BETTER TELEVISION - NOT HIGHER RATES - FOR CONSUMERS
TORONTO, May 8 /CNW/ - Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) today filed its
final comments in the CRTC Review proceeding on the regulatory frameworks for
Broadcasting Distributors and Discretionary Programming Services.
Rogers' final filing recapped the company's position presented on the
first day of the hearings. Rogers remains opposed to fee-for-carriage as the
broadcasters have failed to justify the need for, or fairness of it. The
over-the-air broadcasting sector is profitable, revenues continue to grow and
local programming is not in jeopardy. "In fact, according to the Canadian
Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) own evidence, broadcasters have a PBIT
(Profit Before Interest and Taxes) of 15% and cable distributors have a PBIT
of 18%," said Phil Lind, Vice Chairman of RCI. "Our research further shows
that the majority of Canadian consumers are not prepared to pay a fee when
there is no added value associated with that fee. To add a hefty monthly
viewing tax will only alienate consumers and cause them to abandon the
regulated television system in favour of Internet or grey and black market
There is no other jurisdiction in the world which has a fee-for-carriage
arrangement combined with mandatory carriage of over-the-air television
signals. The proposal would irreparably alter the fundamental balance between
broadcasters and distributors. "The issue is that consumers would be forced to
pay an extra $5 - $10 a month on their cable or satellite bill and receive
nothing new for this increase," added Mr. Lind.
Rogers also argued that the ideal framework for Video-on-Demand (VOD) and
Subscription Video-on-Demand (SVOD) is a flexible one capable of ensuring
continued growth and innovation. VOD and SVOD can provide customers with free
viewing of their favourite shows 24-hours-a-day. Canadian broadcasters can
earn additional revenues by making their programming available for viewing
on-demand, if the CRTC allows advertising on VOD and SVOD.
Rogers' final argument marks the culmination of an extended and
exhaustive process. "Rogers' filing emphasizes the consumer," declared Phil
Lind. "We urge the CRTC to look forward not back, to untie the hands of
broadcasters and distributors alike so that they can roll up their sleeves and
get to work making the Canadian broadcasting system the envy of the world."
Copies of the filing can be obtained by contacting Rogers at the number
on this release or through the CRTC website.
Rogers Communications is a diversified Canadian communications and media
company. We are engaged in wireless voice and data communications services
through Rogers Wireless, Canada's largest wireless provider and the operator
of the country's only national GSM based network. Through Rogers Cable we are
Canada's leading provider of cable television services as well as high-speed
Internet access and competitive 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.