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


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

November 2, 2022 2:16 pm  #1


OTA subchannels

As I noted in another thread I have been in California, and at the accommodations where I’ve been staying there’s a TV with an OTA hookup - and it received no fewer than 26 subchannels. (And that was just the English channels, not counting Spanish.)

The PBS station alone has 4 subchannels, and the CBS affiliate has a CW subchannel which they use for a local morning newscast while CBS Mornings is on the main subchannel, and a 10:00 newscast.

It is mind boggling that Canadian broadcasters are not taking advantage of this technology to offer more programming options that don’t cost anything. CTV, for instance, could do a lot with CTV2 and extend its reach into parts of Canada where it’s not available. And public broadcasters like TVO or the CBC could do a lot with these subchannels as well such as broadcasting their French counterparts, or a kids-only channel, or Canadian documentaries.

Last edited by MJ Vancouver (November 2, 2022 2:21 pm)

 

November 2, 2022 2:25 pm  #2


Re: OTA subchannels

Bell and Rogers don't want consumers watching OTA television. I have friends that still believe when the digital conversion happened in 2011, unless you had cable or satellite, their television wouldn't receive any channels. I am sure Bell and Rogers were only too happy to keep that myth alive and well.

 

November 2, 2022 2:30 pm  #3


Re: OTA subchannels

I would agree with mace.

I'm not sure what the CRTC rules are for Canadian TV stations using subcarriers, but I'd be very surprised if they took advantage of the opportunity, even if they could. Bell, Rogers & Shaw own most of the bigger stations in the country and they're committed to fattening their wallets by selling you cable and satellite to see their signals.

In fact, I suspect they'd turn off their OTA transmitters if given the chance to force more people onto their paid platforms. Because most of the station owners in the U.S. don't have this situation, they want as many eyeballs as possible. Plus, I believe the rules down south allow for some of these subcarriers to be carried by cable systems, and I'm honestly not sure if that would happen here.

Bell may have to carry Global on its systems - but if Global were to introduce six subcarriers, I don't think they'd want to give them that space on their systems and vice versa. 

I could be wrong, but I don't know if we'll ever see this kind of thing happening here. There's not much in it for the Big 3 and they're not very altruistic when it comes to viewers getting something for nothing. As we know all too well.

 

November 2, 2022 3:48 pm  #4


Re: OTA subchannels

It will be interesting to see, if the Rogers/Shaw deal is approved and Shaw/Corus are then completely severed, if Global starts making use of its sub-channels.

 

November 2, 2022 7:36 pm  #5


Re: OTA subchannels

When these big companies had their TV licenses renewed a few years back, they all committed to ATSC 3.0 as far as I recall. To my knowledge not a single Canadian station has switched over (maybe CFTV Leamington, but I don't think so). CFTV may be the only station that offers sub channels. These companies don't want to spend the money and they don't care about OTA. They want us watching on our phones and other devices. I forget what the CRTC rules are for subs but I don't believe they are very complicated. I recently returned to cable for the first time in many years. I am not impressed nor happy. When the promo ends in a month or two, I will be gone. My issue...lots of outages, the system constantly reboots (web-related), the remote reboots for updates...all at not convenient times. I am with Cogeco and they have maintenance periods like AM radio used to have. A couple of weeks ago the shut the service down with now warning at 12:20 a.m. and did not return until about 6 a.m. No cable. No internet. This happens a fair bit - not always that long a period. I never had that with Rogers in London. On the broadcaster side, it is the repeated promos for other services they own....over and over and over. These companies have multiple channels but repeat the same ones all the time. It's annoying and drives me crazy. But that cross promo stuff has been going on a long time now. I'm tired and will shut up now....

 

November 2, 2022 8:20 pm  #6


Re: OTA subchannels

I'd never heard of CFTV until your post, and it doesn't look like much of a station - low power and heavily community-based. I'm not sure what they show but I doubt there's much there I'd want to watch. 

What does interest me, though, is that you're right, they are listed as the only station in all of Canada that has programming on its subcarriers. Although it's hardly like the choice you get from the U.S., with tons of old reruns and/or entertainment and documentary shows.

Here's their subchannel line-up, as outlined in the CRTC documentation:


  • 34.1 (main channel): local community programming as required under its current broadcasting licence;
  • 34.2:  local French-language content from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Spanish-language programming for the Hispanic community from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.;
  • 34.3 local programming specifically produced for people with intellectual, mobility, hearing and visual disabilities, as well as Aboriginal programming from the local Caldwell First Nation; and
  • 34.4 local municipal programming (council meetings, town halls, events, public service announcements, emergencies and notices)

Global's CIII once had a subcarrier on 41.2 in Toronto, but it was simply an SD version of their HD signal. It eventually disappeared. Still, that answers my question about whether any OTA TV station in Canada has subchannels. And the answer is just this one.

