Apr 08, 2020
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CRTC to keep tabs on TV networks amid industry turmoil: chairman

On the heels of a hearing about support for struggling local television stations, the head of Canada’s federal broadcast regulator is warning TV executives not to let the pursuit of profits erode the public trust placed in them.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chairman Jean-Pierre Blais used a Wednesday speech in Toronto to fire shots across the bows of broadcasting owners, saying the regulator is keeping a close eye on how they navigate a time of profound change for the industry.

He reminded broadcasters that they “hold a social contract with Canadians,” and suggested the woes of cash-strapped TV news stations are less a result of scarce funds, and more about the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars that flow through the TV arms of large media companies each year.

Twice Mr. Blais stressed that “we will be watching” how broadcasters and TV providers respond to pressure on revenue, and to new rules imposed by the CRTC – including sweeping changes still rolling out as a result of the regulator’s Let’s Talk TV hearing in 2014. And twice he warned that “we will not hesitate to act” if media companies ignore the spirit of the regulations, which are designed to give viewers more choice, or if broadcasters “fail to live up to their end of their bargain” with Canadians.

“Local television news is failing us,” Mr. Blais said in his speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto at a downtown hotel – an audience that included top executives from Canada’s media heavyweights. “But it need not.”

As he has before, Mr. Blais took aim at unspecified “entitlements” and “private interests” that he sees underpinning much of the criticism of the CRTC’s policies, which could reshape the television industry in the years to come. He sought to contrast a viewership he believes is as thirsty as ever for news – including from traditional TV – with executives he fears “have lost touch with their audiences.” Without naming names, Mr. Blais said “corporate executives who own luxury yachts and private helicopters came looking for subsidies” at the CRTC’s recent hearing into the future of local and community TV.

Listing hundreds of combined job losses in TV newsrooms at BCE Inc.’s media division, Rogers Communications Inc.’s OMNI network and Hamilton’s privately-owned CHCH over the last year, Mr. Blais said he worries the industry’s rapid contraction could leave a void. And he remains “unconvinced” that citizen journalism fuelled by the very technology platforms upending the news industry’s business model – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope, to name a few – can replicate the public-interest stories regularly produced by established, well-funded newsrooms.

“If we allow each station to be plucked away in the name of profits and losses, what are we left with when the last is removed?” he said. “What will emerge to replace them?”

With the CRTC’s local TV review still under way, Mr. Blais stopped short of tipping his hand on the outcome. But he cast doubt on the notion that new government subsidies to support news outlets are the solution to the problem of shrinking newsrooms.

“If our society does not tolerate interference by the corporate boardroom in what is reported in television newscasts – or indeed what is not reported – why would it be any wiser to open the gate down the garden path of undue government interference?” he asked.

Instead, he argued “there is more than enough money in the broadcasting system” to see it through the current digital-driven upheaval. “The challenge before broadcasters is not to find new sources of money to fund such change, but to redistribute the money already in the system to accommodate the new business reality.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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Front Page, Headline, Industry News

CRTC to keep tabs on TV networks amid industry turmoil: chairman

On the heels of a hearing about support for struggling local television stations, the head of Canada’s federal broadcast regulator is warning TV executives not to let the pursuit of profits erode the public trust placed in them.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chairman Jean-Pierre Blais used a Wednesday speech in Toronto to fire shots across the bows of broadcasting owners, saying the regulator is keeping a close eye on how they navigate a time of profound change for the industry.

He reminded broadcasters that they “hold a social contract with Canadians,” and suggested the woes of cash-strapped TV news stations are less a result of scarce funds, and more about the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars that flow through the TV arms of large media companies each year.

Twice Mr. Blais stressed that “we will be watching” how broadcasters and TV providers respond to pressure on revenue, and to new rules imposed by the CRTC – including sweeping changes still rolling out as a result of the regulator’s Let’s Talk TV hearing in 2014. And twice he warned that “we will not hesitate to act” if media companies ignore the spirit of the regulations, which are designed to give viewers more choice, or if broadcasters “fail to live up to their end of their bargain” with Canadians.

“Local television news is failing us,” Mr. Blais said in his speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto at a downtown hotel – an audience that included top executives from Canada’s media heavyweights. “But it need not.”

As he has before, Mr. Blais took aim at unspecified “entitlements” and “private interests” that he sees underpinning much of the criticism of the CRTC’s policies, which could reshape the television industry in the years to come. He sought to contrast a viewership he believes is as thirsty as ever for news – including from traditional TV – with executives he fears “have lost touch with their audiences.” Without naming names, Mr. Blais said “corporate executives who own luxury yachts and private helicopters came looking for subsidies” at the CRTC’s recent hearing into the future of local and community TV.

Listing hundreds of combined job losses in TV newsrooms at BCE Inc.’s media division, Rogers Communications Inc.’s OMNI network and Hamilton’s privately-owned CHCH over the last year, Mr. Blais said he worries the industry’s rapid contraction could leave a void. And he remains “unconvinced” that citizen journalism fuelled by the very technology platforms upending the news industry’s business model – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope, to name a few – can replicate the public-interest stories regularly produced by established, well-funded newsrooms.

“If we allow each station to be plucked away in the name of profits and losses, what are we left with when the last is removed?” he said. “What will emerge to replace them?”

With the CRTC’s local TV review still under way, Mr. Blais stopped short of tipping his hand on the outcome. But he cast doubt on the notion that new government subsidies to support news outlets are the solution to the problem of shrinking newsrooms.

“If our society does not tolerate interference by the corporate boardroom in what is reported in television newscasts – or indeed what is not reported – why would it be any wiser to open the gate down the garden path of undue government interference?” he asked.

Instead, he argued “there is more than enough money in the broadcasting system” to see it through the current digital-driven upheaval. “The challenge before broadcasters is not to find new sources of money to fund such change, but to redistribute the money already in the system to accommodate the new business reality.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Headline, Industry News

CRTC to keep tabs on TV networks amid industry turmoil: chairman

On the heels of a hearing about support for struggling local television stations, the head of Canada’s federal broadcast regulator is warning TV executives not to let the pursuit of profits erode the public trust placed in them.

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission chairman Jean-Pierre Blais used a Wednesday speech in Toronto to fire shots across the bows of broadcasting owners, saying the regulator is keeping a close eye on how they navigate a time of profound change for the industry.

He reminded broadcasters that they “hold a social contract with Canadians,” and suggested the woes of cash-strapped TV news stations are less a result of scarce funds, and more about the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars that flow through the TV arms of large media companies each year.

Twice Mr. Blais stressed that “we will be watching” how broadcasters and TV providers respond to pressure on revenue, and to new rules imposed by the CRTC – including sweeping changes still rolling out as a result of the regulator’s Let’s Talk TV hearing in 2014. And twice he warned that “we will not hesitate to act” if media companies ignore the spirit of the regulations, which are designed to give viewers more choice, or if broadcasters “fail to live up to their end of their bargain” with Canadians.

“Local television news is failing us,” Mr. Blais said in his speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto at a downtown hotel – an audience that included top executives from Canada’s media heavyweights. “But it need not.”

As he has before, Mr. Blais took aim at unspecified “entitlements” and “private interests” that he sees underpinning much of the criticism of the CRTC’s policies, which could reshape the television industry in the years to come. He sought to contrast a viewership he believes is as thirsty as ever for news – including from traditional TV – with executives he fears “have lost touch with their audiences.” Without naming names, Mr. Blais said “corporate executives who own luxury yachts and private helicopters came looking for subsidies” at the CRTC’s recent hearing into the future of local and community TV.

Listing hundreds of combined job losses in TV newsrooms at BCE Inc.’s media division, Rogers Communications Inc.’s OMNI network and Hamilton’s privately-owned CHCH over the last year, Mr. Blais said he worries the industry’s rapid contraction could leave a void. And he remains “unconvinced” that citizen journalism fuelled by the very technology platforms upending the news industry’s business model – YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Periscope, to name a few – can replicate the public-interest stories regularly produced by established, well-funded newsrooms.

“If we allow each station to be plucked away in the name of profits and losses, what are we left with when the last is removed?” he said. “What will emerge to replace them?”

With the CRTC’s local TV review still under way, Mr. Blais stopped short of tipping his hand on the outcome. But he cast doubt on the notion that new government subsidies to support news outlets are the solution to the problem of shrinking newsrooms.

“If our society does not tolerate interference by the corporate boardroom in what is reported in television newscasts – or indeed what is not reported – why would it be any wiser to open the gate down the garden path of undue government interference?” he asked.

Instead, he argued “there is more than enough money in the broadcasting system” to see it through the current digital-driven upheaval. “The challenge before broadcasters is not to find new sources of money to fund such change, but to redistribute the money already in the system to accommodate the new business reality.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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