I hate repeating myself but look at the local news packages that American affiliates run with. Local, local, local. So local that the NBC affiliate I get, WDIV Detroit, brands itself as Local 4.
Again, when you watch Detroit, Buffalo, Seattle, Spokane, Watertown television it looks like Detroit, Buffalo, Seattle, Spokane, Watertown. When you watch local Global, CTV, CBC stations they all look the same. It is not just the programming either; a lot of the feel has to do with the local ads and stuff like that.
Consumers lose in TV/cable war
By LORRIE GOLDSTEIN
Last Updated: 20th November 2009, 3:17am
Canadian consumers cannot win in the showdown between television broadcasters and the cable/satellite industry.
If there was ever a war where the audience -- us -- should be cheering for both sides to lose, it's this one now being fought in the media and before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Ottawa. No matter who wins: Either the "Local TV Matters" crowd -- translation, television networks such as CTV, Global and the CBC -- or the "Stop the TV Tax" crowd -- translation, cable and satellite companies like Rogers and Bell -- we're behind the eight ball.
The networks argue their business model is broken and want cable and satellite companies who carry their signals to start paying for their programming. The cable and satellite companies respond that will result in a new charge to their customers of up to $10 per subscriber per month. The networks counter Rogers, Bell, et al., should pay that cost out of their profits, without raising prices to subscribers. But of course they will if they're hit with a new expense. There's also no guarantee broadcasters will use the extra cash to save local TV stations. Canadians have a different concern with cable and satellite companies -- the fact we can't pay for only the channels and services we want and that, to get everything we want, we have to pay extra for programming we don't need.
What's needed is a freer market that puts consumers first, the opposite of the regulated mess we have now, where broadcasters have to give away their signals for free and cable/satellite companies have to carry them. Broadcasters should be paid for their product, just as specialty channels are. The cable and satellite industries should be able to drop signals they don't want. Consumers should be able to drop channels they don't need.
The government should ensure we get a fair choice of programming packages, at competitive prices. The elephant in the room is that while broadcasters insist "local TV matters," Canadians outside Quebec generally prefer American programming, save for Canadian sports, a few independently-produced hit shows and local news. Forcing people to pay more, ostensibly for Canadian programming most won't watch, makes no economic sense.
What Canadian, make that English Canadian TV, has to do is stop making so many damn excuses and become relevant to the markets they serve.