The Shotgun Blog
Monday, February 27, 2006
Rogers Cable hates you
Has anyone else in Ontario recently discovered that they've lost Fox News on their cable lineup? A week ago, right before I left Ottawa for Toronto, I called up Rogers to unsubscribe from their magazine subscription, which had become a separately billed item (Negative billing, nice, jerks). I got back last night and discovered I'd lost FNC, which was one of ten digital channels I had chosen for my cable package. The others were all still there. Today I call up Rogers, and they tell me I've never been subscribed to it (I've had it since it aired in December 2004 - after the free trial ended, I dropped MSNBC and asked for Fox). I ask them to list the ten channels I have, and #10 is "Razor", which I've never even heard of. I tell them there's been a mistake, and to drop Razor and put FNC back. She says you can't individually choose Fox News like other channels; it's only available as part of the $8/month News Package. So what else is part of the News package? CNN, CBCNW, ROBTV, CNBC, etc which are all included with the base-analog sub, and MSNBC and BBC World. But, I already have BBC World as one my 10 channels! Why is Fox News getting a special "forbidden unless you cough up extra" status over the other news channels?
First, this bothers me because they're being dishonest. Second, because they're suggesting that I'm insane for thinking that I have actually been subscribed to FNC for the last year. Third, because they're pushing this News Package as some sweet deal when it's all already included on the mandatory analog base, like I'm supposed to be happy.
I hate Rogers and am thinking of cutting them out of the $138 I give them every month. I already left evil Rogers AT&T for Fido, then had Fido bought by Rogers (Ugh! They didn't fail, first month under the "new & improved billing system" and I'd been robbed - another post), but now I'm thinking of ditching @Home (which I'm happy with) for Bell and ditching their TV for DirecTV (still have the dish mounted).
Anyway, I thought you'd all be interested to know of the special status Fox News has been given, placed in a special category over BBC World, etc. If this has also happened to you, I'd be very interested to hear about it.
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I had direct TV until the monopolists with CRTC backing created so many problems even tho mine was grey market & I paid for Direct and of course the GST. Now I have Star choice and I get Fox with my package no special charges. Regardless the Direct service and system was - is far superior and cost less money.
Posted by: Mike W | 2006-02-27 10:44:06 AM
FNC is part of the second tier news channel on Bell Express VU. You can select it individually for (I think) $2.50/month. Why it's not part of the first tier, I don't know but I'm sure they are doing the same as Rogers, just trying to up sell us.
Posted by: Keith | 2006-02-27 10:50:15 AM
This happened to me last year with Shaw cable. Their explanation was that I received it free for a trial period and then had to start paying for it. I said to them that they should put Fox News right beside CNN and CBC News Channel and see what happens. So I dutifully pay 7 bucks a month more just so I can get Fox News since you can't get the channel on it's own-----you gotta by a five channel package. This is the kind of stuff that really pisses me off the news business in Canada. Fox outdraws CNN by 2 and sometimes 3 to one so why not add some bucks to Shaw and Rogers.
Posted by: themaj | 2006-02-27 10:53:27 AM
The reason FNC is a second tier channel is because of the way Fox News applied for a license in Canada, they didn't want to follow the Cancon rules and thus are only available as an option and not side by side besides CBCNW et. al.
They DID initially had a licence to createa Canadian version of FNC but decided not to do it and finally lost the license.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-02-27 11:07:44 AM
Can anyone say CRTC? How about social engineering? To think this an accident or oversight is to display the naivety the left counts on.
Posted by: deepblue | 2006-02-27 11:10:35 AM
Is there any point to "Canadian content" rules anymore, except guaranteed easy profits for Rogers, Shaw, Chapters-Indigo, etc?
Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-27 11:15:29 AM
I had the same problem with Shaw as themaj. I signed up for digital cable service and said I wanted ALL the channels listed (except the speciality channels like hustler and playboy) - one month later FOX News disappeared. I called Shaw and they said I had been getting it for a free trial and had to cough up more dough to get it back. Strange they didn't say anything about that when I was standing in their sales office asking for ALL channels.
Posted by: John Brown | 2006-02-27 11:17:17 AM
Snowrunner: So CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera all follow Cancon rules and FOX doesn't? I think there is a double standard here.
Posted by: Fritz | 2006-02-27 11:59:29 AM
Funny, last Friday I turn on O'Reilly and FOX News is gone all of a sudden. I called Rogers up and ask, WTF?
Same thing: It's been there as a free preview and now it's over. So I say: "A free preview … for two years?" And they answer: "Well, due to a technical issue we didn't notice you still had it and you've had it 'free' all this time."
It's bullshit. Although the extra cost for me was $4, not $8. I paid up. It's not even that I take Fox seriously. But the truth is, I don't take any major news broadcaster or newspaper seriously anymore. I've lost all respect for mainstream media and journalists (especially after this cartoon fiasco). So the way, I look at it now is, if I'm going to watch the drek they call "news" these days, I might as well entertained by Fox, than bored to tears and preached to by CBC, CNN. At least Fox knows what it is, CBC actually thinks it's a credible serious news service…
Posted by: Stopthetrain | 2006-02-27 1:24:06 PM
Yep, my two-year "free preview" of Fox ended at the same time yours did but CNN is still on for reasons unknown. Rogers provides shotty service - they always have - but Bell isn't much better. There's nothing to watch on the boob tube anyway, was I'll probably drop it altogether since my rabbit ears pick up roughly 15 channels anyway.
Posted by: Howard Roark | 2006-02-27 2:19:20 PM
I have Bell Expressvu - You can buy most channels individually for $2.50 but Fox News can only be purchased as part of an $8 package (which has channels I don't want, except for Fox).
Posted by: timmyz | 2006-02-27 2:23:28 PM
I am so glad that I gave up watching TV two years ago. Makes life so much easier.
Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-27 2:31:38 PM
I subscribe to Star-Choice in Ontario.
I was able to exchange the bundle that contained CNN for an acceptable bundle at the same rate that includes Fox News network. Bill O'Reilly alone is worth it for my likes.
Since I never was a Larry King fan and I consider CNN in the same lefty light as CBC, it was a fair deal.
No CNN but fair and balanced FOX network.
Now if we could only get an all Canadian version of Fox, that would be real ass kicking!
Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2006-02-27 5:44:21 PM
Scott - I concur. I'm going on five years now without an idiot box, and strangely, the amount of time you have to get things done becomes amazingly large.
I would also assert that you're quite right - There is no need for the CanCon rules any more. The whole notion is completely outdated in a digital broadband world. The fact that we have these weenies on the public payroll essentially picking the fly-sh*t from the pepper when they're not trying to tell me how to be Canadian is galling.
Posted by: Prometheus | 2006-02-27 5:49:35 PM
Prometheus: you're right about the technological gap no longer requiring content rules.
But what bothers me is that they say its for the protection of Canadian culture, when the clear motive is profit. The media has a monopoly to defend, and has no incentive to appeal to the public unless it is on their own terms.
Posted by: Scott | 2006-02-27 6:42:57 PM
Rogers does not really hate you, they are just accustomed to quasi-monopoly power, and it disturbs their beauty sleep when you whine. Trouble is, for every witness who hates Rogers and loves Bell, there is another who hates Bell and loves Rogers. Or Telus or Shaw or whatever. Myself, I want a wicked powerful satellite dish, that allows me to watch Spanish TV, and Russian rock videos, and listen to African radio, or anything in the world that I want. I don't want the CRTC or anyone else deciding what I should be allowed to see. Or hear. Or think. And I want that satellite uplink to also handle my cell phone calls, internet babbling, late-night movies, Leonard Cohen's new album, and whatever I want, when I want it, at my cost. Freedom of communication, freedom of information, with no gate-keepers deciding what content is good for me.
Posted by: Bob & Ulli | 2006-02-27 7:40:51 PM
B&U - how dreadfully un-Canadian! LOL. You mean you want to be able to not watch a seven hour yodel-a-thon by Rita McNeil and not worry that it might errode some sense of your culture!