But that sets the precedent and you have to wonder if others could one day follow, although for the reasons outlined above, it's probably not likely. 

 

November 3, 2022 8:03 am  #7


Re: OTA subchannels

What would be truly wonderful is having Antenna TV, Cozi TV, ME TV etc. available online. Unfortunately, they are not. Decades is another one I wish I had access to. I have always wondered why WIVB has never added it to their sub channel list. It was developed by CBS and WIVB has been a primary eye network affilliate since 1949. It is interesting that Decades does not appear on CBS sub channels in Rochester, Syracuse and NYC.

 

November 3, 2022 8:13 am  #8


Re: OTA subchannels

Decades is already on a subcarrier of WBBZ, the low power TV station on Channel 67 that we rarely get here. That's likely why WIVB can't add it - it's already spoken for. And yes, it would be on my wish list, as well. 

 

November 3, 2022 10:45 am  #9


Re: OTA subchannels

I am aware that Decades is on a WBBZ sub channel. I guess my question would be when Decades was first introduced, why did WIVB pass on it? Because they did, WBBZ added it to their sub channel lineup.

 

November 3, 2022 11:27 am  #10


Re: OTA subchannels

My 2 cents worth.  I suspect I am sort of an "expert" on OTA .2's .3's etc.  I've been involved in the U.S. with people who supply programming and now operate such channels. My involvement goes back 10 or 15 years.   In Canada-  2 words "bean counters".  The Canadian bean counters see no purpose in adding expenses that will not provide immediate significant revenues.  Program clearances for OTA mean in some cases residual $$ to talent, or added transmission costs to the OTA transmitting sites.  Bean counters are not convinced that the OTA receiving crowd 1) have people meters - and therefore will show a "bump" in ratings- or even are measurable or 2) are out there in significant numbers to be attractive to advertisers.  You will say of course that's counter-intuitive because content is cleared for cable, satellite and over-the-top streaming.  But there is a 3rd component.  Most if not all of the cable operators have written into their contracts the most oppressive terms and conditions that have stopped some smaller broadcasters from using their "specialty channel" content on OTA transmissions.  Why is that?  The "big guys" have tried to stop any competition for eyeballs, so it has been a long hard battle to carve out limited streaming rights, and to the extent that the big cable guys will negotiate, the contractual wording is so difficult as to preclude "giving it away for free".  In other words, Company A "gives away" specialty channel X via OTA, and the big bdus want the same treatment - that they get channel x "for free".  These have been called "MFN" clauses - what are known in legal circles as 'Most favoured nations" clauses.  The CRTC's "Wholesale Code" outlawed" MFN clauses - sort of - but they still exist, perhaps now in more insidious forms...and the Wholesale Code is basically toothless - unless your are Bell or Rogers complaining about the "other guy's contracting practices for their (sports) specialty services. 

I won't dwell on the "grey" area of what the CRTC would do, if someone applied to put a non-licenced channel up on .2 or .3.  I think the CRTC wouldn't outright reject the concept of putting CP24, which is a licensed service, up as a .2 or .3 of CFTO, etc.  But it's the clout of the BDUs, who don't want competition - that in my humble opinion made this a non-starter.   As several people have observed, Bell, Rogers, Shaw, etc., have always been at the forefront of limiting any competition that would see paying subscribers move away from them.  Case in point VMedia's BDU service, which technically "streams" content was opposed time and again, at the CRTC, and in the courts by some "behemoths".  Finally if there was 10% of the population who do receive OTA in cities (most OTA has been shut down in rural areas and smaller cities) that OTA "potential" audience is a drop in the bucket relative to the existing subscriber base of Bell, Telus, Rogers, Shaw, etc.

FAST channels will make a mockery of the BDUs as gate keepers in my opinion.  Unregulated, untouchable by Canadian BDUs, and universally available.  That's where the action will be and OTA in Canada - will be, if I can suggest it - largely irrelevant to viewers who have internet connections and can access FAST channels for free.

My last, last point.  In the US, it is not uncommon for Weigel Broadcasting {MeTV, StarTV, Decades, Movies, etc] (and others) to essentially "rent" OTA subcarriers in major markets.  There are very well established national sales agents, who are able to monetize the .2's and .3's on the basis of the number of markets where signals are available.  Ratings is not of primary concern, it is market reach south of the border.  If you deliver the major markets that advertisers demand to buy, there is often a business case to be made  Now with a combination of FAST channels and OTA .1's and .2's there is a good business case for "new" channels that are based on older program catalogues.  I know first hand of people in the U.S. who are making money in this business of OTA subs and FAST channels. It's not rocket science.   Unfortunately there aren't visionaries in Canada who are willing to take this leap.

