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All the compelling content will move back to OTA as it becomes more popular again.
 

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Truth be told - OTA has no profit component

All the compelling content will move back to OTA as it becomes more popular again.
Conflicted as to whether or not this is true.

This week CRTC has mandated that all cable/sat companies deliver local content stations to their subscribers, I guess as a result of the LocalTV campaign results in 2010.

While it may or may not increase costs to subscribers and there have been so many in recent months, this cost may already have been factored into some of the increases ahead of this announcement.

SunTV estimates that an average of about 5,000 viewers will view their new broadcast format (news/debate) via OTA in the GTA which has a population of over 4 million. These kind of anemic numbers will go toward the demise of OTA. Why should a station support the costs of a tranmitter when it can just feed into the cable/sat providers?

I don't think OTA is mandated in Canada, as it is in the U.S., and evidence of that is CBC not broadcasting in the London area via OTA.

Further evidence is that the big box TV stores in weekly flyers footnote all TVs as requiring either cable or sat subscription. They never ever include antenna. And when I speak to their store specialists they tell you that you can't get HD via antenna.

Its about profit and OTA leaves that out of the equation.
 

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Are you kidding me? OTA will not go away in Canada in the foreseeable future, especially in the GTA. Why, because as you mention, OTA is currently mandated in the US, and those in the GTA can easily get most of the Buffalo stations. Why do you think the Toronto stations were the first to go digital, because the Buffalo stations were already or about to go digital as well. This makes all the more sense when you mention the London situation where you can’t easily get the US stations, and thus there is no need to support OTA, but that’s a shame. Go ahead and get rid of Canadian OTA, those in the GTA will just watch the Buffalo feeds, it’s all the same content for the most part.
 

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SunTV estimates that an average of about 5,000 viewers will view their new broadcast format (news/debate) via OTA in the GTA which has a population of over 4 million.
I haven't seen these estimates by SunNews. However, it would be interesting if they provided comparison metrics to number of viewers tuning in via a BDU. I actually believe that 5000 viewers via OTA is a decent turnout for the GTA.

I don't think OTA is mandated in Canada, as it is in the U.S., and evidence of that is CBC not broadcasting in the London area via OTA.
Local conventional broadcasters must transmit an over-the-air signal in the locality where they operate. There is no requirement for repeater stations in distant communities--which the London CBC is.

Further evidence is that the big box TV stores in weekly flyers footnote all TVs as requiring either cable or sat subscription. They never ever include antenna. And when I speak to their store specialists they tell you that you can't get HD via antenna.
You need to keep in mind that BDU's have agreements with TV retailers to sell their services with TVs. As a salesperson, you won't make an additional commission if you talk someone into using an antenna instead.

Having said that, DTV remains a big secret here in Canada.
 

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Is OTA DTV Broadcasting A Viable Business Model in Canada?
Absolutely not.

I doubt anyone would try and start an OTA station nowadays.

Anybody have any idea when the last OTA station (in a major metropolitan market) went on air and compare that to how many Category 2 digital cable channels have launched since that time.

Existing OTA stations stay on air to maintain their status as the Analog or Category 1 stations which means mandatory carriage on cable, sat and iptv.
 

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The government has indeed "stacked the deck" against OTA broadcasting. Launching a specialty channel in Canada requires less technical overhead costs, and guarantees more revenue (carriage fees + advertising revenue).
 

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SunTV estimates that an average of about 5,000 viewers will view their new broadcast format (news/debate)
I wonder if that says more about their programming and less about OTA in general.
As Sun TV, the station met its Canadian content obligations primarily by airing repeats of older Canadian series such as King of Kensington, The Beachcombers, Danger Bay, Ready or Not, My Secret Identity, Super Dave and Side Effects, while also picking up some original non-fiction programming, including the movie review series DVD Show, the concert series Beautiful Noise and the food program Street Eats.
As a Cat2 cable station, don't they get paid whether or not anyone is watching? Like the dozens of other specialty channels I was forced to pay for monthly?
 

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Anybody have any idea when the last OTA station (in a major metropolitan market) went on air and compare that to how many Category 2 digital cable channels have launched since that time.
The most recent OTA stations to launch I can think of are OMNI Alberta (CJCO Calgary and CJEO Edmonton), which both launched September 15, 2008. CTS opened one station each in Calgary and Edmonton in October 2007. Prior to that CIIT launched in Winnipeg in 2006. Out of those five, only two actually broadcast local newscasts, and that's the OMNI Alberta system.

I'll leave it to someone who knows more about cable/satellite channels to make the comparison with OTA launches.
 

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The government has indeed "stacked the deck" against OTA broadcasting. Launching a specialty channel in Canada requires less technical overhead costs, and guarantees more revenue (carriage fees + advertising revenue).
I just wonder if the advertising model is still relevant in the 21st century regardless of the country. Aside from iconic events like the Super Bowl, is broadcast advertising a good way to deliver qualified buyers? There are so many more media available that weren't present even a decade ago that can pinpoint and reach those most amenable to a product or service.

To the point of the viability of OTA as business model in Canada, what authoritative sources are there showing market-by-market penetration of cable and other pay services?

Here in the USA, the TVB shows ADS and Wired-Cable Penetration by DMA dated February 2011.
 

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I just wonder if the advertising model is still relevant in the 21st century regardless of the country. Aside from iconic events like the Super Bowl, is broadcast advertising a good way to deliver qualified buyers? There are so many more media available that weren't present even a decade ago that can pinpoint and reach those most amenable to a product or service.
Only see two ultimate (or shared) outcomes for the future;
1. Internet streaming for segments of shows you want to see with a 30 second ad at the beginning and perhaps another 30 seconds in the middle, so you would watch no more than 1 minute of ad for say every 8 or 10 minutes of show content.
2. Cable/satellite that is ad-free (like satelitte radio) but at a higher subscription rate. Although it could be argued that TV production costs, currently borne by the advertising industry, would be prohibitive to the average consumer to pick up and therefore would not really be an option.


To the point of the viability of OTA as business model in Canada, what authoritative sources are there showing market-by-market penetration of cable and other pay services?

Here in the USA, the TVB shows ADS and Wired-Cable Penetration by DMA dated February 2011.
Proves that about 10% of viewers are OTA, but in the U.S. there are vast areas (and populations) needed to be served by OTA repeaters and that cable providers have no interest in pursuing.

But in Canada, which is much more urbanized into large centres with 95% of Canadians living within a narrow 150 mile band (along 49th parallel) of the U.S. border. And which suggests OTA may represent more than 10%.
 

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TV advertising works extremely well. Unfortunately the revenues from advertising have been diluted by the expansion of available channels.
 

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TV advertising works extremely well. Unfortunately the revenues from advertising have been diluted by the expansion of available channels
.

I think a reversal of that dilution is possible with OTA HD and help return broadcast televsion to more profitable business model via advertizing. As already stated, with basic cable a station has 1/30 odds (upto 1/300 with extended packages) that their programming is being viewed. With digital OTA that would drop to an average of perhaps 1/10 odds across the country (1/15 for Vancouver and 1/25 for Toronto). The likelyhood that any specific local channel is being viewed will increase, also the demographic of OTA viewers will become more favorable for advertizers, as OTA HD catches on with more mainstream consumers that business love to target. With OTA analog it was primarily low income and seniors, that need not be the case with OTA HD, though the word has to get out.

__________________
 

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The Michael Geist article is excellent.

Like many other business models, the internet really puts pressure on the the "middle man" to justify their existence. Companies that were traditionally in the cable/phone business are, in the future, going to just be in the data/networking business.

My view differs significantly from Bell's argument though. I think that Sun Media does provide value with the content it creates. Its the distribution mechanism (Bell's Satellite business) that fails to provide much value when internet streaming (and to a lesser extent OTA signals) exists.

I think for the future a good model would be for everyone to have a "client device" that can tune to all sorts of streaming video content on the internet. The viewer then could either pay the content producer directly, or they could get free video services, supported by advertising.
 

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I agree that this was a good article.

Of most relevance is the questioning that both Broadcasters and BDU's have a problem with their business model. I think the business model problem lies primarily with the BDU's.

More DB makes a good point above. There is a genuine opportunity for advertising funded broadcast networks to re-establish themselves with a greater market share of advertising revenues as cable and satellite pay services are diluted by HD OTA and internet streaming. A country of over 30 million people should easily be able to sustain genuine commercial television. Do I think the networks will take this opportunity? Not now that they are owned by the BDU's.

The BDU's need to spin off their acquired OTA broadcasters so that the broadcasters can grow and flourish in the new era. The BDU's will fail to fully enhance their own shareholders value if they miss the boat.
 

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The Michael Geist article is excellent.

Its the distribution mechanism (Bell's Satellite business) that fails to provide much value when internet streaming (and to a lesser extent OTA signals) exists.
This is really what the problem is! . I am sure they plan to shut down OTA and reallocate the spectrum for their own profit purposes. (Eliminate the problem; value, competition.) Unfortunately the plan is not going to go well for them.
 

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Add Sub Channel and Get on Basic Cable?

Are all Canadian OTA channels available on basic cable?

My understanding is that (for example) all the local Toronto/Hamilton OTA channels are also available on basic (first tier) cable for the local population.

What would happen if CBC Newsworld, CTV News, and the new CITY News channel were also made available via OTA sub-channels, would they then be available via basic cable? If not, what would happen if they had there own OTA channel? Seems like if a channel is available via OTA, it's a ticket to get on basic cable, reach a greater number of potential viewers, and pay less fees than a specialty (higher tiered) channel. Sense or nonsense?
 

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CBC NN, ad CTV News are on basic cable because of CRTC rules regardless.

But probably, if a digital broadcast station had sub-channels with programming separate form the main broadcast, then likely it would have to be carried.

A funny one is Sun-News. The channel itself is a Category 2 specialty channel, but also broadcasts OTA in some markets. In those markets, for now, they are carried on basic cable as a local broadcast station. For some reason, satellite providers have different rules, and that is why Bell TV does not carry it (they wanted to carry it free, as a broadcast station), and Shaw Direct carries it as a specialty channel.
 

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Why would any specialty channel want to go OTA and lose BDU subscriber revenue?

In the US, it's not as if we see CNN or ESPN OTA, either, and there are no regulatory barriers to programming there.
 
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