Canada buying up U.S. cable companies.
I have mentioned before how Canada's broadcast and overall communication industry is culturally protected from the so-called Free Trade agreement(s) with the U.S.
There have been a couple of go-arounds from the U.S. Goldman Sachs invested heavily in the pre-bankruptcy Asper family operated CanWest company. Disney maintains a sizable percentage of Canada's TSN sports network with its CTV broadcasting partner. TSN originally had its own logo style and a Sports 'Desk' - now it is an ESPN clone. There is (or was) further follow-the-money trails stemming from Southeast Management into the Toronto Star newspaper firm, via another holdings investment, and into a non-voting equity base.
There is also the effect of commercial substituted simucasting with Canadian companies - upon Canada's own cable delivery laws. Whenever Canadian channels air a U.S. program as the same time as a U.S. channel, the Canadian channel gets played directly over the U.S. channel placement. Plus there is the annual bidding war of Canadian networks for such U.S. programming. Each of Canada's three major English language networks, CTV, City, and Global, is now owned by a regulated Canadian 'cable or satellite' company; Bell, Rogers and Shaw. The CBC now stands as a (virtually) lone independent and with its very limited number of cable sister stations. Most of the three networks' stations are owned fully and without affiliate independence. If Rogers said, "Leno At Ten" - then that's what got aired, "everywhere".
Here's where it gets interesting (I hope).
The government owned CBC is shutting down hundreds of its decades old transmitters across Canada. A very high percentage of TV viewers in Canada already use domestic cable and satellite systems. This had grown substantially ever since the roll-out of three Movie, Sports and Music Video channels here in the mid-80s, and then again with CNN's coverage of the Initial Gulf war and another round of approved cable channels in the mid-90s. With HDTV, many are now re-discovering the clear advantages, and cost savings, of receiving non-substituted signals Over-the-Air. Our digital switch occurred just last August. Many Canadians still live in close proximity to the U.S. border (and U.S. channels).
There are ZERO sub-channels [knowingly] approved within Canada. In fact, post-U.S. assigned HD signal strength and the technical merits of channel placements is a second class procedure. Many OTA viewers, myself included, can now receive free U.S. channels from markedly greater distances than ever done under the old analog system. Plus we now receive many more U.S. stations broadcasting as sub-channels.
WHAT ABOUT CANADA buying U.S. CABLE COMPANIES??? I'm getting to it.
In the business news this week was not one, but two, separate [CDA to USA] Free Trade Allowed transactions. Cogego Cable (our 4th(?) English lang. system) has made a $1.36 Billion acquisition of Atlantic Broadband, America's 14th largest cable operator.
The Canadian Government itself(!) via Canada's social security Pension Plan fund is also bidding $2 Billion and $0.5 Billion in debt for Cequel Comm. Holdings, also known as SuddenLink, America's 7th largest U.S. cable company along with a European Private Equity Fund co-partner.
Canada's Asper family made its start buying a few U.S. channels in the 1970s and later TV properties in Australia and Ireland. Lord Black, since convicted and sentenced in Chicago, also created an international stable of newspapers. No American has ever been allowed to purchase a Canadian TV, Radio, or Newspaper Company - due to Cultural Protection as formalized in the late 1980s within the original Cda-US (not Mexico) Free Trade Agreement.
Walmart, Sears, and now Target, can operate here. Ford, GM, and Honda, etc., operate assembly plants here. Shell and Exxon (as Esso) operate in Canada. Both oil companies even once had refineries placed in Toronto's western suburbs along Lake Ontario - as did Canada's Petro Canada. U.S. Steel operates here (after our domestic collapse of Dofasco and Stelco). SAB (Coors-Molsons' owner) and Interbrew (Budweiser's / Labatt) operate here - they even own the Ontario (only-licenced) Beer Store chain. However it doesn't happen with TV, Radio, or Newspapers.
What might Canadian mass ownership of U.S. TV look like? Well, the CBC did briefly operate a fledgling U.S. cable news channel. Vice President Al Gore purchased it and relabelled it Current TV.
Now the Cdn. gov't Pension Plan is buying the U.S.'s 7th largest, and a competition protected Cdn. Company is buying the U.S.'s 14th largest cable operator. The newsprint industry's Lord Black is a free man again, still living in an upscale Toronto home - never tried within Canada - as if he merely travelled for an extended Florida vacation by way of Chicago, writing books and giving interviews as usual.
Or the otherhand; Baskin-Robbins is shutting down its Cdn. factory and re-establishing most jobs to the U.S. South (keeping some jobs, for the Canadian market - still in the Canadian market); Caterpillar also pulled out in 2012 and set-up immediately in a no-union state.