More “Fee for carriage”

I just read the following article (Bell takes TV fight to court to escape regulators’ squeeze – The Globe and Mail) about how Bell Canada is taking the CRTC to court over a ruling it made on the contentious “Fee for carriage” issue. I’ve written about it before in (My sight has been awakened). Its about how all of the TV stations out there want to charge cable/satellite companies for their signals, just like TV channels like TLC and Discovery do. For a cable company to broadcast those channels, they are charged a fee to carry them. Now CTV and Global want to be able to do the same thing. The cable companies are up in arms over it because that means they have the potential for losing customers because they’ll be forced to charge their customers more money for those channels.

Thats why, in my other blog posting (mentioned above) I mentioned about Star Choice dropping channels across the country. It was their way of protesting CTV and Global’s desire to be able to charge for their channels.

Then something like this comes along Canadian cable, phone bills increase.

So since 2002, everyone’s cable or satellite bills have gone up 22% and these bastards will want to charge us more just for the privilege of receiving what local TV programming there might be left in this country! The hell with that! It also mentioned that the TV stations have seen a 1.5% drop in their earnings. Well I can definitely see why they want to be able to charge the cable companies for their signals and I can see that the cable companies should just suck up whatever costs are involved in doing so (yeah right!) but I am afraid that this will happen:

Instead of having the time shifting abilities that we currently have access to for receiving any local broadcast we want, we will be limited to possibly one or two channels, from across the country that the TV stations say generate enough of a revenue, or interest for the cable/satellite companies to consider putting in their list of channels offered.

I mean if I live in the Atlantic area, why would I pay any extra amount of money just to be able to receive a BC channel from Vancouver? It doesn’t make sense, but on the other hand, the odd time I may desire access to that BC channel to watch something I otherwise would have missed. Its nice to be able to have that flexibility, but would I pay extra to be able to have it? I doubt it but hey I already pay to have access to that kind of programming with my cable company, so? And thats the whole problem. Channels I believe, will be dropped from across the country on cable and satellite because of lack of interest, then the whole idea of “local programming” will be shot. It will fade away except perhaps in the form of the CBC which, since we’re paying for it, we would expect it to continue.

I don’t know which side to take in this debate. Either way we the consumers and customers of both broadcast TV stations and cable/satellite companies, get screwed. Maybe the “medium is the message” here…maybe we need to be getting our TV shows from a different “medium”, perhaps the internet…did I say that? DOOOH!

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