CCR People

Stornoway Communications Limited Partnership has appointed industry veteran Bill Gray to the position of executive vice president operations. Gray's responsibilities will initially focus on Stornoway's applications before the CRTC for four new specialty television licenses at the August 2000 hearings: The Issues Channel; @work.ca; The Dance Channel; The Pet Network. Gray was senior executive vice president of CineGroupe, a Montreal-based film and television production, distribution and multi-media company. Previously, he was general manager for CanWest Global'sPrime TV as well as special projects consultant.

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CCR Short Takes

Quebecor says it won't sweeten Videotron offer
Quebecor Inc says its $5.9-billion proposal to take over Groupe Vidéotron ltée will remain as it is, until a court rules on the right of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec to block a rival arrangement with Rogers Communications Inc. Videotron's controlling shareholder, the Chagnon family, is contesting the Caisse's right under an agreement between the two, saying the pension fund manager did not act in good faith when it worked out a deal with Quebecor. Vidéotron founder Andre Chagnon, whose family owns 72% of the company, said in a statement released last week that he would not sell at all rather than sell out to Quebecor and the Caisse.

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HBO and other U.S. channels await court ruling on legality of selling into Canada

Alberta's senior trial court is expected to hand down a ruling within the next six weeks on the legality of C Band satellite programming sales in Canada. Lawyers Greg Cheung and Bill Mackenzie, acting for WIC Premium Television Ltd, asked for an injunction against Home Box Office, Showtime, Arts and Entertainment Channel, and several other U.S. specialty channels during a six-day hearing that began May 31 in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. (CCR, April 13/00). WIC has alleged for several years that the U.S. companies are knowingly selling TV signals into Canada that are not authorized for this market.

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Proposed law would help consumer groups participate in broadcast hearings

Consumer groups are promising to intervene more in broadcast proceedings if the federal government passes a new bill that would help subsidize their regulatory battles. Groups such as the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Montreal-based Action Réseau Consommateur (ARC) passed an important milestone earlier this month when Liberal senator Sheila Finestone introduced a private member's bill to amend the Broadcasting Act, to bring it in line with the Telecommunications Act when it comes to awarding costs to public interest groups.

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