Quebecor, French CBC strike distribution deal


CBC RadioAn ongoing dispute between the Canadian media giant Quebecor and the CBC’s French-language network Radio-Canada has been resolved 3/5 with a new advertising deal. Radio-Canada will buy ads on different platforms owned by Quebecor, which publishes Le Journal de Montreal and has media properties in the rest of Canada under the Sun Media banner. Quebecor, privately owned, has been highly critical of the publicly-funded CBC.

Quebecor, meanwhile, will renew distribution deals for various Radio-Canada specialty channels on its Videotron cable subsidiary. Those channels include CBC News Network and its French-language counterpart RDI, as well as the Bold arts channel. That channel has a French-language version called ARTV.

Quebecor president Pierre Karl Peladeau said in a statement he’s pleased Radio-Canada sees the value of his company’s publications: “As leaders in our respective markets, we have always been convinced that our newspapers allow Radio-Canada to reach the biggest market that its mandate has directed it to achieve. We are pleased that, with this deal, Radio-Canada has recognized the value of our newspapers in obtaining the public broadcaster’s objectives.”

The dispute had gotten rocky, according to The Canadian Press. At one point Peladeau sued a Radio-Canada VP for alleged defamatory remarks, in a case that was eventually settled out of court. He also threatened legal action against CBC because it didn’t advertise in Quebecor’s French-language newspapers.

Peladeau wrote in a letter to CBC president Hubert Lacroix that if the broadcaster persisted in “boycotting” Quebecor’s publications he would take the matter to court. Peladeau claimed that Radio-Canada stopped buying ads in Quebecor publications when it locked out employees at two newspapers. He also said Radio-Canada was reacting to criticism of the CBC by Quebecor journalists.

CBC president Hubert Lacroix previously said that Quebecor’s readers weren’t part of Radio-Canada’s target market.

Marc Pichette, a spokesman for Radio-Canada, told the paper the deal is mutually beneficial and suits the Crown broadcaster’s distribution plans for its existing specialty channels and a new science and nature channel, Explora.