Tuesday, November 28, 2006

TV NETWORKS BEG THE CRTC FOR MORE DOUGH

I have nothing to say about the nation's broadcasters begging for more loot from the CRTC and demanding that the cable companies hand over carriage fees, license fees, whatever you want to call it, for the right to show their networks on cable.

So what else is new. The three major networks CBC, CTV and Global all want carriage fees from the cable companies. They say that TSN, MuchMusic and Newsworld are able to extract cable fees; so should they! The problem is that these are supposed to be over-the-air networks that are supposed to provide their signals to the public for free. It's one thing for a cable network to rip the public off. Supposedly you're buying their channels when you buy cable! So of course you pay a fee to watch TSN or CNN or whatever channel is being shown. But you're not buying cable to get CBC, CTV or Global, stations you already get for free with rabbit ears.

These crybaby networks ought to realize the cable companies are doing them a big favor by carrying their cut-rate channels with all their American shows. They also do them a big favor by allowing them to substitute their local signals right over top the American ones! They can substitute the American Idol local signal from CTV over top of the cable signal from the FOX affiliate in Rochester, so that the Canadians who advertised on CTV get the bang for their buck! The cable companies already give these Camadian stations enough breaks already by allowing them the right to do this. Now they want to rip the public off with cable fees, too!

What the cable companies ought to do is tell these networks to go to heck. Boot them off the cable system if they pull a stunt like what they're pulling, demanding 50 cents a month from customers! This is extortion, what they're proposing.

If Global insists on charging 50 cents to show Global TV, the cable companies ought to play hardball and save the public from handing over their hard-earned money, and should boot that station off their systems! Heck, it's not as if Global TV provides any programming that is any different from what everyone else is providing. You can watch Entertainment Tonight, House, Prison Break, Survivor, Deal or No Deal and all those NFL games on any of these other cable channels, like FOX or NBC! Believe me, it's not as if we'll be missing much if the cable company gave Global the boot. Besides, what original programming do they show, anyway? 100 Huntley Street? Debbie Travis?! Infomercials?! Get rid of them if they try a stunt like this, insisting on fees for this junk.

Same for CTV; if we want to watch American Idol, we can watch it on FOX! And if we want to watch Lloyd Robertson or Corner Gas, we can go on the Net! Might as well boot them, too! As for the CBC, they already rip people off with all their tax revenues, and we've seen what they've done with our taxpayers' money as far as programming is concerned. Now, they want cable fees, too? I'm sorry, but Dragon's Den isn't worth 50 cents a month, and neither is Don Cherry.

The networks claim they need this extra money because their ad revenues can't keep up, and they need to spend money on quality Canadian dramatic programming. The usual line of bull. Well, we all know what will happen if they get their rate hike; nothing. They'll conveniently forget to order more Canadian dramas and find a way to manipulate the rules to serve up the same old American junk and the usual cheap reality/ home improvement shows that we have come to expect from Canadian television. Call me cynical, but the Canadian entertainment industry isn't going to win, either, if broadcasters rip the public off. What will happen is that so many parts of Canada will get so fed up with the rate hikes that they will get the courage to boot cable TV and refuse to pay these ridiculous fees anymore. Heck, these networks own most of the specialty cable channels, anyway, and charge fees for all of them. If cable customers revolt and boot cable out, that's a ton of revenue out the window for everyone involved in Canada's TV industry.

In fact in Toronto you can live without cable! In Toronto alone you can get something like 18 channels with an antenna, and in Vancouver and Ottawa you get plenty of stations, too. It's not as if you will be missing much by booting Showcase, MTV Canada, Star!TV,The Life Network, TVtropolis and these other rerun cable channels with all the junk they continue to show. Heck, CTV shows MTV programming on the weekends and late at night on their main network! Citytv runs half the stuff you see on Star!TV anyway. And half the stuff on Newsworld was aired on the main CBC, anyway! You won't be missing much, except maybe the movie channels and the sports.

Word of advice to the networks: don't go to the CRTC demanding fee hikes so you can show the same old, lousy American shows that we can get for free with rabbit ears! Put on shows that people will watch! Then, maybe advertisers will come back and pay you more money. Anyway, it sounds like the CRTC isn't very impressed with the TV networks and their demands to rip off cable customers. Darned right they shouldn't be impressed. Thats it.

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