ARCHIVED -  Transcript of Proceeding

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Policy proceeding on a group-based approach to the licensing of television services and on certain issues relating to conventional television


Outaouais Room

140 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec

November 26, 2009


In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages

Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be

bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members

and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of


However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded

verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in

either of the official languages, depending on the language

spoken by the participant at the public hearing.

Canadian Radio-television and

Telecommunications Commission


Policy proceeding on a group-based approach to the licensing of television services and on certain issues relating to conventional television


Konrad von Finckenstein   Chairperson

Michel Arpin   Commissioner

Len Katz   Commissioner

Rita Cugini   Commissioner

Elizabeth Duncan   Commissioner

Suzanne Lamarre   Commissioner

Timothy Denton   Commissioner

Candice Molnar   Commissioner

Stephen Simpson   Commissioner


Jade Roy   Secretary

Stephen Millington   Legal Counsel

Valérie Dionne

Jeff Conrad   Hearing Manager /


Outaouais Room

140 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec

November 26, 2009

- iv -




Pelmorex Media Inc.   2070 /11649

Stornoway Communications   2080 /11698

S-VOX Group of Companies   2089 /11738

Crossroads Television System   2115 /11913

Score Media Inc.   2132 /12035

CPSC-SCFP   2175 /12269

Directors Guild of Canada   2224 /12513

Alliance for Children and Television   2253 /12710

Union des artistes et SARTEC   2277 /12817

   Gatineau, Quebec

--- Upon resuming on Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 0900

11643   THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Bonjour, tout le monde.

11644   Madame la Secrétaire, commençons.

11645   THE SECRETARY: For the record, Independent Broadcaster Group have indicated that they will not be appearing.

11646   Also, the Commission accepted Pelmorex Communications' request to be part of this proceeding.

11647   We will now proceed with Pelmorex Communications, Stornoway Communications and S-VOX Group of Companies. We will hear each presentation, which will then be followed by questions by the Commission to all participants.

11648   We will begin with the presentation of Pelmorex. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.


11649   MR. TEMPLE: Thank you.

11650   Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs, Commissioners. My name is Paul Temple. I am the Senior Vice-President, Regulatory and Strategic Affairs for Pelmorex Media Inc.

11651   With me is Luc Perreault, our Vice-President, Affiliate and Government Relations.

11652   I believe you are all familiar with Pelmorex Media Inc. and our specialty services The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, so I will spare you a lengthy introduction.

11653   It is worth pointing out, however, that we are carried on the basic service by all our affiliate BDUs and, using our unique technologies, produce well over 40 hours of local programming each week in each of over 1100 communities. We have an authorized basic rate of 23 cents, which has changed in over 15 years.

11654   I would like to thank the Commission for accommodating our request to appear at this public hearing. Originally, it was not our intent to do so but the nature of the discussions seems to have drifted into areas which are a cause of great concern to Pelmorex.

11655   In particular, the emphasis during this hearing on three issues has brought us here today:

11656   - first, the concept of a skinny basic service;

11657   - second, the use of in-kind contributions as a means of addressing any value-for-signal stalemate; and

11658   - third, the suggestion that specialty services having somehow contributed to the financial predicament of over-the-air broadcasters must now be required to compensate broadcasters for those losses.

11659   We will deal with each of these issues in turn.

11660   M. PERREAULT : Pelmorex a toujours mis de l'avant et appuyé des politiques qui mettaient en avant scène une grande distribution des services de programmation canadiens autorisés.

11661   Dans les commentaires que nous avons déposés lors des récentes instances, incluant notamment les audiences sur la diversité des voix, la revue de la réglementation des EDR, ainsi que l'offre de publicité sur des fenêtres mises à la disposition des EDR, nous avons toujours mis de l'avant le principe de la plus grande distribution possible pour les services canadiens.

11662   Conséquemment, nous n'appuyons pas toute nouvelle réglementation qui viserait à limiter le nombre de services canadiens autorisés qui sont éligibles à la distribution au service de base des EDR.

11663   Dans le passé, le Conseil a lui-même encouragé la distribution des services spécialisés canadiens dans le but, d'une part, d'assurer leur viabilité financière, et d'autre part, de leur donner accès au plus grand auditoire potentiel possible, et ce, au tarif le plus abordable.

11664   Nous n'avons pas entendu d'argument contraire à cette position du Conseil lors de cette instance. En conséquence, nous ne croyons pas que le Conseil doive changer de cap en adoptant une position qui viserait à limiter l'accès des consommateurs canadiens aux services de programmation canadiens autorisés.

11665   MR. TEMPLE: Against this backdrop of encouraging the broad distribution of Canadian services, it seems to Pelmorex that the proponents of a skinny basic service are largely limited to those over-the-air broadcasters who hope to mitigate any consumer or political backlash caused by an increase in basic service fees brought about by their value-for-signal negotiations.

11666   By limiting the cost of the basic service, these over-the-air broadcasters appear to hope that the real cause of any rate increase would be hidden or at least camouflaged.

11667   The CBC's suggestion that a skinny basic would act as a tempering mechanism on basic rates is naïve. Any increase in fees will be passed on to subscribers either in the form of a higher basic rate or, if BDUs are not allowed to increase those basic rates, in the form of higher fees for discretionary tiers.

11668   We are deeply concerned that under this bizarre proposal a subscriber to only the skinny basic would not bear any of the cost increase that would result from value-of-signal negotiations, notwithstanding they receive all the local over-the-air services. Instead, all other subscribers would see their rates increased.

11669   Pelmorex fails to see any policy rationale that would justify a regulation that would require unrelated programming services distributed in discretionary packages to bear the brunt of a value-of-signal cost increase while the basic service containing local over-the-air broadcasters who would directly benefit from these fees are held harmless.

11670   It is rare that we find ourselves agreeing with Rogers, Shaw and other BDUs but in this case a skinny basic is a solution in search of a problem.

11671   If the Commission believes that the basic service must be rate-regulated to ensure it remains affordable, then it should undertake a proceeding focused solely on this issue, regardless of the outcome of this hearing.

11672   Moreover, as Pelmorex has demonstrated on a number of occasions in past proceedings, the growth in the cost of basic service is unrelated to the cost of the programming services distributed on the basic service. Therefore, regardless of whether there needs to be basic rate regulation there is no logical reason for the Commission to place restrictions on which licensed Canadian programming services may be carried on the basic service.

11673   M. PERREAULT : Pelmorex est aussi préoccupé du fait que le Conseil, au diapason de certains intervenants, semble vouloir encourager une certaine forme de troque dans la négociation rattachée à la valeur de la retransmission et de l'offre d'un signal. Ce genre de troque est, selon nous, une pente glissante qui exige un examen plus approfondi.

11674   En effet, la situation financière difficile dans laquelle se retrouvent certains télédiffuseurs conventionnels pourrait les amener à faire des concessions dans le domaine des disponibilités publicitaires, plus communément appelées ad avails, ainsi que dans le domaine de la vidéo à la carte ou des droits de retransmission sur l'Internet, afin de recevoir une contribution financière immédiate de la part des distributeurs.

11675   Les politiques qui régissent de nouvelles fenêtres de diffusion en évolution constante, telles la vidéo à la demande, l'insertion dynamique de pause publicitaire, et l'offre de contenu télévisuel via les portails Internet, devraient être établies dans un contexte plus serein, et non pas dans une situation où certains acteurs font face à des défis considérables.

11676   Par ailleurs, si les EDR se voient forcées par le Conseil d'entretenir des discussions sur la valeur de la retransmission du signal, elles pourraient aussi être tentées d'inclure la vidéo à la demande, l'insertion dynamique de pause publicitaire, et l'offre de contenu télévisuel via des portails Internet lors de ces mêmes discussions.

11677   Ces ententes deviendraient assurément des précédents, qui seraient par la suite étendues à toute l'industrie et qui pourraient avoir des conséquences inattendues, dont l'impact n'est pas immédiatement perceptible aujourd'hui.

11678   MR. TEMPLE: Finally, Pelmorex is most concerned at the suggestion raised at this hearing that specialty services, being one of many reasons given for the decline in ad revenues of over-the-air broadcasters, should therefore make some financial contribution to help mitigate the audience fragmentation that has been experienced.

11679   Apart from setting an extraordinary precedent with no sound policy rationale, the regulatory machinations required to establish such a contribution would outweigh the actual contributions that specialty services would be required to make.

11680   To begin with, such a policy makes no sense. The specialty service industry has not committed a crime or acted negligently, so there is no rationale for imposing some sort of restitution requirement.

11681   Regardless of whether and to what degree specialty services might have played a role in the fragmentation of television viewing, they did so under a regime established by the Commission and founded on regulations and policies that were designed to meet and foster the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

11682   Establishing a Robin Hood approach to broadcasting policy would simply set the whole system on its head. It would discourage innovation for fear at some later date of having to pay additional restitution and would ultimately undermine the Canadian broadcasting system.

11683   Even if the Commission were to decide to implement a restitution regime, such a framework would open up a myriad of further claims. Radio most certainly would have grounds to apply to the Commission for compensation from the TV industry and the Commission would then have to entertain claims against new media services brought by all licensed programming services.

11684   If a restitution model is implemented for over-the-air broadcasters, might individual cases be brought before the Commission?

11685   Could The Weather Network or any other analog specialty service now make a claim against Category B services or foreign satellite services?

11686   Apart the limitless number of claims that could be made if such a police were implemented, how would the Commission determine the appropriate level of restitution that each pay and special service be required to pay to over-the-air broadcasters?

11687   How many more hearings might be necessary to allocate causality among the guilty? Would services with little or no advertising be assessed a fine?

11688   Would restitution be paid only by licensees where the unlicensed new media services bear no responsibility for the fragmentation they have caused?

11689   What fine would foreign specialty services pay?

11690   Are specialty services even guilty? The chart attached to our oral remarks would suggest otherwise.

11691   In our view, the regulatory regime that would require pay and specialty services to pay restitution to over-the-air broadcasters would be bad public policy, it would be divisive and would undermine the Canadian broadcasting system's ability to achieve the objectives set out in the Act.

11692   In closing, Pelmorex encourages the Commission to reject calls for a skinny basic and any suggestion that pay and specialty services should pay some sort of restitution for over-the-air broadcasters.

11693   We are also leery of the impact that proposals to allow in-kind contributions for the value of signals would have on the broadcasting system.

11694   Finally, we filed written comments in this proceeding in which we expressed concerns about the group-based licensing model proposed in the Notice of Consultation. Our concerns related to the possibility that the creation of a regulatory framework could provide the largest corporate groups in Canada with increased flexibility and significant competitive advantages over small independent broadcasters.

11695   We appreciate this opportunity to appear before you and would be pleased to respond to your questions.

11696   THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

11697   We will now proceed with Stornoway Communications. Please introduce yourself, after which you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.


11698   MS FUSCA: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs, Commissioners and staff. I am Martha Fusca, President and CEO of Stornoway Communications. We thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to express our views and concerns in this proceeding.

11699   Stornoway is an independent television broadcast production company. It is the licensee of three digital special programming services: ichannel, a Category A public and social affairs issues channel, and two Category B channels, bpm:tv, Canada's dance channel, and The Pet Network.

11700   Since 2001 I have spent much of my time and energy and Stornoway's resources being a responsible broadcaster and also appearing before you to stress, address and emphasize that the Commission cannot lose sight of two regulatory objectives.

11701   The first objective is in the Broadcasting Act. It requires that there be a strong Canadian presence in the broadcasting system in the form of distinct and diverse Canadian programming services.

11702   In Public Notice 2008-100 the Commission acknowledged that the principles of the Broadcasting Act require that access to Canadian content be assured and that all broadcasters deliver Canadian programs through all parts of the system so that all viewers may select Canadian content that is relevant to them.

11703   The second objective was also reiterated by the Commission as recently as in Public Notice 2008-100. It concerns the importance of ensuring that the broadcasting system as a whole be calibrated such that no single player or group of players can exercise undue influence.

11704   Given the decisions of the Commission at the conclusion of the BDU and specialty hearing and what may transpire at the conclusion of this one, I fear that we may be losing sight of these important objectives and indeed the regulatory imperatives required to meet them.

11705   Asking that these two objectives remain paramount for the Commission is the basis for Stornoway's appearance today.

11706   Our participation in this hearing is limited to requesting that the Commission not authorize a recalibration of the existing economic underpinnings of the Canadian broadcasting system without considering the effect of such recalibration on its most vulnerable sector, independent specialty broadcasters.

11707   In short, for the reasons that follow, Stornoway is requesting that the Commission address the need for mitigating regulatory safeguards if a payment by BDUs to over-the-air broadcasters for the carriage of their signals is authorized.

11708   Whether one uses new acronyms or fee for carriage to characterize the compensation by BDUs to OTA broadcasters being considered at this hearing, it is obvious to all that the net result will be the same.

11709   A fee not until now paid by BDUs, whether negotiated, imposed, sanctioned or authorized by the Commission, would be paid to OTA licensees for the OTA signals the BDUs distribute.

11710   It is also obvious to all that such a fee would be passed on to BDU subscribers in light of the existing regulatory framework.

11711   We have read and listened to the arguments of the large BDUs in this debate. We have also heard their position loudly elaborated in public in the past months.

11712   Their position confirms that any payment to OTA broadcasters, negotiated or imposed, will be passed on to subscribers. As stated openly by one BDU, the feel will be recouped through a so-called recalibration of the wholesale fees paid by BDUs to special services, more likely those not owned by them.

11713   Both forms of recoupment may in fact occur to the benefit of the same BDU. In either case, independent specialty broadcasters stand to be affected first and to lose most as your most vulnerable licensees. As much was posited by Bell Canada in its submission.

11714   Both methods of BDU recovery will have a devastating impact on the independents. Absent mitigating regulatory measures, the independents will lose subscribers. They will lose revenue. They will have reduced access. They may lose access altogether and disappear from the broadcasting landscape. With them will disappear a diversity of voices, independent ownership, employment and a platform and incubator for creators, producers and broadcasters.

11715   The Commission itself stated very recently that the introduction of the fee being considered in this hearing would have an impact on other parts of the broadcasting industry, specifically on pay and specialty services.

11716   In the Public Notice initiating the 2008-100 proceeding, the Commission acknowledge that such a fee would constitute a fundamental change to the revenue structure of the broadcasting system.

11717   We are not alone in submitting that a fee paid by BDUs to OTA services would amount to a fundamental change for another programming component of the broadcasting system, independent pay and specialty services.

11718   Neither are we alone in submitting that such a change would require a reconsideration of the regulations pertaining to the relationship of such services, most specifically the independent specialty services with the BDUs.

11719   The largest OTA networks have expressed in their submissions their own concerns vis-à-vis the capacity of BDUs to counter the potential effect of an increase on them and on their subscribers' invoices, in the BDUs' view, disconnection and/or the lowering in the take-up rate of specialty services.

11720   The largest OTA broadcasters have expressed the fear that BDUs will use their bargaining power at the expense of discretionary services to minimize the impact of the fee paid by them to OTA broadcasters.

11721   They could, it is feared, lower wholesale rates, engage in negative access and packaging terms, exact unfair use of linear programming, require greater access to the media advertising pie and outright removal of services.

11722   I assure you, Commissioners, when CTV and Canwest worry on this score, the independents shudder.

11723   You have already heard similar concerns from French-language broadcasters. Together, CTV and Canwest garner the majority of the revenues generated by the distribution of English-language specialty services. They have some bargaining leverage. The independents don't.

11724   Already, BDUs will not renew or negotiate the terms of affiliation contracts until the result of this proceeding is known and the policies outlined in Public Notice 2008-100 come into effect. Some BDUs attempt to negotiate one year or month-to-month affiliation contracts.

11725   Mr. Chairman, Stornoway is doubly worried by the suggestion repeated often at this hearing that some of the items that can be negotiated with the BDUs are concessions to new revenue streams for them such as access to linear programming for their VOD platforms, including advertising opportunities, increased access to advertising avails and the right to advertise in their community programming.

11726   All three would be in the last analysis at the expense of all programming services, including independent specialty programming services.

11727   Research has shown that media advertising as a percentage of GDP has varied very little over the years and, as you have heard many times before, the advertising pie is not growing.

11728   Stornoway is dependent on BDUs to reach audiences. As an independent it has no leverage. Its very existence and that of other independents will be threatened by the effect that the introduction of a fee paid by BDUs to OTA licensees would have on the economic regime now governing the relationship between BDUs and OTA services.

11729   That threat must be mitigated through a reconsideration of the relationship between BDUs and pay and specialty services, particularly unaffiliated pay and specialty services.

11730   The broadcasting system constitutes a single system under which all regulations are interrelated. A change in the overall regulatory framework as significant as the fee under consideration cannot be put in place without a review of the rules that currently govern or soon will govern the relationship between BDUs and unaffiliated specialty services.

11731   We agree with Canwest that the Commission has a responsibility to put in place policies and protections that ensure that the objectives of the Broadcasting Act can be met by the parties it regulates -- in our view, by all the parties the Commission has licensed and regulated.

11732   Independent broadcasters, including Stornoway, have responded to Notice of Consultation 2009-614 which asks for submissions on the impact a compensation regime for local signals would have on the various components of the communications industry and for proposed mechanisms to mitigate such impact. We will continue our participation in that process.

11733   Today we ask that the new economic regime proposed in the form of a fee paid by BDUs to OTA broadcasters not be considered without a reconsideration of its effect on independent specialty broadcasters' ability to discharge their responsibilities.

11734   We ask for a focus on the changes to the regulatory framework proposed between BDUs and unaffiliated discretionary services that may be warranted. Anything else would be, in our view, a piecemeal recalibration of one component of the broadcasting regulatory framework without adequate concern and respect to its effect on another equally important component.

11735   We thank you for your invitation and attention and I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

11736   THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

11737   We will now proceed with S-VOX Group of Companies. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.


11738   M. ROBERTS : Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs, Monsieur le Président, Membres du Conseil, Commission staff.

11739   My name is Bill Roberts and I am the President and CEO of the S-VOX Group of Companies, and happily joining me today is Monique Lafontaine, our Vice-President of Regulatory Affairs at S-VOX. We are, of course, pleased to appear before you today.

11740   This hearing represents a decisive moment for the Canadian broadcasting system. Its outcome will inform next year's station group renewals and could well alter the regulatory landscape for all licensed television services.

11741   While the S-VOX services are not up for renewal next spring, they may be profoundly affected by the results of this proceeding. We therefore appreciate this opportunity to share our views.

11742   S-VOX is one of the few remaining independent broadcasting groups. Its story begins more than two decades ago with the launch of VisionTV, a unique in the world multi-faith and multicultural service dedicated to serving Canadians of all beliefs and all backgrounds.

11743   Licensed as a dual-status analog specialty service, VisionTV is available today in more than 10 million Canadian homes. To loyal viewers it is a go-to destination for programming that celebrates Canada's diversity of faiths and of cultures.

11744   Over the years the S-VOX family of channels has grown.

11745   In 2001 we launched One: the Body, Mind & Spirit channel as a Category 1, now Category A, specialty service. One is the perfect complement to VisionTV, serving Canadians who seek personal growth, wellness and spiritual renewal.

11746   In 2008 S-VOX acquired two over-the-air stations, CHNU-TV Fraser Valley and CIIT Winnipeg. These faith-based local services now operate under the Joytv brand name, delivering a blend of spiritual, entertainment and current affairs programming for viewers in their respective markets.

11747   The S-VOX channels make a significant contribution to the richness of the Canadian television system and I am very proud to say that four times -- I think it is perhaps unprecedented -- four times in the past decade VisionTV programs have been honoured at the Geminis with the prestigious Canada Award for reflecting excellence in faith and cultural and ethnic diversity.

11748   Our services also support the creation of new original Canadian drama. We commission and air a vast array of interesting and thought-provoking documentaries and bring audiences to them through thematic program stunt weeks that are the focus of intense on-air and online promotion. We also broadcast nearly 1,000 hours a year of local content on the Joytv stations.

11749   The S-VOX outlets are also an important window for Canada's independent production community. Last year more than 80 different independent producers were given a voice in our stations. Many of these producers have no other opportunity to be greenlit in Canada.

11750   We take great pride in our work with the independent production community and are pleased to report and support the recent Gemini award-winning projects like the documentary "I Prophesy" and "Driven By Vision" as well as the drama series "SOUL".

11751   As you heard last week from Linda Schuyler during the CFTPA's presentation, VisionTV invited independent Canadian producers to submit proposals for an original comedy drama series. We received 280 submissions from across the country, an astonishing number that exceeded even our wildest expectations.

11752   VisionTV's commitment to developing unique high-quality Canadian programming is clearly recognized and widely appreciated.

11753   The success of the S-VOX as a whole rests heavily on the strength of our flagship service, VisionTV.

11754   A strong and healthy VisionTV enables us to attract and retain talent and generates the revenue we need to commission, produce and license the high-quality programming our viewers expect.

11755   A strong and healthy VisionTV also allows us to create synergies between our broadcasting properties and opens up advertising opportunities for our Joytv stations.

11756   Any changes to the regulatory regime that weaken or diminish VisionTV will, in turn, affect all of our services.

11757   With this as a backdrop, we would like to address some of the regulatory issues that have been raised in this hearing and I will now pass the floor to Monique Lafontaine.

11758   Monique.

11759   MS LAFONTAINE: Thank you, Bill.

11760   One of the issues that the Commission is considering in this proceeding is the scope of services that should be included when calculating group requirements.

11761   We propose that the Commission include only the major station groups -- private station groups. These broadcasters hold the lion's share of the ratings and revenues and should be making appropriate contributions to the system in light of this. This is consistent with the Commission's approach to the regulation of BDUs.

11762   We also recommend that less restrictive regulatory requirements be imposed on smaller groups. For example, we urge you not to impose a CPE on smaller OTA services such as our Joytv stations. This will support the continued presence of a plurality of smaller OTA voices within the system.

11763   Turning to value for signal, while S-VOX endorses payment by BDUs for over-the-air signals, we have mixed feelings on the practical level of a value-for-signal regime for the following reasons.

11764   First, it is unlikely that S-VOX will be able to negotiate any value for signal with BDUs. This is not because our signals have no value but because we do not have any kind of hammer with which to motivate BDUs to come to the table to negotiate a deal with us. Unless the Commission is prepared to consider arbitrating or enabling the arbitration by a third-party arbitrator, our OTA stations will likely not see any benefit.

11765   Second, if the cost of the value for signal is to be borne by subscribers and a skinny basic package is mandated, this could well result in the loss of subscribers for our discretionary services and in particular VisionTV. In turn, this could impact on Vision's contribution to the public policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act and its ability to meet its regulatory requirements.

