The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today approved the transfer of effective control of CHUM Ltd. (CHUM) to CTVglobemedia Inc. (CTVgm). The CRTC did not approve the transfer of five Citytv stations in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver to CTVgm, given that such transfer would be inconsistent with the Commission’s common ownership policy. That policy stipulates that a licensee may not operate more than one conventional television station in one language in a given market.
“The purpose of this policy is to maintain diversity of voices within the Canadian broadcasting system,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “Some exceptions to the policy were granted in the past for failing stations in secondary markets. CTVgm asked for the exception using arguments based upon competitive equality and the impact of new media. However, the Commission was not convinced by CTVgm’s arguments.”
Approval of this transaction is conditional on the trustee responsible for the Citytv stations submitting to the Commission, within 30 days, an acceptable plan for the sale of the Citytv stations.
The Commission found, however, that the A-Channel group of television stations did fall into the established exception to the common ownership policy and approved their acquisition by CTVgm. As a consequence of this decision, CTVgm will be able to acquire seven television stations, 34 radio stations and, in whole or in part, 20 specialty television services.
Today’s decision follows a public process that included a public hearing held by the Commission, which began on April 30th.