OutTV Files CRTC Complaint Against Shaw

April 21st, 2008

Out TV

Canada’s only gay and lesbian television channel has filed a complaint with the CRTC over treatment by a local cable provider.

OutTV says that not only does Shaw Communications exclude the channel from their “All In” package and make it a by-request-only subscription (the only specialty station to receive this treatment), but they have also moved the station’s channel number multiple times, first from 100 to 200, then to 370. Worse, the last move put the station immediately beside adult offerings: Channel 371 is Hustler, 372 is Playboy, and 373 is Red Light District.

Brad Danks, OutTV’s chief operating officer, said that shaw has been entirely uncooperative:

They are supposed to notify you before they move you. We’ve said, “We don’t have adult content. Why have you got us with adult channels?” There’s no reason given. They say nothing.

I once subscribed to OutTV (before I realised that I almost never watch TV and cancelled my digital service entirely), so I can vouch for its harmlessness. Putting it alongside porn channels is a misclassification, and forcing subscribers to request it by name when no other specialty channel requires that action means that interested parties will, essentially, have to out themselves in order to get it.

(Say, don’t a few of the shows on OutTV’s neighbouring channels start off with someone outing themself to their cable serviceman? “Did somebody call a cable guy?” Bow-chicka-wow-chicka…)

Anyway, OutTV does not carry adult content and is a “category one” licensee in Canada, which means that all cable providers must carry it and abide by CRTC packaging regulations. If anyone has had issues ordering OutTV, Brad asks that you visit his website to share your experiences and strengthen their case.