The full court press by Bell & Rogers continued as Canadian consumers wait for the CRTC to release it’s next round of updates from it’s Let’s Talk TV hearings that wrapped up back in Sept 2014.
First at a industry conference on Feb 26th in Banff it was reported that Senior Vice President, Content at Rogers Communications, David Purdy was heard saying that he thinks that the government should prevent Canadians from being allowed to use VPN’s.
Rogers and David Purdy have denied saying this, but refuse to clarify what was actually said.
Following that Bell Canada President, Kevin Crull was quoted in a speech on Friday in Ottawa as saying:
“Do we need [the American over-the-air] networks? Are these signals necessary for Canadian viewers? No. Canadian networks buy the rights to 99 of the top 100 American shows. No viewer would be denied popular content,” Mr. Crull said. “... Fix this and we don’t need simsub.”
The CRTC has said that the next decisions stemming from the CRTC’s massive TV Policy Review (the Let’s Talk TV proceeding) are scheduled to be released on March 12.
The CRTC will not be addressing things like a mandated skinny basic cable package or pick and pay rules because the coming announcement is expected to address content only. Sources have reported the following:
"the decisions on distribution and packaging are tentatively set to be released a week later – on or about March 19, according to sources. That day is not set in stone, however"
We're not sure what’s taking the CRTC so long. The Let’s Talk TV hearings wrapped up in Sept 2014 and they announced that they would make announcements by the end of 2014.
Instead what we have seen is small announcements made in Jan and now more to come in March.
What is clear is that both Bell & Rogers know that Canadians are unhappy with the current state of the market and that change is coming. Unfortunately instead of trying to adapt and innovate, Bell, Rogers, Shaw and other Canadian providers seem to prefer to demand regulatory change in an attempt to try and keep Canada locked down.
All you have to do is read the wikipedia page that breaks down the current CanCon rules. It say's:
"For broadcast stations, the CRTC presently requires that 60% yearly, and at least 50% of prime-time programming, 6:00 pm to midnight, be of Canadian origin. In May 2011 the CanCon requirement for private television broadcasters was lowered to 55% yearly.
Canada's public broadcaster, CBC, must still maintain 60% CanCon quota. However, historically, much of these requirements have been fulfilled by low-cost news, current affairs and talk programs in off-peak hours. It is usually not difficult to fill the daytime schedule with a sufficient amount of Cancon, often through reruns, while two-thirds of the latter requirement can be filled simply by airing an hour of news every night at 6 pm and again at 11 pm.
As described above, often the remaining domestic content has consisted of low-cost science fiction or drama programming primarily intended for sale to the U.S. and elsewhere, and has aired on nights or in time-slots where it is unlikely to attract a large audience, freeing up other time-slots for American network programming. It is also a fairly common occurrence for stations to sign off during the overnight graveyard slots to reduce their Cancon liability."
With Kevin Crull’s recent remarks it’s clear that Bell wants to role back the clocks. US TV stations (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC & PBS) have been available on Canadian cable for decades now. Now Bell is saying that they want all US providers blocked both on the cable lineup and via OTA.
So for those of you keeping score, Bell & Rogers are now against net neutrality, US TV stations and Netflix.
Kutko believes in innovation and choice. Bell & Rogers seem intent on limiting choice. The internet was meant to open up the world and allow it’s users to access any content that they want at anytime on any platform. Instead Bell & Rogers and other Canadian media companies think that they should make said decisions for you.
They want to decide what shows we watch, when and what platforms they can be watched on.
If that's the case then we'd like to point out as an example that Yahoo has a service called 'Yahoo Screen' Here is a review on the AV Club's website of a recent SNL episode. Yahoo Screen's video player is used on this page. Yahoo Screen in the US has the US rights to SNL's content, where here in Canada Global TV has the rights to SNL's content. Unfortunately Yahoo Screen's video player content is blocked from Canadians.
Although it's a little thing, it proves that Canadian media companies are failing consumers here. There are many instances of this, and instead of trying to make things better for Canadians it's clear that the media monopolies here in Canada simply want to tighten the geo restrictions.
What's next? Will Canadian media companies tell us that we can only visit their sites?
Meanwhile all of these Canadian companies complain that the current model they operate under is just not sustainable. It's time for the CRTC to change the entire game, because if it's not working for the consumer or the broadcasters then why continue this way?