Bell files complaint with CRTC over Rogers GamePlus Feature

gamecentreBell Media, recent losers in the battle for the NHL national rights contract, has filed a complaint with the CRTC over their GamePlus feature that is available as a Rogers-exclusive on the NHL GameCentre Live app. Bell argues that the feature violates a CRTC rule that requires that content created for television must be offered to competitors. GamePlus allows viewers to choose alternate angles including RefCam and SkyCam.

The Globe and Mail elaborates on the CRTC rule:

The CRTC’s rules for vertically integrated players – companies that both create and distribute media content – bar media owners from withholding content from their rivals on the distribution front. The commission exempts online video services from its broadcast regulations, but specifies that television programming cannot be offered on mobile or Internet streaming platforms on an exclusive basis.

In an email to the Globe and Mail, a Rogers spokesperson stated, ““Clearly this programming is not designed for conventional TV. Conventional TV broadcasts the exact same program to a mass audience who all see the same content, presented the same way. With GamePlus, each fan has a unique experience. We wouldn’t have developed [the features] solely for broadcast use.”

The spokesperson then throws some massive shade, “It’s a shame that Bell is trying to stop innovation in hockey. This may be one of the reasons they failed to secure the rights in the first place. We’ve invested in significant new innovations to bring Canadians an enhanced experience.”

Bell is asking the CRTC to allow all subscribers to view GamePlus, regardless of their internet or wireless provider:

In an e-mail, BCE spokesman Mark Langton said: “We don’t see it as especially innovative that Rogers denies GameCentre consumers access to these stats and other features if they aren’t also Rogers internet or wireless customers. These consumers pay for GameCentre just like Rogers customers so why are they denied access to features available on regular broadcast TV anyway? It breaks the CRTC’s digital media rules, and it impacts all GameCentre consumers across Canada who love hockey but aren’t Rogers customers.”

Rogers has a month to respond to the complaint. The general public can also comment on the complaint via the CRTC site.


Dan — @SportsOnCdnTV

6 thoughts on “Bell files complaint with CRTC over Rogers GamePlus Feature

  1. Funny thing is, depending on the situation you are in, what you pay for Rogers Game Centre Live can vary wildly and yet those paying the most, IE: Not a Rogers customer for *anything* else other than GCL get *less* than people who are full of Rogers services and in some extreme cases the Rogers customers get GCL live “free” for the entire season…

    Yet Rogers sees nothing wrong with this? Not saying that I think Bell is doing this for any other reason than to drag Rogers through the mud and burning $$ on lawyers fees, but it does make you wonder…

    • No doubt the thinking of Rogers is that people will switch their internet/phone/cable to Rogers in order to get these exclusive features. I doubt many people would go through the hassle of changing providers just for a couple new-only-to-hockey camera angles.

    • They are enticing you to buy other Roger’s products. Seems like a good business strategy to me.

  2. Bell subscriber here. Will take the crystal clear (mostly) picture of satellite over Rogers pixelated HD. Luckily my parents are Rogers subscribers and I can use their account credentials to access GCL and SN Now! Bell needs to get with the program – they allow everyone to access the TSN GO app but cry at Rogers exclusives. I pay for SN World yet can’t watch extra EPL matches on the app.

    • I’m literally in the same boat as you. Bell Fibe customer with SN World subscription, yet I get zero access to SN Now or SN World Plus games, but Rogers customers get to see TSN GO. My fiance’s parents are Rogers customers, so I use their credentials for anything Rogers related. I’m somewhat surprised TSN hasn’t cut Rogers customers from viewing TSN online.

      • Odd how you can access the TSN feeds online with a Rogers account but I’m guessing there hasn’t been enough complaints from customers to get an agreement to view Sportsnet Online.

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