cannot offer the same protection against anticompetitive behaviour as ex ante regulations and much less compared to preventing outright the dominant firm from taking a position of overwhelming market power at the outset."

4478   C'est ce que nous vous représentons.

4479   THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's what I understood, and I understand your point as well that there is a risk of regulatory gaming. There is a risk of foot dragging and, of course, the stronger player, and I'm not saying -- assigning any roles to that. Somebody may have advantage in doing that. It wouldn't be the first time it's happened in front of the Commission. In my experience, going back to the eighties, suggests that it's always been thus.

4480   I'm actually asking you if you have any ideas on how we could create disincentives, because I think that's your point. There is no disincentive. How could we create a disincentive to rebalance that process?

4481   Can we use, if we were to go down the conditions of licence or other regulatory measures, whether it's 9(1)(h) or regulations, to ensure that there is a risk for somebody to foot drag whether it's interlocutory powers, whether it's -- I don't know, some sort of remedial or restitution powers embedded in conditions of licence.

4482   We are facing new and emerging issues and I think there is maybe a little bit of creativity that's required to make sure that, if we are going to survive, in a sense, these cutting edge issues, albeit taking your point that you would rather us say no to this, but I think that I'm also getting to that there is a broader problem even without approving this transaction.

4483   How can we, going forward, ensure that there is a disincentive or at least a downside to parties not sitting down and negotiating in good faith?

4484   MR. AUDET: I would like to give a few preliminary remarks and then Yves will answer this far better than I ever could, and I'm sure Roger may wish to jump in. Again, I will speak my mind and I mean no harm to anyone. I will just speak it as I feel it.

4485   There was discussion a few years ago under your predecessor about giving the Commission fining abilities, the ability to levy fines on people who disobey rules. And we all know where that went.

4486   Regrettably, you don't have that power right now. Maybe you could get it, and I wish you did have it. But the fact of the matter is that for the foreseeable future it's not there, and that's a very key instrument.

4487   Now, let me caution you. We have seen in Portugal regulatory authorities refining powers where the powers were then contested to the higher courts and were later batted out. So even that is -- you know, it's not that easy. In principle it's better and we would agree that more precise frameworks, guarantees, conditions of licence are good, in the sense that everyone knows what rules they are supposed to play by. But you have -- as I've said before, you've an animal here that has decided that it's no longer playing by the rules. You've had ample evidence. We're not the only testifying to that. You've had dozens of people testify here today and a year ago as to what's going on.

4488   So you can't just rely on that. That's why we applaud the idea of exploring alternate ideas of controlling not for the pleasure of controlling but ensuring that there is fair play within the system. But that won't happen quickly and, in the interim, the surest way not to have to intervene is to not grant it.

4489   MR. MAYRAND: Yes, I might, Mr. Chair, add that, you know, I would tend to agree with a comment I think was made by Mr. Fuller of TELUS saying that when, in a dispute, particularly on affiliation terms, there is a retroactive factor involved in paying back to the date of expiry, the previous agreement, that that acts in the context of negotiation between vertically and non-vertically integrated people.

4490   It acts as a disincentive, certainly for the VI entity, to proceed in priority through negotiations as opposed to going the FOA route. Because, really, it is quite true to say that the VI player would not have the ability to determine exactly what the incremental rent will be in the process. But I would submit to you that they have a very, very strong expectation that there will be an incremental rent and that it will be augmented through interest payments on the account of passage of time.

4491   What we witnessed in the past -- and, again, the point here is not at all to reargue a particular arbitration. That's not the point. Very, very generally, throughout the industry the practice was you negotiated sometimes will be on the expiry date of a particular affiliation agreement and you came up to terms with going forward rates that suited the requirements of both parties.

4492   What we have seen now is that because of certain decisions that the Commission has made which were, I would take it, well intentioned at the time, I would posit to you that there is a very clear disincentive for a player with huge market power and huge vertical integration to play out the process entirely and to privilege -- either challenge of a complaint or, you know, requiring to go to final offer arbitration on the terms of carriage for their services.

4493   So that's something that could be revisited. It certainly would be, you know, a concrete example of things that can be looked at again and eventually changed.

4494   I would suggest also that another disincentive for quick resolution of disputes is the expectation generally by program suppliers but, more particularly, by vertically integrated ones such as Bell, that they are entitled somehow to hire, if not the highest penetration levels of their services, for the foreseeable future and that the Commission, in looking at the arbitration at hand will, all other things being equal, tend to favour protection of the commitments towards Canadian content of the programmer.

4495   I can tell you that this was very, very specifically argued by Bell and Mr. Crull at the expedited hearing that we had. He said in no uncertain terms, "Look, we have 12..." and I think it was the number at the time. He's trying to increase that -- "...12 categories and services. These services are..." he said " the core of the Canadian broadcasting system and at the core of contributions to Canadian programming. Hence, you have to make sure that the revenue base of these services cannot be affected in any meaningful way because otherwise, we won't be able to deliver."

4496   I would submit to you that there is something to be revisited here in the current environment of multiplatform distribution, much increased competition and, particularly, expectations by consumers, your average Canadian consumer that they wanted better control of their choices. They want better options and they want lower prices.

4497   That equation has to be revisited, I would submit to you. So I just volunteer two here.

4498   I think, Suzanne, did you want -- oh, Roger wants to add something to that.

4499   MR. WARE: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to add, going back to what Mr. Audet was saying that there really is a consensus in the competition enforcement world that structural solutions are to be preferred to behavioural, regulatory ones.

4500   And that it's very, very difficult in a framework of regulation to really replicate the incentives that come from actual on-the-ground competition, and that what we would be talking about in this context would be very detailed, hands-on, what amounts to essentially wholesale rate regulation and margin squeeze analysis, very detail-intensive and also subject to a great deal of disagreement.

4501   Just one final point is that -- and this goes to something you said earlier, is that the notion of a cost-plus pricing which has had a long life in the telecom world is -- I think there is a kind of basis reason why in the creative arts or in the media world it's not likely to be very successful, I think because it's -- it is possible with you know, some effort, as you know in the telecom world to come up with a number for what it costs to supply a particular connection from point A to point B and then to add a mock-up to it.

4502   But in terms of, you know, some sort of creative process which leads to, let's say, a suite of channels, television channels, it's really very, very difficult to say what the right price for that should be. What is a cost-based price?

4503   It's a bit like -- it's a bit like asking the same question in a research-intensive industry: What's the right price of a Window software -- a piece of software?

4504   The problem is that all the upfront costs are very difficult to determine. So it's very difficult to determine what is the right price at which to supply this grid. The best way to determine that is simply to encourage as competitive a market structure as you can and then let the players compete.

4505   THE CHAIRPERSON: That's why presumably in your summary of your opinion you say that:

"Indeed, I doubt that any feasible behavior commitments or regulatory safeguards could sufficiently constrain BCE/Astral from exercising its market power."

4506   Is that correct?

4507   MR. WARE: Yes.

4508   THE CHAIRPERSON: When you talk about a structural solution would you -- obviously, turning it down completely is one structural solution. You put divestiture in the structural solutions category?

4509   MR. WARE: Yes. I mean, divestiture as a general -- as a general -- as a tool. As a term it is a structural solution, yes.

4510   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I'm not asking you to say whether you agree or disagree with it in particular.

4511   MR. WARE: No, I'm asking for me, for my --

4512   THE CHAIRPERSON: But I'm asking whether you from -- based on your evidence, theoretically you put it in that basket, as opposed to a regulatory safeguard or behavioural safeguard?

4513   MR. WARE: Yes, that's correct.

4514   THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, and you're absolutely the -- you know, there is obviously a malaise, a broad malaise occurring. I'm not criticizing you for bringing up the experience you have. I know you're not trying to rehash it. There is an expression amongst federal bureaucrats that you never waste a crisis because you can always learn from it. So that's in that spirit I'm taking all this.

4515   But, with respect to administered monetary penalties, you know, Parliament has seen fit to give us that power in certain parts of our jurisdiction and not in others. I don't think it's my job to tell Parliament what to do but, by the same token, I expect the same reciprocal courtesy.

4516   So fully understanding it's not your burden to meet, I still -- and it's someone else's burden to meet, namely the applicants -- I was still wondering if you could envisage that a potential condition of licence requiring certain behavior could have embedded in it remedial restitution or interim powers.

4517   MR. MAYNARD: Well, Mr. Chair, I guess we're -- I checked several times this morning for Bell's draft of what would be a suitable condition of licence incorporating a code of conduct and it wasn't ready. So obviously, I can't comment. I don't know whether it is available now.

4518   THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't know either but I'm not asking you to comment on that specifically.

4519   MR. MAYNARD: And I assume we will get an opportunity to comment and write in.

4520   THE CHAIRPERSON: As I said on a couple of occasions, yes.

4521   MR. MAYNARD:    But I would suspect, certainly suspect that the applicant would take very strong objection to a condition involving monetary penalties, but we will see.

4522   At any rate, I think we are facing, in this whole discussion about a condition of license, the same fundamental basic problems that were discussed very early on at this hearing, and that is that it is a cumbersome tool to use in practice, particularly when enforcement is involved.

4523   I think it was you, Mr. Chair, that referred to the fact that in the advent of an alleged violation of a condition of license the Commission will typically seek to get an order under the Act, evidentiary issues will arise whether it is indeed appropriate to seek an order in the particular circumstances or not, and where there was a violation or not, and whether there were any interpretation issues on the condition itself and down the line this of course can be appealed throughout the process and eventually it leads to some fine.

4524   Now, it seems to me that I wouldn't dismiss outright any tool that the Commission can reasonably have in its toolbox. On the other hand, I wouldn't place full reliance on a particular tool, including that one.

4525   THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough. In fairness, we know that in most instances broadcasters attempt to comply with conditions of license and do so. I was just trying to explore the hypothesis of a situation where that wasn't occurring.

4526   And I did note in your presentation the fact that revoking licenses is a very blunt instrument.

4527   Monsieur Audet?

4528   MR. AUDET: May I add, Chairman, that I know I sound like a broken record when I say that and I apologize in advance, but this company is 55 years old, has been growing in the shadow of the larger Bell, and we know from experience, as do all our cable brethren, that no matter what the guarantees or condition of license say, these are very clever people and they work around them to our disadvantage.

4529   THE CHAIRPERSON: Hopefully there are clever peoples around all kinds of tables that are able to also stickhandle through these things. Thank you.

4530   I think, Monsieur le vice-président, vous avez une question?


4532   I think you have displayed on numerous occasions that your table is full of intelligent people, I have no concern on that front.

4533   Ceci étant...

4534   Pour retourner sur la question, puis on a commencé le débat hier avec vos collègues de Tellus. So, comment d'abord les délais et la rétroactivité désavantagent le distributeur non intégré, si vous voulez, face à des bêtes de ce monde, dans vos négos?

4535   M. MAYRAND : J'ai tenté de répondre à cette question un peu plus tôt. Je vais essayer d'être plus clair et plus incisif.

4536   Vous savez, les délais, je le pense, comme d'ailleurs semble penser Tellus et je présume, plusieurs autres distributeurs indépendants, les délais du processus réglementaire, que ce soit pour... parce qu'on parle beaucoup d'arbitrage par offre finale.

4537   Mais, il y a aussi les délais pour le traitement d'une plainte.

4538   Vous savez, il y a deux voies d'accès vraiment au Conseil pour régler des problèmes qui surviennent entre programmeurs et distributeurs.

4539   Il faut pas oublier la voie des plaintes. Elle aussi implique certains délais.

4540   Et dans notre cas, nous nous sommes rendu compte que parfois les délais peuvent faire en sorte que la plainte est jugée comme étant académique par le Conseil. Alors on comprend quelle est la nature du problème.

4541   Encore une fois c'est pas une critique d'espèces.

4542   Parlons précisément donc du processus d'arbitrage par offre finale.

4543   Pourquoi est-ce que le délai bénéficie à une entreprise de programmation qui est intégrée verticalement? Et je le précise intégrer verticalement.

4544   Et pour moi la raison est tout simplement qu'il y a... que cette entreprise a toujours l'immense avantage de pouvoir traiter avec elle-même, donc son bras de distribution, si vous voulez, quand elle le souhaite, dans les délais qu'elle souhaite et avec les modalités qu'elle établit elle-même?

4545   Alors il n'y a pas délais. Il n'y a pas de contrainte. Il n'y a pas de vérification. Il n'y a pas de gouvernance.

4546   C'est le même groupe qui traite à l'interne sur des modalités intercorporatives qui se posent au sein du groupe. Très facile à faire. C'est drôle ça prend pas beaucoup de temps s'entendre dans ce cas-là.

4547   Alors, on pense que c'est ce qui se produit dans ce cas-là. Et pour les distributeurs indépendants, là il y a un processus de plusieurs mois qu'il faut envisager.

4548   Et pourquoi est-ce que le joueur intégré verticalement n'est-il pas vraiment préoccupé par ce processus ou par l'issue du processus?

4549   Mais pour les deux raisons que j'ai tenté d'exprimer plus tôt. Parce qu'il assume qu'il y a une forte probabilité que la question sera examinée sans égard à son niveau d'intégration verticale.

4550   Et d'ailleurs, il y a un mémoire qui est annexé à la réplique de Bell, Charles River Associates, qui dit que le processus est agnostique; je pense que c'est le temps qu'ils utilisent, de savoir si une entreprise est intégrée verticalement ou non, ils ont parfaitement raison. Elle est agnostique.

4551   Et je pense que c'est un problème. Parce que l'entreprise intégralement intégrée, pardon, s'attend à ce qu'il y ait une majoration quelconque de ses tarifs et s'attend à avoir une issue qui va favoriser le côté programmation aux dépens du côté distribution.

4552   Pourquoi? C'est très simple.

4553   Regardez tout l'historique des arbitrages qui sont survenus dans le passé. Et en tout cas c'est certainement l'expérience de Cogeco. Les arbitrages ont toujours fini en faveur du programmeur.

4554   Alors je vous dis, il y a deux difficultés qui se posent. Le processus agnostique selon le pouvoir de marché du programmeur, et dans ce cas-ci d'une entité intégrée verticalement qui est la plus grosse au Canada. Le processus ne tient pas compte de ça.

4555   Ensuite le processus fait en sorte qu'il s'écoule des mois et des mois, et on peut essayer de voir si on peut les raccourcir un peu, peut-être couper un mois ici ou là.

4556   Mais on peut pas vraiment écourter complètement le processus. Il faut ça prenne le temps que ça prend pour arriver à une conclusion.

4557   Et là, selon les règles telles qu'elles sont précisées aujourd'hui au moment où on se parle, non seulement le distributeur indépendant risque fort d'avoir une augmentation significative de ses tarifs de gros, mais en plus il va devoir payer de l'intérêt sur la majoration de tarifs qui résultent de ce processus...

4558   M. AUDET : La rétroactivité.

4559   M. MAYRAND : une rétroactivité, monsieur Audet me le mentionne, rétroactivité des tarifs à la date d'expiration.

4560   Alors c'est ce qui fait que quand vous voyez un Eastlink comparaître ce matin, c'est un distributeur indépendant qui n'a pas de propriété de programmation. Ils ne vendent pas de programmation, ils en distribuent seulement. C'est notre cas aussi.

4561   Bien, je pense qu'ils vous ont dit ce matin qu'ils sont pas très, très, très, chauds à l'idée d'entreprendre des procédures d'arbitrage par offre finale parce que, essentiellement, ils estiment que ça leur sera défavorable et qu'il y aura une issue vraiment pas agréable du tout.

4562   Alors, moi je vous dirais que le fait que le processus soit agnostique, le fait qu'on ait maintenant une règle claire, parce que c'était pas le cas avant, à ma connaissance 2006, une règle très claire où il y a lieu d'appliquer des paiements rétroactifs et de l'intérêt sur le delta.

4563   Et troisièmement le fait que, à ma connaissance, j'ai jamais vu de réduction des frais de gros par un service de programmation, encore moins en arbitrage final.

4564   La combinaison de ces facteurs-là fait en sorte qu'on a le problème qu'on a.

4565   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Leur échelle leur permet de vivre sans la hausse, cependant, dans le cas de votre dernière ronde de négociation ça a été un an et demi sinon plus, qu'ils vivaient avec l'ancien tarif.

4566   Ils sont capables de le faire eux, ils ont l'échelle pour. Deux, ils savent qu'il va avoir une augmentation.

4567   Il faut rajouter les intérêts. Alors ça leur permet de dormir paisiblement en sachant que ça s'en vient.

4568   Mais en quoi est juste ne pas exiger la rétroactivité? Il me semble que c'est la norme qu'on paie à partir de la date où l'entente antérieure échoue.

4569   M. MAYRAND : Je pense que la question implique la réponse lorsque vous dites « c'est la norme ». Maintenant c'est la norme.

4570   Dans le cas où nous avons été impliqués, c'était pas du tout clairement la norme. Alors, c'est un peu difficile de se conformer à une norme qui n'est pas clairement établie au préalable.

4571   Encore une fois c'est pas une critique du processus. Le processus, il court. Vous avez rendu la décision que vous avez rendue. Je fais juste constater que pour nous, c'était pas clair.

4572   Ceci étant dit, la réalité demeure que pour les raisons que je viens de vous expliquer, le processus d'arbitrage par offre finale comporte d'après moi une expectative plus que raisonnable de la part d'un joueur intégré comme Bell de s'en sortir un bout de piste avec des rentes confortables, plus que confortables même, compte tenu des pourcentages qu'on a mentionnés plus tôt, et avec en plus la rétroactivité.

4573   Maintenant vous me dites, est-ce que c'est pas raisonnable qu'il y ait une rétroactivité en tant que telle, indépendamment de la question de savoir si la norme était claire ou non un moment donné?

4574   La rétroactivité va faire, d'après moi, en sorte que des... puis on est des justiciables, comme Cogeco, en tant que distributeurs indépendants, si jamais la nécessité survient d'avoir à aller devant vous pour régler un différend, vont devoir s'y prendre au moins un an d'avance dans leurs négociations et dans la conduite du processus pour éviter d'avoir à faire face à une rétroactivité.

4575   Comprenez que pour une entreprise, n'importe quelle entreprise, qu'elle soit publique ou privée, mais encore plus dans notre cas, nous qui avons des titres cotés en bourse, ce n'est pas du tout facile et ce n'est pas agréable d'avoir à provisionner dans nos états financiers pour des frais dont nous ne connaissons pas l'issue finale et particulièrement des frais rétroactifs, parce que nos états financiers, ils ne sont pas rétroactifs, eux.

4576   Alors, tout ce que je vous dis, c'est que maintenant la règle est claire, il y a lieu à des rétroactivités quand on dépasse la date d'expiration. Ergo, conséquence inéluctable de cette décision, nous allons entamer, lorsqu'il y a impossibilité d'arriver à une entente, des démarches bien avant l'expiration du contrat.

4577   Est-ce que c'est bon pour le système? Est-ce que c'est une bonne utilisation des ressources du Conseil? Est-ce que c'est la meilleure façon de procéder? Je vous laisse le soin d'en débattre. Mais nous comme judiciables, on n'aura pas le choix, c'est comme ça qu'il faudra faire.

4578   M. AUDET : Alors, permettez-moi d'essayer de donner suite à ce qu'Yves a dit là.

4579   Le manque d'incitation pour le programmeur d'arriver à une entente avec le distributeur tient précisément au fait que parce qu'il a droit à la rétroactivité, il ne souffrira pas de laisser les délais souffrir.

4580   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: How do we justify not imposing retroactivity maybe --

4581   MR. AUDET: You don't have to justify it. You are trying to get two parties to come to an agreement, if one party has no downside to not negotiating with you because they know they are going to get the retroactive -- not only are they going to get a retroactive payment, a retroactive increased payment with interest, so what do they have to lose? Nothing. They could drag you on forever if they want.

4582   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The contrary is not also true?

4583   MR. AUDET: Are they?

4584   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The distributor could drag on the programmer if they don't fear suffering retroactivity and interest?

4585   MR. AUDET: Well, we want the programming. This vertically integrated guy is already distributing it on his system and we don't have it and customers are phoning and saying, "Why aren't you giving me this?"

4586   Well, no, in this case --

4587   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: In this case, yes.

4588   MR. AUDET: In this case, I apologize. In this case there is a must carry obligation that carries on.

4589   So maybe you will have to make a distinction between those that are vertically integrated who have incentive -- who may have incentive in dragging it out and those who are independent programmers, not vertically integrated, who fear they may suffer to the hands of a distributor. You may have to make a distinction there, that's quite possible.

4590   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But there are safeguards. You have a standstill provision that assures that you can continue to carrying the programming.

4591   So back to my initial question, what about the contrary, what if the distributor -- isn't he unfairly at an advantage, given the fact that he may not have to pay retroactivity and interest, to drag on proceedings? Doesn't the contrary happen?

4592   MR. MAYRAND: I get your point intellectually, Mr. Vice-Chair, in practice, though, I think we all have to be practical people. Rules are rules and rules are sometimes difficult to apply, we all know that, and they involve processes.

4593   That being said, you know, why would an independent distributor try and stall -- all other things being equal -- forever an outcome on an affiliation agreement, particularly when it involves such a huge portfolio of services, as is the case for Bell, and even more so, I should say, should you allow Bell to acquire more properties to add to that portfolio.

