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The Estimated Revenues From Fee-For-Carriage

The CRTC estimates that fee-for-carriage would generate $352 million in revenues for Canadian broadcasters.  As I argued last week, ultimately FFC is going to cost consumers.

8 Comments

  1. Stephen Downes says:

    It could cost broadcasters as well. Our extremely biased local news programming (produced in Halifax, a city 300km away and in another province) is on the bubble as it is. Charging me a fee for it will push it over the edge.

  2. Darryl Moore says:

    They only make it worse
    It’s a short sighted remedy which will only make their problems worse in the long run. The problem is that the current business model of using advertising to pay for programming isn’t working. This is only going to get worse as more and more people turn to getting their TV through online sources. Forcing people to pay more for cable to acquire that which they can already get online for free, without annoying commercials, will only result in people turning to torrent sites that much quicker.

    The wider problem which is not being addressed is how to pay for content in a world where information can be exchanged so easily and cheaply. The technology isn’t going to go away. In fact it will only become more pervasive, in the end relegating the cable companies themselves to simply being ISPs.

    I think the British have the best model with the BBC producing tonnes of content paid for through government taxation. With little or no revenue based on an advertising model, they are well positioned to not only survive this onslaught of new technology, but to actually take great advantage of it.

    I think we are at the dawn of a new age of public broadcasting. At least I hope so, ’cause the only alternative that I see is a virtual police state as technology is clamped down in a desperate effort to maintain an environment conducive to existing business methods.

  3. Greg Perry says:

    A la Carte is the best solution
    What I really want is fully a la carte programming. Let the consumer decide which stations they want to support by letting them buy them individually. If a station that I want wants to charge $5 a month, that’s fine. What I’m sick of is paying $35 to support stations that I have no interest in. Let each station compete on the open market, and allow them to collect revenue from both ads and subscription fees. This will give more choice to consumers, although it may increase the bills for those who watch many stations.

  4. Nick Simmons says:

    Coming from the UK, I have experience of the BBC model. The problem you have is that you are forced to pay for something that you may never watch or listen to. Sounds like CBC to me…

    This fee is payable to all people who have a TV, even if you get your pictures via satellite or cable, or even if you move your TV to another location (so, you could have 5 TVs at home, but only need to buy 1 licence, but when your child goes to university, they have to purchase another licence).

    I fully support a la carte. I have no desire to pay for channels that I never watch, yet I’m currently forced to do so.

  5. Darryl Moore says:

    Posters not addressing the problem
    I would have actually used the CBC as an example if they had much reasonable programming. The reason they don’t is because they are so poorly funded. The BBC on the other hand, due to the dedicated TV taxes, is very well funded and as a result produces some excellent programming.

    The real solution of course is to use the funding model of the CBC (out of general revenue) but to fund it to the level if the BBC (so they can actually produce some quality programming. If you consider that the purpose of the CBC/BBC is to provide a platform for the creation of national culture, then it is perfectly reasonable to pay for it through taxes, and to do so as a proportion of everyones ability to pay. IE, general revenue.

    Both of the above posters, as well as the TV networks and the CRTC are missing the bigger issue entirely. The Internet has made it so that networks and cable companies are irrelevant as a delivery mechanism. We need production companies to produce work, we do not need these broadcasters and cable companies to deliver them. Go ahead and pay your a-la-carte tv fees. As more and more people drop cable and OTH tv signals in favour of getting the content online, this form of financing as well as advertising will become less and less viable. This is not a solution because you are ignoring the problem.

  6. Turning point
    These guys are in a precarious position. The changes in technology are going to make them obsolete. This is just the beginning of the “acting out” stage where they start fighting people instead of making friends. It will just acellerate the inevitable.

  7. Darryl. In many parts of Canada your assertion that the Internet making broadcast/cable irrelevant is true… in many parts in this case meaning population-wise. In general, however, it is predicated on the idea of universal high-speed internet access. Currently there are four main ways in which it is delivered:

    1) Cable
    2) Telephone (land-line)
    3) Wireless
    4) Satellite

    Cable and landline are available only in built up areas… rural folks don’t have cable at all, and generally the telcos haven’t upgraded the infrastructure in the rural areas to support anything beyond dial-up (for instance, the maximum I’ve seen is 26.4 kbps… no good for video). Not all of Canada is covered by wireless (mostly areas where the population density is high enough, and not all locations in those areas can get a decent signal… I can get a wireless signal, but there is interferance). And then there is satellite.

    There is still a reason for over the air broadcasters…

  8. Darryl Moore says:

    Anon, you are absolutely correct. By the same token, in 2006 only 75% of Canadians even had a computer at home, let alone Internet access (http://www45.statcan.gc.ca/2008/cgco_2008_006-eng.htm). Primarily I was identifying the technology tread. More and more people are getting computers, getting Internet service, and getting their content online. There may still be a place for broadcasters, evident by the fact that they are not already bankrupt, but there will not be for long and the measures they are calling for, (and even the compromises the previous posters were calling for) will only hasten their doom.

    The CRTC should look farther ahead, see this eventual demise, and understand how the current the current measures being called for are in fact counter productive. I don’t expect this of the networks, but I do of the CRTC.