sowny.net | The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum


You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

September 17, 2020 11:46 am  #1


New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

I saw this article on a U.S. website a couple of weeks ago:
 
“Can You Stream PBS For Free?”
 
Surprisingly the answer was yes – but not surprisingly, not if you’re in Canada and not unless you have an addressable VPN that recognizes the handful of areas where the service is available.
 
I didn’t post it, because it seemed like just another broadcast penalty of living on this side of the border – despite the fact WNED gets a huge amount of its fundraising bucks from Canada and should likely have made their signal available here if permitted.
 
And now I read this, which seems to explain some of it: Amazon Prime will be offering the best of PBS exclusively in Canada – but for a price. You not only have to subscribe to Prime, but also fork out an extra $7 a month (plus tax) for the privilege. It includes shows like “Victoria,” “Inspector Lewis,” and “Poldark” along with those usually terrific PBS produced documentary shows.
 
It remains to be seen whether Canadians will think this is a big deal or a zonk. Either way, it’s taken a long time to get here. The service has been up and running in the U.S. since May 2017.
 
PBS Distribution Launches ‘PBS Masterpiece’ Channel on Amazon Prime Video in Canada

 

September 17, 2020 12:53 pm  #2


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

"Just another broadcast penalty of living on this side of the border.."  ..Yeah Canada really sucks..just one more of the thousands, or is it millions of US services that we don't get just because we live in a stupid country with stupid rules..... because if we were a real country we would get all of the same programs and channels and services and..and.. who wants to watch the Beverly Hillbillies on Hamilton TV when it is on MeTV  or Hulu??..Can't wait to see what channel we will talk about tomorrow that we second class backward hosers are missing out on...https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/tongue.png

 

September 17, 2020 1:16 pm  #3


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

You're missing the point. A long time ago, I tried to subscribe to a U.S. magazine that was very well known. I paid extra for it, but received it every week. Then one day, for no apparent reason, they changed their policy without explanation. All of a sudden, I was no longer able to get it, even though I was willing to pay extra for the postage and the subscription price in U.S. dollars. 

It wasn't a matter of rights or copyrights. They simply made the decision not to sell to Canadians anymore. Last I looked, my money, while worth less in U.S. funds, was still good. There is no reason we shouldn't be able to get a book or a magazine shipped here if we're willing to pay for it. It makes no sense. 

It's a different animal for sure, but WNED - which is on the list of stations that streams its signal - gets the bulk of its donations from Canadians. They openly admit they wouldn't survive without those on this side of the border opening our wallets and it's why they accept Canadian money at par. If we're that important to them, then we should not be shut out of the perks the Americans get. 

We've certainly had this discussion before and we obviously have a fundamental difference in perspective about this. We're not second class and that doesn't mean anyone thinks Canada "sucks," as you put it. But there's no doubt the U.S. and Canada are intertwined in many ways when it comes to broadcasting. Many of their shows are shot here. We can easily receive Buffalo radio and TV signals here over the air (until the government figures out a way to stop that from happening!) 

It's very hard to watch the plethora of choices from there that we can't get here because of an arbitrary line across an area. I would just like a level playing field, which would benefit all consumers. And if it hurts Bell and Rogers? Well, perhaps it would help them step up their game and compete instead of being protected by government fiats, which ensure you have to turn to them for everything - and they charge you accordingly because of a lack of real competition. 

Aren't you tired of coming in second? We were last in North America to get TV (1952 vs. 1948). We were last to go colour. We were last to convert to full HD.  We were last in getting contemporary formats on FM here because of regulatory reasons. Canadians deserve better and I have always argued for equal access to the signals that are, after all, already in the sky. As you can see, I'm very passionate on this subject and have been railing against this kind of "cultural" censorship for decades - to no avail, of course. 

But if I'm willing to pay for something - even pay extra - there's no reason i shouldn't be able to get it. And yes, I get the rights issues involved. But what I can't understand is why the owners don't hold onto North American rights, especially in this Internet age. There's a lot of money to be made if all this red tape was simply taken out of the equation.  

Are you telling me a border should preclude me from being able to read a book? That's insane. Or is your definition of "freedom" of choice only what the government allows you to see? It appears the current one is about to go after Internet content. I shudder to think what will happen if they succeed.

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2020 2:12 pm  #4


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Well RA, I think you missed the point..I was joking. That's why I stuck in the little https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/tongue.png
. However since you took the time for a lengthy response I will mention a few things.

