ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1999-97

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Public Notice

  Ottawa, 11 June 1999
  Public Notice CRTC 1999-97



Table of contents

   Canadian broadcasting is a success
   The keys to continued success
   A framework for the future: flexibility, diversity, choice
      a) The principles
      b) The framework
  The Policy
  The public process
  The system today
  The environment of the future
  Building on a strong ownership structure
   Multi-station ownership groups
   Ownership policy
   Vertical integration
   Benefits policy
  Building on success - Canadian content
   Priority program categories
   Hours of priority programs in peak time
   Peak time
   Local and regional news programming
   Time credits for Canadian drama
   Priority local and regional programming
   Children's programming
   Canadian content levels for private conventional television stations
  Building on success - A strong private broadcasting sector
   The expenditure requirement
   Pay and specialty sector
   Pay and specialty - First run amendment
   Foreign satellite services
   Digital television
  Building on success - Reaching a wider audience
   Cultural diversity
   Societal issues
      Gender portrayal
      Employment equity
      Closed captioning
      Service to the visually impaired
  Appendix 1 - Reference documents
  Appendix 2 - Policy implementation chart
  Appendix 3 - The public process for the Canadian Television Policy Review


  In Public Notice CRTC (PN) 1998-44 dated 6 May 1998, the Commission announced that it would undertake a review of its policies relating to private television. Emphasizing that Canadians have many reasons to be proud of their television system, the Commission stated: "we must explore ways to build upon these achievements, by ensuring that our regulatory framework continues to be effective in a rapidly changing communications environment."
  As part of this exploration, the Commission received hundreds of written comments, invited the public to consultations across the country and held a public hearing in September 1998. It is evident that Canadians are impressed by the many achievements of our television system and will continue to have high expectations of Canadian broadcasters and the programming they provide.
  Canadian broadcasting is a success
  At the September 1998 public hearing and throughout the process, one point was repeatedly made: the fundamentals of the Canadian private television system are sound. Canadian viewers appreciate the exceptional range of television services available to them over-the-air, through cable and other distribution undertakings. These sources have increased the variety of Canadian programs available to viewers and opened new markets for independent producers.
  Not only are Canadian programs available; they are popular. Viewing to English-language programs increased between 1993 and 1997, at a time when additional foreign channels and programming were becoming available.
  French-language programming in particular is extremely successful. Canadian programs regularly achieve some of the highest program ratings; in some years, as many as 19 of the 20 highest-rated programs in the Québec market have been Canadian-produced. This laudable success is due in no small part to the well-developed and effective "star system" in Québec that showcases Canadian actors and programs.
  The TV industry is successful in terms of viewer satisfaction and quality product. It is also a financial success. The profits for both conventional television and specialty services have risen significantly since 1993. The 1997 PBIT (profit before interest and taxes) margin stood at 15.6% for conventional television and at 17.4% for pay and specialty television. Notably, conventional TV remained profitable in spite of the introduction of new conventional, pay and specialty services in 1995, 1996 and 1998, with a PBIT margin of 11.1% in 1998.
  In both English- and French-language markets, ownership groups have grown in size, become stronger competitors in both domestic and international markets, and increased their capacity to create appealing and popular programming for Canadian audiences.
  The Canadian independent production sector has also been extremely successful over the past decade, confirming the efficacy of public policies in promoting independent Canadian production.
  While this process primarily addressed private television, the Commission recognizes the strong presence and essential contributions of the public broadcasting sector. Its continued strength is imperative to ensure the economic viability and the development of high quality programming.
  The keys to continued success
  There are a number of elements central to the success of the Canadian broadcasting system:
  . The dedication, creative talent and business acumen of those individuals who built dynamic businesses based on the quality programming that Canadians enjoy.
  . The intricate web of public and private support for Canadian programs which enables broadcasters to compete on an equal footing with the best in the world.
  . The regulations and policies which ensure that the objectives set out by Parliament in the Broadcasting Act (the Act) are met. These policies and regulations constitute a regulatory framework for the broadcasting system.
  A framework for the future: flexibility, diversity, choice
  a) The principles
  As indicated in the previous section, Canadian television has been successful in many ways. However, programs in areas other than news and sports still have difficulty in achieving financial success. Improving this picture is a major goal of the new policy.
  As a result of this review of television policies, the Commission has developed five principles to support a financially strong broadcasting system within an effective new regulatory framework. Such a framework will:
  . Ensure quality Canadian programs at times when Canadians are watching.
  . Reflect the diversity of Canada's regions and peoples.
  . Support an economically successful broadcasting industry.
  . Require regulation only where the goals of the Act cannot be met by other means.
  . Ensure that regulations are clear, efficient and easy to administer.
  In addressing strategies designed to maintain a strong and successful Canadian broadcasting system, the Commission considered the expectations of Canadian audiences for quality Canadian programming, the demands of the marketplace, the creativity of Canadian artists and producers, the increased consolidation and strengths of the broadcast industry and the public interest obligations set out in the Act.
  For broadcasters and producers to continue to adapt with success to an increasingly complex and competitive environment, the framework within which they operate must be one that facilitates and enhances flexibility, diversity and choice. These elements will contribute to making the economics work. They will also ensure continued and substantial investment in Canadian programs which are characterized by their variety, quality and distinctiveness.
  At the core of the Canadian broadcasting system are broadcasters dedicated to diversify and expand Canadian programming by building on the successes they have achieved. Key to this success is their knowledge of, and relationship with, their viewers.
  b) The framework
  With this in mind the Commission has defined a framework which, with the economic realities of a competitive environment as a starting point, maximizes flexibility for broadcasters, opportunities for producers and choice in Canadian programming for viewers.
  The tenets of the framework are:
  . Emphasize on the exhibition of Canadian programs in peak time.
  Broadcasters must provide quality programs to survive in a highly competitive market. Given that Canadians want Canadian programs, quality programs must be available when large numbers of Canadians are watching.
  . Expand the categories of priority programs.
  This will encourage broadcasters to provide a greater diversity of Canadian information and entertainment programming.
  . Provide credits for Canadian drama.
  This recognizes that drama is more expensive to create, produce and exhibit and competes with expensive foreign programs.
  . Require local and regional reflection whether through news or non-news programming.
  . Maintain the existing level of Canadian content.
  Not less than 60% of the broadcast year and not less than 50% of the 6 p.m. to midnight evening broadcast period must be devoted to Canadian programs.
  The implementation date for changes defined in this notice will be 1 September 2000, unless otherwise indicated.
  Where required, changes will be made to the regulations or will be implemented by proposed amendments to existing conditions of licence.
  The Commission recognizes the different conditions under which English- and French-language broadcasters operate. The findings of the proceeding confirmed the different realities of the French-language market, as well as its remarkable success.
  The general approach outlined in this policy will apply to both French- and English-language markets. The French-language market already provides significant levels of Canadian content in prime time. This policy will provide flexibility to both markets and should stimulate the English-language market to achieve the same success with Canadian programs as the French-language broadcasters enjoy.
