Confusing Canadian Corporate Ownership: Who owns Who?
Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 27, 2009
One reader asked why I didn’t spell out the corporate relationships I meant when I referred to “incestuous relationships between our major media carriers and broadcasters” in my last blog post “Usage Based Billing” .
Having read varying claims of corporate “overlap”, but lacking factual authority I was reluctant to go on record to say who owned who.
The Corporate Dance
The problem is a common one for ordinary people in the 21st Century as corporations merge or buy and sell one another. Who owns who can change quickly so unless you’re paying attention– and we all have lives, right?– it’s easy to be confused. My “local” newspaper has been bought and sold so many times in the last few years that I have no idea which giant media corporation currently owns it.
This corporate dance makes it difficult for us lowly consumers to know who we are dealing with. How can we know if there is even a possibility of collusion among related corporations. I don’t think it is deliberate corporate strategy, although it is certainly a happy byproduct for many corporations who would prefer to keep some of their actions in the shadows.
Neigh: from the horse’s mouth
But now I have it from the horse’s mouth (or at least the GLOBE AND MAIL’s):
Bell owns 15 per cent of CTVglobemedia, which is the parent company of CTV and also owns The Globe and Mail.
And confirmation of the CTVglobemedia roster is happily provided on the CTVglobemedia Website Home Page
CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada’s premier multimedia company with ownership of CTV, Canada’s #1 television network, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s #1 national newspaper. CTV Inc. owns and operates 27 conventional stations across the country, with interests in 32 specialty channels, including Canada’s #1 specialty channel, TSN. CTVglobemedia also owns the CHUM Radio Division, which operates 34 radio stations throughout Canada, including CHUM FM, Canada’s # 1 FM station.
So there is a definite connection between Bell Canada and CTVglobemedia. Bell Canada owns 15% of CTVglobemedia.
Now really, 15% doesn’t sound like very much at all. Until you look at how incredibly massive CTVglobemedia actually is. I would venture a guess that Bell Canada is probably the single largest shareholder. If that’s true, it would mean that Bell Canada would in fact have a very large say indeed in the policy of this gigantic media content provider.
So CTV News, “the most-watched national newscast in Canada” is going to be reluctant to say anything negative about Bell Canada.
So The Globe and Mail, “Canada’s most-read daily national newspaper” is going to be reluctant to say anything negative about Bell Canada.
So CHUM FM, “Canada’s # 1 FM station”, which also operates “34 other radio stations throughout Canada”, is going to be reluctant to say anything negative about Bell Canada.
They are supposed to be in the business of covering the news. But because this issue may be unflattering to Bell Canada, these news outlets have a huge conflict of interest. Due to economic considerations, given the choice, they would prefer to not cover this issue at all.
So they haven’t…. and this screen capture I was sent tells the story:
This is why the small number of Canadians who are even aware of Usage Based Billing have only found out “too late.”
And most Canadians still don’t even know about Usage Based Billing.
And that is why we have to keep speaking up. If there is enough outcry, what passes for news media in Canada will HAVE to cover this story or lose all credibility.
And really, Usage Based Billing is just the tip of the iceberg. The reason that there are so many serious problems with the Canadian Telecommunications Industry today is because the CRTC has NOT been doing its job. Canadians need to get informed, so at the very least they can sign the petition!
5843 signatures and counting