He is the only Ivan we have ever met who likes to have his name pronounced as ‘Yvonne.’ Ivan Fecan always stood out in the crowd anyway with that carefully coifed mop of snow-white hair. He was always a man on a mission and he apparently accomplished it and retired last year from running CTV. Others get to fix the problems left behind. The most interesting problem is what to do about the Olympics.
We made the problem very clear to the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) at the time. Fecan’s bid of $153 million for CTV to control Canadian rights for the Vancouver and London Olympic Games did not just crush the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s bid but he also hired away the CBC’s best people who knew amateur sports. The bid not only appeared avaricious but it seemed to be a demonstration for Bell Canada of the value in controlling content for both television and mobile devices. We, of course, have no idea what Ivan gained from all his efforts but there is no doubt he is enjoying a luxurious retirement.
That means it will have to be someone else who clears up the perception of the International Olympic Committee that Canada will routinely pay more than twice what the Olympics are worth as television programming. It depends on whose figures you use but there is little doubt that CTV lost millions on the Vancouver Games and is going to take a further and more serious bath shortly on the summer games events from England.
What is of even greater concern is that CTV is now under the total control of Bell Canada. You know Bell Canada do you not? That is the wonderful beneficial company that knew just when to dump Nortel Networks onto the market and routinely ignores customer complaints about its high-handed sales and collection tactics. Mr. Harper might go around the world telling people about our stable banking system but fails to mention that he has let the large telecommunications companies get totally out of control.
Mr. Harper has appointed a new head of the CRTC. The new chairperson is Jean-Pierre Blais. He is a career civil servant and will probably do what Prime Minister Harper tells him to do. What he will not have, in the chairman’s role, will be access to funds to bail out television and telecommunications companies that go down the tubes because of the foolish acquisitions they have made in areas they do not understand.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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