  See Appendix 2 for specific implementation mechanisms and dates.
The public process
  1. The Commission announced a comprehensive review of its policies for Canadian television in the Vision Action Calendar, published in October 1997. A call for comments was published on 6 May 1998 with the focus on private conventional television (Public Notice (PN) CRTC 1998-44). During May and June 1998, the Commission held informal consultations in sixteen communities across the country. It received 350 written submissions prior to the 23 September 1998 public hearing in the National Capital Region. At that hearing, which ended on 15 October 1998, 99 parties representing a wide cross-section of the Canadian broadcasting and production industries made presentations. The Commission was pleased that a large number of groups and invididuals representing Canadians of various backgrounds and interests also presented their views as to how the television system could better reflect the changing reality of our country and our peoples. Following the public hearing, parties were provided with the opportunity to file final written comments.
  2. The Commission appreciates the high quality of the submissions it received during this extensive public process and wishes to thank all parties for their views and participation. The Commission considered all of the submissions in reaching its determinations. The full public record of all views and proposals considered by the Commission is available at Commission offices.
The system today
  3. In announcing this review, in PN 1998-44 the Commission noted that Canadians have reason to be proud of their television system. Although it has developed in close proximity to the world's most prolific producer and exporter of popular television programming, our system supports a large number of distinctly Canadian conventional, specialty, and pay television services. It also offers some of the best of foreign programming, whether on available foreign services or in the schedules of Canadian television stations.
  4. The Commission was pleased to hear participants present evidence of the successes that Canadian broadcasters have achieved. Examples of the noteworthy accomplishments of the television broadcasting system that the Commission will continue to foster include the following:
  . At least 48 Canadian television services are available in English-language markets through cable and other distribution undertakings. In most French-language markets, distribution undertakings may now provide viewers with up to 17 services and soon will provide four recently licensed Canadian French-language television services. Most Canadians have access to the four commercial networks operating in the U.S., plus PBS, and the Commission has also authorized 41 other foreign television services for carriage on Canadian broadcast distribution undertakings.
  . Viewing of English-language Canadian programs, as a percentage of all viewing of English-language television, increased from 27% to 33% from 1992 to 1997, according to the Commission's audience research, which incorporates data from the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM). Neilsen media research presented at the hearing indicates that the audience for Canadian programs remained at about 32% during the same period. During that time, additional foreign channels became available, and foreign-produced programming was included on new Canadian specialty channels. The Commission considers that the increased, or even constant audience for Canadian programs represents a migration of Canadian audiences to those programs during that period - a significant success.
  . Viewing of Canadian programs in the French language accounted for 76.5% of all viewing, an increase of 3% since 1991, according to the Commission's research. In the Québec market, Canadian drama programs are extremely popular and represent 25% of all television viewing. In 1997, 8 of the 10 highest rated programs in Québec were Canadian.
  . Drama programming is the most popular genre for both English- and French-speaking viewers. Drama programming from the U.S. has always dominated English-language schedules and audience response on English private television. Nevertheless, since 1991, there has been measurable improvement in the quality, availability and viewing of English-language Canadian dramatic programming. The Commission's audience research shows that, on English-language CBC stations and affiliates, between 1991 and 1997, the amount of Canadian drama increased by 4 hours per week in the peak viewing period (7:00 - 11:00 p.m.). On private stations, there has been an increase of approximately 30 minutes per week over the same period. During the same years, viewing of Canadian drama on CBC stations and affiliates, as a percentage of viewing of all English-language drama in the 7:00 - 11:00 p.m. time block, increased from 48% to 71%, as a direct result of CBC's "Canadianization" of its schedule. There has also been a moderate increase in such viewing for private stations.
  . From 1994 to 1997, English-language conventional television licensees who were required by condition of licence or by expectation to make minimum expenditures on Canadian programs collectively exceeded their requirements by approximately $62 million.
  . Another highly successful segment of the industry is the Canadian independent production sector. Over the past decade, production export revenues have tripled, investment in Canadian film and television projects has quadrupled, and the sector's profits have quintupled. The growth of this industry is a credit to the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity of those involved, combined with successful public policy.
The environment of the future
  5. The Commission stated in PN 1998-44 that it wished to explore ways to build upon Canadian achievements, by ensuring that the regulatory framework continues to be effective in a rapidly changing environment. Given the scope, complexity and pace of change, it is difficult to predict the exact nature of those changes and how and when they may have an impact. At the public hearing, the Commission exchanged views concerning the broadcasting environment over the next decade. In particular, the Commission sought imaginative ways in which domestic and international broadcasting could best serve Canadians.
  6. There was general consensus at the public hearing that the next decade will see a continued increase in viewing choice. Most of these new choices will be in discretionary services, though it is possible that additional over-the-air television services will be licensed, or distributed in new markets. The increased use of digital technology will provide opportunities for the launch of new Canadian television services and the carriage of additional foreign services. However, this will result in increased competition and fragmentation of audiences and revenues for domestic broadcasters.
  7. The changing broadcasting environment will also provide other opportunities. Canadian programs are sold throughout the world and this market will undoubtedly continue to grow. However, the export of programming is not the only opportunity for Canadian broadcasters and producers. Some licensees have demonstrated unique approaches to programming and marketing in other countries. Such opportunities will continue over the next decade as Canadian broadcasters and producers build on their core strengths and expertise.
  8. The broadcasting industry has been restructuring through ownership consolidation. This has resulted in efficiencies and synergies which should provide increased investment in Canadian programming and a greater likelihood of the export of that programming. The Commission expects that the consolidation of broadcasting, production and communications companies will continue, to the benefit of Canadian audiences, the Canadian broadcasting system and the public interest.
  9. The role of pay and specialty services will continue to evolve and increase in the years to come. English- and French-language Canadian pay and specialty services captured over 14% of all viewing, a 250% increase since the Fall of 1991, according to BBM data for Fall 1998. Nielsen media research data provided at the hearing revealed viewing of Canadian pay and specialty services at levels significantly higher than the BBM data noted above. At the same time, the most significant share of viewing continues to be to conventional stations. In the Fall of 1998, according to BBM data, Canadian English- and French-language conventional stations accounted for 56.2% of all viewing in Canada. It seems clear that conventional television will remain the cornerstone of essential support for the Canadian independent production sector and the core of the Canadian television broadcasting system.
Building on a strong ownership structure
  Multi-station ownership
  10. The renewal of all the conventional television licences held or controlled by a group will generally be considered by the Commission at the same time. A group will be defined as more than one conventional television station owned or controlled by the same person or entity. Commitments made by a group will be applied to the individual stations within the group as either conditions of licences or expectations. The Commission will take into account the other holdings of the group, such as a specialty service, but will not necessarily entertain the licence renewal of that service at the same time.
