Innovative products and services enhance the customer experience9
Bell is at the forefront of innovations that are advancing how Canadians connect as a direct result of our extensive fibre and wireless network, working with multiple technology partners in Canada and around the world to introduce new products and services that will lead to better experiences for our residential and business customers.
Fibre and 5G: springboards for smarter tools and applications
With Canada’s most extensive pure fibre infrastructure and our award-winning 5G network continuing to reach growing numbers of Canadians as a result of our capital expenditure acceleration program, Bell is delivering innovative solutions for consumers and businesses alike.
In 2021, Bell continued to maximize home connectivity by launching the new Home Hub 4000 for all-fibre customers in Ontario and Québec. The Home Hub 4000 uses Wi-Fi 6, the latest and best Wi-Fi technology available, to deliver faster speeds and better performance by minimizing congestion on home networks, even when multiple devices are connected at the same time.
Making it easier for residential customers to manage their properties and multiple smart devices and appliances, we also continue to expand our suite of Bell Smart Home services. In 2021, we added Bright products, such as smart plugs and lights, to our portfolio of convenient and energy-saving Smart Home tools – including cameras, doorbells and thermostats – that customers can control using the Bell Smart Home app.
With 94% of its wireless towers connected with fibre, Bell is also well positioned to offer customers new and innovative 5G applications.
Providing an early example of what converged fibre and 5G networks can do, in 2021 Bell launched TSN 5G View/Vision 5G RDS for the home games of the Montréal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, later expanding the service to include Toronto Raptors home games. Using more than 80 in-arena cameras that are all connected with fibre, the feature provides an immersive, in-game sports viewing experience by enabling fans to control how they watch the game directly from their Bell 5G smartphone.
We also launched a 5G collaboration with TikTok Canada to power its unique Paint Portal multi-user Augmented Reality effect.
The convergence of fibre and 5G networks is also creating new opportunities for Bell to provide business customers with the full end-to-end solutions they need to support their workforces, transform how they operate, and better serve their own customers.
In 2021, Bell reached strategic agreements with Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud that combine cloud computing with MEC technology, with the high bandwidth and ultra-low latency of Bell 5G, to support the development and use of innovative applications in immersive gaming, precision medicine, industrial automation and autonomous vehicles. Bell is also working with AWS and VMware Cloud to offer Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to enterprise businesses and government organizations.
Further expanding Canada’s largest portfolio of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, in 2021 Bell launched new platforms, including Smart Supply Chain for fleet and supply chain operators. We also announced an agreement with Esri Canada, the country’s leading geographic information system (GIS) provider, to create the Bell Integrated Smart City Ecosystem, a solution that combines our 5G network and IoT solutions with Esri’s real-time analytics to help communities of all sizes realize the benefits of advanced connectivity, including more efficient operations.
Media leadership delivers for Canadians
Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, digital media and out-of-home advertising, providing compelling content across a range of platforms to help ensure that Canadians are connected, informed and entertained in communities across the country.
Along with the CTV and Noovo conventional television networks, Bell Media operates 35 local television stations, 27 specialty channels, including sports leaders TSN and RDS streaming services CRAVE, TSN Direct and RDS Direct; and radio stations across Canada. Bell Media is also a partner with Pinewood Toronto Studios, Montréal’s Grandé Studios, Just for Laughs and Dome Productions, one of North America’s leading providers of production facilities.
In 2021, CTV remained Canada’s most-watched conventional TV network for the 20th consecutive year, and CTV News continues to be Canada’s most-watched news organization both locally and nationally, while Noovo continued to grow more rapidly than any other conventional network in Québec, with notably an 18% increase in its prime-time audience in fall 2021.
Bell Media’s English-language specialty channels – including CTV Comedy Channel, CTV Drama Channel, CTV Life Channel, CTV Sci-Fi Channel and Discovery – continue to attract large audiences, setting new ratings records in 2021. Among French-language audiences, Bell Media’s specialty channels were #1 in the fall of 2021, with strong performances by Canal D, Canal Vie and Investigation, leading to six channels in the Top 10, and with original productions from Canal Vie holding the top four positions.
Flagship news channels and sites CTVNews.ca, CP24.com and BNNBloomberg.ca and related apps continue connecting Canadians across the country to Canada’s most trusted news, anytime and anywhere, while popular programs W5, Powerplay and Question Period continue to keep Canadians informed about important issues. Digital experiences available from CTV improved even further in 2021 with the addition of content from five Discovery channels to CTV.ca and the CTV app, adding more than 5,000 hours of original series, documentaries and other programming.
