Vision TV Upset by Latest Cable Changes

Article excerpt

Toronto

Vision TV is crying foul after its multifaith channel dedicated to providing a balanced forum for religious groups and spiritual programming was moved to a new place on the cable spectrum. The bump - from channel 24 up to 59 in many urban markets - will leave more than 125,000 cable subscribers in the Greater Toronto Area, for example, unable to watch it.

The problem is channel 59 is used to monitor security systems - including those run by Rogers - in about 645 apartment complexes. Compounding the problem is the fact that 13 per cent of Vision viewers have televisions that don't receive channels higher than 36.

Vision officials think they are being treated unfairly because of the nature of their programming.

"There is a false perception that we are a marginal service," said Fil Fraser, president and CEO of Vision. "The fact is that in the ratings last spring of prime time viewing of specialty channels we were well ahead of Showcase, MuchMusic and the Women's Network."

After 10 years in operation, Vision TV is, according to its president, consistently in the top five in viewership of English-language specialty channels, alongside CBC Newsworld, TSN, Discovery and YTV.

But Rogers, which controls most of the cable access around Toronto, said Vision's move is simply business as usual.

"We are adding a new tier of channels and services to the basic tier," explained Jan Innis, vice-president of communications with Rogers. "Every time we move stations there are always people who are unhappy with any change."

But this seems to go beyond a mere change in channel location. …

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