A case for letting it die

Let it die and get out of my mind
We don’t see eye to eye
Or hear ear to ear

-Feist, Let it Die

Dear Minister Moore,

I hope this finds you well. How’s your dog? I’m just about to take mine for a walk.

Writing with a quick update regarding my efforts to stimulate dialogue related to the digital television transition in Canada.

I’ve had some excellent chats of late with Canadians about the transition.

To be entirely honest, the majority of the folks I encounter in Toronto at school, work and at the pub couldn’t care less about the transition.

“Let it die”, said one of my colleagues.

Many of my colleagues don’t even own a television set.  If they do own one, they hardly turn it on. I have to explain to them what rabbit ears are.  All the audio-visual content they want is online, on their computers (DVDs, games) or increasingly on their mobile devices.

It’s got me thinking; what if we did let TV die in Canada?

What if we simply shut off analogue television broadcasts on August 31, 2011 and opt not to finish the transition to digital?

Canadian private television broadcasters that are currently spending millions to make the transition to digital could simply stop. If they wanted to continue powering those stations already broadcasting in digital then fine, but they could also stop if they wanted. They could instead push their HSI or G3/G4 delivery methods.

Similarly, public broadcasters could stick with the web and radio (an idea that was floated by Greg O’Brien of CARTT here.

The Government of Canada would also not have to worry about people like me pushing them to invest in the digital television transition. No infrastructure expenditures for towers, no pressure to subsidize a set-top box coupon program, no subsidy for people in rural and remote areas to get hooked-up with satellite. Think of the savings!

The CRTC could also scrap the Simultaneous Substitution of ads contained in digital television signals from the United States. Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Media Fund could focus solely on new media content.  ACTRA could do the same.

If some Canadians end up without any access to television content after August 31, 2011, well, sucks for them. As my colleague mentioned last night, they would have to move to a more urban area of Canada if they wanted TV.

What if we truly let the free market decide which areas of the country will have access to television content? No forced transition, no transition funding.

If Canadian TV dies, will Canadians even attend the visitation?



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