The Bell-Astral $3.38 billion dollar proposed merger dominated headlines last week and I was even asked to appear on CBC Radio. However, it's an extremely complicated deal- so complicated that the producers at CBC decided to speak with lawyers instead on whether or not the deal should be approved by the CRTC!
Regardless, the proposed merger also includes Astral Advertising which brings into question whether Bell Media would now be able to compete with part of Google's strategy in mobile advertising known as synchronized cross-media advertising.
Google's Jessie Haines explained to me in an interview in late January that Google wants the tablet, television, smartphone and personal computer all to synchronize. You're most likely to use multiple forms of media in the evening. You'll be watching television and using your smartphone at the same time. Google wants you to see the same synchronized ad at the same time. You can read more here.
Further, if the merger is successful, Bell will have gained Astral Advertising and uniquely positioned themselves. Bell will have increased their television advertising reach with the 24 specialty channels they would acquire, will increase their radio presence with the stations they acquire but don't have to sell, will gain out-of-home billboards which are going from traditional to digital to advertise their many products and services much like Rogers does, and they will also gain 3 million consumers via Internet and mobile phones that they can advertise to.
From the two examples I've illustrated above you can see two different approaches to potential cross-media synchronization of advertising.
That's the way media companies are moving towards advertising revenue. Astral says "media is the new creative" and that they offer an "Astral Mix" that provides powerful solutions that brings synergy to advertising across various platforms.
If Bell is successful they will have become a bigger player in the ad world to complement their CTV Globemedia properties which should also raise the debate about a possible monopoly in the traditional advertising world alongside a monopoly of premium content as we explained earlier on Techvibes.
Perhaps in large merger acquisitions like this one that potentially create monopolies in industries that the process could be dealt with in a way that would be beneficial to all players just how the wireless spectrum debate was resolved.