Tag Archives: RDI

RadCan pulls plug on online RDI streaming

It happened on Oct. 29, but it seems few people either noticed or cared. The first news story came out two weeks later that Radio-Canada has stopped livestreaming of its RDI all-news network online.

The reason? “Faciliter les discussions avec les câblodistributeurs”.

Some reaction online (including the video above) was negative, suggesting that Radio-Canada doesn’t get it, that we own the corporation and that the cable companies have nothing to fear from online streaming.

Here’s what gets me though: RDI is a must-carry network for cable and satellite. There’s no choice in the matter. The CBC even forced StarChoice to include it as part of its “English essentials” basic package last year. Because of this, the wholesale rate is set by the CRTC: $1 for RDI in francophone markets and $0.10 in anglophone markets.

So, what kind of discussions are we talking about here? There’s nothing to negotiate.

Besides, RDI isn’t the only one doing this. CPAC, the political affairs channel funded by the cable and satellite companies, also streams for free online. In fact, it annoyingly starts playing automatically when you go to the CPAC website.

I understand the worry from cable and satellite companies: if broadcasters stream all their stuff for free, then consumers might realize they’re being gouged and start cancelling their television services.

But for the public broadcaster to pull its feed, to intentionally deny access to its services from Canadians, solely to please the cable and satellite industry, that’s outrageous.

I sent an email to Alain Saulnier, who was quoted in the Cyberpresse piece, asking for clarification, but there was no response.

Star Choice is too good for RDI

The CBC is complaining to the CRTC because Canadian satellite TV provider Star Choice does not include francophone all-news channel RDI as part of its basic lineup.

The problem is that the CRTC mandates that RDI be included in all cable and satellite basic lineups, as it does for channels like CPAC, Newsworld and The Weather Network. So unless I (and the CBC) are missing something, Star Choice is violating CRTC regulations. (Then again, it’s not the only company that thinks CRTC rules are just a suggestion — *cough* *cough*)

Meanwhile, Global Quebec is still not available even as an option for Star Choice and ExpressVu customers in Quebec, more than 10 years after the regional network launched. Ditto CBC Saskatchewan.

But hey, God forbid anyone should miss the World Fishing Network for some local news.

UPDATE: Star Choice responds to the CBC Saskatchewan issue with the usual “technical limitations” excuses, and adds that it’s somehow the CBC’s responsibility to provide local TV service to satellite customers. (via Inside the CBC)

Congratulations, Mr. Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair

Thomas J. Mulcair, elected today in a by-election to represent the federal riding of Outremont for the New Democratic Party, only the second person to do so in the NDP’s history (Phil Edmonston was the first in a 1990 by-election). He replaces Liberal Jean Lapierre, who resigned from the House of Commons on January 28 to escape the shame return to broadcasting as a political analyst.

Local NDP supporters are naturally taking the news with mature, thoughtful self-congratulation.

Interesting media meta-side-story: CTV Newsnet is covering a speech by Liberal leader Stéphane Dion (in French), while RDI is covering a speech by NDP leader Jack Layton (in English), introducing the winner Thomas Mulcair. Considering Mulcair won the election, doesn’t that give him priority in TV time?

(In real elections, you wait for the losing candidate to finish his concession speech before starting your victory speech. But the NDP isn’t used to winning elections here, so we’ll give them a break.)

Now that CTV is getting Mike Duffy analyzing, I’m wondering if maybe the network doesn’t have a camera crew at Mulcair HQ. TVA/LCN isn’t any better, covering post-game analysis of a Canadiens pre-season exhibition game. Because that’s more important than a potentially historic by-election.

And while we’re on the topic of analysis, everyone seems to be saying that Outremont is a “Liberal stronghold” to underscore the significance of this victory. While it certainly used to be that way, and the riding has been won by the Liberals all but one time in its history, the most recent election was a slim victory, with Jean Lapierre only taking 35% of the vote. How is that considered a stronghold?

Meanwhile, the Tories have taken Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean from the Bloc Québécois, adding to their growing Quebec caucus.

The third riding up for grabs, in Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, is a BQ hold.