ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2000-22

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Public Notice CRTC 2000-22

Ottawa, 4 February 2000
Call for Applications for Licences for New Digital Pay and Specialty Television Programming Undertakings
The Commission calls for applications for licences to operate new digital pay and specialty services, in accordance with the licensing policy set out in Public Notice CRTC 2000-6, dated 13 January 2000. Applications should be filed on or before 3 April 2000 and will be considered at a public hearing to be held in the National Capital Region in August 2000. The Commission will announce details of the public hearing at a later date.


In Public Notice CRTC 2000-6 Licensing framework policy for new digital pay and specialty services, the Commission set out a framework for licensing new Canadian pay and specialty services for digital distribution. As described in that notice, the Commission will license two different categories of new services, Category 1 and Category 2.


The Commission now calls for applications for new Category 1 and Category 2 services for digital distribution.
Category 1 services


As noted in PN 2000-6, the Commission expects to license approximately ten new specialty services as Category 1 services.


In assessing applications for new Category 1 services, the Commission will examine the merits of each proposal in light of the licensing criteria set out in PN 2000-6. These include:
  • contributions to Canadian programming, including minimum commitments to exhibition (no less than 50% Canadian content exhibition by the end of the licence term), original production and expenditures. Specific requirements in these areas will be established on a case-by-case basis, based on the applicants' commitments;
  • attractiveness of the service to potential viewers. Particular attention will be paid to the evidence of demand provided in the market studies contained in the applications. The Commission encourages applicants and other interested parties to file jointly commissioned studies where possible;
  • contribution to the diversity of available programming genres;
  • affordability, or cost, of the proposed service to potential subscribers, based on the proposed wholesale rate; and
  • reasonableness of the business plan. As the Commission will license applications based on the commitments made, it must assess the ability of the applicants to meet their objectives. Accordingly, the Commission will consider the market studies and business plans of the applicants.


As set out in PN 2000-6, when assessing applications for Category 1 services, the Commission will also take into account contributions to linguistic diversity in the digital offering, contributions to the reflection of Canada's cultural diversity, as well as innovation in the use of the digital medium. While the Commission recognizes that the latter may not be appropriate to all applications, it welcomes creative and innovative proposals.


As the minimum levels of Canadian content and other commitments, including the nature of their service, will be considered on a competitive basis for Category 1 services, the Commission emphasizes that applicants should not expect to be permitted to change their commitments after they have filed their applications.
Category 2 services


As stated in PN 2000-6, the Commission intends to grant licences to all Category 2 applications that meet basic licensing criteria. These criteria include compliance with the Commission's ownership policies. They should also comply with the eligibility requirements set out in P.C. 1997-486, dated 8 April 1997, Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility of non-Canadians), amended by P.C. 1998-1268, dated 15 July 1998, and in P.C. 1985-2108, dated 27 June 1985, Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility to hold broadcasting licences), amended by P.C. 1997-629, dated 22 April 1997.


Applicants will also be expected to commit to minimum Canadian content exhibition requirements as set out in PN 2000-6 and further clarified below:
  • English-language and French-language specialty services will be expected to commit to minimum Canadian content exhibition levels as follows: 15% in Year 1; 25% in Year 2; 35% in Year 3 and each year of the licence term thereafter;
  • Ethnic specialty services will be expected to commit to a minimum Canadian content level of 15% in each year of the licence term.
  • In addition to the above requirements, music video specialty services will be expected to commit to exhibit a minimum level of Canadian music videos as follows: 20% in Year 1; 25% in Year 2; 30% in Year 3 and each year of the licence term thereafter.
  • The Commission will expect Canadian content exhibition and expenditure commitments for pay services to be comparable to those of existing pay services.


As noted in PN 2000-6, the Commission will not consider the viability of proposed Category 2 services, their business or marketing plans, or the rates to be charged by them.
Competition with new and existing services


The Commission will not license a Category 1 or Category 2 service that is directly competitive with an existing pay or specialty service or with another Category 1 service. Category 2 services that are competitive with other Category 2 services will, however, be licensed.


The Commission will assess the matter of competition on a case-by-case basis. Each applicant will be required toindicate in the application form whether their proposed service will be directly competitive with any existing pay or specialty service, and to provide a detailed justification in support of their position.


