Broadcasting Commission Letter addressed to David Spodek (Bell Media inc.), Lenore Gibson (Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership) and Dallas C. Yeulett (Northwestel Inc.)

Ottawa, 8 February 2016

By e-mail: david.spodek@bellmedia.ca
lenore.gibson@bell.ca
regulatoryaffairs@nwtel.ca

David Spodek
Senior Specialist, Regulatory Affairs
Bell Media Inc.

Lenore Gibson
Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs
Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership

Dallas C. Yeulett
Senior Manager, Regulatory Compliance
Northwestel Inc.

Dear Mr. Spodek, Ms. Gibson and Mr. Yeulett:

This letter is to request that Bell Media Inc. (Bell), Bell ExpressVu Limited PartnershipFootnote 1 (Bell ExpressVu) and Northwestel Inc. file an application to renew the licences for the various conventional television stations, Category A, B and C specialty services, video-on-demand services and pay-per-view service, which will expire on 31 August 2017.

If it is the licensees’ intention to continue the operation of these undertakings past the above-noted expiry date, it will be necessary for them to apply to the Commission to renew these licences by submitting a renewal application to the Commission by no later than 4 April 2016. Rather than using an application form, the above-mentioned licence renewal application must respond to the individual questions and use the format set out in this letter. Please ensure to repeat each question, including relevant tables, in your response.

Bell’s application and other documents are to be submitted electronically using the secured service “My CRTC Account” (Partner Log In or GCKey) and accompanied by the completed “Broadcasting Cover page” or the “Broadcasting Online Form and Cover Page” located on this web page. Also on this web page you will find information on the submission of applications to the Commission “Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account”. Please refer to application number 2016-0012-2 in your submission.

If it is not the licensees’ intention to continue the operation of one or more of these undertakings after the expiry of the current licenses, please advise the Commission accordingly by using “My CRTC Account” in writing by no later than 4 April 2016.

Please note that the procedural directions in this letter are in addition to the rules set out in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, which establish the procedure with respect to proceedings before the Commission. In addition to the Rules of practice and procedure, you may find useful to consult the guidelines on the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-959.

Please be advised that this letter and all related correspondence will be placed on the public file for the renewal application. Should the licensees wish to designate any information provided as part of its application as confidential, they must do so in full compliance with the Rules of Procedure and Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, as amended from time to time. The documents submitted should use the following naming convention to facilitate the processing and analysis of the applications:

If you encounter any difficulties submitting the application electronically, please contact the CRTC Helpline at 1-866-893-0932.

Should you require information regarding the renewal process and deadlines, do not hesitate to contact the undersigned at 819-997-5984 or at tracy.speigel@crtc.gc.ca.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by

Tracy Speigel
Senior Policy Analyst
TV Policy and Applications

c.c.: bell.regulatory@bell.ca
Gerry.frappier@bellmedia.ca

A. General

1. General information

1.1 Identification of applicant

Name of applicant:
Address:
City:
Province/Territory:
Postal code:
Telephone:
Fax:
Email:

Contact person representing the applicantFootnote 2
(if there is no appointed designated representative under question 1.2)

Bell:
Title:
Telephone:
Email:

1.2 Appointment of designated representative

I, _________________________, the applicant, hereby designate ____________________ as my designated representative for and on my behalf and in my Bell to sign, file and complete (if necessary) an application with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and to sign and file a reply with respect thereto and I do hereby ratify, confirm and adopt as my own act, such application and all replies made thereto.

Date:
At: Example: city, province
Signature (a signature is not required when submitting electronically):
Address of designated representative:
Title:
Telephone:
Fax:
Email:

1.3 Declaration of the applicant or its designated representative

I, ___________________________________, solemnly declare that:

I am the designated representative of the applicant in this application brief and as such have knowledge of all matters declared therein.

The statements made in this application or in any document filed pursuant to any request for further information by the Commission are (will be) to the best of my knowledge and believed to be true in all respects.

The opinions and estimates given in this application or in any document filed pursuant to any request for further information by the Commission are (will be) based on facts as known to me.

I have examined the provisions of the Broadcasting Act and the broadcasting regulations and policies relevant to this application.

And I have signed

Signature (a signature is not required when submitting electronically):
Date:

Witnessed by

Signature (a signature is not required when submitting electronically):
Name:
Date:
At: Example: city, province

1.4 Application

The Commission will return the application if it has not been duly completed. The onus will be on the applicant to submit a complete application that provides all of the relevant information, to identify all regulatory issues raised in the application and to provide supporting documentation.

Submit a website address or email address where an electronic copy of the application may be requested:

Website:
Example: www.mycompany.com

Email:
Example: no-reply@no-reply.com

1.5 Industry codes

Are the licensees broadcaster associates in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council?

Yes ( ) No ( )

1.6 Employment equity

Information relating to employment equity is available in Implementation of an employment equity policy, Public Notice CRTC 1992-59, 1 September 1992, and in Amendments to the Commission's Employment Equity Policy, Public Notice CRTC 1997-34, 2 April 1997.

The Commission requires responses to questions regarding Employment Equity on behalf of the licensee as a whole, with reference to all of its employees in aggregate, that is, total employees of all undertakings for which the licensee holds licences.

  1. Are the licensees subject to the Employment Equity Act (applicable to federally regulated employers with 100 or more employees)?

    Yes ( ) No ( )

    If yes, do not complete the remainder of this section.
    If no, proceed to question b).