4594   You know, you are dealing with here a huge component of -- in our case we have said, you know, it's going to be over 40 percent of all our affiliation agreements, why would you, as an independent distributor with reporting obligations and risks to assess in your future business plans, want to drag indefinitely a final outcome to affiliation terms?

4595   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Because the longer you drag it on, the longer you are paying the old rate.

4596   Where is the downside?

4597   MR. MAYRAND: Well, we know as an independent distributor that the very high probability is that we will pay a higher rate. What we don't know is how much higher it is going to be.

4598   So there is still -- irrespective of the retroactivity issue, there is still the problem that we can face down the line an arbitration by final offers a price that is even higher.

4599   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand that, Mr. Mayrand.

4600   MR. MAYRAND: Irrespective of the retroactivity.

4601   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, okay. Irrespective of.

4602   But on the retroactivity you have to agree with me that there is no downside. The longer you delay -- given the fact that you have a safeguard in the standstill provision, you still have access to the content at the old rate, the longer the negotiations go, the longer you are living with the old rate, the more you benefit from that delay.

4603   Not you specifically, I'm not personalizing the issue. Again, on an intellectual level.

4604   MR. MAYRAND: I think I have given you the best answer I can give you.


4606   MR. MAYRAND: I realize it doesn't satisfy you, that's perfectly all right. All I can say is that, at any rate, given the rules as they are we would certainly -- certainly caution you very, very strongly in giving more bargaining power to the top communications company that has the top portfolio of services in all the top categories that are the most desirable.

4607   I have to tell you, irrespective of what you decide on the issue of this hearing, should there be a problem in agreeing with Bell Media on future affiliation agreements -- and we will get there in not so much time, we will get there in 2014, that's pretty close by -- we will have no other choice, given the rules that you have set, but to make sure that our process, including going to the Commission and seeking final offer arbitration as the case may be, all has to transpire with a final decision on or before the expiry date of the agreement. That's all I'm saying.


4609   On vous écoute, Monsieur Audet.

4610   MR. AUDET: Yes, I would like to add something, if I may.

4611   If you are going to consider modifications to the regime -- and I have suggested one possible modification which is to have a two-geared system when it's an independent programmer who fears being rough-handled by a distributor, maybe your rule could be different for these guys because you want to protect them and I can understand and respect that. But then, when you are dealing with a vertically integrated player, maybe it's not retroactive so that he comes to the table and deals with the issues. Anyway, that's just an idea.

4612   But there is another idea and I want to share it with you and then you are going to ask me, "Do you have anything better to offer" and I'm going to say "No", much to my regret.

4613   The so-called final offer baseball arbitration is the object of much frustration and if I may, respectfully -- it's going to sound blunt, but it's still shared in the spirit of respect -- the difference between final offer baseball arbitration and a reasonable outcome is the same difference, in my view, as the difference between administering justice and rendering justice, and I think this at some point it should be reformed. It may not be at the top of your priority list, you have a thousand other things you want to do, but I can tell you as an administered party to this process, this is very unsatisfying.

4614   Thank you for having listened to this latest comment.

4615   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you. C'est bien noté.

4616   THE CHAIRPERSON: We wouldn't be spending time with you if we didn't think it was important, so we are.

4617   I know it has been a long time since, but I think we are getting near the end.

4618   Madame Lamarre, je crois, a quelques questions pour vous.

4619   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Oui. Je vous confirme qu'on approche de la fin parce que j'ai faim et j'ai froid. Alors, je vais essayer de faire le plus vite possible.

4620   Ce matin, vous nous avez donné votre présentation en tant que Cogeco Câble. Il n'en demeure pas moins que Cogeco Radio a des intérêts dans cette demande. Alors, ma question va porter plutôt sur ce volet-là.

4621   Votre intervention écrite porte presque exclusivement sur le volet télévision. Vous y faites néanmoins référence à la demande d'exception de BCE eu égard à la politique sur la propriété commune de radio pour le marché anglophone de Montréal. Vous y faites référence de manière succincte à votre Annexe 6, et j'irais même jusqu'à dire que vous vous y restreignez à des énoncés de nature factuelle sans émettre explicitement une opinion à ce sujet-là.

4622   Alors, ceci étant dit, compte tenu de ce que je constate, puis-je conclure que si nous devions approuver sous une forme ou une autre la transaction, bien que ce n'est pas ce que vous souhaitiez, mais si nous devions approuver la transaction qui est devant nous, vous vous en remettriez à ce stade-ci à la sagesse du Conseil pour décider de la pertinence d'accorder ou non la demande d'exception qui est faite pour le marché radiophonique anglophone de Montréal?

4623   M. MAYRAND : Vous nous avez parfaitement bien saisis, Madame Lamarre. C'est un aspect parmi beaucoup d'autres dans cette demande d'acquisition d'Astral par Bell. Je vous rappelle que l'intervention qui est devant vous et que nous représentons aujourd'hui, c'est une intervention de Cogeco Câble.

4624   Nous avons une gouvernance d'entreprise qui fait en sorte que, comme vous le savez, nous avons deux sociétés dont les titres sont transigés en bourse, une qui est une société qui contrôle les entreprises de distribution par câble et de télécommunication et de services de données, et une autre qui la chapeaute et qui a des intérêts en radio.

4625   Alors, juste pour que ça soit bien clair, notre intervention en est une de Cogeco Câble, et Cogeco Câble seulement.

4626   Cogeco Diffusion aurait pu... ou Cogeco inc. aurait pu intervenir séparément au sujet de l'exception demandée. Elles ont choisi de ne pas le faire.

4627   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vous remercie beaucoup.

4628   THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps our final offer arbitration process should have involved abstaining turning down the heat and permitting food from being served in the room until we get to a settlement, but I think that would be both cruel and unusual.

4629   Sur ça, Messieurs, Madame, merci. Ce sont nos questions.

4630   On est ajourné jusqu'à 2 h 15. Merci beaucoup.

4631   M. AUDET : Merci et bonne journée.

4632   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci

--- Upon recessing at 1313

--- Upon resuming at 1418

4633   LE PRÉSIDENT : À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît. Bon après-midi. Good afternoon.

4634   We will now hear from the next presenters, which is the Canadian Media Production Association.


4635   MR. HENNESSY: Bon après-midi, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Michael Hennessy and I'm the President and CEO of the Canadian Media Production Association. With me today is Jay Thomson, CMPA's VP Regulatory.

4636   In our comments, we intend to focus on only one issue, how the benefits from this transaction should help to reverse the continuing decline in broadcaster support for English-language theatrical films, a decline which is occurring even though the Commission classifies theatrical films as programming of national importance.

4637   Last week we appeared before you to voice our support for the Starlight application because we see it as part of the solution needed to address the crisis facing English-language theatrical films in this country. The support by the licensed movie channels is another part of that solution.

4638   Regardless of how you rule on the Starlight application, this proceeding to consider BCE's purchase of Astral is just as important for the future of English theatrical films in this country, and certainly more important if you deny the Starlight application.

4639   Mr. Chairman, we are here in support of Bell's purchase of Astral. We supported the first application too, subject to Bell making important changes to its benefits proposals. Like many others, we were pleased to see that, in this application, Bell has increased the benefits it will allocate to on-screen initiatives.

4640   Still missing, however, is a substantial commitment to support English-language theatrical films at a level commensurate with the size and nature of the Astral undertakings Bell is buying and the communities they serve. In our view, this lack of support for English-language theatrical films is the biggest deficiency in this application, a deficiency we ask the Commission to address since Bell said on Monday it is open to shifting more benefits funding to support Canadian films.

4641   In our view, Astral's English-language movie-based pay TV services are at the heart of this transaction. In saying that, I don't mean in any way to detract from the role that the Astral French-language services play -- they play an important role -- but we see TMN as the crown jewel in this transaction. We see Bell's decision to retain TMN, TMN Encore and Viewers Choice rather than to divest them -- as it plans for Astral's other English services -- as a clear testament to how highly Bell values those services.

4642   The content of the movie services is obviously key to Bell's multiplatform plans. In our view, the transfer of licences of this importance requires a more important contribution to film than is on the table.

4643   The CRTC's benefits policy requires that benefits flow to the communities served by the undertakings being purchased and to the broadcasting system as a whole. Central to the mandate of the Astral movie-based pay TV services is, of course, the development, licensing, promotion and exhibition of Canadian theatrical films. A large part of the community served by Astral's movie services is obviously movie fans so it stands to reason that a large part of the Astral benefits should be directed to supporting Canadian movies.

4644   Moreover, given the current funding needs that are particular to English-language theatrical films, directing support to that form of PNI would also clearly serve the broadcasting system as a whole.

4645   As Bell observed quite rightly in its application, films are "the most difficult form of Canadian expression to finance". The problem here, however, is that Bell has chosen to give the English-language films what can only be described in these circumstances as a token amount of its benefits package.

4646   The relatively paltry level of those English film benefits, $8 million over 7 years, is all that more unexplainable when it's contrasted with what Bell proposes for French-language film support, which is two and a half times what Bell has offered for English films.

4647   Mr. Chairman, we recognize that Bell has allocated its English-language and French-language benefits overall based on what it claims is the relative value of all of English and French services it's buying. We appreciate there is a certain simplicity to that approach.

4648   We submit, however, that, when you ultimately determine the allocations, you should not base your decision just on what approach is the most simple mathematically.

4649   Instead, we submit, you should base your decision on what approach would make the most sense from a policy standpoint in these particular circumstances and what would make the biggest contribution to achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

4650   The biggest need in the broadcasting system right now is support for English-language theatrical films. Other forms of PNI have seen large contributions in the past, but not English films. Given the prominence of the movie-based pay TV services in this transaction, this proceeding therefore represents the perfect opportunity for the Commission to change that.

4651   Put another way, not using this proceeding to substantially boost funding for English-language theatrical films would represent a huge lost opportunity to make a real and positive difference in the broadcasting system.

4652   In our written submission, we proposed a different approach than Bell did for allocating the TV benefits and presented a number of scenarios for achieving what we submit is a more appropriate level of English film support.

4653   We separated the pay services from the other services being transferred to reflect pay's unique programming mandate as well as the relative importance of the pay channels in this transaction.

4654   We then proposed different ways to split the pay TV-related benefits in support of English and French-language theatrical films according to the relative size of the services and the communities they serve, as well as the contributions they make to Canadian programming.

4655   In each case, the result is that a greater share of the pay TV-related benefits allocated to film support would go to support English-language films. The split we proposed would also reflect the greater needs of English-language films in this country.

4656   In undertaking that exercise, our intent, however, was not to end up with a scenario where, in order to increase the amount allocated to English films, the total amount allocated to French-language initiatives would be less than what Bell had proposed.

4657   At the same time, we do believe there is a high degree of possibility under the PwC valuation model that the actual quantum of benefits is understated. As we pointed out in our written submission, we remain concerned about the new increase of over $300 million for the "excluded" assets. We also note, perhaps more critically, that PwC itself acknowledges that valuations are not a precise science.

4658   In this case, PwC advised that its valuation conclusions have a degree of accuracy within plus or minus 7.5 percent, or as much as $150 million in either direction.

4659   We also note, for example, that by changing the risk levels under the EBITDA multiples, one can move millions of dollars in value between the English and French services.

4660   It is for these reasons, we believe there is ample room to increase the level of support for English-language theatrical films without impacting negatively on other benefits allocations in this deal.

4661   It is our submission that, at a minimum, and in whatever scenario occurs, English-language film support should be at least equal to the amount allocated to French-language film support, or at least $20 million.

4662   In our written comments, we had opposed allocating benefits to support English-language films to Telefilm, preferring instead that all such funds flow to the Harold Greenberg Fund. After further thought, however, and assuming a minimum of $20 million in benefits for English-language theatrical films, we would be comfortable with Bell's current proposal to allocate some film support funding to Telefilm's Private Donation Fund as well.

4663   Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, given the importance of the English movie-based services at play in this transaction, this proceeding is a unique opportunity to help Canadian English-language theatrical films in a real and substantive way. It's an opportunity that may not come again and it's an opportunity that cannot and should not be missed.

4664   Thank you. We welcome your questions.

4665   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Another once in a lifetime opportunity. I have heard that recently, so thank you.

4666   Madam Lamarre will start off the questions.

4667   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Mercia, Monsieur le Président.

4668   Good afternoon. I don't know if you were here this morning, but I have been fed and I'm warm now so I will be okay.

--- Laughter

4669   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: We are not going to talk about numbers because, as you pointed out, Mr. Hennessy, we can do that math, but let's talk about principles here.

4670   Here is what I find difficult to comes to grips with, both in your written submission and what you just said this morning.

4671   You keep talking about the greater needs of English-language films in this country, yet you are not providing us -- or if I missed it you make sure you set the record straight -- you are not providing us in your submission with data or a study to support that claim.

4672   MR. HENNESSY: Go ahead.

4673   MR. THOMSON: Thank you.

4674   We do have some data that we could put on the record and that is in terms of the amount of money that has been put into feature films recently and the kind of films that have been made and the number of films that have been made and the different languages.

4675   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: But even with that data how can I come to the conclusion that -- because, you see, there is a greater need to finance English-language films in this country underlying what I read is then PNI programming than French or English or than the French film counterparts.

4676   Because basically you are asking us here to review the split that has been done by BCE and Astral -- and I heard what you said, Mr. Hennessy, when you said you are not asking that the amount that was earmarked for French films be diminished by your request you are just saying, if I understood you right, that we are probably going to be able to get some margin. When we finish doing all our work with the valuation we are probably going to come up with a conclusion that there should have been more money put in the tangible benefits and you would want that extra money to go to English films.

4677   Is that correct?

4678   MR. HENNESSY: That is correct.

4679   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. But then help me make the case with you as to why it is that if we do find extra money somewhere in the transaction it should go to English Films in priority to anything else?

4680   MR. HENNESSY: Okay. So we will focus on the English side of the equation. I know there is a broader question about should all the money to go the French side and I'm happy to answer that, but on the English side in terms of benefits packages we have seen all the money, which I think is about $240 out of Bell CTV, Shaw Canwest, flow to English services and I think primarily other PNI and nothing to film.

4681   So nothing in the past transactions has ever actually flowed to film, on either the English or French side.

4682   The conventional broadcasters who used to be very committed to film -- film used to be an essential part of that equation -- no longer carry or they carry very, very little film, particularly in prime time.

4683   Now, there was some debate about this at the other hearing, I'm saying prime time, a lot of the broadcaster numbers are 6 to 12 as opposed to the normal prime time number. So I think that is a critical thing. We said this in the last Bell hearing as well and in the LPIF hearing when we put evidence on the record to demonstrate that there had been a significant decline in funding.

4684   So I think that the problem right now is that the only area where there is any activity with licensing and exhibition of films is in the Movie Channel space and we are dealing with benefits on the English side for the TMN, The Movie Channel. Now, that doesn't mean that there shouldn't be benefits also flowing to more edgy drama because clearly that is popular and we have seen shows like "Call Me Fitz" and "Durham County" that are big, but if you are saying benefits should flow to the communities served and you are also at the point where no benefits before have flowed to that community in the sense of film, then this is really a unique opportunity for money to flow to film.

4685   Because there aren't -- you know, you have TMN, as far as I know Corus is not in play and Super Channel is still a small movie channel that is struggling.

4686   So it seems to me, it seems totally logical given the size of The Movie Channel that a much more significant portion than a little over a million a year should be flowing to it to the extent that there are benefits that are supposed to flow to the communities served and the services that were offered by Astral, because that is the only English service that is in play right now.

4687   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So if I hear you right, you are saying there is a history of transactions that have brought into the system extra funding money for initiatives and movies were the neglected child, if I may use that expression, for those transactions, and here we have yet another transaction and on top of it, it involves TMN and it involves services that provide exhibition of those movies, so that would be the rational for putting them on-air?

4688   MR. HENNESSY: Yes.

4689   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Let me take this one step further then.

4690   At the same time, those former transactions, the past transactions, did now flow any money into the French side of the system.

4691   MR. HENNESSY: That's correct.

4692   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So if we don't -- well in both cases, if we do come up with extra money for tangible benefits, considering valuation in the way we may conclude it should have been done if it wasn't done the correct way -- and I'm not assuming it is, I'm just saying that's your position, you feel we can find some extra money in there, and if we do -- and saying also that for last transaction there was not a lot of input for the English movies and, at the same time, considering the nature of the transaction, there was nothing for the French side either, then why should whatever extra margin we manage to get should go solely to movies?

4693   MR. HENNESSY: Because if you look at the -- my view is, if you look at the ratio right now between what's going into English film versus French film.

4694   You know, if you look at any measure of the relative size of the English pay service versus the French, it goes from a low of 65/35 English to a high of 72/28 I think is the spread in each -- you know, whether you are counting subscribers or CPE, it's also that way. That's just the relative valuation.

4695   In fact, I would say if you actually -- you know, the value -- and in fact I think the values would be even higher on the English side if the EBITDA multiple that right now is 9.5 for English versus 10 for French was changed so that they are both the same, because I happen to believe the French service is under serious threat and I think Astral has proved that by filing an application on a video drawn --

4696   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: That's a different file.

4697   MR. HENNESSY: It's a different file and I'm not going to get into the merits of the file, just if you're talking about the risk thing which drives the value, then you can't ignore that certainly by filing the application the management of the company felt there was some risk to that service or else they wouldn't have bothered.

4698   So under any of those scenarios, right, you have really, if you want to call it -- let's, you know, even them all out and say a 70-30 split in favour of English on the pay thing. That's the relative values just of the pay service.

4699   So the issue is though that when you actually look at the allocations to film, you've got $22 million going to the French side and $8 million going to the English, and that doesn't make any sense and doesn't bode very well for those people that are producing films in English if that is where The Movie Channel is taking its brain.

4700   Because it's not just The Movie Channel that you're dealing with, right? I mean when it licenses product, it's usually licensing often in combination with Corus and other players. So to the extent that it's not putting money into, it has a ripple effect.

4701   But you go back to the ratio, right? I mean the ratio is 70-30 in favour of English on the pay side and the actual contribution is 70-30 in favour of French. So what we're saying is that at a minimum equalize it. I think that's where we're coming -- I mean, to me, it's very logical.

4702   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Isn't there a danger that we start looking at other scenarios? Like if you're talking about revenues, of course revenues are always going to be higher on the English side than they're going to be on the French side.

4703   MR. HENNESSY: I was talking about subscribers. We had four different ways of valuing it.

4704   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, we could also do it by number of subscribers or revenues but weighed within the system and considering the size of the different markets, French and English.

4705   We could also do it with -- I don't know, I'm trying to find -- the audience share.

4706   MR. HENNESSY: Okay. So that's fair.

4707   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: We're going to be left in -- and it can also be weighed audience share.

4708   What if we don't? What if we don't find that extra money, Mr. Hennessy, that you think there may be out there? And you did say that you don't want to lower the benefits that have been earmarked for the French services. What would you want us to do if we did not find extra money?

4709   MR. HENNESSY: To get to the $20.

4710   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: You want to get to the $20. Okay.

4711   MR. HENNESSY: We want to get to the $20.

4712   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Well, that's --

4713   MR. HENNESSY: So then there's --


4715   MR. HENNESSY: If you say that Bell accurately valued and had no interest in -- you know, because there's a spread of $150 million between the top end and the midpoint, and they chose the midpoint. I'm not going in the other direction because I'm just assuming that they didn't sort of sit there and, you know, overvalue, if you will.

4716   But let's just say that, you know, they picked the exact right thing, it was right down the middle, and so forget that $150 million, forget the multiples, forget all the other valuation things that people have put on the table, and you keep the -- I think it's $73 million or whatever on the French side fixed. Then the only other place that you can take it from is other PNI on the English side.

4717   Our position here is that there should be at least $20 million on the table for film, English film.

4718   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. That's a straight answer and we like straight answers. Whether or not we agree with them, we like the straight answers.

4719   Now, whatever amount we would come to for the benefit of English movies, what's your position on whether or not we should make it mandatory that 10 percent of this amount be earmarked for production taking place in the official language minority community?

4720   MR. HENNESSY: English in Montreal or English in Quebec?

4721   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes, Montreal or Quebec, English Quebec. You would agree with that?

4722   MR. HENNESSY: No.


4724   MR. HENNESSY: I mean my members may not like that but I agree with the principle, as a representative of a national association, that you want to ensure that there is money being spent throughout the regions of the country.

4725   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. You're --

4726   MR. HENNESSY: But to say that -- you know, to say, okay, well, you know, you have to carve out 10 percent here, maybe you carve out 4 percent for the Atlantic provinces, you carve out another chunk for Manitoba --

4727   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: I'm only talking here about --

4728   MR. HENNESSY: You're talking about official languages.

4729   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: I'm talking official languages and our obligation under section 41 of the Official Languages Act. That's what I'm talking about.

4730   MR. HENNESSY: Well, you know, I guess if you feel you have to meet that test -- and I understand why you might, that's kind of obvious -- then I think, you know, you could use -- and I don't know what the calculation would be, but you can use the kind of metric that the CMF just did in responding to the Official Languages Commissioner.

4731   I think they set up a benefit of $3 million in the envelope system just recently. They made an announcement in the last month, I think. I don't know what percentage that is. I suspect it's not 10 percent but, you know, there's a precedent you can look at.

