ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2000-449

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. Archived Decisions, Notices and Orders (DNOs) remain in effect except to the extent they are amended or reversed by the Commission, a court, or the government. The text of archived information has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Changes to DNOs are published as “dashes” to the original DNO number. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

Decision CRTC 2000-449

Ottawa, 14 December 2000

Global Television Network Inc. (OBCI)

Across Canada — 200008434

14 August 2000 Public Hearing National Capital Region


13th Street - a new specialty channel


On 24 November 2000, the Commission made a decision to issue a licence for a new national English-language Category 1 specialty television service to be called "13th Street". The Commission noted at that time that reasons, terms and conditions of the new licence would follow at a later date.


13th Street will provide mystery and suspense programming using a wide assortment of programs including movies, dramatic series, short films and documentaries. As noted in Public Notice CRTC 2000-171 issued today, 13th Street and 20 other new digital specialty services will be made available to subscribers by all distributors who offer programming to the public using digital technology and by some cable operators who serve smaller markets using analog technology. The licence, when issued, will expire 31 August 2007.


13th Street proposes a unique approach to an extremely attractive genre of programming, and will create a service entirely devoted to mystery and suspense. Since no Canadian licensee currently offers a television service dedicated to such programming, the new channel will enhance the diversity of the Canadian broadcasting system as a whole. In Public Notice 2000-171, the Commission discusses the general criteria for the approval of this and other applications for new specialty services.


The ownership structure of 13th Street will be composed of Global Television Network Inc. and Groupe TVA inc. (holding 45.05% each) and Rogers Broadcasting Limited as a minority shareholder.


Terms and conditions of licence common to all of the new Category 1 specialty services are set out in an appendix to Public Notice 2000-171. Conditions specific to this application can be found in the appendix to this decision.




Nature of service


13th Street will offer a national English-language specialty television service dedicated to programming offering suspense, espionage, thrillers, police drama and classic mysteries. The programs will include movies, dramatic series, short films and documentaries. The licensee intends to provide the best in Canadian and foreign mystery and suspense programming, to introduce Canadians to the best mystery writers in Canada, and to new talent in the production sector. 13th Street also has plans to broadcast original works by Canadian film and animation students. All of the program categories identified by 13th Street as forming the service’s content are set out in a condition of licence found in the appendix to this decision.


The new service will offer both entertainment and information programs, combining popular programming from Hollywood and abroad. The service will provide a range of Canadian programming related to mystery and suspense, using existing and new programming created especially for 13th Street. Commitments made as part of the application include limitations on news and comedy programming. These limitations are included in conditions of licence set out in the appendix to this decision.


One component of the programming will be devoted to international programming in languages other than English or French, subtitled in English. This programming will feature the best in foreign programming from sources other than the U.S., and will appeal both to a multicultural audience as well as to English-speaking viewers who are interested in foreign-language programming.


13th Street will operate in a program "wheel" format, broadcasting three 8-hour blocks of programming each day, beginning at 10:00 a.m.


Contributions to diversity


The licensing of 13th Street will bring further diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system because, while the programming to be offered does exist in varying amounts on many other television services, a channel devoted exclusively to such programs is not currently available in Canada. The licensee is confident that a Canadian venue for this sort of programming will repatriate viewers and revenues from foreign services, and will provide opportunities for Canadian producers of mystery and suspense programming.


Canadian content


The licensee made a commitment to broadcast a minimum of 50% Canadian content from 6 a.m. to midnight, and a minimum of 50% from 6 p.m. to midnight, in the first three years of the licence term. For the following three years of the licence term, 13th Street’s commitment will be increased to 55% of the day and 55% of the evening hours. In the final year of the term, the commitment is to 60% of both the day and the evening hours. A condition of licence setting out the levels of Canadian programming required annually can be found in the appendix to this decision.


Following discussions at the hearing, 13th Street further committed to broadcast a minimum of 80 hours of original Canadian programs in the first year of the licence term, increasing to at least 95 hours in the seventh year of the term.


