updated 02:05 pm EDT, Tue March 29, 2011
Videotron tries to take iPhones out of TV shows
Videotron's parent company Quebecor has been pushing movie and TV show producers to omit any shots with iPhones, talks with local producers have uncovered. Independent producers have been grilled by Quebecor's TVA wing over whether characters use Apple's handset, how often it shows on the screen, or whether there are any audio giveaways that one is being used. Cyberpresse was told that TVA has sometimes only "suggested" changes for shows less connected to its network, but when the series has been supervised by TVA, it has ordered producers to use phones on Videotron's network, like the Nexus One.
The only exceptions have been when technology has been the centerpiece, such as when Caroline Héroux, the producer of the series Lance et compte: La déchirure (Shoot and Score: The Tear), made TVA promise that two main characters kept the iPhones instrumental to their roles on the show. Destinées (Destinies) producer André Dupuy said he wouldn't object as long as it didn't compromise the integrity of the show, but he "wouldn't be surprised" if an explicit order came down from TVA banning iPhones.
Attempts to hide competing products by parent companies, and to highlight their own, are fairly common elsewhere but only periodically come up in the cellphone world, appearing less often with independent producers. Sony was expected to make sure characters were using Sony Ericsson phones in the Bond film Casino Royale, for example, but it was also controlled entirely by Sony's Columbia Pictures.
Videotron's need to go with the 1,700MHz 3G band for its young network locked it out of getting the current iPhone and may be a sore point for Quebecor, since Bell, Rogers, and Telus have all had no such problems. Carrier executives may have leaked long-term plans by claiming a 1,700MHz-native iPhone was coming late last year, but it has yet to arrive and might not show at the earliest until late summer or early fall with the iPhone 5.
Spokespeople for Videotron and TVA declined to comment on the original story after multiple attempts to get in touch.