Corus warns Rogers/Shaw merger could hurt Global News

Local news, market competition, and consumer prices all factors as the controversial telecom deal seeks federal approval

Corus Entertainment is arguing that local news in Canada could take a substantial hit if federal regulators allow Rogers to complete its purchase of Shaw.

Corus spun off from Shaw in 1999 and currently operates a number of Canadian television channels, including W Network, HGTV Canada, Showcase, Food Network Canada, and — most important to this story — Global Television and News.

According to reporting from The Globe and Mail, Corus still receives around $12 million per year from Shaw, as per a federal rule that broadcast distributors must redirect five percent of their broadcasting revenues towards supporting Canadian content and local news.

In a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Corus warned that Global News would suffer without this five percent, as Rogers has already indicated that, should the acquisition go through, those funds would be redirected to its own news property, City TV.

Corus further contended that the loss in funding could reduce the quality of local news in cities and regions where Global News is already the primary — if not sole — broadcast news outlet.

Rogers’ purchase of Shaw, announced in March 2021 and valued at $26 billion, is currently under review by the CRTC, Canada’s Competition Bureau, and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

A number of parties have chimed in for and against the purchase.

For example, competitor telecom companies and internet service providers including Bell, Telus, Quebecor and Teksavvy have all come out swinging against the merger, echoing industry experts’ concerns that the deal will reduce competition and result in higher prices and fewer options for consumers.

Meanwhile, some analysts are suggesting that the deal could go through, provided Rogers sell off Freedom Mobile and Shaw Mobile to address concerns that the acquisition would give it an unfair monopoly in Canada’s wireless market.

According to The Globe and Mail, the CRTC received over 300 interventions during their call for comments on the acquisition, which closed on September 13th.

The public hearing is scheduled for November 22nd.

Source: The Globe and Mail