Deconstructing TVO’s 2017 transmitter shutdown announcement

Source: tvo.org

Dear Digital Canada 150,

Mike Vormittag recently alerted me to TVO’s Jan 25, 2017 announcement of its decision to shut down 8 of its remaining 9 over-the-air (OTA) television transmitters as of July 31, 2017.

While Canadian organizations have typically opted to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial by announcing enhancements, TVO has opted to instead announce a degradation of its service to Ontarians in 2017.

The first paragraph of TVO’s announcement is wonderfully transparent.



TVO is clear that its decision has already been made and that no consultation with Ontarians is planned. TVO has also noted that the decommissioning is about “annual savings”, though it is unclear why savings are needed and where they will go. Lastly, the first paragraph of the announcement notes, apparently without shame, that the only reason TVO (Ontario’s educational television broadcaster) is still keeping one transmitter operational is just so that it can retain its CRTC licence to operate as a broadcaster. Otherwise, TVO’s Toronto transmitter would presumably be shut down this July as well.


Next, the CEO of TVO Lisa de Wilde notes above that TVO’s decision is “a reality of today’s media environment”. Apparently, this reality involves an inability for TVO to maintain its provision of access to educational television broadcasting across the province.  de Wilde also cites “strategic priorities” suggesting that TVO access by households without subscription television services outside of the GTA (listed below) are not among its priorities.


Lastly, TVO’s announcement trots out a well worn justification for the degradation of access to television in Canada that has been used since the country’s 2011 analogue television shutdown.


Digital Canada 150 Grade: OFF.