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CRTC Forcing Cable Companies to Satisfy Viewers


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Ooh, this is interesting!  I shut off my cable last August because everything was in reruns and TCM had SUTS so I wasn't going to be watching anyway so I could save money.  I had Shaw before where I had huge bundles to watch TCM and I didn't have PVR then changed last January to Telus and got a teen in my building to teach me how to use PVR and so I no longer have to be home or awake to record movies.

This would allow me to watch a lot of movies that are brand new to me.

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Oh, Canada! I can but dream that this idea could make it's way Stateside - I really only regularly tune into to ~10 channels out of the hundreds in the various tiers required to get those channels.

 

Frankly, I'll be amazed if the cableco's don't find some way to scupper skinny plans - they'll probably be promoted exclusively inside a locked broom cupboard with a Beware of the Leopard sign pinned on the door.

 

Whenever I've heard the idea previously kicked around, the US cableco's all claimed it would kill off the smaller/specialty channels.

 

 

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Whenever I've heard the idea previously kicked around, the US cableco's all claimed it would kill off the smaller/specialty channels.

 

Because people don't want to watch those smaller/specialty channels?

 

Yeah, right. The cable companies really care about providing charity for those poor operations. We all know the cable companies are altruists in every respect.

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Because people don't want to watch those smaller/specialty channels?

 

Yeah, right. The cable companies really care about providing charity for those poor operations. We all know the cable companies are altruists in every respect.

 

The claim was that the popular channels subsidize the smaller ones. Whether or not that may or may not be scare tactics to justify lumping channels together in nice profitable bundles, is open for debate... ;)

 

Having said that & given that many channels are owned/controlled by network companies owning multiple channels, a sneaky option could be to spread programming across multiple channels, thus encouraging the consumer to have add all of them to their no-longer-quite-so-skinny bundle (certain sports networks *cough*fox sports*cough* already do this).

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The claim was that the popular channels subsidize the smaller ones.

 

Why? To what end? Why would the popular channels give a rat's --- about the smaller ones?

 

I'm not really asking - you know why - it was in the rest of your post. It's a scam by the cable companies to sell "packages".

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out when the specific details and prices of extra channels become available. Aside from the possibility of small channels that interest few subscribers going down, I've read talk of some of the channel providers (Bell and Rogers, in particular, I assume) raising their internet rates to compensate for any losses that may take on the TV front.

 

I wish I could recall the specifics but I also read something about some American channels not being happy with this CRTC stipulation and withholding their services from Canadian providers. How that benefits them financially, however, I don't know.

 

The fact that none of the cable/satellite providers want to discuss their skinny packages or anything else now is pretty indicative of how antsy they are about it. Which makes me, as a consumer, cautiously pleased - but until I see the bottom line of what it will cost me (how much will they charge for the "extra" channels like TCM) it's wait and see time. Since I will only be ordering as couple of extra channels I strongly suspect this will be a money saver for me from what I pay now for my satellite with Shaw.

 

I'll be watching my internet rates (with Bell) to see if they start creeping up even faster than before. You save money in one pocket only to have the big companies reach deeper into another one.

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I think most people would like to have a better choice of options, and it does suck that cable co.s  stack the deck.  Like for instance----

 

My "basic" digital cable package includes a lot of channels I NEVER venture into(mostly those channels over the 300 mark!)  There's HUGE blocks of channels which I don't recieve but also don't pay for, like the HD channels and "premium" channels like SHOWTIME, the now multiple HBO channels, Cinemax and what have you.  I usually only wind up on "Music Choice Ave." for the hell of it, and only for about five or ten minutes. 

 

My cable bill's higher than I'd like, but it's not breaking me,so I'm good with it.  But, if WOW offered me the chance to shave a few bucks off by letting me remove those channels I NEVER use, I'd JUMP at it!

 

 

Sepiatone

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It is in U.S.A. that there is FCC requirement that all cable companies provide basic service of local, educational, government and public access channels at low cost. They do not advertise this package but it is available on all cable services in U.S.A.. It is for TWC that this is:"Starter TV" which includes twenty channels for twenty dollars.

 

It is my understanding that the primary argument against: à la carte pricing is that niche channels can not survive on income which they could generate independently. Forcing many people to pay small amount achieves diversity which would not exist if minorities had to pay true costs for entertainment which matches their tastes. To require all one million customers of a cable service to pay one dollar for channel: 'XYZ' whether they want it or not generates one million dollars for: 'XYZ'. To allow customers to chose channels would mean that the one thousand people who truly want: 'XYZ' would have to pay one thousand dollars each. 

 

It is also that only large corporations could introduce new channels because of huge expense of supporting channel until viewers become aware of it and begin subscribing in sufficient numbers.  

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The cable companies really care about providing charity for those poor operations. We all know the cable companies are altruists in every respect.

 

 

I believe that they truly do care deeply because diversity increases sales. A cable company which can not offer channels which appeal to an ethnic group will not be able to sell in neighborhoods with high concentration of that ethnic group.