11766   Another key issue in this hearing has been DTH carriage of local television signals. The CAB and S-VOX in particular have called for a regulatory framework requiring DTH operators to carry all local OTA stations in their local markets. Shaw Direct and Bell TV have responded by saying that they do not have the capacity to do so.

11767   We appreciate the difficult position in which the Commission finds itself. However, we urge you to look closely at the list of services offered by Shaw and Bell and we question why it is that they are able to carry the breadth of services that they offer, yet they are unable to carry the services that are the very backbone of the Canadian broadcasting system.

11768   Given the crucial role of local programming within our system and the importance that it plays in the lives of Canadians, DTH operators should be required to go beyond the proposed requirements set out in Public Notice 2008-100.

11769   Indeed, that policy should be altered to require DTH operators to carry all local signals in their local markets. We believe that the CAB's proposal for DTH services to achieve this within a three-year time frame is reasonable.

11770   In Regulatory Policy 2009-406 the Commission determined that OTA stations in metropolitan markets must convert their stations to digital OTA transmitters by August 31st, 2011. This proposed policy is of great concern to a small broadcaster such as S-VOX. As we have said in the past, it will cost us about $1 million to convert one OTA station to digital. We understand that there is some controversy over the actual dollar amount involved, but for the purposes of this discussion the actual quantum is not the issue.

11771   For the Joytv stations the conversion to digital is a highly onerous regulatory obligation. We therefore recommend that the Commission consider providing an exemption for smaller and less profitable television stations from the obligation to transition to digital.

11772   Bill...?

11773   MR. ROBERTS: Merci, Monique.

11774   Finally, we would like to speak to you about the Local Program Improvement Fund, LPIF.

11775    One of the questions asked by the Panel during this hearing is whether specialty services should be required to contribute to the LPIF. We listened with great interest over the past two weeks about how Rogers, CTV, Canwest and others benefited from the LPIF. However, there is a regulatory disconnect of small players such as VisionTV and One: the Body, Mind & Spirit channel are required to contribute a portion of their revenues to subsidize the largest players in the system.

11776   Specialty services already made significant contributions to the system through investments in Canadian programming and we would prefer to see those contributions maintained rather than diverted elsewhere.

11777   A greater concern that S-VOX has with the LPIF is the apparent exclusion of our local station in Winnipeg CIIT-TV from eligibility. Although not a news producing station, CIIT-TV produces and airs several hours a week of original current affairs local programming.

11778   This programming is well within the type of content that they LPIF was designed to support and it would do more if access to the LPIF were available to it. We believe that the current restrictive rules do a disservice to audiences in Manitoba.

11779   In conclusion, Canada's diversity as one of its greatest strengths. Our country is recognized and admired around the world for its ability to peacefully and creatively accommodate people of many faiths, cultures and demographics.

11780   From its inception, the S-VOX group of services has undertaken to reflect and to celebrate this extraordinary diversity. VisionTV and its sister stations seek to create a place on the screen where Canadians of all beliefs and backgrounds, from A to Z, from Anglicans to Zoroastrians will feel welcomed.

11781   Diversity is a great strength of Canadian television as well. We urge the Commission to consider the important contributions to the system of small and independent broadcasters like S-VOX during your deliberations.

11782   Of course we thank you for the opportunity to provide you with these comments and would be pleased, along with our colleagues, to answer any questions you may have.

11783   Thank you.

11784   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

11785   Pelmorex, paragraph 10 of your presentation you say you have:

"...demonstrated on a number of occasions in the past proceedings a growth in the cost of basic service unrelated to the cost of the programming services distributed on the basic service." (As read)

11786   (a) it's news to me; and (b) I am not aware of you having said that in previous proceedings.

11787   When did you say this?

11788   MR. TEMPLE: I think as early as the hearing into diversity of voices. We filed charts and tables that show the increase in the basic rates, as well as the increase on the services carried on basic. Typically the rates for the specialty services carried on basic since the cable rates were deregulated are, I don't know, maybe a quarter.

11789   THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you refile that before December 14th?

11790   MR. TEMPLE: It would be our pleasure to.

11791   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11792   Mrs. Fusca, listening to you, unless I misunderstood you, you are against value for signal of any kind.

11793   Is that right? That's the bottom line?

11794   MS FUSCA: No. I didn't say that, no.

11795   THE CHAIRPERSON: You didn't say that, I know that, that's why I'm trying to get a clear answer out of you. Because just listening to you I wasn't clear what was your position on value for signal.

11796   MS FUSCA: Well, you asked me at another hearing if I was supporting fee for carriage -- at that time it was called fee for carriage value for signal.

11797   THE CHAIRPERSON: Please, let's not get into this.

11798   MS FUSCA: Yes.

11799   THE CHAIRPERSON: To me these are totally different concepts.

11800   MS FUSCA: Yes. I understand.

11801   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm asking you for a value for service --

11802   MS FUSCA: Yes, value for service.

11803   THE CHAIRPERSON: -- negotiated value for service.

11804   MS FUSCA: Yes, I still support the notion of payment to the OTA broadcasters. So the answer is yes, I do.

11805   THE CHAIRPERSON: But make sure that it's not at the expense of the small independents.

11806   MS FUSCA: Yes. And I think it will require some recalibration of the entire system and I would like to think that you won't forget us

11807   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

11808   And S-VOX, on page 6 when you take about digital transition, you want an exemption for certain smaller and less profitable television stations.

11809   How do you reconcile that with our obligation to avoid interference and in effect remove Channel 52 to 67 from the 360 km coronation zone?

11810   MS LAFONTAINE: I'm sorry, I didn't -- if you could repeat the question for me?

11811   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, I am having a coughing attack here.

11812   You know that we have an agreement with the U.S., we have a 360 km coronation zone. Now, we have undertaken, like everybody else, to vacate the 700 MHz spectrum, the Channels 52 to 67, by 2011 from that zone. Your stations are right in that zone, if we give you an exemption wouldn't you be interfering and the whole purpose of what you are trying to do by the digital transition would be defeated?

11813   MS LAFONTAINE: But we would no longer be broadcasting using the spectrum, our service would be provided to Canadians by BDUs.

11814   THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, sorry. So when you say an exemption you mean an exemption from building towers?

11815   MS LAFONTAINE: Exactly

11816   THE CHAIRPERSON: But you would vacate those -- you would terminate those towers.

11817   Okay. Thank you for that clarification.

11818   Candice, over to you.

11819   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you and good morning.

11820   In the interest of fairness and recognizing that Ms Fusca has spent the last week and a half in our hearing room I am going to begin with her.

11821   Thank you for the clarification that you are not opposed to value for signal.

11822   What I found missing when I read your application and in your comments here today, I did understand that you have a concern as to the impact that that may have on the small and independent broadcasters, and you said in your statements here today that:

"... both methods of BDU recovery will have a devastating impact on the independents absent mitigating regulatory measures." (As read)

11823   What I did not find anywhere is what are the proposed regulatory measures that you believe are required to ensure that the interests of the small stations are safeguarded?

11824   MS FUSCA: Thank you for your question.

11825   What I would like to say right now is that for me the value for service is really about a principle, it's about a very fundamental principle. I think that we have to be incredibly cognizant of when somebody is delivering a product, whether it's a television product or otherwise, that there is value to that product. So for me it's really about a principle.

11826   With regards to your question specifically, we have another hearing coming up, 2009-614 and that's where I plan to address all of the others for the moment. All I'm asking the Commission to do is be very cognizant of the fact that if we do go down the road of value for signal, in whatever form it takes, that there will be repercussions, very serious repercussions, particularly in light of the decisions from the BDU and specialty hearings together.

11827   I believe that my company is in very serious jeopardy so I will be getting very specific in 2009-614 with regards to what I think the Commission should do.

11828   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Because I'm not that good with hearing numbers, is that the December hearing?

11829   MS FUSCA: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

11830   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. So with the timelines, therefore, if you are preparing for that, you could also file those specific recommendations as part of your final comments in this proceeding --

11831   MS FUSCA: Absolutely.

11832   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- so they are part of this.

11833   MS FUSCA: Absolutely I will.

11834   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you very much.

11835   MS FUSCA: You're welcome.

11836   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Mr. Temple, your comments here today were clear on your thoughts Of skinny basic and in-kind contributions. The very last, in your conclusions you mentioned that you have concerns with group licensing and the competitive advantages -- well, between this and your submission -- the competitive advantages that group licensing would provide to large broadcast groups versus independents.

11837   Could you expand on what is the competitive advantages you believe that it would provide?

11838   MR. TEMPLE: Certainly. If we understand the proposal, the large corporate groups will have the added flexibility of being able to move around their regulatory obligations and you have to ask yourself when they do that what is their motivation. You know, is there a motivation that they are going to look at the competitive landscape and say, well, you know, if we do this over here and move that over there we are going to be able to do better Canadian programming or are they going to be doing that because they see an advantage to capitalize in a competitive marketplace.

11839   So if you only have one licence there is no flexibility at all. The people who are the biggest who have already the advantage of scale are now given another advantage just because they are big. It's helping the bigger, the biggest get bigger and the smaller -- how are smaller independent services being helped? They are the ones I would argue who probably need the greatest assistance.

11840   Going back again to the diversity of voices, I think everyone was applauding the need for strengthening diversity in the system. This seems to be helping just the big at the expense of the smaller.

11841   So that is our concern.

11842   For us in particular, for our particular services there may not be any substantive harm, but this is a policy hearing and it just strikes us that this isn't a good policy.

11843   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I was going to ask you to follow up and tell me specifically how Pelmorex could be harmed by providing flexibility to the large groups that are supporting the OTA system.

11844   If you can identify any particular specialty that would be particularly harmed by this, I would be interested in knowing that --

11845   MR. TEMPLE: Well, our colleagues --

11846   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- because you are talking about competition amongst them.

11847   MR. TEMPLE: Yes. I think you will hear a lot about that from TheScore later on today and their concerns on this matter.

11848   As I said, for us we have always tried it at policy hearings to put forward policies that we think are in the best interest of the system as a whole and not just that favour ours.

11849   That's why we commented on some length on the issue of skinny basic. We are fortunate enough that we are on basic and if we meet our obligations we will continue to be on basic.

11850   You know, our view is what is best for the system and that is why we are here today.

11851   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

11852   Mr. Roberts, given that you carry or hold OTA as well as specialty I have a couple of more questions for you.

11853   Group licensing. You would not support group licensing for small groups.

11854   Is that correct?

11855   MR. ROBERTS: I will defer in the detail to my colleague Monique Lafontaine, but I would like to share with you a story about the hearing and the notion of group licensing, if that's possible.

11856   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: If it's a very short story.

--- Laughter

11857   MR. ROBERTS: Well, let me leave it this way, I think it was The Wag that said the only one that's lost with regard to decision-making is those who listen to everyone and then those that listen to only one. The challenge before us all as a community here in the broadcasting system, including the regulator, is how do we find a way of pulling together and not pulling apart.

11858   So I think we are open to some flexibility, but our concerns are for the small and independents.

11859   MS LAFONTAINE: I would like to add, if I may, to your question.

11860   In terms of the group licensing approach, we are not opposed to having all of our four stations come before you at the same time for renewal, and in fact it would make a lot of sense in the same way that it can make sense for the larger groups.

11861   What we are concerned about is the regulatory requirements that you might be imposing on the larger groups like a CPE on the OTA stations. We don't think that it would be appropriate to have that type of regulatory measure put on small essentially start up stations like our Joytv stations. We don't think that -- you know, we are still trying to find our audience, find our voice and to have some kind of set programming requirement when we are already faced with so many challenges as it is, access to LPIP, et cetera.

11862   But what we would also be seeking -- and we mentioned this in our brief -- is that if there is any flexibility that is granted to the larger players we would like to see that flexibility granted to our stations as well.

11863   So for example, in the conceptual model there is some flexibility -- a proposed notion for flexibility for Canadian Content Exhibition. Although we are not up next year, if that type of measure were put in place we certainly would like to see that put in place for smaller stations like Joytv sooner rather than later.

11864   We are up the following year, so to have to be put already at a greater competitive disadvantage we don't think would be appropriate.

11865   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: The digital transition -- and you clarified with the Chairman what you meant by smaller stations, so you would propose that to not be required to hold over the air transmission facilities.

11866   Are you still planning to transition your production equipment to HD?

11867   MR. ROBERTS: Go ahead.

11868   MS LAFONTAINE: As far as I know we are, we are planning to do that.

11869   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I want to move away from the comments that you made this morning to your brief, because you had something in your brief that you filed that I was quite surprised to see. It's on page 3, "Subscription video-on-demand". You say:

"Subscription video-on-demand poses a significant threat to Canadian broadcasters." (As read)

11870   We have heard hints over the last week and a half that SVOD is an opportunity, it's a movement of linear broadcasting into the future and a way of holding audience within the regulated system. So it was for me a surprising statement.

11871   Could you just expand on why you believe that SVOD is a threat?

11872   MS LAFONTAINE: Certainly. The threat is the heightened competition for our linear services within the system. So you have BDUs that are, you know, making available dozens, hundreds, whenever this is all going to end, of SVOD services that are offering linear programming services within them, that is just yet another nail in our coffin as it were.

11873   MR. ROBERTS: If I might add, I think the point are trying to make is that goes for VOD and SVOD services, they should not be available, especially SVOD, as back door means to offer a de facto foreign service.

11874   And the notion of attracting advertising as well is also problematic for us.

11875   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you are not apposed to SVOD as being another platform for broadcasting made available over linear services, just as an alternative.

11876   Is that right?

11877   MR. ROBERTS: We are not apposed to the technology platform, no.

11878   COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.

11879   Those are my questions.

11880   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11881   I have one last question to you, Pelmorex. I don't quite understand your position on skinny.

11882   We have now had an advertising role of unprecedented dimensions, people are more aware then ever of the cost of television, et cetera. Offering a skinny basic which would maybe have no effect whatsoever or may allow people to subscribe to the skinny basic and only those channels or those packages where they have particular interest.

11883   Why that be contrary to, first of all, good public policy and, second, why would it be contrary to your financial interests?

11884   I don't quite understand this.

11885   MR. TEMPLE: I guess there are a couple of issues here.

11886   We have to look at what problem are we trying to solve. Are we trying to solve affordability, then set a price or rate regulate, but that doesn't necessarily require a skinny basic. There are --

11887   THE CHAIRPERSON: But isn't it the opposite exactly, we don't want to regulate Let's put the consumer in control, let him decide what he wants. Right now he doesn't, he gets more than he necessarily wants because of the inflated basics.

11888   MR. TEMPLE: So if a BDU in a marketplace decides they can add greater value by having a more attractive basic service then it is competitor, let them do that, but why -- why say you must take Vision out because we need a skinny basic? Why say you have to take this service out?

11889   If it's an affordability issue, if there is competition in the marketplace, then let there be competition. If we are just going to set a price and force services off of basic, what have we accomplished? Why can't those services stay on basic?

11890   THE CHAIRPERSON: Precisely for what I said in order to put the consumer in control. Here is the basic, this is the part that we have mandated, that you have to buy, that's part of being a Canadian cable or satellite customer. Anything else you decide whether you want it or not.

11891   MR. TEMPLE: Well, let's say there is a skinny basic and a big price, have we met the objective?

11892   Skinny basic only make sense if there is a skinny price, so if there is a skinny price and a skinny basic then I understand that.

11893   THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are suggesting the BDUs will skin down the basic but not change the price?

11894   MR. TEMPLE: I have no idea what they are going to do.

11895   THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, but that's effectively what you are positing.

11896   MR. TEMPLE: Well, actually what will most likely happen is you will never know that there is a skinny basic. I mean if you go on pretty well any large BDUs website now you can't find an analog basic. They are not going to promote something or market something they don't want. They are going to promote the package or services that are to their advantage.

11897   Maybe the Commission will say okay, there has to be a skinny basic and it is $15. You will never know it.

11898   THE CHAIRPERSON: You are mixing apples and oranges here. It is promotion, that's how they -- the question is what we impose as a regulatory requirement. It's up to the consumer to find out whether you have the skinny and how much it costs, et cetera, but that we basically say look, we want the consumer to decide what he or she wants to buy from you. All we are saying is that you have to deliver them this basic because that's basically in the national interest.

11899   MR. TEMPLE: I understand that, but under that proposal can they add something else if they want to? If the price doesn't go up, can they add something if they want to?

11900   THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't see why --

11901   MR. TEMPLE: So now what we have effectively done is set the price but not the channels. You have set required channels, but you have not prohibited something else from being added. That is quite different from saying --

11902   THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, no.

11903   MR. TEMPLE: -- this can't be on it.

11904   THE CHAIRPERSON: I see where you are going. No, but I mean I guess you are saying we can't set a skinny basic without setting a skinny basic price.

11905   That is what is really the logic of where you are driving?

11906   MR. TEMPLE: Well, actually what struck me, the issue trying to be addressed in this hearing was the impact of value for signal and therefore should a price -- should there be not really a skinny basic but some kind of price mechanism applied to basic. I think that the skinny basic is a red herring. It presumes a skinny price, but the issue is the cost, not what's in it.

11907   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I appreciate your point of view.

11908   Thank you very much.

11909   Okay, those are our questions for you. Thank you very much.

11910   Let's proceed with our next intervenor, Madam Secretary.

11911   THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

11912   I will now invite Crossroads Television System to come to the presentation table.

--- Pause


11913   THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.

11914   MR. STEWART: Thank you.

11915   Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, members of staff, good morning, my name is Glenn Stewart, Director of Sales and Marketing at CTS and with me is Matt Hillier, our Chief Financial Officer.

11916   After a long two weeks, thank you for your patience and in allowing us the opportunity to participate at this hearing.

11917   As an independent or non-group broadcaster serving several of Canada's major markets, CTS is particularly concerned about the future model for conventional television that will be fashioned as a result of these and other proceedings in the near term.

11918   The conventional broadcast industry as we know it is at a crossroads -- please excuse the pun. Local programming is threatened. Stations have closed and others are in danger of closing as well.

11919   The relationship between broadcasters and BDUs is acrimonious at best. The trust with our customers, our consumers, the Canadian public we all serve has been justifiably shaken. Canadians have been inundated with confusing and mixed messages, bombarded with ads from both sides almost like an election campaign excepting that they really don't get a vote.

11920   Yes, local TV does matter and yes, mandatory carriage of local stations on cable does matter, as does carriage of local stations on satellite. Value for service under any name has become the defining element in the current debate and is an important question in these proceedings.

11921   When this was first contemplated by the Commission, CTS had not argued in favour or against implementation, but did seek equitable treatment of all over-the-air broadcasters and particular protection for the few remaining small independent broadcasters like CTS. This protection included the paramount importance of priority carriage for a local broadcasters.

11922   We are here today to reinforce those same important points so that our voices will not be lost or overshadowed when and where it counts most, here at these proceedings, free of the conflicting PR campaigns that we have all been subjected to over the past several months by the BDUs and major broadcasters.

11923   CTS has not been immune to the downturn in the economy and we have had to make hard choices and sacrifices in order to survive. CTS lost money in fiscal 2009 and will struggle in 2010.

11924   It is critically important to note that CTS may no longer be able to meet all of its balanced programming conditions of license if revenues continued to decline and may need to address these obligations in our licence renewal application coming up in 2011, or perhaps earlier.

11925   CTS currently does not qualify under the frameworks for LPIF or CTF funding which would otherwise help this area.

11926   Instituting a compensation model for the value of local television signals cannot be left to an open market negotiation between broadcasters and BDUs without some oversight for two main reasons.

11927   First, small independent broadcasters will have absolutely no leverage without some form of regulation.

11928   Second, consumers will no longer have any protection afforded them regarding pricing, packaging or perhaps even accessibility without some form of regulation.

11929   Matt...?

11930   MR. HILLIER: In our view, we agree with the Commission dealing with matters of carriage and value in the context of establishing a framework of regulation to allow for some form of compensation for value for local television signals. Such a framework should not disadvantage any Canadian broadcaster or BDU so that broadcasters have equal access to all revenue sources and Canadians win through continued guaranteed access to an enhanced Canadian broadcast system.

11931   In our written submission, CTS advanced a model for a fair value floor system to determine appropriate value for signals. In that model, BDUs received the freedom of negotiating with conventional broadcasters as a whole for a given market or dealing with individual ownership groups and independent broadcasters separately.

11932   The single most important component within our recommended model is that no Canadian broadcaster would be left behind or without some value for their signals.

11933   Under our model independents would be guaranteed to receive not less than the lowest negotiated rate in a particular market. In the rare circumstance that a major ownership group settles on zero fees in a given market, perhaps where a BDU-owned broadcaster is present, then the next lowest fee negotiated in that market would be used.

11934   In the matter of possible arbitration, this simple fair value floor approach would streamline the process. If parties enter arbitration without any precedents another reasonable criteria could be used.

11935   Share of tuning should be rejected as it has no connection with contributions to the Canadian system and would be simply another example of perpetually giving the most money to the biggest stations.

11936   Hence, as suggested in our submission, number of original hours produced would be a fairer basis when there are no negotiated values. It has the added benefit of not needing to consider CPE requirements as there will be a built-in incentive to produce more Canadian hours.

11937   At these hearings there's been debate about how much clout or leverage the large broadcasters would have with BDUs.

11938   What is certain is that independent broadcasters like CTS have virtually non-existent leverage. We have no reason to believe that the results of discussions on value for service would vary from our first-hand experiences on discussions about channel placement. The BDU would unilaterally decide.

11939   Equally concerning is our standing with major broadcast companies. If independent broadcasters in major markets are left out from value for service, it would perpetuate have and have-not stations. Lacking an equitable share, the have-not station's ability to improve the quality and relevance of local programming would not keep pace.

11940   As a non-profit serving several of Canada's largest markets with thousands of hours of original programming exhibited, CTS is primarily concerned with the relevant quality original content.

11941   MR. STEWART: Let us be clear, mandatory cable and satellite carriage of local Canadian signals must remain a cornerstone of our Canadian broadcast system and should not be traded away in order to qualify for any form of value for signal compensation.

11942   The American style of negotiation advanced by CTV of cash or kind would harm small independent broadcasters and would reduce diversity in our system.

11943   Canadian independent over-the-air broadcasters need both mandatory carriage and basic cable, whether skinny or large, and equitable access to any form of value for signal compensation afforded larger broadcasters.

11944   Even in an open market system, BDUs should not ultimately determine the value of signals, nor should they be the gate keepers of which Canadian services merit inclusion in a basic tier.

11945   In short, BDUs should not determine the degree to which Canadian culture is developed.

11946   Furthermore, CTS understands the rationale for and would accept as a condition of licence at renewal that such fees would be used to maintain and enhance the quality and quantity of locally produced programming.

