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Section2b. Position Importance Matrix on FFC issue
Section 2c.The key stakeholders as identified by BCE are its investors, customers, employees, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), suppliers and communities it operates wthin. They have a direct economic stake in Bell because of the flow of funds between them and Bell.
Bell TV functions in ahighly regulated but a competitive environment therefore it has to continously monitor Government and its competitors. Both these factors cost Bell its customers and revenues. To maintain revenues Bell has to provide a competitive customer experience.Moreover, it has to respect the causes its customer's value, such as, community life and environment. A competent workforce is vital to achieving all these goals. Media and NGO's shape public's opinions that can ultimately affect the stock price and cost of capital.
Over the last decade Bell has developed a systematic strategy for stakeholder engagement. They started with systematically establishing dialogue with different stakeholders and gained insight into their expectations.Then, developed a vision and a CR framework, and under this framework, it has developed a code of conduct and host of policies for its directors, managers and employees such as, auditor independence, privacy, political contribution, community investments and environment protection. Now it constantly identifies issues and opportunities and, responds to those which enable them to achieve its sustainable goals. It monitors issues by means of trend analysis, benchmark studies, monitoring of CR performance, and most importantly stakeholder feedback. It then measures its performance through KPIs developed through global CR guidelines. Most importantly, it monitors and constantly revises all aspects of its stakeholder engagement process.
Section2d.Bell has a stakeholder approach as it integrates stakeholder engagement into its core business strategy and states on its website “Bell is an active corporate citizen, engaged in improving the well-being of society by enabling economic growth, connecting communities and safeguarding the environment."(Corporate Responsibilty- bce.ca). Moreover, we saw in the last section how Bell has integrated stakeholder management in its corporate strategy.
Shareholders do get preference in practice, however, as was seen in a recent lawsuit against BCE in Quebec filed by bondholders. Furthermore, on the issue of the carriage fees, Bell has warned that it will pass on the extra costs (upto $70 million a year) to the customers which some think can be absorbed by Bell.
Section 2e.Stakeholders are manged according to their influence on the company and if that influence is negative or supportive. Plus how any action of the stakeholder effects the company or vice versa.
Government:Bell TV is subject to programming and carriage requirements under CRTC regulations. Changes to the regulations that govern broadcasting could negatively affect Bell TV's competitive position or the cost of providing its services. The issue of carriage- fee will severely affect the company's operating procedures, costs and revenues. (BCE Annual Report 2009)
Customers:BCE distributes more than 500 all-digital video and audio channels to over 1.8 million subscribers through its DTH satellite platform, Bell TV (BCE Annual Report 2009). Its customer has slightly declined over the past years in revenues. They dont have the power to influence the company but a legitimate stake in company's actions, however they are on top of its list in its 2009 financial strategic plan. In face of increasing competition and rising price for its services, Bell's future depends on how well it serves it customers and engages them with new, innovative products.
Investorsare the primary source of cash when the company needs it. They have rights and can excercise those rigts to influence and dictate how the management runs the company. They can sell their shares/bonds and invest elsewhere. This could bring the stockprice down. They can bring lawsuits against the company when their rights are violated or they witness unethical behaviour.
Competitors:The primary competitors in the company's wholesale business include both traditional carriers and emerging carriers. Intense competition will lead to pricing pressures and further adversely affect the company's market share and operating margins. (BCE Annual Report 2009)
Employees:In period of high unemployment Bell certainly exerts more influence on its employees. However, incompetent employees could result in lower efficiencies and poor customer service which would lead to dissatisfied customers, bad reputation and loss of revenues.
Media, Analysts & researchers:Pressure to meet analysts forecasts drives companies to perform unethically and illegally. Investors are looking for upstanding corporate citizens, specially big institutional investors but, they do not have the capacity to sort through the financial information provided to them. Hence they are looking for simpler means of information such as media and rating agencies etc.
Section 2f.Bell is part of the Canadian Broadcasting system and it cannot survive by itself. It needs the TV networks to provide content to customers. It needs customers to earn revenues and innovative products and services to engage customers. Bell is a ‘blue chip' and a well-established company with a huge market share. It is unlikely that investors will lose confidence in its ability to provide good returns. Infact, as Bell keeps ahead with innovation and successfull technologies, it will keep attracting investors and capital.
The issue of the fee for carriage (FFC) or as CRTC uses the term value for signal (VFS) has numerous stakeholders concerned. If the courts decide that CRTC has the right to impose the VFS then Bell will have to negotiate with the Canadian networks like CTV, City TV for a fee for their signal. The TV networks have threatened to pull their signal if broadcasting distributors undertaking (BDU) do not pay. On the other hand, BDUs have already threatened to pass the cost on to the consumers, which will be around $10 a month. They have other options like not distribute the signal and remove it from their packages. In both scenarios, the customers will pay the ultimate price.
Customers are going to be key in painting Bell's future. Subscribers to will keep on rising if it introduces new and more efficient ways to distribute TV across Canada, such as, IPTV, PVR etc.regardless of the price, although, it must be combined with outstanding customer service. The distributing, however, will be more consumer-centric as more players enter the market. (Government is also considering opening up the broadcasting to foreign distributors such as USA.) Moreover, because of more competitors it is expected that market forces will keep the prices to an acceptable level. The secret to keep consumers happy will be to provide freedom of choice instead of more choice.
Content suppliers such as CTV have already become problematic. Depending on how much fees can be negotiated, this will greatly impact Bell's bottom-line; however, Bell has already warned to pass this on to its customers and how much is passed on by different distributors will define who will gain the largest market share in the long-term. On the FFC battle, we have seen how CRTC is vital therefore; even if we see more deregulation in coming days, the role of government is unlikely to diminish completely.