Ideas for DTV Sub-Channels in Canada? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-02-04, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Question Ideas for DTV Sub-Channels in Canada?

I noticed that the CBC stations do not have any sub stations. It would be great if CBC can put Newsworld in SD format as a sub channel. Does anyone know if this has ever been discussed?

Thanks, Dave

Last edited by stampeder; 2009-05-31 at 10:15 AM. Reason: merged into this thread
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post #2 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-02-04, 06:13 PM
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One source told me that if the CBC were to add multiplex subchannels, it is not likely to be an existing cable-distributed channel, like Newsworld, bold, or RDI. Too bad, I think, because NW would probably be the most popular choice among OTAers.

On the other hand, while there are a plethora of weather subchannels in the States, AFAIK, no one is broadcasting Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC on a subchannel.

Last edited by stampeder; 2009-05-31 at 10:15 AM. Reason: merged into this thread
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post #3 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-11, 11:27 AM
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In my opinion the most likely subchannel residents could be networks/stations already O&O'ed by the primary channel that are really just extensions of the existing programming, such as CBC DTV stations carrying Newsworld, or CTV DTV stations carrying NewsNet. The Weather Network would probably be sustainable across Canada as a subchannel.

Would TVLand, Deja View, Drive-In, etc. make a go of it on Canadian DTV? I don't believe so: they would have died already on satellite and cable if they weren't forced upon subscribers by channel bundling, so I doubt it.

I don't believe any of those specialty channels have the financial means to survive as primary DTV stations. I can't see how a bunch of them on a single DTV multiplex as subchannels would raise enough dimes either. If a private DTV station in Canada decides to make its subchannel(s) available to bidding specialty channels then I'm all in favour of that model. All the risk would fall on the shoulders of the specialty channel.

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post #4 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-11, 11:44 AM
 
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The CBC should right now be using their subchannels on the current DTV OTA stations. Especially with the NHL play-offs affecting the airing of "The National" and "The Hour". In this way, the sub-channel would be an extension of the main HD channel, and adding greater value for viewers who are not interested in Hockey. Some people just want to watch the news at 10pm (EST, or even AST), and get to bed, instead of waiting for the news to come on at midnight.

They could also use their sub-channels to provide local weather and news updates, at certain hours of the day. They don't have to run their channel full 24/7. Perhaps 4 - 6 hours a day.
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post #5 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-11, 05:40 PM
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@blackburst: I agree that the CBC should be utilitizing their sub channels; especially with the Olympics soon coming to Canada.

Not everyone wants to watch the hockey playoffs.

And the CBC has other channels (eg. Newsworld) that would be appreciated by OTA television viewers.
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post #6 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-12, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by PlayitSimple View Post
Anyone know why the CRTC will not allow digital sub-channels, is it a technology issue or something else?! I am not really versed on this whole issue but I know that it is allowed in the US and broadcasters are making use of it so what's the reason for not allowing it here?!
They aren't prohibiting the use of sub-channels, they are just heavily regulaing the use of them. In Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-31 they say:

Quote:
The Commission's predisposition will be to license new and innovative multicast services, in preference to those that duplicate existing over-the-air services, pay or specialty services.
I interpret this as meaning they wouldn't want a weather channel, an all news channel, a music channel, a movie channel or a sports channel as they would duplicate existing specialty services.

I could see them having something like a traffic camera channel that cycles through static images of all the traffic cameras in the city. That would be very local and they could display static ads. for advertising revenue. It would also be very low bandwidth as they would only need to refresh the screen about every 5 seconds.
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post #7 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-19, 11:32 AM
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Question Could Newsworld be a CBC DTV Sub-Channel?

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Originally Posted by tablo View Post
I think CBC should put CBC Newsworld HD in subchannel, 15Mbps for CBC and 4Mbps for CBC Newsworld HD...
But the CBC gets paid if you subscribe to Newsworld - why should they give it away for free?
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post #8 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-19, 03:17 PM
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But the CBC gets paid if you subscribe to Newsworld - why should they give it away for free?
Exactly. People often assume that because it is included in basic cable it is free, but actually the fee is included in your cable bill. The same is true for all of the cable channels in basic service (including The Weather Network, CTV NewsNet, and whichever sports channel is included by your provider).
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post #9 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 09:22 AM
 
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Of course it costs something to operate these cable channels, but the bulk of these costs are covered by cable subscriber fees. Some revenue comes from advertising (I assume they still have commercial breaks..I dunno, I got rid of cable TV a couple of years ago). It's not like they'd be losing revenue by "giving it away for free" OTA. As much as we OTA'ers might wish, viewers won't be leaving cable TV in droves just because they might be able to watch a couple of these 'specialty' channels for free.

