TV, Eh? Industry Roundup: The Mostly-CRTC Edition

Astral executive shuffle

Astral’s Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Claude Gagnon, has left the company after more than twenty years. Gagnon joined Astral in July 1991, announcing his retirement effective January 31, 2012. Taking Gagnon’s place as SVP/CFO is Robert Fortier, Astral’s Vice-President, Finance.

CIER shuts down

Low-power television channel CIER, which served the Northwestern Ontario community of Ear Falls, requested a revocation of its licence. This was received by the CRTC on January 12, 2012. On January 30, 2012, the CRTC revoked CIER’s licence. CIER first hit the airwaves sometime before 1984.

Ear Falls is within what is known as Unorganized Kenora.

Bell Media and the great 24-hour sports channel debate

Bell Media wants to amend the definition of “broadcast day,” as regards category C mainstream sports channels. Bell argues that sports channels, like TSN and RDS (hint, hint), can only claim an 18-hour broadcast day towards Canadian content laws. Expanding to a 24-hour service, Bell claims, will help maximize revenue, and return more dollars to the Canadian broadcasting system.

The CRTC, to that end, calls for comments on expanding TSN and RDS (and other mainstream sports channels – right, Bell?) into 24-hour services. More information can be found at the above link. Comments will not be accepted after March 6, 2012.

NFL awards Bell Media a first down vs. TELUS

The NFL claims that it can’t force Bell Media to share its exclusive mobile content with other parties, as that is outside the NFL’s jurisdiction. In December 2011, the CRTC found Bell Media in violation of the provisions of the New Media Exemption Order, by limiting mobile access of both NHL and NFL games from its competitors.

Bell claims that once its current deal with the NFL expires, it won’t seek exclusivity, but it can’t get out of its current NFL contract, so t.s. to TELUS…and any other mobile content provider, of course. I’m sure there’s no ulterior motive on TELUS’ part, by snitching to the CRTC. Really.

CBC licence renewal hearing delayed

The CBC’s licence renewal hearing, already postponed from September 12, 2011 to June 2012, will now be postponed until further notice. The CBC’s reason for the delay? Since its budget will be announced late February or March 2012, it will have little time to “reflect on and operationalize its plans.”

GlassBOX Système and Academy Television approved by CRTC

GlassBOX Television recently received CRTC approval for GlassBOX Système, a French-language entertainment news/entertainment industry/humour channel. On the same day, 7215088 Canada Inc. received CRTC approval for Academy Television, an educational service meant for grade and high schoolers. The two services were part of a group of 37 applications, received by the CRTC on September 16, 2011.

Both GlassBOX Système and 7215088 Canada Inc. have two years to mount their services. The licences for both channels expire August 31, 2018.

Rogers to stop that infernal throttling

Rogers Communications will no longer deliberately control the speeds of, or bandwidth throttle, Internet traffic later in 2012. In a letter to the CRTC, Rogers noted that it will phase out throttling for half its customers, in June 2012. Throttling will end completely by December 2012. The news follows Bell’s December 2011 decision to drop throttling.

This does not mean the prices for Internet connections will drop, far from it. This just means Rogers – one of the worst throttlers in the world, and the worst for its size – will no longer continue a widely unpopular practice…by the end of this year. Moves like this are why Rogers Communications is one of the most beloved companies in Canada. How can you not love this company?