  11. The Commission consulted with broadcasters on the development and implementation of an approach to licensing that would elaborate on comprehensive corporate strategies at licence renewals of individual stations. The Commission agrees with broadcasters that licensing a corporate group would be redundant and inefficient. The real issue is consideration of corporate strategy and the method of its implementation by individual stations. The Commission's revised approach will consider all of the licence renewals of a multi-station group at a single renewal hearing.
  12. The benefits of this approach will be reduced administrative and cost burdens for both the broadcasters and the Commission and the opportunity to make a strategic assessment of the contribution of all aspects of a licensee's operations to the broadcasting system.
  13. The conclusions announced in this notice provide flexibility to each multi-station ownership group to differentiate itself and brand its programming and scheduling to attract maximum audience, all within an equitable and well-defined regulatory framework.
  14. The Commission has made a distinction between the largest multi-station ownership groups and the smaller ones. The largest multi-station ownership groups are defined by the Commission as those licensed to operate in several provinces with a potential reach of more than 70% of the audience in their language of operation. The stations of these groups provide broad range of programming, and are competitors in many markets. For the purpose of this document, the term "largest multi-station ownership groups" refers to CTV Network Ltd. (CTV), TVA Group Inc. (TVA), Global Communication Ltd. (Global) and WIC Western Communication Ltd. (WIC).
  15. The smaller multi-station ownership groups such as CHUM Limited (CHUM), Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. (Craig) and TQS Inc. (TQS) generally offer program schedules that differ from that of the largest groups. The Commission wishes to encourage such distinctiveness and provide the smaller players in the system with the flexibility to experiment with new genres of Canadian programming and new ways to meet the needs of their audiences.
  16. Although the policy framework set out in this public notice does not apply directly to public broadcasters such as the CBC and provincial educational broadcasters, the Commission considers that the group approach to licensing is appropriate for the CBC and intends to continue to assess all the Corporation's major licences together. Appropriate obligations will be set out in their respective licences at the time of renewal.
  Ownership Policy
  17. The Commission will continue its current policy which generally permits ownership of no more than one over-the-air television station in one language in a given market.
  18. This policy ensures the diversity of voices in a given market, and helps to maintain competition in each market. Most of the participants indicated that the Commission's current approach worked well and did not recommend any change.
  Vertical Integration
  19. Where an independent producer applies (whether alone or with other partners), either to purchase an interest in, or to obtain a licence for, a broadcasting undertaking, the Commission will expect the applicant or applicants to address the issues arising from the vertical integration of a production company and a broadcaster, and propose appropriate safeguards.
  20. Where a broadcasting licensee owns or has acquired a production company, either in whole or in part, the Commission will expect the licensee to address the issues arising from vertical integration at the time of licensing or licence renewal.
  21. In the past, the Commission has examined problems arising from vertical integration on a case-by-case basis, when considering applications for new services or for transfers of ownership or control involving broadcasters and independent production companies. The Commission acknowledges that the potential for preferential treatment exists in such cases, yet remains of the view that vertical integration can lead to benefits, such as cost savings and increased efficiencies. Appropriate safeguards, where required, will be applied on a case-by-case basis.
  Benefits policy
  22. The Commission hereby amends its benefits policy in respect of all transfers of ownership or control involving television broadcasting undertakings, including conventional, pay, pay-per-view and specialty television undertakings. It will generally expect applicants to make commitments to clear and unequivocal tangible benefits representing a financial contribution of 10% of the value of the transaction, as accepted by the Commission. This policy will apply to any application filed on this date or after.
  23. All other policies with respect to transfer of ownership or control will remain in place. Specifically, the existing policy respecting the fulfilment of benefit commitments, as set out in PN 1993-68, will continue to be applied.
  24. The Commission generally expects significant benefits to be offered to the community in question, and to the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole, when considering applications to transfer ownership or control of a television undertaking. Because the Commission does not solicit competing applications, the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that the application filed is the best possible proposal under the circumstances and that the benefits proposed in the application are commensurate with the size and nature of the transaction.
  25. In the Commission's view, the absence of a competitive process for changes to the ownership or control of programming undertakings makes the benefits test an appropriate mechanism for ensuring that the public interest is served.
  26. The Commission considers benefit commitments to be part of a licensee's obligations and, as such, they should be implemented regardless of any subsequent ownership change. The Commission will therefore continue to expect the purchaser of an undertaking to fulfil any of the vendor's outstanding benefit commitments.
Building on success - Canadian content
  27. The Commission wishes to ensure that a range of diverse programming and a sufficient number of hours to attract audiences to Canadian programming will be available, especially given the high proportion of U.S. entertainment in the peak time schedules of private broadcasters.
  28. There was a consensus among participants that regulation should continue to ensure that licensees exhibit appropriate amounts of priority Canadian programs in the peak viewing periods. There was general agreement that requirements for hours be imposed by condition of licence on the major broadcasters.
  Priority Program Categories
  29. The following types of programs (as set out in Schedule 1 of the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987) shall be considered as priority programs for the purpose of regulatory requirements applicable to the peak viewing period defined below:
  . Canadian drama programs (Category 7)
. Canadian music and dance, and variety programs (Categories 8 & 9)
. Canadian long-form documentary programs*
. Canadian regionally produced programs* in all categories other than News and information (Categories 1, 2 and 3) and Sports (Category 6)
. Canadian entertainment magazine programs*
  * The Commission will seek comments with respect to the proposed definitions of these priority program categories in a public notice to be issued shortly.
  30. As set out above, the Commission has expanded its earlier designation of under-represented programs. As of this policy the Commission will refer to such programs as priority programs. The expansion of this concept will form part of a more flexible policy framework. Given that U.S. drama dominates viewing of English-language drama, this flexibility will build on Canadian expertise and excellence in a wider variety of categories. The Commission considers that this will position Canadian programs competitively and enhance export potential.
  31. These priority categories will also expand choice for Canadian viewers and afford increased opportunities to see themselves and express themselves in their regional context. In expanding these categories the Commission intends to encourage the production of regional programming. Such diversity should increase the synergies between conventional television and specialty services, attracting more viewers to individual Canadian programs through increased opportunities for exhibition.
  32. The Commission is convinced that Canadians have demonstrated the creative and technical talent to produce entertainment programming that can compete with the best in the world. Among others, the Commission notes the success of such programs as "Traders" broadcast by Global, "The City" and "Cold Squad" broadcast by CTV, "Wind at My Back" broadcast by WIC & CBC and "Les Machos" broadcast by TVA. These programs attract between 600,000 and one million viewers on English stations and over one million viewers on French stations, proving that high-quality Canadian entertainment programs attract audiences when they are scheduled at appropriate times. They demonstrate that the industry's production values, writing skills and acting ability are of the highest caliber.
  33. The popularity of variety programs has diminished over the past decade, but music specials showcasing Canadian talent in both languages continue to promote and support a vibrant Canadian music industry. For this reason, the Commission has concluded that programs in Categories 8 and 9 should continue to be considered priority programs.
  34. Canada has a rich and successful tradition of documentary production for which there is an increasing demand. This type of programming is popular around the world, and highly exportable. In addition, Canadian producers have a world-class reputation in this field. The inclusion of long-form documentaries as priority programs will ensure the continuation of this success. The Commission proposes that a long-form documentary would be an original non-fiction work at least 30 minutes in length, designed to inform and provide analysis of a subject or point of view.
  35. There is a need for the Canadian broadcasting system to better reflect, in its peak time programming, the different regions of the country. Few of the currently popular Canadian drama programs are produced outside the major production centres of Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver. The Commission believes that audiences have a strong desire for a better reflection of Canada's regions to the country as a whole. The Commission wishes to encourage the production of regional programs. The Commission proposes that, to qualify as a priority program, a regionally-produced program would be one other than a News and Information program (Categories 1, 2 and 3) or a Sports program (Category 6), in which the principal photography occurs more than 150 km away from Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.
  36. Audiences for English-language Canadian entertainment programs are lower than those for either foreign programs or Canadian French-language programs, in part because viewers are unfamiliar with the programs and their stars. In French Canada, a well-developed "star system" promotes new programs and acting talent through all media. In contrast, the pervasive promotion of U.S. television shows and stars through foreign and Canadian media often means that English-speaking audiences are more familiar with programs and stars from Hollywood and New York than those from their own country. Audiences might be more attracted to Canadian entertainment programs if they were better informed through television programs about the Canadian entertainment industry and its performers. Canadian entertainment magazine programs will be considered as priority programs. The Commission proposes that these programs be at least 30 minutes long, and devote at least two-thirds of their length to information showcasing Canadian entertainment of all types.
  Hours of Priority Programs in Peak Time
  37. The largest multi-station ownership groups will be required to broadcast, over the broadcast year, on average at least 8 hours per week of priority Canadian programs during the 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. viewing period.
  38. This requirement excludes any benefit commitment made in connection with a transfer of ownership or control.
  39. The Commission considers it essential that broadcasters continue to contribute to the development, production and exhibition of Canadian programs in priority categories but in a manner that permits greater flexibility to react to changing audience demands and to develop unique programming strategies.
  40. News and sports programs are not included as priority programs. The Commission is confident that broadcasters will continue to provide Canadian news and sports programs in peak hours without regulatory requirements because such programs are either profitable, or at least break even for most private broadcasters and are in high demand by Canadian audiences.
  Peak Time
  41. Peak viewing periods will be defined as the hours between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday, effective 1 September 2000, for the purpose of the Commission's peak time exhibition requirements.
  42. The Commission recognizes that, while the largest audiences for television programs are available after 8 p.m., the audience between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. is very significant, both because of its size and the fact that it tends to be made up of large numbers of children, youth and adults.
  43. The Commission expects that broadcasters will address the needs and expectations of their audiences when planning programming for the evening period. The Commission is convinced that greater flexibility in scheduling will expand opportunities for broadcasters to provide high-quality and diverse Canadian programming.
  Local and regional news programming
  44. At the next licence renewals for conventional, local television stations, the Commission will not require applicants to make quantitative commitments with respect to local news programs. However, all licensees will be required to demonstrate, in their applications, how they will meet the demands and reflect the particular concerns of their local audiences, whether through local news or other local programming. As in the past, should the Commission determine that licensees have failed to respond to legitimate community needs, it will take appropriate action on a case-by-case basis. Such action could include imposing specific conditions of licence.
  45. The Commission's policy of requiring the provision of local programming in order to access local advertising remains in effect.
  46. The Commission has carefully evaluated the availability, profitability and success of local news programs throughout the country. It has also considered the changing broadcasting environment and, in particular, the availability to Canadians of alternative sources of local news and information. In larger Canadian markets, viewers are able to choose among local or regional news provided by the CBC or Radio-Canada, and two to four private stations. In addition, some community cable channels provide regular local newscasts. A regional specialty service, Pulse 24, provides news and information primarily in southern Ontario. Various information services are also increasingly available on the Internet for those who need specific types of local information or who wish to discuss local issues.
  47. The Commission believes that, in the new television environment, there are sufficient market incentives to ensure that audiences will continue to receive a variety of local news without regulatory requirements. News programming is a key element in establishing a station's identity and loyalty with viewers and is generally profitable. Further, licensees may not solicit local advertising in a market unless they provide local news or other local programming.
  Time credits for Canadian drama
  48. Beginning on 1 September 2000, as part of the proposed amendments to the existing conditions of licence of the largest multi-station ownership groups, the Commission proposes a 150% time credit against the required hours of Priority Canadian programming for each category 7a) to 7e) dramatic program broadcast during the peak viewing period (7- 11 p.m.) which:
  a) is aired for the first time on television on or after 1 September 1998,
b) has a duration of at least one half hour, including a reasonable amount of time for commercial breaks,
c) is recognized as a Canadian program, qualifies for either a "C number" or an "SR number" from the Commission and achieves 10 points, and
d) contains a minimum of 90% drama content.*
  49. Conventional television station licensees subject to the regime for the largest multi-station ownership groups will receive a credit for each showing of the dramatic program occurring within a two-year period from the date of the first broadcast by a licensee in the same market.
  50. Programs with less than 10 points, even if each key creative function utilized in the production is filled by a Canadian, will not qualify for this credit.
  51. Also beginning on 1 September 2000, for the largest multi-station ownership groups, the Commission proposes a 125% time credit against the required hours of Priority Canadian programming for each category 7a) to 7e) dramatic program broadcast during the peak viewing period (7- 11 p.m.) which:
  a) is aired for the first time on television on or after 1 September 1998,
b) has a duration of at least one half hour, including a reasonable amount of time for commercial breaks,
c) is recognized as a Canadian program, and qualifies for either a "C number" or an "SR number" from the Commission.*
  *The Commission will seek comments with respect to these definitions in a public notice to be issued shortly.
  52. The existing 150% dramatic time credit, applied against regulated Canadian content requirements, will be discontinued as of 1 September 2000 for the licensees forming part of the largest multi-station ownership groups.
  53. The existing 150% dramatic time credit will be continued for conventional television stations not part of the largest multi-station ownership groups. At licence renewal, or when individual licensees otherwise next discuss programming plans with the Commission, the Commission will review the continued applicability of the existing 150% dramatic time credit, as well as the contributions that licensees may make to the achievement of the goals of this policy.
  54. The Commission is concerned with the economic health of the system as a whole, and with ensuring a continual flow of attractive Canadian entertainment programming. The Commission also identifies the increased export of Canadian programs as an important objective in order to bring a return on investment which can be used to create more Canadian programs.
  55. The economics of the Canadian marketplace are such that it remains very expensive to create and exhibit Canadian drama and the Commission considers that incentives for broadcasters to acquire such programs are warranted.
  56. The Commission recognizes that all distinctively Canadian drama programs in the subcategories 7a) to 7e) are costly to produce and acquire and are often more difficult to export. Therefore, the Commission has concluded that Canadian dramas that receive the full 10 Canadian key creative points will receive a 150% credit in recognition of these factors.
  57. Canadian drama programs that receive less than 10 key creative points are also expensive. Producing these programs employs thousands of skilled Canadians and revenues from sales abroad are key to the profitability of independent producers. The Commission wishes to encourage the production, exhibition and export of all Canadian drama. It has therefore decided to provide a 125% credit for Canadian dramas in categories 7a) to 7e) that receive 6 to 9 points.
  58. The new time credits for dramatic programs will apply only to the proposed condition of licence requirements for priority programs to be broadcast in peak time. Broadcasters subject to these requirements may not use the credits to reduce the overall quantity of Canadian programs broadcast. For example, licensees of stations which form part of the largest multi-station ownership groups who are required by condition of licence to broadcast a minimum of eight hours of priority programs in peak hours may reduce this amount by including Canadian drama programs that qualify for the new credits. Those broadcasters must, however, maintain their level of Canadian programming at 50% in the evening period and 60% for the full broadcast day, calculated on an annual basis.
  59. It should be noted that Canadian News and information (categories 1, 2 and 3) and Sports programming (Category 6), while not priority programming, continue to count in the overall calculation of the 60/50 Canadian content levels.
  60. Those stations not subject to the new peaktime requirement will be permitted to continue to claim the 150% drama credit as it is currently applied and will be asked to address its continued applicability no later than at the next licence renewal.
  61. The Commission notes the Canada Television Fund's intention to review its provisions concerning the distribution by broadcaster-affiliated companies of projects financed by the Equity Investment Program (Telefilm). The Commission encourages distribution by such companies since it can be of significant benefit to the Canadian broadcasting system and the objectives of the Act.
  Priority local and regional programming
  62. Canadian local or regional productions in all categories other than News (Category 1), Analysis and interpretation (Category 2), Reporting and actualities (Category 3), and Sports (Category 6) will qualify as priority programs for the purpose of meeting regulatory requirements applicable to peak viewing periods for television stations that are part of the largest multi-station ownership groups.
  63. All licensees will be required to demonstrate, at licensing, or in their licence renewal applications, how they propose to meet the demands and reflect the interests of their local audiences. As in the past, if the Commission determines that licensees have failed to respond to legitimate community needs, appropriate action including the imposition of specific conditions of licence may be taken on a case-by-case basis.
  64. The Commission notes that the amount of non-news local programming has declined over the past ten years. There appear to be two major reasons for the reduction. First, as a result of the regulatory emphasis on expensive, peak time entertainment programs, the largest broadcasters have had fewer resources to devote to local programs. Second, the consolidation of the ownership of local stations in the hands of a few corporate groups has encouraged management to effect operational efficiencies that have reduced resources at the local station level. In the Commission's view, an increase in the quality and quantity of the programming that reflects legitimate community interests can best be achieved by establishing incentives to provide it during peak viewing periods.
  Children's programming
  65. The Commission maintains its current policy of not requiring conventional licensees to broadcast minimum quantities of programming directed to children and youth. For television stations that are part of the largest multi-station ownership groups, programs directed to children or youth in the priority categories will qualify as priority programs when scheduled in the peak viewing period of 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
  66. The Commission's decision to expand the definition of peak time will provide an appropriate viewing time for family and childrens' programs.
  67. The Commission has examined the availability of children's programming offered by the broadcasting system as a whole, including the CBC, educational services and specialty and pay services. The majority of conventional English- and French-language television broadcasters offer children's programming on a regular basis, and the system as a whole provides a wide variety of Canadian and foreign programming directed to children and youth. In addition, childrens' programs have an extended life cycle, as "evergreen" programming enjoyed by many generations. The recognition of the excellence of Canadian childrens' programs, and its exportability ensure its availability without a regulatory requirement.
  Canadian content levels for private conventional television stations
  68. The Commission will not change the existing regulations for conventional television with respect to the level of Canadian content. As noted, these regulations require private conventional television licensees to devote not less than 60% of the broadcast year and not less than 50% of the evening broadcast period (6 p.m. to midnight) to Canadian programs.
  69. The Act requires that each broadcaster make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming. Canadian content regulations have been a primary tool in fulfilling that objective.
  70. The Commission notes that daytime television can provide important additional opportunities for broadcasters to reflect the particular needs and concerns of the communities they serve. The Commission, therefore, does not consider that changes to the existing regulatory requirement for Canadian content with regard to the percentages to be achieved are necessary.
  71. The Commission considers that its new requirements for priority programming can be implemented most appropriately through amendments to conditions of licence on stations forming part of the largest multi-station ownership groups.
  72. The Commission will initiate a proceeding during the next year, pursuant to section 9(1)(c) of the Act, proposing to amend the conditions of licence of these licensees. These amendments will be effective 1 September 2000.
  73. With respect to television stations not included in the largest multi-station ownership groups, including licensees controlled by the CHUM group, the Craig group and the TQS group, the Commission will discuss appropriate commitments at licence renewal.
  74. At that time, the Commission will wish to discuss with those licensees how, through their programming plans, they propose to address the emphasis the Commission has placed on certain categories of Canadian programs. The Commission recognizes that these stations can contribute to the diversity of programming in the system through the exhibition of Canadian programs in categories other than those defined as priority. The Commission considers that this approach strikes an appropriate balance between the need for regulatory flexibility (section 5(2) of the Act) and the goal of implementing the objectives of the Canadian broadcasting policy (section 3(1) of the Act).
Building on success - A strong private broadcasting sector
  The expenditure requirement
  75. The regulatory requirement for expenditures on Canadian programming will be eliminated effective 1 September 2000. The stations which form part of the largest multi-station ownership groups earning over $10 million annually in advertising revenues and that currently have conditions of licence requiring a minimum level of spending on Canadian programs, will have those conditions amended as part of a public process.
  76. A conventional television station earning over $10 million annually in advertising revenues (other than those which form part of the largest multi-station ownership groups) with a condition of licence requiring a minimum level of spending on Canadian programs may apply to have that condition removed, as of the implementation date of 1 September 2000. In such cases, the Commission will wish to discuss a minimum level of exhibition of Canadian programs, consistent with the goals of this policy.
  77. Expectations for minimum levels of spending on Canadian programs, for conventional television stations earning less than $10 million annually in advertising revenues, will no longer be monitored as of 1 September 2000. No application for removal of the expectation will be necessary.
