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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Potential impact of Pick & Pay for independently-owned specialty services in Canada

    We've seen several Canadian diginets come and go since their launches, both owned by conglomerates and independents. But with more pick & pay options on the way and available to customers, the independents are the most vulnerable especially as cord-cutting is on the rise.

    Just over the last year, we've seen an independent company get out of broadcasting altogether. Stornoway at one time had three channels (bpm: tv, The Pet Network, iChannel). The latter was running with a Category A licence which guaranteed carriage across cable and satellite providers, while the other two operated under Category B licences and had limited availability.

    Here is an example of this happening stateside, as an independently-owned channel is due to shut down, as per the article in the link:

    Here in Canada, which independently-owned companies would be at risk of shutting down their channels or getting out of broadcasting altogether? Even the conglomerates also have an issue of owning too many channels (through the various acquisitions and takeovers) and are turning least popular ones (less subscribers) into zombie channels. On top of that, even the most popular ones are going to take a hit once Pick & Pay becomes a factor.

    NOTE: If the moderator wishes to move this post to the Specialty Channel Speculation Shutdown thread (located within the Canadian Specialty Channels - General Specialty Channels Discussion forum), I welcome the decision. The only reason I put it here in Chit Chat was because the article was based on an example of something happening in the U.S.
    Last edited by lostjon; 08-18-2016 at 10:58 AM. Reason: Note to moderators to have this post moved to another forum based on subject of thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    [The Decline of Niche TV Channels ... like Pivot]

    If independent channels are basically too niche to survive the increased competition from the bigger entities and current TV environment, it's not surprising that more and more of them are now dying. Instead of being "too big to fail," they are actually too small to succeed.

    Remember Pax TV? It become ION. I can watch ION for free with my antenna, but I rarely bother. And yet, if I didn't have Internet access, I would spend more time surfing through the OTA channels. I can find entertaining things to watch with simple OTA tv, but it's not as appealing for me as it once was.

    Pivot? Certainly not the center of anything.

    What would happen to the CBC if it became a pick-and-pay option for all of Canada? I like it, but perhaps the masses would rather let it die if they had the power to do so.

    Cord cutting is nothing to be afraid of. The Internet is on its way to becoming a giant regional TV channel. Each country will carve out its section of the pie and then that section will be divided into smaller regional sections until we have IPTV (same thing we have now, but on the Internet).

    Pick and pay? Can I pick which channels get shuttered and then pay for the ones I want? No I can't. Nor would I want to. Because if I did that, then some of the channels would survive. And since these channels want to remain channels, they focus on branding; finding content that suits their brand. To find the content, they often buy from America and keep Canadians from having a shot at the wholesale price, or at least an inflated price for the "pure" version of the channel, hopefully with online access to VOD content (that comes with subscriber credentials). As it stands now, Canadians can get A&E VOD access with Canadian cable credentials, but not ABC, etc., full access.

    The problem is that TV channels often butcher the content; especially channels airing foreign content. They edit things that shouldn't be edited (hello, Showcase, nice butchering job on the retro Mr. Robot episode - you cut out the first E Corp ad, etc., EVEN online), they add commercials in the wrong places, they add logos and clutter to everything we watch (the UK has it even worse because their TV channels and even some of their UK websites run American content at 25 fps [PAL] instead of the proper 23.98 fps [NTSC], so that everything moves about 4% faster, thus truly butchering it). TV channels are too often an abomination that need to be cut from existence.

    So, what independent channels will survive? Hopefully none of them; even the ones that I would watch.

    With access to an enormous amount of higher-quality entertainment via the Internet (etc.), it's now much more commonplace to not be aware of the existence of certain TV channels and what content they air, or have available online. iChannel is owned by Apple and deals with iPhone issues, correct? No?

    Canada deals with Netflix and all the other foreign Internet services by creating obstacles and distractions to get our attention and preserve the Canadian spin on providing mostly American content in ways that Canada can profit the most.

    Although it's hard to imagine that we'll ever be able to truly escape branding content, let's at least start the ball rolling by "unbranding" Canadian TV channels, instead of rebranding them. Some would argue that unbranding has already begun, simply by noticing how content is moved around to poorly performing channels (as a way to bolster the ratings), which in turn, also makes it harder for consumers to decide which channels to pick and which channels not to pay for.

    The rebranding of TV channels occurs in every country. That's a bad sign. They are trying to repair the damage caused by educated consumers. Netflix tried to rebrand the DVD/Blu-ray portion of its business as Qwikster. How'd that turn out? Not well. But once we get rid of the "TV" channels and they all become Internet channels (IPTV), how often will they rebrand themselves?

    Hulu has a new partner, and has basically rebranded itself by removing the free aspect of its service (moved it to Yahoo! View ... previously known as Yahoo! Screen). Same name, but more Hulu, than Hulu Plus. However, if Hulu's attempt at providing live streams of various TV channels is successful, perhaps they will rebrand the live-streaming aspect of the Hulu service, as The Hoop. If you love Hulu, you'll also love The Hoop. The Hulu/Hula Hoop? No, The Hoop sounds more like a basketball channel to me.

    Netflix, Crave and Shomi curate content and pay attention to what their subscribers watch, so they basically "brand" their audiences as fans of certain kinds of content and hope that future content curation leads to more subscribers (or at least maintains the majority of them). It's a different kind of ratings system that can still lead to a milder form of branding, and thus the reason why Netflix still cares about its logo and how it presents itself to the world, obviously branding its original content as Netflix Originals. That's what Daredevil is and House of Cards too (in most countries, anyway), so that's now branded content that Netflix audiences are said to desire.

    And of course, like anything, unbranding something can become a marketing ploy to make even more money. There's a marketing angle for everything.

    The essence of unbranding is that you don’t overthink your own brand and you don’t over define it. Can you have a logo and a tag line? Sure, just don’t stress and fret over it.

    . . .

    Is Unbranding the new black? Is that even a thing? I don’t know. What I do know is the effect of unbranding is the most powerful marketing concept I have ever discovered.
    Last edited by PokerFace; 08-19-2016 at 04:45 AM. Reason: added the UK PAL problem with US content
    Warning: I'm not playing with a full deck.



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