More outrage on CRTC non-decision

This time from someone a little more qualified than the usual suspects, Dr. Michael Geist, academic expert on new technologies and copyright. His argument: the CRTC failed to consider two key factors in its non decision on fee for carriage, the consumer and the Internet. You should read the whole column to get a solid analysis of the CRTC’s failure as a regulator in this case.

Toronto Star, March 29 2010

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CRTC non-decision lays an egg

I’m back, and I’ll pass on Ann Coulter thanks (if you ignore them, they do go away.) Of more import is the CRTC’s non-decision on fee for carriage to dump the whole thing back to the two entities that can’t agree on it: over the air TV companies and cable companies. J-source rounds up the media opinion, which is universally negative (you’d think a regulator could actually regulate). Meanwhile, CBC-TV seems to be asking for its share of cable revenue as well. Pretty rich. We’re all paying for CBC TV through our taxes, then CBC wants us to pay for receiving it on cable. Talk about double taxation….

J-source, March 23 2010

Shaw backs out of deal on small stations

As predicted in this space a few months ago, the Shaw move to buy for $1 each small CTV stations in Windsor, Wingham and Brandon has fallen through. I noted it was just a cheap stunt for the benefit of the CRTC to argue that CTV/Global over-the-air stations don’t need fee-for-carriage and can be profitable without it. I suspect the bean counters at Shaw finally argued economic sense to senior management, and convinced them that buying money losing stations in an ad depression is a guaranteed money-loser. Interesting that the story comes out on a holiday and that Shaw management, in the manner of titans of industry who screw up everywhere, are unavailable for comment. Keep after them boys, to explain what happened to this. Meanwhile, CanWest sold its smaller stations in Montreal and Hamilton to something called Channel Zero, which has a radical approach to profitability: change the format to something they can afford, to wit all news during the day and movies at night. This will be good for news in those communities.

Globe and Mail, July 1 2009

MP’s boot fee-for-carriage back to CRTC

CP reports that MP’s have been studying the fee-for-carriage issue, but decided to send it back to the CRTC, which has twice rejected it. They did offer a sweetener, uping a $60 million fund for programming to about $150 million. Don’t get too excited the increase would come out of your cable/satellite fees, as would fee-for-carriage, if it’s implemented.

Canadian Press, June 17 2009

Arguments building for fee for carriage for CTV/Global (but not, apparently, CBC)

CRTC released info yesterday that digital/specialty channels made almost $690 million last year, while traditional over the air networks like CTV and Global made about $8 million. In line with the CRTC head testifying Wednesday before a parliamentary committe that fee for carriage (i.e. adding a cost to your cable/saellite bill to receive CTV/Global) “should be considered.” Looks like CRTC is setting up the public for just that move.

Mediacastermagazine, March 27 2009

Fee-for-carriage new mantra for private broadcasters

Nice summary article from the Globe today on the troubles hitting Canadian private broadcasters and the strategies CTV and Global are putting forward to correct them. The language is apocalyptic; every business is facing the same financial troubles these days, and when the recession lifts and ad revenues return, wonder if the privates will be willing to forgo fee for carriage. Anyway, interesting to speculate if CBC might jump on the same bandwagon, thus wreaking havoc on the CTV/Global arguments. But why not? Digital/specialty channels are being carried by cable/satellite fees; why shouldn’t their be a level playing fee (or better yet, cut the fee-for-carriage fees for the specialties, and let all the channels compete for eyeballs.

Globe and Mail, March 4 2009