Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well, Will It?

Deirdre McMurdy had some fun this weekend and writes up a nice piece about the on-going battle between the Canadian Broadcasters and Canadian BDU's (Cable/Satellite Providers)...a battle that reached embarrassingly childish proportions on Friday with their dueling press releases (first the BDU's, then the Broadcasters).

So here's the 411: The broadcasters, who used to fight all the time, have now become frenemies. They've formed an awesome clique that's, like, totally ragging the cable companies that carry and distribute their programming. They say the cable companies like Rogers and Shaw and Videotron should pay them something for the programs they've been getting for free. The cable companies are LOLing that and have become BFFs to push back. They say they'll pass that new cost on to consumers directly. OMG!

The official name for this whole issue is fee-for-carriage, although the two sides have tried to put Lip Smacker on it and put it into a more consumer-friendly package. The broadcasters call it a "Save Local Television" campaign (because they can't afford to support local tv stations unless they get more cash). The cable folks say it's a "TV tax." And they're throwing down on each other all over Twitter and Facebook.

They've been fighting about it for years: This fall, the federal regulator, the CRTC, is going to hear them squabble over who started the fight for the third time. Every single time this happens, it costs the broadcasters (who say they're pretty much broke) and the cable companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and lobbying bills. This time around, that tab includes the price of aggressive advertising and marketing campaigns as well. And it costs taxpayers in terms of the time and effort of the CRTC staff.

Read the rest of the article HERE. I enjoyed it's playful tone and nice recap of the state of all things Broadcaster/BDU...though she never really answers the question posed in the title of the piece: 'Will "TV Tax" Save Canadian Television?'

Well, will it?

1 comment:

jimhenshaw said...


Because no matter how much money you give these guys (the broadcasters) in direct tax support (the CBC), CTF production envelopes (all of them) as well as simultaneous substitution, additional commercial time, genre protection and all the other special protections they enjoy, they don't ever spend their money on programming.

So far most of their profits have been spent on acquisitions and synergies that haven't benefited anybody and are in fact destroying those that followed that practice.

The CRTC needs to say "No" to carriage fees for the third or fourth time and then our broadcasters will either adjust their business and management models or die and be replaced by somebody who does the job better.