ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 86-1006

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.


Ottawa, 9 October 1986
Decision CRTC 86-1006
Valley Cable Vision Limited
Morden, Winkler, Altona, Carman, Steinbach, Morris, Manitou, Treherne, St. Pierre-Jolys, Niverville, Ste. Anne, Lorette, Iles-des-Chenes, St-Adolphe, St-Jean Baptiste, Plum Coulee, Miami, St. Claude, Notre Dame de Lourdes and Holland, Manitoba - 852123900 - 852124700 - 852125400 - 852126200 - 852127000 - 852128800 - 852129600 - 852130400 - 852131200 - 852132000 - 852133800 - 852134600 - 852135300 - 852136100 - 852137900 - 852138700 - 852139500 - 852140300 - 852141100 - 852142900
Portage Community Cablevision Ltd.
Portage La Prairie/Southport and MacGregor, Manitoba - 860180900 - 860179100
Pursuant to Public Notices CRTC 1986-43 dated 19 February 1986 and CRTC 1986-56 dated 7 March 1986, the Commission denies the applications by the licensees of the broadcasting receiving undertakings serving the communities noted above to add the distribution of the signal of KNRR-TV Pembina, North Dakota.
Pembina is a small U.S. border town located approximately 100 kilometers south of Winnipeg. KNRR-TV, which only commenced operation in early 1986, is an independent commercial television station unaffiliated with any of the three major U.S. commercial television networks.
In Public Notice CRTC 1986-182 announcing the enactment of the Cable Television Regulations, 1986 (SOR/ 86-831 dated 1 August 1986), the Commission noted that the carriage of non-Canadian television stations which commenced operation later than 1 January 1985 would not be authorized through the regulations. Instead, licensees wishing to carry such stations were directed to apply to the Commission for authorization on a case-by-case basis.
In the notice, the Commission explained that its approach was in response to concerns expressed by Canadian broadcasters regarding the potential financial harm that could be caused by new U.S. television stations located on or near the Canadian border, "where it is apparent that their target audience includes nearby Canadian cities".
Among the concerns expressed in interventions by Western Manitoba Broadcasting Limited in opposition to these applications were the ready receivability of the KNRR-TV signal over the air in many parts of southern Manitoba, the extent to which cable carriage would increase the number of viewers with access to that signal, and the negative impact this could have on the operations of Canadian broadcasters.
The intervener, which is the licensee of CKX-TV Brandon, noted that of the approximately 700,000 people living inside the Grade B official contour of KNRR-TV, some 660,000 (or 94%) are residents of Manitoba. The intervener also cited the presence of a KNRR-TV sales office and sales personnel in Winnipeg as evidence of that station's intention to solicit advertising in Manitoba.
In responding to the interventions, the applicants noted, among other things, that many of their subscribers have requested that KNRR-TV be distributed on cable, and that such carriage would expand the range of subscriber choice at no additional cost. The applicants also noted that, at each location, the number of Canadian services would continue to exceed the number of non-Canadian services distributed.
The applicants agreed with the intervener that the KNRR-TV signal is available over the air to viewers in much of southern Manitoba, but submitted that this only lent support to their argument that the signal should also be made available to their cable subscribers in the region. The intervener's ultimate concern, that widespread cable carriage of the KNRR-TV signal in southern Manitoba could have a negative impact on local broadcasters, was dismissed by Portage Community Cablevision Ltd. In the applicant's words, "It is a tradition that cries of economic damage to local T.V. companies emanate whenever a new channel for viewers is proposed".
The Commission has considered all of the evidence before it, including the arguments advanced by the intervener and the two applicants. In the Commission's view, it is apparent from this evidence that, in establishing KNRR-TV, its owners clearly envisaged a target audience and advertising revenue market which includes nearby Canadian cities and towns in southern Manitoba.
Given KNRR-TV's very small domestic market in the United States, the station's relatively low operating costs, and its obvious orientation to the Canadian market as evidenced by the establishment of a sales office in Winnipeg, the Commission is concerned that the availability of this signal to Canadian cable subscribers could increase the potentially damaging effect of this station by providing Canadian advertisers with access to large amounts of commercial airtime at rates substantially lower than those they would be obliged to pay Canadian television licensees in order to reach the same potential audience. In the Commission's view, this would place broadcasters in southern Manitoba at an unacceptable disadvantage.
Moreover, the Commission is aware of plans to locate other U.S. television stations immediately south of the Canadian border primarily for the purpose of reaching Canadian markets and gaining access to advertising revenues that would otherwise flow to the licensees of Canadian television stations.
In the Commission's view, these revenues should continue to be available to Canadian stations in order to maintain and strengthen the service they offer to Canadian viewers. Clearly, the costs incurred by Canadian television stations to provide local or regional programming services to their markets must be supported by the advertising dollars that are earmarked for these Canadian markets. To permit the proposed cable distribution of the U.S. station KNRR-TV would contravene this principle and encourage the establishment of other such border television stations.
In light of all of the foregoing, the Commission considers that approval of the applications by Valley Cable Vision Limited and Portage Community Cablevision Ltd. is unacceptable under the present circumstances, and has denied the applications accordingly.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

Date modified: