ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 84-445

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Ottawa, 24 May 1984
Decision CRTC 84-445
Chinavision Canada Corporation - 832444400
The majority of the Commission approves the application by Chinavision Canada Corporation (Chinavision) for a licence to carry on a network for the distribution of a national specialty programming service consisting of predominantly Chinese-language programming, to be distributed to cable television affiliates on a discretionary, user-pay basis. The licence will expire 31 March 1989 and will be subject to the conditions of licence specified in this decision and in the licence to be issued.
The Commission is satisfied that Chinavision has the financial resources and expertise to establish and maintain the proposed high-standard Chinese-language network service and that, as noted by the applicant, the programming will successfully "entertain, inform and educate Chinese Canadians, and provide a bridge between their current life in Canada and their deep current life in Canada and their deep cultural and historical roots in Asia".
The licensee company is owned by Francis K.K. Cheung who, before becoming a Canadian citizen, was active for more than twenty years in television production and film distribution throughout Southeast Asia. He will be assisted by a broadly-based board of directors, including Peter Man who has substantial experience in the production and direction of other-language programming in Canada and who will participate actively in the operation of this undertaking. The applicant will also establish an advisory board consisting of representatives from the Chinese community across Canada to assist in developing the service and ensuring that it responds to the needs of its audience.
The Commission notes that steps taken by Mr. Cheung to develop a comprehensive understanding of the needs and interests of the various Chinese communities across Canada, and considers that the results of this effort are reflected in the many interventions in support of his proposal.
The interveners stressed the demand and need for Chinese-language programming and, in particular, pointed to the inadequate coverage by existing broadcasting licensees of Canadian and international news treated from the perspective of the Chinese community in Canada, especially recent arrivals.
It was argued that a Chinese-language network would significantly increase the opportunities available to Chinese Canadians to develop skills in broadcasting and program production, and would permit the Chinese community to reflect its culture and traditions and make positive contributions to the Canadian production industry. It was also argued that the development of such skills would be greatly enhanced by the licensing of a network service which had local and national news and information, as well as educational programming, as prominent elements.
The Commission considers that a predominantly Chinese-language network service should be a viable and marketable means to meet the growing demand and significant need for such programming. In this regard, the Commission notes the high language-retention factor among Chinese Canadians.
The Commission also considers that the Chinavision service, through its capacity to bridge generations and cultures, can do much to foster the development of the Chinese community within the larger Canadian society while allowing that community to retain contact with its cultural roots and traditions.
Chinavision will offer 56 hours per week of Chinese-language programming in both the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects, excluding some English-language advertising. The service will operate from 5:00 p.m. through 1:00 a.m. daily, and will provide a balanced schedule of varied Canadian and acquired Asian programs.
In the first year, Chinavision will produce news and current affairs programming which will comprise between 5% and 9% of its service and will include a weekly Canadian news magazine, a weekly magazine of Asian news and current affairs, and a Canadian talk show. Other categories of programming, including feature films (approximately 33%), dramas and serials (between 25% and 36%), variety and entertainment (between 6% and 9%), children's and educational programming (approximately 11%) will make up the remainder of the service in the first year. By year three, however, 25% of the entire program schedule, or almost 14 hours per week, will be devoted to Chinese-language news and current affairs programming produced by Chinavision, using its own staff as well as stringers in Canada and overseas.
Chinavision presented extensive and innovative plans for the dubbing and subtitling in Chinese of Canadian feature films, short films, documentaries, and educational and children's programming. In exchange for the acquisition of Canadian programs for its network service, Chinavision will make its dubbed or subtitled Chinese-language versions available to the Canadian program suppliers for further marketing and distribution abroad, thus creating potential benefits for the Canadian production industry by increasing the exposure of Canadian programs.
From the outset, such dubbed or subtitled programming will amount to approximately 21/2 hours per week and will include a Canadian feature film and at least one documentary and an educational program.
In addition, Chinavision proposes to commission a wide variety of original Canadian programming, including two five-part series of docudramas on Chinese Canadians, and other programs on business, the arts and youth.
Taking into account the linguistic nature of the service, and the availability of programs, the applicant stated the approximately 10% of its scheduled programming in year one will be Canadian, representing and estimated expenditure of $800,000, or 37% of the total programming budget. According to the commitments given by the applicant, Chinavision's Canadian programming will increase as the network matures so that, by year three, approximately 30% of all programming will be Canadian, representing an annual expenditure of $2 million. Chinavision projects a total cumulative expenditure of more than $8.8 million on Canadian content during its first term of licence, much of it in the area of news and lifestyle programming, and representing approximately 60% of its total program budget. The Commission has imposed a condition of licence, as specified in the appendix to this decision, that Chinavision meet its commitments with regard to the exhibition of, and expenditures on, Canadian programming.
In addition to these commitments, the applicant stated that it would invest a minimum of $40,000 over five years on script and concept development and will offer a pre-operational apprenticeship program to train young Canadians in television production skills.
