Fresh wound will be talk of CAB confab

Carriage fee decision 'will define the conference'

TORONTO -- This week's Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission decision to reject a call for new carriage fees from cable and satellite TV operators is contributing to a downcast mood as the nation's over-the-air broadcasters gather for their annual convention in Ottawa.

"This will define the conference," Canadian Association of Broadcasters boss Glenn O'Farrell said in the wake of Thursday's ruling.

CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein will be on the hot seat Monday morning when he rises at the CAB convention in Ottawa to explain his verdict.

The wide-ranging CRTC review spelled out new rules on competition from U.S. signals, VOD and SVOD, access to cable or satellite TV carriage, and the licensing of future discretionary services.

"We're all informed as of Thursday afternoon as to the new road map. This will educate and inform our position going into the convention as to whether these are all good news or bad news stories," O'Farrell said.

Other talking points at the broadcasters' convention include copyright issues, the U.S. digital transition, online advertising, social networking and participatory media.

The CAB convention runs Sunday-Tuesday.