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Quebecor wins battle with Bell over disagreement about TVA Sports

Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau in Montreal on Thursday, May 9, 2019.
Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau in Montreal on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

Quebecor Inc. has finally won its battle against Bell Canada over the broadcasting of its TVA Sports channel.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled in favour of the Quebec-based media company and requires Bell Canada to offer the TVA group sports channel by Feb. 5, under the same conditions as its own French-language sports channel RDS.

The CRTC ruled that Bell granted an undue preference to RDS on its platforms by not offering TVA Sports under the same conditions. Bell refused to include TVA Sports in its most popular package, forcing its subscribers to obtain the TVA Group’s sports station either by subscribing to a more expensive package, or by paying to obtain it separately.

READ MORE: Quebecor to scramble TVA Sports signal to Bell subscribers for playoff hockey

TVA Group and Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau have repeatedly complained that its rival did not engage in the same discrimination on the English side, granting Sportsnet, owned by Rogers Communications, the same distribution as its own sports station TSN, the English-speaking counterpart of RDS.

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The standoff between the conglomerates Quebecor and Bell was provoked by a dispute over the royalties to be paid to the specialty channels.

The clash resulted in numerous public skirmishes, culminating in Quebecer attempting to remove the TVA Sports’ signal from Bell subscribers just as the National League playoffs began in April.