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Multicultural TV for All Canadians

OMNI Television announced today that it has filed an application with the CRTC to operate a new national multilingual and multicultural channel called OMNI Regional, the first of its kind in Canada. The national channel would be comprised of four feeds: Pacific, Prairies, and East, which would mirror OMNI's local stations in those regions, and ICI Quebec, made possible due to a strategic partnership with Montreal ethnic television station International Channel/Canal International (ICI) to serve French-language ethnic communities in the province of Quebec. If approved by the CRTC, OMNI Regional would have priority access to basic TV packages (pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act). Today's local OMNI stations in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver would continue to operate as free over-the-air channels, as would ICI's local station in Montreal.

As part of its proposal, OMNI Television is committing to bringing back four daily newscasts in Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi, making it the only national ethnic programming service in Canada to provide daily newscasts, seven days a week, in multiple languages.

OMNI Television expects the CRTC to post its application for public comment shortly.

More details in the full press release.
 

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So basically OMNI wants to get their OTA stations to be carried by all providers, regardless of location? For example, having OMNI in the base package for Saskatchewan or Manitoba?
 

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The problem with Rogers' plan is that they want to force everyone to pay for foreign-language programming by including it in basic cable. That amounts to a $14 million subsidy for putting an OTA feed on basic cable and calling it a specialty channel. What's to stop CTV, Global and City from doing the same thing?

I couldn't find the docs on the CRTC site, but I did find this article that confirms the amount.
Rogers seeks to revive multicultural OMNI newscasts in CRTC proposal - The Globe and Mail
 

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National or regional carriage of OTA stations is nothing new. Making them mandatory nationally and making subscribers pay for them is. If Rogers wants carriage fees, they should negotiate with BDUs for them. I always saw the Omni channels as Rogers' way of circumventing CRTC rules by taking advantage of loopholes and exceptions for multicultural channels. I hope the CRTC denies this application.
 

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My first thought when I posted the press release was that the CRTC should allow the multicultural network as an optional individual channel, not part of basic. After thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that the CRTC should deny the application altogether. If Rogers wants to provide OMNI to other parts of the country, they can treat it like any other time-shifted OTA channel. no bailout from cable subscribers.
 
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