Broadcasting Commission Letter addressed to Various Parties Interested

Ottawa, 15 May 2019

Our reference: 1011-NOC2019-0067

BY EMAIL

Kevin Goldstein, Vice President – Regulatory Affairs, Content and Distribution, BCE Inc.
Karen Phillips, Senior Director, Government Relations and Compliance, Corus Entertainment Inc.
Susan Wheeler, Vice-President, Regulatory, Media, Rogers Media Inc.

RE:  Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-67 – Request for Information by 21 May 2019

Madams, Sirs,

This letter sets out the questions for parties to this proceeding to answer by 21 May 2019.

Context

On 11 March 2019, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) published Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2019-67 Call for comments on an amendment proposed by Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. to their condition of licence that requires prime time programming to be broadcast with described video.

In paragraph 19 of that Notice, the Commission stated that “The Commission may request information, in the form of interrogatories, from any party to the proceeding.” Responses to questions from the Commission must be filed by 21 May 2019.  This letter sets out questions to be answered by that date.

Procedures for filing

Responses to these requests for information must 1) refer to the file number noted above, and 2) be sent to the Secretary General of the Commission via My CRTC Account (at the following link: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/cover.htm) using GCKey. GCKey allows you to securely access the Government of Canada’s online services and conduct online business.

For further information on how to submit your response, see the CRTC’s web page Submitting applications and other documents to the CRTC using My CRTC Account.

As set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-961, Procedures for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure in Commission proceedings, parties may designate certain information as confidential.

Parties must provide an abridged version of the document involved, accompanied by a detailed rationale to explain why the disclosure of the information is not in the public interest. All submissions are to be made in accordance with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure, SOR/2010-277.

Should you have any questions, please contact Natalie Riendeau, Senior Analyst, Social and Consumer Policy, at natalie.riendeau@crtc.gc.ca.

A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record of the proceeding.

Yours sincerely,

(Original signed by)

Nanao Kachi
Director, Social and Consumer Policy
CRTC

c.c. mary-louise.hayward@crtc.gc.ca, Manager, Social and Consumer Policy

Questions for Bell, Corus and Rogers

Bell 2.1

In its responses to Requests for Information (RFIs) dated 8 Apr 2019, Bell submitted that it requires programs from U.S. suppliers to be delivered with described video (DV) “where available.” 

The exception sought by the licensees entails a process that would involve adding DV to certain U.S. first-run prime time programming after first airing at a cost that would be incurred by Bell.  Explain why it is impossible for Bell to pay its U.S. suppliers up front for the costs of including DV in supplied programming such that this programming is procured to be consistent with Bell’s Condition of Licence for prime time content to be broadcast with DV.  

Corus 2.1

In its responses to RFIs dated 8 Apr 2019, Corus submitted that it is its practice in procuring programming from U.S. studios to request that content be delivered with DV or that Corus be permitted to have the content “captioned” itself.  Corus states that it makes best efforts to ensure that programming is delivered with DV and, where it is not, it attempts to have the program described locally.

The exception sought by the licensees entails a process that would involve adding DV to certain U.S. first-run prime time programming after first airing at a cost that would be incurred by Corus. 

  1. Explain why it is impossible for Corus to pay its U.S. suppliers up front for the costs of including DV in supplied programming such that this programming is procured to be consistent with Corus’ Condition of Licence for prime time content to be broadcast with DV.
  2. Explain what is meant by the words bolded in the following statement:
    […] we made clear that it is our practice to request that the content be delivered with described versions, or that we be permitted to have the content captioned ourselves.

Corus 2.2

Corus claims that its response to RFI 6. a. (8 Apr 2019), provided below in emphasis, is confidential and has filed an abridged version.

  1. Appendix C of the application includes letters from Sony Pictures Television, CBS Studios International, Warner Brothers International Television Distribution Inc., and NBC Universal.
    1. Does your organization have agreements in place with each or any of these companies or their subsidiaries for the procurement of the programming listed in your answer to question 3? 

Corus is requested to disclose this information for which it has claimed confidentiality.  Corus has not explained how this information is of a type listed in the appendix to Information Bulletin 2010-961 nor did Corus provide detailed rationale to explain why disclosure of this information is not in the public interest.

Corus is also requested to provide an answer to 6.a. in respect of the information that it provided on the record for Question 3.  Corus may consider filing this information in confidence with the Commission if it can demonstrate that it is of a type listed in the appendix to Bulletin 2010-961 and can explain why disclosure of this information is not in the public interest.

Corus 2.3

The Licensees’ application to the Commission dated 28 November 2018 includes a letter from CBS Studios International addressed to Corus’ Sr. Vice president, Global Entertainment and Content Acquisitions.  The RFIs issued on 14 March included questions that were sent to CBS Studios by registered mail.  The mail was returned to the Commission unopened without explanation.

Commission staff considers the information sought from CBS Studios International to be necessary for completeness and meaningful interpretation of the record. 

Provide contact information for the appropriate person within CBS Studios who is best positioned to respond to the Commission’s questions.

Corus 2.4

Corus claims that its response to RFI 11. c. iii. (8 Apr 2019), provided below with emphasis, is confidential and has thus filed an abridged version.  For reference, RFI 11. c. (8 Apr 2019) is provided below in its entirety.

  1. c.    Corus:  On 16 September 2015, Corus announced the creation of Quay Media Services Footnote1 and the acquisition of FastFile Media Services: Footnote2 For the programming at issue in this application for which a 72-hour exception has been requested:

    1. Confirm the degree to which Corus uses or plans to use Quay Media Services and/or FastFile Media Services to provide described video. 
    2. In your answer specify whether or not Corus uses this approach in conjunction with, or in lieu of, setting out procurement requirements for described video programming in agreements with suppliers.
    3. Confirm whether Quay Media Services or FastFile Media Services has, or plans to have, commercial arrangements to provide described video services to the entities identified in this application, i.e., Bell, Rogers, Onextra or Red Bee.   If yes, describe the nature of those commercial arrangements.

Corus is requested to disclose this information for which it has claimed confidentiality.  Corus has not explained how this information is of a type listed in the appendix to Information Bulletin 2010-961 nor did Corus provide detailed rationale to explain why disclosure of this information is not in the public interest.

Rogers 2.1

In its responses to RFIs dated 8 Apr 2019, Rogers confirmed that it is its practice to procure U.S. programming with DV “whenever available.”

The exception sought by the licensees entails a process that would involve adding DV to certain U.S. first-run prime time programming after first airing at a cost that would be incurred by Rogers.  Explain why it is impossible for Rogers to pay its U.S. suppliers up front for the costs of including DV in supplied programming such that this programming is procured to be consistent with Rogers’ Condition of Licence for prime time content to be broadcast with DV.

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