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2006 07 13
Bell Globemedia Buys CHUM - What Next?
imageWith the acquisition yesterday of CHUM Ltd. by Bell Globemedia, Canada's media landscape just got a lot smaller. For years the City TV Group had been in a David and Goliath struggle with Canada's larger media players. Its strategy was to be so different from the CTVs of the world that people would take notice - and they did. Moses Znaimer brilliantly grew a soft-porn playing down on the dial UHF channel into one of the world's most influential television networks.

Now this. It was inevitable really. Znaimer sold to CHUM a few years back and now the majority owners of CHUM (the Waters family) are selling to BGM. That's the way the media world works. With one exception. The Internet and blogging technologies have driven access to media delivery channels down into the hands of almost everyone with a computer and ISP. The result? Newspapers are losing their readers. Television is losing viewers. Bloggers, however, have gained audiences in big numbers.

Media conglomerates are vast industries and they are fighting back. The US government is passing legislation pushed by big media lobby groups that will allow them to tier delivery of content on the Net. So, if you want to see a Rocketboom.com episode, for example, you'll have to pay more for access to it. Or if you want to use Google instead of some other search engine, well, that will cost more too. Think bronze, silver and gold plans here. No more Net Neutrality.

As the history of City TV illustrates, having a more open media infrastructure allows for innovation that drives economic growth. When local media begins to consolidate through acquisitions like the CHUM sale, we have to wonder what the future of the Net holds in store for Canadians. We can only hope that our government in the form of its media regulators will opt for Net Neutrality that will guarantee continued media innovation in Canada.

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 07/13 at 02:06 PM

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