The Introduction of Pay-TV in Canada: Issues and Implications
Robert J. Sawyer is a Toronto-based free-lance writer.
The publisher is an independent national organization devoted to the fostering of informed debate on issues of public interest, and this book admirably meets that objective. The Introduction of Pay-Win Canada contains seven papers on Canadian subscription television, one (for contrast) on U.S. pay-TV, a commentary on the March 1982 CRTC licensing of the original Canadian pay-TV services, and a glossary of acronyms. Each paper begins with an abstract, and the book’s introduction, summarizing the issues, is printed in both English and French. Both of the editors are Assistant Professors in Political Studies at the University of Guelph and most of the contributors are affiliated with universities.
The first two papers provide a solid history of Canadian broadcasting. Successive essays deal in a lively, readable manner with regulatory, economic, and, to a lesser degree, technical aspects of pay-TV. The main issues discussed are 1) establishing a uniquely Canadian service without undermining the existing broadcasting system and 2) using pay-TV to encourage growth in the high-tech information industry. The book also looks at government involvement in the introduction of pay-TV as a case-study in regulatory decision making. Individually, the papers are opinionated, but, taken as a whole, they provide a fair cross-section of the issues in this newest challenge in Canadian communications.