4732   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And I know --

4733   MR. HENNESSY: I get very nervous about, you know, slicing the salami when maybe you only got a quarter of the salami to begin with.

4734   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes, but if it were just a quarter of a salami, that would be 10 percent of that quarter, so 2.5 percent.

4735   MR. HENNESSY: Yes, maybe it's less.

4736   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Like I said, we'll do that math.

4737   Well, I know that you changed your mind about money going to the Telefilm Fund. So this is duly noted on the file.

4738   Thank you very much.

4739   MR. HENNESSY: Thank you.

4740   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Ce sont toutes mes questions, Monsieur le Président.

4741   THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Menzies.

4742   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Just kind of a quickie and this question is going to make me sound a lot more naïve than I am.

4743   If this transaction goes through as you request and if you get the money that you request, how will Canada be a better place for its consumers and citizens and how will the public interest be enhanced? Because that's one of the things that we are here to do.

4744   MR. HENNESSY: Okay. So, you know, I tend to, when I'm at a broadcasting proceeding -- because, you know, in wearing more hats from my time at the Commission to cable and wireless and TELUS and everything else, I have tended to speak on behalf of consumers and I don't -- so just a caveat here.

4745   I think any broadcast policy that doesn't take note of the impact of consumers is probably flawed, although, you know, it's hard to find the word in the Act, but I tend to think of audience as the important variable here as opposed to consumers.

4746   And I think that in a world of choice, film is probably not only one of the best forms of cultural expression but one of the best forms of popular entertainment. So film is not dying but the exposure that Canadian film is getting, even while it's getting awards, is very underrepresented.

4747   And I think any choice that does not include choice Canadian choices is flawed because we now have a system in this country that is so open relative to the old that it's impossible to think that there isn't some way, whether it's Apple TV or iTunes or the new Google TV, the things we get over the air from satellite, et cetera, that you can't get choice of virtually anything, but even in that world it seems that the space for Canadian voices, in film particularly -- less so in drama, we're actually selling into the States -- but in film is squeezed.

4748   And I think if you lose -- you're certainly less as a country if you no longer have that choice because various forms of economic decisions that are quite rational, corporate economic decisions, drove that choice out of the market.


4750   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Those were our questions.

4751   Madame la Secrétaire.

4752   LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci.

4753   Juste avant de continuer, nous voudrions ajouter qu'Astral nous a livré leurs engagements. Ils sont sur le site Web du Conseil, et ils sont aussi disponibles en version papier dans le foyer.

4754   Donc, maintenant, j'inviterais Westmount Moving and Warehousing to come to the presentation table.

--- Pause

4755   LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour.

4756   M. GAGNON : Bonjour.

4757   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm puzzled. You're Joseph Gagnon?

4758   M. GAGNON : Un bon nom... (sans microphone).

4759   LE PRÉSIDENT : Utilisez votre micro, s'il vous plaît, pour qu'on puisse bien vous capter en transmission.

4760   Mais c'est ça, je ne savais pas dans quelle langue vous...

4761   M. GAGNON : Je vais le faire en anglais.

4762   LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K.

4763   M. GAGNON : Comme j'ai dit, un bon nom francophone... anglophone comme moi, mais...

4764   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, I was confused. Sometimes this occurs in Montreal.

4765   So welcome to our hearing and please go ahead.


4766   MR. GAGNON: Thank you.

4767   Well, good afternoon, Commissioners. My name is Joseph Gagnon. I'm President of Westmount Moving and Warehousing. I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.

4768   As I did in my intervention letter, I would like to discuss the importance of granting Bell an exemption to keep TSN 690 on the air as it is today. What I'm going to do is I'm going to do it both from a listener's perspective and also from a business owner perspective, so from sort of two views.

4769   I think we all agree that sports radio is a format that's popular across the country and it's a fact that Montreal is a sports town. It has three major sports franchises to support and I think the need or the desire for all sports radio programming is high, and I will say, and many will agree with me, that I think the folks at TSN 690 do a fantastic job, like no one else.

4770   So I think on the personal side, on sort of the listener side, it's a little more simplistic and I'm going to start with that.

4771   Why is TSN 690 important to me and my city?

4772   I think, as a listener, basically, the topics discussed provide lively lunchtime discussions, especially when the Canadiens lose a 2-nothing lead with 8 minutes left in the game.

4773   They have well-respected on-air personalities.

4774   What they have done in the last 12 years is remarkable, from where they were -- a little bit of local programming with lots of network programming to, pretty much, I would say, full-time local programming.

4775   No other station offers that type of programming. No other station goes beyond the headlines like TSN, and they can because they have access to the experts. Their affiliation with the TSN brand, coast to coast, gives them access to wonderful personalities, award-winning personalities, and it is great to be able to hear them live on your radio here in Montreal.

4776   They have the on-air experience to get to the bottom of the story. They have the time in their schedule and their program to really get into -- not just tell the headline, but actually what is behind the headline.

4777   Once again, there is no other station in the city that can do that right now.

4778   Based on the response that you have received from listeners here in Montreal, I don't think there is any question just how loyal TSN 690 listeners are. They are really locked on to the station. They are not flipping around from TSN 690 to a music station to talk radio.

4779   I have no idea where those listeners would go, again, seeing as how they are locked on to the station.

4780   Unfortunately, what is most likely -- without granting Bell the exemption to keep TSN 690 as is, they would most likely move to satellite radio, where they could get their sports fix 24/7, which would be a shame, in my mind, where local content would be little to nothing.

4781   We want to hear about our local teams. Even if it's at the amateur level, we want to hear about them, and we won't hear that, necessarily, on satellite radio.

4782   And all of this great programming that we talk about it -- from a listener point of view, all of this great programming is at risk, should Bell not be given the exemption to keep TSN 690 as is.

4783   As a business owner, I think it's a little more complex, in the sense that there are many elements to why I might do business with a station like TSN 690. I am an advertiser myself. Westmount Moving advertises on TSN 690, and has done so for about seven years. They have delivered exceptional value for my advertising dollar.

4784   I am also a fan of radio advertising, especially AM radio. Why? Because I feel that listeners really identify with their station, as opposed to television. I am not saying that television advertising is not good. That's not what I am suggesting, but people don't identify with a TV station like "CTV is my station".

4785   If they want to watch The National, they are going to go to CBC to watch The National, but they might flip to watch Mr. D, or whatever, on another station.

4786   So they don't identify with a station; whereas, in AM radio especially, people really identify, "I am a TSN 690 listener," or, "I am a CHOM listener." They really identify with that station because it is not broad in content, it is limited to what their interests are. If you are talking politics, you would be a CJAD listener. If you are a sports guy, you would be a 690 listener.

4787   That's why I am a big fan of radio advertising, especially on AM. People are not flipping around to hear the best song, they are sticking with that station.

4788   Take TSN 690 out of the scene; there are not a lot of options in this demographic.

4789   I would say that the money I am spending right now on that station most likely would not be redirected to either TV or other radio, it would most likely go to -- I would be purchasing leads. And a lot of the opportunities of lead purchasing are with suppliers in the United States. Those are the options that we have.

4790   I think, also, because the listeners are fiercely loyal, they will buy what TSN is selling. When my company receives a phone call from a TSN 690 listener, it is not someone calling to kick the tires. They are not going to be calling five, six, seven moving companies looking for the best price. They are really, really loyal to me because I support their station. And they know that, without my dollars, and other people like me, they are not necessarily going to be able to have that programming available to them.

4791   So they are extremely loyal, and they want to buy from me because I support the station.

4792   Once again, I don't have many opportunities like that. The closing ratio of calls coming in is much higher with something like TSN 690.

4793   Also, when I think about my relationship with that particular station, one of the things that hits me closest to home, or hits my heart, or makes me think most about why that station is important to me, is that they share my values of giving back to the community, the community that supports us.

4794   The station has been instrumental in helping me fundraise for a number of charities. I am as active as I can be in the community. I try to give back to the community, and the management group, the values of the station -- they are accessible. There is no other station in the city that I could get the help from that I have received in the last four or five years to help me raise money for great causes.

4795   And, if you would allow, I will give you two examples.

4796   We did a golf tournament for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. We raised over $50,000.

4797   We have done three golf tournaments for an organization called Tour de Force, which is a bike ride from Toronto to Montreal, where we raised money for children of fallen Canadian soldiers. A lot of young men perished overseas who were 26 or 27 years old, and who had a 2 or a 3-year-old child. We actually raised money for scholarship funds for these kids, and TSN was instrumental in that. They were our media partner. There is no way I would have had the awareness to pull off -- we raised well over $100,000 for these military children, and I could not have done that without their help.

4798   MY ability to continue my work in the community without that station would be seriously impaired, without the people and the values of that station.

4799   Again, all of this would be at risk should you not grant the exemption.

4800   It has been 12 years in the making, since TSN 690's inception, and they have reached the point where they have achieved a loyal following, with high-quality programming.

4801   If I think just of one thing alone, I think about the options. They are now a partner with the Montreal Canadiens.

4802   I think of the options. If TSN 690, let's say, was sold, I assume, and I believe, that the rights of the Montreal Canadiens would not follow that sale. I believe that Bell would retain the rights of the Montreal Canadiens. So now you have an all-sports radio station without the Montreal Canadiens. I am not sure how attractive that is to me and to the listeners.

4803   The Montreal Canadiens -- as you know, we talk about hockey in July. Only in Montreal would we be talking about hockey in July.

4804   The next scenario would be no sports radio at all. Then you are limited to what -- CJAD does a terrific job, but their format doesn't allow you to go deep into talking about hockey or golf. They have very limited sports segments.

4805   So, once again, Montrealers would be deprived of the more in-depth coverage of sports -- and, in Montreal, I think there are a lot of sports fans out there.

4806   When we look at the different scenarios, this is the perfect scenario right now, with TSN 690. The station has the Montreal Canadiens rights. It is all there. And I know that in my conversations with fellow Montrealers -- and I am very active, like I said, in the community -- I know they are very supportive of the station, and also the ownership -- and the exemption, of course.

4807   We simply ask that you let the station stay just the way it is. Thank you.

4808   THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just about to cut you off in terms of time, but you got it in, and that's great.

4809   Commissioner Menzies will have some questions for you.

4810   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thanks for your presentation. You are obviously very passionate about the Habs -- and sorry about that.

4811   I am curious, as an advertiser, what sort of audience do they sell you?

4812   MR. GAGNON: The typical audience, I would say, would be 25 to 55, males.

4813   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And that works well for your business?

4814   MR. GAGNON: Again, it's not about the quantity of calls, it's the quality. I might get more phone calls -- I advertise on different radio stations -- in Kitchener-Waterloo -- and it's more about the quality of the call.

4815   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Is this your primary source of advertising? Do you advertise primarily through TSN 690 in Montreal?

4816   MR. GAGNON: I have multiple -- I advertise on another AM station in Montreal. I also advertise -- I mean, there is Google, there are different pillars, and that's one pillar.

4817   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Because that is one of the challenges for the operators. I mean, sports fans are very passionate about their media, but it's really hard to make money because they are mostly male, and advertisers don't like mostly male audiences, typically, unless you are selling beer, right?

4818   MR. GAGNON: Yes.

4819   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Or other products -- because women make most of the economic decisions.

4820   MR. GAGNON: I track the calls coming in to all of my operations, and I wouldn't be spending money -- this is not about me liking hockey. I like hockey, but this is not about me --

4821   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No, you are a businessman and you are looking for a return on your investment.

4822   MR. GAGNON: I wouldn't spend a dime if it didn't give me a good return. What I am spending -- from a businessperson's point of view, what I am spending on the station, it is probably the best return I am getting amongst many of the pillars that I have.

4823   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: That's good. That's great, actually. And good for them, too, that they are able to deliver that audience to you.

4824   I ask that because it kind of bleeds into the other part. Are you aware that, while they might not see it as a choice, for legitimate business reasons, Bell does have the option of keeping this station and divesting itself of another one in Montreal?

4825   Were you aware that they could --

4826   MR. GAGNON: English stations, yes. I am aware of that, yes.

4827   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Would that be okay with you? I mean, is your bottom line that you want to keep TSN or --

4828   MR. GAGNON: When I look at the other stations, if you look at the Astral stations as they are right now -- CHOM, Virgin and CJAD -- they are all, also, Montreal institutions, and I think there is risk that if you sell one of them --

4829   These are institutions. These are longstanding. Astral has done a great job with those stations. If you sell off one of those, there is a risk that that institution is somewhat damaged, or it never is the same. You don't know. And I think that it is a risk not worth taking.

4830   When you look at those three brands, that could, possibly, be replaced by TSN 690, I think you are looking at the values and how well established they are. If you sell it off to a competitor or whatnot, I think there is the risk that you lose that institution, or it's never the same.

4831   I am not sure that the general public would perceive that as a positive move.

4832   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So, as a listener, and as an advertiser, you are comfortable making the trade-off, for a higher level of concentration of ownership, and less diversity of voices, in that sense, in order to keep this, because --

4833   MR. GAGNON: That's not what I said, no.

4834   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I know, that's what I am asking, though, because that is one of the implied trade-offs, that you have less ownership and then you have less competition.

4835   That is the whole purpose of having this rule in the first place, so there is not a concentration of ownership and there is diversity of choice.

4836   MR. GAGNON: I think it's third prize. Something like that is third prize.

4837   There are still enough English-speaking people in the Montreal listening area that I think the institutions in place should remain as they are, and TSN 690 is one of them.

4838   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, thanks. I understand that, and I understand your position. Thank you very much for taking the time to come and make your point. You made it very well.

4839   MR. GAGNON: Thank you.

4840   THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't go away yet, we have another question for you.

4841   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: It's no wonder you look familiar, Mr. Gagnon. You attended the hearing in October 2011 --

4842   MR. GAGNON: That's correct.

4843   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: -- when CTV requested a change of frequency from 990 to 690.

4844   MR. GAGNON: Correct.

4845   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And we approved that, we authorized them to change the frequency, and about a year later they changed the frequency. It was last September, if I remember correctly.

4846   MR. GAGNON: That's correct.

4847   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So you have been through the difficult period, which is winter, at least one winter, with the new signal, 690.

4848   I am curious, did you personally, as a listener, see an improvement?

4849   And, as an advertiser, do you feel a difference already?

4850   MR. GAGNON: From a frequency standpoint?

4851   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: From a frequency standpoint, yes.

4852   MR. GAGNON: I can speak personally, because of where I live -- absolutely. That's an easy answer, because where I live, I live in la ville de Léry, and the frequency after certain times was not great. So, absolutely, as a listener.

4853   There is no doubt, though, if I look at my campaign this year, say, versus last year -- again, is it just because of the longevity of my campaign, the more you are on, the longer you are on, the better it gets?

4854   But, certainly, attraction has improved and results have improved, absolutely.

4855   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: I realize that it's anecdotal evidence, but --

4856   MR. GAGNON: It's very important, too; I measure everything. Not only do I measure how they heard about us, but how many of those moves am I actually closing.

4857   It's not just about: Oh, wow, I'm excited, I got 12 TSN 690 calls this month. Well, how many of those moves actually converted to business, to dollars in my company's coffers.

4858   I don't make these decisions based on emotion. First of all, I am married to a chartered accountant and she wouldn't allow me to do so. These decisions are made based on facts, based on numbers -- hard numbers -- and I wouldn't have done it if it didn't make sense.

4859   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Obviously you want a return on your investment. That's why you track it.

4860   MR. GAGNON: I want a return on my investment, absolutely.

4861   But I keep my own data, and I know exactly what I am spending. I know what my cost per acquisition is. And the value I get at the station, as is, is extremely, extremely positive, especially since the --

4862   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And there seems to be an increase, as compared to last year?

4863   MR. GAGNON: Absolutely. Oh, absolutely.

4864   Without a doubt, yes.

4865   COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. I was just curious about that, about how the improvement was translating in the real world.

4866   Thank you.

4867   THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Vice-Chair?

4868   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I am sure that you are paying a commensurately higher rate for your ads, as well.

4869   MR. GAGNON: It's competitive. I mean, if you look at other markets and other stations, they are competitive.

4870   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Tell me something, how much of your advertising actually takes place during the game?

4871   MR. GAGNON: Very little.

4872   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Very little. Most of it happens before and after the actual hockey games?

4873   MR. GAGNON: Yes. With all of the stations I deal with, and I deal with four in total, I usually purchase what they call a reach plan, which kind of gives you ads scattered throughout the day. So you are going to get some in the afternoon, some in the morning, some on weekends.

4874   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Do you get any during the games? Is that part of the buy?

4875   MR. GAGNON: No. In this particular case, no.

4876   At this time. I have in the past, but right now, as we speak, I am not --

4877   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you agree with me that everything, save for the hockey game, can be reproduced?

4878   I don't know who is on these days, but, you know, in the old Mitch Melnick days, and all of these other guys, they are on before the game and after the game, right?

4879   MR. GAGNON: Correct.

4880   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And if the games were to move to CJAD, interested listeners and your clientele would still listen to the talk that happens pre and post-game, would they not, that kind of in-depth --

4881   MR. GAGNON: You know what, because I am not advertising as a game advertiser, I don't know that I could answer that question accurately.

4882   I could say, though, that CJAD has covered the Canadiens for many, many years, and has done a terrific job, but they are limited.

4883   So, as good as the job they can do, they are still limited by their format.

4884   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right. So people would listen to the game on CJAD, and go to the old 990 to get the in-depth coverage.

4885   Would you agree?

4886   MR. GAGNON: I would agree.

4887   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And most of your advertising happens outside of that three-hour game window.

4888   MR. GAGNON: Absolutely. I mean, you are looking at --

4889   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Or all of it, actually.

4890   MR. GAGNON: Yes.

4891   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Thank you, sir.

4892   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, those are our questions.

4893   MR. GAGNON: Thank you very much.

4894   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating in the hearing.

4895   We will now hear from the Producers Roundtable of Ontario.

4896   Please come forward.

4897   THE CHAIRPERSON: Clearly, none of you are Sean Cisterna.

4898   That's okay, that's the name I have on my list.

4899   That's fine. Please go ahead and make your presentation. Thank you.


4900   MS HOLM: Mr. Chair, Mr. Vice-Chair, Commissioners and Staff, my name is Judy Holm. I am a feature film producer and Co-President of Markham Street Films in Toronto. For over 10 years we have made award-winning films that have played in festivals around the world, including TIFF and Sundance.

4901   Our most recent film, a co-production with Newfoundland and Labrador, is called "Hold Fast".

4902   With me today is Julia Rosenberg, feature film producer and President of January Films.

4903   MME ROSENBERG : Bonjour, Mesdames et messieurs. Je suis une productrice de longs métrages au Canada anglais. J'ai commencé dans l'industrie, il y a plus de 20 ans déjà, et j'ai créé ma propre société de production en 2005. Mes longs métrages ont joué dans plusieurs festivals au Canada ainsi qu'en Europe et aux États-Unis. La majorité ont soit été nominés ou ont reçu les plus prestigieux pris de l'industrie.

4904   MS HOLM: Neither of us has previously appeared before the Commission, so we hope that you will bear with us.

4905   We are here representing PRO, the Producers Roundtable of Ontario. PRO is a caucus and a coalition of Ontario-based producers and copyright owners of Canadian English-language feature films.

4906   Our ad hoc membership is comprised of approximately 40 small to medium-sized production companies.

4907   PRO originated in 2004 as a self-driven advocacy group for producers of English-language feature films. At that time, it was abundantly clear that the particular needs of producers of English-language Canadian feature films were frequently overlooked and underserved when decision and policymakers assessed the needs of Canada's screen-based industries.

4908   PRO welcomes this opportunity to appear before the Commission to address its members' pressing concerns with several aspects of Bell's application to change the effective control of Astral and its licensed broadcasting subsidiaries.

4909   As stated in our intervention, PRO conditionally supports Bell's application. The concerns that we are addressing in our appearance before the Commission relate specifically to our area of expertise, feature filmmaking in Canada, the Harold Greenberg Fund, the allocation of benefits to that fund, and the apportioning of benefits for development and production between English and French-language feature films.

4910   PRO appreciates that Bell has proposed to allocate $28.8 million to support Canadian feature films. In PRO's written intervention to the CRTC dated April 5th, 2013, we originally proposed a 50/50 split between English and French-language feature film benefits.

4911   Since that time, however, PRO has had an opportunity to reassess its original position and now concurs with the CMPA's original determination, as we understand it, that the appropriate ratio of benefits for feature films would be, approximately, 70 percent for English language and 30 percent for French language.

4912   These percentages more accurately reflect three pertinent areas of business: the revenues of the English-language services vis-à-vis the French-language services; the ratio of CPE in favour of the English-language movie services; and the number of subscribers for each language's movie services.

4913   MS ROSENBERG: Sources of funding for the development and production of English-language feature films in Canada have been disastrously reduced over recent years. Currently, excluding tax credits, funding in English Canada is approximately $15 million to $20 million a year, while in Quebec it is double that.

4914   Given that feature films are defined as part of PNI, specifically as Category 7(d) within the drama category, and the Commission has prioritized support of PNI under the Group Licence Policy, we request that the Commission ensure that Bell shows genuine leadership in the continuance of this vital cultural industry.

