Thursday, March 5, 2009

 

WHEN THE WHINING ENDS...

The jury is in. Apparently Canada's conventional television broadcasting model is broken. Greed got us here:

In English Canada the two major private broadcasters, Global and CTV, have been tossing their flotsam and jetsam overboard in a desperate attempt to save...as they call it: their core broadcasting operations. Just a minute here! If the "E-Entertainment" stations were such a drain on company resources, why did Canwest/Global acquire them in the first place? Ditto for CTV's billion dollar plus purchase of the CHUM group stations including "A" channel stations and the CITY-TV franchises just a couple of years ago. Now it's alleged they've never made money. Good grief!

The problem is that the our Federal regulator simply rolled-over and played dead when the private networks wanted to get their greedy hands on the dozens of cable delivered specialty channels controlled by the conventional stations they acquired in the heady days of take no prisoners profit making...and, which they are now apparantly overly anxious to dump overboard.

Frankly there is plenty of blame to share over the broken model of our conventional, over the air, television broadcasting system. Just in the last month or so it has left hundreds of crafts people, journalists and technicians jobless. And; the prospects are of hundreds more to come including perhaps as many as one thousand across the various services of the public broadcaster: CBC/Radio-Canada.

The over-the-air broadcasters are pissed that the CRTC denied their applications to force cable and satellite providers to pay to carry their programs as they do the specialty channel operators. Their arguments though conveniently ignored the fact that those same over-the-air broadcasters, primarily CTV and Global are also amongst the largest holders of those very same specialty digital channels licenses. Furthermore it is their own greed fueled by ruthless cut-throat out-biding competition which left Canwest/Global swimming...nay, drowning in more than $3-billion in debt, and its major rival: CTV, among other things holding the bag on a $150-million deal for the rights to the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics, and the 2112 summer games. A bid which was at least $50-million more than it's only rival in the process: The CBC/Radio-Canada.

The Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission's (CRTC) complicity in these matters is historic and long-standing. It really began when in the course of the last twenty or so years it allowed locally owned and operated network affiliate stations in a number of Canadian communities, large and small, to be swallowed-up by the networks themselves. And, there began the downward spiral, followed by the current whining over the "broken model". Frankly folks...why don't you just suck it in!

For instance Ottawa's "A" TV station has been decimated just this week. Stripped of the local news operation. The fall-out sends a clear message to the CRTC which is based in the National Capital Region. What its owners CTV don't say though is that it removes an aggressive news operation which has been a thorn in the side of its moribund CTV Ottawa (CJOH-TV) station from the "git-go". One stone - two hits: thirty or forty people jobless.

Yep. The model is broken. Let they who broke it, fix it!

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