Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TV Networks win the first battle in Canada

The CRTC has backed the television networks in the first go round of the "TV Tax" wars. CBC is the loser in this first set up rulings as they are told they will not be included because they are publicly sponsored.

Here is the release from Marketing Magazine.

Those CTV and Global shows that come into your home courtesy of a cable or satellite company could soon hike your monthly bill–or even face sudden blackout.

Canada's struggling broadcasters won their fight to negotiate a fee for their signals with cable and satellite providers after a landmark ruling by the country's telecommunications regulator Monday.

However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said it wants the Federal Court of Appeal to review the new system before it kicks in.

If the court gives the green light, the industry will be in for a wild ride. Suddenly, cable and satellite companies would be forced to negotiate with conventional broadcasters for payment to carry their signals–a move broadcasters have argued will level the financial playing field.

The cable and satellite firms have already warned they'll pass those costs on to consumers.

TV stations would be able to withhold their signals completely from a cable or satellite company if they don't like the way negotiations are going.

In the United States, viewers saw this month what can happen when there's such a dispute: there was a short blackout at the beginning of the Oscars broadcast.

On the other hand, broadcasters will give up all their protections in the current system if they opt for getting paid for their signals. A cable company can drop them from their packages and give them whatever position they want on the dial.

Some broadcasters might prefer not to negotiate and simply live under the current system, which the CRTC says is their other option.

The CBC has been excluded from the new regime.

Private broadcasters will also get more flexibility in how much they spend on Canadian programming and how they move it around their various stations.

The CRTC now says it will look at how much a broadcasting group, including specialty and pay channels, spends on Canadian programming as a whole. It will require 30% of its spending be on Canadian shows, but will allow those networks to divvy the share up among all its channels.

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