ARCHIVED - Decision CRTC 2001-609

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Decision CRTC 2001-609

Ottawa, 28 September 2001

Michel J. Carter
Vice President and Director General
Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc.
2830 St-Martin East, Office 200
Laval, Quebec
H7E 5A1

Brad Shaw
Senior Vice President of Operations
Star Choice Communications Inc.
50 Burnhamthorpe Road West, 10th Floor
Mississauga, Ontario L5B 3C2

Subject: Complaint by Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. concerning signal carriage by Star Choice Communications Inc.

Dear Mr. Carter and Mr. Shaw:

On 21 June 2001, Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc. (Cogeco) filed a complaint with the Commission against Star Choice Communications Inc. (Star Choice). On 29 June 2001 Cogeco filed a second complaint, alleging nearly the same facts set out in its first complaint, but directed towards Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (CSC) and Star Choice Television Network Inc. (SCTN).

The main allegations in those two complaints were that:

Star Choice, CSC and SCTN are not complying with the conditions of their licences by distributing signals from local TVA Chicoutimi/Jonquière and Sherbrooke stations (local TVA signals).

Star Choice, by distributing local TVA signals and not local TQS and CBC French-language service signals from Chicoutimi/Jonquière and Sherbrooke (local Cogeco signals), is in breach of section 9 of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the Regulations) by giving undue preference to TVA and by subjecting local Cogeco signals to an undue disadvantage.

The record now indicates that Star Choice is no longer distributing the Sherbrooke TVA signals.

With respect to the first allegation, consistent with the staff letter of 6 July 2001, the facts indicate that in this case, the DTH distribution undertaking is the only relevant undertaking. Consequently, Star Choice is permitted to either distribute or not distribute the local TVA or Cogeco signals pursuant to section 39 of the Regulations and does not require any additional authorization by the Commission.

As for the second allegation, the Commission received and reviewed the following documents:

Cogeco complaint - 21 June 2001

Star Choice comment - 4 July 2001

TVA comment - 4 July 2001

Cogeco reply - 11 July 2001

Based upon the submissions of parties, the Commission is not able to find that Star Choice is giving an undue preference to TVA and/or that Cogeco is being subjected to an undue disadvantage. Consequently, the Commission finds that Star Choice is not in breach of section 9 of the Regulations in its continued distribution of the local TVA signals.

In the current case, the Commission considers that Cogeco did not sufficiently demonstrate that its anticipated losses of advertising revenue are directly attributable to Star Choice's decision to distribute the local TVA signals. The Commission considers that the financial harm suffered or projected to be suffered by Cogeco as alleged in the complaint may result from a number of market circumstances in addition to the Star Choice distribution decision.

However, noting that the Commission has recently received a number of other complaints alleging breaches of section 9 of the Regulations by DTH licensees as a result of distributing certain local television signals, the Commission is concerned about the current and future state of local television stations within the Canadian broadcasting system. Accordingly, the Commission has today issued Public Notice CRTC 2001-103 entitled Call for comments - Carriage of local television stations by DTH undertakings in smaller markets, in which it seeks comments on issues related to the distribution by DTH undertakings of certain local and out-of-market television services in smaller television markets.

Yours sincerely,

Ursula Menke
Secretary General

c.c. Raynald Brière, Vice President, TVA inc.

Date Modified: 2001-09-28

Date modified: