ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 97-290

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Ottawa, 3 July 1997
Decision CRTC 97-290
The Sports Network Inc.
Across Canada - 199613469 - 199617130
Licence amendments for TSN
1.  Following Public Notice CRTC 1997-8 dated 17 January 1997, the Commission approves the application by The Sports Network Inc. (TSN), licensee of the national English-language specialty programming undertaking known as "The Sports Network" (TSN), to amend condition of licence no. 5 pertaining to the distribution of advertising material in order to increase the amount of advertising from the current 8 minutes to a maximum of 12 minutes per hour, and by adding subsection (e). The amended condition of licence now reads as follows:
5.  (a) Subject to subsections (b) and (e), the licensee shall not distribute more than twelve minutes of advertising material during each clock hour.
(b)  In addition to the twelve minutes of advertising material referred to in subsection (a), the licensee may distribute, during each clock hour, a maximum of 30 seconds of additional advertising material that consists of unpaid public service announcements.
(c)  The licensee shall not distribute any paid advertising material other than paid national advertising.
(d)  In addition to the twelve minutes of advertising material referred to in subsection (a), the licensee may broadcast partisan political advertising during an election period.
(e)  Where a program occupies time in two or more consecutive clock hours, the licensee may exceed the maximum number of minutes of advertising material allowed in those clock hours if the average number of minutes of advertising material in the clock hours occupied by the program does not exceed the maximum number of minutes that would otherwise be allowed per clock hour.
2.  The Commission notes that subsection (a) of the condition of licence has been amended so that the licensee may no longer average its commercial inventory over the broadcast day. This is consistent with the condition of licence concerning advertising which has been imposed on several other specialty programming undertakings.
3.  The Commission acknowledges opposing interventions submitted with respect to this application. The Commission has carefully reviewed the opposing interventions as well as the licensee's reply thereto. It is satisfied that approval of this application will not have a significant impact on existing services.
4.  The licensee also applied to amend its licence in order to be allowed to "split" its national feed on occasion so that it may distribute separate regional programming instead of its national service to affiliated distribution undertakings. The Commission approves this application.
5.  The Commission acknowledges the opposing interventions it received with respect to this request. The interveners indicated their belief that TSN's application was not an application for a licence amendment but rather an application for authority to provide a regional sports specialty programming service and, therefore, an application for a new licence should be submitted. The interveners also expressed concerns that the licensee would be competing with conventional local and regional broadcasters in the regional sports arena. Furthermore, some interveners argued that approval of this application would place TSN in direct competition with the newly-approved S3 service. Another intervener claimed that TSN should not be afforded a second opportunity to provide a regional split feed service by way of a licence amendment, since its TSN Plus proposal for a regional sports service was denied in favour of S3 when the Commission last approved new specialty programming undertakings.
6.  The Commission notes that the licensee, in its reply to these interventions, contended that it proposed to split its programming, on occasion, on two feeds only, for program properties for which it owns national rights. TSN stated that it is not attempting to compete with local and regional conventional broadcasters in the regional sports arena, but it is rather attempting to respond to the need to maximize TSN's national rights in order to compete with the increasing domestic and foreign competition in national sports programming. In order to address some of the concerns expressed by the interveners, TSN indicated its willingness to limit the quantity of split feed programming to a maximum of 10% of the schedule.
7.  The Commission has reviewed the interveners' comments as well as the licensee's reply thereto. It is satisfied that approval of this application, with a restriction of 10% of the schedule, will have no significant impact on the advertising revenues of existing services and will not increase fragmentation of the television audience.
8.  Accordingly, the condition of licence pertaining to the nature of service is amended by adding the following thereto:
 The licensee may distribute separate regional programming in place of its national service to affiliated distribution undertakings provided that the hours devoted to such regional programming do not exceed 10% of the licensee's quarterly program schedule.
9.  The Commission acknowledges the interventions received in support of this request.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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