11947   As a not-for-profit broadcaster, our mandate is to re-invest into programming and operations.

11948   We would be happy to answer any questions you might have of CTS and we, again, thank you for allowing us the opportunity to participate at these proceedings.

11949   Thank you.

11950   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

11951   I went through your presentation where you suggest the model that you put in your paper:

"Independents would be guaranteed to receive not less than the lowest negotiated rate..."

11952   THE CHAIRPERSON: That part I understand. I have trouble with the next suggestion. You say:

"Where there is no negotiation...another reasonable criteria..."

11953   THE CHAIRPERSON: And one of them you suggest would be number of original hours produced.

11954   How would you link number of original hours produced to the value of the signal?

11955   MR. HILLIER: That's a good question.

11956   It was within the context of, if it reached an arbitration process --

11957   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, right.

11958   MR. HILLIER: -- and the negotiation broke down, that was just when you're trying to determine the concept of value, what do you hang your hat on.

11959   And since this whole thing is about promoting and enhancing the Canadian system, number of hours of Canadian production would be a much better or more fair way to figure it out in an arbitration process rather than share of tuning, for example, that's what we meant.

11960   THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand the concept, I'm just trying to --

11961   MR. HILLIER: You're asking me for --

11962   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm the plumber, I want to actually know how I would do this. And then you say, there are no negotiations in this market, there are no precedents you suggest, for some reason you're the first one up.

11963   So, that's obviously what you're positing here. And, so, you say let's establish a value by looking at the number of original programming that we produce.

11964   You produce "X", CTV produces "Y", et cetera, so what? So, how does that get me to a rate?

11965   MR. HILLIER: What would be is just in the relative terms of how many hours you would produce and what kind of assessment of however many pennies would help to produce more or if there was a particular standard set or a benchmarking set --

11966   THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't you have to --

11967   MR. HILLIER: -- that would be possible.

11968   THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't you have to make a link at some point in time to the amount of advertising you attract and, therefore, what is the market value of your signal?

11969   MR. HILLIER: Some of that might come out of the negotiations or failed negotiations by the time you reach the arbitration stage.

11970   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.

11971   Rita?

11972   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.

11973   And, good morning. One thing you don't talk about is the group licensing framework, and I know that you call yourselves a non-group broadcaster, but you are in three of the major markets in this country.

11974   So, would you see at some point that Crossroads would come to us for a renewal of those three stations with common elements spread across the three?

11975   MR. STEWART: We certainly wouldn't object to that formula. I don't think there's anything in our current mandate and our current requirements or cols that would cause us to have concern with respect to group licensing, no.


11977   MR. HILLIER: And, one other thing to add. When we were licensed for the Alberta stations they were given a shorter than normal licence period to coincide with our Ontario licence. So that's, in effect, happening already.

11978   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. And I know that in your licences right now you don't have, you know, particular cols that relate to local programming.

11979   So, just for our information, can you tell me how many hours of local programming you produce at your three stations?

11980   MR. HILLIER: Yes, I'd be happy to.

11981   Right now we're at the point of producing for our balance requirements 20 hours in Ontario and 18 hours in Alberta weekly.

11982   And we're actually producing more than that for total original hours on a weekly basis.

11983   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So, those are the minimums that you produce --

11984   MR. HILLIER: That's correct.

11985   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: -- in order to meet the balance requirement?

11986   MR. HILLIER: That's correct.

11987   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And then on top of that you produce more?

11988   MR. HILLIER: We produce more.

11989   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: In the area of...?

11990   MR. HILLIER: We're at 27 and a half hours of original programming a week in Ontario and 25 and a half in Alberta.

11991   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. Thank you for that.

11992   In your written submission you said:

"We have concerns with a market negotiation approach to establishing distant and local value."

11993   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Are your stations carried as distant signals by cable and DTH?

11994   MR. HILLIER: One is, our Ontario service is carried on Bell and Shaw Direct.

11995   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And have you begun the process of establishing a compensation for carriage as a distant signal with the BDUs?

11996   MR. HILLIER: No, we have not.

11997   MR. STEWART: If I might add, Commissioner, that the sad fact is our Alberta -- our Calgary/Edmonton stations are not carried on Shaw Direct, so that in fact Albertans are getting our Ontario signal, which is somewhat disheartening.

11998   And, going forward, that's why we said in the submission that carriage of local signals in markets by satellite distributors not only levels the playing field but is critically important to a station like CTS.

11999   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, thank you, Mr. Stewart, that was going to be my next question. I love it when people anticipate my questions.

12000   You have covered your proposal in terms of your fair value floor with the Chair.

12001   But, operationalize this for me, because you're suggesting that the negotiations should occur on a market-by-market basis as opposed to CTS as a group of three going to the BDUs and negotiating the value of those three services with each of the BDUs that serve the markets.

12002   So, can you tell me what advantages you think you will have if we adopt this fair value model on a market-by-market basis, as opposed to negotiations on a group-by-group basis with the BDUs?

12003   MR. STEWART: I'm not certain that that's perhaps the way we're looking at it.

12004   As a group or individually market-by-market I don't think is really our concern or issue as much as being left behind.

12005   We don't have a strong history with the BDUs in terms of having our signal -- well, bottom line we're supposed to be between two and 22 in Alberta and we're on 51.

12006   Those negotiations went to arbitration, they did not go well for us and they have impacted significantly our business plan in Alberta as a result.

12007   MR. HILLIER: One thing to add is with that proposal we were all asked to provide solutions and, so, we just wanted to provide as much flexibility as possible in a solution and still cover the areas that were of concern to us.

12008   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: I understand.

12009   So, if we decide that negotiations should be on a market-by-market or group-by-group, what's important to you is this concept of your fair value floor, in either scenario?

12010   MR. STEWART: That and continue to be carried on basic cable and hopefully in the future be carried locally by the satellite providers in each market, yes.

12011   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Understood.

12012   Just my final line of questioning is on digital transmission and I have the list here.

12013   Will you be able to meet the 2011 deadline with all of your transmitters, including retransmitters?

12014   MR. STEWART: It is certainly our intention to do so. We want to carry forward with the marketplace. We believe in the value of HD.

12015   I think I'll let my CFO talk to the financials and the implications of doing that, but certainly it's our intention to do so. We're not here asking for -- to be eliminated from the list or anything of the kind, but we have to impress upon the Commission that it will be a financial challenge for us to meet the deadlines, but it is our intention to do so.

12016   Matt, you can talk more succinctly on that, I'm sure.

12017   MR. HILLIER: Yes. It's important for us to -- we're all about staying relevant to the people we're trying to serve and be accessible and we see value in over-the-air high definition transmission.

12018   There's some people who -- we've talked about skinny basic, regular basis -- there's some people who can't afford any basic and, so, we want to be over-the-air and we want to be relevant with the latest programming.

12019   And, so, that's our heart and that's our intention.

12020   Glenn's quite right, there are some financial constraints, we're non-profit. We plan to be there. We're already broadcasting digitally in our main market of Toronto/Hamilton and when we launched in Alberta we launched with a plan where we can do a switch-out as long as the channel allocations were within the right parameters, so London and Ottawa are more of a challenge for us.

12021   But we want to be there with the rest of the industry.

12022   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Do you have an idea as to what percentage of your viewership receives your signals over-the-air?

12023   MR. HILLIER: It's higher in Alberta, I think the last time we checked it was around the 15 percent mark. In Ontario it was a little bit less, closer to under 10 -- 8, 9, 10, I think that -- but those numbers are a couple of years old, when we applied for the Alberta stations we did that assessment.

12024   MR. STEWART: Oh yeah.

12025   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Of course, you wouldn't want to lose that audience.

12026   MR. HILLIER: That's right. We -- part of our mandate is to reach out with hope to everybody and, so, we don't want to cut people out just because, you know, there isn't an economic model for it.

12027   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, gentlemen, thank you very much.

12028   Those are all my questions, Mr. Chair.

12029   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

12030   I don't believe anybody else has any questions. Thanks very much. Appreciate your coming.

12031   MR. HILLIER: Thank you all. Thanks for your attention.

12032   THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll take a 10-minute break before we start with the next one.

--- Upon recessing at 1013

--- Upon resuming at 1027

12033   THE SECRETARY: I would now invite Score Media to make its presentation.

12034   Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and proceed with your 10-minute presentation.


12035   MR. J. LEVY: Good morning.

12036   Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission and the Commission Staff, my name is John Levy, I'm the CEO of Score Media Inc.

12037   Score Media is the parent company of the Score Television Network, a national sports, news and information specialty television programming service.

12038   With me today on my right, Benjie Levy, our Chief Operating Officer and Grant Buchanan of McCarthy Tétrault, our outside counsel.

12039   We are very pleased to appear before you to provide our comments on this important public hearing.

12040   Our main interest in appearing before you relates to group licensing. We have carefully studied the proposed model you set out. On reflection, we submit to you the group licensing framework described in the Notice is not in the best interest of the Canadian Broadcasting System.

12041   There are four primary reasons. First, it would undermine the fundamental underpinnings of the current licensing regime.

12042   Individual services are granted licences and, in some instances, genre exclusivity in exchange for specific obligations which are appropriate for the particular type and genre of the service. Group licensing would undermine this regulatory bargain.

12043   Second, it would reduce Canadian content expenditures by broadcasting services across the board.

12044   Third, it would allow group layers in the broadcasting industry to engage in genre arbitrage. This will undermine the policy objectives of the current regime by manipulating the system.

12045   And, fourth, it would mean less diversity of content and potentially owners in the system.

12046   In our view, the current licensing framework should remain unchanged. The Commission should continue to grant, amend and renew licences in the usual manner.

12047   Conditions of licence for pay and specialty services should continue to be individually tailored in the exclusive genres and should continue to be the same across the board in competitive genres.

12048   Alternatively, if the Commission does elect to move forward with group licensing framework, then it should do two things in order to prevent abuse by the corporate groups.

12049   One, maintain at least some licence specific CPE and Canadian content minima; and, two, as identified by the Commission in its Notice of Consultation, exclude mainstream sports and news services from any calculations under the group licensing framework because the CPE and Canadian content exhibition associated with these genres has the highest potential to skew the group averages.

12050   Conventional networks, Category A services and Category B services have different conditions of licence. Each contributes differently to the Canadian Broadcasting System and has different obligations commensurate with the contributions imposed by the Commission.

12051   Further, with the exception of Category Bs, individual services were granted licences following a competitive application process. In most cases the proposed service which offered the best value to the system was granted the licence.

12052   Appendix A which we have attached to our remarks today gives a flavour for some of the results of this process. Each service that is in an exclusive genre has distinct nature of service. Its conditions of licence are keyed to the nature of the service.

12053   For instance, all new services like CT Newsnet or CablePulse 24 have very different Canadian content and exhibition requirements than drama-oriented services like Bravo or Showcase or reality-oriented services like Slice.

12054   To now white wash these differences and steam roll individual Canadian content and Canadian programming expenditure conditions of licence would, in our view, undermine the integrity of this licensing process.

12055   It would be a fundamental re-write of Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC-2008-100 which you issued a little more than one year ago.

12056   Also, as recently as this past summer in a Broadcasting Decision, CRTC-2009-569, denying Outdoor Life certain licence amendments, the Commission highlighted the importance of differentiated Canadian programming expenditure conditions for niche services that matched that service's niche.

12057   The Commission noted carefully the lower Canadian content obligations of OLN.

12058   You noted that it would not be fair to grant what effectively is a second window for Rogers to air mainstream sports programming in competition with services with higher obligations. You said:

"Should OLN wish to compete with mainstream services they must apply for, and abide by the standard competitive conditions of licence." (As read)

12059   MR. J. LEVY: Commissioners, we're back to the same issue. A group licensing framework would re-write that decision and re-write 2008-100.

12060   The conceptual framework contained in the Notice of Consultation contemplates a potential change for the CPE calculations for specialty services in a corporate group.

12061   Instead of basing Canadian programming expenditures on a service's prior year's revenues, services should be required to spend at least 50 percent of their programming expenses on Canadian content.

12062   This creates an inherent conflict. For-profit companies will always be incented to keep programming expenses as low as possible and revenues as high as possible. If you change your policy to base Cancon expenditure requirements on a proportion of programming expenditures, it could have the unintended result of significantly lowering expenditures on Canadian content by broadcasters.

12063   Here's why. Revenue is a neutral barometer which cannot be influenced by the services seeking to lower their CPE obligations. The same cannot be said when overall program spending is used as the measuring stick.

12064   If you base it on spending, a specialty service could arbitrarily lower its CPE obligation simply by reducing its overall program spending or allocating it elsewhere.

12065   In our written submission in September we highlighted the programming and revenue figures from the 2008 for all of Canada's pay, specialty -- excuse me for a second, I think I caught what you got. I knew I shouldn't have shook his hand.

--- Laughter

12066   MR. J. LEVY: -- from 2008 for all of Canada's pay, specialty, pay-per-view and VOD services. In 2008 industry-wide Canadian programming expenditures for these services was approximately $1.06-billion, or approximately 39 percent of 2007 industry-wide revenues of $2.72-billion. That was on a total revenue basis.

12067   The programming expenditures in 2008, on the other hand, were $1.6-billion. Fifty percent of that spend is 800-million. The effect, you've just lost a quarter of a billion dollars in Canadian programming expenditures.

12068   Under any sort of group CPE scenario, a group member could manipulate the system and create significant unfair advantage over independent specialty services by virtue of its group status which allows genre arbitrage.

12069   For example, TSN or SportsNet could leverage their substantial monthly subscriber fees and spend enormous sums on Canadian professional sports rights, or the rights for the Olympics, making it all but impossible for independent sports specialty services to compete.

12070   Yet doing this would actually fulfil most of their broadcast family's CPE requirements under the group-wide CPE condition of licence.

12071   It would relieve their sister services' CPE obligations which, in light of the sisters' services nature of service, would have to have spent on other less profitable genres of programming, including programming of national interest.

12072   In this regard, please consider the chart we've provided as Appendix A.

12073   CTVglobemedia already books more Canadian programming expenditures to its four sports services than it does to a combined total of its 25 non-sports discretionary services.

12074   And Rogers SportsNet spends more on Canadian programming than its over-the-air and its non-sports specialty combined.

12075   Under a group-based system, there's nothing stopping CTV from launching TSN3 and an RDS2 that would charge substantial subscriber fees and fulfil the CPE obligations of services like Bravo, the Comedy Network, Discovery Channel, Space and the rest of its non-sports specialities.

12076   We believe that this genre arbitrage is not what you, the Commission, intended and that its results are not in the spirit of the Broadcasting Act.

12077   The same kind of genre arbitrage is available with average Canadian content exhibition rule. The conceptual model contemplates an average of 55 percent across all services in a corporate family, with 35 percent minimum for each service.

12078   So, the most logical thing for a corporate family to do is load up Cancon exhibit onto thinly distributed CAT 2 services and shrink its exhibit obligations to 35 percent on its much larger flagship services. They can do this under a group-based model because the average works out to 55 percent.

12079   To further illustrate this issue, consider the Canadian content exhibition requirements for mainstream sports services. This Commission established those requirements two and a half months ago. They stand at 50 percent for the broadcast day and 60 percent in the evening broadcast period.

12080   Well, by adopting the Canadian content exhibit requirements set out in the conceptual model, mainstream sports services could fill their prime time schedules with a hundred percent foreign content and still be in compliance with their conditions of licence.

12081   All they'd have to do is maintain that overall Canadian content level of 35 percent, make sure their affiliated services like mainstream news and less penetrated services air enough Cancon to achieve the group average of 35 percent.

12082   If they can load these obligations onto all Canadian news services like Pulse 24, CTV Newsnet, then they will do it.

12083   We just talked about genre arbitrage between types of services. Now consider the further ability to shift the exhibition and content obligations between English and French services too.

12084   This would mean Canadian spend could go to service like RDS and free up more American programming hours for English language services as well.

12085   Commissioners, we're playing with a whole new ball game in this group environment. Programming would shift towards the most lucrative genres and the most lucrative language.

12086   That does not help the Canadian Broadcasting System. It works against your goals with respect to programming of national interest and it makes it pointless to continue on as an independent service rather than joining a corporate group.

12087   So, the incentives under the group-based model are for large groups to shift their CPE obligations to genres like sports, to shift their exhibit obligations to genres like news and to end up with a very free hand in the rest of their services, including services created to showcase Canadian drama.

12088   Incorporating both English and French language services only aggravates this arbitrage and enlarges the loophole.

12089   What's more, any service that remained independent would be missing out on an opportunity to exploit that loophole.

12090   Commissioners, independent services help ensure the diversity of the voices in the Canadian Broadcasting System. We are here and we are proof of that.

12091   We compete with group owned services every day for programming, distribution, viewership and advertising revenues. It's a challenge even in today's environment.

12092   In a scenario where large corporate groups have access to genre arbitrage, independent services no longer make sense. Our value becomes instantly magnified once bundled into a group which can pool and re-parcel regulatory obligations.

12093   We would ask you to consider whether or not it is your intent to discourage independent services from continuing as independents.

12094   Commissioners, it's our respectful submission that there are good reasons for the licensing framework which you have developed in the last two years to remain in tact. Conditions of licence should be maintained or amended in the usual manner.

12095   The total investment in Canadian programming is likely to decline under the proposed group framework. It will certainly decline with respect to under represented genres. That's because specialty services that are pooled with other specialties will be able to significantly increase their spending in genres where it's economically efficient to do so and, correspondingly, reduce spending on other genres by sister corporate licensees, again, where it is economically efficient to do so.

12096   A system which permits genre arbitrage should give the Commission serious cause for concern because there will be a significant shift of resources to only the most profitable genres.

12097   The group licensing framework handicaps independent services to compete with corporate group owned services and cannot move expenditures from one licence to another.

12098   However, should the Commission, in spite of all this, decide to proceed with a group licensing framework, we urge you to limit the genre arbitrage by the large corporate groups that would manipulate the system.

12099   To do this we would ask you to:

12100   One, maintain at least some licence specific CPE and Canadian content exhibit minima; and,

12101   Two, exclude mainstream sports and news services from any calculations under the group licensing framework because the CPE and Canadian content exhibition associated with these genres has the highest potential to skew the group averages.

12102   We thank you for your attention and would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have at this time.

12103   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

12104   First, as a follow up to Commissioner Cugini's and my visit to your facilities, are you carrying tennis now?

12105   MR. J. LEVY: What took you so long to ask that question?

--- Laughter

12106   MR. J. LEVY: I'll defer that to Ben.

12107   MR. B. LEVY: Thank you.

12108   The answer is that tennis is on its way along with a bunch of additional European sports.

12109   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.

12110   MR. B. LEVY: Including German soccer.

12111   THE CHAIRPERSON: I couldn't resist asking the question. We had a delightful visit to your facilities, I was very impressed.

12112   MR. B. LEVY: It was a pleasure having you guys down there.

12113   THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, you made a very eloquent case this morning here why group licensing the way its put now, conceptual model doesn't work and then at the end you sort of paved a bit of a halfway house, if we go that route, basically maintain -- excluding Category C sports and news which I think makes a lot of sense for the reasons that you give and also maintaining licence specific CPE for the specialty channels.

12114   But you've heard the various proposals which we had from CTV, from Astral, et cetera, who are all the great groups, think it would be of great benefit to allow them to share or transfer some of the thing, within limits. They all realize it shouldn't be total, et cetera.

12115   Would you be opposed to it if it were -- for instance, I think CTV said something like 15 percent or so in each category you could share between the OTA and the specialties or something like that, or do you think that would also lead to what you call genre arbitrage?

12116   MR. J. LEVY: Benjie was just pointing out to me that -- I mean, I've got sort of some top level stuff and he just told me the specifics which are -- 15 percent is a big number potentially.

12117   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well --

12118   MR. J. LEVY: It could be, and again I'm not just saying --

12119   THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm just quoting them because that's the one they cited it.

12120   MR. J. LEVY: Right, right.

12121   I guess, you know, I think our concern is that, you know, we did put in in the alternative.


12123   MR. J. LEVY: From my old law days, you always have to have something in the alternative.

12124   Our prime argument is that we really don't think it should be there in the first place. We think it's counterintuitive to where the whole sort of industry is going.

12125   Plus, we have all the concerns that we said before. Even with limits you can't watch carefully enough to know everything that's going to be happening once this whole framework starts moving in all sorts of different directions when you are talking about not only CanCon but you are talking about CPEs.

12126   And then where is the line drawn between independence and groups? So you know, I think we would be -- I think you know we would be more in favour of it not occurring at all, even with the protections that we have talked about with respect to our particular situation which if they weren't there would in our view be entirely -- almost abusive.

12127   And let me just sort of go and just explain why I think, you know, that this isn't just coming from, you know, we love the rules the way they are. But we also think two things.

12128   Number one, we just changed the rules less than a year or so ago. And I think you know we are all waiting for certain decisions and follow-ups to the rules that have taken place. If you even wanted to consider something like this, it would be our view to let the decisions that came out over the last 12 to 15 months to 18 months, take shape and let them feel their way through the system and then consider whether it's needed to do the sort of things that we are talking about here.

12129   I think the other -- the other rationale as to why we are sort of proposing that this probably isn't something that we think the Commission should be considering right now is because I guess we don't really think that's really what at the root of the problem is here.

12130   We kind of are looking at this and saying, you know, are we really looking at just re-jigging the rules and putting different sort of interim solutions in place that really don't address what we think might be the key situation and the key problem? And at the very route of this is that we have this sea change happening in our industry, in the broadcasting industry.

12131   THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we all know and we agree with that. The whole idea of this hearing or part of what was behind it is the serious issues about OTA and one way to cure it, we thought, is we look at additional sources of revenue. Obviously LPIF is one of them. Value for signal if something comes out would be another one.

12132   On the other hand, what would be a contribution to the system would be a CPE for the OTA. The question is whether, you know, we just impose it singly on the OTA or whether you allow some flexibility because most of the OTA, as you know, is owned by groups and not independently. And that's why this whole issue of group licensing and transfer ability within the group or credits, et cetera, is on the table.

12133   You know we have until December 14th. But your position is very clear and logical. As a former lawyer and as -- myself a former lawyer, speak to you -- flesh out your alternatives.

12134   MR. J. LEVY: All right.

12135   THE CHAIRPERSON: If there had to be a group licensing what are the safeguards that you would want to see in details so that you feel that what is important to the system is protected?

12136   MR. J. LEVY: Okay, we will think that through and file that as part of our --

12137   THE CHAIRPERSON: I would appreciate that.

12138   Okay. Steve?

12139   COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

12140   One of the concerns the Commission is trying to deal with, and you have heard it repeated throughout the last week and a half, is an overarching objective to square the circle between the Broadcast Act and its ambitions culturally and Canadian content-wise with the economic realities of the private broadcasting industry.

