CRTC Blows It Again

:: Last June, the Canadian Cable Television Association applied to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for permission to broadcast some of the most popular US cable networks on digital cable, including HBO, ESPN, Fox News, Nickelodeon Kids, Showtime, and more. Yesterday the CRTC turned down the request, citing among othe things, potential revenue loss, which would result in a decrease in the production and broadcast of Canadian programming.

Bluntly, I want my HBO. I don’t want to have to bob and weave through any number of Canadian cable stations to search for the shows I want to see, like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Real Time With Bill Maher, and others, and futhermore, I want to see them when they are broadcast – not years later, in some cases, or never, in others. Regarding the latter two shows, they are typical examples of how sad the situation is in Canada. CYE is broadcast 1-2 years after it appears in the USA, and the Bill Maher show isn’t available in Canada. We’ve yet to see the third season of Curb. Pathetic. Naturally, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters is thrilled with the decision, thus preventing them from losing money they get from licencing these shows, scattered over a number of cable networks in Canada, and allowing them to continue to decide which US cable shows they will and will not broadcast here. A handful of suits deciding for me what they think is worth watching, as long as they can make a buck. It’s The Man, I tell you, THE MAN!

Here is the letter from the CRTC to the CCTA, denying them permission to proceed with their application. Read the CAB’s press release here. Learn why it thinks that broadcasting HBO in Canada would have caused “serious material harm.” Learn that CAB believes Canada has the “best broadcasting system in the world.”

The CRTC, which normally allows for public participation of applications, didn’t permit public comment on this one.

As a Canadian, the CRTC and the CBA want me to feel proud. They are protecting my culture by preventing me from subscribing to evil US cable networks. They have the power to decide which cable programs produced by my American cousins I will see. Sadly, most Canadian cable networks are scaled down, limp versions of their US counterparts. The Comedy Network, the sad-sack Canadian equivalent of Comedy Central, broadcasts The Daily Show, but bleeps out the “bad words.” When this network ran Dennis Miller Live, rather than broadcast the entire show, they removed sections of it to allow for commercials, thus killing the continuity.

The chief executive of the CAB, Glenn O’Farrell, was quoted as saying, “This proposal was so far out in left field … they weren’t even prepared to consider having a discussion.” Michael Hennessy, the acting president of the CCTA, said, “We believe that supplying consumers what they want, when they want it, is critical to the future success of the Canadian broadcasting system.” I believe Hennessy has it right, and O’Farrell is living in a dream world. In the Canadian Press release of this story. O’Farrell noted that “Canadian viewers already get the bulk of the U.S. programming that would have been imported if the application had been upheld.” Er, duh? We do? Really, Glenn? I think I need to study the definition of the word, “bulk”, cause on my tv set, it ain’t happening, dude.

I subscribe to digital cable via Shaw, which included information on this application on their site. For a few months, they ran a poll, asking viewers if they supported this application. 93% said yes. The CRTC asks for “evidence of demand for this service in Canada.” Well, duh – again.

Another argument that I am bone-weary of hearing, is the constant need to encourage and foster and nurture the development of Canadian content, in this case, in television and broadcasting. Well, GO FOR IT, I saw! Let the bells ring out and the banners fly! Who is stopping anyone in Canada from doing this? Why should this concern trump consumers’ wishes to watch HBO in Canada?

There is NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING the CAB or any Canadian cable network can offer to convince me not to want a direct feed to HBO in my home. There is no substitute for HBO, ESPN, Showtime. In Canada, unless you get digital cable, shows like The Sopranos appear at least a year after US broadcast. That’s life up here in

My response to the CRTC and the CAB: ttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhppppppppp!

The CCTA says they will continue the good fight. They have my support.

2 Responses to “CRTC Blows It Again”

  1. Garth Danielson Says:

    The Daily show is one of my all time favorite shows and it is bleeped here. I bet the feed that you get is the same one we get. They let words like shit go by sometime but fuck does definately get the bleep. Jon Stewart is so much better than the previous host.

    Still and all I watch it every night and have pretty much continiously taped it since just after it started with the much inferior Craig Kilborn who now stinks up his own late night talk show. I rate him at the bottom of the big four, none of which I watch. Who’s got time for crap like that when there are much better things to watch. I get backed up with the DVDs I am buying now let alone adding whole new blocks of crap to watch.

    I quit getting HBO after I tried the digital cable package. I was paying about 40 bucks for the digital and HBO/Showtime package and was buying all the shows off of HBO that I liked anyway, so I stopped paying twice. The fact that HBO wasn’t broadcasting movies widescreen was also a contributing factor. I have been spoiled rotten by DVDs. I particularily like DVD sets of tv shows. I was excited to get the first two seasons of Strangers With Candy, a Comedy Central series from a few years ago. Not to everyones taste but it sure tickled my funny bone.

  2. Lucy Says:

    Is there anything that the consumers can do? Is there a website or address that we can contact and tell them that we want certain programming available in canada??

    It’s no wonder why people get direct tv…you can get all the programming you want and when u want it.

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