Bell proposes streaming service to CRTC

Offer is given in hopes of adding enticement to the proposed Astral takeover.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

Much controversy is surrounding the Bell Canada Enterprises' (BCE) bid to takeover Astral Media for $3.4 billion, and yesterday at a CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) hearing, BCE offered a new plan to integrate a new streaming service similar to that of giants Netflix and Apple, giving Canadians more home-grown content in both official languages.

A new French-language news channel coming out of Montreal and more funding for French programming were also proposed. To date, four consumer groups have expressed opposition to the takeover.

As CBC News reported, CEO George Cope said the new streaming service would be available on demand and on any device, and will use content from Bell Media, Astral Media and other various sources. "Combining the unique pay TV strengths of Astral with Bell Media's broad range of programming will create a Canadian service that truly stands apart from those of international providers," Cope said.

According to various news outlets, 10 per cent of current Netflix subscribers are Canadian. During the hearings it was not disclosed what the new streaming service would cost end-users.

“[It is] a made-in-Canada service, available in French and English everywhere we have rights to all Canadians through the cable, satellite or IPTV provider of their choice,” Cope said (as pointed out by The Globe and Mail).

The hearings will wrap up this coming Friday and will take place all week long.

Photo: Bell Media