 

November 3, 2022 2:07 pm  #11


Re: OTA subchannels

Thanks as always tvguy. Your breadth of knowledge continues to be invaluable. An interesting behind-the-curtain-look at what's going on. As usual, the viewers are the losers.  

 

November 3, 2022 2:28 pm  #12


Re: OTA subchannels

mace wrote:

I am aware that Decades is on a WBBZ sub channel. I guess my question would be when Decades was first introduced, why did WIVB pass on it? Because they did, WBBZ added it to their sub channel lineup.

Decades is one of my favourite subcarrier channels that I can't get. In addition to all the usual reruns (Dick van Dyke, I Love Lucy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show etc., they also do a nightly show called "Through The Decades," hosted by Bill Kurtis of A&E's "American Justice" fame.

It's a great look through the history of a specific day. The Friday show for example has this precis:

On November 4, “Through the Decades” remembers the day in 1979 that Iranian students took hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, escalating tensions between the two nations. We also take a look back on when comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted of obscenity in 1964 following a fiery debate over free speech. And on the day of his birth, we profile Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey.  

Saturday's version looks back at vintage TV shows like the Twilight Zone, Bonanza and Dallas. 

It's a show I would watch every day if it actually came in here. 

By the way, the Decades website has a great quiz section. Some of them include:

Guess who said it on air on WKRP in Cincinnati! 

Do you consider these musicians one-hit wonders?

Only the biggest fans of The Odd Couple can score 10/12 on this quiz

Can you name all these British Invasion bands of the 1960s?

And there are literally hundreds more. You can check out page 1 of 53 pages of links here.

 

November 3, 2022 5:29 pm  #13


Re: OTA subchannels

Here's a question for people who may be lurking on the big yellow board.  Perhaps the brain trust over at Channel Zero could explore the creation of an 11.2 for CHCH using some of this programming.  They are, in my view pretty smart folks who have done a nice job in the vintage programming niche during certain dayparts on CHCH.  They might have some streaming services - but I've never watched them.

It shouldn't be "rocket science" for them to enter into some form of streaming arrangement with Weigel for Canada that would be "geo-blocked" for the Canadian territory -and also add 11.2's across their vast network of OTA transmitters.  Seems like a win-win for Channel Zero.  Those folks are pretty savvy finding creative ways to navigate arcane CRTC rules.



 

 

November 3, 2022 5:35 pm  #14


Re: OTA subchannels

tvguy wrote:

Here's a question for people who may be lurking on the big yellow board.  Perhaps the brain trust over at Channel Zero could explore the creation of an 11.2 for CHCH using some of this programming.  They are, in my view pretty smart folks who have done a nice job in the vintage programming niche during certain dayparts on CHCH.  They might have some streaming services - but I've never watched them.

It shouldn't be "rocket science" for them to enter into some form of streaming arrangement with Weigel for Canada that would be "geo-blocked" for the Canadian territory -and also add 11.2's across their vast network of OTA transmitters.  Seems like a win-win for Channel Zero.  Those folks are pretty savvy finding creative ways to navigate arcane CRTC rules. 

The more the merrier, as far as I'm concerned. Bring it on!

 

November 3, 2022 6:32 pm  #15


Re: OTA subchannels

tvguy wrote:

Here's a question for people who may be lurking on the big yellow board.  Perhaps the brain trust over at Channel Zero could explore the creation of an 11.2 for CHCH using some of this programming.  They are, in my view pretty smart folks who have done a nice job in the vintage programming niche during certain dayparts on CHCH.  They might have some streaming services - but I've never watched them.

It shouldn't be "rocket science" for them to enter into some form of streaming arrangement with Weigel for Canada that would be "geo-blocked" for the Canadian territory -and also add 11.2's across their vast network of OTA transmitters.  Seems like a win-win for Channel Zero.  Those folks are pretty savvy finding creative ways to navigate arcane CRTC rules.

 

CHCH only have four transmitter sites converted to digital/HD, which would be capable of carrying sub channels... Hamilton, London, Midland and Ottawa. 

Their remaining four sites in Northern Ontario are analog and were shutdown during the ATSC repack period, and would first require conversion/upgrade to digital technology ... costly $$$...
 

 

November 3, 2022 7:27 pm  #16


Re: OTA subchannels

tvguy wrote:

I know first hand of people in the U.S. who are making money in this business of OTA subs and FAST channels. It's not rocket science.   Unfortunately there aren't visionaries in Canada who are willing to take this leap.

I wonder too if it's an issue that this model doesn't scale down well. Everyone involved would know viewership at any given time to any given subchannel is quite low, but that can be made up for with volume. That volume would be hard to achieve in Canada and you'd have many advertisers noticing zero conversion from their spots.