I'd like to have CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet as OTA sub-channels. Apart from re-encoding the broadcast signals and providing a feed from the 'specialty' channel, the rest is a no-brainer (except for CRTC approval..).
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post #10 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 09:28 AM
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I'd like to have CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet as OTA sub-channels. Apart from re-encoding the broadcast signals and providing a feed from the 'specialty' channel, the rest is a no-brainer (except for CRTC approval..).
So what you are saying is that you want cable/sat subscribers to subsidize these channels for you (and other OTA only households)? Why don't we also pay a little bit extra for our flat screen TVs so that you can get yours free!

These may be happening with OTA channels anyhow if the CRTC does allow the OTA netwroks to get carriage fees from cable/sat.
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post #11 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 09:36 AM
 
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Uh, no Wayne.... the AD Revenue is the little forgotten part of all of this. The AD Revenue can be used to pay the bills for the sub-channel maintenance. Ad Revenue is based on viewership. Add a sub channel, add more viewers to the count. This equals an increase in ad rates and thus an increase in revenue.

(The whole debate about carriage is so fascinating, because traditional TV networks are expected to make money on advertising!!! And to live within their means doing so. It is their own fault that stupid investments elsewhere have taxed their budgets.)

Anyway, I absolutely agree that CBC could easily put newsworld on a sub - and they really should.

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post #12 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 09:42 AM
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There is ad revenue but the business model for a channel like CBC Newsworld, and other similar channels like TSN, is that their revenue comes from both ads and subscriber fees. When these channels first started up they made they choice to go for a more limited viewership base as they believed their subscriber fees would make up for the revenue lost by lower ad fees due to lower viewership.

If you are proposing that OTA viewers see an extra five minutes of ads per hour while the cable/sat subscribers see content in that time then I guess that is okay.

Sure it would be nice to have Newsworld OTA. It would also be nice to have TSN, RSN, TMN, Treehouse, etc. OTA and then nobody would have to pay for cable but that ain't gonna happen!

What we really need in Canada (alhtough I am starting to get Off Topic) is true a la carte channel selection.
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post #13 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 09:51 AM
 
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Wayne, Newsworld is a CBC "sub channel" already (if you see my point) And it is funded by my tax dollars far more than it is living off of subscriber fees. I think in CBC's case, an OTA sub channel is simply an extension of their mandate to the Canadian population. This to me, is a no-brainer.

Of course we will likely never see TSN etc.. OTA as they have no reason to do so at present. And their ownership seems to be heading off in the other direction and would likely love to shut down all OTA towers forever. Forget Rogers Sportsnet on an OMNI or CITY sub-channel - for VERY obvious reasons.

However, in TSN's case, this COULD happen if CTVGlobeMedia decided to make it so - in every CTV market with a digital transmitter nation-wide. It would not only be a very good way to popularize OTA, but I think a great shot across the bow of the cable and satellite operators with whom they are angry over the fee for carriage dispute. "You won't pay us for carriage? Fine. We'll start broadcasting TSN-HD OTA and maybe people won't need you service anymore..."

Now THIS would make sense.

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post #14 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 12:56 PM
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One of the things I find fascinating is that for years conventional broadcasters complained about the dilution of viewers due to all these new cable channels.

When I was a kid, we had 11 channels on cable so CBC was 9.1% of my choices, CTV was 9.1% etc.

On cable today, that number is way lower - may 3% each on most analog cable packages, probably close to 1% of digital cable packages.

Meanwhile on OTA, CBC and CTV represents about 4% of my choices. By adding a subchannel like Newsworld or Newsnet, it would be about 8%, almost fully back to the 1970s landscape.

They'd have a much larger piece of the OTA pie which should translate to higher ad revenues. Of course they'd still need to (a) grow the pie - promote OTA where it exists and (b) provide content that people will actually watch to realize their slice of the OTA pie.

Now the mathematical model... Lets assume 90% cable/satellite, 10% OTA, broadcaster captures 2% of cable/satellite viewers at any given time, broadcaster captures 4% of OTA viewers at any given time

If a million people are watching tv right now, that would give this broadcaster 22,000 viewers.

Now if OTA grew by 5%, and a subchannel added so the broadcaster captures another 4% of OTA viewers, that would yield 29,000 viewers, which is a huge percentage increase (approx. 30%).

Use any numbers you want, the same conclusion will be reached.

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post #15 of 176 (permalink) Old 2009-05-20, 01:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenstu
And it is funded by my tax dollars far more than it is living off of subscriber fees.
CBC Newsworld is not funded by taxpayer dollars. From the Wikipedia:

Quote:
Newsworld is funded by cable subscriber fees and commercial advertising. Unlike the CBC's main television network, the channel cannot directly benefit from the corporation's public funding from Canadian taxpayers, although it does benefit from synergies with other CBC services.
The source for that statement is Decision CRTC 2000-3. See the "Separate accounting" section (24-26).
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