Canadian programming expenditures


Beginning in the year following the first year of operation, the licensee will expend a yearly minimum of 43% of its gross advertising, infomercial and subscription revenues on Canadian programming. The licensee estimates that, in accordance with this formula, it will spend approximately $32 million over the licence term, to acquire or produce Canadian programs. A formula for the calculation of the amounts required is set out in a condition of licence found in the appendix to this decision.


Independent production


13th Street estimates that over the licence term, $19.5 million will be spent on the acquisition of Canadian programming from independent producers. The application stated that the new service will work closely with Canada’s writing and college/university communities to provide original written and animated material for broadcast on 13th Street. The licensee also indicated that it plans to work with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network to obtain original programming that reflects the rich Canadian aboriginal culture of myths and legends. The Commission notes the licensee’s commitments, and as set out in Public Notice 2000-171, all Category 1 services will be subject to a standard condition of licence in this regard.




13th Street plans a fully interactive service, with two distinct mechanisms. There will be a stand-alone "13th Street" website, and "simultaneous-view" content, designed to be used while watching the television channel.


Initially, the licensee intends to offer a complementary website for the new service. Eventually, as various platforms, standards and software questions are resolved, the licensee’s plans indicate that viewers will be able to:

  • access instant links to program-specific information
  • take advantage of mystery and suspense "preference profiles",
  • download information,
  • tag programming for later review,
  • save video or text for playback at leisure.

The 13th Street website will allow viewers to access additional information about programs and content, vote on the outcome of programs, or forecast the outcome using their own detective skills. Games and quizzes about program characters will be prominent.


Ownership and synergies


As noted earlier, Global Television Network Inc. (Global) and Groupe TVA inc. (TVA) will each hold 45.05% of the voting interest in 13th Street. Rogers Broadcasting Limited (Rogers) will hold the remaining 9.9%. Under a memorandum of understanding, Universal City Studios Inc. (Universal) can acquire an ownership interest in the licensee at any time.


All of the shareholders in 13th Street are leaders in their respective fields. The technical and studio operation of 13th Street will be located within Global Television in Toronto, with access to all of Global’s existing facilities. Both Global and TVA have expertise in drama production and have extensive production facilities and resources. Rogers is well equipped to experiment with digital innovations, and Universal can provide programming, marketing and promotional assistance. 13th Street will also have access to Universal’s extensive film and television library and the established 13th Street "brand recognition". The international 13th Street platforms in a number of countries and languages will also provide opportunities for the export of Canadian programming, and offer access to an established archive of international third-language programming.


13th Street will enter into a Trademark Licence Agreement with Universal City Studios, Inc. under which the new service will have the exclusive right in Canada to use the name and logos of "13th Street", and Universal will provide consulting services to the licensee. The licensee will also have access to a vast feature film and television library through its association with Universal Television & Networks Group. Universal has also launched five international "13th Street" channels, operating in France, Germany, Spain, Latin America and Brazil. The 13th Street "brand" will bring a successful international model to Canadian audiences.


In another decision (2000-469) dated today, the same partners have been granted a licence for a French-language mystery and suspense specialty service, to be known as "13ième rue". Significant opportunities for cross-marketing and promotion will exist between the English and French-language "13th Street" services. The sharing of production facilities, exchange of talent and resources, and the joint development of programming will enhance both services.


Filing requirements


This authority will only be effective and the Commission will only issue the licence when the applicant has clearly demonstrated that it is a "qualified corporation" as defined in the Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility of non-Canadians) and is eligible to hold a licence. Consequently, the applicant is required to file all relative incorporation documents (certificate and articles, by-laws, etc.), copies of the executed Memorandum of Understanding with Universal; the executed Shareholders’ Agreement; the Franchise Agreement; the Trademark Licence Agreement; or any other pertinent agreement, for review and approval by the Commission.


Other matters




In its business plan, the licensee proposed a monthly wholesale rate of $0.55 per subscriber throughout the licence term, and a three-month free trial period.


