Industry Canada launches next phase in multi-faceted strategy against DTH piracy

Industry Canada has decided not to take a hard-line stand against satellite TV dealers peddling illegal equipment, opting instead – at least for the time being – to send an information letter to more than 470 dealers across the country. According to department officials, Industry Canada believes that raising awareness is the best course of action to take in combating the grey and black satellite TV market at this time.

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O’Farrell outlines CAB achievements, priorities in leadership report

At the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) convention on October 21, president and CEO Glenn O’Farrell outlined some of the priorities and achievements of the association in its annual leadership report. Areas of particular interest include closing the Internet retransmission loophole, securing a new direct-to-home (DTH) carriage and compensation deal on out-of-market signals, the Part II licence fee issue, and raising the issue of copyright reform. Below is an excerpt from his presentation. The full leadership report is available here.

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CCR People

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters announced its 2002-03 boards at its annual convention this week. Gerry Noble takes over as chair of the television board, with Jay Switzer being the vice-chair. Phyllis Yaffe is the new chair of the specialty and pay television board, and Luc Perreault is vice-chair. Rob Braide is the new chair of the radio board and Gary Miles the vice-chair. The chairs and vice-chairs of the television, pay and specialty and radio boards are on the executive committee, along with Alain Gourd (joint chair), Paul Robertson (past chair), Doug Rutherford (treasurer), Rick Arnish (special delegate representing small markets), Michel Arpin (special delegate) and CAB president and CEO Glenn O’Farrell. A complete list of the CAB boards is available at http://www.cab-acr.ca.

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CCR Short Takes

Cogeco Cable launches VOD in Hamilton ON system
Cogeco Cable Inc. quietly launched video-on-demand (VOD) in its Hamilton ON cable system on October 10, company executives noted this week during a conference call with analysts to discuss Cogeco’s fourth quarter and 2002 year-end financial results. The VOD service includes just 100 titles, of which half are new releases and are priced at $5.50 each. Canada’s fourth-largest cableco is hoping to offer up to 600 titles. Cogeco plans to roll out VOD over the next six months in nearly all its major systems, representing over 60 per cent of its subscriber base. Over 90 per cent of Cogeco’s subscribers will have access to VOD by the end of 2003. On the digital cable front, Cogeco added 7,492 net digital set-top boxes and 6,897 net digital households in the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, 2002, ending the quarter and year with a total of 144,950 digital boxes deployed in 129,798 digital households. The cableco continued to lose basic cable subscribers in the quarter, losing 8,198 customers, but subscriber losses have slowed.

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Canadian broadcasting held as example for its ethnic broadcasting at IIC confab

Canadian Heritage minister Sheila Copps has been bragging for several months that Canada is admired by South Africa for its cultural diversity in broadcasting, so it comes as no surprise that the country had a major presence at the recent International Institute of Communications (IIC) conference. The organization, which deals with broadcasting and telecommunications issues, met for the first time in Johannesburg, South Africa and spent much time discussing topics involving the developing world.

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Multimedia producers perplexed by seemingly conflicting criteria of CTV fund

Delegates at a new media festival held last week in Prince Edward Island were perplexed about BCE Inc.’s $23-million Groundbreaker Fund and the seemingly conflicting criteria they must meet to use it. While newly hired CTV Inc. consultant Andrew Cochran attempted to clarify the guidelines during a session at the International New Media Festival on October 18, delegates still questioned whether the fund aimed at generating quality interactive television (iTV) content meets industry needs.

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Pirate broadcaster Star Ray TV finally off air

Pirate broadcaster Jan Pachul has finally pulled off the air the video stream of his low-powered television station Star Ray TV, which he has been operating in Toronto on UHF channel 15 for more than two years without a broadcast licence. But under an agreement he says he reached with the CRTC, he is continuing to air his alphanumeric signal.

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CBC talking to Rogers about providing content for the cableco’s VOD service

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is working on packaging CBC programming, beginning with its news shows, for offer on a video-on-demand (VOD) basis on Rogers Cable Inc.’s digital cable platform. Mark Hyland, director of broadband and digital services at CBC English Television, says the public broadcaster won’t apply for its own VOD licence, but needs to have its content provided on an on-demand basis in the changing broadcast world.

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