Viacom Threatens To Pull Out of Canada

Written by PTC | Published October 10, 2014

One of the world’s largest media conglomerates has threatened to pull out of the Canadian market if the government there goes through with plans to unbundle cable television programming. Let’s think this through for a minute: Viacom owns more than 25 cable networks, worth collectively billions of dollars, and what they’re saying is that they’d rather make zero money than have to allow consumers to simply pick and choose which of those networks they want to pay for?
Making it rather clear that he doesn't support new rules proposed by Canada's version of the FCC that would unbundle pay-TV programming, Viacom's Keith Murphy, SVP of government relations has told the commission that so-called "pick and play" mandates would set off a "consumer welfare-destroying death spiral" for the Great White North's TV industry.
What’s unclear is why Viacom is arguing that cable television programming is somehow, miraculously, not subject to the same economic laws of supply and demand that every other good and service in a marketplace is subject to. In other words, Viacom’s actual argument is that if Canadians aren’t forced to buy ALL of their products, then they’d rather not sell ANYof their products. Can you think of any other business that would rather sell nothing than make millions selling the products that people actually want to buy? I can’t. If anything, what this really demonstrates is the cable industry’s stubborn refusal to innovate and give their own customers what they demand – real choice in their subscription packages. Consumers, parents and families all want to be able to pick and pay for what they want, only 14% of people are satisfied with their cable service and 73% want “a la carte” cable. Wake up and smell the coffee, Viacom.

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