 

Diverse small channels prevents also claims that cable company discriminates against an ethnic group by not offering channels tailored to that ethnic group.

 

More sales and fewer PR nightmares make those channels quite attractive to cable companies.

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The future of television, unfortunately, is going to be On-Demand/streaming. The providers like it because they can once again embed unskippable commercials throughout the program. They also claim that it's the only way "a la carte" tv could work. And one way they are discussing it is, you don't pay for specific channels, just specific programs. They keep your payment method on file, so you just click your remote, get charged a small fee (.99¢ or so) per show, you don't feel like you have spent a lot, and therefore you will rent many programs for this small amount. Of course, over time, you rack up quite a bill, but since so many people now have automatic online Bill-pay, it's out of sight out of mind for today's "busy" (lazy) consumers. It's the principle behind the massively successful "micro-transactions" that have made billionaires out of the designers of Facebook and mobile app gaming.

 

Of course, this kind of transition won't take place overnight, so traditional, over-the-air programming and cable aren't going anywhere yet. But just look and listen to how many younger people watch ONLY streaming and/or On Demand programming, and you'll see that's where things are headed.

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I believe that they truly do care deeply because diversity increases sales. A cable company which can not offer channels which appeal to an ethnic group will not be able to sell in neighborhoods with high concentration of that ethnic group.

 

I don't believe that for a second. Everybody wants to have TV. All "minority" channels do is prevent minorities from assimilating more quickly.

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The future of television, unfortunately, is going to be On-Demand/streaming. 

 

 But just look and listen to how many younger people watch ONLY streaming and/or On Demand programming, and you'll see that's where things are headed.

Go look at new cars.  Almost impossible to find one with a multiple CD changer and that used to be standard on most, especially those over $30,000.  May not be long until they don't have CD players at all.

Young people want streaming services or connections to their personal devices on which they downloaded music from streaming services.

Check out electronics stores and see how few DVD players there are and how few DVD recorders.

As an aside, LP's are making a come back.  Go figure.

As for the future of cable, it is very, very complicated.  The cable/satellite companies have to make a profit and keep shareholders happy or they go out of business.  How much do they pay to each "channel" or network?  Can they get it back if it is ala cart?  Would customers be allowed to subscribe to only 10 channels?  Lot of overhead in cable and satellite business.

One comparison is European cars and Japanese/American cars.  Most American and Japanese manufacturers have packages with many components.  Eurpopean (especially luxury) have a few packages, but mostly sell opitons individually.  Therefore the European cars make a tremendous profit and cost consumers far more because consumer can pick only the options he/she wants.  Under the American/Japanese system, you may get a few options you don't want, but you save a whole lot of money overall.

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They keep your payment method on file, so you just click your remote, get charged a small fee (.99¢ or so) per show, you don't feel like you have spent a lot, and therefore you will rent many programs for this small amount.

Well, since that is slightly less than a penny, it sounds like a very good deal!

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Forcing many people to pay small amount achieves diversity which would not exist if minorities had to pay true costs for entertainment which matches their tastes.

Look into the cost of foreign channels. (I pick that as an example because it's probably the ultimate in niche programming) You can get this package of two Brazilian TV channels for the low low price of only $29.95!

 

A la carte pricing of regular cable channels won't be quite so severe, but it won't be pretty. (The foreign channels, of course, won't go defunct since they're really designed for a home market overseas, but that's not true of the English-language channels.) Sadly, there are a lot of William Ropers out there who see the cable providers as having big piles of money, and it therefore being virtuous when the government shafts them.

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It is in U.S.A. that there is FCC requirement that all cable companies provide basic service of local, educational, government and public access channels at low cost. They do not advertise this package but it is available on all cable services in U.S.A.. It is for TWC that this is:"Starter TV" which includes twenty channels for twenty dollars.

15 years ago, Virginia Postrel over at Reason wrote an interesting piece on how the government requirements stunted cable development. Basically, back then the cable companies had limited bandwidth, and being forced to carry all that local stuff prevented them from carrying that many interesting channels, so they carried stuff that made more money for them like shopping channels.

 

I didn't re-read the article just now, only having googled it for the purposes of being able to post the link, so I don't recall if it mentions the interesting story of DirecTV and over-the-air channels. Initially, the local cable providers tried to use the government to prevent DirecTV from having access to the over-the-air channels, so that local cable could use their carrying those channels (which they were forced by regulation to do) as a marketing point. At some point, they figured out that DirecTV had limited bandwith too, so why not use the government to force DirecTV to carry those over-the-air channels too and use up some of that precious bandwidth?

 

Oh, and the National Association of Broadcasters (representing the over-the-air channels) are, along with the cable channels and the cable/satellite companies, the third leg of this unholy triangle.