12141   And in your argument -- I find, you know, your argument very compelling with respect to the need to preserve genres for the betterment of the specialty industry because that's where the market seems to be going, is with a willingness to subscribe as that service gets more refined and more important to them.

12142   But picking up on Commissioner von Finckenstein's questioning, the marketplace has had its hair on fire about saving local TV and I know that this is a little off the topic of your -- of the specificity of your presentation but, in looking at what is local TV, it functionally is news and sports.

12143   And in looking at one of the secondary objectives of group licensing and the LPIF is that it appears the broadcasters would have a propensity to invest LPIF money into news and sports and with group licensing, yeah, probably move a lot more of their focus into what you are construing as cheaper Canadian content and low-hanging fruit which goes right into your wheelhouse of sports.

12144   But with that said, if there is a tendency by the broadcasters to go further into the news and sports realm -- does it not -- than create an opportunity somewhere else within the specialty industry for the creation of more drama just because of that wholesale shift on the OTA side -- I'm trying to get you to put your good guy hat on and look at the industry issue from a larger perspective and then we will drill down later into the points that really mean a lot more to you.

12145   MR. J. LEVY: I like the good guy part of it. I can't resist that.

--- Laughter

12146   MR. J. LEVY: I think that there are a couple of things here. First of all, I don't think we can confuse local news and sports and the sort of programming that we do in the context of our networks. So let's just deal with not what we do specifically but talking about, I think, what you are referring to.

12147   And I think that it goes to, I think what I was just starting to reference with the Chairman, which is I think we have to go deeper and look at how people are consuming that news and information right at the get go.

12148   I think we are making an assumption that -- you know, I remember what CHCH was. I grew up in Hamilton. That was local sports and it was local news. Everybody watched it. That channel sold for no money, basically, less than a year ago. It was approved by this Commission.

12149   That didn't happen for no reason, and I'm not saying it can't be revived and I'm not saying there isn't a formula that works for that channel. I quite frankly don't know what it is because I look around at how people consume and gather that information today and it's not exclusively found on local television anymore. As a matter of fact, I would say most people don't find that type of content of local news and local sports on TV anymore.

12150   So I think what we have to do is what we do every day of our lives at the Score, which is try to figure out how people want to connect with us and how we can connect the people who ultimately are going to fund this thing, which are the sponsors to that audience, because it's not the same.

12151   And we are not the only industry that has faced this. The record industry appeared and disappeared in the course of less than a year.

12152   Another industry -- and you can't just artificially prop these things up with rules and regulations that find new revenue streams to tap into to solve it, to solve another problem.

12153   So you know, I think our feeling is that somehow you have got to really pay attention to how that information has to be disseminated, is being disseminated and then follow that path. And it may not be the same traditional way that it's been in the past.

12154   So to create rules, to reallocate funds, to in our view artificially prop up or support revenues to allow other types of programming to take shape not only may not be the answer, we don't think it is the answer. And that's why we are in favour of not reopening or reshuffling.

12155   Turn it over to Grant.

12156   MR. BUCHANAN: Commissioner Simpson, if the question was if we let all of the over-the-air broadcasters follow the model of CHCH, CHEK, V or whatever, and move in a different direction, will that create an opening for specialty services to move into the drama field that they once occupied? I think he who lives on hope has but a slender diet. I can't imagine that happening in a million years.

12157   COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: It doesn't appear to be. But you are right, you know, hope has to prevail at times. And it's a question that has to be asked because we are looking at not only financial balancing of the system but also from the content standpoint. We have heard a lot.

12158   You know, I think your argument is very sound that unintended consequence is something that seems to be dominant in everything we do today. And we have heard very clearly and articulately that independent specialty channels have the potential of getting a severe body blow as a result and consequence of looking at group licensing but so too is the creative community and the production community which is also struggling to find its share of the airtime. It's something that, you know, that dominates our thinking, at least it does mine.

12159   So can I ask you some questions about another point that was brought up this morning from Stornoway, which is that in addition to genre protection group licensing also has the potential, unintended consequence of forcing BDUs should they in their wisdom not passed costs onto the consumer, to look at other ways to reduce their costs and to look at negotiations with the specialties as one area for relief.

12160   Is this a concern of yours? You haven't brought it up and I'm just curious if it's lurking in that fine mind of yours.

12161   MR. J. LEVY: Sorry. You know, if we are talking about where is the money coming from, and they are looking to other specialties or particularly independent specialties to fund this thing, it's a very scary proposition. You know, our view is we have been funding it for years. You know we have a very low basic rate. We are about to negotiate it slightly higher.

12162   You know we are the ultimate value for signal service and it's services like ours that we think have gone and been packaged in various ways because we are packaged in various ways that have been supporting this thing for years.

12163   And I have seen rate increases go through by the BDUs all the time. I have never seen anybody offer us any more money for it.

12164   And I have the unusual -- there is a lot of new commissioners here. I mean I have the very distinct and unusual advantage of being both a little cable guy and a little programmer. I used to be in the cable business forever since my dad started in 1959. I grew up in that business.

12165   And we joked about this one before. I have been smooshed as a cable guy. I have been smooshed as a programmer. So I mean we have seen both sides of this equation and it gives us a very interesting perspective on it.

12166   So you know, I think that's a very dangerous road or assumption to make as to where this money can potentially come from, because you know where it's going to come from. History obviously repeats itself.

12167   And at the end of the game -- this gets back to what I was saying before -- ultimately, a lot of this quite frankly isn't going to matter because the consumer is going to make the ultimate choice. The consumer is going to pick the program he wants and the consumer will pay for it. And it may be through clever packaging on distribution systems that exist today and it's probably going to be on other ones.

12168   So that's, I think, that's our answer.

12169   COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The greatest strength of the specialty, an independent specialty, is its ability to with more minimal restrictions pursue what it's best at.

12170   And in looking at the landscape in total, are specialties going to continue to hybridize to the point where you are going to find yourself in a two-tier environment where you are ostensibly a free service in one area with a cable company and a specialty or a VOD on a product for a totally subscription model? Do you think that's where it's going to go where you shift your weight a little bit to two-income models?

12171   MR. J. LEVY: Well, again, ours is a little different because we are in the sports world. You can't TiVo us for the most part, and that's probably one of the reasons I love where we are and would be in no other business.

12172   We wake up every day and we don't know what we are doing. I don't mean to slam ourselves but it's a whole new ballgame everyday. It's not predictable. And that's what makes sports and news information such a vibrant, vibrant place to be.

12173   So you know we look for new sources of revenue just because we have to in our ability to grow. But what we don't look at is just, for example, throwing new channels out. You know, you are not probably going to see a Score 2. You know, our new channels are our new platforms. You know, we invest heavily in our web applications.

12174   We invest heavily in our mobile applications and have the advantage of dealing with a young audience that we are dealing with, dealing with them where they are. And it's also given us the opportunity to become more of an international company. Our little application on mobile, which the Chairman is very familiar with, is one of the leading apps in the world and we are very proud of that.

12175   So you know we look at moving out and trying to find a way to connect with audiences wherever they may be and obviously we love the fact that we are here in Canada and we are very proud of our programming service.

12176   But you know we will find how to connect that audience with the advertisers, which is ultimately the end result. We can fool around in terms of how we package things in the interim and basic and extended basic and VOD, which I can talk to. I'm not being flippant about that. I mean it's very serious in the non-sports world because, you know who is going to end up controlling VOD? And you are already seeing that happening where services which once were traditional specialty services now have their programming chopped up and distributors are selling it as VOD or SVOD packages.

12177   So that's all shifting. But ultimately the control is in the hands of the consumer.

12178   THE CHAIRPERSON: But on that point; for instance, your mobile since you raised it, is it possible that you could develop -- for instance you have the Score now which is for free. But if I am a golf fanatic I can sign up for an enhanced golf package with you for subscription and you will offer me more than you offer on the free service or something?

12179   MR. J. LEVY: Yes, that's --

12180   THE CHAIRPERSON: So aren't those potential sources of revenue that you are exploring?

12181   MR. J. LEVY: Absolutely; absolutely.

12182   Interestingly enough, the revenue that is developing early is all advertising supported and sponsorship supported. And I think the reason for that is because they are all struggling to find how to connect with you.

12183   You know, let's be real. People haven't been watching -- I mean I'm a little hesitant to say this, but in the context of commercials and 30-second spots we all know what has been happening. You know, people have been TiVoing for years -- not even TiVoing, clickering, right? I mean, how often do you sit there and watch a commercial?

12184   You know we built our network on putting the ticker on because we were convincing advertisers that, "You want a whole screen that nobody is watching or do you want 70 percent of the screen that perhaps somebody will watch?"

12185   So I think we are having initial success on properties like this because of the need of the major sponsors to find a way to connect with you. Ultimately, I think you are right. You can do it on a free basis and then enhance services with some sort of charge.

12186   But, again, it's got to be attractive to you. Otherwise, you are not going to pay it. There is no middleman.

12187   THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Stephen. Go ahead.

12188   COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No, fine. Just my last question is, again, just trying to get a better grasp of where specialties are going in the digital universe. So let's not talk about video-on-demand specifically because, as you say, sports is just a whole different animal with respect to its linear nature but assuming that it's not always fun dealing with a BDU, given that quite often they are competitors and perhaps even more so as, you know, conventional television becomes threatened.

12189   You know, there may be the day, as Jim Shaw said last Friday, that they are just interested in the content and they are really not caring where they get it from and they have to get it direct from the source they will, which may enhance the fact that you are dealing with a potential competitor who is also a distributor.

12190   But with that is there or could you, as a very successful multiplatform specialty right now, could you tell us a little bit more about what the digital future holds with respect to the relationship with BDUs and the fact that they offer you an interactivity that -- I'm thinking of something like the arsenal games where if you go to arsenal, you are watching the game and it's wrapped in a whole pile of interactive features that give just a whole different value to the game coverage and that you can go to the store, you can check out the bio of a particular athlete on the team.

12191   Does that change things a little bit in terms of the symbiotic relationship with the BDUs?

12192   MR. J. LEVY: It absolutely does. The question is who is going to -- you are moving exactly where it's going. The question is who is going to provide it? Can the BDU provide that or can the league itself or the team itself?

12193   And I think, you know, the question is -- really, it's a question of branding, quite frankly, and who owns that property and how do you develop that property and how creative are you in figuring out that you happen to want more content and more data surrounding that property?

12194   And if you can come to me as a specialty person or as a sports person or whoever I am, as the trusted person to be able to help facilitate that, then that's the winner of the day. And it could be a programmer. It could be a distributor. It could be the club itself.

12195   We are facing that right now. I mean in every deal we do, it's who owns the digital rights associated with it. But at the end of the day I honestly think it comes down to branding and a trust relationship with a consumer.

12196   If your speciality is -- going back to your original question, if your specialty network or Food Network, for example, that better mean something to somebody because the programming that they are flowing through their network to the end consumer can be garnered in a lot of places. So you had better surround it with the stuff you are talking about or you had better give it a certain attitude or you better be able to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack based on that because if that brand doesn't mean anything then you are lost in the shuffle. And the Shaws of the world and the Rogers of the world are going to get that programming directly and you are going to be left out in the middle.

12197   So we spend every waking minute trying to figure out how to continue to be relevant to the consumer and, most importantly, to the advertiser and provide something that they can't get anywhere else. And if it works, it will work not only in Canada. It works everywhere.

12198   I think that's the -- sorry, it's not an easy answer but I don't think there is one. I think everybody within their own genre has got to figure out how to stay relevant and then they will.

12199   COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.

12200   THE CHAIRPERSON: Tim? Oh, Elizabeth -- sorry.

12201   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I have two questions.

12202   First of all, I mean obviously you are an entrepreneur and so I am interested to know the specialties -- it's obvious -- we have heard many people say how successful it is. What do you think the solution is for the broadcasters?

12203   I mean you talk about the potential that you are obviously seeing in mobile applications and on the web.

12204   MR. J. LEVY: This is not a Canadian phenomenon. This is a universal phenomenon. You know, the big networks in the States are struggling with the same issues that our partners are struggling with here. And I do mean our partners, whether it's the CTVs or the CanWests and the national networks.

12205   And I think it -- you can't rent programming. You have got to create content and you have got to be associated with something. You have got to stand for something. The fact that you can watch a football game on three different networks doesn't help your network at all unless you are doing something special with it.

12206   The fact that I can get House, the fact that I can invest in big popular U.S. programming and draw huge eyeballs and huge advertising revenues and then siphon some of that money off to do some Canadian content, it's not the right formula.

12207   You have to start the other way. Who am I? What does the public want? If it's local news, if it's local sports you have to become more relevant. You have to jump into the new -- you have to jump into the new platforms. You can't expect people are just going to sit and watch television the way they have for the last 50 years. They are not.

12208   The music industry got destroyed in 12 months because they thought people weren't going to download free music and it took someone like Apple to reconfigure that whole thing and figure out how to get people to listen to it and to pay for it. I think that's what is needed on the broadcast side.

12209   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Do you think -- we heard the other day from the Association of Canadian Advertisers that one area that might be under -- that might not be capitalized to its maximum is selling ads on local programming. I forget now what the phrase was that they used but it was apparent that there is not a lot of opportunity to sell -- to purchase advertising in local markets because there is not a lot of local programming.

12210   So would you agree that that might give them an opportunity to increase their ad revenues?

12211   MR. J. LEVY: That's a great place to start. I mean if you have got advertisers that are reaching out to -- local advertisers who are reaching out to try and connect with an audience then, you know, that's 80 percent of the battle. Now, you just have to figure out how to connect them.

12212   The problem is it may not be the same way that you have always connected with them by running news at 11 o'clock and six o'clock on televisions that children aren't watching or may not be watching.

12213   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. You are saying be innovative. You don't have the answer but the idea is to be innovative. Look and see what is --

12214   MR. J. LEVY: Know that you don't have the answer.


12216   MR. LEVY: That's the first place to start and then you might be able to figure out how to connect them. But the good news is that money is out there, that money is looking for a home.

12217   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And clearly that's what we heard from the ACA the other day.

12218   MR. J. LEVY: Right. And we are -- you know, our company is taking full advantage of that. I mean we are -- you know we are doing campaigns. For example, this thing that we just did called "Drafted" where we are looking for Canada's next sports, great sports broadcasters. I didn't see any submissions from any of you guys but funded by -- I was waiting for yours -- funded from Procter & Gamble.

12219   Not to namedrop but it was a huge contract and this was money that three years ago was dedicated to 30-second spots. Now, we are going all across the country. We are in every city in looking for this new sports broadcaster. We had kids uploading stuff. We were doing it on our mobile platforms.

12220   It was a huge success and that's just a rethink of the same -- they had the money. They wanted to spend it. We had to create some programming to fill the need.

12221   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I appreciate your comments.

12222   The other one that sort of follows through too from one of your comments, but we obviously would like to see more Canadian drama and, you know, documentary, children's programming. Do you think that we should proceed and implement a CPE requirement as a percent of revenue then? You obviously weren't in favour of the expense.

--- Pause

12223   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Or if you don't have an opinion on it that's okay.

12224   MR. BUCHANAN: Do you mean a CPE on individual specialties relating to drama --

12225   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No, I'm talking about the OTAs.

12226   MR. BUCHANAN: -- or an overall group?

12227   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I'm talking about the OTAs, just on the OTAs.

12228   MR. BUCHANAN: Well, it's not really this group's area of expertise but one would have thought that if what you are after is more spending on drama, docs and kids that you would have a targeted CPE that targeted drama, docs and kids.

12229   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's great. Thank you.


12231   COMMISSIONER DENTON: Good morning, sir. You just said something of great interest to me in your answers to Commissioner Denton and, if I can recall exactly what you said, you said something to the effect that garnering large advertising revenues out of the importation of American programs and siphoning some of that off to Canadian production was the model that -- help me here -- wasn't going to work anymore or something of that nature.

12232   Do you recall what you just said in that regard?

12233   MR. J. LEVY: He said that was a long time ago.

12234   COMMISSIONER DENTON: No, you just said it.

12235   MR. J. LEVY: I know. I'm just kidding.

12236   COMMISSIONER DENTON: Three minutes ago.

12237   MR. J. LEVY: It was like -- well, for some of us that could be a long time ago.

12238   COMMISSIONER DENTON: I can remember nothing. I can remember nothing.

--- Laughter

12239   MR. J. LEVY: Yeah. No, I think it was more in the context of looking at the traditional models of how the big broadcasters have survived over the years, which is on the backs of highly profitable revenue generating services or programming which is -- you know we lived through signal substitution. I even heard somebody was talking about non-simultaneous signal substitution again. We heard that five years ago. We knocked that out of the park five years ago, six years ago, as "we" being the industry.

12240   And these sorts of band-aid solutions to try and -- what are you doing? You are trying to identify with what people want to watch. Therefore advertisers will pay for and then take that money and maybe as a by-product of that create some programming that people are going to watch.

12241   I think if we spend as much time trying to figure out exactly what Canadian programming people want to watch and concentrated on that and made that more of a necessity -- and I'm not suggesting how we do that. I am just saying rather than being a by-product, being the centralized product then we might have been able to get there sooner.

12242   COMMISSIONER DENTON: That's fine. I am just suggesting for your consideration that that's really a very fundamental rethinking of the approach to Canadian content that you are proposing.

12243   MR. J. LEVY: At the end of the day when we are here five years from now, we are going to have no choice because the consumer is going to make that decision for us. They are only going to watch what they want to watch and if it isn't good and if it isn't exciting and if it's not entertaining then it's not going to matter what I am trying to do or what anybody else is trying to do. It's not going to get funded because it's not going to get watched.

12244   What has happened over the last number of years that has changed all of this is that we have lost control.

12245   COMMISSIONER DENTON: I think what you are saying is right. I just want to hear you say it.

12246   Thank you very much.

--- Laughter

12247   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, let me ask you as Mr. Levy, not necessarily as Score, because of your experience in the industry.

12248   We have heard conflicting advice in this hearing about the advertising pie. Some are saying it is limited and if you give advertising on local avails, VOD, community or wherever, all you are doing is a reapportioning of the existing advertising. There are others who say you can grow it, and for instance local avails is there, it's interruption anywhere, customers are used to it, all you are doing is you are filling a spot which is now used for promoting for advertising.

12249   What is your view? Is the advertising pie available for television basically limited and anything we do would be just a reapportioning or is there an ability to grow it?

12250   MR. J. LEVY: We are going through a transition and, you know, again, we face this every day. We take money from advertisers and move them into programming that we don't know why they are there but we take it anyway. And then we have other advertisers coming to us, scratching their heads, saying, help me, I can't get at that audience anymore, you know, they are not salivating anymore, Pavlov isn't -- it is not working anymore.

12251   So I think in the big universe there is more and more money that advertisers are prepared to spend. People are always going to have to market their products and services. What percentage of it goes to television and what percentage of it goes elsewhere, I think is the big question.

12252   THE CHAIRPERSON: You are from Hamilton. After I visited you, I visited Channel Zero, who are the new owners of CHCH, and who said to me, because of the very local focus of CHCH, it is sort of a mini-CNN for Hamilton. In Niagara they have actually found out there is a new market. There is a local market that before didn't even think of TV but now they feel they can reach immediately their direct customers, and therefore those stores in Hamilton who before didn't advertise are coming to them.

12253   Is that an isolated phenomenon or not? I guess that is what we are looking at.

12254   MR. J. LEVY: That market existed 40 years ago too --


12256   MR. J. LEVY: -- and CHCH really marketed that product. I mean I grew up in that neighbourhood and I know a lot of the businessmen who extensively used it. And then what happened was that station became not a local station anymore. It became something bigger. I remember when Ken Sobel started that channel.

12257   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

12258   MR. J. LEVY: So I think yes, there is an opportunity for that but, again, my only caution is that is filling a void that is a natural void. That is a huge community. It also could support another hockey team but that is another matter. But it is a huge community that deserves local news and information.

12259   But having said that, it is also subject to the same transformative process that is going on. The young people in that market are still going to be looking at other properties to find their sports, news and information.

12260   THE CHAIRPERSON: Last question. Where do you stand on value for signal? I mean you have heard the two arguments: basically the broadcasters saying, we are being compensated but not totally, and the BDUs saying, the compensation you get is not in money but in kind but basically we are paying for your signal.

12261   MR. J. LEVY: Well, again, I think -- my view on the value for services, it is another -- and I don't mean this disrespectfully but I think it is just a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem and I would not encourage it.

12262   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much. I appreciate your coming. We look forward to your further reply on your fallback option.

12263   MR. J. LEVY: Thank you very much.

12264   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

12265   Madame la Secrétaire, why don't we deal with our next intervener before we break for lunch.

12266   THE SECRETARY: Perfect.

12267   J'aimerais maintenant inviter le Conseil provincial du secteur des communications du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique.

--- Pause

12268   LA SECRÉTAIRE : Vous avez 10 minutes pour votre présentation. Merci.


12269   M. LABELLE : Monsieur le Président, Messieurs les Vice-Présidents, Mesdames et Messieurs les Conseillers et Conseillères, membres du Conseil, bonjour.

12270   Mon nom est Richard Labelle. Je suis vice-président, Radio et Télévision du Conseil provincial du secteur des communications du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique. Je suis aussi président du Syndicat des employés de TVA pour les stations de Rimouski, Trois-Rivières et Sherbrooke.

12271   Je suis accompagné de :

12272   - madame Lisa Djevahirdjian, à côté de moi, du service de recherche du SCFP;

12273   - également, monsieur Michel Bibeault, directeur adjoint du SCFP Québec;

12274   - monsieur Réjean Beaudet, président du Syndicat de TVA Montréal; et

12275   - madame Nathalie Blais, vice-présidente Information, représentant les journalistes de TVA Montréal.

12276   Le CPSC représente plus de 7 000 salariés dans différents domaines du secteur des communications. En partie, nos membres travaillent pour des titulaires de licence de généralistes, dont Global, la Société Radio-Canada, TVA et anciennement TQS.

12277   Nous représentons aussi des milliers de membres dans les entreprises de distribution de radiodiffusion comme Vidéotron, TELUS, Cogeco, ce qui, je crois, nous met dans une position privilégiée pour bien comprendre les intérêts des deux secteurs qui sont publiquement en affrontement présentement.

12278   Menée à coup de campagnes publicitaires déplorables et truffées de demi-vérités ou mensonges, cette cacophonie de communications a laissé les consommateurs confus et surtout méfiants. Les témoignages qu'ont reçus nos membres qui ont une relation directe avec les consommateurs en témoignent.

