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At least try and say what the ruling actually says

When a large media owner tells you that a government regulation is bad, you had better be willing to at least say “you know what, you feel the need to give me a substandard service while maintaining a monopoly handed to you by the very agency you are asking me to speak against.  I think I might not trust your word on this”

I received the following from Bell Canada:

Dear Customer,

Help stop your TV fees from increasing. CTV, Global and the CBC have recently asked the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to significantly increase TV taxes.

The CRTC has been asked to do this by having Bell and the other operators pay more, which would result in higher fees for you.

We don’t think that’s right, you shouldn’t either. So please speak and have your say.

This is what’s happening.

The CRTC has told satellite and cable companies to hand over $100 million a year as of September 1, 2009. These fees are being passed on to you.

This money is passing through something called the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) – straight to media giants like CTVglobemedia and Canwest Global, straight to the CBC.

No new local programming, no improvement to anything other than the bottom line of broadcasters.

You are now likely paying for this on your TV bill.

You should also know that hot on the heels of that campaign, CTV, Global and the CBC are now lobbying for even more.

Each year, satellite and cable companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcasters. We contribute to the CRTC’s operating budget. Although to date these fees have not been broken out on monthly bills, you need to know they exist – especially because the TV networks still want more.

If the CRTC gives in to the broadcasters’ latest demand and lets local TV stations charge for their currently free over-the-air local signals, it would more than double the portion of your Bell TV bill going to government fees – and into the bank accounts of the broadcasters, like CTV, Global and the CBC.

In fact, if the CRTC lets broadcasters have their way, then government-imposed fees will be just shy of one billion dollars.

I’ve also seen the ads Rogers has been placing in the stream on various channels; here’s what the CRTC is proposing:

OTTAWA-GATINEAU The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that the Local Programming Improvement Fund will have over $100 million to distribute during the 2009–2010 broadcast year. The fund was created in October 2008 to support local television programming in markets with a population of less than 1 million.

“Canadians have made it abundantly clear that they value local programming,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. “We have taken steps to ensure that broadcasters, and particularly those in smaller markets, continue to provide Canadians with programming that reflects their needs and interests.”

As a temporary measure for the upcoming broadcast year, cable and satellite companies will contribute 1.5 per cent of their gross broadcasting revenues to the fund, an increase of 0.5 per cent. As a result, the total funds available will rise from $68 million to over $100 million. Television stations in smaller markets will be able to draw on these funds to maintain their spending on local news and other types of local programming. The Commission will consider the appropriate long-term provisions for the Local Programming Improvement Fund at a public hearing to be held this fall.

In addition, the Commission has harmonized its requirements for the broadcast of local programming in English- and French-language markets. Each week, local television stations will have to air a minimum number of hours of programming that is produced locally and that speaks to, and about, the community.

On May 15, the Commission renewed the licences of the major English-language networks for one year. At the same time, the licences of the TVA Group’s conventional television stations were renewed for two years. The specific licence terms and conditions for these stations were made public today.

Developing a new regulatory framework

The Commission today also launched a public proceeding to develop a new regulatory framework for conventional television broadcasters. The proceeding will include a public hearing starting on September 29, 2009, in Gatineau, Que.

“The rapid evolution of the communications industry is forcing everyone to rethink the model for conventional television broadcasters,” said Mr. von Finckenstein. “This fall, we will develop a new framework that will give broadcasting ownership groups the flexibility to adapt to this changing environment.”

“However, in exchange for greater flexibility, we expect broadcasters to make meaningful commitments regarding the production, acquisition and broadcast of high-quality Canadian programming,” added Mr. von Finckenstein.

Through this public proceeding, Canadians are invited to share their views on a number of specific questions related to:

* a proposed model to conduct future licence renewals on the basis of ownership groups rather than categories of television services
* the provision of revenue support for conventional broadcasters, including:
o the terms and conditions of the Local Programming Improvement Fund
o further safeguards to protect the integrity of Canadian broadcasters’ signals, and
o mechanisms for establishing, though negotiation, the fair market value of these signals
* possible models for the transition to digital television, and
* Canadian programming commitments by English-language television broadcasters.

Interested parties may submit their comments by August 10, 2009, by filling out the online form by writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or by fax at 819-994-0218.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-406
Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-411
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-409 (Canwest)
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-407 (CTV)
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-408 (Rogers)
Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-410 (TVA)

Funnier still is the tagline from Rogers about “More American Programming” (this is the Rogers that brought us HBO Canada after all and gutted the local and charming City TV)

So yeah, the CRTC wants to pay for more locally produced TV (as locally produced TV is dying out in Ontario for sure) and the Cable and Satellite firms are going to charge you more because of it, so they can bring you what, less local TV?  Is that what they are agitating for?  It certainly seems like it.