Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Battle of Titans shaping up

First, bitter rivals Leonard Asper and Ivan Fecan linked arms last week to plead in unison for the CRTC to throw them some of the crumbs that cable companies have been piling up for the past few yers. Now Shaw cable boss Jim Shaw has weighed in with a letter of complaint to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in advance of his appearance before the regulatory body this week. His testimony could be similarly testy. This is one you could almost sell on pay-per-view. The Global and CTV network chiefs making a joint presentation was all Shaw could take before bashing off a five-page letter from his Calgary office to Harper, a Calgary MP. The bid to impose fee-for-carriage, which will charge cable customers for content that is broadcast free over the airwaves, goes against the Conservative government's deregulationist mantra, he pointed out.
Unfortunately, the government's objectives of driving innovation, investment and fair competition for the benefit of Canadians, and Shaw's efforts to help realize them, is being undermined by the CRTC's current review of satellite and broadcast regulations. I believe the issues being discussed show a significant gap between the CRTC's goals and your government's policy objectives.
Shaw is schedud to appear before the CRTC, which received a copy of his letter and released it to the public, on Thursday. I'm with Shaw on this one. Big Media moguls love deregulation, which allows them to grow larger and thus more profitable and politically powerful, but when it is to their financial advantage they show no shame coming cap in hand to regulators like the CRTC begging for a handout. Cash grab indeed!

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