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Link: Why the CRTC’s $25 ‘skinny basic’ package may not work

From Bill Harris of QMI Agency:

Why the CRTC’s $25 ‘skinny basic’ package may not work
So Canadians will have “affordable access” to a bunch of network and educational and government TV channels they have shown less and less interest in watching anyway.

What a breakthrough! (That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.) Continue reading.

Link: A lower cable bill with pick-and-pay? Don’t bet on it

From Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail:

A lower cable bill with pick-and-pay? Don’t bet on it
If anybody should be dancing in the rec room at the news the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will now require television distributors to offer consumers more flexibility in pricing, it should be me. But my joy is tempered by realism, a lot of realism: I don’t think the pick-and-pay model now being imposed on the distributors is going to significantly lower cable bills. And I do think it will do some damage to the Canadian TV industry. Continue reading.

Link: Houdini & Doyle co-pro picked up by Shaw Media

From Nellie Andreeva of Deadline:

Houdini & Doyle co-pro picked up by Shaw Media
A supernatural crime drama inspired by the unlikely real-life friendship between Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and illusionist Harry Houdini is headed to the small screen in the U.S., UK and Canada. I’ve learned that Sony Pictures TV has sold the 10-episode series to Fox, the UK’s ITV and Canada’s Shaw Media. Titled Houdini And Doyle, the drama — which will go straight to series — hails from The Librarianfranchise creator David Titcher, House creator David Shore and House writer-producer David Hoselton. Canada’s Shaftesbury and the UK’s Big Talk co-produce, with Sony TV, where Shore is under an overall deal, distributing worldwide. Fox had no comment. Continue reading.

Let’s Talk TV: CRTC sets out roadmap to maximize choice and affordability for Canadian TV viewers

From a media release:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today set out a roadmap that, in a World of Choice, will maximize choice and affordability for Canadians television viewers. By the end of 2016, viewers will be able to supplement an affordable entry-level service with the additional channels they want, either on a pick-and-pay basis or in small, reasonably priced bundles of channels.

By March 2016, Canadians will be able to subscribe to an entry-level television service that costs no more than $25 per month. This service will prioritize local and regional news and information programs given that many Canadians spoke of their importance during Let’s Talk TV. News and information programs enable Canadian citizens to better participate in Canada’s democratic, economic, cultural and social life. Canadian consumers also expressed frustration that the basic packages offered by cable and satellite companies had become too large and costly. Canadians will now have alternatives.

Canadians, who choose to do so, will be able to supplement the entry-level television service by buying individual channels that will be available either on a pick-and-pay basis or through small, reasonably priced packages. If they so choose, they will have the option of selecting theme-based packages—such as sports, lifestyle or comedy—offered by their service providers.

By December 2016, Canadians will be able to subscribe to channels on a pick-and-pay basis, as well as in small packages. In addition, Canadians will have the choice of keeping their current television services without making any changes, if these continue to meet their needs and budgets.

The changes announced today build on ideas that the CRTC originally proposed in a working document published in August 2014 to maximize choice and affordability in the television services market.

During the Let’s Talk TV conversation, Canadians were clear that they wanted choice in the marketplace. Today’s decision gives them the ultimate choice. It supports those who want to subscribe to fewer channels, more channels, or who like the bundles of channels they already have. When coupled with other changes introduced by the CRTC, such as 30-day cancellation policies, it further empowers consumers to shop around and negotiate the deals that are best for them.

A dynamic marketplace creates incentives for cable and satellite companies to offer reasonably priced television services that meet the diverse needs and interests of Canadians, and for broadcasters to produce high-quality, original content that is compelling and attractive to audiences.

Multicultural communities

Today’s decision serves Canada’s diverse communities. It allows consumers to buy the ethnic and third-language television channels they want on either a pick-and-pay basis or in small bundles of channels. It also ensures that cable and satellite companies offer one Canadian third-language or ethnic channel for every non-Canadian third-language or ethnic channel they offer.

Members of Canada’s multicultural communities will have the freedom to choose the television services they want and will have greater and more affordable access to Canadian ethnic and third-language programming, as well as to non-Canadian programming.

Wholesale market

To support the changes announced today—and to ensure that viewers continue to discover, and enjoy access to, a diversity of programming—the CRTC introduced a code of conduct for broadcasters and television service providers. The code clarifies the terms and conditions under which wholesale agreements between the two are struck. For example, it ensures that cable and satellite companies offer independently-owned channels in at least one pre-assembled package and that channels cannot be unduly withdrawn from subscribers as a result of a commercial dispute at the wholesale level.

The content of the code will be finalized by September 2015 following an expedited public process.

About Let’s Talk TV

In 2013, the CRTC launched Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians on the future of their television system, and how it can adapt to evolving technologies and viewing habits. The CRTC received more than 13,000 comments from Canadians during the conversation’s various phases.

Today’s announcement is the fourth in a series of decisions that sets out a new, forward-looking framework for Canada’s television system, and which gives Canadians greater control over their television viewing experiences. The CRTC previously announced decisions relating to content made by Canadians, cancellation policies, local television and simultaneous substitution.

Quick Facts

  • The CRTC has set out a roadmap to maximize choice and affordability for Canadians television viewers.
  • By March 2016, Canadians will be able to subscribe to an entry-level television service that cost no more than $25 as an alternative to the basic services currently being offered by cable and satellite companies.
  • The entry-level television service will include:
    • all local and regional television stations
    • public interest channels such as the Cable Public Affairs Channel and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
    • education channels,
    • and, if offered, community channels and the services operated by provincial legislatures.
  • Canadians will be able to supplement their entry-level service by subscribing to pay and specialty channels on a pick-and-pay basis or in small packages.
  • By December 2016, viewers will be able to subscribe to channels on a pick-and-pay basis as well as in small packages.
  • Cable and satellite companies can continue to offer their existing packages of channels in order to provide alternative options to television viewers.
  • By expanding the current obligation to distribute one French-language channel for every 10 English channels to satellite companies, Canadians living in official-language minority communities will have access to services that meet their needs.
  • Canadians living in official-language minority communities will also have access to educational programs in their language, including programs for children and youth.
  • Canada’s multicultural communities will have greater access to Canadian ethnic and third-language channels.
  • A code will clarify the wholesale relationship between television service providers and broadcasters, to the benefit of consumers.

Link: The war for the business television viewer

From Tony Wong of The Toronto Star:

The war for the business television viewer
Bloomberg Television Canada will launch sometime in the summer of 2015 and it promises to create waves in a competitive area where the stakes are high for an elite viewership that can move markets.

It is also a rare sign of expansion in a moribund industry: executives say they hope to hire up to 50 more journalists and producers for the channel when it is up and running. Continue reading.