 

November 4, 2022 9:46 am  #17


Re: OTA subchannels

If it's a question of what to put on a sub-channel, that wouldn't entice cable cutting and not then upset the 'big boys',  I think that at least one OTA transmitter in any given coverage area should carry the parliamentary channel in both English and French.

It's been a very long time since I've been a cable subscriber but I think they still air the federal government's proceeding - YES/NO? Do they carry provincial government sessions? Include those as well if they do.

Last edited by DeepTracks (November 4, 2022 9:50 am)

 

November 4, 2022 10:07 am  #18


Re: OTA subchannels

That's a good suggestion overall, although you wouldn't want it on every subchannel on every OTA station. Perhaps the CBC? I always thought City TV made a huge mistake by not putting the CityNews Channel on its OTA subcarrier signal, if only to spread the word about the service, which ultimately died from lack of exposure. 

If you really want to watch them, the Ont. Legislature live video can be found here, while the House of Commons is here

 

November 4, 2022 11:13 am  #19


Re: OTA subchannels

The puzzlement to me is why CBC transmission hasn't looked at the cost-cutting potential of putting multiple services on a single transmitter. Why maintain two transmitters, two power bills, etc. on the CN Tower when you could easily run CBLT 5.1 and CBLFT 25.1 on a single transmitter with plenty of bitrate to spare? (And then multiply that by all the cities where CBC/SRC still run two transmitters.) 

Heck, you could even combine TVO's 19.1 on that same transmitter and save even more money. (I believe TVO still rents transmitter room space at CN Tower from the CBC.) 

It's not as exciting as having the zillions of OTA subchannels we get on this side of the border, but it would have to save some taxpayer dollars that could be better used for programming. 

 

November 4, 2022 12:16 pm  #20


Re: OTA subchannels

All the major media companies could have use digital subchannels by now to maybe reduce the cost of OTA transmission and expand their broadcast footprints. Bell with CTV and CTV Two, Rogers with Citytv and Omni (or in Toronto at least Omni1 and Omni2 being on the same MUX'ed), Corus could have partnered up with one of the smaller broadcasters to MUX their Global TV transmitters (maybe with Crossroads for YesTV). It would have at least given every major market in Canada the same networks over the air, instead of having this situation where the biggest markets have all the major networks, and cities like London only have CTV Two. 

 

November 4, 2022 12:21 pm  #21


Re: OTA subchannels

fybush wrote:

The puzzlement to me is why CBC transmission hasn't looked at the cost-cutting potential of putting multiple services on a single transmitter. Why maintain two transmitters, two power bills, etc. on the CN Tower when you could easily run CBLT 5.1 and CBLFT 25.1 on a single transmitter with plenty of bitrate to spare? (And then multiply that by all the cities where CBC/SRC still run two transmitters.) 

Heck, you could even combine TVO's 19.1 on that same transmitter and save even more money. (I believe TVO still rents transmitter room space at CN Tower from the CBC.) 

It's not as exciting as having the zillions of OTA subchannels we get on this side of the border, but it would have to save some taxpayer dollars that could be better used for programming. 

Pure speculation: Would the CRTC view that as turning in licenses? Same reason basically dead AM stations are kept on the air - if technology or regulations change, that license becomes valuable again.

 

November 4, 2022 4:42 pm  #22


Re: OTA subchannels

ED1 wrote:

All the major media companies could have use digital subchannels by now to maybe reduce the cost of OTA transmission and expand their broadcast footprints. Bell with CTV and CTV Two, Rogers with Citytv and Omni (or in Toronto at least Omni1 and Omni2 being on the same MUX'ed), Corus could have partnered up with one of the smaller broadcasters to MUX their Global TV transmitters (maybe with Crossroads for YesTV). It would have at least given every major market in Canada the same networks over the air, instead of having this situation where the biggest markets have all the major networks, and cities like London only have CTV Two. 

Global would also have the opportunity for putting it’s all-news BC1 on a subchannel in BC.

     Thread Starter
 

November 4, 2022 5:59 pm  #23


Re: OTA subchannels

MJ Vancouver wrote:

ED1 wrote:

All the major media companies could have use digital subchannels by now to maybe reduce the cost of OTA transmission and expand their broadcast footprints. Bell with CTV and CTV Two, Rogers with Citytv and Omni (or in Toronto at least Omni1 and Omni2 being on the same MUX'ed), Corus could have partnered up with one of the smaller broadcasters to MUX their Global TV transmitters (maybe with Crossroads for YesTV). It would have at least given every major market in Canada the same networks over the air, instead of having this situation where the biggest markets have all the major networks, and cities like London only have CTV Two. 

Global would also have the opportunity for putting it’s all-news BC1 on a subchannel in BC.

There's probably a clause in their cable/satellite carriage contracts that prevent BC1 from being distributed free elsewhere, which I would understand.
 