  2. Outline examples of any measures (including hiring and training, apprenticeship programs, work arrangements, etc.) that you have or will put in place to address the equitable representation of the four designated groups (women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities).

Answer questions c) to e) if the licensee has between 25 and 99 employees

  1. How do you or will you communicate details of your employment equity policies to managers and staff?

  2. Have you assigned or will you assign a senior level person to be responsible for tracking progress and monitoring results?

    Yes ( ) No ( )

    If yes, what authority does or will that person have to ensure goals are achieved?

  3. What financial resources have you or will you put in place to promote employment equity in the workplace.

2. List of services that expire in 2017

The licences for the following services will expire on 31 August 2017.

English-language services that contribute to the group Canadian programming expenditures (CPE) and expenditures on programs of national interest (PNI) pursuant to Broadcasting Decision 2011‑444

English-language television stations

Province Call sign Location Licensee
Nova Scotia CJCB-TV and its transmitters Sydney Bell Media Inc.
CJCB-TV-1 Inverness
CJCB-TV-2 Antigonish
CJCB-TV-3 Dingwall
CJCB-TV-5 Bay St. Laurence
CJCB-TV-6 Port Hawkesbury
CJCH-DT and its transmitters Halifax
CJCH-TV-1 Canning
CJCH-TV-2 Truro
CJCH-TV-3 Valley Colchester County
CJCH-TV-4 Bridgetown
CJCH-TV-5 Sheet Harbour
CJCH-TV-6 Caledonia
CJCH-TV-7 Yarmouth
CJCH-TV-8 Marinette
New Brunswick CKCW-DT and its transmitters Moncton Bell Media Inc.
CKAM-TV Upsalquitch
CKAM-TV-1 Newcastle
CKAM-TV-2 Chatham
CKAM-TV-3 Blackville
CKAM-TV-4 Doaktown
CKCW-DT-1 Charlottetown, PEI
CKCW-TV-2 St. Edward/St. Louis, PEI
CKCD-TV Campbelton
CKLT-DT Saint John
CKLT-TV-1 Florenceville
CKLTV-2 Boiestown
Quebec CFCF-DT Montreal Bell Media Inc.
Ontario CFPL-DT and its transmitter London Bell Media Inc
CKNX-TV Wingham
CFTO-DT and its transmitters Toronto
CFTO-TV-21 Orillia
CFTO-DT-54 Peterborough
CHBX-TV and its transmitter Sault Ste. Marie
CHBX-TV-1 Wawa
CHRO-TV Pembroke
CHRO-DT-43 Ottawa
CJOH-DT and its transmitter Ottawa
CJOH-TV-6 Deseronto
CJOH-TV-8 Cornwall
CJOX-TV-47 Pembroke
CHWI-DT and its transmitter Wheatley
CHWI-DT-60 Windsor
CICI-TV and its transmitters Sudbury
CICI-TV-1 Elliot Lake
CKNY-TV-11 Huntsville
CITO-TV and its transmitters Timmins
CITO-TV-1 Kapuskasing
CITO-TV-2 Kearns
CITO-TV-3 Hearst
CITO-TV-4 Chapleau
CKCO-DT and its transmitter Kitchener
CKCO-TV-3 Oil Spring
CKNY-TV North Bay
CKVR-DT and its transmitters Barrie
CKVR-TV-1 Parry Sound
CHJC-DT Burlington
CKVP-DT Welland
Manitoba CKY-DT and its transmitters Winnipeg Bell Media Inc.
CKYA-TV Fisher Branch
CKYB-TV Brandon
CKYB-TV-1 McCreary
CKYD-TV Dauphin
CKYF-TV Flin Flon
CKYP-TV The Pas
CKYS-TV Snow Lake
CKYT-TV Thompson
Saskatchewan CFQC-DT and its transmitters Saskatoon Bell Media Inc.
CFQC-TV-1 Stranraer
CFQC-TV-2 North Battleford
CICC-TV and its transmitters Yorkton
CICC-TV-2 Norquay
CICC-TV-3 Hudson Bay
CIEW-TV Warmley
CIWH-TV Wynyard
CIPA-TV and its transmitters Prince Albert
CIPA-TV-1 Spiritwood
CIPA-TV-2 Big River
CKBQ-TV Melfort
CKBQ-TV-1 Nipawin
CKCK-DT and its transmitters Regina
CKCK-TV-1 Colgate
CKCK-TV-2 Willow Bunch
CKCK-TV-7 Fort Qu’Appelle
CKMC-TV Swift Current
CKMC-TV-1 Golden Prairie
CKMJ-TV Marquis
Alberta CFCN-DT and its transmitters Calgary Bell Media Inc.
CFCN-TV-1 Drumheller
CFCN-TV-2 Banff
CFCN-TV-6 Drumheller
CFCN-TV-13 Pigeon Mountain
CFCN-TV-14 Harvie Heights
CFCN-TV-15 Invermere
CFCN-TV-16 Oyen
CFWL-TV-1 Invemere
CFCN-DT-5 and its transmitters Lethbridge
CFCN-TV-3 Brooks
CFCN-TV-4 Burmis
CFCN-TV-8 Medicine Hat
CFCN-TV-9 Cranbrook
CFCN-TV-10 Fernie
CFCN-TV-11 Sparwood
CFCN-TV-12 Moyie
CFCN-TV-17 Waterton Park
CFCN-TV-18 Coleman
CFRN-DT and its transmitters Edmonton
CFRN-TV-1 Grande Prairie
CFRN-TV-2 Peace River
CFRN-TV-3 WhiteCourt
CFRN-TV-4 Ashmont
CFRN-TV-5 Lac La Biche
CFRN-TV-7 Lougheed
CFRN-TV-8 Grouard Mission
CFRN-TV-9 Slave Lake
CFRN-TV-11 Jasper
CFRN-TV-12 Athabasca
CFRN-TV-6 and its transmitter Red Deer
CFRN-TV-10 Rocky Mountain House
British Columbia CIVT-DT Vancouver Bell Media Inc.
CIVI-DT and its transmitter Victoria
CIVI-DT-2 Vancouver