You said we're not second class and then in the next paragraph you asked aren't you tired of coming in second?  What?  Maybe some broadcasters care about TV coming to Canada 4 years later in '52 or the fact we didn't have colour until 1966.  Did the public care?  Some, but most didn't.  Besides many shows were still in black and white in 1966. As I recall that was the year that both CBS and ABC went into colour in a big way. Prior to that almost all of their shows were black and white.

The other examples about being last for full HD and contemporary formats on FM again were issues with the industry but not so much the public. And in terms of radio we have talked about that on here many times, so you either accept the facts or you don't.  Guess you don't..

 Are Americans tired of coming in second because they still don't have portable Interac units in many restaurants and gas stations? Or the fact that daytime running lights are just becoming standard on vehicles almost 40 years after most other countries? Do they care? Probably not.  Business and politicians cared but the public not so much.

Sorry, cultural censorship is the wrong term to use.  It would be cultural censorship if the government was blocking out certain types of shows or US news and sports with the intent of preventing Canadians from being exposed a certain point of view.  That is not the case.

They are trying preserve and help an industry and jobs here. And what is wrong with that?  That is their job.  The US does the same with their industries, do you feel the same way about that? 
                       
Who said anything about you not being able to read a book?  If some books aren't available here or newspapers or other services is not cultural censorship.  Like I have said many times it is always economics. A country of 30 million cannot support everything that a country of 300 million can, it is that simple. You are ignoring the economic side and confusing it with cultural censorship.
They aren't the same thing, but economics will always prevail...

 

September 17, 2020 2:28 pm  #5


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Yeah, I don't buy it. Telling Canadians they can't read something because they just don't feel like making it available is unconscionable to me. It also makes no sense. Or cents. Aren't they in business to make money? Is my money of no value because I have to convert it to U.S. dollars? If I'm willing to pay extra, there's no excuse for them saying no. And in fact, it's crazy to chase away business. 

As for TV and radio, yes, it's a very different animal. And I have to admit you're right about the differences between the two business models in the U.S. and Canada. But I would love to be able to subscribe directly to Showtime, the U.S. pay service. Instead, if I want to see their programming, I have to pony up money to Crave, a sea of cable stations, and God knows what else to see it parceled out all over the place. Yet down south, it's all in one place. Again, an issue of rights. But how this does not drive you crazy - in addition to costing you a lot more, a cost that never stops increasing - is beyond me.

I suppose in the end, I'm like a hungry patron staring into a restaurant window being told I can't eat there, even though I have the resources to afford their meals. Instead, I'm told I have to meander down the street to a lesser place, where the food isn't as good, it takes longer to get and the menu is vastly smaller. I have the money to dine at both places - but I'm not given the opportunity to pick the one I want. 

I realize the metaphor will never satisfy you and I've admitted a certain hypocrisy before about having made a good living (Well, relatively good! This is broadcasting after all!) working at Toronto radio and TV stations all these years. So the protectionism helps me. But as a viewer I still hate it. I want more choice, not less. And I don't want to have to subscribe to 16 different channels to get it when there's one that shows it all.

And that's what I mean by Canadians being penalized just because of where they live. We will obviously never agree on this, I know. But it will ALWAYS annoy me to my dying day. Hopefully, Heaven (if I get there) will have much better reception and you can choose what you want to see. Otherwise, it's not my idea of Heaven! (And by the way, it will have to allow dogs in, too, or I'm not going!)

     Thread Starter
 

September 17, 2020 4:16 pm  #6


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Well I would like to think that dogs and all kinds of critters are welcome in heaven!  

You can subscribe to Crave on it's own without having to bother with all the cable channels.  I know some people that have done just that, they subscribe to Crave, Netflix, CBC Gem, and Amazon Prime and that's it.  

I can't get overly excited about not being able to subscribe to the US version of services.  I like TV but only to a point, and only will give it so many hours of my time.  And the fact that a show on Hulu will be on another network here doesn't bother me, especially if I will be getting it for free which happens. 

I have Crave with my cable package and while I have a few issues with Bell, I do like the fact that it includes programming from Showtime,  HBO and Starz. Wouldn't I need to subscribe to all three in other countries?  Are they identical to the US version?  Apparently not and I couldn't care less.  Am I penalized or second class because of where I live?   No, it is just packaged differently and included already and besides, it's only TV.