12279   Le message des consommateurs peut se résumer ainsi. Ils ne veulent pas payer plus pour la distribution, et ils veulent surtout avoir accès à une programmation locale de qualité.

12280   Le noeud du problème, c'est que les généralistes ont des ennuis financiers de taille. Déjà, ils n'arrivent plus à assumer pleinement le rôle culturel qui leur a été dévolu, et la situation risque de s'empirer.

12281   Or, malgré leur situation financière difficile, les généralistes demeurent les acteurs incontournables du système de radiodiffusion dans son ensemble. Ce sont souvent elles qui produisent les séries lourdes, l'information, qui sont garantes de l'expression locale.

12282   Cette responsabilité a un coût, aujourd'hui, trop élevé, vu le passe au numérique, le développement du HD, et la fragmentation de l'auditoire et de la tarte publicitaire, bien sûr.

12283   Des millions de Canadiens regardent encore la télé généraliste. On n'est pas surpris. L'an dernier, les quatre généralistes du Québec retenaient plus de 50 pour cent de l'écoute des francophones.

12284   Par ailleurs, il y a des chaînes spécialisées qui continuent de jouir de taux de rentabilité confortables, et les EDR qui affichent sans cesse des marges de profit importantes.

12285   Le système favorise injustement la rentabilité des télévisions facultatives, qui demeurent très profitables, tandis que les généralistes sont souvent au bord de la faillite.

12286   La bonne santé financière des spécialisés s'explique justement par le fait que plusieurs chaînes facultatives touchent 50 pour cent de leur revenu à même les frais d'abonnement.

12287   Si on veut maintenir un meilleur équilibre dans le marché des télédiffuseurs, il faut accorder une valeur marchande aux généralistes. Les sommes ainsi générées pourraient servir à bonifier la programmation locale, soutenir les stations régionales, et la production de bulletins de nouvelles de grande qualité et refléter ainsi réellement les communautés.

12288   Cette valeur devrait être fixée par chacun des marchés, et les nouveaux revenus octroyés pour les marchés respectifs. Mais si le Conseil choisit d'octroyer ces sommes, il ne faut en aucun cas que la facture soit refilée aux consommateurs, qui paient déjà suffisamment aux EDR, lesquelles ne cessent d'enregistrer des bénéfices avec des marges de profit jusqu'à 25 pour cent.

12289   Le CPSC suggère une tarification modulée et réglementée pour déterminer les montants à remettre aux généralistes et aux facultatifs pour leurs services.

12290   Dans un système de tarification modulée, le premier palier déterminerait les valeurs marchandes des stations généralistes qui seront distribuées obligatoirement dans un service de base. Dans les autres paliers, les prix seraient supérieurs, et on y retrouverait les services facultatifs. Chaque palier représenterait une fourchette de redevances déterminée par le Conseil, ce qui permettrait de contrôler les coûts.

12291   La Loi sur la radiodiffusion reconnaît l'importance de la programmation locale. Encore faut-il que cette programmation soit accessible. En effet, qu'elles diffusent par câble ou par satellite, les EDR devraient être tenus par condition de licence de diffuser en priorité tout ce qui est disponible comme service de programmation locale ou régionale, ce qui n'est pas encore le cas.

12292   Comment déterminer la valeur marchande d'un service généraliste par rapport à un autre?

12293   Les critères devraient être les suivants, parmi tant d'autres : la quantité de programmation locale, les dépenses en programmation locale, et la programmation originale.

12294   Pour résoudre d'éventuels conflits sur la valeur marchande d'une station, le CRTC devrait mettre sur pied un système d'arbitrage. Les décisions de l'arbitre baliseraient et encadreraient les négociations entre les EDR et les diffuseurs. Ainsi, toutes les parties seraient assurées, selon nous, d'un juste prix pour leur signal.

12295   En échange de ces revenus additionnels, on pourrait augmenter les contraintes en contenu canadien, surtout en contenu local.

12296   Quand on dit programmation locale dans les marchés de moins d'un million d'habitants, on parle essentiellement d'information ou d'affaires publiques, car dans la plupart des cas, les généralistes ne produisent localement que ce genre d'émissions, et les Canadiens tiennent à leur information locale.

12297   Les généralistes éprouvant des difficultés financières coupent essentiellement en information, aux dépens des populations des régions desservies.

12298   V, l'ancien TQS, a même instauré une pratique inusitée. Elle envoie en sous-traitance la mince production de nouvelles que le CRTC l'a obligée à conserver. Résultat : la population a perdu une vraie source d'information.

12299   Les généralistes devraient être forcées de remplir convenablement leurs obligations envers les citoyens, et une façon de faire serait d'obliger ces titulaires à maintenir une salle des nouvelles indépendante et opérée par ses propres employés.

12300   Il est aussi vrai que de plus en plus les Canadiens prennent leur information sur Internet, surtout les jeunes. Ce qu'il ne faut pas oublier, par contre, c'est que les internautes qui cherchent à s'informer sur l'actualité se retrouvent plus souvent qu'autrement sur des sites de médias traditionnels ou accèdent à de l'information mise en ligne par ces médias. Il y a beaucoup de recherches récentes qui le démontrent.

12301   Une approche globale qui prend en considération l'ensemble des avoirs d'une entreprise dans le secteur de la radiodiffusion n'est pas en soi une mauvaise idée.

12302   Le modèle proposé pour la contribution à la programmation canadienne dans l'Avis de consultation pourrait remplacer adéquatement le cadre actuel, particulièrement quant à l'apport des stations de télévision spécialisées et des stations de vidéo sur demande.

12303   Par contre, intégrer les stations généralistes dans ce modèle semble être un concept mal adapté et incongru puisque, entre autres, sa grille d'évaluation ne tient pas compte de sa programmation locale, sans oublier que toutes les généralistes ne sont pas nécessairement affiliées à de grands groupes -- prenons V, Télé-Québec, Radio Nord Communications -- et nécessiteraient, par le fait même, une politique particulière.

12304   Une politique générale par groupe de propriété pose aussi problème au niveau de l'indépendance locale des stations traditionnelles. L'évaluation de la programmation canadienne par groupe de propriété éloignerait des pouvoirs décisionnels les communautés desservies par les stations généralistes.

12305   Avec un tel modèle, le poids des communautés pour faire valoir leurs besoins en matière de programmation serait considérablement réduit. Au lieu d'un rapport direct avec leur station locale, les citoyens devraient s'adresser à une grande corporation généralement située à des centaines de kilomètres et qui n'est pas ancrée dans leur réalité.

12306   Nous l'avons démontré lors des audiences pour le renouvellement des licences des généralistes, que chez les titulaires généralistes dans les régions autres que Montréal, les décisions éditoriales sont souvent le fait de la maison mère.

12307   Le CRTC a bien saisi cette problématique et l'a signalée dans sa décision suite aux audiences récentes pour le renouvellement des licences des généralistes.

12308   En conclusion, nous voulons réitérer que les nouvelles sommes d'argent remises aux généralistes, autant privées que publiques, pourraient être utilisées pour améliorer notre système de radiodiffusion en garantissant le financement de plus de programmation canadienne.

12309   Les grandes stations de télévision généralistes au pays ont frappé un mur, le mur des stations spécialisées. Celles-ci grugent chaque année des parts de marché, donc des parts de publicité, aux dépens des généralistes, tout en profitant seules des redevances.

12310   Selon Statistique Canada, les stations généralistes privées ont réalisé en 2008 une marge bénéficiaire avant intérêt et impôt inférieure à 1 pour cent, la plus modeste des 30 dernières années. En revanche, les chaînes facultatives, incluant les VSD, ont réalisé plus de 99 pour cent des bénéfices de la télévision privée.

12311   L'argent pour les généralistes ne doit pas provenir des poches des consommateurs, mais un rééquilibrage des sommes déjà disponibles.

12312   Les EDR, comme on l'a mentionné plus tôt, jouissent de marges de profit plus qu'intéressantes grâce à la distribution de télévision, mais aussi grâce à la distribution d'Internet, et jusqu'à ce jour, les profits de ce secteur d'activités n'ont jamais servi à la production canadienne.

12313   En effet, le Conseil a choisi d'exempter de son règlement les services de radiodiffusion pour les nouveaux médias et dit qu'il surveillera l'évolution des tendances. Mais pour le CPSC, la tendance est claire : de plus en plus de Canadiens consomment leurs produits audiovisuels sur Internet, que ce soit pour leur divertissement ou encore pour s'informer.

12314   Nous préconisons l'implantation d'un mécanisme de contribution des entreprises de radiodiffusion exemptées, la télévision mobile, la distribution Internet, et caetera, au financement de la production d'émissions canadiennes, d'information journalistique et de contenu canadien destinée aux plates-formes des nouveaux médias.

12315   Cette contribution serait établie en pourcentage de leur revenu, sur le modèle de la contribution des distributeurs par câble et par les SRD au Fonds des médias.

12316   Nous savons que tel n'est pas l'enjeu de cette audience. Par contre, il faut en tenir compte, selon nous, quand on voit les riches EDR tenter, encore une fois, de refiler la facture aux consommateurs.

12317   Je vous remercie de votre attention, et nous sommes disponibles pour vos questions.

12318   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci de votre présentation.

12319   À la page 3, troisième paragraphe, vous dites :

« Mais si le Conseil choisit d'octroyer ces sommes, il ne faut en aucun cas que la facture soit refilée aux consommateurs, qui paient déjà suffisamment aux EDR... »

12320   Comment on réalise ça? Parce que vous avez écouté les EDR. Elles ont dit absolument clairement, s'il y a une charge octroyée, on va la relier aux consommateurs.

12321   M. LABELLE : Ce qu'on pense, c'est ce qu'on devrait aussi redéfinir les redevances qui sont actuellement payées aux télévisions spécialisées, établir des fourchettes, et on pense qu'avec une réduction... parce qu'on sait que là, les télévisions spécialisées ont accès à la publicité, ont le meilleur des deux mondes, et elles vont très bien.

12322   Alors, il y aurait peut-être moyen de regarder si on ne peut pas réduire les redevances qui sont versées aux spécialisées, et avec cet argent-là qui serait économisé, bien, ça pourrait servir justement aux câblos pour éviter de refiler aux consommateurs une facture indue.

12323   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et vous avez la confiance que les EDR, dans ce cas-là, ne vont pas augmenter les frais aux consommateurs?

12324   M. LABELLE : Bien, la fourchette devrait être définie par le CRTC, selon nous, d'une part, et très réglementée pour éviter justement toute forme de dérapage.

12325   LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci.

12326   Suzanne.

12327   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.

12328   Bonjour. Merci d'être tous ici ce matin. J'avais planifié mes questions en fonction de votre mémoire. Vous avez repris différents aspects de votre mémoire dans la présentation, dans un ordre différent. Alors, je vais plutôt me fier un petit peu plus sur votre présentation et compléter par la suite.

12329   Je veux continuer un petit peu sur ce que vous avez commencé avec monsieur le président au niveau de la tarification et l'établissement de la juste valeur marchande des signaux des télévisions conventionnelles, parce que je ne comprends pas très bien ce que vous expliquez, et dans votre mémoire et dans votre présentation.

12330   Bon, j'ai compris ce que vous avez dit, vous estimez que les tarifs devraient être réglementés. Mais de la façon que vous le proposez, vous dites :

« ... [un] premier palier déterminerait les valeurs marchandes des stations généralistes qui seront distribuées obligatoirement... »

12331   Ça, jusque là, ça va.

« Dans les autres paliers... »

12332   Et dans votre mémoire, vous faites référence à un palier supérieur, que vous appelez supérieur, et encore là, vous dites :

« ...les prix seraient supérieurs, et on y retrouverait les services facultatifs. »

12333   Et là, vous venez de dire que, selon vous, il pourrait avoir un rééquilibrage en diminuant les tarifs des services spécialisés. Alors, je ne comprends pas ce que vous proposez ici.

12334   M. BEAUDET : Dans le fond, on prend un système que les redevances du câble, on irait en fonction... on disait tantôt, il y aurait une fourchette et que cette fourchette-là devrait tenir compte, est-ce qu'il y a de la production, est-ce qu'il y a de la production locale, c'est quoi l'investissement qui est fait là-dedans.

12335   Ces normes qui seraient établies là, bien, c'est là qu'on viendrait à déterminer c'est quoi le coût de ce qu'on met en ondes, c'est quoi la valeur de ce qu'on met en ondes, de là à déterminer, écoute, si la TV généraliste produit beaucoup localement, fait beaucoup de productions canadiennes, elle aura accès à des crédits, au même titre que la TV spécialisée, si elle a beaucoup de productions canadiennes, elle a beaucoup de productions locales, aurait accès à ces mêmes crédits.

12336   Mais on part en fonction des redevances qui sont disponibles, puis on les redistribue. Il y aurait une négociation qui serait faite pour déterminer quelle est la valeur du signal, mettons, la valeur de ce qui est mis en ondes. Cette négociation-là serait faite entre l'EDR et les postes de télévision. S'il n'y a pas entente, un système d'arbitrage, puis éventuellement, ça va rouler tout seul.

12337   À la limite, on pourrait dire qu'ils pourraient convenir qu'il y aurait une règle de trois qui va s'instaurer. J'ai tant de minutes, tant d'heures de production locale, j'en ai tant de canadiens, la valeur de mon produit, c'est tant.

12338   Puis si la TV spécialisée veut avoir plus de redevances de câble, elle pourrait faire plus de productions locales, pourrait faire plus de productions canadiennes.

12339   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je ne sais pas si vous étiez ici au début de la semaine quand Astral a présenté, et Astral, qui a de nombreux services spécialisés aussi dans le marché francophone, précisait que présentement, les tarifs de gros entre Astral et les EDR sont négociés et que, normalement, ça devrait refléter la valeur que le public y attache.

12340   Pourquoi est-ce que vous voyez la nécessité de revisiter ou de modifier cet aspect-là?

12341   MME BLAIS : Présentement, ce qu'on constate, c'est qu'il y a des spécialisés qui sont sur le service de base, il y a des spécialisés qui sont sur les étages. Dépendamment des formules qui sont employées par les cablôdistributeurs ou les EDR, il y a des étages ou non. Mais il y a des spécialisés qui sont sur le service de base et qui, donc, reçoivent des redevances et peuvent, en plus, obtenir des revenus publicitaires.

12342   Nous, ce qu'on dit, c'est que le service de base devrait être réservé à des généralistes, qui recevraient, comme ils seraient sur le service de base, des redevances qui seraient moins importantes que ce qu'on retrouve sur les paliers supérieurs, qui, eux, demandent à la clientèle de s'abonner.

12343   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : De choisir, donc.

12344   MME BLAIS : De choisir.

12345   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Donc, vous seriez en faveur de la restriction de l'accès au service de base?

12346   MME DJEVAHIRDJIAN : Oui, exactement, et on évalue ça en disant que s'ils sont sur le service de base, ça vaut quelque chose. Tout le monde va l'avoir. Donc, c'est pour ça qu'il n'y aurait pas besoin d'avoir autant de redevances ou les montants n'ont pas besoin d'être aussi élevés pour les services facultatifs qui sont dans les paliers supérieurs.

12347   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Mais ça ne serait pas nécessaire que les services facultatifs qui sont choisis à la carte, qui sont dans les paliers supérieurs, aient nécessairement des redevances plus élevées que ce qu'il y a sur le service de base?

12348   MME DJEVAHIRDJIAN : Pas nécessairement...

12349   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Pas nécessairement.

12350   MME DJEVAHIRDJIAN : ...parce que ça va dépendre de ce qui est produit aussi.

12351   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci. Je comprends bien maintenant.

12352   M. BIBEAULT : Peut-être donner quelques exemples pratiques.

12353   Disons qu'on aurait le service de base, on met la fourchette entre 10 cents et 30 cents par abonné pour les... mettons au Québec, les 10 généralistes francophones et anglophones qui sont là.

12354   Donc, le service de base, c'est réservé aux généralistes, et ce qui déterminerait entre 10 cents et 30 cents, ça serait les critères qui sont dans le paragraphe... les critères utilisés seraient :

« quantité de programmation locale, les dépenses en programmation locale, et la programmation originale. »

12355   Évidemment, un canal qui diffuse seulement ou qui produit seulement pour huit heures de programmation par jour n'aurait pas le même montant qu'un canal qui produit beaucoup plus de programmation originale et locale. Quelqu'un qui achète des séries et qui met ça en rediffusion ne pourrait pas avoir les mêmes montants.

12356   Après ça, on tomberait sur une deuxième étage, parce qu'il y a comme des étages populaires que les EDR offrent. Deuxième étage, là, la fourchette pourrait être entre 20 cents et 50-60 cents ou 90 cents. Ça, on ne le détermine pas présentement. Mais encore là, la valeur de ce que ça vaudrait, il faudrait qu'il y ait quand même des critères objectifs qui diraient qu'est-ce qui vaut plus et qu'est-ce qui vaut moins.

12357   Évidemment, maintenant, il y a des récepteurs numériques qui permettent d'acheter des canaux à la pièce. Ça, ça n'empêche pas que quelqu'un qui a un décodeur numérique qui veut payer $ 1.00, $ 1.50 ou $ 5.00 dollars pour un canal pourrait le faire.

12358   Mais quand on offre des packages populaires, les fourchettes de prix qui seraient à négocier seraient déterminées par le Conseil en regard de s'assurer que la facture totale au consommateur resterait égale ou inférieure à ce qu'elle est présentement.

12359   Même si on disait qu'il y a 10 généralistes au Québec qui auraient 30 cents par abonné par mois, ça ferait $ 3.00 par mois. Présentement, c'est quoi la facture du service de base, $ 20,00, $ 25.00. On pense même que ça pourrait faire baisser la facture du service de base.

12360   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Je vais vous dire franchement que la difficulté que j'ai à suivre vos propos découle du fait que dans votre mémoire ainsi que dans votre présentation, vous avez établi des points de principe, ce qui est très valable, mais, par contre, dans votre soumission finale du 14 décembre, si vous pouvez nous proposer des scénarios et des critères spécifiques, un peu comme vous venez de faire maintenant, ça, ça nous aiderait beaucoup dans notre analyse.

12361   Alors, vous voudrez sûrement le considérer, et je vais relire la transcription aussi, ne soyez pas inquiet.

12362   Maintenant, si on parle un petit peu plus de programmation locale, vous soutenez qu'une grosse partie de la programmation locale, c'est l'information, qui coûte cher à produire. On a quand même eu des représentants de radiodiffuseurs indépendants de petits marchés qui, eux, soutenaient que oui, effectivement, l'information, c'est une grosse partie de la programmation locale, mais qui faisaient aussi d'autres types de production locale. Alors, je tenais à vous le signaler.

12363   Mais est-ce que vous n'estimez pas qu'au niveau de la représentation des régions, justement en information, le processus décisionnel sur le choix de l'information qui se fait en région, est-ce que vous n'estimez pas que le Fonds d'amélioration de la programmation locale permet justement d'adresser une partie de cette problématique-là?

12364   M. LABELLE : On va l'espérer grandement. Je vous dirais, pour l'instant... j'ai hâte de voir les résultats, parce que, bon, les résultats vont se faire attendre.

12365   Pour l'instant, et on l'a souligné le printemps dernier, on avait un problème avec ça, c'est la maison mère qui décidait. Moi, je représente des stations régionales, je travaille dans une station régionale, et je peux vous dire que l'autonomie des stations régionales, c'est un euphémisme pour l'instant. La maison mère nous dicte pas mal la grille horaire, même des fois le contenu éditorial des bulletins de nouvelles et des trucs comme ça.

12366   Par contre, les stations régionales ont déjà beaucoup produit. Vous parliez de stations régionales, effectivement, qui ne sont pas affiliées à des réseaux. Je vous rappellerais qu'avant que, par exemple...

12367   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : En fait, qui sont effectivement affiliées à des réseaux.

12368   M. LABELLE : Pardon?

12369   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Qui sont effectivement affiliées à des réseaux...

12370   M. LABELLE : Oui.

12371   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : ...quand on parle de Télé Inter-Rives ou qu'on parle de RNC.

12372   M. LABELLE : Oui, exact.


12374   M. LABELLE : Exact. Exact.

12375   Mais je fais un petit historique. Patonique, avant d'être achetée par TVA, les stations régionales produisaient beaucoup. On produisait même dans un seul avant-midi... avant même d'arriver à un bulletin de nouvelles, on avait quatre heures de production locale, « Café chaud » et « Mongrain de sel »... Mongrain qui a commencé à Sherbrooke, soit-dit en passant.

12376   Alors, au bout de la semaine, on avait déjà 20 heures de programmation locale, uniquement en avant-midi là. Je ne compte même pas les bulletins de 18 h 00 et de midi. Donc, il y avait une rentabilité là. Ça marchait.

12377   Bon, les réseaux nous ont achetées. Ça l'a fait que notre programmation s'est effritée, et puis est partie au vent, et que nous, on reste avec pas grand-chose maintenant aujourd'hui.

12378   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Aussi, au niveau de la demande, au fond... et vous soulignez que c'est vrai qu'il y a de plus en plus de Canadiens qui prennent leur information, aussi leur divertissement, sur Internet, surtout les jeunes, mais pas seulement là.

12379   M. LABELLE : Moi aussi.

12380   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Moi aussi. Exactement.

12381   Mais vous soulignez que qu'est-ce qu'il ne faut pas oublier, par contre, c'est que les internautes cherchent à s'informer de l'actualité et qu'ils retrouvent cette actualité-là sur, en fait, les sites des médias traditionnels.

12382   Et vous dites que... vous avez ajouté là, ce qui n'est pas dans texte, que vous avez de la recherche qui démontre ça. Cette recherche-là, est-ce que vous pouvez la partager avec nous et la déposer au Conseil?

12383   M. LABELLE : Oui.


12385   M. LABELLE : Il y a une recherche, entre autres, qui a été faite récemment aux États-Unis, entre autres, et qui révélait que -- et ça paru dans les journaux, d'ailleurs -- que les blogs personnels étaient en chute, pas libre mais presque, et que les gens avaient tendance à aller s'informer sur les médias reconnus, crédibles, New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, et que les blogs... parce qu'ils se rendaient compte que là, il y avait beaucoup de... c'était moins objectif, à leurs yeux, c'était plus tendancieux, c'était plus teinté d'opinions personnelles, alors que les gens avaient l'impression qu'en allant sur les sites, comme ils le font avec TVA et Radio-Canada, il y avait une information qui était beaucoup plus crédible. Et c'est une tendance qui va de plus en plus dans ce sens-là.

12386   Mais on essaiera de vous produire les...

12387   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Oui, si vous pouvez, ça serait utile.

