Tag Archives: crtc

CRTC approves sale of ARTV stake

TORONTO — Canada’s TV regulator on Friday approved a deal by broadcaster CTVglobemedia to sell a 15% stake in French-anguage arts channel ARTV to the rival Canadian Broadcasting Corp. for CAN$1.76 million ($1.73 million).

The green light from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission means that the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, now retains a 60.66% voting interest in ARTV, leaving Tele-Quebec with a 24.34% stake and ARTE France with another 15% stake.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Business booming for Canada’s TV operators

OTTAWA — Canada’s cable and satellite TV operators experienced robust revenue and profit growth in 2007, Canada’s TV watchdog said Wednesday.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission reported that cable revenue rose 16.1% between 2006 and ’07 to a record CAN$7.1 billion ($6.96 billion), while revenue for wireless cable and satellite TV distributors jumped 11.4% year-to-year to CAN$1.85 billion ($1.81 billion).

Canadian cable pretax profits for 2007 rose 10% to CAN$1.5 billion ($1.47 billion), while the pretax profits for satellite TV and wireless cable operators grew 153.6% to CAN$17 million ($16.6 million) last year, compared with a loss of CAN$32 million in 2006.

The CRTC reported 7.65 million Canadians were subscribers of basic cable in 2007, while another 2.6 million Canadians subscribed to satellite TV services during the same period.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

CRTC submits report on the Canadian Television Fund

OTTAWA-GATINEAU – The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) submitted a report on the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) to the Minister of Canadian Heritage. The report contains 11 recommendations relating to the CTF’s mandate and governance structure.

“It is our hope that the recommendations we have put forward will assist in resolving the issues surrounding the CTF. The Fund plays a vital role in fostering a strong domestic television industry through its support of independent productions. Its effective operation is vital to the creation of high-quality, Canadian-made programs,” said Konrad von Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC.

In February 2008, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that the government had asked the CRTC to prepare a report and make recommendations on the Canadian Television Fund, in accordance with section 15 of the Broadcasting Act.

This request followed a public hearing on the CTF held by the Commission from February 4 to 8, 2008, at which interested parties expressed their views. The Commission had previously created a Task Force to provide a detailed analysis of the issues concerning the funding of Canadian programming and the CTF’s governance.

Key recommendations in the CRTC report include:

  • The CTF’s funding be split into private- and public-sector streams. The private-sector stream would support the production of commercially successful programming and be accessed by private commercial broadcasters. The public-sector stream would be set aside for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, educational broadcasters and other not-for-profit broadcasters.
  • Two separate Boards of Directors be established, with one having oversight of the private-sector funding stream and the other being responsible for the public-sector funding stream. However, both streams should share the day-to-day administrative services of the CTF to reduce operating costs.
  • Increased emphasis be placed on audience success as a criterion for access to the new private-sector funding stream.
  • The CTF maintain its current practice of funding productions that score 10 out of 10 points on the scale developed by the Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office (the CAVCO scale).
  • The proposals by two companies that distribute broadcasting services to opt out of their contributions to the CTF, as required by the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations, be rejected.
  • The CTF establish a new funding stream to support the production of Canadian programs for broadcast on new media platforms.

Actions by the CRTC:

While the majority of the report’s recommendations require action by the CTF Board and other government entities, the Commission is able to act in certain areas. Among other things, the Commission will amend:

  • its policy to allow tangible benefits stemming from ownership transactions in the broadcasting industry to be directed to the CTF, and
  • the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations to make mandatory the monthly contributions of companies that distribute broadcasting services, once the Department of Canadian Heritage has resolved the major issues.

Shaw Cable attacks CRTC, asks PM to reign in broadcasting regulator

GATINEAU, Que. – Calgary-based cable giant Shaw Communications Inc. sent a shot across the bow of the CRTC by writing to Stephen Harper and asking the prime minister to bring the “misguided” broadcasting regulator to heel.

In an extraordinary move, Shaw chief executive Jim Shaw accused the regulator of flouting the Harper government’s policies by allowing the current hearings on the future of Canadian television to be hijacked by broadcasters’ demands for new fees.

It is the second time in as many weeks that Shaw has blasted the CRTC for allowing discussion on what is called fee-for-carriage, a request by conventional networks like CTV and Global to charge cable operators 50 cents a month per customer for each channel carried.

Shaw is scheduled to appear before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission next week, but he said he could not wait.

