Jump to content
Political Discussion Forums
bush_cheney2004

Future of Canadian TV

Recommended Posts

CRTC hearings currently underway on the future of Canadian pay and free TV are very revealing. Ironically, much of the discussion involves access to and ad revenue from foreign programming, mostly from the United States, the very thing that the CRTC was, at least partially, set up to counter.

Should basic cable service packages include the "4+1", Canadian shorthand for American networks ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS, or be exclusively Canadian content ?

The CRTC has proposed that cable companies adopt either a "skinny basic" package that would include only Canadian channels or an expanded basic package that could include other channels but would be capped at a rate of $20 to $30. Both would have to be "promoted in an equivalent manner to other packages" and neither would include the 4+1 U.S. networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and PBS), whose signals are available free over the air in many parts of the country.

...Bell was the lone voice among this group to support the removal of the 4+1 from the basic package, saying the inclusion "undermines the cultural objectives of the system."

Is all of this moot as content distribution models displace traditional broadcast and cable television ? What should the CRTC do ?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crtc-gets-an-earful-at-hearings-on-future-of-tv-1.2764290

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
What should the CRTC do ?

They should consider resigning en masse, and getting out of the regualtory business entirely.

eta: caveat: somebody does need to manage the wireless spectrum. It does not have to be the CRTC, which is politically enmeshed in a growing nightmare.

Edited by overthere

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See Cord Cutters thread, issues like these have been discussed at length.

The Basic cable you describe are all OTA networks for a good majority of Canadians.

The question is, should Broadcasters stop sending a signal to people since many get those channels through cable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See Cord Cutters thread, issues like these have been discussed at length.

....The question is, should Broadcasters stop sending a signal to people since many get those channels through cable.

Maybe, but the CRTC is first and foremost an instrument for government policy, not technical or market reality. My U.S. cable provider is mandating addressable set top boxes or cable cards for all devices, which is actually driving more people back to OTA broadcasting. This is likely to happen in Canada as well if not already underway, and is considered to be "cord cutting" just as much as internet streaming.

Can the U.S. programming and SimSub ad revenue be stripped away from the discussion for domestic policy, or is it a fundamental component of Canadian television and proverbial "elephant in the room" ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a fundamental component of Canadian television. Course thats a remnant of the actual broadcasting age which the CRTC is slowly evolving from but limited by its mandate so it can't really evolve from anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK...so if I understand correctly, the American "4+1" networks are ad revenue cash cows for cable providers and broadcasters relaying the U.S. signal because of SimSub. How many large or medium Canadian markets can receive U.S. OTA content with U.S. ads directly, bypassing all of this nonsense ?

Politically, I can't see the CRTC re-allocating the TV broadcast spectrum anytime soon. The cable providers and content producers also don't want a "pick 'n pay" a la carte system because that model hurts revenue streams.

Who is representing the public interest ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You only get SimSub if a Canadian Network paid for the rights to that show.

I can still watch the SEC game of the week on Saturday and see ads for Chick-Fil-A and Sonic because no Canadian Network has paid for rights to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I can still watch the SEC game of the week on Saturday and see ads for Chick-Fil-A and Sonic because no Canadian Network has paid for rights to that.

OK...so how does the business model evolve to supporting more CanCon programming if the ad revenue is already being generated by cheaper, readily available U.S. programming that is purchased (paid rights)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK...so how does the business model evolve to supporting more CanCon programming if the ad revenue is already being generated by cheaper, readily available U.S. programming that is purchased (paid rights)?

You're seeing a lot of CanCon on Cable actually. Reality TV mostly but it appeals to an audience. The channels these shows are on are part of the basic cable. The channels make the money through mandatory carriage.

I've heard plenty of debates in the US over the same issues. What channels get mandatory carriage or not.

An a la carte model with most certainly hurt this model and a lot of these shows won't get the funding. BUT cable is very expensive so is forcing people to pay for cable channels they may not want just hurting the system overall? Who knows.

I certainly wouldn't support any system that makes me pay more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're seeing a lot of CanCon on Cable actually. Reality TV mostly but it appeals to an audience. The channels these shows are on are part of the basic cable. The channels make the money through mandatory carriage.

Note that the cable carriers also produce the channels inhouse, like HGTV and Discovery.