  78. The Canadian broadcasting system has become increasingly competitive. In such an environment, licensees need flexibility and diversity to attract the largest possible audiences and advertising revenues. The Commission believes that, in a competitive environment, licensees require high quality programming to win audience loyalty.
  79. The Commission is concerned that the existing expenditure requirements are complex and may not provide licensees with the flexibility they require to adapt their programming strategies to a highly competitive marketplace. In addition, concerns regarding the equitable application of expenditure requirements have begun to outweigh the benefits.
  80. The definition of "advertising material" in the regulations will be amended to exempt all promotions of Canadian feature films and other Canadian programs, whether or not such programs are to be broadcast by the station or network in question.
  81. The 12 minute per hour limit on the broadcasting of advertising material is maintained.
  82. One of the Commission's goals is to encourage the promotion of Canadian content. In the Commission's view, exempting the promotion of Canadian programs from the definition of advertising material, irrespective of the medium in which the programs are to be aired, is consistent with that goal.
  83. The policy that infomercials should be logged as having no program nationality is maintained.
  84. From today's date, the authorization in PN 1994-139 to air infomercials during the broadcast day is extended to specialty service licensees.
  85. The criteria for allowable infomercials and logging requirements set out in PN 1994-139 and PN 1995-93 respectively will apply to infomercials broadcast on specialty services.
  86. Licensees of specialty services wishing to take advantage of this authorization are requested to file applications for the necessary licence amendments by 30 July 1999. Licensees are encouraged to file such applications collectively, through a single agent.
  87. The Commission is of the view that treating Canadian-produced infomercials as Canadian programming would result in a reduction in the amount of Canadian programming in other genres. The Commission's view is that other genres of Canadian programming contribute more to fulfilling the objectives of the Act than do infomercials.
  88. At the same time, the Commission does not consider that authorizing specialty services to broadcast infomercials will have an undue negative financial impact on conventional television licensees. In addition, given that the Commission considers the revenues derived from the broadcast of infomercials to be advertising revenue and that the Commission links those revenues to requirements for spending on Canadian programs, the increased revenue should result in increased amounts being spent on Canadian programming by specialty services.
  89. The current policy regarding the acquisition of U.S. network signals remains unchanged.
  90. The Commission is of the view that it would be premature to implement proposals in regard to non-simultaneous substitution.
  91. The current policy in regard to simultaneous substitution for specialty service providers remains unchanged.
  92. The Commission considered whether U.S. network signals offered by a broadcast distribution undertaking (BDU) should be acquired from a common market and from within the same time zone as the local stations carried by that BDU in order to increase opportunities for simulcasting and substitution and potentially reduce the incentive for U.S. stations to sell advertising in Canada.
  93. The Commission's conclusion is that the replacement of U.S. network signals that are available over the air would lead to subscriber dissatisfaction and further revisions to cable line-ups. The Commission is not prepared to allow such replacement.
  94. With respect to non-simultaneous substitution (NSS), the Commission is of the view that the opportunities to implement it on Canadian programs aired by U.S. services would be limited. Further, any change would be premature, given that a consensus between broadcasters and distributors has not yet been reached on the most effective means to implement NSS.
  95. The issue of extending the right of simultaneous substitution to specialty services is addressed by the Commission in the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations. In PN 1997-25 New Regulatory Framework For Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings, the Commission recognized that the providers of sports programming would benefit from simultaneous substitution, but that the number of substitution opportunities that would exist for other specialty services was unclear. It was noted at that time that, given the limited benefits for most specialty services, the Commission did not wish to impose upon distributors the burden of mandatory substitution for all specialty services.
  96. A majority of the Commission is of the view that no compelling new evidence was provided in this proceeding which would lead it to change its current policy on substitution. A majority of the Commission also remains concerned that mandatory substitution for specialty services could lead to undue siphoning of programming from conventional broadcasters.
  Pay & specialty sector
  97. The existing policy respecting the minimum expenditure requirements on Canadian programming is maintained for the pay and specialty television sector.
  98. There was a general consensus that the flexible regulatory approach to pay and specialty services has been a success. As a group, these services spend approximately 37% of their total revenues on Canadian programs. Of this amount, 40% is spent on independent productions. On a percentage basis, this is considerably greater than the private conventional television sector.
  99. The Commission has determined that it is not necessary to make any substantial changes to the regulatory framework for pay and specialty services and will continue to require the exhibition of, and expenditures on, Canadian programs according to the specific genre of the service. The Commission notes that it is currently reviewing the licensing framework for new discretionary services in a digital environment.
  Pay and specialty - First run amendment
  100. The Commission will consider, upon request, amending the definition of "first run" in the licence of any pay or specialty service. The amended definition will include as first run, the following programs acquired at the pre-production stage:
  . A program that has previously been exhibited by a Canadian discretionary (pay or pay-per-view); and
  . A program that has been exhibited for the first time on a Canadian pay or specialty service in a language other than the language in which it was initially exhibited by another broadcaster.
  101. The Commission considers that this amendment will have the effect of encouraging cooperation among specialty and pay licensees in the production and acquisition of Canadian programs.
  Foreign Satellite Services
  102. The Commission will not establish any regulatory mechanisms to obtain financial contributions directly from non-Canadian satellite services.
  103. The Commission will continue to limit the opportunities for BDUs to use advertising availabilities on foreign satellite services for the insertion of promotional material to the periods known as "local availabilities".
  104. The Commission has determined that BDUs may not charge Canadian programming services an amount in excess of their share of the direct costs associated with the insertion of promotional material in the local availabilities of foreign satellite services.
  105. It is the Commission's view that any attempt to require foreign satellite services to contribute financially to the development of the Canadian broadcasting system may be counter productive and would be difficult to administer. Furthermore, such a requirement could result in existing services being removed from the lists of eligible satellite services (the lists), and subsequent subscriber dissatisfaction. The Commission considers that its current regulatory framework in regard to the lists, most recently enunciated in PN 1997-96, is effective and ensures the prominence of Canadian programming services as well as diversity of program choices for Canadian viewers.
  106. Satellite services received from the U.S. contain two minutes per hour of network promotion, referred to as "local availabilities". The Commission allows BDUs to replace up to 75% of these local availabilities with promotion of licensed Canadian programming services or the community channel, or unpaid public service announcements. A maximum of 25% of the local availablilities may be used by a BDU to promote discretionary cable services and packages, customer service information, channel realignments, cable FM services and additional cable outlets. In PN 1999-93 dated 27 May 1999, the Commission clarified that the local availabilities may not be used to provide commercial advertisements for retail Internet services provided by a BDU.
  107. The Commission is of the view that the existing provision for BDUs to replace local availabilities on U.S. satellite services with promotional material provides an adequate opportunity for Canadian services to promote themselves.
  108. The Commission maintains its position that BDUs should not have to bear all the costs relating to the insertion of promotional material in the local availabilities, but at the same time they should not charge an amount in excess of those costs.
  Digital television
