Shaw pulls plug on local channel 

Resort TV plans to switch to alternative distribution methods

Familiar scenes that have flickered across our television screens for over six years will soon be replaced.

Resort Television Network Inc., a local independent business, has broadcast “infotainment” content through locally-hosted television shows for the last six years, renting Channel 2 from Whistler Cable, then Shaw Cable.

But Jan. 15 will be the last day they will air on cable television.

In a letter to the Whistler Chamber of Commerce Resort TV states that, “Shaw Cable’s recent launch of their Vancouver cable line-up in Whistler means there is no longer a place for local Resort TV Whistler on the Shaw network.”

Jacki Bissillion, Vice-president of Resort TV, explains that Shaw’s decision has actually accelerated their business plans.

“It was really the catalyst for us to prepare our company for the future and for 2010 and for even the future of cable, which is very much a changing place,” Bissillion said.

They plan to launch an online version of Resort TV on their website this month, with the same local information and content, as well as on-demand information and rich video content in a format similar to You Tube.

They will also offer high definition narrowcasting to Whistler hotel properties, enabling accommodation providers to add branding and hotel-specific information to their Resort TV channel.

“We can get hyper-local with our content and really focus on what that individual viewer wants to see at that moment,” Bissillion explained.

Additionally, they have partnered with resort stakeholders on digital signage projects, like the new plasma TV kiosk in Village Square.

“While we are very disappointed that Resort TV Whistler will no longer be offered by Shaw to Whistler residents and homes, we are very excited about this shift to our business model,” the letter states.

Bissillion says they have been trying to find a solution since Shaw purchased Whistler Cable, and began moving towards their new distribution model, featuring a “multi-tiered digital media format” and various modes of new technologies, almost immediately.

“We’ve been in dialogue and trying to figure out how Resort TV is going to fit into their world ever since they came to town,” she said.

Resort TV will officially launch its new services on Nov. 30 during the Whistler Film Festival, at the GLC and through an online film festival, which will showcase local filmmakers.

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