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Ottawa, 15 July 2010
Mr. J. Thomas Murray
Uxmal Communications Ltd.
208-295 Davenport Road
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1K5
Via electronic mail
Re: Request to remove The Golf Channel (U.S.) from the Lists of Eligible Satellite Services
Dear Mr. Murray,
In your application for a licence to operate a national English-language Category 2 specialty television programming undertaking, you request that, upon approval of your proposed undertaking, the Commission remove The Golf Channel (U.S.) from the Lists of Eligible Satellite Services (the Lists). You also request that, if not removed, The Golf Channel should be subject to the requirement, set out in Public Notice CRTC 2000-173, that any non-Canadian service requesting to be added to the Lists should provide an undertaking that it does not hold, will not obtain, nor will it exercise, preferential or exclusive programming rights in relation to the distribution of programming in Canada.
You mentioned in your Supplementary Brief that your application was not conditional upon the removal of The Golf Channel. You also stated that, in the event the Commission determines that it requires additional time to consider the issues related to the above requests, you would ask that the requests related to The Golf Channel be considered in a separate proceeding.
Accordingly, in order to assure that your application for a licence to operate a Category 2 specialty television programming undertaking will be assessed in a timely manner, Commission staff intends to process your Category 2 application independent of your requests related to The Golf Channel.
With respect to a request to remove The Golf Channel from the Lists, Commission staff requests that you file a separate application which includes sufficient evidence that the service has undergone a change of format that has resulted in the service becoming competitive with existing Canadian pay and specialty services. Commission staff does not intend to process your request to remove The Golf Channel from the Lists until such an application is filed.
Commission staff notes that in reviewing whether a channel has changed format, the Commission generally looks at changes to the nature of its service, its target audience, its genre of programming, etc. This is often demonstrated by comparative programming schedules. In reviewing whether a format change has resulted in the non-Canadian service becoming competitive with one or several existing Canadian pay and specialty services, the Commission generally examines factors including the nature of the service and its target audience, the genre of programming, and the degree of program overlap. Where relevant, the Commission also takes into account the extent to which the non-Canadian service is a program supplier (see, for example, Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-96). Again, this is often demonstrated by schedules and program descriptions comparing the services, information as to target audience, etc.
With regard to your request that The Golf Channel, if not removed, be subject to the requirement set out in Public Notice CRTC 2000-173, please note that the Commission has announced, in Public Notice CRTC 2008-100, its intention to simplify and consolidate the Lists to result in a single list for services authorized for either analog or digital distribution by all BDUs. Commission staff notes that this future proceeding would likely provide an appropriate forum to consider whether or not services added to the Lists prior to 14 December 2000 (PN 2000-173) should be subject to this explicit requirement.
Finally, Commission staff would like to point out the fact that, in the past, some applicants for Category 2 specialty television programming undertakings have been able to negotiate arrangements with non-Canadian services offering similar content and distributed in Canada. If you have not entered into negotiations with The Golf Channel yet, Commission staff suggests that you contact this service, whether directly or through the party that originally sponsored the addition of The Golf Channel to the Lists, the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance.
If you have any questions with respect to the above request please feel free to contact the undersigned.
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