ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1988-197

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 30 November 1988
Public Notice CRTC 1988-197
"First Run" Television Programming
Related Documents: Public Notice CRTC 1988-134 dated 9 August 1988 and Decisions CRTC 86-1086 dated 14 November 1986, 87-896 and 87-903 dated 30 November 1987 and 88-772 to 88-774 dated 27 October 1988.
Over the past few years, where appropriate, the Commission has imposed conditions of licence pertaining to "first run" Canadian television programs. For example, in Decision CRTC 86-1086 renewing the broadcasting licence issued to Global Communications Ltd. (Global), the Commission imposed the following condition of licence requiring that Global broadcast each year:
 a minimum of 200 hours of new, first run, Canadian drama, music and dance variety, children's and Category 2 documentary programs.
However, the term "first run" was not explicitly defined in the decision.
In Decisions CRTC 87-896 licensing Canal Famille and CRTC 87-903 licensing YTV, the Commission also imposed by condition of licence a requirement relating to first run programs. In these instances, the term "first run" was defined as follows:
 For the purpose of this condition, an original, first-run program means a program which has never before been distributed by any licensee of a broadcasting undertaking and which will be distributed for the first time by the licensee.
On 9 August 1988, the Commission issued Public Notice CRTC 1988-134 inviting public comment on how the term "first run" might be defined in more detail. The public notice identified seven issues, four of which related to conventional television broadcasters and three of which related to the pay television and specialty services licensees.
In response to Public Notice CRTC 1988-134, the Commission received twenty-two comments. Fifteen comments originated from conventional television broadcasters while five came from pay and specialty service licensees. The CAB and the Canadian Film and Television Associations also submitted comments.
There was a broad consensus in the comments that to maximize the potential value of Canadian television programs, "first run" status should be accorded whenever a program is shown for the first time within a station's authorized coverage area. This would allow a program to be sold in all markets outside the station's authorized coverage area as a "first run" program.
There was also general agreement that, in principle, a program which has been aired by a station in a given market for the first time should receive "first run" status even if it has been shown by another station in the same area, provided there is not total overlap of the coverage area of the stations. The comments recommended that pro-rated formulas should be rejected owing to the potential administrative burden which they may entail.
With respect to the question as to whether Canadian programs already aired as part of a discretionary service should be considered eligible for consideration as "first run" programs on conventional television or on specialty services carried as part of a basic cable service, the comments were generally in the affirmative since this practice is believed to foster the orderly marketing or release of Canadian programs.
Finally, all of the responses to the idea of counting as "first run", dubbed versions of French-language programs shown as part of an English-language service and vice-versa, were affirmative.
"First Run" Television Programming
The Commission will continue to address the question of "first run" programming on a case-by-case basis.
However, the Commission wishes to provide those conventional broadcasters currently operating under a condition of licence regarding "first run" programming with the following broad guidelines which will generally apply; except in those cases where a specific condition of licence requires otherwise.
i) A Canadian program that has been aired entirely outside a given licensee's authorized coverage area will be eligible for consideration as "first run" programming in respect of that licensee.
 Where a Canadian program has been aired in a portion of a given licensee's coverage area by another licensee, the former should seek to obtain first-run credit for that program from the Commission. However, the Commission will not apply any preset formula or mechanism to make this determination. Furthermore, it is anticipated that there will be a small number of such cases.
ii) Canadian programs that have already been aired by a discretionary service are eligible for consideration as "first run" programs on conventional television.
iii) Dubbed versions of French-language Canadian programs are eligible for consideration as "first run" programming on English-language services, or vice-versa, even though such programs may have been aired in their original language by another television station in the same authorized coverage area.
Pay Television and Specialty Services
With respect to pay television, the Commission, in Decisions CRTC 86-812 to 86-814, established that pay licensees would be awarded a 150% time credit for each new Canadian first run dramatic production scheduled to commence in prime viewing hours or, in the case of a production intended for children, scheduled to commence at an appropriate viewing time. While the Commission continued to allow for the 150% credit in Decisions CRTC 88-772 to 88-774, it stipulated that the credit would apply only in the case of Canadian programs not yet broadcast in the licensed territory in the language of service of the licensee.
Those specialty services that have a first-run requirement in their conditions of licence will continue to be bound by the definition of first run that appears in their licence decisions.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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