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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, July 8, 2011 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that it is postponing until June 4, 2012 the licence renewal hearing for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC).

This decision was made for two reasons. First, it was made further to a request by the Quebec English-language Production Committee (QEPC) for the same data that had been available for the group-based licence renewals for private English-language television, held in April 2011. The Canadian Media Production Association and the Documentary Organization of Canada supported the request.

Second, today the CBC/SRC advised that the federal government has not yet established its future operating budget. The CRTC believes it would be inappropriate to impose licence conditions given this uncertainty.

Consequently, the CRTC has decided to postpone the renewal hearing until June 2012. A revised notice of consultation will be issued shortly with new procedural dates.
My gut feeling is that this is not good news for the CBC/SRC.
 

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depending when the original hearing was supposed to be, could think of it the other way too, as allowing some time to realize u lost the CBC signal also. Since up to now noone has lost anything, YET.
 

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I believe this is exactly what lobbying does.... rogers, bell, and others do it, so does the CBC.... this decision by the CRTC will definitely allow people to "cool off" and also permit the CBC to gradually set the conditions to turn off analog broadcasting antennas in the future.

For those following the "CBC Tells London & SW Ontario "No DTV For You!" " thread, it appears efforts by the public, and municipal, provincial, and federal politicians have not been successful to retain CBC (CBLN) broadcasting in South Western Ontario. :(

The CBC should no longer be funded $1+ billion annually from tax dollars.
 

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CBC is way off base with their defiance of the CRTC requirements for conversion to DTV. Canadian private broadcasters and provincial public broadcasters have been able to find the funds to make a conversion. At the same time, CBC/SRC has not managed its budget to comply even with very substantial government funding. Instead, they have opted for a risky game of dropping OTA service in significant markets.

The CBC is exploiting the CRTC rules that require carriage of CBC as a priority on all BDUs. These rules were never intended to facilitate CBC's abandonment of traditional broadcasting rather they were originally imposed to ensure that CBC/SRC OTA signals were always carried as the top priority on cable. Any decision for CBC to abandon OTA on a widespread basis and deprive some Canadians of free access to the public television broadcaster that they support through taxes is argueably outside the scope of responsibility for the CBC's Board. A public political process is required before the CBC/SRC is permitted to redefine the extent of its OTA coverage.

CRTC must deal forcefully with the CBC unless they want to relinquish their regulatory authority over the public broadcaster. They can't simply revoke the CBC's license because of the political consequences for the government. Instead, the CRTC will have to work the political and bureaucratic levers to focus pressure on the CBC Board and management.

Time has run out for CBC to comply in all DTV mandatory markets by August 31. The CRTC and Industry Canada will have to step in with a plan to permit CBC/SRC to continue OTA analog broadcasting in all significant markets. CBC will have to accept interference from other broadcasters' transmitters and may have to reduce power in some cases to prevent interference to other broadcasters' services.

The Minister responsible for the CBC should freeze capital spending for DTV and other infrastructure until the government reviews the CBC/SRC plans and determines if the Board and management acted within their scope of responsibility and made appropriate decisions. If the Board or management made bad decisions then some of the individuals involved may have to be replaced.
 

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It's always amusing watching people go on about how the CBC should have done this without talking about where the money to do it would come from. CBC operates a whole lot of programs and transmitters that operate a loss because they're required to do it, which is what the government subsidy (which has been shrinking due to inflation for years) covers. There was no money put in for this giant capital expense.

Unsurprisingly when you tell someone they need to spend more money to do something, don't give them money to do it, and don't let them cut money from anything else, it doesn't get done. Pretty basic math in action there.

As for the CRTC's regulatory authority... lol? If they were worried about that, they might want to start with something like the History channel that make a farce out of their license. But then again we all know the CRTC works for the media industry and not for us.
 

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I am sure the CBC could come up with the money if they were required to do so. The current technical chief at the CBC is more interested in trying out new toys, such as internet streaming and 3D hockey, than maintaining the CBC's broadcast network. Let's face it, the CBC is so out of touch with Canadians it needs to be either reigned in by the government or cut loose to survive as an independent broadcaster. I doubt anyone wants to buy a network that only has a few hundred viewers watching some of its prime time programming. It is also maintaining dozens of analog repeaters that serve only a few thousand people each while abandoning some of the country's largest markets.
 