 

November 4, 2022 8:24 pm  #24


Re: OTA subchannels

mace wrote:

What would be truly wonderful is having Antenna TV, Cozi TV, ME TV etc. available online. Unfortunately, they are not. Decades is another one I wish I had access to.

For what it's worth: The Weigel cluster of stations (MeTV, Decades, and Heroes & Icons) ARE available online in a pay subscription format through Frndly TV: https://try.frndlytv.com/ 

In Canada, provided you have a VPN, and are willing to pay.... you will get to see them on this side of the border. 

Last edited by Radio.Intern (November 4, 2022 8:25 pm)

 

November 6, 2022 11:00 am  #25


Re: OTA subchannels

CRTC's View on sub-channels:

Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-31
Ottawa, 12 June 2002
A licensing policy to oversee the transition from analog to digital, over-the-air television broadcasting

SECTION OF INTEREST:
Multicast programming services

35.     
Multicast programming services give rise to potential concerns. These relate to the impact that multicast services might have in the current broadcasting marketplace, whether the new multicast services are advertiser supported, subscription based, or both. The Commission notes in this regard the following concerns raised by Pelmorex Communications Inc. (Pelmorex):
    
    .a policy decision that would authorize each over-the-air station to transmit what would amount to four new programming services along with its main over-the-air television service [would] have a catastrophic impact on Canadian pay television and specialty services, particularly if the only limit on those multicast services was that they would have to "add to, supplement or be related to" the over-the-air television station, as suggested by the CAB.

36.
Use of DTV technology to deliver multicast services, potentially in preference to the broadcast of HDTV programming, might also have the effect of discouraging the introduction of HDTV, thereby diminishing the motivation that consumers might otherwise have for purchasing a digital television set.

37.
The Commission has weighed the possible advantages of multicast programming services against these potential concerns. On balance, it has concluded that such services can contribute in a positive manner to the Canadian broadcasting system. Their positive contribution can only be maximized, however, if the services are truly innovative and non-duplicative of existing services. The Commission shares the concerns of Pelmorex and others in this regard, and will therefore be predisposed to license new and innovative services, in preference to those that would merely duplicate the services of existing off-air, specialty or pay television undertakings. To address concerns that multicast services might slow the introduction of HDTV, the Commission will expect broadcasters to ensure that the delivery of multicast programming does not affect adherence to their qualitative and quantitative commitments concerning the amount and the quality of the high definition programming that they broadcast on the main digital programming service.

38.
In order to ensure that the introduction of multicast program services does not negatively affect the current structure of the broadcasting industry, applications to provide multicast services will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will be licensed separately from the main DTV service. Although additional, more specific licensing criteria for multicast services may evolve through the public hearing process, the particulars of each proposal, including Canadian content levels, market entry criteria, allocation of revenues, carriage and substitution arrangements will be examined against the background of the Commission's existing television policy framework. A discussion of the associated distribution and substitution issues for multicast and data services is contained in Public Notice 2002-32.

39.
The Commission concludes that its transition policy will allow for the licensing of multicast programming services on the following basis:

    Multicast services should make a positive contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system during the transition period.

    Each multicast programming service will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will be licensed by the Commission separately from the main DTV service. A multicast service will generally be subject to the same Canadian content, logging and other regulatory requirements that apply to existing television services.

    The Commission's predisposition will be to license new and innovative multicast services, in preference to those that duplicate existing over-the-air services, pay or specialty services.

    The delivery of a multicast service may not take precedence over the broadcast of the HDTV version of a program whenever such a version is available.

 

November 6, 2022 11:32 am  #26


Re: OTA subchannels

Thanks for reposting this. I've always wondered what the exact CRTC policy was and this fills in a lot of blanks.

The way I read it, they will allow subchannels in Canada, but only if stations are willing to put up programming that's different than what's already available. In other words, if it attracts an audience, you can't do it. Little wonder no one - not even an independent like CHCH - has bothered. 

Here's another element of their rules that I find confusing:

 36. Use of DTV technology to deliver multicast services, potentially in preference to the broadcast of HDTV programming, might also have the effect of discouraging the introduction of HDTV, thereby diminishing the motivation that consumers might otherwise have for purchasing a digital television set.

I don't get this. Are they saying introducing subcarriers would slow or stop the sales of HDTV sets? I know this was back in 2002, but could you even have subcarriers without the conversion to HD? If the only way to get any subchannels is to get a new set capable of receiving them, wouldn't you have to get an HD set? This one makes no sense at all to me. But maybe I'm reading it wrong. 

As usual, the CRTC stands in the way of viewers by trying to protect pay TV operators and cable companies (i.e. the usual giant culprits) and we get fewer options on our over-the-air dial.

I don't think it would matter in any event, since as discussed the usual "giant culprits" have no interest in promoting anything free over the air, when they can make you pay for it. It's why you need an antenna to get Buffalo or Detroit.

