Sunday, March 01, 2009

Truth: Sirius Doesn't Think Much of You, or of Canadian Artists

Sirius Canada says that they want you to 'discover music again' in their ad. But the Truth is that Sirius doesn't trust you to discover music on your own, or to choose your own radio stations. They, apparently, don't think enough of Canadian music to think that it can survive if you have other options.

In front of the CRTC recently Sirius Canada argued in favor of Geo Blocking internet radio that doesn't meet Can-Con requirements. Geo-blocking is exactly what it sounds like. People in Canada would not be able to get any internet radio that did not meet Can Con requirements.
"Kerr claimed that the two satellite radio companies in Canada contribute more to Canadian content development than any terrestrial radio company. Further, Sirius plays materially more Canadian content on its channels than does terrestrial radio. Kerr claimed that Sirius’ 65 channels play more CanCon (at 85%) than 65 regular radio channels because it has no commercials and is on the air 24 hours a day. Internet radio, on the other hand, faces no such obligations to satisfy content requirements. Essentially, this is an unfair situation which hurts satellite radio and does little to achieve the goals of Canadian content. Kerr asked the CRTC to question how regulating the tiny satellite radio element of broadcasting satisfies these goals. 

Satellite radio is primarily concerned with the situation where users have unlimited access to content. Traditional broadcasting is relatively closed and limits the user’s access to non Canadian content. This excludes a great deal of content and shapes the listening experience of the user. Kerr admits that any effort to establish symmetry between internet audio broadcasting and traditional broadcasting in the content that is delivered to users would “thrill” satellite radio. The best case scenario for satellite radio would be one where internet audio providers were required to geo-block non-Canadian content. In fact, Kerr said glibly, if such an unlikely course of action were to be taken by the CRTC, Sirius would likely “throw a party” in celebration. Kerr added, however, that she realizes such an approach flies in the face of the principle of an open and neutral internet. But in suggesting such a course of action, Kerr wanted to highlight to the CRTC the dangerous situation that is immediately facing satellite radio."
Make no mistake, this isn't about Can-Con. This is about satellite radio which was never a good idea trying to protect itself from fair competition by a vastly superior technology and asking to be protected by law. They are willing to sacrafice net neturality, sacrafice your options as a consumer and hold back technological advancement in order to protect themselves - all of this in spite of the fact that they have never turned a profit and are not likely to. Not onloy are they unprofitable but the pending doom of their U.S. counterparts and the loss of US audiences and stations would almost certainly mean the end for satellite radio in Canada as well. So, they are willing to sacrifice the freedom of the internet, your choices as a consumer, and to stall technological advancement so that they can put off their imminent demise just a little bit longer.

It is true that internet radio does not have can-con requirements, nor does it have limits to the amount of advertising it airs. However, each internet radio station will be in competition with thousands of radio stations like it and if they do not provide good content or if they run too many ads they will not survive. As for the content, Canadian musicians have more than proven for more than a decade now that they can compete anywhere, and that they have appeal not only in Canada but all over the world.

So, yes, absolutely, discover music again. Discover the world of internet radio out there. Pull the plug on satellite radio before they pull the plug on you and listen to radio online or get yourself one of those wonderful new internet radios if you can afford it. Don't send any more money to a company that is willing to sacrafice your rights and your choices so they can keep going for a little bit longer.

This is part of the ongoing Truth campaign in response to Advertising Standards Canada who say:
""Fact is, truth is an essential part of any successful ad campaign. Smart advertisers have known this for years. That's why the advertising industry created the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards. For more than 40 years, the Code has set the standards for acceptable advertising in Canada. It helps ensure that the ads you see and hear are truthful, fair and accurate. Check it out for yourself. Because the more you know about advertising, the more you get out of it."

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