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Thu Mar 9 1:53 pm  #1

Is Bell Burying Popular U.S. Series Online To Stop Cord Cutting?

It’s not exactly a new thing – a big broadcaster will buy a popular U.S. series not to show it, but to keep it out of the hands of its competitors. This linked article suggests that one of Canada’s big broadcasters – in this case, Bell – is acquiring online rights to hit American shows, only to prevent Canadians from seeing them on the web.
The idea seems to be to keep highly regarded shows like "The Americans" or "Game of Thrones" off the Internet here to force would-be viewers to subscribe to their Fibe or satellite services, so they can stop cord cutting.
Buying up rights to shelve shows is nothing new, of course. In the mid-80s, what was then called “CityPulse” aired on City TV, but never even made a dent up against CFTO’s 6 PM news, which was always number one. CityPulse only ever wound up in first place once, and it was common knowledge that it was the lead-in provided by the 5 o’clock show that preceded it. Its name? The Price Is Right. Yep, the ancient game show had legs and took City to the top of the news pile with it.
So what happened? When the time came for the contract to be renewed, a competitor (if memory serves, it may have been Global) swooped in, outbid CHUM for the rights, and watched as City sunk back in the pack when it stopped airing "Price" in its old slot. But the network that acquired the veteran program never showed it anywhere, keeping it off the air in Canada, in order to hurt its rival.
This current situation is a bit different, even if the philosophy is the same.
“That's frustrating cord-cutters and leading some consumer advocates to say the time has come for policymakers to enact use-it-or-lose-it rules on streaming rights.
"There should be no situations where there is content out there that's available for people around the world to watch but, because a Canadian broadcaster doesn't want to release it, Canadians aren't able to see it," says Meghan Sali, of internet advocacy group Open Media. "It's what Canadians expect.”   
More here