Posted by: Prometheus | 2006-02-27 11:09:29 PM
I rarely watch TV (and if it were up to me, would cancel my cable). What bothers me most is paying for a gazillion channels my family doesn't want in order to get the few we do. That, to me, is the equivalent of being forced to buy 25 magazines at Indigo to get the one I actually want to read. I'm waiting for the day I can just download and pay for the channels - or programs - I actually want.
Posted by: Linda | 2006-02-28 9:11:02 AM
I would like to see a huge whack of subscribers do what I did ten years ago - I cancelled my cable subscription and have not watched TV since; unless I am visiting somebody who has cable or satellite. If more subscribers did what I did, perhaps they would get the message.
I asked to be able to cherry pick instead of having to purchase bundles which seemed to have duplicate programming. Not possible. So, until I can cherry pick, pay a reasonable maintenance fee and a reasonable subscription or metered rate, I shall remain TV-less. I don't miss it - I read, meet friends, do some work around the house, go out, etc.; it is amazing how the time spent watching the tubs fills in when you cancel.
Posted by: Richard | 2006-02-28 11:07:38 AM
Yeah, it's crazy how much I pay for what are essentially 2 shows and the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is all I really watch. The two shows I can't miss: 24 & yes, I admit, American idol (at least the first few weeks). Can't help it. I gotta say -- you know that look a talentless 17 year-old girl gets when she's had her heart torn out and all her hopes and dreams (for that day anyway) crushed? I love it. It's my favorite look in the world. call me a sick F-, but I want to take that look and save it in a jar!
Posted by: Stopthetrain | 2006-02-28 1:23:24 PM
I'm another crabby at the CRTC grumpy at the satellite dish, even madder at the cable company people kinda person here.
I too wanna watch WHAT I LIKE!!!! Is that so hard for the CRTC, the CBC, and the cable/satellite monopolistic filthy rich purveyers of entertainment to swallow?
All I want is to get the american Sci Fi channel, but no cable or satellite company in Canada carries it. It's dangerous for the Canadian psyche!
We carry SPACE which the CRTC decided was in such grave danger from Sci Fi, so in response they banned the Sci Fi channel.
While I quite like Space's lineup there are a FEW SHOWS THAT ARE FILMED IN CANADA that I don't get to see till re runs, namely Star Gate and Star Gate Atlantis
that can only be seen all fun and fresh on the AMERICAN side of the border.
Amazing how every galaxy is crammed with planets that look exactly like Vancouver's surrounding regions.
Filmed here and everything, but the CRTC has got to carry out it's mandate to make sure that freedom of viewing, like freedom of speech is a figment of the Canadian imagination and merely a fleeting and illusory one at that.
I would suspect that the CRTC doesn't like you to watch Fox, and that might be because it's POPULAR!!!!
Which would be WHY THE CABLE AND SATELLITE decided to ding you EXTRA for the priviledge of watching it. It's POPULAR
and it KEEPS YOU AWAY FROM THE CBC who have a rightful hold on every Canadian's consciousness from BIRTH!
grumble, grumble, snark, crab, crank, stomp, stomp, stomp, (fades into distance)
Posted by: a canadian who is worried about freedom | 2006-02-28 9:00:17 PM
Interesting. I just returned from 2 weeks overseas to find that FN, which is part of the news package for which I have been paying extra since buying my Rogers subscription last summer, was no longer available to me. I called Rogers to ask what was up, and within seconds I had it back again. I was told by the person who answered the phone that she had restored FN by "increasing my signal strength". Sounded extremely fishy at the time. Now, reading this post, I think I know what the problem was. They cut me off, thinking I had not subscribed to their shakedown "news package" scam. The reason FN costs extra is that it is the best and most popular of all the news channels, period (mind you. that isn't saying a great deal). I have also been waiting 6 weeks to have my Rogers cable internet service restored, due to some tech glitch that the Rogers techies are so-far unable to fix. Rogers sucks, no doubt about it.
Posted by: keith | 2006-03-01 5:43:29 AM
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