12388   M. LABELLE : Oui. Oui. Oui.

12389   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Au niveau de la conversion numérique, dans votre mémoire, vous faites une affirmation qui me surprend un peu. Alors, vous pouvez peut-être me l'expliquer.

12390   Vous dites être d'accord avec la proposition hybride, c'est-à-dire que pas nécessairement tous les émetteurs seraient convertis au numérique, et vous êtes conscient que... acceptez que le signal soit en définition standard au départ là, c'est quand même un pas dans la bonne direction.

12391   Mais lorsque vous parlez de l'accès de la population aux signaux, vous dites que, évidemment, les populations vivant près des stations originales auraient accès à ces signaux, comme c'est le cas présentement, sauf que dans les plans de conversion qui nous ont été soumis, il y a certains radiodiffuseurs qui ne prévoient pas nécessairement convertir tous leurs émetteurs. Ça, vous ne vous en êtes pas particulièrement préoccupé?

12392   M. LABELLE : Oui.

12393   M. BIBEAULT : Mais nous, on regarde plus la situation au Québec. On est conscient qu'au Canada, vu l'étendue du pays, il y a des situations particulières.

12394   Au Québec, en tout cas, pour TVA, il y a cinq stations régionales, et à ce qu'on sache, il n'y a pas de problème particulier à convertir les transmetteurs au numérique, et dans chacune...

12395   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Mais V avait quand même mentionné lors de sa présentation qu'il songeait sérieusement là à ne pas nécessairement convertir tous ses émetteurs.

12396   M. BIBEAULT : C'est sûr que si on ne les oblige pas, ils ne le feront peut-être pas. Ça, c'est certain.

12397   Mais est-ce qu'on veut que les gens puissent avoir le même service qu'ils avaient avant et quel est le coût associé? Dans toutes ces stations-là, il peut avoir plusieurs entreprises qui se mettent en commun et qui transmettent en SD pour partager le coût du transmetteur. On ne croit pas que c'est exorbitant.

12398   Comme on l'a expliqué dans les audiences la dernière fois, quand on vient vous dire, ah, bien, ça coûte très cher, la transition, oui, mais il y a des émetteurs analogues qui datent de 20-30 ans qui auraient dû être changés il y a quatre-cinq ans et qui retardent et qui retardent le changement, et il y a parfois un peu l'idée de se servir de la transition numérique pour ne pas les changer. Et si on ne les avait pas obligés, en analogique, peut-être qu'ils n'auraient pas voulu les changer non plus là.

12399   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : C'est spéculatif là, mais je comprends ce que vous expliquez.

12400   M. LABELLE: C'est qu'il y en a qui se plaignent que ça va leur coûter très cher, mais des fois il faut comprendre aussi que pendant 20 ans, il n'y a eu aucun investissement, alors que s'ils avaient investi de manière graduelle, bien, peut-être que l'arrivée au final coûterait beaucoup moins cher.

12401   Mais bien souvent on assiste à une situation de rattrapage important; c'est-à-dire que ce n'est pas rien qu'un émetteur qu'il faut changer, là, il faut tout changer alors qu'il y a d'autres chaînes qui, eux, l'ont fait graduellement. Ils sont venus voir le coût.

12402   Alors, ce qu'il reste à faire, c'est les émetteurs, mais tout le reste a déjà été fait au complet et déjà les émetteurs ont subi des transformations, mais il y en a d'autres qui n'ont rien fait, qui n'ont rien investi pendant, je dirais, 20 ans facilement. Moi, je l'ai vu dans les régions, entre autres.

12403   Alors, évidemment, là, le coup de barre est important à donner. Alors, on peut comprendre que, oui, mais pendant 20 ans, il ne s'est rien passé, par exemple.

12404   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Et toujours sur le sujet, là, de la conversion numérique, au niveau du modèle FREESAT au paragraphe 45 de votre présentation, vous parlez du récepteur qui serait fourni aux téléspectateurs et vous terminez en disant que vous craignez que... bien, en fait, en tout cas j'estime que c'est une crainte, là : «Que le récepteur risquerait ensuite d'être utilisé à d'autres fins mercantiles par le fournisseur du service de transmission supposément gratuit.»

12405   Elle est où votre crainte, là, qu'est-ce que vous... quel scénario est-ce que vous envisagez, là, quand vous faites cette affirmation-là?

12406   M. BIBEAULT: Mais on nous avait demandé après les audiences du mois de mai de se poser la question entre les deux méthodes laquelle était la plus... la mieux possible pour les téléspectateurs et c'est très difficile, c'est là qu'on dit: «laisse des questions sans réponse», c'est très difficile d'évaluer cette solution-là parce qu'il n'y a pas de détail.

12407   Vu qu'il n'y a pas de détail, on est obligé un peu de spéculer. À la lecture des documents de Bell qui ont été déposés depuis le début de cette audience, là on parle que ça ne serait pas juste sur un satellite, donc ça prendrait une antenne avec... une antenne qui coûte plus cher, qui prendrait... qui serait différente. Même les clients présentement de Bell, il faudrait qu'ils changent leur antenne s'ils voulaient avoir accès à ça.

12408   Donc, c'est un système qui n'est pas clair, mais il y a deux façons de permettre la réception des signaux gratuits. Ou tu le transmets gratuitement, tu ne le crypte pas ou tu le cryptes et, là, tu dis: «C'est moi qui vais vous vendre le décodeur. À quel prix? On ne le sait pas.»

12409   Parce que des décodeurs pour les signaux non cryptés, on sait les prix que ça peut coûter. Un décodeur que Bell va vendre, c'est Bell qui va déterminer sa valeur. Et un coup qu'il va te vendre un décodeur 100,00 $, 200,00 $, 300,00 $, on ne sait pas quel prix, il va certainement...

12410   Maintenant, c'est tous des petits ordinateurs, il va te mettre un petit logiciel là-dedans puis il va te permettre, peut-être, d'accéder à de la vidéo sur demande, un genre de club vidéo que tu peux... Avec Bell, il va t'offrir des services là-dedans, mais il ne le fera pas gratuitement.

12411   Mais c'est de la spéculation parce qu'on n'a pas de détail.

12412   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, dans le fond, ce que vous reprochez, c'est le manque de détail au niveau de la proposition.

12413   M. BIBEAULT: Et quand il n'y en a pas, on peut présumer qu'il peut y avoir des intentions de.

12414   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Mais, en fait, normalement, on présume de la bonne foi des autres parties, là, mais, ça, c'est un autre débat.

12415   M. LABELLE: Ce que je vous rajouterais là-dessus c'est, on a une certaine méfiance. Moi, je suis abonné, entre autres, à un service par satellite et j'ai toujours, moi, une petite icone, à un moment donné, qui dit: vous avez du courrier et très souvent c'est quoi? C'est une offre promotionnelle et des trucs comme ça.

12416   On ne veut pas se retrouver avec des gens, par exemple, qui pourrait dire comme Bell, bon, bien, je vous offre ça gratuitement, même le décodeur, là, je vous le laisse gratuit à la maison et tout ça.

12417   Je ne connais pas une entreprise qui va me laisser quelque chose gratuit en n'espérant pas un jour en retirer un bénéfice quelconque. Alors, j'imagine que ces gens-là seraient assez inondés de toutes sortes de promotions tentantes probablement, des forfaits et des si et des ça, pour essayer de rentabiliser leur investissement.

12418   On n'a qu'à regarder ceux qui ont quitté Bell Canada dans la téléphonie pour voir combien de courriers on reçoit, même rendus anonymes maintenant, mais même plus le logo de Bell sur l'enveloppe où une fois qu'on l'ouvre, on découvre, ah! c'est Bell qui essaie encore de me rattraper et de me vendre encore quelque chose.

12419   Mais, là, l'enveloppe est rendue secrète, là, c'est anonyme. Alors, imaginez que Bell rentre des décodeurs dans toutes les maisons gratuitement, hum! on va être inondé de quelque chose et ça ne sera peut-être pas à la satisfaction du consommateur.

12420   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Le dernier sujet que je vais aborder avec vous, c'est celui de la production indépendante. Dans votre soumission, vous avez précisé que, selon vous, ça ne serait pas nécessaire d'imposer une exigence en matière... une exigence minimale en matière de production indépendante, que ça soit au niveau du nombre d'heures ou au niveau des dépenses.

12421   Et vous appuyez, là, votre argument sur le fait que, bon, l'industrie de la production indépendante s'est bien développée, ces gens-là ont une bonne expertise et qu'un diffuseur généraliste conventionnel pourrait vouloir utiliser son équipe maison pour produire... pour faire une certaine production.

12422   Par contre, ça, c'est votre opinion. On a eu d'autres représentants qui sont venus nous dire... hier l'ACTIS, que la production indépendante, c'est important. Évidemment, les représentants des producteurs indépendants, vous ne serez pas surpris, estiment aussi que c'est important.

12423   On a eu aussi hier APTN qui a fait valoir la plus value qui est apportée par la production indépendante qui permet justement à un réseau de faire des productions qu'autrement ils ne pourraient pas faire et encore ce matin S-VOX nous a vanté les mérites de la production indépendante.

12424   Et, moi, ce que je retiens de tous les arguments qui sont présentés, c'est que la production indépendante pour certain est garante, les exigences de la production indépendante seraient garantes de la diversité des voix d'une offre créatrice ajoutée dans le système.

12425   Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez?

12426   M. BEAUDET: C'est justement; en terme d'offre créatrice, c'est déjà le cas. Nous sommes d'accord avec ça.

12427   La notion de production indépendante, elle est importante. On a donné des facilités voilà une vingtaine d'années pour qu'elle puisse émerger, qu'elle puisse faire un produit de qualité. C'est le cas.

12428   Les télédiffuseurs n'ont pas les ressources, n'ont pas les équipements et n'ont pas le know-how pour être capable de faire des séries lourdes, et caetera, c'est évident que ça va continuer de même.

12429   Mais obligé de dire, bien, écoute, en terme de loi du marché, j'ai des employés, j'ai les studios, j'ai l'expertise, j'ai le know-how pour faire une production et je n'ai pas le droit de le faire, je n'ai pas le droit de prendre mes employés.

12430   Puis le cas qu'on a souvent dit et qu'on a souvent amené ici, là, monsieur Arpin, on s'en est souvent parlé, quand on prend Virginie qui est un case concret, il y a une saison de Virginie pour être capable de faire le 30 minutes, ça coûte 68 000,00 $ pour 30 minutes à Radio-Canada, jusqu'au mois de juin. Au mois de septembre, bien, là, on a fonctionné avec un producteur indépendant pour avoir les subventions, et caetera, ça a tombé à 86 000,00 $.

12431   C'est les mêmes acteurs, c'est les mêmes producteurs parce qu'on a donné le contrat à Radio-Canada. Donc, le producteur indépendant, il dit: bien, moi, je ne veux pas casser le moule, là. On prend la même équipe technique, les mêmes cameramen, les mêmes accessoiristes, les mêmes éclairagistes, ça coûte plus.

12432   Pourquoi empêcher un télédiffuseur qui dit: je veux le faire moi-même? Moi, c'est dans ce sens-là qu'on dit, il y a encore possibilité, cette production-là, elle a sa raison d'être, mais elle a sa raison d'être en fonction de sa spécificité et sa spécialité. Mais quand le télédiffuseur est capable de le faire lui-même, pourquoi pas?

12433   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Donc, votre propos, c'est que l'industrie est arrivée à maturité et qu'à partir de ce stade-ci, des exigences minimales ne seraient plus nécessaires?

12434   M. BEAUDET: C'est en plein ça.

12435   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Ce sont toutes mes questions, monsieur le président. Merci beaucoup.

12436   LE PRÉSIDENT: Michel?

12437   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Merci, monsieur le président. Vous avez tantôt fait état que... vous avez parlé de fourchette de prix et dans la première fourchette, vous aviez établi que sur une base d'hypothèse qui pourrait totaliser jusqu'à 3,00 $ et, là, vous n'avez pas complété votre propos parce que, finalement, le câblodistributeur pourrait proclamer et charger seulement 4,00 $.

12438   Alors, qu'est-ce que vous incluriez dans le prix de base d'un câblodistributeur? Parce que, vous, vous avez mentionné 25,00 $ pour le service de base. Bon, il y avait un montant de 3,00 $.

12439   Vidéotron, quand ils ont comparu nous ont confirmé, et si on va sur leur site internet d'ailleurs, on le voit, que le service de base numérique est 14,99 $.

12440   Alors, c'est le service de base analogique qui est plus cher, qui est autour des 25,00 $, mais le service de base numérique est à 14,00 $ et aujourd'hui, bien, c'est 62 pour cent de leurs abonnés qui sont en numérique et ils vont tendre à 100 pour cent parce que le Conseil, à partir du jour où ils atteignent 85 pour cent, les autorise à forcer les autres abonnés à passer au numérique. C'est une décision qui a été rendue il y a une dizaine d'années. Et, donc, le service de base, à ce moment-là, il sera 14,99 $.

12441   Mais si vous mettez 3,00 $ pour les canaux... et il n'y a aucun canal spécialisé dans les 14,99 $ au service de base ou il y a les canaux dits 91H, là, ceux qui sont obligatoires suite à une décision du Conseil et qui sont essentiellement MétéoMédia pour un et puis Avis de Recherche pour un autre. Alors, ça totalise 0,29 $ les deux ensemble. Alors, le reste...

12442   M. LABELLE: Il n'y a pas RDI là-dedans, par hasard?

12443   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Non. RDI n'est pas...

12444   M. LABELLE: Il est en analogue.

12445   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Sur le service analogique. Il n'est pas sur le service numérique. Le Conseil a donné un statut 91H à RDI pour le hors Québec. Mais, cependant, vous me faites penser à Newsworld pour le Québec. Donc, Newsworld et là... mais encore là, à un montant relativement faible.

12446   Donc, est-ce que dans votre modèle le service de base passerait de 14 $ à 17 $?

12447   M. LABELLE: Bien, dans notre modèle, premièrement, il y aurait uniquement des télévisions généralistes et rien d'autre et, bon, si on établir une fourchette à 0,20 $, mettons, dire qui est distribué de redevances. Bon, prenons, je ne sais pas, moi, Vidéotron Montréal, par exemple, puis qui a 10 chaînes généralistes dans la région de Montréal, bien on arrive à peu près à 2,00 $.

12448   On ne pense pas que la facture doit augmenter pour le consommateur. On pense que les EDRs peuvent absorber une partie de ce 2,00 $ là. Pourquoi? Parce que, actuellement, c'est un signal qui leur coûte absolument rien, d'une part.

12449   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: En fait, une question qu'on se pose, c'est que, oui, ça coût 14,95 $, mais pourquoi il n'y a pas une partie de cet argent-là qui est remis aux services généralistes qui offrent quand même ce service sur ses services de base et ils ne reçoivent rien.

12450   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Mais ça a été l'objet des discussions des trois dernières années, je ne vais pas recommencer à vous donner les opinions des uns et des autres, vous les connaissez aussi bien que moi, mais...

12451   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Mais, nous, nous croyons que les généralistes offrent un service important culturel autant au niveau de la programmation prioritaire, que ça soit pour les émissions pour enfants, que ça soit des documentaires, que ça soit pour les dramatiques et en échange de ce service-là ils devraient avoir le droit d'être rémunérés.

12452   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Mais vous mentionnez les émissions pour enfants, mais on entendra cet après-midi l'Alliance pour l'enfant et la télévision, ils peuvent confirmer qu'il n'y a pas beaucoup d'émissions pour enfants à la télévision généraliste.

12453   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Mais on est d'accord il devrait y en avoir plus.,

12454   CONSEILLER ARPIN: À l'exception de Téléquébec.

12455   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Il devrait y en avoir plus puis je pense que vous êtes positionné pour faire qu'ils en fassent plus.

12456   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Non, mais là on parle... vous me parlez du futur, moi, je vous parle du présent. Donc, ce n'est pas..

12457   M. BEAUDET: Mais parler du présent c'est un bon cas, c'est la mission de la télé généraliste de produire des émissions pour enfant et la seule source de financement de la télé généraliste c'est la publicité puis vous ne pouvez pas vendre de publicité qui s'adresse aux enfants.

12458   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Mais, ça, c'est...

12459   M. BEAUDET: Deux et deux font quatre, là.

12460   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Bien oui, effectivement, c'est le cas du Québec, mais ça, c'est la Loi sur la protection des consommateurs. Le CRTC, lui, a fait un cadre de référence pour la diffusion de publicité pour enfant, mais ce n'est pas... ce cadre-là n'est pas suffisant pour l'Office de la protection du consommateur.

12461   M. BEAUDET: Mais si vous me permettez, je vais aller en aparté un peu, mais c'est un beau cas. La télé généraliste est prise dans le fond, sa seule source de financement c'est la publicité.

12462   On voit avec l'exemple des émissions pour enfant que la publicité, ce n'est pas évident au Québec, on n'a pas le droit d'en vendre. Mais le phénomène de publicité qu'on vit présentement du 30 secondes qu'on a en fonction du 12 spots ou le 24 spots, dépendant, là, mais c'est un phénomène qui s'en va en s'atténuant.

12463   L'avenir de la publicité, ce n'est pas de développer le 30 secondes au huit ou dix minutes là. L'avenir de la publicité c'est quoi? C'est du placement de produit qui est à l'intérieur des émissions.

12464   Donc, il faut que la télé généraliste, y compris les spécialisés éventuellement, ait les moyens de produire des émissions parce que la source de revenu ne sera plus à la fin de l'émission ou en fonction des quatre ou cinq créneaux pour vendre la publicité.

12465   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Mais encore là, les télédiffuseurs francophones sont mieux services que les télédiffuseurs anglophones pour ça, parce qu'en diffusant les émissions américaines, le placement de produit est fait dans un autre pays. Il n'est pas fait ici.

12466   Tandis que chez les francophones, comme d'ailleurs l'Association canadienne des annonceurs qui a comparu cette semaine l'a souligné, la créativité publicitaire es nettement en avance au Québec, à la télévision francophone par rapport à la télévision de langue anglaise.

12467   Donc, ce que vous préconisez, c'est des choses qui sont déjà là. Ils ont des flexibilités qui sont... puis ils les utilisent, là. Je pense que dans... même à Radio-Canada, les téléromans avec des vendeurs ou un délivreur de chez J.C. Perreault là, donc ce n'est pas du placement de produit, ça.

12468   M. BEAUDET: Effectivement, c'est du placement de produit puis, effectivement, je pense que le Québec, compte tenu de notre marché plus fermé, les cotes d'écoute sont mieux puis on ne peut pas prendre des séries américaines tout le temps traduites. C'est bien que le consommateur québécois recherche à avoir des séries, des produits localement.

12469   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Absolument.

12470   M. BEAUDET: Mais ça reste qu'il y a quand même une limite. Il y a une limite au placement de produit, là. Ce n'est pas vrai que demain matin on va avoir Sophie Thibault avec un café Tim Horton's là, tu sais. On n'aura pas ça dans un bulletin de nouvelles.

12471   Mais c'est le fait, dans le fond, que les nouveaux créneaux ont été développés, bravo, puis je pense que ce n'est pas le choix, c'est l'avenir parce que la publicité, comme je vous disais tantôt, 30 secondes, avec le phénomène des enregistreurs numériques, et caetera, présentement, c'est embryonnaire, mais je vous dis que dans trois, quatre ans, à peu près tout le monde va en avoir un puis, là, on va «zapper» les publicités. Ça fait que les publicitaires puis les compagnies ne voudront pas payer le gros prix si, finalement, on est «zappé». Excusez le terme, là.

12472   Mais, par contre, il va falloir que la télé généraliste ait quand même certains moyens pour les produire ces émissions-là puis ce n'est pas le un ou deux produits -- si on prend Tim Horton's, ce n'est pas Tim Horton's qui a commandité Lance et Compte qu'il va être capable de payer au complet.

12473   Donc, il va falloir quand même qu'il y ait une autre source de revenu. Si on laisse ça tout le temps comme c'est là, bien, ça va être appelé à disparaître.

12474   M. LABELLE: Il y en a qui vont me trouver méchant un peu, mais j'ai fait une comparaison entre les distributeurs puis les pétrolières puis je disais que c'était un peu comme si on avait des pétrolières qui nous vendaient de l'essence, mais dont le produit original au Moyen-Orient ne leur coûterait rien.

12475   Alors, ils auraient à assumer seulement le transport du pétrole, la distribution, la construction de stations d'essence et des trucs comme ça, mais la source première qu'ils nous vendent ne leur coûte rien.

12476   Et ce qu'on vit avec les EDRs actuellement, c'est ça. C'est que, oui, on paie pour avoir un réseau de distribution, des fils dans les poteaux puis l'installateur qui vient chez nous et tout ça, mais je dis le produit qu'on nous vend...

12477   Et quand, d'ailleurs, les câblots ont commencé, tout ce qu'ils avaient à nous offrir parce qu'il n'y avait pas de chaîne spécialisée puis qu'il n'y avait pas grand-chose, c'était des généralistes. Alors, on nous offrait déjà un produit qui ne coûtait rien.

12478   À l'époque, ça faisait l'affaire des généralistes parce que l'assiette publicitaire ne s'était pas fragmentée et ça leur permettait d'aller chercher peut-être plus d'auditeurs. Moi, je reste à Sherbrooke où c'est vallonné comme ça, alors si vous essayez de prendre Télé-7, par exemple, avec des oreilles de lapin, bonne chance, c'est très difficile.

12479   Alors, le câble est venu résoudre en partie, aider ce diffuseur-là. Mais, là, on parle à une époque où l'assiette publicitaire n'était pas fragmentée comme aujourd'hui. Et maintenant, elle est tellement fragmentée que, là, ce n'est pas loin d'un sans issue.

12480   Alors, on revient à notre argument en disant, bien, ils doivent payer pour ce qu'ils ont, comme ils font avec les autres.

12481   CONSEILLER ARPIN: On a parlé un petit peu plus tôt du Fonds d'amélioration de la programmation locale. Vous êtes à Sherbrooke, vous, monsieur Labelle, le Conseil, quand il a renouvelé la licence de TVA leur a imposé d'accroître de trois heures et demie à cinq heures par semaine la production locale.

12482   Je présume que le Fonds d'amélioration va servir à ces fins-là?

12483   M. LABELLE: Je n'ai pas eu de nouvelle, je vous dirais, dans ce sens parce qu'on produisait déjà parce que l'engagement à l'époque était de trois heures dix, ça a monté à cinq heures et la plupart des stations produisaient à peu près quatre heures et quarante-cinq parce qu'il y avait une émission de 15 minutes.

12484   Le cinq heures que vous avez données est venu protéger ce 15 minutes-là par jour parce qu'il était déjà question qu'il saute à un moment donné. Les rumeurs couraient bon train dans ce sens-là.

12485   Mais ce que, moi, j'ai des échos, c'est qu'on ne fera pas d'émission nouvelle, là, en région. On va dire, bien, il manque 15 minutes par rapport aux quatre heures et quarante-cinq qu'on produisait déjà, bien, on va faire trois manchettes d'une minute par jour et puis ça va faire le 15 minutes et ça va faire -- excusez l'expression, là -- mais ça va faire la job.

12486   Mais c'est ça actuellement la réaction qu'on a. Écoutez, là, quand vous avez rendu cette décision-là, je peux vous dire que la plupart des directeurs généraux dans les stations régionales, c'était la panique, là, puis ça s'est renfermé pendant trois jours dans les salles de conférence puis, là, c'était... pour finalement sortir et dire: ouf! c'est pas pire, on va être obligé de faire rien que trois manchettes de plus par jour puis on va être correct.

12487   C'était ça leurs réactions et je pourrais vous dire... je vous dirai quelque chose après, mais je ne pense pas, là, que ça va aller, ça va changer quelque chose là parce qu'on ne sent pas une volonté de dire, on va produire plus en région et tout ça. Écoutez, c'était la panique, là, quand vous avez annoncé ça puis on était soulagé de constater qu'on ne produirait pas plus ou presque.

12488   Alors, là, actuellement, le scénario qui s'aligne pour les stations, moi, pour lesquelles je suis en tout cas, c'est que ça va être trois manchettes d'une minute par jour de plus. Alors, on va faire le 15 minutes par semaine.

12489   CONSEILLER ARPIN: Et dans votre présentation orale, la page 4, vous avez dit: «V», l'ancien TQS a même instauré une pratique inédite. Elle envoie en sous-traitance la mince production de nouvelles que le CRTC l'a obligé à conserver. Résultat: la population a perdu une vraie source d'information.»

12490   Les gens qui font ces nouvelles-là sont essentiellement les anciens employés de TQS qui se sont regroupés dans des entreprises. Pourquoi et sur quelle base vous pouvez affirmer que la population a perdu une vraie source d'information?

12491   M. LABELLE: Moi, je suis en région, je travaille comme cameraman à l'information. Je croise ces gens-là. Avant, je les croisais à tous les jours parce qu'on couvrait les mêmes événements avec la même diligence parce qu'il y avait un bulletin d'information locale à tous les jours à TQS à l'époque, comme il y en a un à Télé-7 et à Radio-Canada. Il n'y en a plus de ça.

12492   Alors, quand je les croise, ils sont des étoiles filantes. Nous, on va rester une heure à bien couvrir le sujet, faire une entrevue de fond pour faire un bon reportage étoffé et ce que ces gens-là que je croisais avant faisaient, nous disent: ah! regarde, je prends quelques images, peut-être une entrevue, mais ça, ça va passer dans une capsule samedi, ça fait que, regarde, on ne s'énerve pas trop, trop avec ça.

12493   Ça, c'est la réalité qui se passe actuellement dans les stations régionales de Trois-Rivières, entre autres, et de Sherbrooke. Et je vais laisser ma collègue renchérir parce que Montréal a une réalité aussi semblable.

12494   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Oui. Nathalie aussi veut ajouter là-dessus, mais c'est la même chose à Montréal.

12495   Les journalistes ne posent plus de question, ils ne sont plus là. Quand ils sont là, ils rentrent, ils prennent quelques images et filent puis si on regarde les émissions, c'est exactement ce qui avait été envoyé sur un fil de presse en partant. Il n'y a absolument aucune recherche, aucun contenu, aucune cueillette. C'est comme ce qu'on avait auparavant.

12496   LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais, est-ce que ça ne va pas avoir des réflections sur la popularité des programmes? Si V ne produisent pas des nouvelles et tous les sondages indiquent que la population veut des nouvelles locales ils vont payer le prix et vont perdre des auditeurs, n'est-ce pas?

12497   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Je pense que c'est le cas. Je pense que déjà à Québec ils réfléchissaient pour remettre justement l'émission de nouvelles parce qu'à TQS-Québec, c'était l'émission la plus populaire qu'il y avait en ondes à TQS. Ils ont tout jeté ça et puis, oui, évidemment, après ça, ils ont commencé à se dire: bien, peut-être qu'on a fait une erreur. Entre-temps, la Ville de Québec, maintenant, quand on va à des conférences de presse, il y a des conférences de presse organisées, il y a seulement deux personnes qui arrivent évidemment pour la télévision, mais TQS n'est plus là.

12498   Et, oui, je trouve que la population est moins bien servie puisqu'il y a une personne de moins qui pose des questions et qui vérifie.

12499   LE PRÉSIDENT: Et vous ne croyez pas que monsieur Rémillard va faire la même réflexion que vous et va réaliser que ça ne marche pas cette façon d'offrir des nouvelles et qu'il a perdu des auditeurs?

12500   Mme DJEVAHIRDJIAN: Écoutez, on l'espère, sauf qu'on a bien qu'il... ce qu'on a vu en ondes à TQS pour l'instant, ce n'est pas ça du tout. On l'espère, on peut que l'espérer.

12501   Mais je pense que, comme vous l'avez dit tout à l'heure, je pense qu'avec la personne avant, il y a quand même un marché. Je pense que vous parlez du CHCH à Hamilton qui faisait beaucoup de nouvelles locales et que, oui, il y avait un certain intérêt par la population et, donc, des publicitaires locaux.

12502   Oui, il y a des gens qui veulent vendre de la publicité pour ces émissions-là qui veulent acheter des temps d'antenne, mais il faut quand même qu'ils soient là et ils ne le font pas. On pense qu'ils ont fait une erreur. Peut-être que ça va revenir lentement, mais on l'espère.

12503   Entre temps on est ici pour que ça soit entendu les problèmes que vivent les régions. Nathalie, voulais-tu rajouter quelque chose?

12504   Mme BLAIS: Bien, simplement pour dire que, dans le fond, de donner des nouvelles à sous-contrat, l'inquiétude qu'on a par rapport à ça, c'est qu'en donnant à un sous-contractant la tâche de faire des nouvelles pour un généraliste, on subordonne le droit du public à l'information, à des considérations financières.

12505   V, en faisant ça, a des considérations financières et vu que ça lui coûte moins cher, ce sont les mêmes gens qui font les mêmes nouvelles qu'avant, vous avez tout à fait raison, mais ils ne sont plus payés au même salaire et ils n'ont plus la même indépendance qu'avant.

12506   Nous, on pense qu'un généraliste qui recevrait des redevances parce que, oui, ça coûte de l'argent faire des nouvelles et on pense que ça mérite d'être récompensé, devrait en contre-partie s'assurer d'avoir ses propres journalistes, sa propre salle de nouvelles et de couvrir correctement les informations locales puisque ce sont les seuls qui offrent des informations au niveau local à la télévision, de toute façon.

12507   LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Ce sont toutes nos questions pour vous et merci d'être venu.

12508   Madame la secrétaire, je crois qu'on peut prendre une pause et on va recommencer à 1315.

--- Upon recesing at 1209

--- Upon resuming at 1320

12509   THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. Commençons, Madame la Secrétaire.

12510   THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation from the Directors Guild of Canada.

12511   Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.

12512   Thank you.


12513   MR. ANTHONY: Chairman, Commissioners, Commission staff, my name is Brian Anthony and I am the National Executive Director and CEO of the Directors Guild of Canada.

12514   The DGC is a national labour organization representing key personnel in the film and television and digital media industry with over 3,800 members working in 47 key creative and logistical occupational categories.

12515   With me today, to my right is Surla Gunnerson, one of Canada's best-known and accomplished film-makers and President of the Directors Guild of Canada. To my left, Peter Murphy, our Manager, Policy and Research.

12516   Surrounding this hearing, as you will have no doubt noticed, there has been a great deal of animated discussion on the part of the conventional broadcasters of the negotiated value for signal and the response of the cable distributors to that call.

12517   Unfortunately, this heated public battle has all but overshadowed the question of how any resultant revenues would be assigned.

12518   We are here today because we would like to refocus the discussion to embrace the core question of Canadian content and the basic obligations under the Broadcasting Act of conventional broadcasters in that regard.

12519   Surla...?

12520   MR. GUNNERSON: Early in your mandate, Mr. Chairman, you made the following statement:

"The broadcasting system as envisioned in the Broadcasting Act is an instrument for protecting and nurturing Canadian identity and so we are going to have to find ways in this evermore borderless world to carve out a special place within the broadcasting system for Canadian voices, points of views and ways of expressing ourselves." (As read)

12521   We believe these words are even more relevant today than they were when they were first spoken three years ago. The rapid pace of tech change has made carving out a special place for Canadian voices even more vital and if this provides us with challenges it also offers us opportunities now and in the future.

12522   We heard on the opening day that this hearing is about the future. To that end, we must look at the programming we are creating and the life that this programming will be down the road. We must support the creation of programming with enduring culture value and potential for downstream revenues on which we can build and sustain an independent production sector.

12523   The digital environment provides the greatest opportunity in history to create a legacy of creativity and reflection for future Canadians. The future is the creative economy of which our industry is the key component. Investing in our creative class is simply good business and a necessary step in securing Canada's place in the new global economy.

12524   Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, we are a labour organization whose members represent the creative core of the industry. Our position is not about make-work projects, it's about the law and how the Broadcast Act can be fulfilled. It is also about the Canadian public, a public with a demonstrated appetite for diverse Canadian programming for whom the Act was specifically designed so that Canadians could hold up a mirror and see themselves in it.

12525   The starting point for any discussion of Canadian broadcasters' appropriate contributions to Canadian programming must always be the Broadcasting Act and the obligations it stipulates. Parliament has clearly recognized the importance of Canadian programming within the Canadian broadcasting system and through the Act Parliament affirmed that each component of the broadcasting system should support the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.

12526   The Act is clear on the issue of programming obligations, it calls for each element of the system to contribute to Canadian programming which should be varied and comprehensive, providing a balance of information, enlightenment and entertainment for men, women and children of all ages, interests, and tastes.

12527   Conventional broadcasters, as the cornerstones of the system and the principal beneficiaries of the regulatory environment must be required to support all types of Canadian programming, including in particular our area of specialty, authored programming, scripted programming such as drama, including children's drama and documentaries.

12528   The core principle here is to make a wide variety of programming available to Canadians as required by the Act, including the most popular form of programming, drama. Drama and documentaries are not lost in the Act and they should not be obscured in the current high-volume battle of the titans.

12529   MR. ANTHONY: At first blush, a simple overriding Canadian programming expenditure requirement per corporate group seemed an attractive framework for the broadcasting industry of the future. Upon further study of such a system, however, we concluded that this is probably not the best approach to take.

12530   Our written comments proposed a model of interrelated requirements designed to ensure support for under-represented programming and flexibility for the broadcasters It is a model we do believe is workable, however, for our presentation today we have taken to heart the notion of streamlined regulatory simplicity and are providing a stripped down variant of our proposal.

12531   We propose that the customized scheduling, niche and CPE levels for discretionary services be maintained. While we entered this exercise looking to craft a group-based approach, there are simply too many reasons not to change this particular aspect of the current regulatory framework.

12532   It is very difficult to pick an overall number that appropriately reflects the unique niche nature of most discretionary services. Just over a year ago the Commission rejected the idea of establishing broad genres with common spending and exhibition requirements, after a lengthy and in-depth proceeding on the discretionary services framework.

12533   A great deal of time and effort went into that proceeding and the decision ushered in a new framework for dealing with competitive genres. We see no need to discard the reasoning that led to that decision barely a year later.

12534   There was also the great danger that an overall CPE for discretionary services would result in the loss of content diversity. Such an approach would allow groups to shift resources away from these unique content niches to focus on the most lucrative ones. It would not be in the public interest to allow the owner of a service dedicated to drama programming for example to reduce spending in that genre in order to increase spending on a sports or news services.

12535   If individual CPEs of discretionary services were merged into a group CPE, the unique purpose and role of each particular service could be severely undermined.

12536   Perhaps most importantly, the current CPE framework in place for discretionary services has been enormous successful for BDUs, broadcasters and Canadian programming. We do not see any reason to endanger this success. Rather, this is the type of success we should seek to build on through specific Canadian programming expenditures on the OTA sector of the broadcasting industry.

12537   However, we do advocate some important adjustments to the discretionary services obligations and, indeed, to any future CPU requirements on other sectors.

12538   The first is the elimination of the CTF/CMF license fee tops up. No service should be permitted to satisfy its own obligations using other people's money.

12539   The second relates to a gaming issue and reflects the standard adjustments to a service's CPE in respect of its profitability.

12540   We referred to the need for the Commission to ensure that it addresses the management fee tactic which is used to reduce a services PBIT margins and, by extension, it's CPE requirements.

12541   We come then to the OTA sector. To create a framework for the future of Canadian programming we must learn from past mistakes.

12542   The past decade has been a disaster for indigenous high quality/high cost programming. The elimination of CPE requirements on OTA broadcasters in 1999 was an attempt to allow the market to drive the creation of Canadian scripted or authored programming. This attempt failed.

12543   In 2004 the Commission introduced a new policy to incent broadcasters to support Canadian drama programming and, unfortunately, this policy was also unsuccessful in achieving its goals and was abandoned.

12544   But the problem the Commission was trying to fix persists. We must find a solution that works, particularly as we will soon be entering a new seven-year license period. We simply cannot afford another lost decade.

12545   So while looking at the future we draw on the lessons of the past. The most simple and effective way to ensure that programs of national interest are produced and aired by the OTA sector is the use of CPE requirements.

12546   MR. GUNNERSON: The Commission has coined the term --

12547   THE SECRETARY: Please open your microphone. Sorry.

12548   MR. GUNNERSON: The Commission has coined the term "programs of national interest" and has included drama and documentary under this rubric.

12549   We couldn't agree more with labelling this type of programming in this way.

12550   In our view, these programs of national interest are those which are the most difficult to make yet are vital to Canadians, drama, documentary and children's programming. They are the programs which engage our minds, enlighten, educate and entertain. They demonstrate the enormous diversity of this country. They are the scripted programs, the authored programs, the programs in which our storytellers reflect the nature of our country back at us.

12551   In order to breathe life into the concept of programs of national interest, we need firm obligations to support them. So what CPA rate do we use to establish these programs?

12552   With respect to documentaries and children's programming the lack of figures, both dollars and hours, currently devoted to such programs prevents a firm recommendation on our part.

12553   In the case of drama, however, we believe a good starting point may be the goal set by the Commission's incentive plan in 2004, namely 6 percent of revenues. The data are available that show that all English-language broadcasters are still below this number. While the plan itself did not work, the goal it set remains valid today.

12554   To be fully effective there must be some scheduling rules in place for these programs of national interest.

12555   All new Canadian dramatic and documentary programming resulting from the requirement should be aired on conventional in the real prime time Sunday to Friday between 8:00 to 11:00.

12556   We believe these programs should be scheduled to reach the largest number of Canadians as possible and burying them somewhere in the schedule to accommodate the latest Hollywood series is contrary to the very idea of programs of national interest.

12557   New children's programming should be aired at an appropriate time when children could be expected to be watching in significant numbers.

12558   There are a number of benefits to such an approach. It builds on the success we have seen with the CPEs in the discretionary services sector. It ensures that programs of national interest are properly supported. It is about as streamlined and simple as regulation can be and both the broadcasters and the Commission understand its mechanics and how to administer it.

12559   Since it is expressed as a percentage of revenues,it automatically adjusts up and down based on financial results and provides flexibility, since there is no set number of hours attached to it. The broadcaster is free to choose the type of drama it supports, be it mini-series, movie of the week, one-hour drama, half-hour comedy. It allows each individual conventional broadcaster to customize the programming to fit its business plan and brand.

12560   MR. ANTHONY: The use of OTA expenditure requirements for scripted programming also allows for adjustments in current scheduling rules, providing more flexibility for the broadcasters. It would permit the Commission to lower the long-standing 60 percent overall rule and for Canadian content exhibition to 55 percent, as was suggested in the notice for this hearing.

12561   The 50 percent Cancon rule for prime time however should be maintained This is the time of day with the greatest number of Canadians watching. It would be inconsistent with the goals of the Broadcasting Act for OTA broadcasters to air a majority of non-Canadian programming during that period.

12562   The CPE requirements would also facilitate the elimination of the priority programming rules, again providing greater flexibility for broadcasters.

12563   Removal of the requirement for eight hours of Canadian programming in prime time gives the broadcasters more control over their schedules.

12564   These two adjustments, combined with a choice of programming available under the proposed CPEs, will provide the OTA broadcasters with the much needed flexibility to adapt to the ever-changing communications environment.

12565   As we have advocated, increased flexibility with the removal of priority programming Rules an updated independent production rule would have to be formulated. One of the goals in looking at an appropriate framework was to ensure that there was not a loss of diversity, ensuring that 75 percent of the new dramas, documentaries and children's programming and it's from independent producers is vital to maintaining this diversity.

12566   It is clear that a new framework is needed for the Canadian broadcasting system of the future. You, Commissioners, have the difficult task of finding the right balance for all the stakeholders.

12567   We have tried to propose a simple framework which learns from the past but looks to the future, one which provides benefits for the broadcasters, the production and the creative industries and the Canadian audience.

12568   We would like to thank you very much for your attention and we would be pleased to answer any questions you may have at this time.

12569   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submission.

12570   Let me just make sure I understood you correctly. You are suggesting that we put in a CPE for the over the air broadcaster. You say a 50 percent Canadian content rule for prime time. You remove the eight hour requirements for prime time programming right now.

12571   Just Canadian content, so as far as you are concerned drama is looked after by providing the 6 percent has to be spent on drama, but there is no exhibition requirement for drama, is there?

12572   MR. MURPHY: Yes, but we have the requirement that all new programs coming from that CPE would have to air on the OTA in prime time.

12573   THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand that.

12574   So all new content, it doesn't have to be drama, it could be a documentary for instance?

12575   MR. MURPHY: Yes.

12576   THE CHAIRPERSON: What about entertainment programming?

12577   MR. MURPHY: We think that they would still be making those themselves without a requirement to put them on.

12578   THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but I'm just trying to understand the ambit of your proposal.

12579   I see the flexibility by removing the eight hour programming prime time, substitute it for 50 percent Cancon in prime time, but you are mostly interested in drama obviously, given your -- so if I understand you correctly you feel drama is being looked after by insisting that 6 percent of the CPA for OTA is to be spent on drama?

12580   MR. ANTHONY: That's our view, Mr. Chairman, but if you would like to delve deeper into the detail to give a more fulsome response to your question, we could certainly follow up in writing by the 14th.

12581   THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no. I am a 10,000 feet level guy, I just want to understand what the big picture is that you are putting before us.

12582   MR. ANTHONY: Well, in general terms we do believe the expenditure requirements would take care of drama, which is the most popular form of programming.

12583   THE CHAIRPERSON: Second, you reject completely the idea of an overall CPA for the group and you basically say just go back to 1999 and bring in a CPE for over the air television.

12584   You have heard others here saying we need flexibility and we need the ability to shift some of the obligation from one group to another depending on what the market is or what we are producing, et cetera.

12585   You heard Astral suggesting that there would be a 15 percent shift you could do. You have to then catch up next year.

12586   CTV on the first day also suggested that if you have a Canadian program expenditure for over the air and you also have here are all the Canadian program expenditure for the various specialties, there should be a bit of trading or accounting, et cetera.

12587   What is your feeling on that? Is that flexibility required by the broadcasters or not?

12588   MR. ANTHONY: Well, I think we were careful, Mr. Chairman, to say that we weren't rejecting a group-based approach. We indeed feel that one could be made to work, but at this stage we felt we would come forward with a rather simple approach.

12589   We agree that flexibility is a desirable thing but, on the other hand, we don't want to open the door to gaming.


12591   MR. ANTHONY: So we spent a lot of time trying to respond to your request for coming forward with all sorts of ideas and the more we delved into the group-based approach the more complex it became and, as I say, while we think it could be made to work we couldn't find a way to be able to answer all the questions that our inquiry into it raised.

12592   Is that a fair assessment?

12593   MR. GUNNERSON: Yes.

12594   THE CHAIRPERSON: I noticed you carefully stayed away from what happened to be the prime issue for the first week, which was value for signal.

12595   Do have a position on that?

12596   MR. ANTHONY: On value for signal?


12598   MR. ANTHONY: We have been, throughout this great cash and carry debate, careful to avoid getting embroiled in it.

12599   Our view has been that should additional sources of revenues be directed towards OTA broadcasters such as whatever we are calling it, recompense for redistribution, then that's fine and we would like to see a portion of those revenues be directed to Canadian programming for scripted, authored programming and our 6 percent would capture that.

12600   THE CHAIRPERSON: You know what, we have heard from practically every member of the creative community that a value for signal for over the air broadcasters is legitimate, but it shouldn't come at the expense of subscribers, of the BDUs or the satellites, and the only -- whenever I ask well, how do we avoid that, that there be a parcel, if there is you have to pay for it, the BDU will charge its customers.

12601   The only idea I have heard so far is well, we regulate BDU rates, which is not a terribly appetizing thought.

12602   Do you have any views on this?

12603   MR. ANTHONY: Well, Mr. Chairman, you are going to be holding additional hearings on the possible impact on the consumer of such a measure.

12604   THE CHAIRPERSON: That is a hearing in order to make a report to the Minister. This is a hearing to decide policy. So the policy we will make will be as a result of this hearing, so if you have any views on that now is the time to express them.

12605   MR. ANTHONY: What do you think, is this our time?

12606   THE CHAIRPERSON: If you don't have any, that's fine. I just want to know where you stand on it.

12607   MR. GUNNERSON: Well, we have been sort of trying to keep it simple and I'm not sure this is our dog, this one.

12608   My only comment would be that the numbers that I have been reading about in the newspaper that would potentially be passed on to consumers seem highly inflated to me.

12609   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.

12610   Elizabeth, I believe you have some questions.


12612   Good afternoon. I do have a few questions here.

12613   I just wanted to ask you, programs of national interest I think it's broader than just drama, documentary and childrens.

12614   Do you agree with that?

12615   I was just wondering what else you would include in it.

12616   MR. GUNNERSON: Well, we have spent a lot of time talking about what exactly it is that we are talking about and I believe what we are talking about is authored work, work that -- you know, authored, whether it's a documentary film, a dramatic series, it is work that has been processed by a creative mind.

12617   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Thank you.

12618   The first question I had related to the license fee top ups and you mentioned it again here. You are saying that they should not be included.

12619   My understanding is that the industry's current practice is to reduce the expenses by the amount of these top ups so they wouldn't be included in that instance. And if we did the CPE requirement as a percent of revenue they wouldn't be included then.

