Wall Communications Inc., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Economic Consulting Firm: Competition

Wall Communications Inc.


Wall Communications appears before the Copyright Board on Royalty Payments for Retransmitted Distant TV Signals (November 2015)

Acting on behalf of the Copyright Collective of Canada (which owns the program rights for a majority of the most popular TV shows aired in Canada), Wall Communications filed expert economic evidence that valued the signals at substantially more than the value of the current tariff. The current tariff pays program rights owners (who are represented before the Board by several Collective agencies, or Collectives) about $100 million a year in royalties. The Collectives have requested that the new tariff be essentially doubled.

The tariff is paid by Canadian Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings (BDUs) such as cable TV operators, DTH operators and IPTV service providers. The BDUs have argued for no change to the existing tariff. The tariff is set for five years, with the tariff now being determined for the 2014 - 2018 period.

The hearing is not expected to conclude until March of 2016 with a decision expected sometime in 2017.

Wall Communications Evidence supported in Supreme Court Ruling (CBC v. SODRAC Supreme Court 2015, SCC 57, November 2015)

In a Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision issued November 26, 2015, it was confirmed that there is an incidental broadcasting-reproduction right but the SCC disagreed with the Copyright Board's valuation of that right. The Court concluded that the Copyright Board failed to consider the principles of technological neutrality and balance between users' and right-holders' interests. The Copyright Board must now re-assess the value of this right, taking into account factors such as the risk incurred by the user (i.e., the broadcaster) and the extent of the investment made by the user in new technology.

CBC (in conjunction with Astral) was the only party to submit relevant economic evidence on the value of broadcasting incidental reproductions - the evidence being prepared by Wall Communications Inc. Wall Communications' valuation evidence noted the following:

The value of any specific input (such as musical works) used by a broadcaster is not necessarily related to the value of the investments made by the broadcaster in new digital technology or any operational cost increases/decreases attributable to the new technology; the disconnect between the value of incidental reproductions of music used in programs and the benefits of new technologies adopted by broadcasters is even more pronounced.

Wall Communications went further in stating: From an economics perspective, placing a price on incidental reproductions that emanate from the adoption of newer technologies provides a disincentive to the adoption of new technology.

A new Copyright Board hearing to re-assess the value of broadcasting incidental reproductions has not yet been scheduled.

U.S. Federal Judge Overturns Jury Antitrust Ruling - Wall Communications Expert Evidence and Testimony provided in support of Defendant (November 2015)

After a jury had found defendant Cox Communications guilty of violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act, a Federal District court judge ruled that the jury lacked a sufficient evidentiary basis to arrive at a guilty verdict. Justice Robin Cauthron directed a verdict of not guilty in the "bellwether" case due to plaintiff's failure to prove substantial foreclosure and/or economic damages

The Plaintiff had alleged that Cox tied its cable services to set-top box (STB) rentals, restrained competition in the STB market, and forced plaintiffs to pay more for STBs than they would absent the tie.

Wall Communications produced evidence for the defense that examined issues of "but for" analysis and economic damages. Dr. Gerry Wall appeared at both the Class Certification proceeding (2013) as well as the antitrust trial in Oklahoma City (2015). Wall argued that the analysis provided by the Plaintiff's expert was based on errors of fact, was methodologically incorrect and ultimately failed to demonstrate that economic injury had occurred.

The outcome of this case is expected to have ongoing implications for tied market anti-trust actions in the U.S., including several pending STB cases (involving both Cox as well as other cable TV operators).


Wall Communications Inc. Releases 8th Annual Report on the Prices Paid for Telecom Services in Canada and Internationally (June 2015)

Wall Communications has released its 8th annual price comparison study measuring the prices that Canadians pay for mobile phone service, landline phone service, internet service (both fixed and mobile) and bundles of these same services (including basic TV service). In addition to measuring the prices paid by Canadians, the prices of these same services are also tracked for other G7 countries - the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Japan - as well as Australia.

Full details of the findings and methodology are available in the 2015 Wall Report. The study has been produced annually since 2008 by Wall Communications Inc. and is commissioned by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Industry Canada.

(Press Release, 2015 Wall Report)



Wall Communications Inc.
238 Buena Vista Road, Ottawa ON K1M 0V7
Tel: (613) 747-0555
email:  Wallcom

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