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Background:
Pelmorex Communications Inc., owner and operator of The Weather Network/Météomédia, operates the NAAD system as below:

"In accordance with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Broadcasting Order 2009-340, issued June 11, 2009, Pelmorex Communications Inc (Pelmorex) has established a National Alert Aggregation & Dissemination System (NAAD System), assisted by a Governance Council of public & private stakeholders. The NAAD System is one component of a broader national public alerting system.

Pelmorex's NAAD System collects public safety messages from authorized government authorities and distributes those messages by satellite and through the internet to broadcasting undertakings such as radio and television stations, and to cable and satellite TV companies and other last mile distributors (LMDs). There is no charge by Pelmorex for these services".


Read Pelmorex's FAQ

Basically, this system allows your local radio/TV/cable ("last mile") stations/BDU's to broadcast emergency messages/warnings. Unfortunately the system is completely voluntary--it's the discretion of the last mile provider whether these messages are distributed or not.

As the operator of this system, and given it's importance to Canadians, I believe Pelmorex should make it available directly to most Canadians OTA. Thus allowing subscription-free access to important information.

Thoughts?
 

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Since what Pelmorex is doing is just aggregating and disemenating emergency data to other broadcasters, their excuse will be that your local OTA station will broadcast the alert.

There are a lot of problems with this argument, but I'm sure that's what they'll say.

There was a whole discussion on Pelmorex's system in BTAC earlier this year. The minutes haven't been translated yet, so they're not on the Industry Canada web site yet.
 

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Their cost to implement would be reasonable, considering they could use a sub-channel. And their channels will be available via FreeHD or other such complimentary satellite services post-transition.
 

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The weather network is not going to broadcast OTA because they collect money for each BDU subscriber.Their in business to make money and the emergency alert is secondary.I am only OTA and rely on the US system as there is nothing OTA in Canada on TV.Another reason I dont watch Canadian channels except CBC.
 

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rob50312, I understand your point. However, in this case, the federal government is paying Pelmorex to offer this service to Canadians. Should a license exception not be made to allow TWN to continue it's FFC/advertising revenue, mandatory inclusion in basic cable/digital services and broadcast OTA?
 

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Yes the weather alerts should be OTA but I doubt the TWN is going to spend any of their own money to do it.
 

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With tax coffer funding already going to CBC and being a national Canadian broadcaster, they should be required to provide a weather&alert sub channel in various locations/zones in cooperation with Environment Canada [OTA & must carry for BDU's] There would also be an opportunity to collect advertising revenues to lessen the cost burden on taxpayer and the CBC broadcaster.
 

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Carriage as a subchannel to CBC ATSC sounds like a good idea. Costs would be limited and coverage good. In localities with NTSC CBC, it could be carried as an adjacent channel to CBC.
 

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The Weather Network's website is a much better way to get customized local weather than even the TV channel.

But, I love having more and more OTA channels, so I hope they end up on OTA eventually.
 

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From a purely business perspective the key to whether The Weather Network would be interested in running their service OTA is to what extent their present BDU-based business model and revenue stream could be improved by such a move, taking into account all the startup and recurring costs involved. If they determined that there is a good business case for doing it they'd have to approach the CRTC for a license change/review.

From a "public good" perspective, a move by the authorities to mandate that The Weather Network be available OTA would come at the taxpayer's cost, which introduces political aspects that may or may not be palatable.
 

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IMHO, the should, at their option, be available.

First though, is that networks/stations be allowed to make broadcast only sub-channels, competitive with existing and future cable only channels.
 

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NBC's weather plus WAS available OTA. They went out of business. if the business model didn't work in the US with 10 times the viewers, its not going to work in Canada, IMHO
 

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But Weather Plus didn't handle emergency communications for the federal government. The issue here is that the federal government is paying for this service...
 

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Interesting exchange of comments, but wanted to clarify a couple of items that might help out your discussions.
We do not receive any funding from any gov't for providing the alerting service. There is no cost to gov't to access the system. There is no fee for anyone. Any broadcaster or private individual can access the feeds.

In exchange, what we do get is CRTC continuing the rule making The Weather Network required distribution as part of the cable or satellite TV service. This rule has actually been in place since 1988, but by offering this alerting service the CRTC has agreed to continue the distribution of The Weather Network on basic.

The rate we charge cable and satellite is set by the CRTC and has not changed since the mid 90's at 23cents.

We have a Governance Council which includes every province, territory as well as the federal govt and private sector broadcasters, CBC etc that provide direction and advice with regard to the alerting service.
We make the alerting data freely available to everyone so that there is no preference to The Weather Network in accessing the data.

Hope this helps.


Paul Temple
Pelmorex Communications [The Weather Network]
 

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We do not receive any funding from any gov't for providing the alerting service.
With all due respect, you receive a massive subsidy from the government that brings in millions every month. The 23 cents per month is a tax on consumers.

When multiplied by 10 million or so subs every month and then 12 times a year then consumers are being gouged close to $30 million annually for a service that a majority of the population never watches or might never watch if they actually had the discretion to pay for.

That is best described as a cross subsidy.

I would much prefer that The Weather Network tax be killed and the feds can pay someone for the actual cost of an emergency system.
 

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We do not receive any funding from any gov't for providing the alerting service. There is no cost to gov't to access the system. There is no fee for anyone. Any broadcaster or private individual can access the feeds.
Thank you for the clarification. I was mistaken with regards to the financials; I must have misinterpreted what I had read on the CRTC website.

With that aside, can you comment on the possibility of Pelmorex seeking permission to carry TWN over-the-air? Depsite the fact the emergency alerts are provided free to other media outlets?! Or is this aspect entirely up to the Governance Council?
 

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With all due respect, you receive a massive subsidy from the government that brings in millions every month. The 23 cents per month is a tax on consumers.

When multiplied by 10 million or so subs every month and then 12 times a year then consumers are being gouged close to $30 million annually for a service that a majority of the population never watches or might never watch if they actually had the discretion to pay for.

That is best described as a cross subsidy.

I would much prefer that The Weather Network tax be killed and the feds can pay someone for the actual cost of an emergency system.
Ptemple provided a set of facts about Pelmorex and The Weather Network to clarify readers' understanding of the funding behind the emergency alert service. You replied by calling TWN business revenue a "government subsidy" and referring to it as a "tax on consumers". I don't see how inaccurate language and aggressive opinions contribute to the discussion of distributing The Weather Network as an ATSC subchannel.

Pelmorex is a business that has received a license to provide The Weather Network television service and the right to charge for that service. In exchange for continued mandatory cable and satellite carriage, Pelmorex has assumed the responsibility to operate an open access weather alert service without getting an increase in revenue. That is not a tax by any objective measure. In fact, Pelmorex is providing a public service that the government might have been obligated to provide itself which would generate a direct tax on Canadians.

The Canadian broadcasting industry is riddled with examples of consumers being charged extra to provide subsidies for services that the CRTC deems worthwhile but customers may resent. That is a whole separate discussion which might as well include CBC/SRC funding because lots of people don't like being taxed to pay for it.

Ptemple's statement that "We do not receive any funding from any gov't for providing the alerting service" is correct.
 

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I'm quite interested in whether Ptemple can indicate whether Pelmorex has considered the idea of a DTV OTA presence in Canada, and if so whether such research has shown it to be a potentially worthwhile venture for them.
 
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