In the latest salvo, released by the regulator Thursday afternoon just after hearing the testimony of CTVglobemedia Inc. and CanWest Global Communications Corp., Shaw suggests that the prime minister and Industry Minister Jim Prentice directly intervene in the hearings.

“In short Prime Minister, your policies are being derailed,” Shaw writes. “We hope that your government will restore your policy direction, refocus your departments and agencies to pursue this policy and regain the confidence of the industry in the wisdom of your decisions.”

Shaw says the CRTC is flouting the government’s clear direction against more regulation, and toward “greater choice and to efficient markets.”

In testimony before the commission Thursday, CTV and CanWest Global chief executives Ivan Fecan and Leonard Asper argued that charging fee for carriage rights would reverse a 37-year “wrong” that they said unfairly advantages the cable and satellite industry.

Shaw noted the regulator had decided the matter last year and should not have re-opened the issue in the current review of broadcasting policy that was designed to open the system to market forces.

“It is not the job of the CRTC to guarantee profitability for the broadcast industry or develop taxes and subsidies that determine winners and losers in the marketplace,” the letter states.

Source: The Canadian Press</font.

CRTC ‘doesn’t get it,’ Shaw says

Jim Shaw, the outspoken chief executive of Shaw Communications Inc., ripped into the federal communications regulator, saying he has “serious concerns” about hearings underway to overhaul the rules that govern the way Canadians receive television.

The CRTC “clearly doesn’t get it,” said Mr. Shaw, adding that the first three days of hearings conducted by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission have been more about “old rules and taxes” than giving television viewers more channel choices to keep them away from watching shows on the Internet or illegal U.S. satellite services.

“When it was first announced, we were optimistic that this hearing was going to be about making the cable and satellite distribution rules more customer-friendly,” Mr. Shaw said. “We thought the CRTC had finally realized that it can no longer restrict customers’ choice and that it is dangerous to subject them to unfair regulatory charges for television service when they can readily look outside of the Canadian system.”

Shaw is not scheduled to appear before the CRTC panel in Gatineau, Que., for another couple of weeks, and Ken Stein, the company’s senior vice-president of regulatory affairs, said executives are concerned the hearings are getting bogged down with issues such as the controversial “fee for carriage” sought by broadcasters CTV, Global and the CBC.

Cable companies, including the country’s largest, Rogers Communications Inc., appeared in front of the CRTC this week and asked the commission for more freedom to select which channels they carry, as did representatives of the country’s biggest satellite TV distributor Bell ExpressVu.

But Glenn O’Farrell, president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, implored commissioners yesterday to leave in place mandatory carriage requirements for a long list of specialty channels that includes MuchMusic, YTV and the Weather Network.

The cable firms argue that the established channels will survive without the regulatory requirement.

But Mr. O’Farrell says there is a proxy that provides hard evidence the channels will suffer financially — and Canadian content on TV will decline — if the cable firms are successful in loosening or abolishing the regulations.

MuchMusic, which reached 76% of households on cable, grabbed just 50% on satellite, Mr. O’Farrell said, noting that satellite TV distributors can package channels in smaller groupings so customers don’t have to take as many channels to get the ones they want. Youth channel YTV also saw a sharp decline on satellite, he said, noting that lower penetration leads to lower subscriber and advertising revenue.

“From that lower revenue base, there’s no doubt [Canadian contribution] will fall,” he said, adding that the specialty channels with guaranteed carriage also have Canadian content obligations tied to revenue. Removing the carriage requirement will only exacerbate the problem that is already evident, he told the CRTC panel.

“We don’t have to predict the digital future. We can see it with our own eyes,” he said.

On Tuesday, executives from Rogers said market forces will protect the channels, because it is very difficult to take away a popular channel once it is on the air. They noted their experience with trying to reposition the Golf Channel, a move that drew a large response from angry viewers. The channel was ultimately moved into a more accessible package.

However, the CAB is asking the CRTC to retain mandatory carriage. Cable and satellite companies can have more flexibility in how they package channels to meet customer demands “as long as every subscriber package includes at least an equal number of Canadian and foreign services.”

Mr. O’Farrell said it makes sense for regulators to give more clout to broadcasters in negotiations because existing regulations cause broadcasters to contribute about 30% of revenue to Canadian programming, compared with 5% for cable companies.

The hearings, which are expected to last three weeks, continue today.

Source: Financial Post

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