Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saving Local Television

The actual issue is an attempt to make viewers pay for something that they've never had to pay for before. Local TV signals.

As broadcasters catch up with digital and high-definition technologies, the old style analog television transmissions will disappear.

The current campaign by Canadian television broadcasters asking viewers to demand the CRTC force Satellite and Cable Companies to pay for local stations' content is pure misdirection. The Broadcasters would have you believe that the issue is fairness; a need to make the cable companies pay for the use of the local stations they carry.

Bullshit. That's just a strawman.
  1. First off, Despite their protestations to the contrary, if the broadcasters succeed in forcing the cable and Satellite providers to pay for the use of local stations, the costs will be passed directly to the consumers.
  2. Secondly, the Parent companies of the local tv stations, companies like like Canwest Global and Quebecor, own a significant portion of the Cable and Satellite Providers own part of or in some cases all of the specialty channels that consumers are paying the cable companies to access. Asking consumers to pay again is almost like asking them to pay twice for the same damn thing.
  3. Third, the cable and satellite companies include the local tv stations in the basic access packages they force every customer to buy before we can get access to the specialty channels we REALLY want to watch. I suspect that were some of the local stations to go under, the basic packages would remain largely unchanged, just carrying more of the alphabet networks' different regional feeds.
  4. It's a changing marketplace. If local tv stations and their parent companies can't keep up and adjust to the new technologies, it's not fair to have the government (in the guise of new CRTC regulation) force consumers to keep the dinosaurs alive.
As a consumer, I gave up on local TV over a decade ago. There are perhaps twelve specialty channels I wanted when I ordered my satellite TV system. But I am forced to pay for hundreds of signals I NEVER WATCH in order the get the few I am interested in. Were the satellite and Cable companies serious about providing content choice they'd let us order the specific specialty channels we want to see.

The last thing I need is another bullshit charge added to my bill.

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