- rejects (again) the request from over-the-air broadcasters for a new fee-for-carriage payment (ie. payment for over-the-air signals).
- establishes a new fund for local programming that will cost cable and satellite subscribers about 50 cents per month. The new fund sparked two dissenting opinions.
- concludes that time shifting (in this case carrying multiple versions of the same network) should be compensated and calls for negotiations to establish a price.
- continues to move toward greater deregulation by dropping regulation for smaller broadcast distribution companies (under 20,000 subscribers), removing "genre protection" in competitive areas (which for the moment are sports and news), and provides greater flexibility in packaging channels.
- opens the door to new forms of targeted advertising (ie. closer examination of viewing profiles and interests) with a hearing on the matter scheduled for next year.
While this suggests a mixed bag, it ultimately leaves consumers paying more (the new fund and time shifting fees), though not quite as much as some broadcasters were hoping for. Interestingly, the Internet and new forms of broadcast scarcely merit a mention in the entire decision with those issues slated for review in the new media hearings next February.
Update: A Canadian Press reporter asked for my views on whether today's decision would change broadcasting in Canada by 2011. My response:
The decision does very little to significantly reshape the Canadian broadcasting framework. Indeed, while the Commission is tinkering at the regulatory edges, the Internet and new technologies are driving far more dramatic change in the way that creators distribute content and Canadians access it. Broadcasting will look different in 2011, but not because of this decision. The rush of technology and the emergence of the Internet and wireless as platforms for distributing content are fundamentally altering the landscape and today's decision is a reminder that the CRTC is an increasingly marginalized player on those issues.