23/03/2010

Do You Feel Conned Yet?


No doubt most of you who follow Canadian Communications news have seen that the CRTC sided with the broadcasters, at least sort of. Over the years most of us have learned not to expect anything definitive from the regulator.

The broadcasters, all except the for CBC that perhaps most needs the money, can now charge the cable/satellite companies for carrying their signal. The regulator did not say how much they could charge. That would be expecting too much. So now the broadcasters and the cable companies will fight that out, in what no doubt will be a very public negotiations. What ever the result of that process is, the cost will be passed on to you and I.

In commenting on their decision the chair of the CRTC showed just how out of touch he, and presumably the Commission is by suggesting, that the cable companies should be wary about passing on fees, because consumers have a choice. They can get the signal for free simply by putting up an antenna. Don't expect a forest of antennas to spring up in your neighborhood any time soon. The average TV watcher is not about to trade his/her 100 channel universe for three or four, low quality, off air signals.

Now most Canadians who have been subjected to months and months of print and television advertising by both sides in this dispute might think, after watching the ads bought and paid for by that coalition of broadcasters, that we will now see a rejuvenated local programing schedule. How could we forget "Local TV Matters." Well, don't hold your breath. They just wanted you to think that they cared. The broadcasters gave up any real commitment to local programming years ago.

Do you feel conned. Well you should.

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