CRTC: Shaw put OUTtv at disadvantage

Rules on marketing of gay-themed channel

TORONTO -- Canada's TV watchdog said Wednesday that cable operator Shaw Communications put OUTtv at an "undue disadvantage" with its marketing of the domestic gay and lesbian cable channel.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Calgary-based Shaw wrongly told subscribers they needed to order OUTtv to receive it, when rival cable and satellite TV operators nationwide automatically include it as part of an "All In" package of niche channels.

The CRTC also said Shaw placed OUTtv high on the dial adjacent to explicit adult content, even though the cable channel features no pornographic content.

OUTtv initially launched in 2001 as PrideVision, before it was acquired by a consortium and rebranded in 2005.

Shaw has long told the CRTC that it does not want to offend its more conservative TV viewers in Alberta with the offer of a gay-themed TV service as part of a channel package.

OUTtv said in a statement that it hopes the CRTC ruling will force Shaw to "work with us to create an appropriate marketing solution."