ARCHIVED - Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2015-556
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Reference: Part 1 application posted on 8 July 2015
Ottawa, 16 December 2015
Bell Media Inc.
Vrak.TV - Licence amendments
The Commission approves an application to delete a nature of service condition of licence for the national, French-language specialty Category A service Vrak.TV, and to amend the condition of licence relating to the broadcast of professional sports programming.
The Commission denies the licensee’s request to delete Vrak.TV’s condition of licence relating to the broadcast of original first-run Canadian French-language programs. Consequently, it shall continue to broadcast 104 hours of original first-run Canadian French-language programs each broadcast year.
- In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, the Commission stated that it would eliminate its genre exclusivity policy, which limited programming services to offering certain types of programming (that is, a “nature of service”) and precluded other services from offering that programming. Consequently, the Commission no longer enforces conditions of licence relating to nature of service, with certain exceptions, such as the condition of licence relating to the broadcast of live professional sports programming by services other than mainstream sports services.
- It further stated that licensees must provide the Commission with a name and a brief description of the service, to be listed on the Commission’s website, and update this information any time it changes. This will allow both Canadians and the Commission to continue having basic information about the discretionary services in operation.
Bell Media Inc. (Bell Media) filed an application relating to the national, French-language specialty Category A service Vrak.TV. Bell Media requested the deletion of the following condition of licence relating to Vrak.TV’s nature of service:Footnote 1
2. (a) The licensee shall provide a national French-language specialty Category A service targeting Francophone children and youth up to 17 years of age.
- Bell Media also requested an amendment to the wording of condition of licence 2.(c), which limits to 10% the amount of the service’s programming that may be devoted to professional sports each broadcast month, so that this condition of licence refers to “live” professional sports programming.
Condition of licence 2.(b), which reads as follows, would be retained:
The licensee may draw programming from all the categories set out in item 6 of Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, as amended from time to time.
- Finally, it requested the deletion of condition of licence 10, which requires the service to broadcast at least 104 hours of original first-run Canadian French-language programs each broadcast year.
- Bell Media stated that the above requests are consistent with the Commission’s decisions stemming from its elimination of the genre exclusivity policy.
Pursuant to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, Bell Media provided the following description for Vrak.TV:
The licensee provides a national French-language discretionary service primarily featuring general interest and entertainment programming for youth and young adults.
Interventions and applicant’s reply
- The Commission received interventions in opposition to the application from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM). The licensee replied collectively to the interventions. The public record for this application can be found on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca or by using the application number provided above.
- The interveners were opposed to the deletion of the condition of licence relating to the production of original Canadian programs, arguing that it is not one of the conditions of licence that define Vrak.TV’s nature of service and that it contributes to the promotion of linguistic duality. Moreover, CUPE submitted that the Commission should review the request to delete this condition of licence when the broadcasting licence for Vrak.TV comes up for renewal in 2017.
- In its reply, Bell Media stated that the condition of licence relating to original productions is directly related to Vrak.TV’s nature of service and restricts the service’s programming, and that it should therefore be deleted in light of the elimination of the genre exclusivity policy. Bell Media further stated that delaying the deletion of this condition of licence until 2017 is not justified.
Commission’s analysis and decisions
- The Commission is of the view that the amendments to conditions of licences 2.(a) and 2.(c) for Vrak.TV are consistent with Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86.
The Commission is of the view, however, that the condition of licence relating to original productions does not fall under the nature of service, since:
- it is not a definition of the nature of the service;
- it does not specify the program categories from which the service may draw its programming; and
- it does not impose any restrictions to ensure that the service does not compete with another Category A or Category C service.
In light of the above, the Commission approves Bell Media Inc.’s application to amend the broadcasting licence for Vrak.TV by deleting condition of licence 2.(a) and by replacing condition of licence 2.(c) with the following condition of licence:
The licensee shall devote not more than 10% of the programming broadcast during the broadcast month to live professional sports programming, which falls under program category 6(a) Professional sports.
- The Commission denies the licensee’s request to delete the condition of licence relating to the broadcast of original first-run Canadian French-language programs.
- Let’s Talk TV: The way forward - Creating compelling and diverse Canadian programming, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-86, 12 March 2015
- Astral Media Inc. - Group-based licence renewals, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-241, 26 April 2012
*This decision is to be appended to the licence.
- Date modified: