ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 86-585

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Ottawa, 19 June 1986
Decision CRTC 86-585
MTV Broadcasting System Inc.
Toronto, Ontario - 842616500
Following a Public Hearing in Toronto on 16 December 1985, the Commission denies the application by MTV Broadcasting System Inc. (MTN) for a broadcasting licence to carry on a network operation to distribute an ethnic television programming service throughout Canada via satellite.
In the application, it was proposed that the service be delivered to viewers across the country by cable television licensees on a priority carriage basis, as well as by existing television broadcasters using twin or triple-stick facilities and, where necessary, by new low power television stations to be established by the applicant.
The applicant proposed a service consisting primarily of programs originating with CFMT-TV Toronto, supplemented by some programs produced exclusively for the network and others of a more local or regional interest produced or acquired by local affiliates for insertion at the local level during specified time periods.
The applicant is a wholly owned subsidiary of Multilingual Television (Toronto) Limited (MTV). MTV is the licensee of CFMT-TV Toronto which is Canada's only ethnic television station. For several years the station was effectively controlled by Daniel A. Iannuzzi of Toronto. In Decision CRTC 86-586 of today's date, however, for the reasons stated therein, the Commission has approved the application to transfer effective control of MTV to Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
Since it was established in 1979, CFMT-TV has played an important role in serving the needs and interests of the large variety of ethno-cultural groups in Southern Ontario. At the December 1985 hearing the applicant stated that the proposed satellite network service would perform a similar but much expanded role, by serving the demand for ethnic programming on a nation-wide basis. Specifically, it described the programming concept as being one whereby:
... quality, non-discretionary multicultural programming can be offered to every part of Canada... It is our submission that all Canadians, and especially the one in three whose cultural ancestry is neither English nor French, should have this service available free...
The application which was considered at that hearing was predicated on funds being obtained through a private placement debenture to cover, among other things, the projected implementation costs of the network service. The expected financing, however, failed to materialize.
It is to be noted that the December 1985 hearing occurred during a particularly difficult stage in a long struggle by the applicant's principals to restore financial stability to the station's operations.
In view of the absence of evidence establishing the availability of the necessary financial resources, either in the application as filed, or in the information provided in the context of the December 1985 hearing, the Commission denies the application. Accordingly, the Commission has not dealt with other aspects of the application, including the applicant's proposal for priority cable carriage.
The Commission acknowledges the strong desire among the diverse ethno-cultural groups across Canada for access to television programming specifically designed to meet their distinct needs and interests. This demand was reflected in the numerous submissions considered by the Commission in the context of its review of ethnic broadcasting policy early in 1985, and in the many interventions submitted in support of the satellite network application by MTN.
As stated by the Commission in Public Notice CRTC 1985-135 entitled "A Broadcasting Policy Reflecting Canada's Linguistic and Cultural Diversity", the Commission considers the development of broadcasting services that reflect the cultural and linguistic diversity of Canada to be an essential part of the Canadian social structure. The Commission therefore strongly supports the concept of a viable and responsive national ethnic television network service, and views with great importance the need to ensure that the demand that exists across the country for ethnic programming is satisfied, adequately and without undue delay.
The Commission encourages all interested parties, including the applicant, to investigate viable means to establish such a service, and to submit their proposals for consideration by the Commission at the earliest feasible date.
Fernand Bélisle
Secretary General

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