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Ottawa, 22 June 2012
Corus Entertainment Inc.
25 Dockside Drive
E-mail : Sylvie.Courtemanche@corusent.com
Dear Ms. Courtemanche,
Re: Application by Corus to operate The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as a Category B service (case # 579876)
The Commission determined in Broadcasting Decision 2011-446 that The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) was out of compliance with its nature of service definition. While the service was licensed as a formal education service, the Commission noted that most of the programs on OWN appeared to be more closely related to lifestyle rather than educational programming. Corus was instructed to submit a report by 1 March 2012 outlining the measures it had taken to come into compliance, or to submit another appropriate proposal.
On 1 March 2012, Corus submitted an application to operate OWN as a Category B service. Accordingly, if the Commission were to approve this application, Corus would surrender its licence to operate OWN as a Category A service. Corus also stated in its supplementary brief that “the request for a Category B licence to continue the operation of OWN is conditional on the Commission agreeing to exempt the Shaw-owned cable systems from the application of section 19 of the BD Regulations with respect to the distribution of OWN”.
Having reviewed this application, the Commission has determined that it will not process an application that is conditional upon another application by a third party. Therefore, the Commission will not consider Corus’s current application for a Category B licence for OWN.
The Commission notes that OWN’s programming continues to be out of compliance with its current nature of service definition as a Category A licensee. As stated in Broadcasting Decision 2011-446, “In general, the Commission finds that the OWN service is focused on ‘enhancement programming’…as such the service is only fulfilling part of its mandate.” Currently, programs appearing on OWN’s schedule, such as “The Cupcake Girls”, “The Judds”, and “Don’t Tell the Bride”, may loosely be considered “enhancement programming”, but fail to provide basic adult education, job development skills or professional development and are therefore inconsistent with the nature of service definition set out as a condition of OWN’s licence.
In light of the above, the Commission directs OWN to either:
a) come into full compliance with its nature of service condition of licence by no later than 1 September 2012; or
b) submit a new Category B or Category C licence application for OWN by no later than
9 July 2012, which is not conditional upon any other application.
In either case, Corus must advise the Commission as to which course of action it has chosen to take by no later than 9 July 2012. The Commission intends to closely monitor the service to ensure its compliance with its nature of service condition of licence. If the service remains out of compliance after the above date, the Commission will implement enforcement measures, which may include a mandatory order hearing.
All correspondence must be submitted by using our On-line services available on our website via the following link:
In the Description box, please repeat the “subject” line for all related correspondence concerning this matter, and quote case # 579876.
Please be advised that this letter and all related correspondence will be placed on the public file.
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