Service to the hearing-impaired


With respect to service for the hearing-impaired, 13th Street has committed to install a TTY (teletypewriter), and ensure that, throughout the licence term, 100% of all programming will be closed captioned. The Commission notes the licensee’s commitments, and expects it, at a minimum, to caption at least 90% of all programming during the broadcast day, by the end of the licence term.


Service to the visually-impaired


13th Street has also committed to providing descriptive video service (DVS) for all documentaries and other programming as appropriate for any subject matter of particular concern to the visually-impaired.


The Commission requires 13th Street to be technically equipped to deliver described video programming and to fulfil the commitments included in the application. In addition, the Commission encourages the licensee to provide audio description of visual information wherever possible, and to provide described video programming as outlined in Public Notice 2000-171.


Employment equity


The Commission notes that this licensee will be subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 and therefore will file reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.




The Commission expects that 13th Street will be a popular choice for subscribers in the digital environment. It will offer attractive Canadian and international programming, including some foreign-language programming. The service will have the potential to be highly interactive from the outset, offer the opportunity to tell Canadian stories and repatriate audiences from foreign services.


Secretary General


This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site:


Appendix to Decision CRTC 2000-449


The licence for the national English-language programming undertaking (specialty television service) known as 13th Street will be subject to the following conditions, as well as those set out both in Public Notice CRTC 2000-171, and in the licence to be issued.


Nature of service


1. (a) The licensee shall provide a national English-language Category 1 specialty television service devoted to mystery and suspense programming. The service will nurture and encourage short form Canadian mysteries. It will provide a wide assortment of genre-specific programs including movies, television series, short films and documentaries that will focus exclusively on the delivery of entertaining programming on suspense, espionage and classic mysteries.

  1. The programming must be drawn exclusively from the following categories, as set out in Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990:




Animated television programs and unscripted works, films


Long-form documentary


Comedy sketches, improvisation, unscripted works, stand-up comedy


Informal education/recreation and leisure


Other drama


Ongoing dramatic series


General entertainment and human interest


Ongoing comedy series (sitcoms)




Specials, mini-series, made-for-TV feature films


Public service announcements


Theatrical feature films aired on TV


Infomercials, promotional and corporate videos

  • No more than 15% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from category 1.
  • No more than 15% of the programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from Category 7f.

Exhibition of Canadian programs


2. In each broadcast year or portion thereof, the licensee shall devote to the distribution of Canadian programs the following percentages of the broadcast day and the evening broadcast period:


Broadcast day

Evening broadcast period


Year one




Year two




Year three




Year four




Year five




Year six




Year seven






Expenditures on Canadian programs


3. In accordance with the Commission’s position on Canadian programming expenditures as set out in Public Notices CRTC 1992-28, 1993-93 and 1993-174, except as amended below:


(a) In each broadcast year following the first year of operation, the licensee shall expend on Canadian programs not less than 43% of the previous broadcast year’s gross advertising, infomercial and subscription revenues;


(b) In each broadcast year following the first year of operation, excluding the final year, the licensee may expend an amount on Canadian programs that is up to ten percent (10%) less than the minimum required expenditure for that year set out in or calculated in accordance with this condition; in such case, the licensee shall expend in the next year of the licence term, in addition to the minimum required expenditure for that year, the full amount of the previous year’s underexpenditure;


(c) In each broadcast year following the first year of operation, where the licensee expends an amount on Canadian programs that is greater than the minimum required expenditure for that year set out in or calculated in accordance with this condition, the licensee may deduct:


(i) from the minimum required expenditure for the next year of the licence term, an amount not exceeding the amount of the previous year’s overexpenditure; and


(ii) from the minimum required expenditure for any subsequent year of the licence term, an amount not exceeding the difference between the overexpenditure and any amount deducted under paragraph (i) above.


(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (b) and (c) above, during the licence term, the licensee shall expend on Canadian programs, at a minimum, the total of the minimum required expenditures set out in or calculated in accordance with the licensee’s condition of licence.




The term "broadcast day" shall be defined as the 24-hour period beginning at 6:00 a.m. each day.


Date modified: