Rogers: U.S. channels will leave Canada if 'nuts' regulators render them a la carte

A Rogers Communications executive has called a proposal by Canadian regulators to strip U.S. channels from the country's pay-TV bundles "nuts."

Speaking Tuesday at future-of-television hearings conducted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in Gatineau, Quebec, Phil Lind, executive regulatory VP and vice chairman of Rogers, said disaggregating U.S. channels such as AMC and A&E would cause their backers to pull out of the Canadian pay-TV market completely.

"[Canadian operators would be] offering something that doesn't have all the channels that are available," Lind added. "It's crazy, as marketing. It's nuts."

Announced in April, the CRTC's "Lets Talk TV" initiative is a multiphase project exploring how Canadian TV could be changed to, in the words of its backers, "meet the current and future needs of Canadians as citizens, creators and consumers." The ongoing third phase of the project involves hearings to discuss how pay-TV packages can be "slimmed down and get back to the basic."

With the theme leaning heavily toward how Canadian culture can fend off influence by American media, the discussion has evolved into an effort by Canadian pay-TV operators to get a tax imposed on Netflix and other OTT operators.

Rogers, however, argued on Tuesday that such a tax shouldn't apply to homegrown online services such as Shomi, the company's recently announced SVOD joint venture with Shaw Communicaitons.

Operations such as Shomi, said Rogers media business president Keith Pelley, should be "encouraged, not stifled, by additional obligations."

For more:
- read this Financial Post story
- read this DSL Reports story
- read this GigaOm story

Related links:
A la carte on the menu as Canadian regulators look at pay-TV
Canada's Rogers and Shaw team up to take aim at Netflix