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I'm glad I have Me-TV and comet. :)

 

:)

 

 

 

My "basic" digital cable package includes a lot of channels I NEVER venture into(mostly those channels over the 300 mark!)  There's HUGE blocks of channels which I don't recieve but also don't pay for, like the HD channels and "premium" channels like SHOWTIME, the now multiple HBO channels, Cinemax and what have you.  I usually only wind up on "Music Choice Ave." for the hell of it, and only for about five or ten minutes. 

 

Sepiatone

When I had Dish with 200 channels, I took inventory more or less. I had about 10 religious channels (never watch), 10 shopping channels (never ever watch), about 30 music channels from Sirius and some other company ( I can get more on my cell for free) , and that was a good percentage of this great number of channels. So really, I had to ask myself "what's the point ?"

 

Noticed recently that one of the local, independent TV stations now has five over the air channels.  The newest one is actually QVC Over Air.

Some channels here have more than 10. Many are different languages.

 

Why? To what end? Why would the popular channels give a rat's --- about the smaller ones?

 

I'm not really asking - you know why - it was in the rest of your post. It's a scam by the cable companies to sell "packages".

Give you an example: AMC has one of the most popular shows going in "The Walking Dead" and they had a dispute with Dish a while ago. AMC is in a package of channels along with IFC, BBC America, Sundance TV, and WE. Cable companies cannot simply add AMC. They must take all those other channels also in a package. And because The Walking Dead along with Fear of the Walking Dead are so popular, the cable cos. had to take them all.

 

When the dispute went on, Dish cut one of those channels off saying "No one watches it anyways". AMC complained and eventually that channel was back on the air.Its the same with MTV, VH1, BET for example. You have to take all or none.    

 

Oh, Canada! I can but dream that this idea could make it's way Stateside -

 

I like the U.S. system better where if you don't like the cable packages, you cut the cord. 500,000 each year are choosing that plan.

 

Why do you think Dish came up with SlingTV ? Sony Playstation has a package of channels now. Amazon has a selection of channels you can get in addition to Prime. Not to mention all these lovely digital channel popping up.

 

Competition forced the cell phone companies to drop contracts. And the same will force the cable companies to make changes. The old business model isn't bringing any new customers. Cable cos. are more into giving internet access than the cable. Notice how the push "bundles" on you anytime you have to call them  ? No gov't intervention necessary.

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:)

 

When I had Dish with 200 channels, I took inventory more or less. I had about 10 religious channels (never watch), 10 shopping channels (never ever watch), about 30 music channels from Sirius and some other company ( I can get more on my cell for free) , and that was a good percentage of this great number of channels. So really, I had to ask myself "what's the point ?"

 

Some channels here have more than 10. Many are different languages.

 

Give you an example: AMC has one of the most popular shows going in "The Walking Dead" and they had a dispute with Dish a while ago. AMC is in a package of channels along with IFC, BBC America, Sundance TV, and WE. Cable companies cannot simply add AMC. They must take all those other channels also in a package. And because The Walking Dead along with Fear of the Walking Dead are so popular, the cable cos. had to take them all.

 

When the dispute went on, Dish cut one of those channels off saying "No one watches it anyways". AMC complained and eventually that channel was back on the air.Its the same with MTV, VH1, BET for example. You have to take all or none.    

 

 

I like the U.S. system better where if you don't like the cable packages, you cut the cord. 500,000 each year are choosing that plan.

 

Why do you think Dish came up with SlingTV ? Sony Playstation has a package of channels now. Amazon has a selection of channels you can get in addition to Prime. Not to mention all these lovely digital channel popping up.

 

Competition forced the cell phone companies to drop contracts. And the same will force the cable companies to make changes. The old business model isn't bringing any new customers. Cable cos. are more into giving internet access than the cable. Notice how the push "bundles" on you anytime you have to call them  ? No gov't intervention necessary.

 

Whilst SlingTV has potential, it's not there by a country mile, yet. Want to watch BBC America? No. Want to watch Premier League Footy? No NBCSN, so nope. Want to watch TCM? Again, not with SlingTV. Not to mention various limitations with pause/rewind/ad skipping. Whilst it is a small step towards breaking the bundling juggernaut, it's current ability to replace a US cable sub depends too heavily on your viewing preferences dovetailing with their current selection.

 

Competition is a beautiful thing, but to work, it needs an entity with sufficient clout/resources/desire to break the mould. The unholy trinity above, have managed to keep a united front & avoid this happening for decades and until the likes of SlingTV can negotiate affordable deals with most of the content makers for more than a handful of channels, this won't change anytime soon.

 

There's one more thing that keeps the unholy trinity intact - those content makers are often owned by/have deep relationships with same corps that own the distribution channels.

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Rogers Cable is always trying to coax me to subscribe to their HD digital service that means renting a wonder box and/or DVR and so forth - always at a wonderful almost give-away price for the first 3 months.

 

My question to them is - do I have to sign a 2 year contract? They say "yes".

 

I always say "no thanks".

 

The CRTC made them provide all their customers with free digital converters when they went all-digital. These free converters allow for about 70 feeds - and one of those feeds is TCM.

 

So, I have no need for anything more.

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