The product, netwrok and delivery - all from the same source. I think they make money at every level of that process.

Rogers takes it a step further with sports by owning teams and venues as well as everyhting else realted to production and broadcast.. They have cleverly moved much of that product- Jays and hockey- onto 'premium channels'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the end of the day paying for individual channels will end up costing people a lot more. Eastlink has been offering it on the east coast for a long time now, so Bell and Rogers both offer it too. You can get a package with 5-6 channels for around $10/mo or you can buy individual channels from a packages for $5/mo. If you want any more than 1 channel from a package it no longer becomes worth it to buy individual channels. This is exactly what they'll end up doing if the CRTC requires them to "unbundle." They'll continue to offer bundles at a price that makes buying the individual channels prohibitive. In other words, unbundling will change nothing.

What may be better is the ultra light cable package which only offers CBC, Global, CTV, APTN, The Weather Network, and a few other channels for $30. Currently, basic packages include a lot more and are a lot more expensive. The thing is I'm not sure how many people who still subscribe to cable only have the basic package. Most people get additional channels and things. So who knows how many people this would affect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Individual speciality channels on Shaw cost a couple bucks a month, but you cannot get them unless you buy a big fat monthly package first.

It is not apparent why the cost of individual channels would go up in a fully unbundled world, carriers like Shaw won't comment on this. .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Individual speciality channels on Shaw cost a couple bucks a month, but you cannot get them unless you buy a big fat monthly package first.

It is not apparent why the cost of individual channels would go up in a fully unbundled world, carriers like Shaw won't comment on this. .

I'm forced to get a minimum of 5 a la carte channels above and beyond the basic cable and one speciality package. (Sports of course)

So I have 2 channels I really want but 3 that I could live with out. Then there are channels where I can get only the SD version but have to subscribe to the full package to get the HD channel.

There are certainly ways to make the system better but then these Telecoms won't make as much money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
....There are certainly ways to make the system better but then these Telecoms won't make as much money.

I don't see how the Canadian telecoms (Big 3 or little guys) would have much leverage over the bundling or revenue model for U.S. content even if a la carte was mandated by the CRTC. Requiring U.S. broadcast networks (4+1) as part of any "skinny basic" cable tier as proposed by Rogers seems to be a strategic move to keep more Canadians on the cable habit, then they can be upsold for sports, premium channels, and pay-per-view.

rogers_breaking_bad.jpg?w=476

Edited by bush_cheney2004

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last I heard PBS was still a quality station. If it is available we could probably do worse than keeping it part of the basic package, American or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There are certainly ways to make the system better but then these Telecoms won't make as much money.

deregulation might well solve both things- better and less profit.

Really, the whole setup is a series of regional near- monopolies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I DVRing the new Ken Burns miniseries on PBS right now. It's on the Roosevelt family:Teddy, Franklin and Elenore.

I hope you don't have to pay for that.

Methinks I will look for a Canadian TV program guide for a major market just to see how much foreign programming and networks are offered compared to "Canadian content".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I DVRing the new Ken Burns miniseries on PBS right now. It's on the Roosevelt family:Teddy, Franklin and Elenore.

Doing the same and saw the first one on Teddy this evening. Quality entertainment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope you don't have to pay for that.

Methinks I will look for a Canadian TV program guide for a major market just to see how much foreign programming and networks are offered compared to "Canadian content".

You don't have to pay for it either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh? But I do pay for it....I'm a U.S. taxpayer !

Thought PBS was viewer funded.

In fact WNED in Buffalo actually mentions Toronto on its logo.

I really enjoy a PBS program called America's Test Kitchen. Before each episode they Reem off several sponsors. Ditto with Ken Burns documentaries.

Edited by Boges

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at Winnipeg's TV listings, I see a diverse mix of American broadcast networks, U.S. stations (KOMO ?), the usual U.S. cable networks with and without a Canadian variant, CBC, CTV, European channels, at least one Asian offering (Taiwan ?), lots of sports (MLB, NHL, NFL), "aboriginal" content channels, local access channels, French language channels, shopping, weather, movies, and a lot of HD duplication of the same channels.

I would guess that at least 40% of the channels are foreign in origin, with several domestic channels also airing foreign programs. Interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×