ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 87-74

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Ottawa, 30 January 1987
Decision CRTC 87-74
Chinavision Canada Corporation - 861825800
Following a Public Hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia on 5 November 1986, the Commission approves the application by Chinavision Canada Corporation (Chinavision) for authority to extend its service to the British Columbia region. The Commission, by majority decision, has further decided that this authority will be effective as of 1 May 1987.
I. Background
In Decision CRTC 84-445 (24 May 1984) the Commission, by majority decision, approved the application by Chinavision for a licence to carry on a network for the distribution of a national specialty programming service consisting essentially of Chinese-language programming, to be distributed to cable television affiliates on a discretionary, user-pay basis.
Recognizing the possible negative impact that this Chinese language specialty service might have on the development of World View Television Limited (World View), the ethnic (formerly referred to as "multilingual") regional pay television service in British Columbia, the Commission predicated its approval of Chinavision's application on the condition that Chinavision not provide service to the Province of British Columbia unless otherwise authorized by the Commission. In this regard, the Commission noted Chinavision's desire:
... to co-exist with other multilingual services, without causing them any undue harm and, in particular, to co-operate fully with World View so as to minimize any adverse effects on the service provided by the pay television licensee.
At the same time, in Decision CRTC 84-445, the Commission, by majority decision, agreed that after two years it would examine 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. The Commission further indicated that, were a satisfactory agreement to be reached with World View, it would be prepared to give early consideration to an application by Chinavision for such an extension.
On 15 August 1986, Chinavision submitted an application for authorization to extend its national Chinese language specialty programming service to the British Columbia region.
II. The Public Hearing
In response to the notice scheduling this application for the 5 November 1986 Public Hearing, 19 written interventions were received, of which 18 expressed their full support for the Chinavision application.
At the hearing, the Commission received oral submissions in support of the application from the following: Mr. Tony Lok of the Regina Chinese Canadian Association, Mr. Louis Yip, President, Toronto Chinese Business Association, and Mrs. Jean B. Lumb and Mr. Min Pin Louie on behalf of Chinese Canadian communities at large. The Commission also heard submissions from Cathay Television International Inc. (Cathay), the ethnic regional pay television licensee in British Columbia and successor licensee to World View, which strongly opposed Chinavision's application for extension.
Chinavision is owned by Francis K. K. Cheung. Since it was licensed in May 1984, Chinavision has complied with all of its conditions of licence. It has also exceeded its minimum programming requirements in the areas of Canadian content and locally-originated programs, and has surpassed the amount of news and current affairs programming that it originally committed to produce. Moreover, it has exceeded its expenditure requirement for the acquisition of Canadian programs during the first two years of operation.
At the Public Hearing, Chinavision strongly reiterated its commitment to a satellite-to-cable, Chinese language specialty programming service which would serve Chinese-speaking communities throughout Canada. It argued that the advertising base which could be provided by such a market would be such that the cost per subscriber could be maintained at a reasonable level.
Chinavision stated that the single greatest obstacle to its continuing success and economic viability remains the fact that it has been precluded to date, by the terms of its licensing decision, from extending its service into British Columbia.
Because Chinavision has not been able to provide its service to British Columbia and to Vancouver in particular, where approximately one-third of all Chinese-speaking Canadians reside, it has not been able to justify satellite distribution of its national programming service financially. Chinavision has also experienced difficulty in attracting national advertisers since it has not been able to deliver the key Vancouver market.
In response to questions raised at the hearing, the licensee said that it had had discussions with the controlling shareholders of both World View and Cathay, to structure an arrangement whereby the Chinavision national programming service might be introduced to British Columbia in a manner that would minimize the impact on the existing ethnic regional pay television service. The Commission notes, however, that such discussions have not led to an agreement.
The licensee also explained that its further preclusion from the British Columbia market would seriously jeopardize Chinavision's development, limit its Canadian production capabilities, and create a situation where Chinavision could not afford to sustain the cost of providing a premium quality programming service.
III. The Decision
Based on the record of the proceeding and taking into account the decision issued by the Commission today in relation to Cathay (Decision CRTC 87-73) which refers to the high penetration level of this service and to its potential distribution on two channels at separate times, the Commission has concluded that the entry into British Columbia of the national unilingual Chinese-language discretionary specialty service provided by Chinavision should not cause undue harm to the ethnic regional pay television service of Cathay which is licensed to provide programming in at least two languages other than Chinese, English, French or native Canadian to the British Columbia region.
The Commission also considers that satellite delivery of the Chinavision service will permit the licensee to utilize a more efficient and cost-saving distribution system to extend, in the future, national programming to the residents of Montreal, Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary and other cities, who express a particular interest in receiving the Chinavision service. The Commission considers that this service could provide a meaningful link between the smaller Chinese populations in such centres by enriching and strengthening their Chinese cultural identity within the Canadian mosaic. Additionally, access to a national market should make it economically feasible for the licensee to produce local programs for these communities, and to continue to provide a high quality premium specialty service.
The Commission is, therefore, satisfied that authorization of the extension of Chinavision's service as requested by it is in the public interest, and it hereby authorizes the extension of the Chinavision service to the region of British Columbia as of 1 May 1987.
Fernand Belisle
Secretary General

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