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Tag: Rogers

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.

It Sucks, why I won't use the Roger's DVR.

I lived in the States from March 2002 until August 2007.  I was a comcast customer for 100% of that time, having free basic cable as part of my rental package at the townhouse.  I can’t say I hated Comcast, and in fact I really liked their dual-tuner DVR solution.  I tried out the TIVO as a replacement and found it too cumbersome a soultion (after having the Comcast solution for over a year at the time).  When I returned to Canada, I lived with my parents out in boonies (Kincardine) where the local Cable company had the same basic hardware and sofware as Comcast, which was great.  The software was easy to use, allowed me to set up reminders and search for shows by name.  Great, huh?  I could set up season passes for shows and be reminded on screen that they were on, pressing the swap button let me swpa between tuners with impunity and both had a good hour long stream in reserve.  TV viewing heaven.

The best I can say for the Rogers DVR is that I could pause TV.

I couldn’t search for shows by name, I had to scroll through an alphabetic list of every occurence of a given show, with shows thaty are syndicated in there, we had hundreds of identical listings to scroll through.  This took ages.

When I did find a show I wanted to record, I could set it to record a number of occurances, but no season pass and no “record only new shows” option was available, I also had to make sure I was recording it on the channel I wanted to.  With newer shows that were also syndicated, this was  giant pain in the ass.

Then there is the HD handling, can’t they figure out how to push all NON HD content at 480p or 480i so that we don’t have to have all the damn bars burning my CRT?

Big Red, you need to get in touch with comcast and get your cable hardware in order, this software has been around since before I left Canada in 2002.  It’s time to upgrade.

Big Red Continues to Slash and Burn

Rogers has brought down the axe on yet another CityTV mailstay, Ed the Sock is out:

In another move that signals changes at Citytv, Ed and Red’s Night Party is being cancelled as of Aug. 31, but according to the man behind the incorrigible sock puppet, Ed the Sock is far from dead.

“There’s no ill will. Things change,” said Steve Kerzner, Ed’s voice and creator. “We just don’t really fit, I guess, as presently constituted, with what they wanted to do with the channel.”

Kerzner says he was told that Citytv’s new corporate parent, Rogers, would like to attract more female viewers. He also says that he’s been feeling restless and wants to branch out and do more than just the late night show.

Toronto Star: Rogers to Ed: Put a sock in it

“In order to fit with where they’re taking the channel, the show (most recently titled Ed and Red’s Night Party) would have to change, and it would have seemed to be selling out. Better to make a new show than alter the one everybody seemed to love.”

London Free Press: Ed the Sock gets the boot from CityTV

At least the headlines weren’t deliberatly false here, just the writers or copy editors working through their foot and sock puns. (“Darn it, Ed the Sock losing his CITY-TV comedy show“)

This is of course after Peter Silverman was given the unceremonious heave-ho and Speaker’s Corner got the axe, Rogers Management seem determined to put the past of CityTV behined them; which suits Big Red fine, but it does little to generate Goodwill in the community.  It’s a safe bet that CityTV will no longer be “everywhere” very soon too.  I know, change is inevitable; but wathcing CityTV become “Roger’s TV” has not been the most pleasant experience.

Call me when Breakfast TV becomes “Morning with Rogers”.