It’s an idea that seems to have gotten a lot of traction recently as the traditional media business model collapses and front-line journalists blame the problems mainly on management excess and poor business decisions: If the union and/or its members bought the company, they could solve all those problems and turn it into a profit-making enterprise.
It’s the idea that the employees at CHCH in Hamilton had when it looked like owner Canwest might shut it down. But now that Channel Zero has offered to buy the station and maintain the local jobs and newsroom, that idea becomes moot.
At CHEK in Victoria, they weren’t so lucky. Canwest couldn’t find a buyer for it, nor could they convert it into a Global station because a condition of license prevents duplication with Vancouver’s CHAN. So the plan is to have it shut down by the end of August.
Last week comes word that employees at CHEK (there are about 45 in all) are pooling their money in a bid to buy the station before it gets shut down. They’ve pledged more than $500,000 and are hoping to present the formal offer soon. That might be too late for Canwest though, since these kinds of transactions take months and there’s a ticking clock.
If that fails, there’s always the Facebook petition route. Two groups have been setup, the first with over 6,000 members.
Many BDUs had to completely rebuild their infrastructures and/or incurred extra costs to provide HD. Cable systems were completely rebuilt. Bell TV leased a second satellite and has arrangements for a third satellite. Shaw Direct leased extra transponders on their second satellite. That will total $billions by the time all areas receive HD. What have broadcasters done? Reluctantly put up token HD transmitters in just enough major cities to get regional simsubs and then bully the CRTC for simsubs they were not previously entitled to. Broadcasters also wasted $billions on overpriced acquisitions they could not afford, severely reduced or eliminated local program production and then strong-armed the CRTC into implementing new fees to make consumers pay for their empire building.
Sorry, Canadian BDUs have done a lot more for consumers than Canadian broadcasters. BDUs just deliver the programming and pass along the cost of technologies required to do it. Some of them incurred significant operation losses while doing so. Despite having protection from competition, Canadian broadcasters mismanaged their way into financial difficulties, currently produce little of value for many Canadian viewers and are now blackmailing the CRTC into providing more concessions and financial support at the BDUs’ (and their subscribers’) expense. BDUs make a healthy profit because they provide a service that their customers want. Canadian broadcasters, on the other hand, are losing money because they are failing to provide value for customers, they are mismanaged financially and they are also failing to adapt to new technology. I have no sympathy for Canadian broadcasters. Some are doing well because they are well managed and attracting customers on their own merit. The others need to adapt or file for bankruptcy. Taxing Canadians to support a failing business model is not the solution.
“Canadian BDUs have done a lot more for consumers than Canadian broadcasters.”
Canadians also pay BDUs far more than they pay broadcasters.
Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking (BDU)
Good luck to the folks at CHEK.
The CRTC has let private broadcasters and cable companies suck money out of the system with minimal return in providing quality Canadian programming.