The CRTC fumbles, again.

The CRTC ruled this week that Bell Media cannot hold exclusive rights to streaming NHL and NFL games to their mobile devices.  This means that Bell must allow other cellular providers, like Telus and Rogers, access to their licensing deals with both the NHL and NFL so they can stream live games to their devices as well  This comes out of a challenge from Telus after Bell successfully negotiated rights deals with both the NHL and NFL.  where do I even begin…….

First off, I often criticize the CRTC of being anti-consumer, and on the surface this seems to be a very pro-consumer move.  In some ways, it is, I am more against the CRTC overstepping what should be reasonable, and this goes far beyond reasonable.

This ruling essentially means that no media company in Canada should be allowed to have exclusive rights to anything, which is unbelievable to me.  Competition is built on companies trying to get an advantage over their competitors.  For media companies, that means offering content that no one else does.  That is a strategy that will attract subscribers and viewers.  The CRTC ruling, in essence means that a media company cannot try to gain a competitive advantage over another media company by offering exclusive content.

This ruling hurts the entire chain.  Gaining exclusive rights to broadcasts is often expensive for that company.  While I'm obviously not privy to the dollar amounts, I find it very hard to believe that buying exclusive rights to streaming NFL games especially were cheap.  I would imagine that there was a bidding war for this type of content, with Bell winning out in the end because they offered the NFL the best deal for them.  Under this ruling, when future deals are negotiated what is the incentive for any company, Rogers, Bell, or Telus to really bid for content, when they know in the rules that whoever wins the rights will have to sell content to the other two as well.  This will mean fewer bids, for less money, for that content.

The CRTC's theory on this is that no one should have to choose their wireless carrier based on what streaming content they offer.  While there is some argument to that, and I do believe that Internet providers should be a pipe for customers to get whatever data they want, I can appreciate that these content deals drive the competition between them.  If Telus wanted the streaming rights to the NFL, they should have provided a better bid than Bell did.  Simple as that.

I'm not saying this move is anti-consumer.  Because in many ways, it is pro consumer.  However, I believe it is anti-competition, which is anti-consumer.  Competition is good in every business.  It means that each company is constantly striving to be better, because if they don't, their customers can walk away.  Competition is almost always good for customers because competition makes for better service.  But this week, the CRTC has decided that they have the authority to kill competition between companies in Canada, which is really the scary part.

The CRTC has proved yet again that they have no idea how to actually regulate or manage anything.  It is time to overhaul a dinosaur that has existed long before the internet was invented, and has demonstrated time and time again that it simply does not understand how to regulate an industry that looks nothing like it did at the inception of the CRTC.  If the CRTC cannot understand new media, it needs to stop trying to tell the industry how to work, as all it does in the long run is hurt the consumer.  It is as simple as that.

[Read] - Bell's streaming deals breach CRTC rules