Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Glacial Pace of the CRTC

It’s said that the Mills of the Gods grind slow –- and they grind woe. If there are mills in the Gatineau offices of the CRTC, they would seem to grind far more slowly, producing endless woe merely because decisions arrive so long after a time when they might have made a difference.

Because that’s how detached from the real world this outmoded regulatory bureaucracy has become.

After a year or more of eliciting input from Canadians under the “Let’s Talk TV” banner, the CRTC then held weeks of hearings so the vested interests of the industry could weigh in on why what their audience wanted should be adjusted to accommodate their own self-interests.

What has resulted so far was a decision from 3 months ago preventing cable subscribers from being dinged for under 30 day cancellation fees and 3 other edicts issued today.

Today’s pronouncements included -- not allowing Broadcast distributors to show data cap favoritism to their own mobile customers; not allowing local stations to eliminate free to air broadcasts and cancelling Simsub (the simultaneous substitution of Canadian commercials for American ones) on one single Sunday night in early 2017.

That would be the Sunday of “Super Bowl LI”, assuming there is still an NFL as we currently understand it, a continued public fervor for commercials –- and a television broadcast of both.

I’ll let others debate the pros and cons of these decisions, because frankly I’ve been writing about how out of touch and behind the times the CRTC is as long as this blog has existed. Search the acronym and you’ll find about 9 years of that stuff.

The one thing I will point out is that all of the decisions so negatively impact the bottom lines of the BDU/ISP silos. And when was the last time you didn’t hear these guys whine they already had no money to make competitive CanCon?

But setting all that aside, the clear reality of what Monsieur Blais and his confreres announced today is that these decisions probably won’t much matter by the time 2017 rolls around.

That’s how fast television technology is evolving.

Take a moment to consider what your own television habits were back in 2012 or 2013. A huge number of you still subscribed to cable. Hardly any of you had sampled Netflix, signed up for Apple TV, plugged in a ROKU unit, or owned a HD TV with a Smart Box –- or operated a DVR.

Given how fast all of those technologies have transformed your lives in that short time, consider for another moment what might be coming down the pike before 2017.

If you need some help…

At the same time the CRTC was making today’s announcements, the App below was being unveiled. Think of it as Skinny-basic with HBO and whatever big league sports you like to watch.

And after you’ve watched the ad, ask yourself how long the CRTC and our other vested interests will try to keep it from the Canadian public in the name of our national interests.

I’m sorry people, but we’re never going to play in the big sandbox as long as we hide (or are hidden) in a roped off corner pretending to be protected while we continue to be fleeced.


Joe Clark said...

In 2017, there will still be millions of cable and satellite subscribers. Cord-cutting Millennials and what I guess you are describing as the TV elite will still exist. So will television as we know it today. Because every technology, trend, and factor that could have put an end to cable and satellite is already in place – and hasn’t put an end to them.

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