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Cable de-regulation anti-consumer and anti-Canadian

Cable de-regulation anti-consumer and anti-Canadian

on
April 8th, 2008

FRIENDS says Canadians will pay more for less choice in Canadian TV if cable monopoly demands for all out de-regulation of TV distribution are granted.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa – Canadians will pay more for less choice in Canadian TV if cable monopoly demands for all out de-regulation of TV distribution are granted, according to the broadcast watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

In a presentation to the CRTC on the first day of a public hearing on the matter, Friends tabled data that show rates have climbed by an astounding 70% since deregulation of basic cable in 2002 and predicted captive consumers will face more of the same if rules limiting cable are tossed out.

Friends also warned the Commission that de-regulation will mean viewers will have fewer choices when it comes to Canadian programs in cable’s rush to fill up the dial with additional US shows and services, as well as channels the cable companies own themselves or have a financial interest in.

“To the extent that maximizing audience becomes the key driver of programming decisions, we can expect the channels serving niche audiences would dissolve, and be replaced by an abundance of programming selected from only the most popular areas – with diversity the loser,” says Morrison.

Friends calculates the wholesale de-regulation demanded by the cable and satellite industry would siphon more than $600 million from Canadian program production budgets to cable industry profits and foreign television services.

“Cable monopoly demands are all about fattening their bottom line profits without regard to the consumers, who have little real choice in how they receive their TV, or their legal obligations to present Canadian programming,” said Friends’ spokesperson Ian Morrison. “It is the CRTC’s role to protect the public interest and that is what we hope they will do,” Morrison said.

According to the Broadcasting Act, cable and satellite companies “shall make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming.”

Friends submission cites a new Pollara survey of cable and satellite subscribers which found that Canadians overwhelmingly view Canadians see television as a cultural trust bestowed upon the CTRC and the federal government.

The Pollara survey found that Canadians do not trust that cable and satellite television distributors – left to their own devices in an unregulated environment - will protect, promote or deliver Canadian programming on television.

-30- For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 Related Documents: -------------------- **[May 8, 2008](/Resource/briefs/policy05080801)** - Policy Brief - [CRTC 2007-10: Final Comments](/Resource/briefs/policy05080801) FRIENDS advises the CRTC against rule changes for Canada's cable and satellite companies that could reduce the exhibition of and expenditure on Canadian programming. [**May 2, 2008**](/News/podcast) - Podcast - [FRIENDS at the CRTC BDU Hearings](/News/podcast) Video of FRIENDS presentation to the CRTC on possible regulation changes for Canada's cable and satellite industry. **[April 23, 2008](/News/podcast)** - Podcast - [Canadians views about possible cable de-regulation](/News/podcast) Video of a press conference hosted by actor RH Thomson where the results of a public opinion poll on possible rule changes to cable and satellite companies are released. **[April 8, 2008](/Resource/briefs/policy04080801)** - Policy Brief - [Review of the regulatory frameworks for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming services - CRTC 2007-10](/Resource/briefs/policy04080801) FRIENDS presentation to the CRTC on possible regulation changes for Canada's cable and satellite industry. **[April 7, 2008](/News/news04070801)** - News Release - [Trust in Ottawa to protect Canada on TV would be shattered by cable de-regulation](/News/news04070801) New survey shows Canadians regard the CRTC and the federal government as guardians of Canadian culture on TV, but don't trust that de-regulated cable and satellite companies would promote and deliver Canadian content on the small screen. **[April 7, 2008](/News/Friends_News/archives/articles04070801)** - Business News Network - [FRIENDS on BNN's SqueezePlay](/News/Friends_News/archives/articles04070801) Video of FRIENDS spokesperson, Ian Morrison, talking about upcoming CRTC hearings on possible rule changes for cable monopolies. **[February 22, 2008](/Resource/briefs/policy02220801)** - Policy Brief - [Broadcasting Notice of Public Hearing CRTC 2007-10-01,02,03,04 – Review of the regulatory frameworks for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming services](/Resource/briefs/policy02220801) FRIENDS tells the CRTC that tinkering with TV regulations would most likely have long-term unintended and negative consequences that would undercut the stated objective of "ensuring a strong Canadian presence in the Canadian broadcasting system".
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