TV industry watchdog says ‘pick and pay’ model would hurt economy, cost jobs

Friends of Canadian broadcasting says $2.9 billion and 30,000 jobs on the line

A watchdog group says some local TV stations could close and more than 30,000 people could lose their jobs if Canada’s broadcast regulator adopts changes it wants Canadians to consider.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is proposing new regulations that would, among other things, allow consumers to pick the individual channels they want from cable and satellite service providers, on top of a trimmed-down basic service.

In a document released Thursday, the CRTC also proposes capping basic TV service rates and banning service providers from airing Canadian advertising over simulcast American programming.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting warns that the combined measures, if enacted, could force up to 19 TV stations to shut their doors.

The group says that would result in the loss of more than 30,000 jobs and cost the Canadian economy $2.9 billion by the year 2020.

The CRTC stresses that its proposed changes are not set in stone, but are simply a framework for public consultations that have been extended until mid-September.

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