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You can't be serious? The CBC is known for wasteful spending on everything from executive salaries, to food tabs, to buying Wheel of Fortune. They've known for years that this day was coming, are given over a billion dollars a year and you are making an argument that they don't have enough money to make the necessary changes? Unbelievable.:rolleyes:
 

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Tridus,
CBC has a huge budget available. Commercial broadcasters with significantly smaller budgets complied by managing their priorities. CBC could have complied but chose to spend on other things. CBC put Newsworld and Bold into HD and made other investments in HD production facilities. They could have prioritized DTV over HD production facilities just like the commercial broadcasters.

CBC certainly has a large number of repeater transmitters at present. The vast majority of them were installed long before direct to home digital satellite became available and were the only TV signals available in some locations. Most of these repeaters are no longer justified because they serve so few viewers. CBC needs a plan to close most of the repeaters and retain only the transmitter sites that serve the greatest majority of OTA viewers. I think it would be reasonable to set a target of serving 75% of OTA viewers. A large percentage of viewers would be covered by operating transmitters in the most densely populated parts of Canada. In areas with no CBC transmitters, viewers might be given a tax credit equivalent to the annual federal grant to the CBC on a per capita basis. Alternatively, CBC might arrange for a special subscription rate with one or both of the satellite BDUs to receive just CBC and SRC.

I agree that the CRTC is letting specialty channels run all sorts of programming that has nothing to do with their licenses and History is certainly an example. But I think one of the worst offenders is actually CBC's Bold. You may recall that CBC and I think Corus applied jointly for a programming service called Country Canada that was intended to produce and air programming of interest to rural Canadians. Corus sold their half to CBC which ran it for a while in the licensed genre then changed it to Bold, abandoned the original purpose and programmed all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with issues in rural Canada. Let the Commission go after the government funded organization to set an example before they swing the stick at private broadcasters. Deal with your own kids behavior before you start lecturing the neighbours.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Agreed 100% with GeorgeMx's post.

CBC needs a plan to close most of the repeaters and retain only the transmitter sites that serve the greatest majority of OTA viewers. I think it would be reasonable to set a target of serving 75% of OTA viewers.
I think they already have that plan - the end-of-life of the analog distribution system in 2013. The 2006 submission to the CRTC about CBC's future said 80% (both French and English) but at this point 75% would be a big step up (will be 60% with the 2010 plan).

For those interested in the numbers, CBC/SRC operates 658 analog transmitters as of the moment.
 

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How is CBC Transmission budgeted? Should it be spun off?

El Gran Chico said:
CBC/SRC operates 658 analog transmitters as of the moment
Does anyone have information on how exactly CBC Transmission is funded/budgeted? CBC Transmission provides broadcasting services and facilities to non-CBC/SRC broadcasters, so I'd like to know how that revenue stream is being handled.



I realize that comparing publically-funded corporations with private is rife with problems, but in the private sector almost all physical hardware and related infrastructure outlays are typically budgeted under Capital Expenses, under which purchases appear as line items on a per budget basis per quarter. Is this the case with CBC Transmission and/or the larger CBC-SRC entity?

More generally, to what extent is CBC Transmission separated from general and specific CBC and SRC operating expenses and capital expenditures per quarter?

My reason for asking about CBC Transmission is that it may be necessary for the government to hive off this entity into it's own corporation so as to get CBC/SRC's heads out of the nuts and bolts side of broadcasting in order to focus on their non-technical problems.
 

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...
More generally, to what extent is CBC Transmission separated from general and specific CBC and SRC operating expenses and capital expenditures per quarter?

