Richard Stursberg says a merger between Rogers Communications Inc and CanWest Global Communications Corp could counter the media powerhouse BCE Inc has assembled over the past few years. Speaking at the Spectrum 20-20 conference in Ottawa in late November, the former president/CEO of Cancom said BCE has assembled "an exceptionally powerful set of assets" that puts it ahead of the Canadian pack in creating and delivering converged media. PRINCIPAL MEDIA GROUPSBellRogersGlobalMultiple PlatformsPCs, TV, CellPCs, TV, CellConnectivityDSL/SatelliteCableTop 10 PortalSympatico@Home Web-based servicesContent NewsGlobe & Mail, CTVGlobalContent SportsCTV, TSNNational Post, SouthamSource: Richard Stursberg, November 2000The five most valuable components of the convergence chain, according to Stursberg, are platforms, connectivity, portals, web-based services, and content. BCE is active in all five areas. In comparison, he pointed out that Global is strong in areas where Rogers is lacking, and vice versa. Rogers lacks valuable content but has access to multiple platforms (personal computers, digital TV and cell phones), connectivity through its cable lines, and a top portal in @home. Global’s biggest strengths are in content, he said. "If you look at (Rogers’) content, it has a lot of nice magazines and multilingual TV stations and (it) got some small specialty channels recently, but it doesn’t have content in the big areas – news and sports," said Stursberg. Global does, but is weak in terms of platforms, connectivity and portal arrangements, he added. He maintained that web-based services still aren’t a major component in the convergence chain, although that balance could shift dramatically as new business models develop. He noted that news and sports show the most promise as Internet content drivers because they generate huge audiences and can easily be reformatted across various platforms. "So you would think under these circumstances, the best positioned players are those like newspapers who already have significant news content, and sports broadcasters through their ability to control the distribution of sports rights from teams," he told delegates. In acquiring CTV Inc, BCE picked up the news content of Canada’s largest private broadcaster. Its specialty sports network, TSN, recently won a digital specialty licence for a women’s sports channel. BCE also acquired The Globe and Mail this year. On the distribution side, BCE has access to multiple platforms through mobile browsers on digital cell phones, digital satellite TV and its Sympatico-Lycos Internet portal. Stursberg said the need to have access to various platforms has been brought on by fragmentation of audiences as the number of distribution channels grows, both on television and the ’Net. Re-purposing content for these varied distribution channels is now essential if content producers are to recover their costs, he added.