The FCC has made some awful decisions over the years, but they at least allow owners of station groups to do whatever they want, and if it makes money, it makes money. If not, that's their own risk. But at least they have the option. At the risk of drawing the inevitable ire of p1 whenever I criticize anything Canadian, I certainly wish we had that here. 

 

November 6, 2022 1:51 pm  #27


Re: OTA subchannels

THIS IS THE ONE I WAS ORIGINALLY LOOKING FOR. IT DEALS WITH CFTV SPECIFICALLY BUT MAY ANSWER MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SUB CHANNELS:Ottawa, 17 August 2012Southshore Broadcasting Inc.
Leamington, OntarioApplication 2012-0220-0CFTV-TV Leamington – Licence amendmentThe Commission approves an application by Southshore Broadcasting Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the low-power, primarily English-language community-based television station CFTV-TV Leamington to add a digital transmitter to serve the area of Leamington, Ontario.The Commission also approves the licensee’s request for authorization to multiplex its digital television signal in order to provide four separate programming services offering various types of local programming.The application1. The Commission received an application by Southshore Broadcasting Inc. (Southshore) to amend the broadcasting licence for the low-power, primarily English-language community-based television programming undertaking CFTV-TV Leamington in order to add a digital transmitter to serve the area of Leamington, Ontario.2. The new transmitter CFTV-DT Leamington would operate on channel 34 with an average effective radiated power (ERP) of 356 watts (maximum ERP of 621 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 56 meters).3. Southshore also requested authorization to multiplex1 its digital television signal in order to provide services that offer the following types of local programming:


  • local community programming as required under its current broadcasting licence;
  •  local French-language content from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Spanish-language programming for the Hispanic community from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.;
  • local programming specifically produced for people with intellectual, mobility, hearing and visual disabilities, as well as Aboriginal programming from the local Caldwell First Nation; and
  •  local municipal programming (council meetings, town halls, events, public service announcements, emergencies and notices).

4. Southshore indicated that the licence amendment and authorization to multiplex are necessary for the viability of this undertaking.5. The Commission received several interventions in support of this application.Commission’s analysis and decisions6. In Broadcasting Public Notice 2002-31 (the digital transition policy), the Commission concluded that its policy regarding the transition from analog to digital would allow for the licensing of multicast programming services on the following basis:

  • Multicast services should make a positive contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system during the transition period.
  • Each multicast programming service will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will be licensed by the Commission separately from the main [digital television] service. A multicast service will generally be subject to the same Canadian content, logging and other regulatory requirements that apply to existing television services.
  • The Commission’s predisposition will be to license new and innovative multicast services, in preference to those that duplicate existing over-the-air, pay or specialty services.
  • The delivery of a multicast service may not take precedence over the broadcast of the [high definition television] version of a program whenever such a version is available.

7. After examining the application in light of the digital transition policy and other applicable regulations and policies, the Commission considers that the issues it must address are the following:

  • whether the proposed multicast services would make a positive contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system; and
  • whether the licensee should obtain a broadcasting licence for each proposed multicast service.