I know this is not your take on it, but I have a hunch that most people don't get overly excited that there are differences in programming and availability here and there. How great are the differences anyway?  And as a previous post mentioned, comparing Netflix Canada and USA, we actually get a fair bit programming that would be additional cost in the US.  He also claimed that the US version of Netflix was somewhat overrated.

 

September 17, 2020 4:53 pm  #7


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

This thread is a great read that I'm not going to get involved in as I'm not yet retired, but for the topic at hand - I'm not sure how viable this will be. If you're at the point where you're layering streaming service on top of streaming service, you're getting to the point where your streaming is costing you as much as cable. For the same price, I'd rather have it all in once place and a PVR to boot. Not to mention the country's biggest market getting four channels of PBS for free OTA.


 
 

September 17, 2020 6:04 pm  #8


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

I believe the other direction should be true as well- Canadian services should be available to anyone in the US who wants them.

Just to clear up: commercial TV has been in the US since 1941, in NYC of course. Detroit and Buffalo did come around ‘47 or ‘48, but they had Canadian interest prior to 1952. NBC went nearly full color in prime time in 1965, and completely in all day parts in late 1966. CBS was about half color in 65 and almost all in 66, except some soap operas. ABC was the weakest network and I think went full color in prime time in 66, with daytime not converting until late 67 or early 68. In the US at least, B&W sales dominated until (I think) 1972.

History is fun!

 

September 17, 2020 9:17 pm  #9


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Radio111 wrote:

I believe the other direction should be true as well- Canadian services should be available to anyone in the US who wants them.

Supply/Demand makes that one moot.
 


 
 

September 17, 2020 10:44 pm  #10


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Radio111 wrote:

I believe the other direction should be true as well- Canadian services should be available to anyone in the US who wants them.

I doubt our major broadcasters could put together a compelling SVOD service for international markets. The independent speciality ones could (and in some cases, already) do niche services. 

With the exception of CBC, most of our channels are dominated by foreign-owned programming whose rights are more often than not already tied to competing U.S. services. Because of regulations preventing vertical integration to promote marketplace diversity, the major broadcasters don't even own the scripted Cancon they do fund. Usually, they simply have the exclusive Canadian linear/VOD rights for a few years. The shows are typically owned by independent distributors who are able to sell them internationally, cut merchandise deals, and do second window releases elsewhere. That's why, for example, Degrassi: The Next Generation, a show Bell funded, is nowhere to be found on Crave but is currently airing on YTV, a channel Corus owns. That applies to the CBC, too. Schitt's Creek is ITV, Burden of Truth is eOne, etc. So if any of them wanted to launch a service with their primetime Cancon, they'd have to buy out foreign rights.

As linear viewership continues eroding, I do expect the CRTC to start rolling back those requirements. It's nice to want to promote the independent production community when times are good, but clearly times are not good in the broadcast world anymore. Demanding companies dump millions into a show they can only monetize in Canada, in limited ways and for a short period of time is only going to get harder to justify. I know they've already tossed most of that for the speciality channels.

RadioAaron wrote:

This thread is a great read that I'm not going to get involved in as I'm not yet retired, but for the topic at hand - I'm not sure how viable this will be. If you're at the point where you're layering streaming service on top of streaming service, you're getting to the point where your streaming is costing you as much as cable. For the same price, I'd rather have it all in once place and a PVR to boot. Not to mention the country's biggest market getting four channels of PBS for free OTA.

It'll probably be niche because the content isn't mainstream and it's already free. However, the cost of this to PBS is nominal. The tech backend is all handled by Amazon. Their major expense would be clearing rights for Canada and anything spent on promotion. I'm not sure their schedules have any content conflicts for the non-kids stuff. How many broadcasters here pick up the documentaries or British series they run? 

The concept of requiring a subscription to then subscribe to a service doesn't seem to be that difficult of a sell. 200,000 Canadians allegedly subscribe to StackTV, which is basically a Corus-only cable service also operated through Amazon Channels.

Last edited by Retaw (September 18, 2020 11:59 am)

 

September 18, 2020 1:10 am  #11


Re: New PBS Streaming Service Coming to Canada – At A Price

Retaw wrote:

200,000 Canadians allegedly subscribe to StackTV, which is basically a Corus-only cable service also operated through Amazon Channels.

That number shocks me.  I wouldn't call any of those channels "must haves."