Discretionary services

Service Licensee
Discovery Channel 2953285 Canada Inc.
Book Television Bell Media Inc.
Bravo! Bell Media Inc.
Business News Network (BNN) Bell Media Inc.
CablePulse 24 Bell Media Inc.
E! Bell Media Inc.
Fashion Television Channel Bell Media Inc.
M3 Bell Media Inc.
MTV (Canada) Bell Media Inc.
MTV 2 Bell Media Inc.
Much Bell Media Inc.
Space Bell Media Inc.
The Comedy Network (TCN) Bell Media Inc.
Discovery Velocity 2953285 Canada Inc.
Animal Planet Animal Planet Canada Company
Discovery Science Discovery Science Canada Company
ESPN Classic The Sports Network Inc.
⁄A\ Atlantic (formerly Atlantic Satellite Network (ASN)) Bell Media Inc.

English-language services that contribute to the group Canadian programming expenditures (CPE) and expenditures on programs of national interest (PNI) pursuant to Broadcasting Decision 2014-62

Discretionary services

Service Licensee
The Movie Network (TMN) Bell Media Inc.
The Movie Network Encore (TMN Encore) Bell Media Inc.

Services that do not contribute to the group CPE and expenditures on PNI

Television stations

Province Call sign Location Licensee
British Columbia CFTK-TV and its transmitter Terrace Bell Media Radio (Toronto) Inc. and 4382072 Canada Inc., partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Bell Media Radio G.P
CFTK-TV-1 Prince Rupert
CJDC-TV and its transmitter Dawson Creek
CJDC-TV-1 Hudson Hope
CJDC-TV-2 Bullhead Mountain

Discretionary services

Service Licensee
Comedy Gold Bell Media Inc.
Investigation Discovery Bell Media Inc.
Juicebox Bell Media Inc.
MuchLoud Bell Media Inc.
MuchRetro Bell Media Inc.
MuchVibe Bell Media Inc.
ACCESS Learning and Skills Television of Alberta Limited

Discretionary services (national news)

Service Licensee
CTV News Channel Bell Media Inc.

Discretionary services (mainstream sports)

Service Licensee
The Sports Network (TSN) The Sports Network Inc.

On-demand services

Service Licensee
Bell TV on-demand Bell ExpressVu Inc. (the general partner) and Bell Canada (the limited partner), carrying on business as Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership
On Demand Northwestel Inc.
Bell Sports Special PPV Bell ExpressVu Inc. (the general partner) and Bell Canada (the limited partner), carrying on business as Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership
  1. Please confirm that Bell is applying for the renewal of the licences for the above-noted services. Please also confirm the name of the licensee for each service.

    Any services not included in the above list that also expire in 2017 which Bell wishes to renew either on a standalone basis or as part of its group should be inserted into the tables above. Note that any service not identified as part of the response to this question will not be renewed or be considered as part of the group for the purposes of this proceeding unless the Commission considers it appropriate to do so. Should Bell choose to submit a licence renewal application for a service whose licence expires later than 2017 as part of this group renewal proceeding, please note that the application will constitute an application to revoke the current licence of this service and that the Commission would issue a new licence for the service effective 1 September 2017, if approved.

  2. Please note that each service has been identified in the tables above according to the Commission’s consolidated licence types, as described in Let’s Talk TV – The way forward – Creating compelling and diverse Canadian programming, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86 (BRP 2015-86 – the Create policy):

    • Television stations (including over-the-air conventional and community television stations and provincial educational services);

    • Discretionary services (all pay and specialty services, including those services, other than conventional television stations, granted mandatory distribution on the basic service pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act); and

    • On-demand services (pay-per-view (PPV) and video-on-demand (VOD) services).

    Please confirm that the manner in which the services above have been designated is consistent with your understanding of their status. Further, please refer to the services with the above designations in the remainder of the application documents.

  3. Please confirm that the undertakings have been operated in compliance, over the licence term, with the provisions of their licences, the Broadcasting Act, and all applicable regulations of the CRTC. If no, provide full details of any non-compliance during the licence term, including the reasons, any remedial action taken or to be taken and, where applicable, the period of time expected before the undertaking will be operating in compliance.

The complete list of services and your responses to this question should be provided as part of the document entitled “Bell-Group-Appendix A-Final list of renewing services”.

3. Exempt services

In Exemption order respecting discretionary television programming undertakings serving fewer than 200,000 subscribers, Broadcasting Order 2015-88 (the exemption order), the Commission announced that all discretionary services serving fewer than 200,000 subscribers and that are otherwise eligible under the exemption order’s criteria will operate as exempt undertakings. However, the exemption order will not apply to national news and mainstream sports services (former Category C services), given the particular requirements unique to these services. The Commission will also no longer grant or renew licences to discretionary (pay and specialty) services eligible to operate under the new exemption order. The exemption order is set to take effect on 1 March 2016.

