|New Media - Call for
|1. With this public notice, the Commission initiates a proceeding, under
both the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act, to
examine the rapidly expanding, and increasingly available, range of
communications services collectively known or referred to as "new media".
|2. In this proceeding, the Commission wishes to conduct a thorough public
consultation on the broad implications and significance that the new media
hold for such affected parties as the developers and producers of these
services, those who are engaged in their delivery, and those who ultimately
make use of them.
|3. The Commission's purpose is to establish a forum in which interested
parties can set out their views on the new media and engage in a constructive
discussion about issues of concern. It is the Commission's expectation that,
from this proceeding, a comprehensive record will emerge that will provide
the Commission with a better understanding of the scope and impact of the new
media, the evolving industry structure, and the potential competitive access
issues that may affect consumers in all regions of Canada. The Commission
also believes that the proceeding will offer Canadians a clearer perception
of the potential benefits they may reap from the evolution of new media
services, as well as of the economic and cultural contributions of such
services to Canadian society.
|4. The Commission wishes to underscore the fact that it brings to this
proceeding no preliminary views with respect either to how new media should
be defined, or to what role, if any, the Commission should play in their
regulation or supervision. In this proceeding, the Commission intends to
develop a comprehensive record in order to assist it in answering the
|a) In what ways, and to what extent, do new media affect, or are they
likely to affect, the broadcasting and telecommunications undertakings now
regulated by the Commission?
|b) In what ways, and to what extent, are some or any of the new media
either broadcasting or telecommunications services?
|c) To the extent that any of the new media are broadcasting or
telecommunications, to what extent should the Commission regulate and
supervise them pursuant to the Broadcasting Act and the
|d) Do the new media raise any other broad policy issues of national
|5. The Commission notes that, among participants in this process, the
term new media will likely have many different meanings. Views will
undoubtedly vary just as widely concerning whether there is a benefit to be
gained or other purpose served through any regulatory initiatives regarding
their development, distribution, transmission or eventual use.
|6. New media can be described as encompassing, singly or in combination,
and whether interactive or not, services and products that make use of video,
audio, graphics and alphanumeric text; and involving, along with other, more
traditional means of distribution, digital delivery over networks
interconnected on a local or global scale. The Commission considers that this
may be a useful working description for the purposes of this proceeding.
|7. At the same time, the Commission notes that under such a description,
virtually all services found on the Internet could be considered as forms of
new media. Some might argue that services, when delivered using private
corporate networks, should be excluded from any description of new media.
Others may suggest that the definition of new media services should exclude
certain types of services in any event, regardless of the technology used for
their distribution (i.e. whether they are delivered via the Internet or by a
private network). There may well be many services that, for various other
reasons, are considered to be new media services by some, but not by others.
|8. The Commission therefore encourages interested parties to provide it
with comments on, among the other issues set out below, an appropriate
working description of new media.
|9. Following the public hearing, the Commission intends to document the
various views expressed by those participating in this proceeding, for the
purpose of identifying any issues, trends or options that may emerge. The
Commission may also, where appropriate, make determinations with respect to
certain of these issues.
|10. By Order in Council P.C. 1994-1689 dated 11 October 1994, the
Government requested that the Commission report back to it on a number of
matters, as they relate to the Commission's area of responsibility respecting
the development of content and competition policies for new communications
technologies and services that will comprise the "information highway".
|11. In particular, the Order in Council stated:
|Our policies must encourage the development of Canadian content that can
compete with the best the world has to offer, including cultural,
entertainment and educational products. Our policies must also ensure the
continued support of our cultural industries by ensuring that new
broadcasting content services meet the sovereignty and cultural identity
objectives of the Broadcasting Act, and that content services are
introduced in a manner which contributes to the objective of reinforcing
Canadian sovereignty and cultural identity.
|12. The Order in Council also indicated that the four principles to guide
the information highway strategy would be:
|. an interconnected and interoperable network of networks,
|. collaborative private and public sector
|. competition in facilities, products and services;
|. privacy protection and network security.
|A fifth principle was added by the Information Highway Advisory Council
in its September 1995 report stating: lifelong learning as a key design
element of Canada's Information Highway.
|13. In its 19 May 1995 report to the Government entitled Competition
and Culture on Canada's Information Highway: Managing the Realities of
Transition (the Convergence Report), the Commission noted, among other
things, that the current definitions in the Broadcasting Act will
likely capture many new and emerging services, for example, on-line
commercial multimedia services.
|14. In the period since publication of the Convergence Report, it has
become apparent that there are increasing numbers and types of services being
delivered by way of new distribution methods and technologies. Internet
audio, video and other services, whether delivered on demand or in real time,
are becoming more widely available as the result of software and hardware
developments and greater network capabilities.
|15. A fundamental objective of the Broadcasting Act is to ensure
the availability of high quality and diverse Canadian programming that
maximizes use of Canadian creative and other resources in a manner that
supports Canadian sovereignty and Canada's cultural identity. The substantial
growth and development of new media, and their delivery over both global and
domestic networks, have not altered this fundamental objective, which has
challenged and preoccupied Canadians for much of the 20th century.
|16. The Commission, in furtherance of its mandate to implement the policy
objectives contained in the Broadcasting Act, has sought to enrich and
strengthen the economic, social and cultural fabric of Canada by ensuring a
prominent Canadian presence in the content and delivery of broadcasting
|17. Nevertheless, the Commission is aware that the approaches that have
proven successful in the past with respect to the distribution of the
programming services of conventional broadcasting undertakings may be
inappropriate for the distribution of new media services to Canadians, or
inadequate in an age of worldwide networks and the global delivery of
|18. The Commission also considers that its regulation of the Canadian
telecommunications system has served to achieve the Canadian
telecommunications policy objectives of the Telecommunications Act.
This includes the continued provision of reliable and affordable services
during a period of increased reliance on market forces.
|19. The Commission examined the matter of access by Canadians to new
media services in the Convergence Report, and this topic continues to be an
important issue. In its report, the Commission noted that the objectives of
its traditional regulatory approach have been to achieve universality in
telecommunications. The Commission, however, is also aware that, as
technology continues to evolve, and as traditional telecommunications
services are increasingly delivered using alternative distribution networks
such as the Internet, the existing subsidy approach may come under increasing
|20. The worldwide growth of interconnected local and larger public
networks, and the global nature of the new media services developed and
provided over them, may thus raise other issues upon which interested parties
may wish to comment. Within the framework of this proceeding, parties may,
for example, wish to provide their views on the ability of Canadians to
access new media services, in all their dimensions and diversity (including
health, learning, entertainment and commerce), with a view to contributing to
the identification and discussion of issues in this area. The Commission
notes that it is currently examining related issues in the proceeding
initiated by Service to High-Cost Serving Areas, Telecom Public Notice
CRTC 97-42 dated 18 December 1997.
|21. In order to assist interested parties in developing their
submissions, but without wishing to limit comment, the Commission has set out
below a number of questions for parties to address, in the context of
responding to the more general questions set out in the Preface to this
|.What kinds of new media services are either
currently available or can reasonably be expected to emerge in the future?
|. How does the current industry structure
contribute to the development, production, transmission, distribution and use
of new media? What role might the industry play in the future in carrying out
|. What are the competitive implications arising
from the development, production, transmission and distribution of new media
|. What are the current and potential business and
economic models for the development, production, transmission and
distribution, use and export of new media?
|. What incentives might prompt existing and new
industry participants to develop, produce, promote and distribute Canadian
|Purpose of any Regulatory Framework
|.Would some form of broad enabling framework serve
to stimulate the economic and cultural development of a new media industry?
|. If so, what are the elements of any such enabling
framework for Canadian new media that would best ensure the continued growth
and development of the sector and, at the same time, achieve the social,
cultural and economic objectives of the Broadcasting Act?
|.Would regulation of the undertakings providing
these services contribute materially to, or detract from, the attainment of
the objectives set out in the Broadcasting Act?
|. Would the issuance of an exemption order, under
the Broadcasting Act, in respect of some or all broadcasting
undertakings engaged in the provision of new media products and services
facilitate or hinder the achievement of the Act's policy objectives?
|. If an exemption order would facilitate the
achievement of these policy objectives, what would be the appropriate scope
of such an exemption order?
|. Are there forms of Canadian new media content for
which some degree of regulation would be appropriate with respect, for
example, to privacy issues, offensive content (e.g. obscenity, hate
propaganda, and discriminatory material), violence and gender portrayal, and
advertising to children?
|. Are there issues of concern related to Canadian
new media that could be appropriately dealt with through self-regulatory
initiatives? If so, what forms should such initiatives take?
|. To the extent that new media are now, or may
reasonably be expected to become, complementary or substitutable for existing
broadcasting services and their distribution systems, what is the potential
impact of this on the existing regulatory and policy framework, and should
mechanisms be developed to ensure a fair and equitable environment?
|Support for Access by Canadian New Media Producers to Distribution
|. If access by producers of Canadian new media to
distribution channels and content aggregators is an existing or potential
problem that needs to be addressed, how should this be accomplished?
|. Are there issues of access to distribution by new
media present in other countries that might impact on Canadian producers?
|. What approaches to these issues might be
appropriate in the Canadian context, and why?
|. Should on-line distributors of new media in
Canada be required to contribute to the production of Canadian new media
products and services? If so, what impact would such a requirement have on
the development of the industry generally, and on the deployment of
|. Can the promotion and prominence, within Canada,
of Canadian new media product be ensured? If so, how could the development
and production of Canadian new media (in English, French and other languages)
best be achieved, both domestically and internationally?
|Financial or other Support for the Development and Production of
Canadian New Media Services
|. What forms of support for the development and
production of Canadian new media currently exist?
|. What further forms of support, if any, for the
development and production of Canadian new media might be required?
|. If financial support is required, what might be
the most appropriate mechanisms for delivering that support?
|. How have the broad issues of new media funding
been approached in other countries?
|. Which of these approaches would or would not be
appropriate in the Canadian context, and why?
|. Is it necessary to define what constitutes a
Canadian new media product or service for funding and support purposes and,
if yes, what criteria should be used for doing so?
|. What role, if any, should the Commission play in
encouraging or requiring the provision of support for the development and
production of Canadian new media?
|22. The Commission will hold a three phase process for the submission of
written comments by interested parties on the above questions or on any other
matters relevant to this examination of new media. In the first phase
interested parties may file comments with the Commission by no later than
1 October 1998.
|23. Interested parties, regardless of whether they have made submissions
during the first phase, may then file comments, by no later than
21 October 1998, with respect to matters raised by any of the comments
submitted during the first phase.
|24. Interested parties filing submissions that are over five pages in
length are asked to include a short executive summary of no more than three
pages in length.
|25. The Commission will only accept submissions that it receives on or
before the prescribed dates noted above. While submissions will not otherwise
be acknowledged, they will be considered by the Commission and will form part
of the public record of the proceeding, provided the procedures set out
herein have been followed.
|26. The Commission will hold the oral phase of this proceeding to
consider the matters addressed in this notice commencing at 9:00 a.m. on
23 November 1998 at the Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 Promenade
du Portage, Hull, Quebec.
|27. Interested parties wishing to appear at the oral public hearing must
state their request on the first page of their written submissions. Such
parties must also provide clear reasons, on the first page of their
submissions, as to why their written submissions are not sufficient and why
their appearance is necessary. The Commission will inform parties whether
their request to appear has been granted.
|28. The Commission may, in advance of the oral phase, request that
interested parties focus on specific issues in their oral presentations.
|29. Following the oral public hearing, interested parties, including
those who have participated in the New Media Forum (see below), will have an
opportunity to file with the Commission final written arguments. These final
comments must be filed no later than 15 January 1999.
|30. Submissions filed in response to this notice must be addressed to the
Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, K1A 0N2.
|31. All submissions must be filed in hard copy format. The Commission,
however, also encourages parties to include, with the hard version of their
submissions, a copy on diskette, or to file copies electronically. Each
paragraph of the document should be numbered. In addition, as an indication
that the document has not been damaged during electronic transmission, the
line ***End of Document*** should be entered following the last paragraph of
each document. The Commission's Internet e-mail address for electronically
filed documents is email@example.com.
|32. The Commission requests that parties wishing to send submissions to
it in the form of e-mail messages or as file attachments to e-mail messages,
should include information clearly identifying the name of the individual or
company making the submission, the name of the proceeding or other subject to
which the submission pertains, the date the e-mail was sent, and the name
that has been given to any file attachment.
|33. In order to facilitate access by the public, submissions filed in
electronic form will be available, in the language and format in which they
are submitted, on the Commission's web site at
|ON-LINE NEW MEDIA FORUM
|34. The McLuhan Program E-Lab unit, on behalf of the CRTC, will host a
New Media Forum website at
http://www.newmedia-forum.net (English) and at
http://www.forum-nouveau-media.net (French). The website will allow the
public to engage in discussion on issues relating to this public notice. The
launch of the site is sheduled for 31 July 1998.
|35. The site will be open for postings on 22 September 1998 and
will provide an opportunity for the public to participate in both moderated
and unmoderated discussions of the issues addressed in this notice.
Acceptable use policies are posted on the web site; McLuhan Program E-Lab
moderators will ensure that a civil discussion environment is maintained and
that no material that may be construed as discriminatory, promulgating hatred
or obscenity, or defamation of any kind is posted on the site.
|36. In addition, summaries, in both official languages, of all moderated
and unmoderated discussions on the site will be made available and will form
part of the record of this proceeding. The first summary will be posted, on
both the Forum website and the CRTC website, two weeks after the site is
opened for posts. Further summaries will be prepared and posted at least
every two weeks thereafter.
|37. The New Media Forum will accept postings up to and including 22
November 1998. A final summary of the postings shall be prepared and
placed on the public record of the proceeding before final comments are due.
All content posted by the public and all summaries prepared by the McLuhan
Program form part of the record of this proceeding.
|EXAMINATION OF RELATED DOCUMENTS AND PUBLIC COMMENTS AT THE FOLLOWING
COMMISSION OFFICES DURING NORMAL OFFICE HOURS:
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage, Room 201
Hull, Quebec K1A ON2
Tel.: (819) 997-2429
Telecopier: (819) 994-0218
|Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 - TDD 426-6997
Telecopier: (902) 426-2721
|Place Montréal Trust
1800 McGill College Avenue
Tel: (514) 283-6607
Telecopier: (514) 283-3689
|55 St. Clair Avenue East
Tel. : 1-877-249-2782 (Toll Free)
275 Portage Avenue
Tel: (204) 983-6306 - TDD 983-8274
Telecopier: (204) 983-6317
|530-580 Hornby Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3B6
Tel: (604) 666-2111 - TDD 666-0778
Telecopier: (604) 666-8322
|Laura M. Talbot-Allan
|This document is available in alternative format upon request.