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Canadian Regulator Issues Retrans Guidelines

Retransmission consent rows are hardly an American phenomenon. So heated are the discussions between broadcasters and pay-TV operators up in Canada that a regulator stepped in to set up a suggested retrans model, reports the NY Times.

As is the case with most anything related to retrans, neither side seems to like the regulator’s proposal very much.

“The current dispute between conventional broadcasters and distributors threatens the overall integrity of the broadcasting system,” Konrad von Finckenstein, the chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, said in a statement. “Broadcasters and distributors have a symbiotic relationship. The time has come for them to put their differences aside and work together to ensure the continuation of conventional television.”

The cable and satellite industries, however, did not seem interested in making peace.

“We’re disappointed and ultimately frustrated for our consumers, who will be made to pay what ultimately is a TV tax,” said Mirko Bibic, the vice president for government and regulatory affairs at Bell Canada, which operates a satellite TV service.

The regulator appears to have used the still-forming U.S. retrans model as a guide, according to Philip B. Lind, vice chairman of Rogers, Canada’s largest cable operator.

“I guess they don’t know that the U.S. system is a horror show,” Mr. Lind said. “We’re going to oppose this thing most vigorously.”