4915   Other countries of similar stature and policy to Canada support their feature film industries much more robustly through their broadcasters, as well as through theatrical point-of-purchase levies.

4916   However, Canadian exhibitors have been unable to implement such a levy and, over the last years, with the ongoing disruption in the broadcasting landscape, our English-language broadcasters have consistently diminished their contributions to and purchase of feature films.

4917   In Quebec, broadcasters continue to pre-license French-language feature films, but English-language broadcasters have almost completely ceased to do so.

4918   CityTV, once a reliable home for English-language Canadian feature films, whose mandate was to participate in both the development and pre-licensing of indigenous films, has practically shut its doors to feature films.

4919   Since its purchase by Rogers, it has reduced its broadcast of Canadian English-language feature films by 75 percent.

4920   CBC might air one or two a year, but none of the other conventional television service providers consistently acquires or programs English-language Canadian films.

4921   The specialty channels as well no longer broadcast any Canadian feature films in prime time and Super Channel's Canadian feature film content is negligible.

4922   An indication of PRO's concern with the ongoing erosion of broadcaster support for Canadian films on television was its intervention on behalf of the starlight Channel.

4923   MS HOLM: TMN and TMN Encore, two of the English language broadcasting assets which Bell intends to acquire and whose programming is largely dedicated to feature films are two of the only broadcasters who continue to pre-license, acquire and program English-language Canadian films. We strongly encourage the Commission to consider that these pay TV assets, by broadcasting indigenous feature films, are providing a service currently unique to the producers of English-language films. Historically, in order to meet its condition of license for the movie channels, Astral was mandated to support the development and production of Canadian feature films, which it did through the Harold Greenberg Fund. PRO wishes to highlight that Bell must continue to fulfil that specific directive.

4924   Since its inception the Harold Greenberg Fund has been a crucial financier for the development and production of Canadian films. We appreciate the depth of its commitment to and knowledge of the industry, its mechanisms and key players. We need to ensure the Harold Greenberg Fund's ongoing viability.

4925   MS ROSENBERG: One of the biggest challenges facing producers of English-language feature films is financing the development phase. This phase includes costs such as options an underlying property (a novel, short story, play, or magazine article), research, and fees for Canadian screenwriters. Recent changes at Telefilm Canada and the closure of Corus' Made For Pay fund have dramatically increased the importance of the Harold Greenberg Fund.

4926   PRO would like the whole of any tangible benefits to be directed to the lean and competent Harold Greenberg Fund rather than dispersed to any other entities. The transparency and arm's length nature of this fund, its not-for-profit status and recognition by the Commission all combine to make it a particularly effective organization.

4927   As Commissioner Menzies said recently, why create new funds when a perfectly good one already exists?

4928   The Harold Greenberg Fund will be an excellent asset to Bell for the management of its feature film interests.

4929   In terms of the length of time over which any benefits must be allocated, PRO reiterates its support for five rather than seven years. And given the current state of funding for Canadian feature films, PRO does not support BCE's proposal to push out the beginning of benefit payments to 2017.

4930   MS HOLM: In conclusion, Bell has a unique opportunity to support English-language feature films. As we have outlined, the funding for the development and production of English-language feature films is hugely diminished over the years, but audiences at TIFF tell us that Canadians love and want to see films that represent themselves on screen. Our broadcasters regularly program feature films. We can always see Iron Man 1 through 6. Wouldn't it be nice if they also broadcast Canadian films? We've been asking ourselves this same question since Pierre Juneau proposed it in a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto on February 24th, 1972.

4931   PRO is excited by Bell's interest in English-language Canadian feature films. PRO urges that Bell affirm that interest by supporting and sustaining the Harold Greenberg Fund to the full capability of the benefits package and by revising its allocation of those funds between the English and French-language feature film production communities.

4932   MS ROSENBERG: Merci pour l'opportunité d'adresser la Commission. Thank you for your time.

4933   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Monsieur Juneau was entirely prescient to have known about Iron Man 1 through 6 well before they were produced, but I understand your point in any event.

4934   You're doing fine. I know it's your first intervention. I'm sure that it'll keep going very well. So the vice-chair will have some questions for you.

4935   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, thank you. Good afternoon. Yeah, you look like old seasoned pros there. Forget the "old" part, just seasoned pros.

4936   The source of your conclusions as to the fact that they're, besides the tax credits, 15 to 20 million on the English side and 40 million on the French side, did you want to speak to this on that issue?

4937   MS ROSENBERG: We should --

4938   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: How you arrive at those figures, yeah.

4939   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah, sure. We should say that we have very low membership dues. We don't have anyone that we're paying for research. So --


4941   MS ROSENBERG: -- we've put stuff together, but it's -- basically we understand that BC Films has about 600,000 a year that gets allocated to development. Alberta claims that they've put about 7.8 into film and TV production through a granting program, but we weren't able to find more detail on that. Saskatchewan is currently at zero.


4943   MS ROSENBERG: The Yukon has about 140,000 for development. Manitoba, about 2 million in equity and development. Ontario through the ONDC has 4 to 5 million in production and development. New Brunswick and P.E.I. we couldn't find anything.


4945   MS ROSENBERG: Nova Scotia, about 2 and a half. Newfoundland, about 3.5, but 1.7 went to Doyle. And --


4947   MS ROSENBERG: -- which is fine. And the SODEC, it's -- in its annual report it says about 34,000, but it looks like -- sorry, 34 million, but it looks like it has over -- just over 50 million because it includes support for corporations and not just for a project-by-project basis from the website.

4948   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. So you arrive at 15 to 20 and -- because it wasn't in your brief, that's why I'm asking.

4949   MS ROSENBERG: Oh, I'm sorry.

4950   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And how do you get to 40 million on the French side?

4951   MS HOLM: That is going between -- sorry. That was going between the 30 and $50 million that we saw in the information about the SODEC.


4953   MS ROSENBERG: Because companies receive slate funding. So --


4955   MS ROSENBERG: -- they're supported in that way.

4956   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Okay. And you're not calculating tax credits and whatnot, but that's fine. Okay.

4957   Tell me something. What percentage of a film would the Fund fund right now? And the Fund has only been around for a few years, right? It's a consequence of MusiquePlus and Astral's purchase.

4958   MS HOLM: Yeah. The importance of the Greenberg Fund is, in all honesty, more in the development phase than in production. It does some into equity investments in a production. But in terms of development, it can fund up to, so, you know, sort of 75 percent, and if you're really frugal, a hundred percent of the development of your project as you go through different phases.

4959   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Which in dollars means?

4960   MS HOLM: What would that cost? It depends on what kind of book you're options and what they charge you. A book could be anywhere, okay, let's say it's --


4962   MS HOLM: -- 5 to $10,000 --


4964   MS HOLM: -- the writer to come up with a feature script is around $55,000 now. You have to have research. So let's say probably --

4965   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: A hundred thousand.

4966   MS HOLM: About a hundred thousand dollars a film, yeah.


4968   MS HOLM: On a good day.

4969   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And you would like $23.8 million to go towards that Fund?

4970   MS HOLM: Yes, but the Fund also gets involved in the equity production of feature films. And then, of course, you have a film that you can take to get a pre-license for it. You know, the situation with Canadian English-language films is such that they just have these sort of, you know, things being pulled out of the vessel over the course of the last years.


4972   MS HOLM: You know, the TMN ceased to be a consistent and reliable pre-licenser of Canadian films about four years ago. Right up until that point if you went through the certain channels you were going to get a license, but then it stopped doing that as it turns its attention to series television, as many broadcasters --


4974   MS HOLM: -- did. So it's development but it's also equity investment.

4975   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And do you know how much the Fund contributed to development?

4976   MS ROSENBERG: Yes, we do.


4978   MS ROSENBERG: In our last fiscal, which is -- ends August 31st, in English they contributed $2,147,869 to 126 projects out of 614 received. In French they contributed $747,432 to 44 projects of 81 received. This means that the French projects were beneficial at a ratio of 50 percent, as opposed to the English-language projects, which were beneficial, at a ratio of 20 percent.

4979   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Explain that one to me because I was just comparing --

4980   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah. So 126 --

4981   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- my figures with your figures while you were talking.

4982   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah. 614 projects applied in English --


4984   MS ROSENBERG: -- and 126 --

4985   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Oh, okay. I got you.

4986   MS ROSENBERG: -- received funding. In French it was 81 and 44 received funding.

4987   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Pretty simple division, okay. Okay. And how do we justify the entirety of the sum going towards the Fund? We heard people from CMPA earlier. We're going to hear from other people I guess later on.

4988   MS ROSENBERG: Well, if I can begin and then... In order to promote Canadian films to provide various platforms for Canadian films, we first have to make Canadian films. And in order to make Canadian films, we have to develop them. And it's becoming increasingly difficult for us to actually develop films, and that impacts talent pools for Canadian television as well because people who write films end up writing TV, and people who direct films end up directing prime time drama. So it's -- we --

4989   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And do you have an idea how much of that 23 million would go towards development and how much would be an equity stake in the project --

4990   MS ROSENBERG: From what --

4991   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- the final project?

4992   MS ROSENBERG: Sorry. From what I understand, the development and story optioning used to be a condition of license for TMN and then it became a group license and that gave the Fund more flexibility in terms of how much went towards equity and how much went towards development. So I think the Fund would argue that they'd like some flexibility with that, but historically they've been --

4993   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: What would you like to see?

4994   MS ROSENBERG: What would I like to see?

4995   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah. You're here, you know.

4996   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah. No, I --

4997   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's your pitch.

4998   MS ROSENBERG: I don't know. It's a really good question. It's ...

4999   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Because at a hundred thousand a pop for development, I mean $23 million is a lot of money.

5000   MS ROSENBERG: Over many years, so...


5002   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah, but it's...


5004   MS ROSENBERG: One thing we should also say is that Telefilm Canada has changed its development policies, making it -- restricting access to development financing. So I think what we're going to start to see because of these reductions, irrespective of how much money ends up at the Fund, is a decreased amount of films being developed and eventually being made in this country.

5005   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. You also spoke on the French-English issue. And you're aware of the fact that over the past few years most of the acquisitions have happened on the English side, ergo most of the benefits have gone to the English side, leaving the French side somewhat affamé, somewhat sort of starved, if you wish, from the point of view of benefits, monies, since there haven't been that many mergers and acquisitions on the French side. How do you feel about that? That there's a lot of money in the system already on the English side.

5006   MS HOLM: Well, I would say that perhaps they're starved of benefits but they're not starved of funding.

5007   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Can you -- what about the fact that a certain percentage of the properties that are potentially going to be transferred, ownership will be transferred of, are Francophone properties and shouldn't we take that into consideration?

5008   MS HOLM: We're not taking the position that absolutely everything should go to English Canadian feature films. We -- the 70/30 split is not far away from the traditional telecom split of two-thirds/one-third. So anything within that ballpark is something that we would support.

5009   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Some flexibility there?

5010   MS HOLM: Yeah.

5011   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And speak to me about the governance of the Fund. You spoke about the governance of the Fund in your document today and how you're rather impressed by it. Do you want to give us some more details as to some of the checks and balances?

5012   MS HOLM: I'll start and Julia will carry on. You know, the Greenberg Fund, you know, is run by John Galway and Alan Black. They have always on the one hand being very accessible to producers. You are always well aware of what's going on. You can get reports on your projects. There is complete transparency. You know, often when you're taking things to funds -- and it certainly used to be this way with Telefilm -- you get a, "No, we're not funding your film", but you could not dig down and find out why. You get responses from the Greenberg Fund. They have a board and they meet regularly. You know what's going on. You know what money they have to put out. They will discuss with you ways in which you can maximize whatever contributions they're able to make.


5014   MS ROSENBERG: Their annual report as well is helpful. It helps us to understand. It's very clear. It's -- it reports only to its only activities, so it's a useful tool for us when it comes to trying to assess what's going on. And they -- they're completely devoted to the feature film community. So they know the players. They're -- they know what we've done. They know our -- you know, they can pick up the phone and call us and say, well, there's this thing on your application and, you know, we'd like a little bit more information before going to the board. So there's an intimacy or there's a familiarity and an expertise, I think, that comes with that.

5015   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And in terms of governance and checks and balances and sort of making sure there's no self-interest involved in --

5016   MS ROSENBERG: No -- yeah.

5017   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- commissioning or development of film?

5018   MS ROSENBERG: No board member can submit, I believe.

5019   MS HOLM: And we all know where they live.

5020   MS ROSENBERG: There's that too.

5021   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Sorry, I missed that.

5022   MS HOLM: I said we all know where they live.

5023   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Oh, you all -- (laughs) I -- that will have to be a new chapter in sort of that Harvard MBA on governance.

5024   You also heard yesterday from the English language producers in Montréal and I think one of my colleagues made reference to that as well earlier in the day. What do you feel about -- you're both from Toronto, I gather? From ...

5025   MS ROSENBERG: I'm from Toronto, but I lived in Montréal for 11 years and I have strong relationships with the community here as well.

5026   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay, good. So you can maybe -- you have some --

5027   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah.

5028   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- on the ground experience with the issue.

5029   MS ROSENBERG: One great thing about the Harold --


5031   MS ROSENBERG: -- Greenberg Fund -- does that mean we should stop?

5032   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: We're not hearing voices. That's someone's phone or something.

5033   MS ROSENBERG: One good thing about the Harold Greenberg Fund is that it's now the only organization that puts money into development that is editorial. Basically they read the projects, their board reads the projects and they determine whether or not a project is one that they should support. Telefilm has a whole new set of criteria that has --

5034   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And on the Fund in terms of Montréal and specific needs --

5035   MS ROSENBERG: English-language producers --

5036   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- to Montréal, yeah.

5037   MS ROSENBERG: -- have equal access to that fund.

5038   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. Should there be --

5039   MS ROSENBERG: And so they have -- if all of the best stories come out of Montréal, then all of the English-language producers in Montréal will be funded.

5040   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But -- so there's no attempt made to balance regional development monies from people coming from out West or?

5041   MS HOLM: I don't think -- we don't believe that there should be anything laid out as such. I think that we have all been working in this country for such a long time that that's what we do naturally, right? We think no fund would let it go on for a period of time without there being representation from every region. And as Julia said, if all of the best -- if 10 fabulous projects come from English-language producers in Québec, then --

5042   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's here, yeah.

5043   MS HOLM: -- that's what happens.

5044   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. And in recent memory are there examples of some kind of --

5045   MS ROSENBERG: Yeah, I left it on my phone by the chair, sorry about that.


5047   MS ROSENBERG: But --

5048   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Was that your phone chirping?

5049   MS ROSENBERG: No. No, my phone is off. But I -- there was -- I think they put money into "Funkytown". There was the movie about Dolly Parton -- what was it called?

5050   MS HOLM: "The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mother".

5051   MS ROSENBERG: "The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mother" was supported all through development. That's Tara Johns and Barbara Shrier out of Montréal. So --

5052   MS HOLM: Goons.

5053   MS ROSENBERG: Goons.

5054   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And the same can be said about sort of film ideas coming from out East or out West or?

5055   MS ROSENBERG: M'hmm.


5057   MS ROSENBERG: And it's -- and as I say, they -- they're very active in the communities. They take an interest in sort of up and coming talent. They're good arbiters of what's going on.


5059   MS HOLM: You see, even though we are representing the Producers Roundtable of Ontario, we're saying that it should go to everybody across the country.

5060   COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, thank you very much. I don't know if my colleagues have any other questions, but that's it for me. Thank you.

5061   MS HOLM: Okay, thank you.

5062   MS ROSENBERG: Thank you.

5063   THE CHAIRPERSON: Those are our questions, thank you.

5064   MS HOLM: Thank you.

5065   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

5066   I think we'll do one more presentation before the break, avec l'Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec.

5067   Madame Samson, s'il vous plait.

--- Pause

5068   MME SAMSON : Je vous pardonne, Monsieur le Président, de ne pas avoir accordé le break avant ma présentation.

5069   LE PRÉSIDENT : Si je me rappelle bien, je vous avais donné le privilège d'aller prendre de l'air frais la dernière fois avant votre présentation. Donc...

5070   MME SAMSON : Ça ne sera pas une habitude, si je comprends bien.

5071   LE PRÉSIDENT : Apparemment. Apparemment.

5072   MME SAMSON : Apparemment.

5073   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, allez-y, s'il vous plaît.


5074   MME SAMSON : Alors, Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Vice-président, Mesdames et messieurs les Conseillers, membres du personnel, bonjour. Mon nom est Claire Samson; je suis présidente-directrice générale de l'Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec.

5075   M'accompagne aujourd'hui monsieur Jean Bureau, président du Conseil d'administration de l'APFTQ.

5076   J'aimerais, d'emblée de jeu, offrir mes excuses à votre équipe de traducteurs. J'ai remarqué ce matin en lisant la version anglaise de ma présentation qu'on avait traduit le mot « Conseil » par « Board » au lieu de « Commission », ce qui n'est pas dans la tradition. Je m'en excuse. Je savais qu'un jour j'allais faire une erreur. Elle a été faite aujourd'hui. Voilà!

--- Laughter

5077   MME SAMSON : Nous remercions le Conseil...

5078   LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous savez, en français, on se fait appeler souvent des commissaires aussi.

5079   MME SAMSON : Oui, je sais.

5080   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, ça fonctionne dans les deux directions.

5081   MME SAMSON : Nous remercions le Conseil de nous permettre d'exprimer notre point de vue sur les différents enjeux que comporte la transaction Astral/BCE, particulièrement au niveau des contenus de production canadienne diffusés par les services qui font l'objet de cette transaction.

5082   Comme nous l'avons exprimé dans notre mémoire...

5083   Jean, je vais te laisser faire un petit bout.

5084   M. BUREAU : Bonjour.

5085   Comme nous l'avons exprimé dans notre mémoire, l'APFTQ appuie la transaction présentée devant vous. Il s'agit d'une transaction historique dans le sens qu'aucune des transactions en radiodiffusion faites au cours des dernières années au Canada n'impliquait autant le secteur de la production indépendante, une composante essentielle au système de radiodiffusion canadien.

5086   Vous comprendrez que l'APFTQ, qui représente plus de 140 maisons de production indépendante au Québec est donc très préoccupée par cette audience.

5087   La production indépendante au Québec est constituée d'entreprises qui produisent des émissions de télévision et de cinéma dans les deux langues, français et anglais. Les résultats d'audiences autant pour les émissions télévisuelles que le cinéma sont exceptionnels. Leur succès, leur qualité et les talents qui les supportent sont reconnus internationalement. Les Québécois aiment les productions télévisuelles et cinématographiques créées par eux et pour eux. Les résultats d'auditoire exceptionnels en font foi.

5088   Le succès de notre télévision rejaillit aussi sur notre cinématographie qui bénéficie du « star system » créé par le succès de notre télévision. Ce résultat positif découle d'un ensemble de facteurs, dont celui de la réglementation, mais aussi de la compétence et de l'expertise des artistes, artisans et producteurs qui ont su développer des contenus originaux qui nous ressemblent. Les entrepreneurs culturels que sont les producteurs doivent aussi développer des nouvelles applications et de nouvelles exploitations pour les émissions de télévision et les films qu'ils produisent.

5089   MME SAMSON : Nous tenons à rappeler qu'Astral a toujours été un partenaire privilégié des producteurs indépendants au Québec. La décision qu'Astral a prise de ne pas produire pour elle-même ou de se créer des infrastructures de production a permis le développement d'un secteur de production indépendante québécois fort vigoureux. Cette décision qui a été bénéfique à l'industrie de la production indépendante a aussi bénéficié aux services spécialisés d'Astral, qui démontrent des résultats financiers hors du commun, ce qui a sûrement suscité l'intérêt de Bell de s'en porter acquéreur.

5090   Nous tenons aussi à informer le Conseil qu'Astral a été le premier radiodiffuseur, et le seul à ce jour, à conclure une entente commerciale avec les producteurs indépendants du Québec, confirmant son leadership et son intérêt envers la production indépendante de langue française. Cette entente est actuellement en renégociation et nous souhaitons tous conclure une entente sous peu.

5091   C'est donc dire que les producteurs membres de notre association souhaitent une continuité dans ces relations privilégiées avec le nouveau propriétaire que sera BCE, d'autant plus que ce dernier continuera de s'approvisionner auprès d'eux.

5092   C'est dans cet esprit que nous avons formulé nos recommandations au Conseil afin de nous assurer que cette transaction soit à la fois avantageuse pour l'industrie de la production canadienne de contenus originaux, de la production indépendante, des consommateurs, des annonceurs et pour le système de radiodiffusion dans son ensemble.

5093   Nous souhaitons aborder avec vous aujourd'hui trois aspects importants de la demande que vous étudiez :

5094   - les bénéfices tangibles;

5095   - les stratégies de positionnement et l'orientation des programmes; et

5096   - les ententes commerciales.

5097   M. BUREAU : Alors, au sujet des bénéfices tangibles, l'APFTQ a analysé la proposition de bénéfices tangibles soumise dans cette requête, et contrairement à la première transaction soumise, l'actuelle nous semble tout à fait pertinente, équitable et porteuse pour l'avenir des services en question. Cependant, l'APFTQ demande au Conseil de considérer les aspects suivants.