Please provide a list of Bell’s discretionary services that currently meet the criteria set out in the exemption order. In addition, provide a brief description of the programming offered by the services.

Submit the response to this question as part of the document entitled “BELL-Group-Appendix A-Final list of renewing services”.

B. Group issues

The following questions relate primarily to the Commission’s group-based approach to the licensing of English-language television programming services announced in A group-based approach to the licensing of private television services (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167), in Group-based licence renewals for English-language television groups - Introductory decision (Broadcasting Decision 2011-441) and in Let’s Talk TV – The way forward – Creating compelling and diverse Canadian programming, (Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-86, the Create policy).

The questions in this section should each be answered at the ownership group level. That is, one response will be considered relevant for all of the licences that are part of the ownership group, unless otherwise specified.

Evaluation of the group-based approach

1. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167, the Commission established a new policy framework for the licensing of private English-language television services based on their affiliation with a particular ownership group. This included a group-based approach to Canadian programming expenditures (CPE), as well as requirements related to programs of national interest (PNI), independent and regional production, etc.

The flexibility to attribute an individual service’s CPE to other services within a designated group is a key aspect of the group-based approach. Specifically, specialty licensees within a designated group have the flexibility to attribute 100% of their required CPE to any other qualifying specialty service(s), or to conventional television services, within the same designated group. Conventional television licensees within a designated group have the flexibility to attribute up to 25% of their required spending to any other qualifying specialty service(s) within the same designated group.

In Broadcasting Decision 2011-441 (the Introductory decision to the group-based licence renewal of English-language television groups), the Commission stated that the group-based approach was developed to prepare the broadcasting industry and the Commission for the current reality of the Canadian broadcasting system, in which most Canadian programming services operate as part of large, integrated groups. The Commission reduced its focus on the concept of Canadian program exhibition and concentrated to a greater extent on the level of production expenditures on Canadian programming, with the purpose of ensuring stable support for the creation of Canadian programming, particularly with respect to programming genres that are under-represented in the Canadian broadcasting system.

In Broadcasting Decision 2011-444, Bell was designated as a group, which is reflected in the conditions of licence imposed on its services. Following Broadcasting decisions 2013-310 and 2014-62, Bell acquired from Astral the English-language services, TMN and TMN Encore, as well as the French-language services Canal D, Canal Vie, Vrak.TV, Ztélé, Super Écran and Cinépop. All of these services were treated as a second group of Bell services. Please describe the measures Bell has taken to meet the objectives of the group-based licensing policy, specifically regarding the following:

  1. The integration and operation of Bell’s services into two large, consolidated licensing groups;

  2. The manner in which Bell has taken advantage of the flexibilities afforded to it with respect to its required CPE, specifically as it relates to:

    1. Local programming, including local news;
    2. Original, first-run programmingFootnote 3;
    3. Children’s and youth programming;
    4. Canadian feature films;
    5. PNI categories of programs
    6. Other Canadian programs (please specify).
  3. Support for the creation of Canadian programming, particularly in regard to PNI.

Achieving the objectives of the Create policy under the group-based approach

2. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2010-167, the Commission stated that the group-based policies apply to private, English-language ownership groups that generate more than $100 million in annual revenues from conventional television stations and own at least one English-language specialty or pay programming service (designated groups). Category B specialty services controlled by a designated group and with over one million subscribers were also eligible to be included in a group. In addition to the services constituting a group under 2011 444, Bell added former Astral services to form another group as per Broadcasting Decision 2014-62.

In the Create policy, the Commission announced that it would maintain the group-based licensing approach and existing expenditure levels for the large private ownership groups currently operating under the group-based policy. For those groups operating French- and English-language services, each language group will be treated separately and may have distinct requirements. In the French-language market, the Commission will encourage commonly owned services to apply as groups at licence renewal. The Commission will establish with these services the level at which they should contribute financially towards Canadian programming on a case-by-case basis.

Further, the Commission set out a number of intended outcomes for its policy determinations, including but not limited to:

In light of the above, please comment on the following:

  1. Please provide a detailed list, with justification, of all the services that should be included in Bell’s English-language designated group of services. Please ensure that all services listed are also included in your response to question 2a) in Section A.

  2. Please justify how this designated group will enable Bell to achieve the objectives of the Create policy, as described above.

  3. Please explain how Bell will use the flexibilities afforded in the Commission’s group-based licensing approach in meeting the desired outcomes of the Create policy.

3. In the Create policy, the Commission stated that original first-run Canadian productions contribute to achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act by adding more value to the system than repeat and recycled programming. Canadians’ access to quality original Canadian programming in their chosen viewing environment is a key desired outcome of the Create policy. As such, please describe Bell’s plans related to the production, broadcast and promotion of original, first-run programming for the next licence term.

4. The Commission considers children’s and youth programming to be an integral part of the broadcasting system. In the Create policy, the Commission recognized that there is a need to collect more detailed data to monitor effectively the number of children’s and youth projects being certified by the Commission as well as the expenditures on this type of programming. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-323, the Commission set out new methods to monitor the amount of Canadian children's and youth television programming and the expenditures on such programming in the Canadian broadcasting system.

As of September 2015, the logs filed by Bell and other broadcasters detail the amount of programming targeted at children and youth. Moreover, Bell’s annual return required that Bell detail its expenses on this type of programming. In addition to this information, please describe Bell’s plans with respect to the production, broadcast and promotion of children’s and youth programming on multiple platforms.

