The big news this month is that Rogers has been given permission to launch its own 24-hour all-news channel in the Toronto area called CityNews.
Now, you might think, doesn’t City already have a 24-hour all-news channel for the Toronto area?
No, silly. CP24, the existing all-Toronto, all-news station, was owned by CHUM, which also owned City. But CHUM was acquired by CTV, which was forced to dump City as a result to satisfy the CRTC. For some reason known only to the CRTC, that didn’t include CP24, even though it was heavily linked to CityTV. Rogers ended up buying City, and is now the one behind this new network.
Even under CTV, CP24 is very much a City network. It even airs City News three times daily. Now, not only does CTV have to figure out how CP24 and CTV Newsnet are going to coexist, it has to deal with this new channel from Rogers which is no doubt going to take all the City content for itself.
Oh, and how does the CRTC justify having two Toronto all-news stations like this? Well, they split hairs like I’ve never seen before (emphasis mine):
CITY News (Toronto) would provide a niche news service targeted to Greater Toronto. In contrast, CP24’s mandate is and has always been to serve the region of Southern Ontario.
Yes, that’s right. CITY is for Toronto, while CP24 is for Southern Ontario. Therefore they don’t compete directly with each other. Yeah.
I might have understood if the CRTC pointed to its recent decision to allow more competition for news and spoirts programming. Instead, it came up with the flimsiest excuse in the book to pretend like the obvious isn’t true.
The application was opposed by CTV (for obvious reasons) and by The Weather Network, because of City’s unhealthy obsession with providing information on the weather.
Elsewhere in the news/blogosphere:
CTV wants HD loophole
CTV is applying for special permission from the CRTC to distribute HD versions of its local stations (including CFCF Montreal) to cable and satellite networks, even though those stations do not have digital broadcast licenses (and the CRTC normally requires that before distributing HD feeds). CTV offers excuses for not getting those licenses, and says that they should be granted this loophole to keep Canadians from seeking the same programming on U.S. networks. Deadline for comments is Jan. 9.
TSN2 is OK
Following complaints about the launch of TSN2 by the CBC and The Score, the CRTC has concluded that, though TSN is essentially exploiting a loophole to create a new channel, it has every right to do so. TSN2 takes advantage of time shifting and a special allowance to replace up to 10% of its programming on split feeds (presumably to get around regional blackouts for live sporting events) in order to create a second channel which shows 90% identical programming (though time-shifted three hours from TSN) and 10% different live sporting events from TSN.
Two new French-language networks
The CRTC approved Category 2 digital licenses for two new French-language networks:
- Chaîne de Divertissement Clovys Entertainment Channel, which I assume will shorten its name at some point, will be a music channel devoted to “urban, world and Latin music and black culture.”
- Le Réseau des combats is the French-language version of the Fight Network, which carries boxing, wrestling, martial arts and similar programming
Category 2 networks, which most new specialty channels are approved as, has no protection from direct competition (though it can’t directly compete with existing analog channels). They also have no guaranteed carriage rights, which means they have to negotiate with cable and satellite providers for a spot on their grids (and then get subscribers to add them).
The following networks have received approval to setup high-definition versions of themselves:
Yeah, everyone in Southern Ontario wants to watch endless 401/Gardiner/Steeles traffic feeds, check out Toronto weather, enjoy replays of Toronto crime scenes, and read weirdly vague headlines like “Interrim Liberal leader vows to defeat Harper on budget.”
/bitterness that CP24 is the stupid lunchroom channel at work.
All this talk about useless Canadian networks that exist merely to rebroadcast US shows and show us Canadian commercials has got me thinking.
I live in PEI, and I would have to say that our collective culture is more similar to US culture than “Canadian” culture. I’m not even sure what Canadian culture is anymore, other than being proud of Canadian-born Hollywood celebrities and that we live in a “safer” version of the United States. I can honestly say that shows like “Little Mosque on the Prarie” and “Corner Gas” feel foreign to me compared to US shows like CSI and others, which do not.
Maybe PEI should separate and join the US union. Or maybe I’m just nuts. I think it’s because Canada as a whole ignores PEI just as much as the US does, and since Canada has a barely-distinguishable culture we tend to prefer relating to the United States.
I don’t have anything to contribute to the comments except to say this this blog post has 149 instances of the letter C. :)
Actually, CP24 is already airing CTV News instead of CityNews. They started last week (Dec. 10).
I was kinda shocked to be flipping through the news today and seeing ctv airing on cp24. It kinda stunned me for a min. However i have to say since rogers took over citytv i have been turning more and more to ctv for my local news. News coverage has deteriorated since rogers took over. I for one am happy to see ctv on cp24
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is it only me or has anyone else noticed that ctv/bell and cit tv/ rogers statons have gotten rid of over the air free tv and filled their cable and sat station s with nothing but commercials 5 minute commercial breaks every 8 minutes and paid off some government wanker to over charge canadians more for internet usage at throttled speeds and outrageous price seems being Canadian means being screwed over and over by bell and rogers Isay boycott them both throw out your tv and watch online or get a hot box and watch crappy commercial filled garbage tv for free!
CTV and Citytv stations still broadcast over the air for free.
That’s probably an exaggeration. Most one-hour programs are about 43 minutes long without the commercials, whether they’re on broadcast networks or specialty channels.
Not sure how you judge “over charge” here. I don’t have any evidence anyone at the CRTC has been bribed. In fact, the CRTC sets regulations concerning how providers charge for Internet access.