In addition, once applications for new digital programming services have been published, all applicants will be given the opportunity to provide written comments on whether or not their proposed service would be directly competitive with any of the Category 1 services proposed.


The intervention process will provide all interested parties, including applicants, with the opportunity to comment on whether any of the applications filed should be considered to be directly competitive, either with an existing pay or specialty service or with an application for a new Category 1 service. During the reply stage of the intervention process, applicants will be given the opportunity to respond to any such interventions.
Other matters pertaining to applications for Category 1 and Category 2 services


The Commission expects to limit Category 1 and Category 2 specialty services, by condition of licence, to a maximum of 12 minutes of advertising material per clock hour.
Closed captioning


The Commission will expect applicants for both Category 1 and Category 2 English-language services to commit to close caption at least 90% of their programming by the end of the licence term. Ethnic services will be expected to close caption at least 90% of their English-language programming by the end of the licence term. Applicants for ethnic services will also be asked to specify appropriate commitments to close caption third-language programming.


The Commission will review with applicants for Category 1 French-language services appropriate commitments for closed captioning. Applicants for French-language Category 2 services will be expected to commit to close caption at least 50% of their programming by the end of the licence term.


Applications must be filed with the Secretary General of the CRTC on or before 3 April 2000. Unsuccessful applicants for Category 1 licences will not be automatically considered for Category 2 licences. Accordingly, interested parties may wish to apply for both Category 1 and Category 2 services. In this case, separate application forms must be submitted.


The Commission expects to consider applications filed for Category 2 services after this licensing round, on an ongoing basis.


The Commission notes that it expects to consider applications for new pay-per-view or video-on-demand services filed on or before 3 April 2000 at the same public hearing as the applications arising from this call.


Application forms for new digital specialty service programming undertakings (Category 1 and Category 2) will be available at the Commission's offices and website by 11 February 2000.


The Commission stresses that applications must contain all required information by the filing date or they will be deemed to be incomplete and returned by the Commission.


The Commission reminds applicants that, as usual, applications will be treated as confidential until the Commission issues a Public Notice announcing the Public Hearing.


Applications must be filed in hard copy form and may be filed at any of the following Commission offices:
Central Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
1 Promenade du Portage,
Room G-5
Hull, Quebec K1A ON2
Tel: (819) 997-2429 -
TDD: 994-0423
Telecopier: (819) 994-0218
Bank of Commerce Building
1809 Barrington Street
Suite 1007
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3K8
Tel: (902) 426-7997 -
TDD: 426-6997
Telecopier: (902) 426-2721
405 de Maisonneuve Blvd. East
2nd Floor, Suite B2300
Montréal, Quebec
H2L 4J5
Tel: (514) 283-6607 -
TDD: 283-8316
Telecopier: (514) 283-3689
Kensington Building
275 Portage Avenue
Suite 1810
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2B3
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
CRTC Documentation Centre
Scotia Place Tower Two
19th Floor, Suite 1909
10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
T5J 3R8
Tel: (780) 495-3224
Telecopier: (780) 495-3214
CRTC Documentation Centre
55 St. Clair Avenue East
Suite 624
Toronto, Ontario
M4T 1M2
Telephone: (416) 952-9096
Telecopier: (416) 954-6343
CRTC Documentation Centre
Cornwall Professional Building
2125 - 11th Avenue
Room 103
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4P 3X3
Telephone: (306) 780-3422
Telecopier: (306) 780-3319


The Commission encourages parties to file an electronic version by e-mail or on diskette. The Commission’s e-mail address for electronically filed documents is:


Electronic submissions should be in the HTML format. As an alternative, those making submissions may use "Microsoft Word" for text and "Microsoft Excel" for spreadsheets.


Please number each paragraph of the comment. In addition, please enter the line ***End of Document*** following the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during transmission.
Future public hearing


The public hearing at which the submitted applications will be heard will be held in August 2000. The Commission will announce the details at a later date. The public will be given the opportunity to comment and the deadline for filing interventions will be announced in the notice of public hearing.
Secretary General
This notice is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be viewed at the following Internet site:
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