5. In the Create policy, the Commission stated that over the next several years, Canadians will continue to migrate from scheduled and packaged programming services to on-demand and tailored programs. The Commission also expects that audiences to on-demand services will continue to grow as Canadians exercise more control over their viewing experience. As Canadians continue to seek out programs on an on-demand basis, VOD service, and online video services in particular, are likely to become increasingly important sources of Canadian and other video content. Recognizing this, the Commission considers it important to ensure that Canadians throughout the country have access to programming, including original Canadian programming, on an on-demand basis, whether through traditional BDUs or online.

  1. Please describe the role of on-demand services, both Canadian licensed video-on-demand (VOD) and exempt hybrid video-on-demand (HVOD) services, as well as non-Canadian online video services in the multiplatform programming strategy for your designated group.

  2. As the licensees of VOD services and the operator of an HVOD service, please describe your efforts to ensure the availability of Canadian programming on multiple platforms and to foster the discoverability of Canadian programs on those platforms.

Canadian programming expenditures (CPE)

6. In the Create policy, the Commission stated its intention to maintain the group-based licensing approach and existing expenditure levels for the large private ownership groups currently operating under the group-based policy. Further, in light of the various other changes that the Commission made in Let’s Talk TV, the Commission proposed not to raise CPE levels, in order to monitor the impact on revenues of the other changes originating from this proceeding and allow affected parties to adapt accordingly. As set out in Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-444, Bell’s current group CPE requirement is a minimum of 30% of the previous year’s gross revenues. In addition, as set out in Broadcasting Decision 2014-62, the CPE requirement for the group of former Astral services, including TMN and TMN Encore, is a minimum of 32% of the previous year’s gross revenues.

In light of Bell’s proposed group in answer to question 2a) above, please provide a group CPE requirement to which the Bell group would adhere by condition of licence with detailed rationale, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support this proposal.

7. Pursuant to the Create policy, all programming services that are part of a group will have CPE requirements that contribute appropriately to that group’s overall CPE level. Moreover, all licensed programming services with over 200,000 subscribers will also be subject to a CPE requirement, which will be established in a case-by-case manner and based on historical levels, with a minimum threshold of 10% of the previous year’s revenues. For each of Bell’ services, please provide individual CPE requirements that Bell proposes to fulfill as conditions of licence. Please include all the relevant detailed calculations (such as historical CPE levels used to establish the baseline and any impact of including these services in the Bell designated group) to demonstrate that these proposals are consistent with the group CPE requirement Bell proposes in question 5 above and with the Create policy.

Programs of national interest and independent production

8. In Broadcasting Decision 2011-441, the Commission determined that designated groups would be required to spend a minimum of 5% of their annual gross revenues on programs of national interest (PNI) and that at least 75% of these expenditures must be allocated to independently-produced programs. For the services acquired from Astral, Bell was required to spend a minimum of 18% of its annual gross revenues on PNI pursuant to Broadcasting Decision 2014-62.

In the Create policy, the Commission determined that the current requirements for services in the English-language market would be maintained.

  1. In light of Bell’s proposed group in answer to question 2a) above, please provide group PNI requirement to which the Bell group would adhere by condition of licence with a detailed rationale, including financial evidence and analysis, to support this proposal.

  2. Please confirm that Bell will continue to adhere to the requirement set out in Broadcasting Decisions 2011-444 and 2012-241 that at least 75% of the PNI expenditures must be made to an independent production company for its designated group and would accept a condition of licence to this effect. If Bell proposes any amendments, please provide a detailed rationale, including financial evidence and analysis, to support its proposal.

Diversity of programming

9. In the Create policy, the Commission found that genre protection had ceased to be an effective tool for ensuring programming diversity and that the Act’s objective set out in section 3(1)(i)(i) that the programming be varied and comprehensive can be met without this type of regulatory intervention. The Commission also stated the view that the market will ensure programming diversity, especially in a system characterized by maximum choice and flexibility for consumers. Accordingly, the Commission eliminated the genre exclusivity policy and related protections for all English- and French-language discretionary services.

In light of the above, please describe the strategies used by Bell and/or that Bell intends to use to ensure programming diversity among its services.

Regional and official language minority community reflection

10. Please confirm that Bell will continue to file Regional Production Reports as directed in Broadcasting Decision 2011-441.

11. Please confirm that Bell will continue to file reports regarding its Programming Champions initiative and its regional offices in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax as set out in Broadcasting Decision 2013-310.

12. Please confirm if Bell proposes to undertake any additional measures to further support these types of productions.

13. In Report to the Governor in Council on English- and French-language broadcasting services in English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada, the Commission stated that it “considers that the representation of official-language minority communities (OLMC) on screen is essential to ensuring a suitable quality of service.” The representation of OLMC on screen is also part of the objectives in s. 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act.

  1. Please describe in detail the efforts undertaken by Bell to provide appropriate reflection of English-language minority communities on its services.

  2. Please describe Bell’s plans for the continuation or improvement of the reflection of Anglophones living in OLMCs on its services.

ATSC 3.0

14. The next-generation digital television broadcasting standards, known collectively as ATSC 3.0, are currently being drafted and completion is expected in the near future. ATSC 3.0 aims to provide improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency compared with the current standard (ATSC A/53) so that content can be viewed on any device and delivered through various platforms (e.g. OTA, cable, satellite, internet etc.).

Pursuant to section 11 of Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987, section 13 of the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, condition of licence 8 set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-59-1 and condition of licence 11 set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2013-561, undertakings are required to comply with these standards as amended from time to time.

Please provide information on Bell’s plans, if any, on the transition to ATSC 3.0. Please also provide information on the impact of ATSC 3.0 on Bell and Bell’s subscribers/viewers.

Ownership

15. Bell Group participates in the CRTC’s Broadcasting Ownership Annual Filing program (Broadcasting Circular 2008-7). As a participant, Bell Group is not required to provide complete ownership information for the purposes of its renewal applications. Instead, it is only required to provide the date of its most recent ownership annual filing, as well as to confirm that the ownership information for each of the licensees involved in the group renewal was included as part of this filing and that no change has occurred since its last filing. Accordingly, please provide the date of Bell Group’s most recent filing, and confirm that the ownership of each of the licensees involved in the group renewal is complete and up-to-date. If this is not the case, please provide updated ownership information for each licensee, as necessary.

Licence terms

16. Please comment on the appropriateness of granting a 5 year licence term as opposed to a 7 year licence term.

Adult Programming

17. Identify which, if any, of the Bell services offer adult films or other adult programming. Confirm for each of these services that you will adhere, by condition of licence, to Section D.3 - Adult Programming of The Industry Code of programming standards and practices governing pay, pay-per-view and video-on-demand services (the Industry Code) appended to Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2003-10, 6 March 2003 (Public Notice CRTC 2003-10). Provide a proposed internal policy on adult programming as set out in Public Notice 2003-10, if you have not already filed one with the Commission.

Accessibility

Closed Captioning

18. Paragraph 75 of Broadcasting and Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-430, Accessibility of telecommunications and broadcasting services (the Accessibility Policy) states the following: “when captions are available, the Commission expects broadcasters to provide viewers with a closed captioned version of all programming aired during the overnight period.” Accordingly, describe your plans for the licence term to ensure the provision to viewers of a closed captioned version of all programming aired during the overnight period.

19. In accordance with paragraph 100 of the Accessibility Policy, submit a description of the monitoring system you will be putting in place to ensure that, for any signal that is closed captioned, the correct signal is captioned, the captioning is included in its broadcast signal, and this captioning reaches, in its original form, the distributor of that signal and, in the case of an over the air signal, the viewer. “Original form” means, at a minimum, that the captioning provided by the licensee reaches the distributor and the viewer unaltered, whether it is passed through in analog or in digital, including in high definition.

20. Pursuant to paragraph 101 of the Accessibility Policy, submit a description of the mechanisms and procedures that the licensee has in place regarding quality control of closed captioning, including procedures to ensure that closed captioning is present throughout the entire program.

21. In the Let’s Talk TV proceeding leading up to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-104, Navigating the Road Ahead – Making informed choices about television providers and improving accessibility to television programming, you committed to ensuring the presence of closed captioning on your non-linear platforms if it was present in the traditional system. Please provide an update on your progress in this area.

Audio Description

22. Audio description refers to announcers reading aloud the key textual and graphic information that is displayed on the screen during information programs. Pursuant to paragraph 128 of the Accessibility Policy, identify the measures the licensee has in place to ensure the effective implementation of audio description.

Described Video

23. As stated in paragraph 122 of the Accessibility Policy, the Commission has the following expectations of licensees:

Submit your response to questions 1 to 23 above as part of the document entitled “BELL-Group”.

Historical Financial Data

Please provide the information requested in questions 24 to 29 below in Excel format, using the designated tab within the template Excel workbook attached to this letter. Please ensure that your document is entitled as follows: “Bell-Group-Appendix B-Tables”. To the extent that any information is designated as confidential, please remember to provide an abridged version, entitled “Bell-Group-Tables-Abridged”, as well as the rationale for the designation. Please be reminded that, as set out in the Commission’s guidelines on confidentiality (Information Bulletin 2010-961, as amended), aggregate historical financial data is generally treated as public.

Please provide the historical financial data requested in questions 24 to 26 below for broadcast years 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and for the first 6 months of broadcast year 2015-2016 (September 2015 to February 2016).

24. On an aggregate basis for Bell’s television stations, please provide the following:

  1. Canadian Programming expenditures (CPE) by program category in “Appendix 1 – CPE”;

  2. In “Appendix 2 – First-run and New comm.”

    1. Total CPE (in $)

    2. CPE on "Original First Run" programming ($) included in i)

    3. CPE on "New Commissioned" programming ($) included in i)

    4. Total PNI expenditure ($)

    5. PNI on "Original First Run" programming ($) included in iv)

    6. PNI on "New Commissioned" programming included in iv), including a definition of what is considered to be a new commission.

Please create a separate Excel tabulation for this set of stations.

25. For each individual discretionary service, please provide the following:

  1. Canadian Programming expenditures (CPE) by program category in “Appendix 1 – CPE”;

  2. In “Appendix 2 – First-run and New comm.”

    1. Total CPE (in $)

    2. CPE on "Original First Run" programming ($) included in i)

    3. CPE on "New Commissioned" programming ($) included in i)

    4. Total PNI expenditure ($)

    5. PNI on "Original First Run" programming ($) included in iv)

    6. PNI on "New Commissioned" programming included in iv), including a definition of what is considered to be a new commission.

Please create a separate Excel tabulation for each individual service.

