Today’s CRTC decision on Bell’s NFL/NHL mobile exclusives crystallizes the issues.
The CRTC found that it is anti-competitive for Bell to have exclusive agreements for carrying prime time NFL games, the Pro Bowl game, all playoff games (including the Super Bowl), NFL Network programming, NHL games and video highlights.
Canadians shouldn’t be forced to subscribe to a wireless service from a specific company to access their favourite content. Healthy and fair competition between service providers will promote greater choice for Canadians.
I respectfully disagree.
I certainly understand why other carriers would want to try to secure access to premium NFL/NHL content, but I disagree that this necessarily promotes greater choice for Canadians. Exclusives create greater choice, not all carriers carrying the same content. How competitive a marketplace is it if you can get the same content from all the service providers?
On the other hand, the more popular the exclusive content is on one carrier, the more the other carriers will have to compete on other features, services, content or price. Wouldn’t that make for a better consumer marketplace?
In a “real” competitive marketplace, consumers have to make tough choices, balancing price, features and service from one product or supplier against the different characteristics from another supplier. The risk of intervention is the appearance of protecting competitors, not competition.