Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tequila Watching

Sheila Copps complains today about Bev Oda and indirectly Stephen Harper not supporting the Canadian Television Fund

As the Conservatives work to attract new support, they cannot afford random alienation of existing interest groups. While Harper is priming the election pump, his heritage minister, Bev Oda, seems to be doing her best to derail him.

When cash is flush, why is his minister balking at the rules governing the Canadian Television Fund?

Oda’s first mistake was agreeing to review fund “problems” raised at a private meeting with major cable providers Shaw and Videotron (a subsidiary of Quebecor, which owns Sun Media). Both are resisting making their longstanding annual payments — together more than $70 million a year — to the fund. That contribution initially replaced most of the CRTC-approved community cable television funding required from both monopolies.

Combined public/private investments, including $90 million from other private providers and the government’s annual $100 million commitment, lever about $700 million into Canadian television programming every year. A seven to one return on government investment is unheard of. So what does Oda want to fix?

With the exception of HNinC, I'm guessing, Sheila, that about as many folks are watching Canadian television as read this blog. Maybe less. On a scale of issues affecting Canadians, this one rates down with snow in winter. The cable companies are tired of being charged for programming nobody watches. Bev Oda wants to stop spending taxpayers money to produce programming that nobody watches.

Besides, her return on investment arguement is a false. The taxpayer gets nothing back. This is a subsidy, pure and simple, to program producers who resell the product to TV distribution through advertising.

Apparently nothing good in Canada can survive on it's own. Back to the Margeritas.

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9:32 AM  
Blogger JAG said...

You seem to forget that Shaw and Videotron make money hand over fist because they are protected from American competition. The only thing they can possibly offer the Canadian tv viewer that an American tv delivery system doesn't offer is Canadian tv. If they don't give us that, then why are we protecting them? Surely not so that they can get rich and give nothing back to the tax payer. I want Canadian drama or I want to get my tv feed directly from the states. I sure as hell don't want to forklift money from my bank account into Jim Shaw's every month just so he can go on giving it to Harper's campaign fund.

1:30 PM  
Blogger john said...

Jag, this fight is part of a larger battle I suspect.

The Canadian networks have suggested that cable and satellite distributors pay for the right to carry the broadcast or FTA channel feeds. Shaw and Videotron would now be paying twice for this content.

These are business managers jockeying for position in a potentially less regulated, CRTC-free market. Live streaming will mean more and more opportunities for consumers to pick and choose exactly what they want to watch (at a pay-per-view price one can be sure) without being forced to package their programming choices with channels never watched.

I support ExpressVu with an ever increasing monthly fee to supply me with a multitude of channels I never watch. At the same time, I confess to mounting another dish to pick up American channels that are simply not available here. The reason those channels are not available is because the American producers of much of this original programming can resell the product to Canadian networks who repackage it for themselves. If a NASCAR Busch race is live on TNT, I really get pissed at Sportsnet tape delaying to midnight, if they bother at all.

And yes, I got to watch the Superbowl in the original CBS format, so I guess I defrauded all those Canadian advertisers who forked over money to Global. Sorry Stephen, I missed those ads on Dion.

8:27 PM  

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