5098   Concernant la ventilation linguistique des avantages tangibles, nous exhortons le Conseil de s'assurer que ceux-ci seront attribués au prorata de la valeur de la transaction. Ces fonds additionnels, devant servir à augmenter l'offre des services qui font l'objet de la transaction Astral/Bell, ne sont pas des fonds comme ceux du Fonds des médias du Canada, des fonds Bell, Cogeco et Québecor, reconnus par le Conseil comme étant des fonds EDR. Au contraire, ces argents, nous le répétons, doivent contribuer à augmenter l'offre de production originale canadienne à l'antenne des services qui font l'objet de la transaction, une offre qui contribuera à augmenter l'apport de la production indépendante à la création d'émissions originales et l'intérêt des consommateurs pour ces services.

5099   Puisqu'Astral est une compagnie québécoise et que l'impact de sa vente se fera sentir au Québec, nous demandons au Conseil d'exiger que Bell consacre 100 pour cent des avantages tangibles à l'écran à la production indépendante québécoise, et ce, tant pour la programmation de langue française qu'anglaise, sauf pour un pourcentage historique des acquisitions des chaînes Astral effectuées auprès des producteurs francophones hors Québec.

5100   De plus, l'APFTQ s'attend à ce que le Conseil exige que Bell consacre tout son bloc d'avantages tangibles dédié aux ÉIN au financement de la production originale devant être diffusée en première fenêtre sur les services visés par la transaction seulement. Étant donné que nous nous attendons à ce que Bell produise annuellement des rapports concernant l'utilisation des avantages tangibles, ces sommes devraient être administrées distinctement par Bell pour faciliter la production de ces rapports.

5101   MME SAMSON : Quant à la stratégie de positionnement et l'orientation des programmes, la notion de champion de la programmation française basée à Montréal méritait, à notre avis, d'être élaborée et éclairée.

5102   Comme beaucoup d'intervenants l'ont exprimé dans leurs mémoires, nous avions des inquiétudes concernant la possibilité d'un transfert de la direction de la programmation des services visés par cette transaction vers Toronto. Monsieur Crull nous a rassurés quant aux intentions de Bell de maintenir à Montréal le centre décisionnel lié aux propriétés de radio et de télévision. De plus, il a réitéré dernièrement que monsieur Jacques Parisien aura cette responsabilité.

5103   Nous souhaitons que le CRTC en fasse une condition de licence et qu'il s'assure que les décisions et orientations de programmes francophones demeurent à Montréal. Il est, à notre avis, dans l'intérêt de tous que la personnalité et la spécificité des chaînes demeurent intactes, après tout, c'est ce qui leur a apporté notoriété et succès.

5104   Pour ce qui est des ententes commerciales, comme je vous le disais plus tôt, nous sommes actuellement en négociation avec les représentants d'Astral. Encore là, nous demandons que cette entente devienne une condition de licence.

5105   Encore là, la requérante s'y est dit disposée dans sa demande, ce qui ne devrait donc pas poser de problème à ce que cela devienne une condition de licence. Et nous tiendrons le Conseil au courant des développements sur cette négociation.

5106   Nous vous remercions de votre attention et sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.

5107   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup. Madame Lamarre.

5108   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci, monsieur le président. Bonjour.

5109   Bon, allons tout de suite au coeur de l'affaire, les avantages tangibles, Vous l'avez mentionné dans votre mémoire déposé et vous le mentionnez encore aujourd'hui au paragraphe 13 de votre présentation, vous dites juste qu'Astral est une compagnie québécoise et que l'impact de sa vente se fera sentir au Québec, l'impact de sa vente ne se fera pas sentir au Québec.

5110   Astral a des services de télévision anglophones, a des abonnés anglophones qui ne sont pas tous au Québec.

5111   À partir de là, comment pourrait-on justifier ce que vous nous demandez, c'est-à-dire d'exiger que 100 pour cent des avantages tangibles à l'écran soient dépensés et utilisés à la production indépendante québécoise?

5112   MME SAMSON : Réellement, c'est une entreprise québécoise. Je pense que les gens de Bell et les responsables d'Astral à l'heure actuelle reconnaissent et ont tous reconnu dans leurs présentations depuis lundi, la qualité et la popularité de ce qui se produit au Québec.

5113   Ce qu'on fait si bien en français, on peut très bien le faire en anglais également, je peux vous en assurer. Il y a des membres de l'APFTQ qui produisent en anglais et qui produisent de très bonnes émissions de grande qualité et qui sont capables d'obtenir les résultats d'écoute auxquels s'attendent tous les diffuseurs.

5114   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Mais, paradoxalement, madame Samson, vous êtes encore plus exigeante à cet égard-là que le Quebec English Language Production Council.

5115   MME SAMSON : Oui.


5117   MME SAMSON : Probablement parce que j'ai plus de membres qui produisent en français que ceux qui sont réunis sous le Quebec English Production Council.

5118   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Non, mais j'aurais dû être plus précise. Mais même au niveau de la production anglophone?

5119   MME SAMSON : Oui.

5120   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Vous êtes plus exigeante qu'eux?

5121   MME SAMSON : Oui.

5122   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Alors, que savez-vous qu'eux ne savent pas et qu'ils ne nous ont pas dit?

5123   MME SAMSON : Bien, je pense qu'il s'agit là d'une transaction d'une entreprise québécoise. Les chaînes anglophones, Astral, qui deviendraient propriété de BCE, pourront facilement continuer de s'approvisionner auprès de l'ensemble des producteurs canadiens comme ils le font traditionnellement en vertu de leurs conditions de licence et des impératifs qui se posent à eux. On parle ici des bénéfices tangibles.

5124   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : De bénéfices tangibles?

5125   MME SAMSON : On parle de bénéfices tangibles offerts dans la transaction d'une entreprise québécoise et voilà là une opportunité certainement de faire la démonstration que la... je pense que la production francophone québécoise a fait ses preuves au fil des ans auprès de tous les diffuseurs.

5126   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et je n'argumenterai pas avec vous là-dessus.

5127   MME SAMSON : Et je suis convaincue que la colonie de producteurs et de talents anglophones du Québec est tout à fait prête à relever le défi de livrer la marchandise pour la production et les chaînes anglophones de BCE.

5128   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vais peut-être y revenir tout à l'heure. Je vais aller un peu plus loin avec votre présentation.

5129   Au niveau, là, de la stratégie de positionnement et l'orientation des programmes, vous êtes rassurée, là, par les intentions de Bell de maintenir le Centre décisionnel lié aux propriétés de télévision et radio à Montréal et vous voudriez que ce soit fait par condition de licence.

5130   Vous mentionnez aussi que dernièrement monsieur Crull a réitéré que monsieur Jacques Parisien aurait cette responsabilité.

5131   Maintenant, on ne peut pas attacher monsieur Jacques Parisien à cet emploi-là par condition de licence alors, et vous estimez que si la condition de licence est reliée au Centre décisionnel, que le jour où monsieur Parisien décidera peut-être de se lancer dans une autre aventure, que ça sera suffisant pour assurer la pérennité du Centre décisionnel à Montréal?

5132   MME SAMSON : Bien, je pense que si le Conseil en fait une condition de licence, là, ça nous a rassurés parce que les gens du Québec, on connaît monsieur Parisien, mais effectivement monsieur Parisien est une personne qui peut prétendre avoir le contrôle sur ses allées et venues, je ne voudrais surtout pas que ça soit dans les mains de l'APFTQ.

5133   Mais dans l'éventualité... dans l'éventualité où monsieur Parisien décidait de relever de nouveaux défis dans un autre environnement, il n'en demeure pas moins que si c'est une condition de licence et que le Conseil examine au renouvellement des licences le respect des différentes conditions, on sera certainement en mesure de témoigner auprès du Conseil, à savoir si la prise, le Centre de décision de la programmation se fait au Québec ou non, mais que d'emblée, ce soit une condition de licence.

5134   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vais revenir pour finir avec encore les avantages tangibles.

5135   Vous êtes une auditrice assidue de cette audience depuis le début de la semaine et vous étiez là aussi plus tôt cet après-midi, alors je partage avec vous, là, les pensées qui me viennent à l'esprit.

5136   Entre la demande de la CMPA et celle de PRO qu'on a eue juste avant vous et la vôtre, est-ce qu'on ne peut pas être tenté de penser qu'au fond, le meilleur équilibre du partage des avantages tangibles, ce n'est pas Astral et BCE qui y sont parvenus avec leur proposition?

5137   Parce que monsieur... la CMPA veut tout pour le film anglophone ou à peu près.

5138   MME SAMSON : Oui.

5139   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Même chose pour PRO.

5140   MME SAMSON : Oui.

5141   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et, vous, vous voulez que tout reste au Québec.

5142   MME SAMSON : Mais je veux dire...

5143   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Alors que la proposition qui nous a été faite en est une qui ne devrait pas nous sembler comme étant la plus équilibrée étant donné que l'entreprise, résultant de la fusion, si on approuve la transaction, aura justement à continuer à maintenir un équilibre dans ses relations à travers les marchés et à travers aussi les différents genres de programmation qu'elle voudra mettre à l'écran.

5144   MME SAMSON : Bien sûr, mais comme ça a été... c'est justement rappelé au CMPA, lors des transactions qui impliquaient CTV, on a vu aucune retombée dans cette transaction-là de bénéfices tangibles pour la production francophone. Et, là, je vais vous faire une analogie équestre, madame, parce qu'à part de la télévision, c'est la seule affaire que je connais.

5145   Là, quand j'entends le CMPA, là, ça me fait penser à mon cheval. Quand j'arrive, il est toujours en train de fouiller pour essayer de trouver un bout de carotte puis de pomme ou un sucre dans ma poche, right. C'est une mauvaise habitude, ça, qu'il ne faut pas permettre, hein. Et quand on est tanné, là, parce que c'est dangereux, ça, ça mord puis ça pince, une petite tape sur le bord du nez, des fois, ça le ressaisit.

5146   Et, là, je pense que dans sa... je comprends tout l'argumentaire et la problématique du cinéma canadien, qu'il soit anglophone ou francophone, a ses propres problématiques, mais je pense que la demande du CMPA d'aujourd'hui n'est pas raisonnable.

5147   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et juste pour clarifier un dernier point, lorsque vous dites que vous voulez que 100 pour cent des avantages tangibles à l'écran soient dédiés à la production indépendante québécoise, ce serait autant la programmation télévisée que les films ou ça serait seulement la programmation télévisée?

5148   MME SAMSON : Nous parlions ici de la programmation télévisuelle.

5149   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Télévisuelle.

5150   MME SAMSON : Et nous avons fait une exception pour qu'une partie des bénéfices tangibles dédiés à la production francophone aille dans un ratio similaire à l'historique...


5152   MME SAMSON : ... aux francophones hors Québec.

5153   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : O.k. Donc, c'est seulement télévisuel?

5154   MME SAMSON : Nous parlions de télé visuelle.

5155   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : De télé visuelle seulement?

5156   MME SAMSON : La proposition qui est faite là pour le Fonds Harold Greenberg nous convient tout à fait.

5157   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vous remercie.

5158   LE PRÉSIDENT : Monsieur le vice-président.

5159   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Bonjour. On va éviter de se mettre dans le trouble en parlant de tous les maux qu'on puisse faire aux animaux, on peut avoir des problèmes avec la SPCA.

5160   Ceci étant, est-ce que vous avez remarqué une différence dans ce partenariat privilégié entre les producteurs indépendants du Québec et Astral depuis... oh! disons mars 2012?

5161   MME SAMSON : Non. Moi, je peux vous dire personnellement, pour connaître plusieurs personnes qui travaillent chez Astral, les gens sont un peu fatigués et je les comprends là. Je sais ce que c'est que de passer au travers une transaction, d'une vente d'un actif de radiodiffusion, mais sinon, non, les producteurs n'ont pas vu... en tout cas ne m'ont pas rapporté de changement de philosophie ou de...

5162   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Vous l'auriez rapporté ou vous auriez su s'il y avait de quoi?

5163   MME SAMSON : S'il y avait quelque chose de...

5164   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Ça aurait été senti dans l'air, là?

5165   MME SAMSON : Oui, on l'aurait senti certainement et on ne l'a pas senti non plus d'une façon. C'est sûr que, là, on négocie pour les "terms of trade" puis on frappe toujours le même noeud avec tout le monde avec qui on négocie des "terms of trade". C'est les droits et les multi plate-formes, particulièrement les non réglementés.

5166   Je m'excuse, monsieur le président, ce n'est pas le mot que vous aimez, les non-licenciés.

5167   LE PRÉSIDENT : Je ne veux pas imposer le terme, mais pour moi c'est la différence entre détenir une licence et ne pas détenir une licence.

5168   MME SAMSON : Et ne pas détenir une licence. Voilà. Alors... mais c'est le nerf de la guerre partout. Mais dans nos relations et dans nos échanges avec les gens d'Astral, nous n'avons pas senti de différence, non.

5169   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Comportement autre?

5170   MME SAMSON : Non.

5171   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Non acceptable? Non. Ça reste une bonne relation.

5172   MME SAMSON : Oui.

5173   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Et ça continue dans cette direction-là.

5174   Monsieur Bureau, vous voulez ajouter quelque chose?

5175   M. BUREAU : Non. Je voulais juste ajouter qu'on a des réunions régulièrement, là, avec le Conseil qui est issu de membres qui travaillent dans différents segments de la production.


5177   M. BUREAU : Autant dans le cinéma qu'en télévision et on n'entend aucun commentaire négatif à ce sujet-là. Je pense que, au contraire, c'est... il n'y a pas eu de changement et les gens sont... veulent s'assurer qu'il n'y en aura pas non plus dans l'avenir.


5179   M. BUREAU : Et il y a vraiment un forum, là, on se réunit au moins deux ou trois fois par mois, le Conseil et, donc, il y a un forum. Là, s'il y avait quelque chose, on le saurait, les gens s'expriment librement.

5180   MME SAMSON : Hormis sur... hormis l'immense curiosité qui tourne autour de l'identité du ou de la championne, là.

5181   CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Si, oui, oui, oui.

5182   MME SAMSON : Mais là, là, ça, ça va... c'est... malheureusement pour eux ils créent des attentes assez hautes, là, mais il n'y a pas... il n'y a pas eu de changement ou il n'y a pas de situation difficile particulièrement à signaler.


5184   M. BUREAU : Je voudrais juste peut-être ajouter un point pour madame Lamarre concernant l'importance de s'assurer que l'ensemble des bénéfices tangibles viennent du côté du Québec. D'une part, je pense que Claire a expliqué l'importance de la transaction.

5185   Il n'y a plus beaucoup d'actif de cette taille-là au Québec après la vente d'Astral. Des retombées comme celles-là, on ne risque pas d'en avoir beaucoup dans l'avenir. Ça, c'est un point.

5186   Deuxièmement, je pense qu'il est très important de se rappeler que dans le cadre des autres transactions qu'il y a eues en Ontario, il n'y a pas eu non plus de bénéfices qui ont été accordés du côté du Québec.

5187   Puis dans le cadre du... j'ai perdu mon idée -- j'avais... je voulais ajouter quelque chose concernant la production anglophone -- si ça me revient, vous m'excusez, si ça me revient je vous le dirai ou je vous le transmettrai, mais là ça m'échappe pour le moment. Merci.

5188   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vous remercie.

5189   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup. Ce sont nos questions. Madame Samson, vous pouvez aller fumer en paix maintenant.

5190   MME SAMSON : Merci, monsieur le président.

5191   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, merci. On est ajourné jusqu'à 1605. Merci.

--- Upon recessing at 1550

--- Upon resuming at 1605

5192   THE CHAIRPERSON: Donc, à l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.

5193   So we'll now hear from Diversity Emerging Music Collective.

5194   Thank you very much. Please go ahead and you have 10 minutes for your presentation, please.


5195   MS de la TORRE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

5196   Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Staff, audience at large.

5197   My name is Magda de la Torre and I am the founder and President;

5198   To my right Manuel Canales, Director;

5199   And not appearing because of an illness, our new Executive Director, Heather Ostertag, ex-President and CEO of FACTOR.

5200   We at Diversity Emerging Music Collective or, at DEMC, wish to acknowledge, applaud and thank the Commissioners for the decision rendered regarding the initial decline of Astral Media Application for an authority to change its effective control to BCE Inc.

5201   We agree that the 2012 proposal was not in the best interest of ALL Canadians.

5202   Our founder, Magda de la Torre, myself, started addressing the CRTC in 2006. Since then minor changes have been established, i.e. Socan includes "other languages" instead of only English and French.

5203   Only after our intervention and words during the Review of the Commercial Radio Policy, Broadcasting Public Notice 2006-158, the Commission stopped considering the Canadian Association of Ethnic Broadcasters (CAEB) and the Catalogue of Canadian Ethnic Recordings,, as an eligible recipient of CCD funding:

"...the CRTC in view that in its present state, the catalogue, does not effectively support or promote Canadian ethnic artists..."

5204   Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2007-332. See Appendix A 1 and 2.

5205   We have yet to achieve an official CRTC definition for Diversity. We at DEMC have adopted the following definition about what diversity is. Please indulge me to share it with you.

"Diversity is about accessing all the perspectives, experiences, lifestyles and cultures that we collectively possess throughout the provinces and territories of Canada.
At the collective, we value, respect, support and celebrate the diversity that exists within the fabric of Canada through the support of culturally diverse artists and their works.
We believe that through the embracing and celebration of diversity, we support the cultural development of Canada and its citizens and how we are perceived and interact globally."

5206   In simple terms we are all unique and diverse individuals.

5207   In reviewing the proposal and some of the interventions filed for this second application, we recognize, appreciate and respect the decisions and recommendations of such organizations as CIMA and CMPA.

5208   They have put forward a set of recommendations that would benefit their respective members for both the music and film industries.

5209   However, we at DEMC believe that the process has not taken into consideration the needs of all Canadians. Aside from the significant consolidation and vertical integration monopoly, this transaction creates for an already large media giant.

5210   Nowhere in this process has there been a real and significant consideration given to the over 20,000 Canadian artists/content creators that we currently represent. And, I may add, these are only a small part of the thousands of other Canadian content creators out there waiting for an opportunity.

5211   The processes that are being proposed and the on-going support to existing organizations such as RadioStarmaker, FACTOR and Musicaction do not take into consideration these struggling Canadian independent diverse and emerging artists that have not yet achieved a sales level which allows them the opportunity to even apply for financial support through existing and proposed initiatives.

5212   So I ask you this question: How are these Canadian talented individuals expected to compete when there is no consideration given to developing at the very grass roots level? Our future talent needs to be supported even before they reach what we consider to be an arbitrary sales plateau, yet none exists.

5213   Technology is changing the face of how cultural industries function and we at DEMC are committed to assist the fostering and developing of all Canadians regardless of their sales track record.

   We would like to see consideration given to all Canadians, not just a selected few that already benefit from the funding that is currently available.

5214   Where do we find support for something new, innovative or different in this submission? We do not believe that the consultative process that has led to this re-submission has included nor embraced what is in the best interests of all Canadians.

5215   It is our intention to provide support that goes hand in hand with mentorships to ensure that there is a constant development, sustainability, education and training opportunities accessible to all Canadians.

5216   Why is there no consideration to support these Canadian citizens?

5217   We feel that Astral and BCE reflected the emerging artist definition in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-316 but that they have completely ignored the 20,000 Canadian artists we represent at DEMC, although in their first application, Bell/Astral represented themselves on the record as a willing collaborator and provider of tangible benefits to these Canadian diverse independent content creators that we represent.

5218   In the Bell Media Emerging Artist Development Program, Bell is only committing in helping a mere five artists per year. See Appendix B and C.

5219   Mr. Chairman, in the Canadian Media Production Association's Prime Time 2013 Conference, you said, and I quote:

"Early indications suggest that even more will be spent on Canadian programming in 2012-2013. The current projection is that spending by Canadian broadcasters will surpass $3 billion for the first time."

5220   Hopefully some funds will be allotted by all broadcasters to the diverse emerging artists we represent. See Appendix 'D'.

5221   We are very pleased with the upcoming CRTC's "Create" plan for 2013 where the following issues will be addressed; Public Consultation on Television, Commercial Radio Policy, Cultural Diversity Policy, Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, Ethnic Radio Licensing and, lastly, the Tangible Benefits Policy; and by the timeline positioning in the plan, it seems before dealing with the BCE/Astral merger.

   Mr. Chairman, during last year's hearing of Bell/Astral you said in comment to Mr. Canales' intervention; I quote:

"Thank you very much, Mr. Canales.
You may not have had the opportunity to see, but the Commission just last week published its three-year plan. A number of the issues you raise are very much linked to one of the activities we're planning shortly, and that's to review some of our approach to diversity, and some of those broader policy issues that you are raising could also find its way to that proceeding."

5222   See Appendix 'E'.

5223   If the timeline positioning does not describe the order, we therefore respectfully request that this Bell/Astral acquisition application/decision be put on hold, or a Bell/Astral undertaking be established and/or a condition of licence until such time as a frank and open discussion is commissioned, and the above-named CRTC Public Consultations are finalized, in order to ensure that the benefits to be paid out from this unprecedented transaction, if approved, would support retroactively a significantly greater number of Canadians than the ones currently being considered.

5224   Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, the time and opportunity to create real change and enhance the opportunities to all Canadian content creators is now.

