ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-382

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Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-382

Ottawa, 27 November 2002

Viewer's Choice Canada Inc., Cogeco Radio-Télévision inc., TQS inc. and TVA Group Inc., partners in Canal Indigo general partnership
Across Canada

Application 2001-1328-3
Public Hearing in the National Capital Region
6 May 2002

Licence renewal for Canal Indigo, pay-per-view television service distributed by cable


The Commission received an application by Viewer's Choice Canada Inc., Cogeco Radio Télévision inc., TQS inc. and TVA Group Inc., partners in Canal Indigo general partnership, for the renewal of the licence for the national French-language general interest pay-per-view (PPV) television service, distributed by cable, known as Canal Indigo.


The Commission did not receive any intervention in connection with this application.


The Commission has reviewed Canal Indigo's performance over the current licence term, and is satisfied that the licensee has met the expectations and complied with each of the conditions attached to the current licence. The Commission renews the licence for Canal Indigo from 1 December 2002 to 31 August 20091. The licence will be subject to the conditions set out in the appendix to this decision.


Adult programming


The Commission expects the licensee to adhere to its internal policy on adult programming to ensure that such programming complies with provincial film classification and Canadian legislation.


In August 2001, the Commission asked the industry to revise and update the Pay Television Standards and Practices in order to more effectively address the broadcast of adult programming on pay, PPV and video-on-demand services. The revised Industry code of programming standards and practices governing pay, pay-per-view and video-on-demand services was submitted to the Commission, for approval, in January 2002. The Commission will issue a public notice regarding the revised code in the near future.

Offering programs in packages


Consistent with Introductory statement to Decisions CRTC 2000-733 to 2000-738: Licensing of new video-on-demand and pay-per-view services, Public Notice CRTC 2000-172, 14 December 2000, the Commission expects that, with the exception of the events programming identified in the paragraph below, the licensee will only offer programming packages where the total period during which the programming is to be viewed does not exceed one week.


The Commission recognizes that some packages of events programming, such as seasonal sports or a Christmas concert series, make attractive programming packages that naturally continue longer than one week and that such programming is particularly appropriate for pay-per-view television services. For this reason,the Commission will not apply the limitation of one week to packages that are exclusively comprised of events. The Commission, nevertheless, expects that the events programming be limited to the events themselves and not include "wrap-around" programming that would tend to give the package the characteristics of a specialty service.

Cultural diversity


Section 3(1)(d)(iii) of the Broadcasting Act stipulates that the Canadian broadcasting system should "through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights, the linguistic duality and multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society and the special place of Aboriginal peoples within that society".


The Commission expects the licensee to:

  • endeavour, through its programming and employment opportunities, to reflect the presence in Canada of cultural and racial minorities and Aboriginal peoples;
  • ensure that the on-screen portrayal of such groups is accurate, fair and free of stereotypes;
  • support the work of the industry-community task force on cultural diversity initiated by Representation of cultural diversity on television - Creation of an industry/community task force, Public Notice CRTC 2001-88, 2 August 2001; and
  • adhere to the corporate cultural diversity plan developed by Astral Broadcasting Group Inc., and submitted to the Commission in July 2002.

Service to persons with hearing impairments


The Commission is committed to improving service to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, and has consistently encouraged broadcasters to increase the amount of closed captioned programming they broadcast. The Commission generally requires all broadcasters to offer a minimum percentage of closed captioned programs consistent with the nature of their services.


In the present case, the licensee indicated that all of the feature films offered on Canal Indigo have been closed captioned since September 2001. The licensee also made a commitment to close caption all of the feature films broadcast on its service during the new licence term.


Consistent with the licensee's commitment, the Commission has decided that it is reasonable to require the licensee to close caption 90% of the programming broadcast on Canal Indigo during the new licence term. A condition of licence to the effect is set out in the appendix to this decision.


The 90% obligation is based on the recognition that requiring 100% captioning at all times may not be reasonable or appropriate. Thus, the obligation is designed to provide some flexibility to cover unforeseen circumstances such as late delivery of captions, technical malfunctions, or the lack of availability of captions for programs acquired outside North America, or programming where captioning may not be feasible, such as third language programming.


The Commission expects the licensee to focus on improving the quality, reliability and accuracy of its closed captioning, and to work with representatives of the deaf and hard of hearing community to ensure that captioning continues to meet their needs.

Service to persons with visual impairments


The Commission is also committed to improving service to viewers who have visual impairments. "Described video" and "audio description" are methods of providing service that meets the needs of these viewers.


Described video, or video description as it is also known, consists of narrative descriptions of a program's key visual elements so that people who have visual impairments are able to form a mental picture of what is occurring on the screen. These descriptions are most often provided in a closed format, delivered by the secondary audio programming (SAP) channel, that is audible only to people who have selected that option.


