Post Tagged with: "ott"

CRTC Releases Online Video Report

The CRTC released its fact-finding report on over-the-top video yesterday.  I’ll have more to say on the report in my column next week, but in the meantime the money quote is: the evidence does not demonstrate that the presence of OTT providers in Canada and greater consumption of OTT content […]

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October 6, 2011 3 comments News

“Hands off the Internet”

The Ottawa Citizen featured a masthead editorial over the weekend calling on the CRTC to avoid placing new regulations on over-the-top video providers, instead easing restrictions on Canadian broadcasters.

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July 18, 2011 Comments are Disabled News

The CRTC’s Over-the-Top Video Consult: Calls for Competition, Regulation, & De-Regulation

The final batch of submissions in the CRTC’s over-the-top video fact finding exercise were posted yesterday. I focused on the lack of evidence and the fear of competition for foreign content in my first post on the submissions. The latest group of submissions includes many of the biggest names – the telcos, Internet companies, and creator groups. The participants in this consultation fall into three main groups: those seeking competition, those who want more regulation, and those who want de-regulation.

What remains is the next step for the CRTC. It seems certain that there will be a full scale hearing, but the question is whether the Commission will cave to pressure from some groups for something immediately, or wait until the next new media hearing round in 2014.  Given the lack of actual evidence – this has been a fear-finding exercise rather than a fact-finding one – the CRTC should surely label this a watching brief and wait until 2014.

A glance at each of the submission groups:

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July 7, 2011 16 comments News

The Netflix Fear: Competition (But Not the Competition You Might Think)

The CRTC’s deadline for submissions to the over-the-top video “fact finding” exercise passed yesterday. While many notable submissions will likely appear on the CRTC site today, there are enough there already to get a good feel for where this is headed. I wrote last week about the perceived bias against consumer interests in this consultation, but the reality is that the industry arguments are thus far so devoid of actual evidence that the Commission should be well positioned to leave the issue alone at least until the next new media hearing in 2014.

The submissions include the usual fear mongering about services like Netflix. The winner so far comes from the Stingray Digital Group, which warns:

Just as Napster wreaked havoc on the record label industry in the early 2000’s and played a major role in the collapse of the music retail industry, so too will the new breed of OTT music services materially disrupt licensed Canadian music services and the Canadian broadcasting system if the status quo is left unchecked.

Other submissions contains lots of rhetoric about the dangers of an unregulated over-the-top services market, but no actual evidence of real harm.

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July 6, 2011 13 comments News

Why Competition Holds the Key to a Broken Broadcast System

As the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission concludes its hearing on the consolidation of the Canadian communications market into a handful of corporate giants (so-called vertical integration) and embarks on a “fact-finding exercise” on the impact of online video services (today is the submission deadline), my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the only obvious conclusion from the hundreds of submissions and hours of debate is that Canada’s broadcast law framework is broken.

The Commission’s struggle to make sense of the changing corporate and technological landscape – alongside lobbying for new industry codes of practice and Internet regulations – is rooted in a regulatory framework premised on scarcity rather than abundance. When the law was crafted, broadcasters occupied a privileged position, since the creation of video was expensive and the spectrum needed to distribute it scarce. As a result, the government established a licensing system complete with content requirements and cultural contributions designed to further a myriad of policy goals.

Yet among the more than 40 policy goals found in the current Broadcasting Act, the word “competition” does not appear once. The absence of competition may have made sense when there was little of it, but in today’s world of abundance featuring a seemingly unlimited array of content and distribution possibilities, fostering competition among broadcasters and broadcast distributors such as cable and satellite companies might hold the key to reforming the system.

What might a competition-focused broadcast policy look like?  

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July 5, 2011 13 comments Columns