ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1988-59

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 13 April 1988
Public Notice CRTC 1988-59
Related Documents: Decisions CRTC 75-522 dated 28 October l975, 77-83 dated 22 February l977, 79-422 dated 27 June l979, 82-866 dated 20 September 1982 and 87-332 dated l May l987; and Public Notice CRTC 1985-6l dated 22 March l985.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has requested that the Commission review the application of its policy prohibiting access to a local television advertising market unless local programming is provided to that market. The Corporation is seeking more flexibility in the application of the Commission's policy in respect of the CBC.
The Commission's existing policy permits a broadcaster to carry local advertising provided the broadcaster offers a local program service. This policy is clearly expressed in the following paragraphs from Decision CRTC 75-522 dated 28 October l975 concerning the licensing of a television station in Trois-Rivières to rebroadcast the programs of CHLT-TV Sherbrooke.
The Commission believes that the estalishment of broadcasting services in a community should, wherever possible, be a reciprocal matter. Where an applicant proposes to seek local commercial revenue from a community, he [she] should also be prepared to provide some service to the community in the way of locally-produced, locally-oriented programming.
The Commission considers that the applicant should endeavour to develop the necessary facilities to produce local programming in Trois-Rivières, as soon as it is feasible to do so. The licence granted therein will be subject to the condition that no local TV sales activity take place in the Trois-Rivières market area until the licensee provides to the community a programming service approved by the Commission.
If at any time during the term of this licence the applicant is prepared to submit an application for local programming, the Commission is prepared to consider the insertion of local commercials.
This policy has subsequently been affirmed in a number of decisions including Decisions CRTC 77-83 and 82-866, 86-2l6 and, most recently, CRTC 87-332.
In its policy with respect to distant Canadian television signals (Public Notice CRTC l985-6l), the Commission also set out a number of considerations regarding the licensing of over-the-air and cable-distributed distant Canadian broadcast signals.
Among other considerations, the Commission indicated the following:
(b) the originating station whose signals enters a distant market should not accept local advertising from such a market.
(c) the originating station will continue to adhere to the local programming commitments of its licensing decision.
The Commission considers that its policy linking the authority to solicit local advertising with the provision of local programming has two major benefits for the Canadian broadcasting system. First, it encourages broadcasters to provide programming which is directly relevant to the market area within range of the broadcaster's transmitter. Second, it provides local broadcasters who provide local service with an assured revenue base by protecting them from some of the competition resulting from the importation of distant signals.
On 28 November 1987 and again on 19 January 1988 the President of the CBC wrote to the Commission requesting that the Commission review its policy regarding access to a local sales market as it applies to the CBC.
In the opinion of the CBC, the Commission's policy in this area was originally developed to address the situation of private broadcasters and, therefore, should not apply to the national broadcasting service except in exceptional circumstances. The CBC says that, unlike private broadcasters, it must rely on market-to-market cross-subsidization, as well as parliamentary appropriations, to fulfill its service mandate. According to the CBC, it is inconsistent with the Corporation's nationwide mandate to tie its revenue-generating potential in an individual market to the level of service in that market. The CBC therefore:
considers the Commission's policy should only be applied to it in exceptional circumstances where it can be clearly demonstrated that the sale of local advertising by the Corporation would jeopardize the continued provision of a local Canadian service in the market in question. Even then, the potential impact on the local services of a private TV station should be weighed against the enormous expenses that the CBC has to incur to provide sometimes modest services to the north or to minorities.
Copies of the CBC's letters of 26 November 1987 and 19 January 1988 are attached to this Public Notice.
The Commission seeks comments from interested parties regarding the CBC's proposed modification to the Commission's current policy. Though in no way intended to be limiting, interested parties may wish to comment specifically on the following:
l. Should the CBC, as the national broadcasting service, be exempted from the Commission's current policy prohibiting access to a local sales market unless local programming is provided? If so, under what conditions or according to what criteria?
2. Should such an exemption from the Commission's policy be permitted only if it can be clearly demonstrated that the sale of local advertising by the CBC would not jeopardize the continued provision of a local Canadian television service in the market in question?
Interested parties wishing to address this issue should submit their comments to the Commission on or before 13 May 1988 at the following address:
Secretary General,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N2
The Commission will then forward a copy of all such comments to the CBC for its consideration, together with a request for the CBC's response on this issue.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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