Over the past few weeks there has been a small battle brewing in the Vancouver ISP space between Shaw Cable and Novus Entertainment. Earlier this year Shaw began offering deals to residents of downtown Vancouver who were currently in buildings serviced by Novus. The deal offered by Shaw includes TV, phone and internet service for as low $29.85 a month (or $9.95 ea.) for the first year, with no contract as well as the first 2 months of service absolutely free. The campaign was started in February but heated up in July and Novus cried foul, saying Shaw was engaging in anti-competitive behaviour and offering its services way below cost and swiftly followed with a complaint filed to the Competition Bureau of Canada as well as a large internet marketing campaign, 10buckstoo.com, to spread the word.
Fast forward to this past Monday August 24, 2009, Shaw fired back at Novus Entertainment by filing a defamation suit in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Shaw president Peter Bissonnette said Novus is intentionally spreading misinformation about Shaw’s competitive promotion. On top of this Shaw also states that a large majority of the 225 residential buildings serviced by Novus, many of which are owned by Concord Pacific, a company which has major ownership interest in Novus Entertainment, have never had access to Shaw services up until recently. Shaw goes on to explain Concord Pacific had originally blocked Shaw’s access from wiring these buildings during their construction, which would have reduced costs significantly.
A fair amount of controversy has come up surrounding the 10buckstoo internet marketing campaign Novus has launched (being run by 6S Marketing) as well, many comments surrounding this can be viewed in the comments section of our original post from back in July. This brings up the question of ethics in social media campaigns, given that just as broadcasting platforms like Twitter can rally support around a good cause and effect change for good, they can also be used to tarnish the reputation of other companies.
This recent information sheds a whole new light on the situation, possibly flipping around the ‘villain’ in this situation which many originally believed to be Shaw. It seems Novus is calling the kettle black here; first by filing an anti-competitive complaint and then information being released that Concord Pacific, and Novus themselves, were being anti-competitive in not allowing Shaw to even offer its services to many Novus customers until recently. You can’t block someone from accessing your customers, behaving in a monopolistic way, and then complain once you allow a competitor access and they launch with a promotion under-cutting your prices.
It will be interesting to see what happens next, and as always techvibes will update you with the latest on the situation. Let us know what you think in the comments.