5225   In closing, we urge the Commission to continue on with the attitude of what is best for all Canadians and require Astral Media Inc. and BCE to create benefits that protect not only a few, but foster initiatives that are in the best interest of all Canadians.

5226   Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, once more, thank you for your consideration to all Canadian content creators and, as promised before, we will continue coming back to voice their thoughts.

5227   Thank you.

5228   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that presentation.

5229   Commissioner Menzies will have a few questions for you.

5230   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you very much.

5231   I am curious about your definition of diversity because you want consideration given to all Canadians and I think we generally work very hard to give consideration to all the points of view that are presented to us. But it's difficult for me to understand how we would come up with decisions that actually -- well, considering all those points of view could actually serve all of them, for instance, in this.

5232   Depending on which decision we make it will affect employees of Bell, Astral, Eastlink, Cogeco, all differently. Some will be happy, some won't be. Some might be a little happy and some might be very angry. Some might be a little angry and some might be -- you know what I mean?

5233   So we can consider everyone but providing any quality of outcome, I think, is very difficult. So help me understand your definition of diversity.

5234   MS de la TORRE: Well, like I mentioned before and you can see in the records, I've been coming to speak to the CRTC since early 2006.

5235   And in the beginning I was very much into the ethnic diversity, which coming to the CRTC and hearing you, seeing everything what's happening, reading the other people's point of view because there are 20,000 points of view; you have to hear them all, analyze and then see where you go.

5236   I think this definition takes me and anyone that hears me, away from the ethnic part. But that doesn't mean that they don't exist. And that doesn't mean that they should have a voice, especially in places like Toronto and Vancouver, that the surrounding people around all the broadcasters happens to be almost 50 or more percentages of that diversity.

5237   That doesn't mean speaking Chinese, speaking -- that's not what I mean. What I mean is that at least recognize that we exist in every way. In television they have done a wonderful job because this is visual. In radio it's not visual.

5238   Besides not being visual CAB never did a study on how to help in radio. CAB doesn't exist. CAB used to very small, word by word move forward and try to get something for diversity, but it doesn't exist anymore.

5239   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So just help me. I'm struggling with that a little bit, because I was at the opening of a new ethnic radio station in Calgary last week and --

5240   MS de la TORRE: I wasn't there.


5242   But it was very interesting because it launched with its launch time. It played "O Canada" and then the next thing it did was prayers. There was an imam there. There was a Buddhist monk there. There was a Sikh priest there. There was somebody from the Hindu faith, somebody from the Baha'i, somebody from the Punjabi Christian Centre and that sort of stuff. Hindi was being spoken, Punjabi was being spoken very poorly by me, and Cantonese.

5243   I was trying to think. I'm trying to -- and I know from a Toronto hearing a year ago there were eight or nine ethnic radio stations in Toronto between the ethnic and the public and the community. That's almost half the spectrum and Toronto was dedicated to that.

5244   So I'm trying to understand where the failure is, the structural failure is that you're trying to point to.

5245   MS de la TORRE: Okay. There is ethnics and ethnic and ethnics. They are different like first generation, third, second, fourth generations. Like, it has evolutioned ever since we have been here.

5246   In the beginning if you heard somebody talk Spanish you'll say, "Oh, somebody is talking my language". Now, you hear it everywhere so that doesn't make a difference.

5247   Where it makes a difference is that when you read the Toronto Star, when you read the Globe & Mail, you see things in talking about diversity or they guide you or they highlight something good and bad. But radio doesn't do anything for us. It's very hard if they don't even acknowledge the fact that we're surrounded.

5248   When there is opportunities like this one that it's unprecedented they don't try and help this artist that because of sometimes language, sometimes just because they don't know when they're Canadian born from a Canadian family, but they haven't reached this 2,000 sales of album. Nobody helps them.

5249   Maybe I'm a crusader and if you bring me somebody that needs me, that's the person I help.

5250   I had enormous events together with Caribana. I was on the other side. It was over 1,500 people. Like that, being there, talking to them, seeing what they go through it tells me, you know, there is something wrong.

5251   And if you can read -- it's a lot because I sent a lot of papers -- from 2006 to now, 2013, my outlook had changed so much and the people around me had seen this. We're not talking now about the Latino, Chinese, Muslim. No, we're talking simply about the diverse artist, and we're all diverse somehow or other because if we sing -- if we sing like a country and we're with people that dance salsa, they're diverse.

5252   So that person with less than 2,000 records sold needs help.

5253   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I understand. Thank you very much for your intervention.

5254   MS de la TORRE: Okay.

5255   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. Thank you.

5256   MS de la TORRE: Thank you.

5257   THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now hear from -- and I flipped the page. One sec -- Madam Secretary, please help me out here.

5258   THE SECRETARY: We will now hear -- I will now ask Documentary Organization of Canada to come to the presentation table.

--- Pause

5259   THE CHAIRPERSON: So welcome and please go ahead. Allez-y. Merci.


5260   MME FITZGIBBONS : Mesdames les conseillères, messieurs les conseillers, Monsieur le Président, bonjour. Je m'appelle Lisa Fitzgibbons et je suis la directrice de DOC, la Documentary Organization of Canada / L'Association des documentaristes du Canada.

5261   Monsieur Yanick Létourneau, membre de DOC et producteur chez Périphéria Productions, m'accompagne aujourd'hui.

5262   DOC est un organisme de service aux arts national représentant les réalisateurs, les producteurs et les artisans oeuvrant dans le monde du documentaire.

5263   MR. LÉTOURNEAU: As acknowledged at the beginning of the proceedings, the outcome of this hearing could profoundly alter the Canadian broadcasting landscape and DOC thanks the Commission for the opportunity to appear.

5264   Although Bell's proposal has been significantly altered, the context in which this application is being made remains: the concentration of ownership in the Canadian broadcasting landscape is already high and its detrimental effects on the documentary sector continue unabated. Since 2008, more than $100 million in production volume has been lost and overall documentary programming has seriously declined.

5265   At this hearing, we find ourselves in a quandary:

5266   We have data illustrating the precarious state of Canadian documentary production;

5267   We can demonstrate that audiences want Canadian documentary;

5268   And yet, we are faced with an application from the biggest player in the Canadian broadcasting landscape that ignores the documentary genre.

5269   MS FITZGIBBONS: In the Supplementary Brief to this new application, Bell states:

"We understand and respect the public interest burden placed upon us in this process, as privileged holders of broadcasting licences, and as leaders in Canadian broadcasting."

5270   Although Bell recognizes its privileged position as a large ownership group in Canada's regulated broadcasting market, it has not addressed any questions raised about documentary-related initiatives, in spite of DOC's submission. Last September, we suggested that documentaries seemed to fall in Bell's blind spot, but now DOC can only conclude that this is not a blind spot, but a willful omission.

5271   The only reference to documentaries in Bell's entire 74-page Supplementary Brief is to acknowledge Astral's prior track record in programming its pay-tv services. Highlighting the unique market position of The Movie Network and Super Écran, Bell's application states:

"We identified Canadian viewers' insatiable appetite for movies and the convenience of watching films of all types -- Canadian film, blockbusters, independent, documentary, foreign, and others -- from the comfort of their living rooms. The Movie Network and the Super Écran franchises have had tremendous success over the years as pay television services precisely because we listened to viewers and addressed their interests."

5272   This week, Bell stated that, with this proposal, it has listened to criticisms from the Commission and stakeholders. Yet in its 60-page reply to interveners dated April 16th, Bell does not acknowledge DOC's submission nor does the word "documentary" appear once.

5273   This is our quandary. Where do we go from here?

5274   MR. LÉTOURNEAU: If Bell doesn't see a market for documentaries, other players do. Just last week, the NFB announced its plans to launch, in a private-public partnership, an over-the-top, OTT, service dedicated to documentaries.

5275   In Toronto, the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival just wrapped up with the festival reporting a record-breaking attendance of 180,000 people. While these hearings are underway, paying audiences are flocking to the DOXA documentary film festival in Vancouver.

5276   Canal D is Astral's most successful channel with the largest CMF envelope in the French-language market and has built its success on documentary programming, proving that documentary and audiences is a winning combination.

5277   MS FITZGIBBONS: Let's take a moment to review Bell's prior documentary programming.

5278   When BCE first purchased CTV in the early 2000s, it committed to support documentary programming at the level of $18 million over 7 years. CTV developed and commissioned a documentary strand with high production values that aired documentaries in W5's regular time slot. "W5 Presents" covered a range of topics and garnered strong audiences, regularly exceeding half a million viewers and, in some instances, reaching over 1 million viewers. This strand was a success story, yet when the benefits money ran out in 2009 CTV cancelled the strand and decided not to commit to future documentary programming.

5279   It wasn't until Bell bought CTV a second time that benefits money was once more allocated to a documentary initiative. Commissioned by TSN, "Engraved on a Nation" was a documentary series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup. As described by Bell in their Benefits report for 2011/12:

"Transcending football, the series engaged the independent production community and worked with passionate documentary filmmakers to bring to life eight powerful stories of history, politics, culture, family, passion, and loyalty. These documentaries were directed by some of Canada's most acclaimed and award-winning filmmakers."

5280   One industry observer noted:

"According to TSN roughly 530,000 people tuned in to the first installment in the series, The 13th Man. That represents the largest single audience ever for a documentary airing on TSN. The reviews have been equally rewarding so far as well."

5281   Each film was then repeated on TSN2, CTV, CTV2 and RDS to critical praise and significant audiences.

5282   With this initiative, Bell found a creative way of matching its programming imperative with its audiences' tastes. Documentary producers can only applaud this type of programming creativity, yet Bell remains silent on repeating this kind of initiative.

5283   Bell has the perfect case study for a documentary strand and playing it across many of its assets, including conventional television where the most Canadians have access to programming. Why ignore that success? We would like to hear the answer to that question.

5284   Bell's track record is such that CTV is the only private conventional network that does not currently program a documentary strand and Bell's approach to specialty channels such as Bravo! has led to a program schedule made up of "Dallas", "Criminal Minds", "The Mentalist", "The Listener", et cetera. Not a documentary to be found, much less an arts documentary.

5285   Bell's track record with regional offices is also questionable and we would be happy to speak to the importance of Bell's commitment to regional development, through the placement of executives with decision-making authority and with offices across the country.

5286   M. LÉTOURNEAU : Mais, avec le temps limité dont nous disposons aujourd'hui, nous voulons examiner le rôle joué par les services d'Astral au sein du paysage médiatique canadien. TMN et Super Écran sont deux des rares endroits où un producteur peut espérer entreprendre un long métrage documentaire qui pourra éventuellement avoir des débouchées en salle.

5287   Avec Canal D, Astral peut se vanter d'attirer 2,7 millions d'abonnées et de détenir une part enviable du marché de langue française. À chaque année, la chaîne commande des douzaines d'heures de documentaires unitaires qui ne sont jamais retransmis sur d'autres services d'Astral. Canal D est un des ingrédients clés au succès soutenu de l'industrie du documentaire du marché de langue française. Par ailleurs, il ne faut pas perdre de vue que Canal D agit également comme une seconde fenêtre pour des documentaires issus du marché de langue anglaise. Son impact donc, se fait sentir à travers le pays.

5288   We are convinced that without stated and specific documentary allocations being imposed on Bell, it will turn away from the genre, with severe repercussions for the various Astral assets that Bell is seeking to acquire. This is why DOC finds it is necessary for the Commission to require Bell to detail its documentary commitments across its various platforms and through the new channels it proposes to acquire.

5289   MS FITZGIBBONS: The Commission's regulatory policy framework underscores the critical role of documentary in Canadian programming:

"Drama programs and documentary programs are expensive and difficult to produce, yet are central vehicles for communicating Canadian stories and values."

5290   That is why we are here before you today. Documentaries have historically been, and continue to be, a central vehicle for communicating Canadian stories to Canadians.

5291   Let us be clear about what kind of documentaries we are talking about here. We are not referring to the factual entertainment series that currently populate specialty channel schedules. Certainly these series secure an audience and serve a purpose, but we are referring to the stand-alone documentaries that engage and entertain, that tell stories, that stir debate, inform, make you smile or open your heart.

5292   These are the original stories that are at risk of being lost if the largest player in the Canadian broadcasting landscape is allowed to bow out of any commitment to the genre.

5293   Bell's silence on documentary programming leads us to the conclusion that Bell has no will to commit to documentaries. We feel we have no other option but ask for specific commitments to guarantee that such an oversight will not be allowed to take place. This is why we request that Bell be mandated to commit between 20-25 percent of its incremental PNI programming expenditures to documentary programming.

5294   It has been stated that the burden of proof to demonstrate the benefits of this transaction to Canadian consumers rests with Bell. It should also be noted that in this proceeding the duty of care rests with the Commission to ensure that Bell does not neglect a vibrant, valued but nonetheless seriously threatened sector of Canadian programming.

5295   Mr. Chair, Commissioners, we are at that moment in time when to continue to do nothing is no longer an option.

5296   Merci.

5297   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup.

5298   Madame Duncan posera quelques questions pour vous. Merci.

5299   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Good afternoon.

5300   I think your submission and your comments today are very clear.

5301   I guess my first thought would be, have you approached the people at Bell and what has been their reaction? Have you attempted to contact them after the last application before it?

5302   MS FITZGIBBONS: We have not had conversations with Bell, no.

5303   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Have you attempted and they have refused or --


5305   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: -- or it's just not the way to do it?

5306   MS FITZGIBBONS: No, it's just not the way to do do it.

5307   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Good enough, all right.

5308   It seems like it might get directly to the point because I'm finding it difficult to understand why they wouldn't support it. Is it because it's more expensive than other production, there is not as much return on it, or why won't they support this?

5309   MS FITZGIBBONS: I will venture a guess.

5310   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I guess we are saying why would you suppose?

5311   MS FITZGIBBONS: Sure. So I will suppose two things.

5312   First of all, I just want to deal briefing with the notion that it's expensive to produce documentary and I think --

5313   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I'm just supposing that's one of the reasons.

5314   MS FITZGIBBONS: Yes. But, you know, it is regularly said that documentaries are an expensive forum to produce and time and again what we see if that -- especially if you look at CMF reports, you will see that the documentary share is quite enviable and the number of hours quite respectable in comparison to the funding that it gets.

5315   So we have often said that we, you know, pack a bigger punch for the dollar, but in terms of supposing why Bell would not be interested in programming documentary, I suspect that it is just not in the field of programs that it is seeking to bring together.

5316   As we heard earlier today, they are sports-driven, they are looking to acquire appealing content that will bring vast audiences to their services and for some reason they don't seem to be convinced that documentary can be part of that offer and we beg to disagree.

5317   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Some discussion that we have heard and I have read is that the appeal of being able to play the programs, air the programs on different channels, is that also a limitation. If they play them across a listener, for example, how many different services we can see that on.

5318   Would that be an issue?

5319   MS FITZGIBBONS: Absolutely. We have seen with consolidation the loss of the orderly marketplace and the loss of second windows, so when it has come to documentary it has really had a significant impact on the ability of producers to licence their projects.

5320   Also, it changes the nature of the projects that get commissioned, so we see more diluted projects, or not as specific or more broad in their appeal because they need to be spread over many assets.

5321   I think Yanick wanted to add something to the answer.

5322   MR. LETOURNEAU: It's okay. Thank you.

5323   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I noticed you had mentioned -- I believe in your comments today you had mentioned a number of different specialty channels and was I to understand from your comment that they are diluting the programming they originally started out to program on those specialty --

5324   MS FITZGIBBONS: Our biggest concern, from what we have been able to observe, of course, is what has happened to Bravo! So if we take that as an example of their track record, then there is cause for concern. Bravo! No longer commissions documentaries and they used to be a very active player in that field and unfortunately there is no -- when you look at the broad Canadian landscape there is no arts programming anywhere.

5325   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So we have included them in PNI, but that doesn't mean they will have any of them in the PNI. I don't think there is a requirement in PNI, a specific requirement, is there, for documentary?

5326   MS FITZGIBBONS: Well, this is why we are seeking assurances to have a certain percentage of their equipment to incremental PNI be allocated to documentary.

5327   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But I think documentary is mentioned as an aspect of PNI, but you could fulfil your PNI obligation without airing any documentaries. Am I right on that?

5328   MS FITZGIBBONS: That's my understanding.

5329   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. Yes, okay. So that's --

5330   So you were looking for, I see in your brief here, $15 million of the independent documentary production from the $68 million to be set aside for documentary.

5331   MS FITZGIBBONS: Yes. So, I know we are not supposed to -- this is a completely different transaction, but the $15 million had come out originally from the first proposal, which of course has been reworked substantially.

5332   We are looking -- I think $15 million out of $68 is about 20 percent -- help me out here with my math --

5333   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's good.

5334   MS FITZGIBBONS: That's good? I'm glad.

5335   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Close enough, yes.

5336   MS FITZGIBBONS: I mean, we are looking for, you know, some sort of fixed percentage, whether it's a dollar or a percentage.

5337   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Okay. So would you prefer a percentage or does it matter? It's probably less than 20 percent, but 20 percent is a number.

5338   MS FITZGIBBONS: Well, 25 percent sounds good to me.

5339   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. So something like that. Something in that ballpark at any rate.

5340   One of the other points I wanted to discuss with you was your comment on the delay to 2017. You raised the point that if we do allow them to delay the PNI benefits to 2017 we should insist that they accrue interest on that money.

5341   MS FITZGIBBONS: Well, I think we have heard a couple of options on that. I believe it was Commissioner Menzies who asked someone else yesterday about, you know, would we be open to seeing this money being looked at with 2017 money.

5342   I guess our point is that Bell should not accrue financial advantage from sitting on that money, so we feel park it somewhere in an interest-bearing account, at an arms-length account and --

5343   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I guess my questions was, I think what Commissioner Menzies was asking was whether it should be dedicated to a need in the French market, but because you are here speaking about both languages and a specific need for documentaries, I'm curious to why you wouldn't say: There is no need to wait until 2017, we need that money today. We don't agree with that.

5344   MS FITZGIBBONS: This is true. When it comes to documentary I think the answer is we need the money today, however should the Commission decide, because it has been mentioned elsewhere --

5345   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I didn't get that point.

5346   MS FITZGIBBONS: Should the Commission decide that they want to hold back on the benefits money, that was our position.

5347   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: But in your view it is urgent now, I gather from reading your submission.

5348   MS FITZGIBBONS: Yes, it is.

5349   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. And you also, I notice, comment on the specific reporting requirements, the need for specific and detailed reporting requirements and I just wondered if you had specific comments with recommendations with respect to the nature of the detail that you want or you are happy to leave that up to the Commission if we were to decide to specify?

5350   MS FITZGIBBONS: I would kind of welcome the opportunity to have input I guess, if the Commission wanted to go down that route.

5351   Obviously what we are trying to do is gauge the performance of the broadcaster so we need to be able to drill down, you know, money and programs and regions, so there are quite a few things and I'm not sure if all of that can be captured but, as I say, I'm more than willing to work with the Commission on that.

5352   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Mr. Chairman, I don't know if we have -- I don't know if that would be appropriate undertaking or --

5353   THE CHAIRPERSON: How fast could you turn that around?

5354   MS FITZGIBBONS: Sure.

5355   THE CHAIRPERSON: How fast?

5356   MS FITZGIBBONS: Oh, before Friday morning? Tomorrow?

5357   THE CHAIRPERSON: Actually it would be best if it was by the end of the day or mid-day tomorrow.

5358   MME FITZGIBBONS : D'accord.

5359   THE CHAIRPERSON: I want to be fair to the applicant.

5360   MS FITZGIBBONS: Sure. No, that's fair enough of course.

5361   THE CHAIRPERSON: So mid-day tomorrow?

5362   MS FITZGIBBONS: Mid-day tomorrow, yes.


5363   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And we can still take those comments into consideration that you have made, even if we don't have the benefit of the detail that you are suggesting. But if there is specific information that you are looking for, I think it would be worth having your comments.

5364   I notice in your comments today you refer to the fact that the National Film Board announced its plan to launch a private/public partnership and over-the-top service dedicated to documentaries.

5365   How would that service be delivered? Could you just -- I can't quite visualize how that would work.

5366   MS FITZGIBBONS: It's essentially a Docflix. So it's like Netflix, but it's just purely documentary. So they announced that last week at Hot Docs and they are planning to roll this out over the next year. That's my understanding, but the details were --

5367   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: vague at this point, or whatever?


5369   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So you would anticipate it would be something you would pay for like you pay for Netflix?

5370   MS FITZGIBBONS: That's my understanding, it's a paid for service and they are looking to aggregate Canadian documentary, but international documentaries as well. It is obviously their view that audiences are quite keen to find documentary content.

5371   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So these might be content for Eastlink On The Go or Bell Everywhere or TV Everywhere? That's the idea of it I gather.

5372   MS FITZGIBBONS: Yes, that's my understanding.


5374   I think those are all my questions. Thank you very much.

5375   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

5376   Commissioner Menzies...?


5378   It's sort of an aside or a comment, but I haven't heard any of the film groups talk about Saskatchewan or point to it lately and there is a geocultural or political, whatever you want to call it, jurisdiction that lost all of its provincial funding and many people have come to talk about the need for film funding and I'm really surprised that national groups haven't even mentioned that as a group that are illustrative of need.