Audio description involves the provision of basic voice-overs of textual or graphic information displayed on the screen. A broadcaster providing audio description will, for example, not simply display sports scores on the screen, but also read them aloud so that persons who have visual impairments can receive the information.


The licensee stated that technical difficulties constrain its ability to provide described video in a closed format at present. Specifically, the licensee explained that it is not able to simultaneously originate two audio tracks, but stated that it is working to upgrade its equipment. The licensee also pointed out that, whereas Canal Indigo's signal is delivered digitally, SAP channels can only be accessed by analog signals. It confirmed that it is currently involved in discussions with the Canadian Satellite Users Association to find another solution to the traditional SAP method of delivering described video.


The Commission notes that, while the closed format is the preferred option for most broadcasters, described video can also be provided in an open format that is delivered as part of the original broadcast signal and is audible to all audiences. The licensee indicated that it may offer open description on an interim basis, dedicating particular showings at designated times on specific channels. Accordingly, the Commission encourages the licensee to offer open description of its programs, where available, until such time as the technical difficulties associated with providing described video in a closed format are resolved.


The Commission expects the licensee to work with broadcasting distribution undertakings to eliminate the impediments to providing described video in a closed format. Once a solution has been achieved, the Commission expects the licensee to acquire and broadcast the described versions of programs, wherever possible.


The Commission also expects the licensee to provide audio description of any information presented in alphanumeric format, for example that offered on the barker channel.


The Commission further expects the licensee to take the necessary steps to ensure that its customer service responds to the needs of viewers with visual impairments.

Compliance with industry codes


In accordance with its usual practice, the Commission is imposing conditions of licence requiring the licensee to adhere to industry codes related to violence and sex-role portrayal.


The licensee must adhere, by way of a condition of licence, to the Pay television programming standards and practices code.

Employment equity


Because this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act and files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada, its employment equity practices are not examined by the Commission.

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:
1 In Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-238, 22 August 2002, the Commission granted a three-month administrative renewal to Canal Indigo, from 1 September 2002 to 30 November 2002.


Appendix to Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-382


National French-language general interest pay-per-view (PPV) television service, distributed by cable, known as Canal Indigo


Conditions of licence

  1. The licensee shall distribute on its programming undertaking, in each broadcast year, a minimum of 20 Canadian feature films in the original French-language version or dubbed in French which have been exhibited in theatres in French-language markets (including all new Canadian features that are available and suitable for PPV and meet the Pay television programming standards and practices code), and a minimum of twelve Canadian-based events targeting the French-language market.
  2. The licensee shall maintain a film ratio of no less than 1:12 with respect to Canadian:non-Canadian "first run" feature films exhibited on its service in each broadcast year and a ratio of no less than 12:20 for Canadian events.
  3. All drama series (series, mini-series, films for television, etc.) and educational television programs must be broadcast on a ratio of one (1) Canadian program for ten (10) non-Canadian programs.
  4. The licensee shall remit all gross revenues derived from the broadcast of Canadian feature films on its service to distributors and providers, with a minimum of 60% to the programming providers.
  5. The licensee is required to invest, over the licence term, at least 5% of the gross revenues of the previous broadcast year to the production of Canadian feature films and Canadian events. These investments shall be additional to expenditures arising from the licensee's commitment to promote these feature films and events. This contribution shall be remitted to a fund which shall be administered independently from the licensee.
  6. The licensee shall retain control at all times over the scheduling of films and events exhibited on the cable television undertakings operated by its affiliates. Further, the licensee shall provide to the Commission, upon request, a list of programs distributed by each of its cable affiliates.
  7. The licensee shall not enter into an affiliation agreement with the licensee of a DTH distribution undertaking, unless the agreement incorporates a prohibition against linkage of the Canal Indigo service with any non-Canadian discretionary service.
  8. The licensee is authorized to distribute Canadian programming, other than filler programming, which is produced by the licensee or by a person related to the licensee, but such programming shall not exceed, in each broadcast year, 20% of its Canadian programming schedule.
  9. The licensee shall caption at least 90% of all programs that it airs in each broadcast year of the licence term.
  10. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal, set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' Sex-role portrayal code for television and radio programming, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission.
  11. The licensee shall adhere to the Pay television programming standards and practices code, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission.
  12. The licensee shall adhere to the Pay television and pay-per-view programming code regarding violence, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission.

For the purpose of these conditions, "broadcast year" means the period from 1 September to 31 August and each twelve-month period thereafter beginning on 1 September.

Date Modified: 2002-11-27

Date modified: