Addicted to novelty since 2001

Hey Shaw, Why is OUTtv in the Porn Ghetto?

Tod Maffin made a little discovery this weekend about a little homophobic channel organization on Shaw Cable:

But I couldn’t find OUTtv on my Shaw channel guide. I like supporting upstart Canadian broadcasters, so I called Shaw to add it to my package. Turns out, I already had it.

That’s it, buried way up in the 300s, right between the porn pay-per-view, Hustler, and Playboy. Literally, it has three porn channels above it and three below it.

Huh?!

For the record, OUTtv doesn’t play any porn movies. Not even the soft-focus romantic stuff.

I agree with Tod, that is problematic. When I checked out a channel guide for Vancouver, I see that OUTtv is preceded by a bunch of foreign language channels like ‘Alpha Punjabi’ and ‘Deutsche Welle’, as if to put all the minorities in one place.

Seeing as OUTtv is part of the basic digital TV package, it definitely deserves a much lower channel. #154 is available Why not put it there, next to (the way butch and popular, no doubt) ESPN: Classic Canada?

14 Responses to “Hey Shaw, Why is OUTtv in the Porn Ghetto?”

  1. wader

    In the old days, back in 2005, Pridevision was a little more porn oriented. After 10 every night was hardcore porn all night. At some point in 05 it separated into two channels OutTV and HardTV. HardTV is 24 hour a day hardcore gay porn. Shaw doesn’t offer HardTV and nor does Starchoice ([which is owned by Shaw] even though hardtv’s website says they do). Bell’s eXpress View offers both.

    I’m guessing that the current 300s location, surrounded by porn channels, is a reflection of earlier times that has never been changed.

    If you search around OutTV also was taking Shaw to the CRTC because they weren’t honouring their Category 1 status. Meaning they were still offering OutTV as a premium only service (like Playboy). Perhaps the crappy channel location is a reflection of the agreement that Out and Shaw came to which made OutTV withdraw the complain.

    Whatever the case it is suspect and disappointing. Although Canada is becoming more progressive and tolerant and although big business says that it won’t discriminate on paper, over and over again I find this isn’t the case. For more evidence of this look at various health insurance companies offering extended health. Some still do not recognize same-sex common-law couples regardless of how long they’ve been together (Wawamease is an example).

  2. Thomas

    It may also have to do with the fact that, with hundreds of channels available, the cable provider does not have the time or manpower to critically watch every channel to evaluate its content and made an incorrect assumption about what is on OutTV.

  3. John

    Darren, you make a point, but consider the bigger picture here: Just imagine working for a cable company that puts OutTV next to CBC and TSN. No thanks!

    Believe me, customers will roll out of bed, toss aside their pop-tarts, and they will call (and call, and call, and call). The number of man hours invested in polite explanation would be astronomical(For fun, find someone who works for a cable company call center and ask them what the absolute dumbest customer complaint they ever heard was).

    For every tolerant person who could care less, there would be 10 demanding the channel but cut from the air, or moved up into the 1000s.

    Shaw made a good call. It’s one that well serves the large majority of it’s customers, keeps the phone lines more open and keeps operating costs lower.

    I don’t watch OutTV (I do have it) but I’m pretty sure it’s more than just reruns of Will & Grace & Queer Eye. Even a talk show with a frank discussion on gay sex is bound to piss people off, and these are people that don’t hesitate call the cable company when they can’t find their remote or the power button on their computer.

  4. Andrea >> Become a Consultant

    Perhaps it’s because of some of the shows. Naked News, Sexplorations, etc. I didn’t check the program grid, but perhaps they don’t run more explicit content after 9 or 10 pm, like most stations do. HardTV, the owner of the station, has a sexually explicit content disclaimer on its website and requires people to agree that they are not minors.

  5. Matthew

    Up until about a year or so ago, OUTtv was channel 100 or 101. It was moved to its current 370 berth fairly recently. It also used to be available at no extra charge as part of Shaw’s digital packages. There were two packages, almost identical, except that one included OUT and the other didn’t. If you didn’t specifically request OUT, you wouldn’t receive it. (At least that was my experience, when I switched to Shaw).

  6. Brad Danks

    Dear Readers,

    A few clarifications on these points from OUTtv’s perspective.

    1) OUTtv does not currently carry any “Adult” content. OUTtv voluntarily adheres to the adult content guidelines set by the Ontario Film Board which is the only body in Canada that sets such guidelines. Shaw has been made aware of these programming changes.

    OUTtv’s programming is primarily dramatic television including British hit shows like “Sugar Rush” and coming this fall “Bad Girls”, “Mile High” and “The Graham Norton Effect”.

    2) Shaw has changed OUTtv’s channel placement twice in the last 18 months. Originally OUTtv was appropriately placed at Channel 100, then to Channel 200 and now to Channel 370. At no time was OUTtv advised in advance of these changes as required by the CRTC. Furthermore Shaw did not contact OUTtv at anytime prior to or after these placement changes to advise that it had issues relating to Adult Content on OUTtv. To date Shaw has not provided any explanation for the placement changes.

    Shaw was asked in writing to return OUTtv to it’s original placement. Shaw has formally refused without providing any explanation.

    Yours truly,

    Brad Danks, LLB

    Chief Operating Officer
    Convergent Entertainment

  7. Brad Danks

    Re: John’s comment

    Just a brief note regarding John’s comment. This is the position that many cable carriers took before PrideVision was launched. It is also the excuse many of them currently use with us regarding the poor channel placements and poor packaging offered – in spite of the CRTC rules in this regard.

    However the reality is that after packaging the channel properly none of the cable companies have had any complaints that OUTtv is aware of. Therefore the scenerio that John outlines above is pure fiction.

    OUTtv makes it clear to all of its cable partners that we are willingly to discuss any issues with programming that they may have at any time.

    Thanks,

    Brad Danks
    COO, Convergent Entertainment

  8. John

    Brad I take exception to your characterization of my “scenerio” [sic] as ‘pure fiction’.

    There are many people that consider cable TV a vital service (Sad but true). These people think nothing of phoning and complaining at length regarding the content of the channels they receive. People who want to watch OutTV know where to find it. If I need to reach Shaw about my bill or a change in services, I have a better chance of getting through because there are less of these intolerant and easily upset yahoos calling in.

    Cheers,

    John

  9. Brad Danks

    John,

    I simply do not understand your comments. You begin by asserting that if OUTtv is beside CBC or TSN the call centers will be swamped with calls and “astronomical man hours” would be necessary.

    Have you watched OUTtv?

    Do you know that last year we had free previews on a number of services including Bell. Do you know how many complaints Bell had from customers?

    None.

    Your reaction is not only judgmental but it is not consistent with the facts.

    In your last e-mail you say that OUTtv subscribers know where to find it. Isn’t that the point of Tod Maffin’s article? He tried to find the channel but couldn’t as it was placed in the nose bleed section next to the porn.

    John – with respect – you sound like Shaw does. Your assumptions are wrong and your facts are incorrect.

    Yours truly,

    BD

    Firstly, people complain about a whole lot of things but that doesn’t add up to a

  10. John

    Hey BD, I love it how you think this is email. Seriously, it’s very cute.

    We have different opinions (This has been known to happen on a network called ‘Internet’).

    I receive OutTV and I don’t care where they place it, actually I don’t care where the place a lot of channels. It’s just TV.

    Cheers

    P.S. – Your final sentence needs some polishing.

  11. wader

    Point is there were no complaints when it was in the 100’s. Why change it?

    There’s no reason to be snide either John. So what, he said email instead of comment. He has facts to back up his claims and comes from a position of authority with regard to those facts.

    Lastly, of course channel placement matters, why do you think sports are together, major networks are chunked together and so on. To put OutTV with porn gives the impression that that’s where it belongs and it doesn’t.

  12. Brad Danks

    Thanks Wader. I appreciate your support.

    There are other facts as well.

    Among major Canadian cable carriers Shaw has the lowest number of subscribers per digital subscribers – by far. Without giving the exact details the numbers on carriers like Bell, Rogers and Telus are between 7% and 13% of their subscribers.

    Shaw is less than 1%.

    Say what you think John but placement, packaging and marketing make a difference.

  13. John

    Danks Brad! I appreciate your passion for television, and for OutTV. You are making a difference in our world, and I think that is something we should all take a moment to acknowledge.

    Wader – was not trying to be snide, was just making light of how Mr. Danks (LLB don’cha know) perceives communication on the intarweb.

  14. Tod

    Shaw’s finally seen the light and moved OutTV away from the porn channels and to channel 106 now.

    Shaw’s arrogance in its handling of this was disappointing, but at least they’ve now done the right thing.

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