My reason for asking about CBC Transmission is that it may be necessary for the government to hive off this entity into it's own corporation so as to get CBC/SRC's heads out of the nuts and bolts side of broadcasting in order to focus on their non-technical problems.
I think CBC Transmission is likely a small group of sales people and administrators who manage a thousand leases for space on CBC towers. With 600+ towers, most of their clients are likely small FM station operators and two-way radio companies. All in all, a small sideline to CBCs main business that is too pedestrian and boring to get any attention from CBC's executive.
 

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Tridus,
CBC has a huge budget available. Commercial broadcasters with significantly smaller budgets complied by managing their priorities. CBC could have complied but chose to spend on other things. CBC put Newsworld and Bold into HD and made other investments in HD production facilities. They could have prioritized DTV over HD production facilities just like the commercial broadcasters.
And if CBC didn't put Newsworld into HD, we'd have a thread here instead complaining about how people won't watch it due to being SD only and how CBC isn't keeping up by not having HD and should be privatized, etc.

I'd argue that HD production facilities are more important for CBC then Global/CTV because unlike those two, CBC makes an attempt at producing decent Canadian shows. Global/CTV get all of their high profile content from the US, and what they make locally is meant to be done on the cheap just to satisfy license requirements. Dragon's Den benefits from HD a lot more then Entertanment Tonight Canada (featuring all US celebrities) does.

I think it would be reasonable to set a target of serving 75% of OTA viewers. A large percentage of viewers would be covered by operating transmitters in the most densely populated parts of Canada. In areas with no CBC transmitters, viewers might be given a tax credit equivalent to the annual federal grant to the CBC on a per capita basis. Alternatively, CBC might arrange for a special subscription rate with one or both of the satellite BDUs to receive just CBC and SRC.
Isn't the whole complaint here that they're below 100% coverage? They could do 75% pretty easily while ignoring the currently missing areas of Ontario (and New Brunswick, and everywhere else that's missing).

I agree that the CRTC is letting specialty channels run all sorts of programming that has nothing to do with their licenses and History is certainly an example. But I think one of the worst offenders is actually CBC's Bold. You may recall that CBC and I think Corus applied jointly for a programming service called Country Canada that was intended to produce and air programming of interest to rural Canadians. Corus sold their half to CBC which ran it for a while in the licensed genre then changed it to Bold, abandoned the original purpose and programmed all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with issues in rural Canada. Let the Commission go after the government funded organization to set an example before they swing the stick at private broadcasters. Deal with your own kids behavior before you start lecturing the neighbours.
Let the commission go after all of them, if it would. Doesn't matter who operates it. But they won't because the CRTC works for industry and not for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Isn't the whole complaint here that they're below 100% coverage?
That's a common misconception. It only reaches about 95% right now. For instance Kamloops BC has been with CBC for a few years already. There are many small, isolated communities that never even had analog.

The question is what is a reasonable target for digital. I'd say 95% is too high, 60% (what the current plan provides) too low. I'd guess the consensus would come in at somewhere around 75 to 80%.
 

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In areas with no CBC transmitters, viewers might be given a tax credit equivalent to the annual federal grant to the CBC on a per capita basis. Alternatively, CBC might arrange for a special subscription rate with one or both of the satellite BDUs to receive just CBC and SRC.
The issue with this is that if you are forced to pay full non-contract prices to get a dish, receiver, installation and subscription from a satellite BDU just to get the CBC and SRC, you might as well get the BDU's basic package which contains several other channels in order to get subsidised hardware and installation for the system. I'm pretty sure the providers won't provide subsidised installation and hardware if the customer just wants to get the CBC for free. Another issue is that the CBC/SRC would be indirectly subsidising the BDU's by doing this.

The CBC and SRC could easily provide nationwide coverage without going through a BDU simply by broadcasting FTA on Ku band on one of the Anik satellites, similar to what PBS is doing in the US. All of Canada would then be able to receive the CBC and SRC with a dish as small as 30 inches in size using any FTA receiver.

If programming rights are an issue by broadcasting FTA, smart cards could be mailed on demand to any Canadian address with a limit of 4 per household. This way, the signal could be encrypted while still allowing free access to the CBC and SRC anywhere in Canada. The only requirement would be to use a FTA satellite receiver which has a smart card reader.



Dr. Sat
 
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