26. On an aggregate basis by broadcasting year for all services to be renewed, please provide expenditures spent on PNI programming – see “Appendix 3 – PNI”. Please create a separate Excel tabulation for each year and provide a list of the services included in these aggregate projections.

Please be reminded that, in accordance with Commission practice, PNI budget information for individual projects may generally be designated as confidential while aggregate data may generally only be designated confidential where fewer than three projects are involved.

Projected Financial Data

Please provide the financial projections requested in questions 27 to 29 below for the next six broadcast years, starting with the complete 2015-2016 broadcast year.

27. On an aggregate basis for Bell’s television stations, please provide the following:

  1. Projected CPE by program category in “Appendix 4 – Projected CPE”;

  2. Financial projections in “Appendix 5 – OTA projections.

Please create a separate Excel tabulation for each required aggregation.

28. For each individual discretionary service, please provide:

  1. Projected CPE by program category in “Appendix 4 – Projected CPE”;

  2. Financial projections in “Appendix 6 – Discretionary projections”.

Please create a separate Excel tabulation for each individual service.

29. For Bell’s on-demand services, please provide summary financial projections in “Appendix 7 – On-demand projections”.

C. Television stations

Programming

1. With regards to Bell’s television stations, please provide the following:

  1. The current programming schedules for each station, as well as links to websites that set them out, if available.

  2. Bell’s programming strategy for these services, specifically as it relates to the production, scheduling and promotion of original programs, as well as an overview of their most successful programs and the characteristics of their success.

Submit your response to this question as part of the document entitled “Bell-Television stations”.

Amendments to requirements other than standard requirements

2. Please note that, as announced in the Create Policy, the Commission will undertake a proceeding to establish standard requirements for television stations, which would replace those set out in Standard conditions of licence, expectations and encouragements for conventional television stations, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-442, 27 July 2011, as of 1 September 2017. Accordingly, further correspondence will follow to confirm whether Bell will adhere to the new standard requirements for its television stations. If Bell has concerns with any of the requirements, it will be given the opportunity to provide proposed amendments with a detailed rationale as to why it believes that its services should not be subject to these requirements.

  1. Provide a list of all conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements and definitions other than standard requirements set out in the most recent Commission decision for the service. Please confirm if Bell’s television stations will continue to operate in compliance with these requirements.

  2. If the licensee is proposing any amendments to existing conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements or definitions, complete the table below providing a detailed rationale for any proposed change, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support the change.

Please submit this information for each service as part of the document entitled “Bell-Television stations” in the format provided in the table below:

Call sign

Current non-standard requirement Requirement to remain the same (Yes/No) Proposed requirement (if a change is proposed) Rationale
       
       

Note: for the purposes of this table, ‘requirement’ includes any condition of licence, expectation, encouragement and definition.

600 MHz

3. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED, formally referred to as Industry Canada) published a decision on August 14, 2015 indicating that it is proceeding with a repurposing initiative of the 600 MHz band. A new digital television (DTV) allotment plan will be established based on repacking over-the-air (OTA) television (TV) broadcasting transmitters more tightly in lower frequencies. The Department also placed a moratorium on new applications for licensing in the TV broadcasting bands.

Please describe the impacts of this initiative on the operation of Bell’s television stations. Please submit this information as part of the document entitled “Bell-Television stations”.

D. Discretionary services

Programming

1. As regards Bell’s discretionary services, please provide the following:

  1. The current programming schedules for each of the services as well as links to websites that set them out, if available.

  2. Bell’s programming strategy for each of these services, specifically as it relates to the production, scheduling and promotion of original programs, as well as an overview of their most successful programs and the characteristics of their success.

2. The Commission set out expectations relating to independent production for Space and The Comedy Network in Appendices 15 and 16 to Broadcasting Decision 2011-444, respectively. For ease of reference, the table below identifies the services as well as the specific expectation. Please complete the table below by describing how Bell has met the expectations.

Service Expectation How Bell has met the expectation
Space The Commission expects the licensee to ensure that a minimum of 75% of all original, first-run Canadian programming other than news and current affairs broadcast on the service is acquired from independent production companies.  
The Comedy Network (TCN) The Commission expects the licensee to fulfill its commitment that 75% of expenditures on original Canadian production be directed to independent production companies.  

Submit your response to these questions as part of the document entitled “Bell-Discretionary”.

Amendments to requirements other than standard requirements

3. Please note that, as announced in the Create Policy, the Commission will undertake a proceeding to establish standard requirements for discretionary services, which would replace those set out in Standard conditions of licence, expectations and encouragements for specialty and pay television Category A services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2011-443, 27 July 2011, and Standard conditions of licence, expectations and encouragements for Category B pay and specialty services – Corrected Appendices 1 and 2, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-786-1, 18 July 2011, as of 1 September 2017. Accordingly, further correspondence will follow to confirm whether Bell will adhere to the new standard requirements for its ethnic television stations. If Bell has concerns with any of the requirements, it will be given the opportunity to provide amendments with a detailed rationale as to why it believes that its services should not be subject to these requirements.

  1. Provide a list of all conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements and definitions set out in the most recent decision for the service, other than standard requirements. Confirm that Bell’s discretionary services will continue to operate in compliance with these requirements.

  2. If Bell is proposing any amendments to existing conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements or definitions, complete the table below providing a detailed rationale for any proposed changes, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support any changes.

Please submit all of this information for each service as part of the document entitled “Bell-Discretionary” in the format provided in the table below:

Name of service

Current non-standard requirement Requirement to remain the same (Yes/No) Proposed requirement (if a change is proposed) Rationale
       
       

Note: for the purposes of this table, ‘requirement’ includes any condition of licence, expectation, encouragement and definition.

