Broadcasting Commission Letter adressed to Ron Sparkes (Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited)
Ottawa, 14 January 2020
Mr. Ron Sparkes
COO and CFO
Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited
446 Logy Bay Road
P.O. Box 2020
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Our reference: 2019-0545-7
Subject: Part I Application 2019-0545-7 – Application for amendment to CJON-DT’s condition of licence that requires prime time programming to be broadcast with described video
Dear Mr. Sparkes,
Commission staff are in receipt of your letter dated 19 December 2019 concerning the above-noted application by Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited (NTV), licensee of CJON-DT, which was temporarily suspended by Commission staff on 2 August 2019. NTV is seeking an amendment to its condition of licence that requires prime time programming drawn from certain program categories to be broadcast with described video (DV).
On 3 December 2019, the Commission issued Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392 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. The amended condition of licence requires Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Media to provide DV for all English- and French-language programming that is broadcast during prime time and which is drawn from certain program categories with the exception of U.S. programming received without DV less than 24 hours prior to air.
In the above-referenced letter, NTV amends its original application to request the same amended condition of licence that was granted to Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Rogers Media at paragraph 40 of Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392.
Commission staff note that the Commission granted the exception in the context of programming received by Bell, Corus and Rogers from U.S. suppliers/distributors as set out in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392:
The Licensees argued that they cannot negotiate with U.S. studios to provide DV for programming where it does not exist, and that Canadian broadcasters do not have the ability to influence the actual production process.Footnote1
The Licensees noted that they “never identified cost as a prohibiting factor in the provision of described video” […] Rather, they asserted that the issue is one of “time and supply.”Footnote2
[…] the Licensees acknowledged that the amount of the programming in question is small and is largely limited to first-run live, near-live or embargoed programs.Footnote3
Moreover, the issues in question relate to the supply of DV programming specific to the U.S., as the Licensees only referred to U.S. suppliers.Footnote4
In sum, the exception given to Bell, Corus and Rogers in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392 was primarily driven by first-run live, near-live or embargoed programming received from American suppliers less than 24 hours prior to broadcast and did not address American programming in general.
In light of the above, Commission staff request NTV answer the questions outlined below in order to understand its particular circumstances and whether similar relief could be appropriate.
- Provide your program supply agreement with Corus. Please include the following information:
- The manner in which NTV receives programming from Corus.
- Explain in detail the issue identified at paragraph 25 of NTV’s application concerning the restrictions contained in its program supply agreement with Corus. These restrictions appear to require NTV to broadcast certain programs received from Corus in post release to Global Ontario; sometimes a week later.
- Highlight areas of the agreement that relate to DV.
- Does NTV have a program supply agreement with a Canadian supplier/distributor other than Corus?
- As explained above, the exception given to Bell, Corus and Rogers in Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392 was primarily driven by first-run live, near-live or embargoed programming received from American suppliers less than 24 hours prior to broadcast.
Outside of programming supbeplied by Corus, identify the amount of hours and the percentage of programming broadcast by NTV that would be captured by the circumstances described above.
- Outside of programming supplied by Corus, and consistent with paragraph 44 of Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2019-392, would NTV accept an expectation from the Commission to keep logs detailing the receipt date of all U.S. programs received without DV and broadcast in prime time?
- Confirm that NTV provides described video for the two movies it broadcasts in prime time each week.
The information requested herein should be submitted to the Commission by no later than 24 January 2020, failing which, the application may be returned to be completed and resubmitted with the Commission should NTV wish to pursue this proposal.
The Commission requires the response or other documents to be submitted electronically by using the secured service “My CRTC Account” (Partner Log In or GCKey) and filling the “Broadcasting and Telecom Cover page” or the “Broadcasting Cover Page” located on this web page. Also on this web page you will find information on the submission of applications to the Commission “Filing Broadcasting and Canadian Program Certification documents with the CRTC: Privacy and Security”.
A copy of this letter and all related correspondence will be added to the public record of the proceeding.
Should you have any questions, please contact Natalie Riendeau, Senior Analyst, Social and Consumer Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Original signed by)
Director, Social and Consumer Policy
Consumer, Research and Communications
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
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