Chinavision expects to be in operation in the falls of this year and stated that it would extend its network service nationally on a phased-in basis, over the term of its licence. It also stressed its desire to co-exist with other multilingual services, without causing them any undue harm and, in particular, to cooperate fully with Work View television Limited (World View) so as to minimize any adverse effects on the service provided by the pay television licensee.
Chinavision is, therefore, precluded from extending its network service to the British Columbia market during its first two years of operation. The majority of the Commission agrees that, after two years, in the context of the public hearing to be held on the general review of specialty programming services (Public Notice CRTC 1984-81 dated 2 April 1984), the Commission will determine the acceptability of plans to be submitted by Chinavision for the extension of its discretionary specialty network service to British Columbia, without causing undue harm or dislocation to World View. However, should a satisfactory agreement be reached with World View on mutually-acceptable terms and conditions, the Commission would be prepared to give early consideration to an application by the licensee for such an extension of its service.
Accordingly, as specified in the appendix to this decision, it is a condition of licence that Chinavision not provide its network service to the Province of British Columbia, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission.
In response to concerns regarding the competitive implications for World View arising from exclusive contracts Chinavision might sign with suppliers of Chinese-language programming, the applicant stated:
 We fully accept that World View, as an existing pay television licensee which has been providing a valuable service for more than one year in that market, is entitled to a degree of protection from new entrants to the Vancouver market. Any exclusive distribution contract we might have for Canada or North America will not, we can assure you, prevent us from working together with World View. As we have said before, we would like to work with the, not against them. To this extent, we are sure we can arrange mutually acceptable program schedules which maximize the exposure of the ample amount of Chinese-language programming, while sustaining and developing subscribership for both services and to the benefit of Chinese Canadians.
Further, Chinavision indicated that it would assist Multilingual Television (Toronto) Ltd., licensee of CFMT-TV Toronto, " the procurement of suitable Chinese-language programming and would, of course, cooperate in program scheduling". The Commission expects Chinavision to ensure that these commitments are implemented on an ongoing basis.
Chinavision also stated that only national commercial messages would be carried, to the exclusion of all local advertising, and that advertising would be limited to a maximum of three minutes per hour. The Commission expects Chinavision to adhere to this commitment.
Chinavision must also ensure that no siphoning takes place of programming currently available on existing undertakings.
The Commission expects Chinavision to assume full responsibility for all programming distributed on its service. In view of the linguistic nature of this network service, and the diversity of viewpoints inherent in the Chinese community, Chinavision should also ensure that reasonable balanced opportunity is provided on its service for the expression of differing views on matters of public concern.
As noted above, after two years, the Commission will review the applicant's progress in developing its service and in fulfilling the commitments.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General
Chinavision Conditions of Licence
1. From the date of commencement of service until 31 December 1984, and in each semester thereafter until 31 December 1986, the distribution of Canadian programs by the licensee on its undertaking shall comprise not less than
 a) 10% of the total hours devoted to all programming, and
 b) 12% of the hours between 19:30 and 22:30
2. In each semester commencing 1 January 1987, the distribution of Canadian programs by the licensee on its undertaking shall comprise not less than
 a) 30% of the total hours devoted to all programming, and
 b) 40% of the hours between 19:30 and 22:30
3. Of the licensee's total expenditures for programming, not less than 37% during each of the first two years of operation, and not less than 60%, on average, over the term of licence shall be devoted to the acquisition of, or investment in, Canadian programs.
4. The licensee shall not provide its network service to the Province of British Columbia, unless otherwise authorized by the Commission.
5. The licensee shall maintain and enter in a program log, on a daily basis, the title and a brief description of each program distributed, the time at which each such program began and ended, together with an indication of whether each such program is a Canadian program, as set out in these conditions.
6. The licensee shall file with the Commission, within seven days after the end of each month, its program log for that month carrying an attestation by or on behalf of the licensee certifying the accuracy of its content.
7. The licensee shall keep separate accounts which set out for each financial year ended 31 August
 a) the amounts expended by it on the production or acquisition of Canadian programs intended for distribution on its undertaking;
 b) the amount expended by it for the production or acquisition of non-Canadian programs intended for distribution on its undertaking; and
 c) the gross revenues in respect of its operations under its licence.
8. The licensee shall file with the Commission a statement of the accounts referred to in section 7 on or before 30 November in each year.
9. For purposes of these conditions,
 a) "Canadian program" means a program that qualifies as a Canadian program in accordance with the criteria established by the Commission, in the appendix to a notice entitled "Recognition for Canadian programs", dated 15 April 1984 and published in the Canada Gazette Part I on April 28, 1984; (émission canadienne);
 b) "semester" means a period of six consecutive months ending on the last day of June and December in each year;
 c) all time periods shall be reckoned according to the Eastern time zone.
10. Sections 14, 15, 18 and 19 of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, c.381 Consolidated Regulations of Canada, 1978, shall apply to the licensee mutatis mutandis.

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