5379   I shouldn't pick on just you because you just happen to be the last on through, but do you have any idea why that might be?

5380   MS FITZGIBBONS: Do I have any idea why -- I'm sorry?

5381   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Why it just wouldn't come up as pointing to an urgent need for funding?

5382   MS FITZGIBBONS: Well, I guess the crux there is that the province decided to do away with the provincial tax credit and so -- and, by the way, we wrote to the Premier at the time, you know, bemoaning that decision and he wrote back saying, "Well, it's my decision".

5383   I guess it's a mechanism that right now is working within the producer's toolkit, if you will, and it's working sometimes well, sometimes not so well, with all of the other tools, but if that tool isn't there we can't, you know, dictate that to the province. We have tried to apply as much pressure as we could, but I don't know what other incentive we could provide, let's say, to Saskatchewan specifically to incent them and support their film and television production industry.

5384   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. I understand, I just thought it might be that people might have illustrated it as a point or said that there is a need for documentaries to be done here because none are going to be made and that's why more money should flow to this group, because if they got it they would send some to Saskatchewan or commission things from there.

5385   Anyway, I don't want to get into a big debate, but I just thought I would drop it in.

5386   MS FITZGIBBONS: No, no. But I may, actually, I think it opens the door onto another interesting question, which is the role of documentary in regional production.

5387   It's our view that documentary is often a genre that is easily accessible for a variety of reasons, it's lighter than drama, it's less expensive, and so on. So in regions you will find that the backbone of regional production is documentary.

5388   That's why we stated in our presentation, you know, the need for regional offices is critical. We mentioned Winnipeg is one area where we would like to see. Saskatchewan, I agree, is really suffering. I don't know how -- if anyone is left there.

5389   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I think you will find them in Winnipeg.


5391   COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Anyway, thank you.

5392   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are our questions and I guess that is a segue to the next presenter, which is On Screen Manitoba.

5393   MR. LÉTOURNEAU: Thank you.

5394   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

--- Pause

5395   LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour, Madame, et bienvenue à nos audiences. Comme vous savez, vous êtes habituée maintenant, donc, allez-y, on vous écoute.


5396   MME MATIATION : Monsieur le Président, messieurs et mesdames les conseillers, bonjour. Je m'appelle Nicole Matiation; je suis la directrice générale d'On Screen Manitoba, l'association professionnelle de l'industrie de production des médias au Manitoba.

5397   Nos membres comprennent des individus, des compagnies de production, des guildes, des syndicats, des fournisseurs de service, des festivals de film et autres organismes et individus ayant un intérêt dans ce secteur au Manitoba.

5398   Je représente donc plus de 40 compagnies de production et de fournisseurs de service, soit autour de 1 500 individus issus des milieux anglophone, francophone, autochtone et multiculturel.

5399   On Screen Manitoba croit fermement que la diversité linguistique et culturelle de la production indépendante au Manitoba est un atout qui enrichit le système de la radiodiffusion au Canada. Nous sommes préoccupés par la consolidation des diffuseurs au Canada et son impact sur la production en région.

5400   Ultimately, the sale of Astral to Bell would result in the loss of an independent broadcaster, one less place where independent Canadian producers, whether working in French or working in English, can take their projects. This acquisition has the potential to significantly reduce the diversity of voices on Canadian airwaves and further limit opportunity for Canadian production professionals in all regions of the country.

5401   Canadian communications policy has long recognized the importance of ensuring communications technology and programming serves to connect a country that is characterized by diverse linguistic, cultural and geographic realities. Independent producers who live and work in all regions of Canada play a key role in ensuring diversity of voice on the airwaves.

5402   For this reason, On Screen Manitoba believes that it is essential to ensure that the tangible and intangible benefits accruing from the sale of Astral to Bell will be disbursed throughout all regions of Canada to the independent production community in both English and French. On Screen Manitoba urges the Commission to impose strong expectations and conditions of licence that will ensure diversity of voice is maintained despite the loss of a broadcaster.

5403   On Screen Manitoba applauds Bell for its commitment to establish regional programming development offices. However, in order for these offices to effectively support regionally originated projects, we encourage the CRTC to place an expectation on Bell that these offices have the appropriate authority, financial and human resources to support both the development and the production of regional programs.

5404   To further ensure that any regional programming development offices are effective in supporting the development and production of regionally originated programs, On Screen Manitoba urges the Commission to place as a condition of Licence that Bell report annually on development and production expenditures by genre and format and also by province and by territory.

5405   While we recognize that Bell has made a commitment to work with all regions of Canada in both French and English to develop and produce Canadian content, we note that historically, CTV, which Bell acquired in 2011, had a development office in Winnipeg. And we would like to point out that a regional programming development office located in Vancouver and another in Halifax will do little to improve access and communication for producers and writers located in Manitoba as both these locations are in fact physically farther from Manitoba than Toronto or Montreal.

5406   On Screen Manitoba asks the Commission to at the very least place an expectation on Bell to ensure regional development executives for both Anglophone and Francophone holdings travel, at Bell's cost, regularly to cities throughout the region they are responsible for, including Winnipeg, to work with writers and producers in those communities.

5407   In our view, and in light of the rapid evolution of digital technology and its impact on the Canadian media landscape, it seems both reasonable and appropriate to uphold the Commission's recently established group renewal five-year licence period.

5408   On Screen Manitoba appreciates that Bell is committed to maintaining Astral's PNI and CPE obligations as established under Broadcasting Decisions CRTC 2011-444 and 2012-241. We also value Bell's commitment to devote at least 85 percent of tangible benefits to on screen initiatives. We appreciate that Bell is placing a high priority on key genres including drama, comedy, long-form documentary and variety for English-language production.

5409   We do not agree, however, that English-language benefits should be disbursed on a different schedule than French-language benefits. "Profile 2012: An Economic Report on the Screen-based Production Industry in Canada" states that the 2011-2012 production year hit a ten-year high representing a total production volume of almost $5.9 billion. This includes a 41.4 percent increase in English-language fiction television production. This is not a moment to slow down investment in development and production but rather to continue to invest in a growing wave of opportunity.

5410   On Screen Manitoba believes that tangible benefits should be spent incrementally from the first year of the licence period awarded and that the Commission should establish and implement a solid reporting process that demonstrates this, as well as recording development and production expenditures by genre in both official languages in all provinces and territories of Canada.

5411   Further, we believe that it would be efficient to direct all feature film tangible benefits through the Harold Greenberg Fund.

5412   On Screen Manitoba represents media production industry professionals working in both official languages and appreciates the unique challenges of both the French-language and English-language markets in Canada. We are deeply appreciative of Bell and Astral's commitment to offer both English-language and French-language services across Canada and its commitment to champion Canadian productions from all regions of Canada and in both official languages.

5413   However, we are disappointed in the difference in investment between English-language and French-language feature films as it doesn't reflect precedent set by national funding organizations. However, like the CMPA, we are not advocating for a reduction in French-language benefits in order to increase English-language benefits.

5414   On Screen Manitoba apprécie l'attention que Bell met sur la production en français. Nous apprécions que Bell maintienne ses engagements envers le jeune public ainsi que les drames, les comédies, les documentaires et les émissions de variété. Nous notons avec grand intérêt l'initiative de soutenir le développement de nouveaux formats pour la télévision, sachant que les producteurs francophones hors Québec ont des concepts et des approches qui contribuent grandement à la diversification des ondes.

5415   On Screen Manitoba rappelle que dans la décision 2001-384 portant sur le transfert du contrôle de TVA à Québecor Média inc., le Conseil avait décidé que 10 pour cent des fonds seraient réservés à des compagnies de production de langue française situées à l'extérieur du Québec pour la production d'émissions prioritaires et pour la jeunesse. Sur la base de ce précédent, nous demandons donc au CRTC de mettre en place une condition de licence pour assurer que 10 pour cent des bénéfices destinés aux programmes d'intérêt national prévus pour le marché francophone s'écoule aux producteurs francophones oeuvrant et vivant à l'extérieur du Québec. Leurs voix et leurs histoires jouent un rôle clé dans la francophonie canadienne. Nous notons que cette mesure sert également de calcul dans le cadre de l'accord de contribution entre le ministère du Patrimoine canadien et le FMC.

5416   On Screen Manitoba appreciates the robust slate of social benefits that Bell has proposed as a further demonstration of their commitment to develop Canadian talent through promotion and training outside of on screen tangible benefits. We are pleased to note that Bell has responded to the APFC and OSM's request to support a Francophone film festival outside of Quebec.

5417   We note, however, that none of the social benefits currently earmarked for film festivals or public education are directed towards organizations within Manitoba and we request that Bell consider disbursing a portion of the social benefits in regard to consumer education to well-established locally based groups that are carrying out practical media education activities for all ages within their province or territory.

5418   On Screen Manitoba appreciates Bell's commitment to the Terms of Trade agreements with the CMPA and the APTFQ as a condition of licence.

5419   On Screen Manitoba apprécie fortement l'intention de Bell d'entrer en discussions avec l'APFC au sujet d'une entente commerciale. Nous considérons que ces discussions et leur conclusion positive seront la preuve d'un profond engagement avec les producteurs indépendants en région. Donc, ce sera avec grand intérêt que nous suivrons ces discussions.

5420   The potential acquisition of Astral by Bell represents an important opportunity for the Commission to give priority to the development and production of meaningful Canadian content in both official languages in all regions of Canada through incentivizing the incremental documented disbursement of tangible benefits to producers who live and work outside major metropolitan centres.

5421   As we stated at the hearing on September 13, 2012, we believe that a condition of licence that directs tangible benefits to support development and production in the regions in both official languages as a priority would strengthen regional production and diversity of voice.

5422   On Screen Manitoba appreciates Bell's stated commitment to develop, promote and distribute Canadian creative talent along with its commitment to work effectively with independent Canadian producers in all regions of Canada in both official languages through the terms of trade framework.

5423   Despite the above commitments, On Screen Manitoba wishes to emphasize four points:

5424   - A transparent annual reporting mechanism that records tangible benefits expenditures by genre, format, budget and region is needed as a condition of licence to allow Canadians to measure and celebrate the success of Bell in developing and promoting Canadian production talent.

5425   - We believe that an expectation that regional programming development offices have clear mandates, authority and resources throughout the entire licence period to support regional development and production would help ensure their effectiveness.

5426   - Thirdly, we request that 10 percent of tangible benefits earmarked for the French-language market flow to the Francophone producers living and working outside of Quebec as a condition of licence.

5427   - And finally, we believe that a five-year licence period represents a reasonable licence term and that all tangible benefits should be paid out in equal annual increments from the beginning of the licence period with regard to both English- and French-language markets.

5428   On Screen Manitoba apprécie l'opportunité de partager son avis aujourd'hui. Je suis maintenant prête à répondre à vos questions.

5429   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation, qui est, par ailleurs, très claire. Donc, je n'aurai que quelques petites questions de clarification.

5430   Vous venez de temps en temps à nos audiences. Donc, vous connaissez, je crois, la différence entre une condition de licence et un engagement, et à quelques reprises dans votre présentation, vous parlez, par exemple, au paragraphe 7, "place an expectation," and, as you might appreciate, expectations may very well create moral obligations but conditions of licence create legal obligations.

5431   I was a bit surprised at you using the word "expectation" here when in your written intervention you were talking about guarantees. Were you looking just for a moral guarantee?

5432   MS MATIATION: We're always looking for a condition of licence to make it a stronger -- as stronger as. I guess we had a little bit of a hesitation in understanding to what extent the CRTC can direct the broadcaster in terms of the regional offices. So obviously we would love to have regional offices that will work towards development and production with independent producers as a condition of licence. As a condition of licence we'd love to see a regional office in Winnipeg. You know, they've been there historically.

5433   THE CHAIRPERSON: But you're acknowledging perhaps the difficulty of implementing such a condition?

5434   MS MATIATION: Correct.

5435   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Help me understand, and I'm sure there's a great answer for this, as new technologies are available that you can -- and I know, you know, when you're making pitches now you actually have to invest a great deal of money because you almost have to do -- you can't just do it on paper or words anymore, you actually have to sometimes produce some video and that's very expensive. But one would think that with digital communication networks, video conferencing, that perhaps the need to travel and physically meet might have been erased to some degree. Help me understand why it's important to have that physical presence.

5436   MS MATIATION: For the same reason that I'm here today, right? There's nothing that will beat having the physical contact with the other members, you know, that are presenting -- colleagues who are presenting with me today. So for the producer as well to have the time to develop a personal relationship and have the time -- whether it's with co-producers or it's with the broadcaster. Ultimately we're human beings and our business relationships are built around those relationships and that does require being present at -- with one another.

5437   LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, ça nécessite une proximité et pas nécessairement à des endroits qui sont encore plus loin que où vous vous trouvez?

5438   MME MATIATION : Exactement. Et puis, il y a aussi de connaître la communauté. Ça, c'est quand même autre chose quand le diffuseur être présent dans la communauté.

5439   LE PRÉSIDENT : Pour s'adapter à la spécificité de l'auditoire?

5440   MME MATIATION : Oui, c'est ça.

5441   LE PRÉSIDENT : J'aimerais mieux comprendre pourquoi vous vous opposez à la notion de repousser la date des dépenses du côté anglophone.

5442   Si je comprends bien l'argumentaire de BCE, c'est qu'il y a déjà beaucoup d'argent dans le système, et on pourrait diminuer l'impact dans une course à dépenser l'argent plutôt qu'à bien la dépenser. Et dans votre cas... Puis ils font la différence parce qu'il y a eu moins d'avantages tangibles disponibles du côté francophone que du côté anglophone. Mais vous semblez ne pas accepter cet argumentaire.

5443   MME MATIATION : On reconnaît évidemment qu'il y a eu plus de bénéfices du côté anglophone, mais l'urgence de produire en région est similaire à l'urgence de produire en documentaires, comme ma collègue a mentionné plus tôt. Ce n'est pas comme si on était trop occupé en région encore pour la production de télévision. On pourrait produire plus, et pour ces raisons-là, on croit qu'il y a de la place encore pour plus d'avantages, plus d'argent dans le système.

5444   THE CHAIRPERSON: But we could find ourselves in three, four, five years' time and I've had a number of people who have benefited from benefits money in the past faced with quite the crisis when that benefit money -- it's often social benefits as opposed to on screen, dries up and they -- the organizations just have no alternative funding and it just collapses. So I would have thought you would have been more in favour of a longer term commitment even though it may not be as immediate.

5445   MS MATIATION: You know, I think the community is ready to produce now, so we're looking for opportunities in the immediate and mid-term future. So much is changing in terms of the broadcast system right now that we don't -- you know, it would be difficult to predict where we would be even in three years. But the urgency is -- you know, regional producers are looking for opportunities to produce now. There are some new development funds that have opened up, and to continue to feed that opportunity is certainly appealing.

5446   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But you would agree with me, though, that there may not be new transactions in the future?

5447   MS MATIATION: Yes, we do have to agree with you on that.

5448   THE CHAIRPERSON: And as a consequence of that, if you don't spend the money wisely and use it to grow the pie, the financing pie, that you may be left with -- in a worse situation than if we were to do it in a more measured pace.

5449   MS MATIATION: You know, in a place like Manitoba the industry sort of comes up and down. When there's money there, we're there --

5450   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.

5451   MS MATIATION: -- to be able to deliver. So what we're really looking for is more opportunity to be able to bring our stories forward.

5452   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. With respect to production for OLMC producers, you're suggesting this 10 percent that was used at one point for TVA and then you also referred to the way the Canadian Heritage Contribution Agreement works for the Canada Media Fund. The Commission has tended to look at, when looking at benefits and how to divide it up, on a number of things historic spends sometimes, but mostly, you know, which community is being served by the assets that are being sold. So if you were to take that lens for a moment -- I understand your argument, but if you were to take that lens what number do you think would be appropriate? I mean, how much of these assets actually serve, for instance, the OLMC community?

5453   MS MATIATION: You know, I'd have to look -- take the time to research that specifically. I can't respond to that right now because I don't have those figures in front of me.

5454   THE CHAIRPERSON: But presumably the assets being sold are distributed to a certain degree on national platforms, whether it's Bell's satellite service or Shaw's satellite service. I mean, they are available nationally.

5455   MS MATIATION: Yeah, they are available nationally. So I mean, the 10 percent figure has been used previously as, you know, a measure of representation of the Francophone community nationally speaking.

5456   THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And I think your point about requiring some reporting is quite clear, so I don't need to delve further into that unless you have specific... You've actually outlined exactly what -- the genres, the formats, the budgets, the region. That's the sort of information that you think we should require?

5457   MS MATIATION: That's correct, yeah.

5458   THE CHAIRPERSON: So ...

5459   MS MATIATION: And a great level of detail would be helpful.

5460   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. All right. Well, that's very clear, thank you.

5461   MS MATIATION: Thank you.

5462   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. Thank you.

5463   Passons maintenant à la prochaine intervention.

5464   LA SECRÉTAIRE : Le dernier intervenant de la journée, j'inviterais Vaxination Informatique à venir en avant.

--- Pause

5465   LE PRÉSIDENT : Alors, bienvenue. Vous êtes un auditeur assidu. Donc, vous savez comment on fonctionne ici. Donc, allez-y, puis vous avez 10 minutes pour faire votre présentation. Allez-y.


5466   MR. MEZEI : Merci, Monsieur le Président. Mon nom est Jean-François Mezei de Vaxination Informatique. Je présente à titre individuel, et je suis aussi un cord-cutter. Donc, mes points de vue sont très différents de ce que vous avez entendu jusqu'ici.

5467   De plus en plus de Canadiens sont tannés des manigances dispendieuses des BDU, en particulier avoir à payer pour plusieurs canaux quand on ne veut regarder qu'un seul programme. Les Canadiens ne cherchent pas un quatrième écran ou leur iPad ou ces choses-là. Ils cherchent à s'échapper du système de radiodiffusion désuet et vieux, et ça, c'est quelque chose qui, pour vous, est important.

5468   L'alternative aujourd'hui qu'on a, c'est le OTA, le OTT comme Netflix, et le piratage.

5469   On doit considérer le piratage comme une mesure des besoins que l'industrie refuse de satisfaire. Comme, par exemple, CTV n'a aucun de ses programmes sur iTunes. Donc, si on veut ces programmes-là, il faut les chercher ailleurs.

5470   En acceptant la transaction proposée de Bell, le Conseil renforce un système désuet au lieu de favoriser l'épanouissement d'une industrie qui répondra aux prochaines générations de Canadiens avec une offre moderne.

5471   Si les titulaires VI gardent leur contenu à l'intérieur de leur jardin fermé, est-ce que la nouvelle génération des « millenials » -- qui n'ont pas ça, c'est des « cord-never » -- auront accès au contenu canadien?

5472   L'Internet a déjà transformé plusieurs industries. C'est maintenant au tour de l'industrie médiatique. Lorsque l'Internet transforme une industrie, c'est comme une ruée vers l'or. Ça se fait rapidement. Les pionniers réussissent et définissent les nouveaux standards, tandis que les retardataires ne collectent que les miettes.

5473   Les compagnies titulaires verticalement intégrées sont enracinées dans un ancien modèle d'affaires très profitable. Il leur est donc très difficile de cannibaliser leur vache à lait quand les nouveaux services offrent des marges de profit plus minces.

5474   En continuant d'investir dans un vieux modèle, BCE retardera sa transformation le plus longtemps possible pour récupérer son investissement.

5475   Tout ralentissement de la transformation numérique réduit les chances d'un succès. Il ne faut donc pas mettre tous les oeufs dans le panier des titulaires car ce panier a moins de chance de succès.

5476   Les grandes compagnies ne sont pas épargnées des transformations numériques, surtout qu'elles sont moins agiles. Manquer le bateau leur est aussi fatal. Il y a Kodak, il y a beaucoup de... une liste assez longue de compagnies énormes qui ont déjà fait faillite.

5477   Une petite compagnie nommée Google a radicalement changé l'industrie de la cartographie. En six ans, iTunes est devenu le plus grand détaillant de musique du monde en vendant des chansons, tandis que les détaillants de disque tombent un après l'autre.

5478   On ne doit pas sous-estimer l'ampleur et la rapidité des changements que l'Internet peut causer à une industrie.

5479   L'achat des grands studios américains par des multinationales, comme Sony, GE, AOL, a réduit l'innovation, l'initiative et la créativité, car les décisions sont prises au siège social par des MBA qui sont entraînés à réduire les risques aux actionnaires.

5480   Les mégafusions, comme on a vu avec Time-Warner, NBC-Universal, MGM, ne fonctionnent que rarement.

5481   De plus, BCE continue d'agrandir son empire médiatique au même moment où Bell Canada doit investir dans la fibre optique pour rester compétitif. Est-ce que les investissements dans Astral retarderont les investissements en fibre optique? Et si Bell Média manque le bateau et sombre, quel sera l'impact sur Bell Canada?

5482   Les grandes décisions étant prises au siège social des titulaires, les producteurs de contenus apprendront rapidement à ne présenter que des projets conservateurs à bas risque.

5483   Il ne restera plus de compagnies indépendantes comme Astral où les décisions étaient prises par des gens de l'industrie qui adorent l'innovation et connaissent les risques.

5484   On verra de plus en plus des formats importés d'ailleurs comme les drames policiers, les séries de réalité, les franchises comme The Amazing Race.

