CRTC approves Rogers acquisition of Shaw
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission of Ottawa has approved the acquisition by Rogers of the broadcasting services of Shaw, subject to a number of conditions and modifications. Rogers will acquire 16 cable services in western Canada, a national satellite television service and other broadcast and television services. This approval relates only to the broadcasting elements of the acquisition.
According to the CRTC, it has stipulated several safeguards intended to ensure that the transaction “benefits Canadians and the Canadian broadcasting system.” Rogers will be required to pay five times more in benefits to the broadcasting system than it had originally proposed, totaling $27.2 million. These benefits will be directed to the Canada Media Fund, the Independent Local News Fund, the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund and the Broadcasting Participation Fund, among others.
Rogers must also report annually on its commitments to increase its support for local news, including the emplyment of more journalists at its Citytv stations nationally and by producing an additional 48 news specials each year that reflect local communities. Rogers must also distribute at least 45 independent English and French-language services on each of its cable and satellite services. The CRTC has also imposed safeguards to ensure that cable providers relying on signals delivered by Rogers will continue to be able to serve their communities.
“Given the nature of this transaction, we have put in place safeguards aimed at addressing potential risks to the broadcasting system for both consumers and programming services,” said Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC. “Rogers must honour all existing contracts for Shaw customers. This adds to the safeguards already in place, which allow Canadians to subscribe to a basic television package and to select channels either individually or in small packages.”