If Shomi which is owned by Rogers and Shaw thought that their announcement this week that their service would be open to all Canadians would stop the CRTC from taking a look at their behavior, they likely need to think again. According to the Financial Post, this happened:
While Shomi plans to make its subscriptions available to all Canadians sometime this summer, a complaint alleging that the video streaming platform and its two owners are in violation of telecommunications laws remains “unchanged and live” and before the industry’s national watchdog.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Consumers’ Association of Canada (PIAC-CAC) challenged a sales tactic employed by Shomi that limits the service’s use to only existing cable or Internet subscribers of its co-owners, Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc. The advocacy groups contend that Shomi, Rogers and Shaw have been in “clear violation of the prohibition against unjust discrimination and undue preference” since the streaming service became available last November.
Despite Shomi’s plans to eventually lift the restriction, PIAC wrote to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission that the news unveiled Wednesday was short on key details – such as a firm launch date and whether an active TV subscription is required – and asked if the regulator still planned to render a decision specifically on whether tying Shomi to a specific Internet service has been violating the Telecommunications Act and the Broadcasting Act.
Indeed, the process will continue, a CRTC spokeswoman confirmed. Submissions are due Monday.
It sucks to be Shomi. Now I did mention the fact that there was no firm launch date for Shomi’s plans and I thought that was lame. Clearly so does PIAC. But I have to admit that the need for an active TV subscription is something that I had not considered. After all, I would like to believe that if Shomi says that it’s open to all Canadians, that means everyone and not someone who subscribes to cable. Clearly I was naive. Thus the CRTC is likely to have real fun with this.
My advice? Shomi might want to put a date to their plans as well as open it up to anyone with an Internet connection before the CRTC does it for them.