Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bell Canada Buys into CTV -- Combining Content with the Network

BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) will acquire 100% of CTV, the leading Canadian television, digital media, conventional TV and radio broadcaster, for $1.3 billion from The Woodbridge Company Limited, the Toronto-based holding company of the Thomson family; Ontario Teachers Pension Plan; and Torstar Corporation.

The deal allows Bell to combine a premier video content business with its broadband network capabilities.

CTV operates Canada's No.1 television network with 27 stations across the country; 30 specialty channels, including TSN and RDS, the top English and French specialty channels; premium online video programming and properties such as,,,, and; and CHUM Radio, which operates 34 radio stations throughout Canada.

Bell already offers a nationwide DTH video service with about 2 million subscribers. It has a mobile TV offering and is in the process of launching its Bell Fibe IPTV service in major urban centres. Bell TV now represents
approximately 40% of total residential service revenues, surpassing traditional home phone revenues.

Bell promises to accelerate its wireline and wireless (HSPA+) video capabilities with significant new investments in broadband networks, including capital expenditures of almost $3 billion in 2010 alone.

The company said Canada's current regulatory and technological environment allows integrated players to
leverage content ownership for differentiated offers across all three screens, noting that Quebecor, Rogers and Shaw all already own video content businesses as part of their 3 screen strategies.

"Our industry is changing rapidly. Increasing vertical integration across the communications landscape, ongoing
technological advancement and key regulatory developments introduce new opportunities with the
ownership of high-demand content by Bell. Our acquisition of CTV more than levels the playing field in our
increasingly competitive industry," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE.