TV, eh? Industry Roundup



By Cameron Archer for TV, eh?

CRTC Introduces Capacity Based Billing

The CRTC will introduce capacity-based billing starting February 1, 2012. Under CBB, smaller ISPs buy a set amount of network capacity per month from major players MTS Allstream, Cogeco, Rogers Communications, Bell Canada, and Shaw Communications.

In essence, the smaller ISPs are capped, much like individual consumers. Bell is exempt from this new billing, while it resolves its problems with the Canadian Network Operators Consortium.

Under this new billing, oversubscription and higher average usage could slow average speeds. Quite a way for new interim CRTC chairman Leonard Katz to begin his run.

CTV Two Southern Ontario Transmitters Approved

CRTC has approved CTV Two Barrie/Toronto’s addition of two new transmitters, ostensibly to serve Southern Ontario. CBC, Channel Zero and Shaw Media oppose this move for differing reasons, and Rogers Media is just frothing at the mouth over this. Even CRTC regional commissioners Rita Cugini and Peter Menzies don’t like the move.

CTV Two Barrie/Toronto was, as The New VR, the lynchpin of CHUM Limited’s NewNet/A-Channel program service. In 2012, CTV Two Barrie/Toronto – The New VR’s current form – fights Citytv, on Citytv’s home turf. Such is the nature of mergers and acquisitions.

Hope Channel Added to CityWest

CityWest, a British Columbia Internet, mobile and cable provider, will add Hope Channel to CRTC’s list of non-Canadian services allowed to broadcast in Canada. Hope Channel is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Fun fact: CityWest CEO William Craig was the leader of a consortium that, in 2004, bought majority control of PrideVision. Under the consortium’s three-year rule, premium gay adult porn channel HARDtv was launched, and PrideVision was renamed OUTtv.

CBC Spins Cover Me Canada Social Media

CBC Director of Interactive Content, Tessa Sproule, claims in a Lost Remote article that Cover Me Canada earned more social media attention in fall 2011, than CBC shows with twice its audience level. What isn’t mentioned: the two CBC shows compared to Cover Me Canada. Cover Me Canada earned a high of 615,000 viewers for its season finale. CMC’s average viewership was 502,500 viewers. I assume the two shows in the Lost Remote comparison are Battle of the Blades, and Dragons’ Den.

Even ignoring which CBC shows were compared with Cover Me Canada, the article states that Facebook and Twitter were integral parts of Cover Me Canada‘s voting, with cover bands actively soliciting for votes. Battle of the Blades made do with online and phone voting. Social media has no effect on Dragons’ Den, as the show airs taped, edited business proposals.

To recap: Cover Me Canada did better in social media than other CBC shows. No other CBC show – no other show in general – used Cover Me Canada‘s format. That still doesn’t guarantee CMC a second season, given its viewership.

Actors Union Merger Referenda

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) will attempt a merger with the Screen Actors Guild. The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) has working agreements with both SAG and AFTRA.

Members of the two unions will hold referenda on February 27, 2012. For the merger to take place, members of each union need to approve it with a 60% majority. The union boards themselves are in favour of the merger – 94% on AFTRA’s end, 87.1% on SAG’s.

AFTRA and SAG attempted mergers in 1998 and 2003, which fell through. In 2003, SAG fell short of the 60% required to ratify the merger, though SAG’s pro-merger camp has grown stronger in recent years. In case of a successful merger, the new entity will do business as SAG-AFTRA. Ballots must be returned and tabulated by March 30, 2012.