Consumer Watchdog: Will Canadians Ever Stop Getting Screwed By Bell Media and Rogers’ Monopolizing Ways?

Good News: Years after HBO released their award-winning HBO GO service, Canadian counterpart Astral Media has finally unveiled TMN GO, their new service that “puts more than 1,500 hours of high-definition quality programming from The Movie Network, HBO Canada and The Movie Network Encore (TMN Encore) at subscribers’ fingertips. Bad News: According to an Astral press release, at launch, the service is only available to customers “of Bell Fibe TV, Bell Satellite TV and Cogeco Cable, with Rogers launching the service in the coming weeks and additional television providers expected to join shortly thereafter.”

Now, as a longtime Rogers customer, it’s not so much that this TV Addict is angry with not being able to access TMN GO at launch — after-all, taking full advantage of the service, not to mention many other fantastic legal online viewing alternatives such as Netflix is pretty much a moot point thanks to Canada’s ridiculously prohibitive and costly data caps. Rather our frustration stems from this being just the latest example of why hardworking and honest Canadians (Read: The ones who actually believe in legally paying for content that Networks and Studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars per year to produce!) continue to be helpless pawns for Canada’s two major telecommunication companies to take advantage of. What’s worse. This is just the beginning.

Of course, to really grasp the magnitude by which Canadians are going to get screwed in the coming years, we have to go back a little over a year ago to December 9th, 2011, when Bell Media and Rogers agreed to partner in purchasing Canada’s most valuable entertainment asset. The purchase of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, by what radio personality Bob McCown hilariously characterizes on his popular Primetime Sports Radio show as the “unholy alliance,” was the beginning of the end. Effectively neutralizing the most valuable and profitable entertainment property in Canada has sparked a spending spree by Bell Media and Rogers to control what is left of the entertainment landscape. Translation: There is a very good reason Rogers owned FX Canada isn’t available to Bell customers, why it took months for Astral owned ABC Spark to find its way to Rogers Cable customers and now why Rogers customers are conspicuously not included in the launch of Astral’s TMN Go service. It’s all part of a concentrated effort by both mega-behemoth conglomerates to maintain a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and locking in customers for their ever-expanding cable, internet and cell phone portfolios.

And while we here at have nothing against companies competing against one another, we have a serious problem when the CRTC ((Canada’s Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) continues to sit idly by and allow said aforementioned competition to hurt the Canadian consumer. Case in point, why should this TV Addict — who has shelled out a substantial amount of money on a monthly basis to Astral media for the privilege of legally viewing shows such as DEXTER, SHAMELESS, GAME OF THRONES, among many many others for close to a decade now, be penalized for being a Rogers customer versus Bell? Simply put, we shouldn’t!

Which raises the slightly awkward albeit painfully obvious question: Is it time for us to turn the tables and penalize Astral by cutting the chord and finding our shows through an ever-expanding list of alternatives methods? Well, considering GAME OF THRONES returns in a little less than a month, we’re not even going to pretend we’re going anywhere just yet. That said, the more Canadian conglomerates continue to screw around with their Canadian customers, the more it has us wondering if there might be a better way?*

* Editor’s Note: As the type of TV Addict who is a staunch supporter of paying for content, we just wanted to preemptively take a moment to clarify that when we ask “if there might be a better way?” we are in no way referring to illegal downloading and streaming of shows and movies. As countless friends and family members who have been forced to endure our endless lectures on the evils of stealing content, we in no way are condoning stealing or streaming. That said, in the coming months, this TV Addict — who has become increasingly frustrating with the way we are being treated — despite being one of Canada’s few remaining citizens who believe in paying for product online —will be ramping up our “Consumer Watchdog” series starting with a look at the Mohu Leaf. Stay tuned.

For all the latest TV news and reviews