E. Mainstream sports services

Programming

1. With regards to Bell’s mainstream sports services, please provide the following:

  1. The current programming schedules for each service, including feeds, as well as links to websites that set them out, if available.

  2. Bell’s programming strategy for each of these services, specifically as it relates to the production, scheduling and promotion of original programs, as well as an overview of their most successful programs and the characteristics of their success.

Submit your response to this question as part of the document entitled “Bell-Mainstream sports”.

Standard conditions of licence

2. Confirm that Bell will continue to abide by the standard conditions of licence, expectations and encouragement set out in Appendix 1 to Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-562-2 (BRP 2009-562-2) for its Mainstream sports services.

If the licensee has concerns with any of these conditions of licence, specify the condition(s) it proposes to amend with a detailed rationale in support of any such amendment, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support any exception to the standard conditions and expectations, and proposed wording for alternative conditions, expectations or encouragement. Please submit all of this information for each service as part of the document entitled “Bell-Mainstream sports” in the format provided in the table below:

Name of service

Current non-standard requirement Requirement to remain the same (Yes/No) Proposed requirement (if a change is proposed) Rationale
       
       

Note: for the purposes of this table, ‘requirement’ includes any condition of licence, expectation, encouragement and definition.

F. National news services

Programming

1. As regards Bell’s national news service, please provide the following:

  1. The current programming schedules for Bell’s service, including feeds, as well as links to websites that set them out, if available.

  2. Bell’s programming strategy for this service, specifically as it relates to the production, scheduling and promotion of original news programs, as well as an overview of their most successful programs and the characteristics of their success.

Submit your response to this question as part of the document entitled “Bell-National news”.

Standard conditions of licence

2. In Revised standard conditions of licence for Canadian discretionary services operating as national news services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-436 (BRP 2015-436), the Commission issued revised standard conditions of licence for Canadian discretionary services operating as national news services, with the intention that they be applied at the time of the renewal of the licences and be used to determine whether these services should continue to benefit from mandatory distribution as national news services. Please confirm that Bell will abide by the standard conditions of licence, expectations and encouragement set out in the Appendix to BRP 2015-436 for its national news service. Submit this confirmation as part of the document entitled “Bell-National news”.

If the licensee has concerns with any of these conditions of licence, specify the condition(s) it proposes to amend with a detailed rationale in support of any such amendment, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support any exception to the standard conditions and expectations, and proposed wording for alternative conditions, expectations or encouragement. Please submit this information for each service as part of the document entitled “Bell-National news” in the format provided in the table below:

Name of service

Standard COL Proposed COL Rationale
     
     

G. On-demand services

Programming

1. Please confirm the primary language of the service(s), as identified on the broadcast licence(s).

2. As set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2011-59-1, the Commission expects licensees to make their program offering available to the maximum extent possible in both official languages. Please describe how the licensees have fulfilled this expectation.

3. In regards to the programming offered by the service(s), please respond to the following:

  1. Please provide a program list for Bell ExpressVu’s and Northwestel’s VOD and PPV services. The list should identify each program by programming category and by country of origin and indicate the period of time that each program was on the server and available to subscribers.

  2. Please provide Bell ExpressVu’s and Northwestel’s programming strategy for these services, specifically as it relates to the promotion of original Canadian programs, as well as an overview of their most successful programs and the characteristics of their success.

Submit your response to these questions as part of the document entitled “Bell-On-demand”.

Amendments to requirements other than standard requirements

4. Please note that, as announced in the Create Policy, the Commission will undertake a proceeding to establish standard requirements for on-demand services, which would replace those set out in Revised exemption order for certain classes of video-on-demand (VOD) undertakings and updated standard conditions of licence for licensed VOD undertakings, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-355, 6 August 2015, as of 1 September 2017. Accordingly, further correspondence will follow to confirm whether Bell will adhere to the new standard requirements for its on-demand services. If Bell has concerns with any of the requirements, it will be given the opportunity to provide amendments with a detailed rationale as to why it believes that its services should not be subject to these requirements.

  1. Provide a list of all conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements and definitions set out in the most recent Commission decision other than standard requirements. Please confirm if the on-demand services will continue to operate in compliance with these requirements.

  2. If the applicant is proposing any amendments to existing conditions of licence, expectations, encouragements or definitions, complete the table below providing a detailed rationale for any proposed changes, including, where appropriate, financial evidence to support any changes.

Please submit all of this information as part of the document entitled “Bell-On-demand” in the format provided in the table below:

Name of service

Current non-standard requirement Requirement to remain the same (Yes/No) Proposed requirement (if a change is proposed) Rationale
       
       

Note: for the purposes of this table, ‘requirement’ includes any condition of licence, expectation, encouragement and definition.

Independently administered production fund(s)

5. Indicate the name(s) of the independently administered production fund(s) to which 5% of the services’ annual gross revenues will be contributed.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Bell ExpressVu Inc. (the general partner) and Bell Canada (the limited partner), carrying on business as Bell ExpressVu Limited Partnership

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Footnote 2

The purpose of this question is to identify a principal contact person for the licence renewal process. Please specify if there is more than one contact person.

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Footnote 2

As set out in Schedule 1 to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, an original, first-run program means the original exhibition of a program that has not been distributed by another broadcasting undertaking licensed by the Commission.

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