OTTAWA, Nov. 16 /CNW/ – Rogers today appeared before the CRTC to argue against the imposition of a TV tax. The Commission has reviewed the issue twice before at hearings in 2006 and 2008 and rejected the proposal.
The Rogers panel which included President and CEO, Nadir Mohamed, Vice Chair, Phil Lind and Rogers Media President, Tony Viner, stated in its opening address “that Canada’s conventional television sector is not in a state of crisis” and its business model is not broken. The company went on to argue that there is no rationale whatsoever for the proposed payment which would amount to a bailout for the TV networks.
Rogers spoke to the historical symbiotic relationship between cable companies and the over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting industry whereby every cable customer receives high quality OTA signals and OTA broadcasters receive the broad audience base they need to achieve maximum advertising revenues in their protected local markets. The company cited the broadcasters’ ever-increasing expenditures on U.S. programming as the real culprit for the financial issues they face today. Saving local TV is a smokescreen for the real issue – out of control foreign programming costs.
Rogers took issue with CTV’s argument in favour of a U.S.-type retransmission consent regime for local signals. Phil Lind argued “These Canadian OTA broadcasters do not really want to substitute the U.S. regulatory system for the Canadian system. They want the best of both worlds. They want to adopt one part of the U.S. regulatory system and insert it into the Canadian regulatory system, which already contains a variety of measures designed to support OTA broadcasters.”
Rogers cautioned in its opening statement of an inevitable downgrading of tiers and drop-off of cable customers if subscribers are faced with a significant increase in their monthly bill without any corresponding value. This would impact the entire broadcasting system and could add to the millions of Canadians who currently get their TV programs from antennas, the Internet and the grey and black satellite market.
About the Company
Rogers Communications is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. We are engaged in wireless voice and data communications services through Wireless, Canada’s largest wireless provider. Through Cable, we are one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television services as well as high-speed Internet access and telephony services. Through Media, we are engaged in radio and television broadcasting, televised shopping, magazines and trade publications, and sports entertainment. We are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RCI). For further information about the Rogers group of companies, please visit www.rogers.com.