BCE deal getting support

With some reservations, Canadian advertisers and their agencies appear to support BCE's takeover of CTV, if their presentations late last month to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) are anything to go by....

With some reservations, Canadian advertisers and their agencies appear to support BCE’s takeover of CTV, if their presentations late last month to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) are anything to go by.

Sunni Boot, president of Optimedia Canada; Philip Chant, senior vice-president, media, for Corporate Communications Limited of Halifax; and Terry Sheehy, president of Starcom Worldwide in Toronto, were among those to express their support for the deal.

Many of the submissions focused on the fact that, if the deal goes through, BCE would be in a position to offer advertisers multi-media, integrated advertising opportunities.

While it, too, supported the deal, the Association of Canadian Advertisers said that advertisers had no desire to pay for the takeover through increased advertising rates, and cautioned that it would not tolerate forced buys of cross-platform packages.

‘All of these media owners claim that integration will be good for advertisers because they’ll be able to offer us integrated marketing communications and cross-media promotions,’ says Bob Reaume, vice-president of media and research for the ACA. ‘That really has a lot of appeal – if it’s done right. If it’s forced in any way, we don’t want to have anything to do with it.’

Sheehy, for his part, says he doesn’t foresee rate hikes or ‘tied selling’ – whereby an advertiser is forced to buy a less desirable property in order to secure placement in a more desirable one – resulting from the merger.

‘I think there are more than enough options in the marketplace that anyone who is heavy-handed will meet with very strong, effective resistance.

‘I could see [someone saying] ‘Buy our Web site or radio program and we will enhance our already attractive television offering to you’…as opposed to [making] a threat if you didn’t do one.’

The CRTC is expected to hand down its decision within the next eight weeks.