Would the proposed multicast services make a positive contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system?8. The Commission notes that CFTV-TV is a small community television station serving the Leamington market, and that Southshore has a proven record of establishing community partnerships through various activities. In the Commission’s view, the new and innovative multicast services proposed by the licensee could bring considerably more local programming to the service area and to underserved audiences within the community, thereby making a positive contribution to the community of Leamington and, by extension, to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole.Should the licensee obtain a broadcasting licence for each proposed multicast service?9. Since the issuance of the digital transition policy, the Commission has granted pay and specialty services the authority to add new multiplexes of their services, at their discretion, through standard conditions of licence applicable to all such services and without requiring that the licensee obtain a separate broadcasting licence for each multicast service. However, each service must individually meet all regulatory obligations (that is, regulatory obligations cannot be spread across the multicast services).10. The Commission notes that, as set out in Broadcasting Decision 2003-581, Southshore is required, by condition of licence, to devote not less than 80% of the broadcast year to the broadcast of Canadian programming and not less than 60% of the broadcast year to the broadcast of local programming.11. In light of the above, the Commission does not consider it necessary to require Southshore to obtain a separate broadcasting licence for each proposed multicast service. However, in accordance with the digital transition policy, the Commission considers that each multicast service should be individually subject to the same programming requirements imposed on CFTV-TV regarding the broadcast of Canadian and local programming.Conclusion12. In light of the above, the Commission approves the application by Southshore Broadcasting Inc. to amend the broadcasting licence for the low-power, primarily English-language community-based television programming undertaking CFTV-TV Leamington in order to add a digital transmitter to serve the area of Leamington. The new transmitter CFTV-DT Leamington will operate on channel 34 with an average ERP of 356 watts (maximum ERP of 621 watts with an effective height of antenna above average terrain of 56 meters).13. The Commission also approves the licensee’s request for authorization to multiplex its digital television signal in order to provide services that offer the types of local programming described in paragraph 3 above.14. Accordingly, the Commission imposes the following condition of licence:The licensee is authorized to multiplex its digital television signal in order to provide up to four separate programming services offering the following: local community programming, French- and Spanish-language programming, programming for people with intellectual, mobility, hearing and visual disabilities, Aboriginal programming from the local Caldwell First Nation, and local municipal programming.The licensee shall, for each of these programming services, devote not less than 80% of the broadcast year to the broadcast of Canadian programs.Further, the licensee shall, for each of these programming services, devote not less than 60% of the broadcast year to the broadcast of local programming, as defined in Community television policy, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-622, 26 August 2010.15. The Commission reminds the licensee that, pursuant to section 22(1) of the Broadcasting Act, the authorities granted in this decision will only be effective when the Department of Industry notifies the Commission that its technical requirements have been met and that a broadcasting certificate will be issued.Other mattersCase-by-case consideration of requests to multiplex16. As noted above, the Commission stated in the digital transition policy that the licensing of multicast programming services would be considered on a case-by-case basis. In regard to the present application, the authorization for Southshore to distribute four separate signals under one broadcasting licence has been granted based on the specific circumstances and aspects of its request. Future requests for authorization to multiplex a digital signal will continue to be considered by the Commission on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the specific circumstances and aspects of those requests.Public service announcements17. The Commission expects the licensee to broadcast public service announcements and to inform viewers of the existence of the new transmitter by way of its website in a manner consistent with the requirements set out in section 3 of the appendix to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-198. Furthermore, the Commission expects the licensee to do this for a period of at least three months from the day this authorization is issued, and before the licensee ceases to broadcast in analog or changes channel, whichever is sooner.Secretary GeneralRelated documents

  • Regulations for the digital television transition, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-198, 18 March 2011
  • New low-power community television station in Leamington, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2003-581, 19 November 2003
  • A licensing policy to oversee the transition from analog to digital, over-the-air television broadcasting, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-31, 12 June 2002

*This decision is to be appended to the licence.Footnote[1] Multiplexing (also known as multicasting) is the use of one digital transmitter by one or more broadcasters to transmit several programming services at the same time, using the same spectrum resources.

Last edited by Bill Dulmage (November 7, 2022 1:41 am)

 

November 6, 2022 4:30 pm  #28


Re: OTA subchannels

Bill Dulmage wrote:

CRTC's View on sub-channels:
Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2002-31
Ottawa, 12 June 2002
A licensing policy to oversee the transition from analog to digital, over-the-air television broadcasting

SECTION OF INTEREST:
Multicast programming services

This document is from 2002.  DTV (and also HD) in Canada was just about to launch so the reference to "discouraging the introduction of HDTV" must be taken in context.

The Commissions need to have any additional service both "innovative and non-duplicative of existing services" and "licensed separately from the main DTV service" (thus requiring a built-in regulatory process) pretty much killed any use of OTA DTV to distribute sub-channel programming.


 

 

November 6, 2022 4:30 pm  #29


Re: OTA subchannels

First off RA, you only draw my ire when you attempt to misinform and exaggerate (which is often).  You do, whether you want to admit it or not, tend to trivialize, whine about, or look down on many things Canadian.

This report is from 2002 and not 2012 as you said, so concerns about HDTV make more sense with the correct year.

Not sure your take on "if it attracts an audience, you can't do it.."  is correct or even logical.  The CRTC said sub channels shouldn't duplicate programming that is available off air or on pay channels, and they would be referring to what is available in a given area in Canada.  Not so sure they would care what is offered on Buffalo or Detroit sub channels since hardly anyone in Southern Ontario watches them.

So there would be a lot of classic programming and niche shows available to run.  Is there a demand for any of this?  The public here doesn't seem overly interested or aware so far.  Sort of like sub channels on radio.  A none issue so far for the public and most broadcasters. 

Could be that sub channels are a thing in the US because of a much larger and often wealthier population base, and the fact that many traditional OTA stations are really struggling for audience. 

Case in point, Saturday October 29th one week ago, CBS in prime time did not crack 1 million viewers, and NBC nowhere near hitting 2 million viewers for any programming.  So in other words many of their affiliates had really nobody watching one week ago if the ratings are accurate.  

In fairness the World Series was on FOX with a non spectacular 10.7 million viewers.  Even on supposed "big nights" like Wednesday or Thursday we are seeing the Big Four networks this fall with 2,3 and 4 million viewers for "hit" shows.

So there is a market and a need for sub channels in the US to help the main OTA stations.  Local stations in Canada are mostly owned by companies that likely have little interest at this time.  If a station like CHCH or one of the few independents get into this, and traditional networks continue to slide in Canada,  then maybe it will happen sooner than later. 

Last edited by paterson1 (November 6, 2022 4:32 pm)

 

November 6, 2022 5:38 pm  #30


Re: OTA subchannels

paterson1 wrote:

First off RA, you only draw my ire when you attempt to misinform and exaggerate (which is often).  You do, whether you want to admit it or not, tend to trivialize, whine about, or look down on many things Canadian. 

You call it whining. I call it fact. Potato potatoe. We will always disagree about this and that's OK. That's what this board is all about and I welcome all viewpoints, including those who vehemently dislike my opinions. 

paterson1 wrote:

This report is from 2002 and not 2012 as you said, so concerns about HDTV make more sense with the correct year.

I'll concede that. That was a typo that I've since fixed. But a fair point.

paterson1 wrote:

Not sure your take on "if it attracts an audience, you can't do it.."  is correct or even logical.  The CRTC said sub channels shouldn't duplicate programming that is available off air or on pay channels, and they would be referring to what is available in a given area in Canada.  Not so sure they would care what is offered on Buffalo or Detroit sub channels since hardly anyone in Southern Ontario watches them..

The problem with this part of the CRTC ruling is that there's virtually nothing on TV or cable that hasn't really already been done. Want to show old reruns like Antenna TV or MeTV? There was TV Land. Deja View and Comedy Gold at the time showing that very thing. A station that showed nothing but crime documentaries like Court TV and a few others in the U.S.? Sorry, there's already a documentary channel. Shows for kids? Taken by Treehouse TV, Nickelodeon and Disney Jr. 

And on and on it goes. My point is there's almost nothing that wasn't already being done. And under the CRTC rules, no competitor could launch on a subcarrier if a station wanted to do it, because it's taken. In the U.S., as an example, there's a ton of stations running old shows. No one's saying there can't be competition. Down south, we've got PBS Kids and a few other subcarriers for kids. Not here, because after all, there already are some. And God forbid they should face a competitor.

I'm sure glad this didn't apply to radio formats, otherwise CHUM would have been the only station playing Top 40 in Toronto. CKFH and CFTR would not have been allowed to adopt the music because there already is one and we must have something different. What's wrong with an alternative or some competition? To me, the more the merrier and that includes TV specialty channels.

paterson1 wrote:

So there would be a lot of classic programming and niche shows available to run.  Is there a demand for any of this?  The public here doesn't seem overly interested or aware so far.  Sort of like sub channels on radio.  A none issue so far for the public and most broadcasters.

 
How do you know if there's a demand for it until someone tries it? Look at what CHCH did. They created a "retro TV" format to fill their hours. As far as I can see, it's popular with many. If a company wants to try it and it doesn't work, that's their risk. But to prohibit anything similar just because someone else is already doing it is wrong and overly protectionist. And as you know, nothing makes me crazier (and I admit there's not far to go) than government interference in programming. 

paterson1 wrote:

Could be that sub channels are a thing in the US because of a much larger and often wealthier population base, and the fact that many traditional OTA stations are really struggling for audience. 

 I say let them try if they want. But the rules seem so restrictive (if there's already one, there can't be another...) that who would even consider such a thing?

paterson1 wrote:

Case in point, Saturday October 29th one week ago, CBS in prime time did not crack 1 million viewers, and NBC nowhere near hitting 2 million viewers for any programming.  So in other words many of their affiliates had really nobody watching one week ago if the ratings are accurate.  

In fairness the World Series was on FOX with a non spectacular 10.7 million viewers.  Even on supposed "big nights" like Wednesday or Thursday we are seeing the Big Four networks this fall with 2,3 and 4 million viewers for "hit" shows.

So there is a market and a need for sub channels in the US to help the main OTA stations.  Local stations in Canada are mostly owned by companies that likely have little interest at this time.  If a station like CHCH or one of the few independents get into this, and traditional networks continue to slide in Canada,  then maybe it will happen sooner than later. 

Streaming has definitely cut into both OTA TV and cable. But perhaps one way to win back viewers is to offer something you can't get on streaming. A station that's only available over-the-air could attract eyeballs that have deserted TV for greener pastures. It's one possible way to bring them back. I can't tell you the number of people who have put up an antenna and have told me how surprised they were to find all the choice they found that they didn't know about. And yes, they were in the GTA. 

The one thing we agree on is that the companies that control most of the stations have no interest in pursuing anything that might be given away for free. So perhaps it's a moot point. But at least those that want to should be free to try. The CRTC needs to get out of programming and leave it to the people who understand television. It explains a lot about why TV on this side of the border looks the way it does. It's not terrible - but it certainly could offer a lot more if the government would just get out of the way.