5485   En soustrayant Astral de l'industrie, les producteurs deviennent des esclaves des titulaires VI qui pourront s'assurer que personne ne démarre un projet qui va à l'encontre de leurs plans.

5486   La relation naturelle acheteur/vendeur qui existait entre les BDUs et la chaîne TV devient maintenant une relation entre deux compétiteurs BDUs, et le BDU verticalement intégré utilise son pouvoir pour influencer l'offre de ses compétiteurs en dictant les modalités de groupage de canaux, le prix et même les technologies, comme le TV Everywhere de Bell.

5487   Les acheteurs de publicité perdent aussi, parce qu'ils perdent un pouvoir de négociation car les choix sont réduits.

5488   Le « one stop shop », c'est pas nécessairement toujours bon pour les acheteurs.

5489   De plus, en regardant toutes les soumissions, j'ai remarqué que beaucoup ont peur de mettre en péril leur relation avec ce qui devient maintenant leur seul partenaire, Bell. Et c'est pour ça qu'on voit beaucoup de lettres qui le supportent.

5490   On voit qu'il y a dépendance qui se fait entre les partenaires et une grosse compagnie.

5491   On a beaucoup parlé des conflits des BDUs. Les forfaits multiservices aux détails insulaires en anglais des bundles ont une marge de profit beaucoup plus élevée que les ventes en gros à un BDU.

5492   Les titulaires VI ont donc avantage à prendre toutes mesures lui permettant de se démarquer temporairement dans le but d'acquérir des clients multiservices aux détails.

5493   Les comptables s'assurent que la perte du wholesale BDU est plus petite que le gain des clients aux détails multiservices qu'ils offrent, qu'ils gagnent durant cette période.

5494   Pour se plier aux exigences du Conseil, les titulaires VI n'ont qu'à rendre disponible le nouveau canal ou le nouveau service tel que prescrit mais à un prix fixé pour forcer une négociation qui va être longue et ardue, comme on a entendu Cogeco et beaucoup d'autres.

5495   La préférence d'attirer des clients au détail est aussi vue à l'Internet. Il y a quelques années, il y a eu un grand débat avant que monsieur le président devienne le président, où Bell a refusé de donner accès aux ISP indépendants, au service Bell Fibe de Bell TV.

5496   Et c'était clairement indiqué que c'était parce que Bell voulait garder les bundles à ce moment-là parce que c'est plus profitable pour Bell d'avoir les bundles.

5497   Maintenant, on a beaucoup parlé des antécédents de Bell avec CHUM, City, CHUM/City-TV, CTV, etc.

5498   Bell a abandonné sa tentative CTV trois ans après son achat; la première tentative au début des années 2000.

5499   En 2009 Bell lance son « Bell Video Store » qui n'a duré que quelques mois.

5500   Bell a acquis... Bell Media a acquis CTV en 2011 et n'a pas perdu de temps à installer ces gestionnaires, sa culture corporative et surtout sa philosophie de négociation avec les autres BDUs, comme vous avez vu avec Cogeco et les autres.

5501   Les antécédents de CTV, CHUM, etc. sont morts lorsque ses compagnies ont été absorbées dans une autre.

5502   Puisqu'Astral sera scindé, la culture disparaîtra encore plus rapidement lors des transferts d'actifs à chacune des compagnies comme Bell Media, Corus et probablement une autre.

5503   On a vu que Bell Media a abandonné ses plans pour une chaîne francophone. On se demande pourquoi ils avaient offert ces plans-là.

5504   Est-ce qu'ils avaient vraiment des buts à long terme ou c'était juste pour plaire... du marketing régulatoire, comme il a été utilisé un peu plus tôt cette semaine.

5505   Ce sont donc les bénéfices à long terme et la vraie culture corporative qui devraient compter dans l'évaluation de la transaction.

5506   Des dépenses éphémères qui disparaissent dès que le régulateur ne les requiert plus ne donnent pas un bénéfice à long terme.

5507   Est-ce qu'on peut vraiment juger la performance à long terme de Bell quand Bell Media n'existe que depuis juste deux ans?

5508   Une grande partie de la valeur des actifs d'Astral est artificiellement créée par la Commission.

5509   Par exemple, les licences radio les attribuent comme la catégorie le must carry, 9(1)h) et évidemment, la protection du genre.

5510   Étant donné que vous avez déjà prévu dans votre triennal de revoir certaines de ces choses-là dont la protection du genre, est-ce que c'est juste de donner à Bell la permission d'acheter Astral quand la valeur d'Astral, par le changement de ces modalités-là va changer?

5511   Il serait mieux d'attendre de revoir ces modalités-là avant de laisser acheter Astral.

5512   Là, je vais aller un peu plus rapidement. La protection du genre, c'est une des choses qui devraient être revues.

5513   Il y a aussi le problème « Too Big To Fail ». Bell deviendra trop grand et Shaw aussi et ça fait un problème de capture régulatrice « regulatory capture » en anglais ou vous aurez des difficultés à dire non, parce que les impacts, si vous dites non à Bell, vont être trop gros.

5514   La même chose s'il y a des problèmes financiers. Vous allez être obligé de changer vos règlements. Parce que si Bell Media fait faillite, il doit être acheté par un autre. Les limites de 45 p. cent vont être pétées.

5515   Ce que je voudrais aussi mentionner, c'est le temps d'avoir une stratégie numérique digitale pour les médias, pas pour le pays au complet, mais pour les médias.

5516   La transformation avec Netflix, Apple et tous les autres, on en a parlé beaucoup.    Il serait temps de donner une direction régulatoire pour savoir où on s'en va pour que les compagnies BDUs sachent où s'en aller, et que les nouvelles compagnies aussi puissent émerger.

5517   Et je vais conclure, il me reste six secondes. Après avoir tout regardé ça, ma conclusion c'est que la transaction Bell-Astral devrait être retardée de quelques années pour un, permettre meilleure vision des transformations dans l'industrie qui s'en viennent; deux, permettre l'ajustement de l'environnement régulatoire comme a été mentionné, le cas de VI par exemple, etc. Et trois, donner à Bell Media le temps d'établir ses propres antécédents et non de regarder dans ses compagnies précédentes qui n'existent plus.

5518   Je vous remercie. Je suis prêt à répondre aux questions en French et Anglais.

5519   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup.

5520   Madame la Conseillère Lamarre.

5521   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci Monsieur le Président.

5522   Monsieur Mezei, je vais y aller avec certains éléments de votre présentation de cet après-midi qui m'apparaissent moins clairs.

5523   M. MEZEI : O.K.

5524   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Obtenir des clarifications.

5525   J'ai lu votre intervention écrite. Je n'ai pas de question particulière. J'en ai peut-être une ou deux, mais on va voir. À certaines de ces questions-là, vous avez déjà répondu.

5526   Alors, si on va à la page 7 de représentation de cet après-midi, au point D, vous dites lorsque vous parlez des antécédents de Bell Media, vous semblez vouloir nous demander de tenir compte de ces antécédents-là comme étant des facteurs aggravants.

5527   Est-ce que je me trompe?

5528   M. MEZEI : Non. En fait, je vous demande de ne pas en tenir compte. C'est-à-dire que dans le cas du point D...

5529   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Vous voulez pas que j'en tienne compte, ni comme facteur aggravant, ni comme circonstances atténuantes, ni comme point en leur faveur?

5530   M. MEZEI : Exactement.

5531   Bell Média a été formée en 2011.

5532   Donc, l'historique avant ça ne touche pas, ne vous permet pas à vous de prédire le futur de Bell Media, parce que c'est une nouvelle gestion, une nouvelle politique, philosophie corporative.

5533   La culture de la compagnie est nouvelle. Parce que c'est une nouvelle compagnie, Bell Media, qui a été formée.

5534   Donc, l'historique de CHUM, CTV et tous les autres qui ont été achetés, H-Channel, ces affaires-là, ne comptent pas vraiment là-dedans, parce que ces compagnies-là sont maintenant amalgamées dans Bell Media avec une gestion de Bell Media.

5535   Et c'est Bell Media qui dicte les politiques essentiellement.

5536   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Sauf qu'il n'y a quand même pas eu de discontinuité au niveau de l'existence juridique d'une entreprise. Il y a eu des fusions. Mais les obligations des entreprises qui existaient avant ont été reprises par les entreprises fusionnées.

5537   Donc, c'est qu'à un moment donné, faut qu'il y ait une continuité qui soit considérée existence d'une entreprise qui est plus que centenaire.

5538   M. MEZEI : Oui, par contre, il y a eu, je pense que c'est le Documentary Organization qui a mentionné qu'une fois que Bell a pris CTV, les dépenses sur les documentaires ont tombé.

5539   C'est ce genre de choses-là qu'il faut regarder, parce que ce qui était fait auparavant par CTV et les autres, ça veut pas dire que ça va être fait maintenant. Parce que c'est plus l'ancien président de CTV qui est à la tête, c'est Monsieur Georges Cope et Kevin Crow qui sont à la tête de Bell Media.    

5540   Donc, c'est une mentalité différente et c'est à eux de prouver et ça prend du temps à prouver.

5541   Parce qu'eux demandent d'enrayer Astral de l'industrie canadienne. Et si moi je gagnais la loterie, si vous me donniez les numéros gagnants pour vendredi, je gagne la loterie et lundi matin je vous arrive et je dis, je veux acheter Bell... excusez, Astral. Votre réponse va dire : « J.F. Vous avez pas l'expérience. On vous le donne pas. »

5542   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : O.K. Mais Monsieur Mezei, il y a un autre côté à cette médaille-là. C'est que c'est Astral qui a décidé de vendre et qui a trouvé un acheteur qui est Bell.

5543   Astral a une expérience du milieu. Si elle estime que BCE c'est le meilleur acheteur pour continue la pérennité de l'entreprise, je pense pas qu'on puisse en aucun temps douter de la sincérité de monsieur Greenberg lorsqu'il nous dit qu'il veut assurer la pérennité de l'oeuvre de sa vie à lui et de ses trois frères.

5544   Est-ce que ça c'est pas quelque chose qu'on devrait prendre à considération en analysant la possibilité que l'approbation de la transaction qui nous est présentement demandée se traduise par un succès?

5545   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Je comprends votre point de vue. Et j'ai un grand respect...

5546   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : C'est pas mon point de vue. Je vous pose des questions. Je mets votre proposition à l'épreuve...

5547   M. MEZEI : O.K. O.K.

5548   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : ... comme je l'ai fait avec tous les autres.

5549   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Moi j'ai vécu les mergers entre Digital, Compaq, HP. Et j'ai vu comment, à l'intérieur de chaque compagnie à chaque fois qu'il y a eu un changement, comment il y a eu la perte de la culture précédente. Parce que ce c'est la compagnie qui achète qui impose sa culture.

5550   Dans le cas d'Astral, écoutez, Astral est scindée. On sait pas encore en combien de morceaux, parce qu'on sait qu'il y a un morceau qui s'en va à Bell, un morceau qui s'en va à Corus, puis un autre morceau, je pense, qui est pas encore décidé.

5551   En séparant ces morceaux-là, premièrement, vous scindez la compagnie et une partie de la culture va se faire scinder. Et chaque morceau, quand il va arriver chez Corus, va absorber la culture de Corus. Quand il va arriver chez Bell, il va absorber la culture de Bell.

5552   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Ou ça pourrait être l'inverse. Ça pourrait être la culture d'Astral qui se propage de façon virale dans les entreprises où est-ce que les différentes entités vont se retrouver.

5553   M. MEZEI : Dans le cas des mergers, c'est très rare que ça arrive, que la petite compagnie impose sa culture dans les grandes. C'est très rare que ça arrive.

5554   C'est possible mais c'est très rare.

5555   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Maintenant, toujours à la page 7, au point E, vous dites que Bell Media a abandonné ses plans pour une chaîne francophone de nouvelles.

5556   Donc, il nous avait parlé en fait à l'audience publique l'année dernière.

5557   M. MEZEI : Oui.

5558   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Comment est-ce qu'on pourrait leur reprocher étant donné qu'ils ont dû essuyer des tirs groupés suite à leur proposition pendant l'audience. Et certains des tirs venaient même de la table en avant.

5559   Alors comment est-ce qu'on pourrait leur reprocher d'avoir laissé tomber cette initiative-là?

5560   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Moi, du point de vue d'un citoyen, je trouvais que le concept d'avoir une nouvelle voie de nouvelles n'était pas mauvais. Même si Bell et moi on a des différends, c'était une chose sur laquelle je n'étais pas en désaccord.

5561   Mais le fait que Bell est arrivé, a fait une proposition à la Commission, au Conseil, excusez! Oups! Au Conseil pour acheter Astral et a proposé, dire nous, on est très intéressés. Au Québec, on veut bâtir un réseau de langue française et on est tellement intéressé qu'on veut bâtir un réseau de nouvelles. Et la minute que ça a été refusé, on entend plus parler.

5562   Alors quand Bell arrive avec une belle promesse, est-ce que c'est une promesse pour plaire ou à ce que c'est vraiment une promesse qui fait partie de sa vraie stratégie à long terme?

5563   Et c'est ça la raison que je pose la question. Parce que les promesses que Bell a faites jusqu'ici, n'ont pas été livrées.

5564   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Donc, si je comprends mais votre point de vue vous méfiez.

5565   M. MEZEI : Exactement.

5566   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : À la page 8, expliquez-moi quelque chose. Vous dites « une grande partie de la valeur d'une compagnie médiatique est artificiellement créée par le Conseil. »

5567   Et vous mettez entre parenthèses les licences radio. Expliquez-moi ce que vous entendez par là, s'il vous plaît.

5568   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Quand on regarde, si moi je veux partir station radio par exemple, il faut que je vienne devant vous demander une licence, avoir une fréquence -- ce qui n'est pas facile, qui, probablement j'imagine, il y a des coûts là-dedans aussi.

5569   Et une fois que j'ai ceci, à cause de la rareté des fréquences, une fois que j'ai cette station-là, moi, je peux la vendre à quelqu'un d'autre, parce qu'il y a une valeur, parce que j'ai fait ce travail-là.

5570   Dans le cas d'Astral, ils ont fait tous ces travaux-là avec beaucoup de stations de radio qu'ils ont achetées ou bâties eux-mêmes. Et maintenant, ils les vendent à Bell. Et une partie de ces valeurs-là, c'est justement, c'est les licences qu'ils ont, le travail qu'ils ont fait pour obtenir cette licence-là. Parce que ce n'est pas des licences que n'importe qui peut avoir.

5571   Donc, il y a une valeur à ça.

5572   La même chose si on regarde TMN. Il a sa protection de genre qui donne essentiellement Astral un monopole pour ce genre-là.

5573   Donc, ça a de la valeur. Et on voit que Bell et très intéressé à TMN, et avec raison, parce que c'est un cash cow.

5574   Donc, il y a une valeur à ça.

5575   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et cette valeur-là, on tente de la monnayer aussi de notre côté pour le système par le biais du mécanisme des avantages tangibles.

5576   Comment est-ce que vous mettez ça dans votre équation? Est-ce que pour vous cette bonne chose ou est-ce que c'est une mauvaise chose?

5577   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Les avantages tangibles, je ne suis pas contre. J'ai un problème qu'ils sont souvent à court terme. Mais la discussion précédente avant moi, il y a eu justement cette discussion-là à plus long terme.

5578   Le problème réside non sur la valeur d'aujourd'hui que Bell donne, mais la valeur dans trois mois, après que vous avez rendu une décision sur la protection du genre.

5579   Si vous enlevez la protection du genre à TMN et que Bell a payé X dollars parce que TMN est profitable à cause de la protection du genre et que trois mois plus tard, vous enlevez la protection de genre, Bell a perdu la valeur son investissement.

5580   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Est-ce qu'on ne devrait pas accepter que c'est un risque d'affaires que courent les entrepreneurs lorsqu'ils décident de faire des fusions des acquisitions?

5581   M. MEZEI : Oui.

5582   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et que c'est pas nécessairement à nous à protéger ces entrepreneurs demain.

5583   M. MEZEI : Effectivement. Et vendredi, vous avez publié votre plan triennal. Et Bell est au courant que ça fait partie du plan.    Mais c'est pour ça que ma conclusion finale, c'est qu'on devrait attendre. Parce qu'il y a beaucoup de chambardements qui viennent. Attendez une couple d'années que Bell revienne. À ce moment-là, il y aura beaucoup de problèmes ou une meilleure vision sur l'aspect régulateur et l'aspect de l'industrie aussi, comment Netflix et les autres vont se développer, s'ils vont se développer, etc.

5584   Et c'est dans cette optique-là que j'ai fait ces arguments-là. C'est pour dire qu'il y a un degré d'incertitude sur beaucoup d'aspects incluant la valeur de la transaction.

5585   Si Bell veut aller de l'avant, je suis pas contre. C'est juste que j'ai sorti cet argument-là.

5586   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Maintenant, un point de clarification sur une affirmation que vous avez fait dans votre soumission écrite, le paragraphe 21. Et je vais vous le lire. Vous êtes pas obligé d'aller le quérir.

5587   M. MEZEI : O.K.

5588   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Vous parlez du fait que BCE est une entreprise de télécommunications. Et vous dites que : « Le Conseil doit considérer cette transaction qui n'est pas nécessaire, selon vous, réduira l'habilité de Bell Canada d'investir pour remplacer son cuivre désuet le plus rapidement possible; une activité nécessaire à court et moyen terme pour rester compétitif. »

5589   Présentement, il y a des investissements quand même importants qui sont faits par PCE au niveau du déploiement de la fibre.

5590   Est-ce que ça, ça ne devrait pas être de nature à vous rassurer à cet égard-là?

5591   M. MEZEI : Écoutez. Comme intervenants individuels, je n'ai pas accès aux livres de Bell, je n'ai pas accès à la stratégie de Bell.

5592   Ce que je peux faire, c'est de poser des questions essentiellement : Voici, j'ai une peur à ça. Comme individu, ma peur et que Bell va dépenser beaucoup d'argent sur Astral ou peut-être d'autres choses aussi, et que ça va limiter son habileté de déployer la fibre optique aussi rapidement que nous les citoyens voudraient que ça soit fait.

5593   Et, je donne ça aussi dans un contexte où, durant le début des années 2000, donc, ça inclus le premier achat de CTV, mais aussi l'histoire de Teacher's où les rumeurs étaient que Bell avait retardé le déploiement de ses DSLAM parce qu'il voulait garder le cash pour la transaction de Teacher's et le cash pour CTV.

5594   Donc, écoutez, c'est une rumeur. Je n'ai rien pour le...

5595   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et vous comprendrez qu'on ne peut pas prendre nos décisions sur la base de rumeurs. Faut pas...

5596   M. MEZEI : Non, exactement, exactement. Sauf que vous, vous pouvez arriver vendredi et demander à Bell : « Les citoyens ont peur de ça. Est-ce que vous êtes capable de nous donner les informations pour nous prouver que ce n'est pas un problème? »

5597   À ce moment-là, on est plus confortable si Bell dit : « Oui, on fait la promesse, aucun problème. » Le financement est séparé. Ça n'affecte pas les marges de crédit de Bell Canada, parce que BCE a pris quatre milliards de dollars de deux banques pour Astral.

5598   Si Bell vous rassure, correct. Mais si Bell vous rassure pas, ça reste une question à se poser, parce écoutez. Bell est quand même un actif très important pour l'industrie au Canada. Parce que c'est le back bone de Télécom en Ontario et au Québec.

5599   Et si...

5600   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : C'est aussi un employeur très important.

5601   M. MEZEI : Oui, oui.

5602   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Autant en Ontario qu'au Québec.

5603   M. MEZEI : Donc, la ville est importante au pays. Les services de télécommunication que Bell offre sont importants au pays et la nécessité que Bell offre des services de communication modernes est important pour que les compagnies canadiennes puissent compétitionner dans le monde.

5604   Donc, si une transaction va à l'encontre de ça au point de vue Télécom, c'est quelque chose que vous qui faites les deux côtés, Télécom et Broadcast que peut-être vous devriez regarder, est-ce qu'il y a un impact ou non.

5605   Je ne peux pas affirmer, moi, comme individu, qu'il y a un impact. Mais je peux la poser la question et dire : « J'ai peur qu'il y ait un impact. »

5606   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : En terminant, Monsieur Mezei, je me permets peut-être de vous rassurer. La saison 5 de Flashpoint est disponible sur iTunes. Alors...

5607   M. MEZEI : Ah! O.K. J'ai regardé sur iTunes, puis il n'y avait rien de CTV. C'est pour ça.

5608   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Alors peut-être qu'il est classé autrement. Mais c'est au moins ça.

5609   M. MEZEI : Peut-être que monsieur Bibic de le rajouter après que j'ai fait mon speech.

5610   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je ne sais pas. Non, ça a l'air d'être antérieur à ça.

5611   M. MEZEI : O.K.

5612   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci.    Merci Monsieur le Président.

5613   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci bien. Ce sont nos questions. Merci beaucoup.

5614   M. MEZEI : Merci beaucoup.

5615   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et on est ajourné jusqu'à 9 h demain matin. Merci.

--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1732, to resume on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 0900


Kristin Johansson

Monique Mahoney

Jean Desaulniers

Sue Villeneuve

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