THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED:
Had a great weekend. Hope you did too. Back at the keyboard now, pounding away, for both the blog and the main event, the Star.
Here's yesterday's pulpware column on the Bell Globemedia takeover of CHUM, a deal that has its good points and bad. But, as you can see, the bad outweighs the good, at least in my books.
Seems that the only people hoping to consummate the $1.4
millionbillion marriage between CHUM Ltd. and CTV parent Bell Globemedia are those who stand to make a bundle off it.
And, as the controversy over the $5.25 per share premium BGM is paying for the voting shares reveals, some bundles will be bigger than others.
But this column is for us poor shlubs who have no CHUM stock. For us, the sale, announced July 12, is one bad deal.
It will not only create a media behemoth that could include as many as 33 TV stations, 38 specialty channels, 33 radio stations, the Globe and Mail, an interest in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and more, it will dominate the advertising, cultural, music and sports landscapes as well as the news agenda.
Consider advertising. With one fewer competitor, media costs will rise and will undoubtedly be passed on to consumers.
With music, the merger combines CHUM's MuchMusic brands with CTV's MTV licences. And, although the latter are no longer music video channels, they still have awesome clout.
The converged company will have enormous buying power, and it won't hesitate to use it to get access to the hottest Hollywood or HBO hits.
As for journalism, well, CTV is already the top-rated news source in Canada. Add the CHUM operations into the mix, and BGM will have a powerful influence on public discourse.
The combo also means that producers have one fewer customer for their dramas and documentaries, which means lower licence fees and nowhere to go if a deal gets derailed.
That's too much power in too few hands in too small a country.
Etc. Etc. It's here, as I said.
One thing I would like to point out: Note that this column works against the corporate interests of Torstar (which owns the Star which owns this blog but not me, blah blah). Now I am not bragging. I am just saying. The reason is, I'd like to see other so-called ''media critics'' at other papers attempt to do the same.
UPDATE: Here's another take on the media merger, this time from the trade paper Playback.