The enduring legacy of maverick media baron Jim Shaw

A hard-nosed businessman, he made a brilliant cable territory swap, competed ferociously with Telus and pulled Global television from the Canwest inferno

The enduring legacy of maverick media baron Jim ShawFew occasions better illustrated the cultural divide between the world of the western bottom-up entrepreneur and that of Ottawa’s top-down public service bureaucracy than when Jim Shaw and Konrad von Finckenstein crossed swords in a hearing room. There, front and centre of the raised platform bearing commissioners, would be the multilingual Von Finckenstein, a six-foot-something-awesome…

Netflix next battleground in “protection” of Quebec culture

The protection of Quebec's language and identity is so deeply ingrained in every francophone that nothing as petty as a technology revolution can deter its instincts

Netflix next battleground in “protection” of Quebec cultureAll you need to know about why your Netflix bill will go up sometime in the next couple of years is contained in this paragraph from a recent report in Cartt.ca: “A Quebecor-led coalition of Quebec artists, festivals, production companies, unions, funding agencies and executives at companies including Bell, Cogeco, V, Stingray, Télé-Québec and TV5,…

The American net neutrality shell game is a threat to unfettered access

Deregulating the rules that apply to the companies that provide the Internet’s infrastructure will allow them to monkey with it for their own gain

The American net neutrality shell game is a threat to unfettered accessThe chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an intelligent, articulate man who, in the name of liberty, appears determined to destroy freedom of access to an unbiased Internet in the United States and, inevitably, Canada. I met with Ajit Pai once or twice when he was an FCC commissioner and felt we shared…

Protect the integrity of the Internet, protect free thought

The disruption initiated by the web was always going to result in some chaos. But now the barbarians may be the gatekeepers

Protect the integrity of the Internet, protect free thoughtMany of my generation wring their hands, dab the sweat off their upper lips and otherwise fuss – in the manner older generations do – about millennials. They live at home until 30, ooze entitlement, have the attention span of a housefly and, because their parents’ generation mortgaged their future, are more focused on fun…

Why you still subsidize some channels when you pay your cable bill

Little wonder that the CRTC has been the focus of so much public contempt

Why you still subsidize some channels when you pay your cable billForget for a moment that roughly five per cent of your cable bill goes to subsidize films and shows that not enough people watch: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is about to dip back into the 20th century and tell you what to watch and make you pay for it. The federal regulator announced last month…

A more open CRTC is a great leap forward

The names of Commissioners appointed to public panels will now be made public two weeks prior to the commencement of the hearing

A more open CRTC is a great leap forwardTransparency is among the most controversial topics in the public policy arena. So it’s surprising that few if any pundits latched onto the significance of a recent tweak by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regarding how it runs its hearings. Going forward, tweeted @CRTCeng, the names of Commissioners (the people exercising oversight impacting…

Tuning in to a new Canadian television reality, thanks to Netflix

As the streaming service pours millions into Canadian productions, the CRTC's hands-off decision looks inspired

Tuning in to a new Canadian television reality, thanks to NetflixThe best thing the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ever did about Netflix was never doing anything about Netflix. It wasn’t easy. Getting a regulator to resist regulating is like trying to keep a retrieving dog from chasing sticks in ponds. Plus, many within Canada’s codependent film and programming industries were, from the moment…

Your bills will go up – but don’t assume an insidious CRTC plot

The debate over internet, cable and mobile rates is far more complex than the Twitter universe reflects

Your bills will go up – but don’t assume an insidious CRTC plotAll the average citizen knows about their cable, mobile and Internet bills is that – like taxes – they always  go up. For those who care why this happens, a brief Twitter tour of #crtc will introduce you to the debates surrounding the inexhaustible and often catty haggling over how your cable, cellphone and Internet…

Ringing the Bell on American ads during Super Bowl broadcasts

The CRTC, led by its new chairman, is expected to reverse the controversial decision related to simultaneous ad substitution

Ringing the Bell on American ads during Super Bowl broadcastsIt being the time of year to make football predictions, here’s one: there won’t be any U.S. Super Bowl ads on cable broadcasts of the big game when it comes around again early next year. Ian Scott, incoming chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), will have the unpopular task of reversing the…

Finding salvation in the ashes of the daily newspaper business

The CBC can be the link to broader success, if it goes ad-free and makes its news content freely available to other news platforms

Finding salvation in the ashes of the daily newspaper businessSometime in the not-too-distant future, the nation’s largest media chain is expected to fail, taking many of the nation’s once proud but now emaciated major daily newspapers to the grave with it. Postmedia and others have already issued appeals to the federal government, just as television broadcasters have, with more success, lobbied the Canadian Radio-television…