  109. There is widespread recognition that analogue technology will eventually be replaced by digital technology although the precise schedule, and modalities, for the Canadian transition are not yet clear. Some elements of the Canadian broadcasting system have already begun the transition to digital technology.
  110. The Commission notes that Industry Canada has defined the standard to be used for Canadian digital television and has coordinated their transitional television allocation plan with that of the U.S. To date, approximately 45 U.S. stations and one DTH provider are broadcasting in digital and the rollout is continuing. In addition, U.S. broadcasters in the border markets of Seattle, Buffalo and Detroit are scheduled to begin digital broadcasting by 1999.
  111. There will be opportunities afforded by this new technology as well as challenges. It was noted at the hearing that most of the developed world is moving to wide screen digital TV. There will be a demand for product, representing an opportunity for Canadian producers. The challenge is to ensure that Canadian viewers receive quality Canadian programming in these new formats.
  112. The Commission recognizes that the cost of digital transition will be significant for broadcasters, cable and, to a lesser extent, program producers. The consensus among participants was that the cost of digital conversion is a cost of doing business.
  113. Over the coming decade, the transition's importance, and its consequences for the Canadian broadcasting system will be significant. The regulatory framework must therefore permit the industry to react quickly and appropriately to the pressures, demands and opportunities that will be placed on it. This policy provides the flexibility that will assist the industry in preparing for and managing this watershed change.
Building on success - Reaching a wider audience
  Cultural diversity
  114. The Commission will expect all conventional television licensees (at licensing or licence renewal), to make specific commitments to initiatives designed to ensure that they contribute to a system that more accurately reflects the presence of cultural and racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples in the communities they serve. Licensees are expected to ensure that the on-screen portrayal of all minority groups is accurate, fair and non-stereotypical.
  115. Under the Act, the Canadian television system, through its programming and employment opportunities, should reflect the circumstances and aspirations of all Canadians, as well as the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of Aboriginal peoples in that society.
  116. The Commission has taken a number of steps to ensure this reflection, including separate classes of ethnic licences and the recent licencing of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (Decision CRTC 99-42).
  117. The Commission has also conducted a separate review of a number of issues relating to ethnic broadcasting, originally announced in PN 1998-135 Review of the broadcasting policy reflecting Canada's linguistic and cultural diversity - Call for comments. The results of this review will be published separately.
  118. The objectives for the Canadian television system in this area are clear. The system should be a mirror in which all Canadians can see themselves. It should be one in which producers, writers, technicians and artists from different cultural and social perspectives have the opportunity to create a variety of programming and to develop their skills.
  119. The Commission is confident that the system, as a whole, can better reflect the presence of minority groups in Canadian society, and in doing so, portray them accurately and fairly. The Commission believes that broadcasters should recognize, respect and actively promote diversity, such that negative portrayals of minority groups is not the norm. In fact, certain licensees have already made it a priority to focus on the ethnic diversity of their community and have been successful in the marketplace as a result.
  120. At the hearing, a strong consensus emerged on the responsibility of mainstream, conventional television broadcasters to reflect Canada's cultural diversity. Most parties agreed that this responsibility should not be left to specialized ethnic services or Aboriginal broadcasters.
  121. In discussing this matter, many parties noted the importance of distinguishing between the separate issues of reflection and portrayal. Without accurate and sensitive portrayal, programming runs the risk of stereotypical representation.
  122. Parties proposed a number of approaches regarding both reflection and portrayal. Some addressed programming, while others focused on training programs and hiring practices. Some parties suggested more active monitoring by the Commission, while others suggested a review of specific commitments at licence renewal.
  123. Several participants including broadcasters and community groups, proposed a task force involving broadcasters, community representatives and, perhaps, producers. Such a project could identify "best practices", sponsor research, help to define the issues and present practical solutions for the industry. The Commission supports such an industry - and community - based initiative to achieve the objectives of diversity in the broadcasting system.
  Societal Issues
  124. The Commission maintains its 1996 policy which addresses the issue of violence in television programming.
  125. The view of the majority of participants in this proceeding was that the existing policy on violence is effective.
  Gender portrayal
  126. The Commission will continue to monitor the broadcasting system and maintain the approaches set out in its 1992 Gender Portrayal policy and its 1994 On-Air Presence policy.
  127. The primary message on the issue of gender portrayal was that the broadcasting system has made improvements but could do better. It was suggested that the Commission should continue to monitor and regulate the issues of gender portrayal and sexual stereotyping, as well as form a task force to assess in depth the Commission's approach in dealing with the social responsiveness of the Canadian broadcasting system. The Commission notes that this will be one of the core issues of the review of self-regulation that it will undertake in the future.
  Employment equity
  128. The current policy on employment equity will be maintained. The Commission will monitor the situation where it has jurisdiction, and will continue to discuss such matters with licensees at licence renewal time when a problem is identified
  129. As part of changes to the 1996 Employment Equity Act, a consequential amendment was made to the Broadcasting Act, removing from the Commission's jurisdiction matters concerning employment equity for broadcasters who employ 100 or more employees. Broadcasters with fewer than 100 employees are still subject to the Commission's 1992 Employment Equity policy. That policy requires such licensees to provide information on their employment equity practices and initiatives at the time of licence renewal and in their annual return forms.
  Closed captioning
  130. The Commission considers that French-language broadcasters should have requirements for closed-captioning of programming, similar to those applicable to English-language broadcasters. The Commission will discuss the proposed implementation of these requirements in the context of individual licence renewals.
  131. The Commission's policy on closed captioning is set out in PN 1995-48. Under this policy, television stations earning more than $10 million in annual advertising revenues were required, by 1 September 1998, to caption all local news, including live segments. The policy also requires that all such licensees close caption at least 90% of all programming during the broadcast day by the end of individual licence terms. Medium and smaller television stations are respectively expected, or encouraged to meet the same standards.
  132. The Commission notes that English- and French-language television stations historically have not had the same requirements due to the high cost of providing closed captioning for French-language programming. However, the Commission considers that the time has now come for French-language broadcasters to provide more closed captioning. It is confident that market demand will reduce the costs of providing the service.
  Service to the visually impaired
  133. Licensees are strongly encouraged to adapt their programming to include audio description wherever it is appropriate and to take the necessary steps to ensure that their customer service responds to the needs of the visually impaired.
  134. With respect to descriptive video services (DVS), the Commission concludes that it is premature to impose specific requirements on licensees at this time. The Commission encourages licensees and the National Broadcast Reading Service to continue to cooperate in order to effect the gradual implementation of DVS.
  135. The Commission, at licence renewal, will explore with licensees the progress that has been made in meeting the needs of the visually impaired.
  136. The Commission considered issues related to DVS during a proceeding concerning to the addition of a third national television network (PN 1998-8). The Commission's approach has been to support in principle, the gradual implementation of DVS.
  Secretary General
  This notice is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:

