2013-04-28

VMedia pulls no punches at CRTC hearings on mandatory distribution

The CRTC hearings on mandatory TV channel distribution took place last week, with several companies making their case as to why their new or existing channel should be considered for mandatory inclusion in the basic tier of every cable/satellite/IPTV package in the country. Being granted mandatory inclusion is akin to winning the lottery for a TV channel. It forces every TV distributor to include your channel in every channel package, so it guarantees you a steady income since viewers can't opt out. These designations typically last for 7 years, so if you are granted mandatory carriage you have 7 years of an assured revenue stream.


Aside from those representing the TV channels, a number of companies and individuals appeared before the committee to voice their support or concerns. Recently-launched IPTV provider VMedia was one of the companies that intervened; as a TV distributor they highlighted the burden that additional "must subscribe" channels would have on them and especially their customers. In an era where viewers have more and more non-traditional options for TV viewing, VMedia told the CRTC that consumers need more say in what they subscribe to, not less.


VMedia Executives at the CRTC mandatory carriage hearing
VMedia was especially critical of the Starlight channel's application, wondering "why are Canadians being asked to pay for this cavalier business plan?"

You can read the full text of VMedia's presentation here - it's quite interesting and doesn't hold back in its criticism: VMedia at CRTC 2013-04-26.

Blogger David Ellis also has a good roundup on the issue, and takes a good look at the sneaky tactics Starlight used to slant the results of their public surveys in their favour: http://www.davidellis.ca/must-carry-tv-5-starlights-cash-grab-advocacy-research/
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