Its impossible to not notice the torrent of cable service providers and their “Stop the TV Tax” commercials, or for that matter local stations and their “Save Local TV” public service announcements. Much like a parental relationship with us the viewers as the children, we have no idea whats going on and only know we wish mommy and daddy would stop yelling at each other.
As with most debates you see, each side is out to sound like they have your best interest at heart, while really only revealing the half of the story that favours their argument. I was curious what the whole picture looked like so I did some reading up last night. Not that I have the solution but if you’re like me, puzzled by these shoddy commercials and wondering where the truth lies, here is a quick overview of the dilema.
Local TV stations need more money. Blame it on streaming TV, PVR taking a bite out of ad revenue or whatever, stations like Global and CTV are losing money. So when Cable tells you local TV is out on the corner with a cup in their hand and they want that cup filled without changing their work ethic, thats the truth. However Cable is saying that its the local TV that wants to charge you these usurious “$10 a month tv taxes”. Wrong. The way it works in Canada is the CRTC calls all the shots. If local TV convinces the CRTC that they are due more money for producing their broadcasts that Cable then gets to send out and profit from, then the CRTC will tell Shaw, Telus, Rogers and whoever else to hand over some of their profits. When it comes to this $10 a month charge to us, that would actually be coming from the Cable providers who, unwilling to let their sky high profits take any sort of hit, would simply pad our bills to insure they didn’t lose out. Andrew Coyne of Macleans sums up the scenario quite succinctly if that made no sense to you at all. The bottom line that we both agree on is that both sides are greedy, despite what their commercials will try to tell you.