In 2021, Bell Media launched Noovo-Info, featuring a team of respected TV, radio and digital journalists covering news as it occurs throughout Québec. At the same time, digital channels CTV Throwback and CTV Movies increased Canadians’ access to streaming-on-demand content from CTV.ca and the CTV app, while the Noovo.ca digital platform also increased access to content from Bell Media’s French-language specialty channels, including Canal Vie, Canal D, Z, VRAK and Investigation.
TSN, Canada’s most-watched sports channel and RDS, the top French-language sports network, continued to be available on-demand via the innovative TSN Direct and RDS Direct streaming services, and both channels figured prominently in the launch of the innovative TSN 5G View/Vision 5G RDS apps in 2021. TSN also made history in 2021 with coverage by an all-female broadcast team of a Toronto Raptors game, a first for the NBA.
Crave, our bilingual video streaming service, also continued to grow in 2021, surpassing 2.9 million subscribers and continuing to offer premium content from HBO, Showtime and Starz as well as Crave originals and thousands of hours of French-language content.
As Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, Bell Media helps keep Canadians informed and entertained with 215 music channels including 109 licensed radio stations in 58 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service.
Bell Media continues to partner with many other organizations to support Canada’s content production industry, including initiatives with TIFF and Reelworld, as well as Cinemania Film Festival, Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma and the Montréal International Film Festival (RIDM) in Québec, plus BIPOC TV & FILM, Inside Out, ImagineNATIVE, Hot Docs, the Banff World Media Festival, the Reel Asian International Film Festival, Content Canada, the National Screen Institute and many others.
Bell also entered into a new agreement with Xandr in 2021 to deliver Canada’s first digital self-serve platform for advertisers, continuing to make it easier for advertisers and other stakeholders to do business with Bell. This is another example of how we are continuing to improve customer experiences overall for consumers and businesses.
For more information about Bell investments in Canada’s media industry, including Canadian content, please see the Economy section and the Media Ethics information sheet on our website.
SASB: SV-ME-260a, SV-ME-270a, SV-ME-520a
As Canada’s leading provider of innovative TV experiences, we continue to deliver customers the most compelling content on the platform of their choice.
In 2021, Bell made the innovative Fibe TV app available to customers in Manitoba for the first time. The award-winning app includes live pause and rewind, Download & Go and Restart functions, enabling customers to watch the latest news, live sports and popular TV shows when they desire, as well as Crave and on-demand movies and series from other services, on their tablet, smartphone or laptop. Customers can also use the app to watch programs on their TV set with Bell Streamer, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or Google Chromecast.
Bell also launched Crave Mobile in 2021, enabling customers with the ability to access the streaming service’s unparalleled content library on a single mobile device, and Crave Total for when multiple users use the service across a full range of screens.
Retail services and new mobile devices
Having expanded the roster of retailers where the low-cost Lucky Mobile and Virgin Plus wireless services were available in 2020, Bell introduced Advantages@TheSource in 2021, a new program that provides our residential and small business customers with exclusive offers and front-of-the-line access to new products as they become available.
Providing the most in-demand smartphones, tablets and industrial mobile devices across the Canadian communications industry’s largest national distribution network, Bell also offers Canada’s largest selection of 5G smartphones from leading manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung, Google, LG and Motorola. With Bell SmartPay, customers can acquire a new smartphone with $0 down on eligible 2-year plans. Virgin Plus Sweet Pay also provides a simple way for Members to get a new device (smartphone or tablet) for as low as $0 down with a 24-month agreement.
Bell innovations align with principles of net neutralitytagSASB: TC-TL-520a.3
The CRTC oversees a regulatory framework that supports Internet service providers (ISPs) throughout Canada as they compete for customers based on quality of service, speed, data allowance, service offerings and pricing.
Designed to ensure that the key principles of net neutrality are maintained – including fostering consumer choice, innovation and the free exchange of ideas – this framework has been developed over a number of years and is implemented by the CRTC through Canada’s Telecommunications Act and specific rules for Internet traffic management practices and differential pricing practices.
Bell supports a free and open Internet and meets all requirements related to net neutrality as set by the CRTC, offering Canadians innovative, high-quality Internet access at competitive prices. With respect to online content, Bell recognizes the growing consensus that various players in the Internet ecosystem each have a role to play in addressing illegal, infringing and other harmful material, and it supports a system that addresses such content consistent with the principles of net neutrality.