Canada Supreme Court rejects value-for-signal television plan

OTTAWA Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:50am EST

OTTAWA Dec 13 (Reuters) - Canada's broadcast regulator does not have the authority to impose a value-for-signal plan under which television broadcasters would charge cable and satellite firms for their programming, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Thursday.

The industry regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, had in 2010 accepted the broadcasters' arguments that local stations needed new money to stay viable. Before imposing a fee system on cable companies, it asked the courts to verify that it had the right to do so and the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that it did not.

The decision is a defeat for telecoms company BCE Inc , which owns CTV, Canada's largest private broadcaster. Arguing on the cable side was Telus Corp, Cogeco Cable Inc, Rogers Communications Inc and Shaw Communications Inc.

The case is Cogeco Cable Inc., et al. v. Bell Media Inc. (formerly CTV Globemedia Inc.), V Interactions Inc., Newfoundland Broadcasting Co. Ltd, et al. (34231).