Appendix 1


Reference documents

  The Broadcasting Act
The 1996 Employment Equity Act
  Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987
Broadcasting Distribution Regulations
Specialty Services Regulations, 1990
Pay Television Regulations, 1990
  Public Notices
  . Public Notice CRTC 1999-93 - Advertising Internet Services on community channels or during "local availabilities" (27 May 1999)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1998-135 - Review of the broadcasting policy reflecting Canada's linguistic and cultural diversity - Call for comments (22 December 1998)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1998-44 - Canadian Television Policy Review - Call for comments (6 May 1998)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1998-8 - Additional National Television Networks - A Report to the Government of Canada Pursuant to Order in Council P.C. 1997-592 (6 February 1998)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1997-96 - Revised Lists of Eligible Satellite Services (22 July 1997)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1996-36 - Policy on Violence in Television Programming (14 March 1996)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1997-25 - New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings (11 March 1997)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1995-93 - Clarification of Certain Matters Relating to the Airing of "Infomercials" During the Broadcast Day (13 June 1995)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1995-48 - Introduction to decisions renewing the licences of privately-owned English-language television stations (24 March 1995)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1994-139 - Amendment to the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 to permit, by condition of licence, the airing of "infomercials" during the broadcast day (7 November 1994)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1994-69 - Consultations regarding on-air job categories to be included in the Employment Equity plans of broadcasters (10 June 1999)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1993-68 - Application of the Benefits Test at the Time of Transfers of Ownership or Control of Broadcasting Undertakings (26 May 1993)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 - Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy (1 September 1992)
  . Public Notice CRTC 1992-58 - Policy on Gender Portrayal (1 September 1992)
  Other documents
  . Decision CRTC 99-42 (22 February 1999) - Television Northern Canada Incorporated Across Canada - 199804068
. CRTC 1997 Vision Action Calendar

Appendix 2

"Largest multi-station ownership groups" refers to CTV, WIC, Global and TVA: those groups licensed to operate in several provinces with a potential reach of more than 70% of the audience in their language of operation.

New Policy Applicable to Implementation Mechanism Implementation date
8 hours per week of Priority Programming during peak viewing period Largest multi-station ownership groups Proposed amendments to conditions of licence, initiated by the Commission 1 September 2000
Peak viewing period: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday a) Largest multi-station ownership groups a) Proposed amendments to conditions of licence, initiated by the Commission a) 1 September 2000
b) All other conventional licensees b) Applicability and possible conditions of licence considered during renewal process b) Renewal
Discontinuation of existing 150% dramatic time credit a) Largest multi-station ownership groups a) Proposed amendments to conditions of licence, initiated by the Commission a) 1 September 2000
b) All other conventional licensees b) Applicability to be discussed at renewal b) Renewal
150% time credit for 10-point Canadian dramas, 125% time credit for Canadian dramas qualifying for either a "C number" or an "SR number" Largest multi-station ownership groups Proposed amendments to conditions of licence, initiated by the Commission 1 September 2000
Discontinuation of Canadian program expenditure commitments a) Conventional television stations earning over $10 million annually in advertising revenues which form part of the largest multi-station ownership groups a) Proposed amendments to conditions of licence, initiated by the Commission a) 1 September 2000
b) Conventional television stations earning $10 million annually in advertising revenues, which do not form part of the largest multi-station ownership groups b) Application by licensee for necessary licence amendments b) 1 September 2000
c) Conventional television stations earning less than $10 million annually in advertising revenues c) No application to remove expectation is necessary c) 1 September 2000
Group renewal of conventional television broadcasting licences Conventional television broadcasting licences held or controlled by a group This policy Immediately
Discontinuation of local news requirement Conventional (local) television licensees Licence renewal Next licence renewal for conventional, local stations
Local programming: meeting demands, reflecting interests of local audiences Conventional (local) television licensees Licence renewal Next licence renewal for conventional, local stations
Benefits level of 10% upon transfer of ownership or control Conventional, pay, pay-per-view and specialty television licensees Decisions on transfer appliations Immediately
Specific initiatives to reflect and portray cultural and minority groups Conventional television licensees Licence renewal Next licence renewal
Closed captionin French-language television stations Licence renewal Next licence renewal
Permission to broadcast Infomercials Specialty television licensees Application by licensee for necessary licence amendments to be filed by 30 July 1999 Upon approval of applications
Amended definition of "advertising material" Conventional and specialty television licensees Proposed amendment of Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987 and Specialty Services Regulations, 1990 1 September 2000
Amended definition of "first run" Pay and specialty licensees Application by licensee for necessary licence amendments Upon approval of applications


Appendix 3


The public process for the Canadian Television Policy Review


Public consultations across the country

  Whitehorse, Yukon - 26 May 1998
Prince George, British Columbia - 28 May 1998
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan - 2 June 1998
Grande Prairie, Alberta - 4 June 1998
Calgary, Alberta - 5 June 1998
Timmins, Ontario - 8 June 1998
Banff, Alberta - 10 June 1998
Thompson, Manitoba - 10 June 1998
Winnipeg, Manitoba - 11 June 1998
London, Ontario - 13 June 1998
Val-d'Or, Quebec - 18 June 1998
Halifax, Nova Scotia - 20 June 1998
Vancouver, British Columbia - 22 June 1998
Deer Lake, Newfoundland - 22 June 1998
Iqaluit, Northwest Territories - 25 June 1998
Chicoutimi, Québec - 27 June 1998
  Call for comments on the policy review: Public Notice CRTC 1998-44 issued on 6 May 1998
- 350 written submissions
  The public hearing: from 23 September to 15 October 1998
- 99 appearing individuals/parties

Date Modified: 1999-06-11

Date modified: