CRTC issues new legally binding decision preventing Quebecor from withholding TVA Sports from Bell TV

MONTRÉAL, April 10, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Bell announced that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued a legally binding decision confirming that Quebecor must continue to make its TVA Sports channel available to Bell TV customers.

Despite an earlier CRTC directive issued Monday requiring the cable and media company to continue to provide TVA Sports to Bell TV and its customers, Quebecor has continued to threaten to cut off access to the channel during the NHL playoffs, potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of Bell TV customers.

Quebecor began its campaign by issuing a series of misleading statements on its hockey broadcasts and other media platforms that falsely claimed Bell itself planned to remove access to TVA Sports, and directed Bell TV customers to switch to Quebecor's cable TV subsidiary Videotron.

"The CRTC has made it quite clear to Quebecor that it must comply with the law and continue to provide TVA Sports to Bell customers who've paid for it. It's highly inappropriate for Quebecor to make these threats to illegally deny service and in effect take viewers hostage over a business disagreement," said Martine Turcotte, Bell's Vice Chair, Québec. "We've always negotiated in good faith and invite Quebecor to do the same."

According to the CRTC's decision, Quebecor is "required to provide" TVA Sports to Bell TV "at the same rates and on the same terms and conditions as they did before the dispute, until the parties resolve their dispute or the Commission issues a decision concerning this unresolved matter."

Consistent with the CRTC's procedures, Bell this morning filed a request with the CRTC to resolve the dispute by way of final offer arbitration.

As part of its demands, Quebecor is pressing Bell TV to pay more to carry its TVA Sports channel than Quebecor/Videotron pays Bell Media for the RDS sports network – despite the fact that RDS is the consistent leader in the French-language sports TV marketplace by far. Last year, RDS had 67% more viewers on average than TVA Sports.

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SOURCE Bell Canada

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