12620   Would you agree with that? Is that your understanding as well?

12621   MR. GUNNERSON: I'm not sure that I can speak to that specifically, but the idea is, yes, we don't want other people's money being used to complete their obligations.

12622   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. You are talking about a CPE level that is as a percent of revenue; right?

12623   MR. GUNNERSON: Yes.

12624   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I notice that you told us that for 2008 it would be around 26 percent, but you went on to say that we should probably start -- base the starting point on the average of the previous three years and I was just curious to know whether you had calculated what that was, if it is significantly different from the 26 percent?

12625   MR. MURPHY: I don't have that calculation here. This is on the overall OTA from our written submission. I don't have it with me right now.

12626   I don't believe it would be much different than 26 percent, but I think that we advocate that as an absolute floor, but I think we would prefer it to be a higher number.

12627   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Oh, I'm getting to the higher.

12628   MR. MURPHY: Okay.

12629   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I just wondered if the fact your recommendation was over three years and then you quoted the number for just 2008, if there was any reason for that.

12630   So your position is a three year average?

12631   MR. MURPHY: Yes.


12633   MR. MURPHY: As a starting point.


12635   So then you suggest new revenues like value for signal and the LPIF would also be included.

12636   I don't know if you were here the other day, Vice Chairman Arpin asked ACTRA if you would be correct to include the LPIF because it is intended for a specific purpose.

12637   So would that be a problem for you that was excluded or do you have an argument why we should include it?

12638   MR. ANTHONY: We have had a lot of discussion about this and we did take the point that Commissioner Arpin made and also the point that the Chairman raised in this regard.

12639   Our general view is that the 6 percent should apply to all sources of revenue. However, in this specific case it is a dedicated fund for a specific purpose and we would be quite happy to be flexible on that and not count it.

12640   If, on the other hand, we could have a decision that upheld the notion that the top ups could be adequately dealt with and not be -- other people's money not be counted toward CPE requirements.

12641   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. I understand your point there.

12642   So you recommend that the CPE requirements for Category A specialties be left at their current limit, which you are saying here again today. You had two adjustments and I just wanted to discuss those. You mentioned those here again, too, in your brief today.

12643   I'm just wondering, you are saying the CPE should be adjusted so they don't include any license fee top up allocations from CTF and you indicate this is an important adjustment and that it should be done at licence renewal.

12644   I was wanting to understand, I didn't believe the CMF would have been included in those expenses. I thought it was deducted from the expenses. So if we are doing a calculation based on revenue it would be excluded anyway.

12645   Is that correct?

12646   MR. MURPHY: Yes, but I think in terms of it's being used as to complete their obligations, though, under their contributions to the CPE.

12647   So, for example, if they are using it to make a program they are using the top up fee as counting towards the contribution when they are already getting this money, you know, almost as a subsidy coming in and then using it to fulfil their obligation.


12649   So I think, though, would you agree with me that if it was calculated based on revenue and the CTF contributions weren't recorded as revenue, then they would be excluded?

12650   And then on the expense side, I understand that --

12651   MR. MURPHY: Yes. It has to be on the expense side, yes.


12653   MR. MURPHY: Yes.

12654   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Because on the expense I understand they are credited.

12655   MR. MURPHY: But if we are using them for revenue then they want to -- but I don't think we are using them as revenue to calculate the CPE percentage.

12656   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: The CPE is going to be calculated as a percent of revenue.

12657   MR. MURPHY: Of gross revenues, yes.

12658   But I don't believe that the CMF contributions are included in that revenue number.

12659   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Are they included in the expenses or reduced?

12660   MR. MURPHY: I believe they are included in the expense.

12661   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. I will check on it on our end then, just to make sure that I'm not confused.

12662   MR. GUNNERSON: They definitely are not revenue. They are not revenue.

12663   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No. I know they are not revenue, no.

12664   I understood they were applied as a credit to expense and I just wanted to make sure of that. But, as I say, I can check here just to make sure that I'm not misunderstanding anything.

12665   You also said that you want the CPE numbers adjusted, and I understood this more from your written brief than what you said today, for the increasing profitability levels which was introduced at their last license renewals -- this was for specialty services -- so it would be reasonable to assume that that would continue on, you just want to make sure that yes, indeed it does continue on.

12666   But I also wonder, do you think we should adopt a similar approach if we were to introduce a CPE requirement for OTA's, that it would be incremental based on profitability or...?

12667   MR. ANTHONY: Well, it is a percentage of gross revenue, so as revenues fluctuate so --

12668   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I think on the other the percent actually increases as well.

12669   MR. MURPHY: Yes.

12670   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: On the specialty two things are increasing, the revenues --

12671   MR. MURPHY: Yes. I think it would be great if that was the same for the OTA. If we could increase the percentage then we wouldn't have an objection.

12672   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: On the specialties, I understand that they go the full seven years and then the increase applies. I mean in the meantime it is applying to their increasing revenues, but the percentage increase is after the seven years.

12673   So I'm just wondering if you think that should be a different approach.

12674   MR. MURPHY: I can't speak to the exact details of that question actually, I'm sorry.


12676   So what I'm saying is that we already allow for the percentage to increase at the beginning of the next license term, so for seven years that same percentage applies.

12677   Do you think that the percentage should increase gradually over the seven years instead of being put in place for a seven-year period?

12678   MR. ANTHONY: Oh, I think -- we haven't developed a view on that, but we are very creative people and we will develop one on the spot.

12679   We think it should be applied right away and applied for the full seven-year period, from the outset,

12680   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: To your advantage I think, yes.

12681   Okay. Thank you.

12682   THE CHAIRPERSON: Why have it at all?

12683   I mean if it's a percentage, if the company is profitable you get more; if the company is not it's less.

12684   Why do you have to tie it to profitability? I don't understand that.

12685   If it's a percentage of revenues, why do you have to make any consideration for profitability?

12686   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: What happened, Mr. Chairman, with the specialties, as I understood it, there was two aspects to the increasing revenue, one was that the revenues themselves would increase and that the other was that the percentage would increase, so there was --

12687   THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand that, but that was specialties. When we brought them in it was a nascent industry, et cetera. Here we are talking about conventional television that has been around for years and if you are a percentage of revenues I don't know why you would want to have a profitability index as well.

12688   MR. GUNNERSON: I agree. This is a question we hadn't pondered before this moment, but what we liked about approaching this with this level of simplicity is that we are trying to get out of other people's kitchens here and if we are increasing the percentage as profitability increases in fact it's a disincentive to profit.

12689   What we want to do is we want to attach -- we want to tie our star, hitch our star to the broadcaster's success. We want to see Canadian programming occupy a centrepiece of their business plan, we want it to be something they want to do, something that they make money doing and we want to grow with them.

12690   COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: That's great. I just tied it into your point about the CPEs for specialty. So that's fine.

12691   Thank you very much.

12692   Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.

12693   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

12694   Are there any other questions?

12695   One last question before you go, your 6 percent, you want that devoted to drama?

12696   Would it make any difference to you if we said drama and documentaries?

12697   MR. GUNNERSON: We are talking about sort of the rubric of programs of national interest which in our minds includes drama, documentary, authored programs.

12698   THE CHAIRPERSON: Authored programs, okay.

12699   Thank you very much. You have until December 14th to supplement further written submissions and if some thoughts come to you in light of our questioning.

12700   Thank you.

12701   MR. GUNNERSON: Thank you all very much.

12702   THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire, let's proceed with the next one.

12703   THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

12704   I would now invite The Alliance for Children and Television --

12705   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's take a five-minute break.

12706   THE SECRETARY: Okay.

--- Upon recessing at 1351

--- Upon resuming at 1356

12707   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

12708   THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation from the Alliance for Children and Television. Please introduce yourself and your colleague and you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.

12709   Thank you.


12710   MR. MOSS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission and staff.

12711   My name is Peter Moss. I am the Chair of the Board of The Alliance for Children and Television.

12712   Before we begin our presentation I would like to introduce my colleague, Caroline Fortier, who is the Executive Director of the Alliance.

12713   At the outset we wish to thank the Commission for having invited us to take part in this important public hearing. The Alliance considers the present policy review to be critical to ensuring the Canadian Broadcasting System continue to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and, in particular, to meeting the needs of Canadian children and youth.

12714   Much of what has been going on in the last few weeks with BDU and broadcaster national ads on an almost daily basis has left Canadian télévision viewers confused and not knowing who to believe anymore. As a result, Canadians ultimately expect the CRTC to fulfil its mandate and set policies and regulations which will best serve the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and, most importantly, meet the expectations of Canada's avid télévision viewers who spend on average 30 hours a week watching their favourite programs.

12715   As the Commission knows, the members of the Alliance are strong believers in our national broadcasting system and its great potential to generate increased interest in Canadian programming among Canadian consumers.

12716   The ACT has appeared a number of times before this Commission in recent years to stress the important role the Commission has in ensuring a strong presence of original Canadian children's and youth programming within the different sectors of the Canadian broadcasting system.

12717   Although many think our youth are busy texting and twittering and spending countless hours on the computer, to the detriment of watching télévision , recent data shows exactly the opposite. In Canada we know our children and youth are spending on average 25 hours a week -- That's two to 17 year olds. This is BBM information from the spring of '08 -- compared with 30 hours a week at school.

12718   In a recent U.S. study released by Nielsen it shows that young people are not abandoning télévision for new media. In fact, they watch more TV than ever, 6 percent up over the last five years. Again, this is recent Nielsen from June '09.

12719   It's clear our young audiences are not abandoning télévision. It remains a powerful influence in their lives.

12720   So this begs the question, are we providing them with quality Canadian content to watch? It seems not.

12721   Since the overall production of Canadian children's télévision programming for 2007-08 has fallen to 257 million from 389 million in 1999-2000. This is the lowest level in the last 10 years and, in our view, this decline is a direct result of the 1999 CRTC change in policy removing children's programming from the list of priority requirements.

12722   Since this change in policy at the Commission, our research shows that children and youth production has moved from representing 21 percent of the total Canadian télévision production to 12 percent in '07-'08. This is a drop of 40 percent.

12723   The CTF annual report of '07-'08 -- and this in itself is significant -- shows that collectively all broadcasters contributed just 29.5 percent of the total budget to the financing of English-language children and youth programming. Pay and specialty provided 24.4, conventional private broadcasters 1.7, CBC at 2.7 and educational broadcasters 0.7 percent.

12724   On the French-language side broadcasters play a more important role with a 40.3 percent share with educational broadcasters taking the lead at 20 percent, SRC at 8.2 percent, specialty at 11.1 percent and conventional broadcasters at 0.2 percent.

12725   In terms of broadcasting children's and youth programming, a recent study undertaken for the Alliance by the Centre for Youth and Media Studies at the University of Montreal found that it's the educational and specialty services in Canada that account for more than 90 percent of children's programming on air and 41 percent and 49 percent respectively; followed by public broadcasting 9 percent and private conventional broadcasting 1 percent.

12726   We consider this a very, very unhealthy balance.

12727   Against this background of declining resources since 1999, we see a welcome embrace of children's and youth programming by the audience. The CTF reported for '07-'08 that children and youth productions continue to generate the largest amount of hours tuned by genre among CTF-funded programming. In addition, Canadian children's and youth programming has consistently shown strong international sales potential generating over $103 million in export revenue in '07-'08.

12728   If, as the above data seems to show, Canadian children and youth programming is so successful with its core audience both domestically and internationally, why are conventional broadcasters neglecting this key segment of Canadian programming?

12729   We believe that children's and youth programming is not just a genre. It speaks to an audience that represents 24 percent of our population whose needs are specifically referred to in the Broadcasting Act and who should be considered as citizens despite their young age.

12730   I must leave this question for a moment and get back to the more immediate question the Commission is considering at this hearing.

12731   MS FORTIER: Thank you, Peter.

12732   With regard to the main issues raised by the Commission's public Notice, the Alliance wishes to comment on the following:

12733   On the questions of whether there should be group-based Canadian programming expenditure requirements or group-based exhibition obligations, we believe it is important within the present evolution of the concentrated and vertical integrated ownership structures in Canadian broadcasting and distribution that the Commission review the overall revenue situation of broadcast licensees. In doing so, the Commission will be in a better position to determine the capacity of each broadcaster to invest in developing and broadcasting Canadian content.

12734   The Alliance was pleased to hear essentially all of the conventional broadcasters that appeared at this proceeding agreeing to the Commission establishing a Canadian program expenditure requirement for all conventional télévision broadcast entities, including many group-based corporate undertakings.

12735   In our view, such a CPE should include very specific requirements for under-represented types of Canadian programming which are missing from conventional télévision program offerings. More to the point, we strongly believe that private broadcasters should be challenged as to the limited or total lack of interest in Canadian children and youth programming.

12736   In addition, the Alliance was quite surprised again when reviewing the Commission's documentation relating to this hearing, more precisely in the section discussing needed measures to ensure appropriate financial support for the production of programs of national interest such as dramas and documentaries. The ACT respectfully suggests that children and youth programming should also be included in this short list of potentially-regulated priorities the Commission should be considering.

12737   We have mentioned this before, and we will do it again. In our view, the Commission should seriously consider reintroducing children's programming within the priority programming category.

12738   On the question of establishing fair market value for local conventional télévision signals, we are in agreement that such a value should be determined and that whatever new revenue is generated by such market value should be earmarked for the development and production and exhibition of Canadian content including children's and youth programming.

12739   With regards to another question the Commission has put forward, should the carriage of the U.S. 4+1 signals be contingent on the successful negotiation of fair market value for Canadian signals, the ACT supports any initiative the Commission would like to consider, such as the proposed above if the outcome will result in more revenue for Canadian conventional télévision broadcasters and that such new funding will especially be used to produce more Canadian content.

12740   Peter.

12741   THE SECRETARY: Please open your mike.

12742   MR. MOSS: Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, children's télévision is one of Canada's success stories, with Canadian producers and broadcasters drawing on an incredibly diverse cross-section of talented Canadian creators and artists to produce programming that is relevant to Canadian children.

12743   We at the Alliance sincerely hope the different industry stakeholders involved in the present proceedings will, as you have mentioned on a number of occasions in the last two weeks, get together and come up with a viable solution for the benefit of Canadian consumers and ultimately the Canadian broadcasting system.

12744   However, if this cannot be achieved quickly within the next six months we believe the Commission will have to assert its authority and clearly determine the responsibilities of each sector of the broadcasting system, conventional broadcasters, specialty services; particularly broadcast distribution undertaking.

12745   The Alliance joins with many other groups that have appeared before you in these proceedings in acknowledging the important role conventional télévision broadcasting has played in Canada's past and we believe it still has an important contribution to make to Canada's way of life.

12746   So in conclusion, Alliance calls on the Commission to be diligent when you get to reviewing the licenses of conventional broadcasters in the coming months and whether it's through a group-based approach or an individual approach we ask you to think of our children's needs and what conventional broadcasters can be doing for this important component of the audience. If you treat young audiences with respect when they are young they will return the compliment when they are adults.

12747   This completes our oral presentation and we look forward to responding to any questions you may have.

12748   Thank you.

12749   THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

12750   On page 3 where you give a whole series of figures showing the decline on children's programming, is this overall or is this only the OTA sector we are talking about?

12751   MR. MOSS: This is overall.

12752   THE CHAIRPERSON: This is overall.

12753   MR. MOSS: I mean this in light of the fact that conventional broadcasters are responsible for 1 percent of the children's télévision .

12754   THE CHAIRPERSON: On page 6 you say:

"Children's télévision is one of Canada's success stories with Canadian producers and broadcasters drawing on an incredibly diverse cross-section of talented Canadian actors, creators and artists to produce programming that is relevant to Canadian children."

12755   THE CHAIRPERSON: Absolutely correct. And we have outfits like Corus for instance who specialize in children's programming and are very successful selling it domestically and abroad.

12756   If we have these very successful producers why then do we have to also impose priority programming requirements?

12757   MR. MOSS: There are so many reasons.

12758   First of all, we think that it's unhealthy that the largest and most successful broadcasters in the country are allowed to ignore this section of the population. They show leadership and they show attention and they bring focus. They bring audiences of two million people to bear and they actually show the nation that we care about this genre of programming, to begin with.

12759   Because they do that, they show the kind of leadership which says that their role in addressing the country's issues through the programming that is given to children is given the kind of focus and is given the kind of attention that brings the nation together to watch.

12760   We feel that Canadian broadcasters need to tell stories that underpin society's values and when you are leaving that in the hands of two broadcast entities, Corus and Astral, which are basically the only two in the country that really do that on a private basis, you are putting an inordinate burden on them to actually carry the entire responsibility for the entire genre, for the entire section and for the entire element of the industry.

12761   When they feel that their advertising revenues are shrinking, the entire industry suffers. When they feel that their margins are not high enough the entire production industry suffers. And it's not fair to say that they are the only ones who have the responsibility of addressing these needs for those reasons.

12762   MS FORTIER: If I may add? When we are speaking about conventionals actually we are speaking about général ists. How can you pretend to be a général ist if you are not doing children?

12763   MR. MOSS: We also say there are sports channels, there are comedy channels, there are channels that provide movies and we don't say to the conventional channels, "Well, you don't have to do that. We do have a lot of channels that actually serve that".

12764   THE CHAIRPERSON: You said -- quoted figures on page 3 suggesting that kids watch as much télévision as adults. As you undoubtedly know, most kids are multitasking. They usually do two or three things at the same time. They watch télévision . They tweet to their colleagues or they play games, et cetera, et cetera. Your figures obviously can't reflect that. They only reflect that --

12765   MR. MOSS: I don't think --

12766   THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me just finish. Maybe l'm wrong. I would have thought your figures don't show that kids are at the same time tweeting or not, but maybe they do.

12767   But secondly, to what extent do we know how much of the attention of the children we actually get? The children's program may be on but is it being absorbed, et cetera? Should we, in light of new media and the obvious attraction it has for children, look at these figures with a big dose of caution?

12768   MS FORTIER: One thing we know from the recent research that we have conducted is, first, that for instance the English market, when we look at the 10 most popular programs, three out of 10 are coming from Canada and in the French market it's six out of 10.

12769   And if the CTF itself says that they do listen to the most number of hours tuned, I mean, this speaks for itself that our children are watching our programs, programs that we do especially for them and they obviously most prefer to listen to Canadian programming than anything else.

12770   MR. MOSS: Just to answer your question more specifically, I don't think we can ever make that assumption. That's common wisdom, perhaps. The media certainly would like us to believe that. Certainly, the ISPs and the people who sell us that information would like us to believe that.

12771   But can you tell whether a couple who are watching a drama or watching a hockey game are talking to each other and talking about what they are going to do tomorrow or whether they are focused entirely on the télévision ?

12772   I think the fact that the télévision is there and the number of hours that it's on in front of them is significant. They go to school for 30 hours a week. Do you expect or do we expect them to be entirely focused on the teacher for all of those 30 hours and would we criticize the school if they weren't?

12773   THE CHAIRPERSON: Do we have any figures on how much time they spend online, how much time they spend on their cell phones?

12774   MR. MOSS: We have certain information. We can certainly give it to you. The information that I have found was very ambiguous because there was no way of separating domestic use from school use. And so school use works under homework time and domestic use works under game time, and it's not quite clear.

12775   What does seem to be clear when we are looking at the number of hours that kids spend in front of the télévision is that it's not -- unfortunately, and I say this as a former broadcaster and a producer -- unfortunately it's not télévision that's suffering. It's sports, reading, games, outdoor play that's suffering. It's not a question of new media taking the place of télévision .

12776   MS FORTIER: If I may add, apparently since the PPM -- you know, the specific device -- apparently they have noticed a raise of audience watching of the range of 14 percent in kids.

12777   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

12778   MR. MOSS: And that might account for the multitasking, being in the kitchen when the télévision is on.

12779   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Rita?

12780   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you very much.

12781   I don't have specific questions with regards to your recommendations because they are quite clear. But I just would like to continue on with the conversation that the Chairman started with you.

12782   And l'm going to be a little bit of a devil's advocate and maybe it's the black leather that's bringing out the rebel in me, but of all the genres of programming -- and Mr. Moss, you said it. You are a former broadcaster -- children's programming is perhaps the most enviable. It's highly efficient. It has a long shelf life. It can tolerate a much higher repeat factor than just about any other genre of programming. You have dedicated funds for the production of children's programming in this country such as the Shaw Rocket Fund.

12783   We have talked about the dedicated specialty channels, and they are important to note because I have just been doing a check and all of the major BDUs, satellite and cable include those channels within their basic package so they are widely available.

12784   You have provincial educational broadcasters that dedicate most of their day to children's programming as they follow a curriculum and these services provide a safe haven for children and parents where you know you can turn on the TV and the next hour there isn't going to be something on that's potentially offensive to children.

12785   So with all of the other issues that we have facing over-the-air -- and please don't feel you have to repeat some of the answers that you gave to the Chair, but why is it so essential to you, remembering everything that I just said, that children's programming be available on conventional télévision ?

12786   MR. MOSS: Let me just read you something, and that might do it:

"Children and youth are this country's greatest asset. Alliance members consider TV programming to be one of the most effective tools for assisting in their development. We believe that providing them with interesting, stimulating audiovisual content can play a role in their social, cultural and intellectual growth. By telling stories they can identify with we can help them both develop their imaginations; strengthen their sense of belonging, give them a sense of understanding what it means to be Canadian.
We also feel that Canadian broadcasters have a unique role to play in addressing our country's growing ethno-cultural diversity. By providing stories that underpin our society's values, Canadian programming is a powerful force for social cohesion and integration. Because many Canadian children are themselves the reflection of this new ethno-cultural reality our broadcasters have a responsibility to help them grasp our culture through innovative programming that sheds light on our country's rich diversity. By striving to provide both our youth with common cultural references, we help to forge their own Canadian identity and become proficient in the country's official languages, the vivid lasting cultural imprint that results in an excellent foundation for getting our children to embrace the wider world."
(As read)

12787   MR. MOSS: What you described is a very good reason to be in the kids business. It isn't necessarily a very good reason to provide children's content. It's true. You can do a repeat program forever and when those programs are bought cheaply because they are older, because they have lost their value, because they are American programming or foreign programming that you bring in, there is no end to the programming and the number of times you can do that.

12788   It's also significant that most of the qualities that you speak to are for preschool programming. For six to nine year olds, from grades 1 to 3, from 10 to 12 year olds, grades 4 to 6, there is very, very little programming on air from Corus, from Astral, from Télétune and between the two.

12789   And so it isn't a question of saying are there places that are safe havens in the broadcast universe? Of course there are. There is Treehouse, there is YTV, there are all those.

12790   It's a question of saying do we have available to us the very best programming that serves our cultural needs as well as our entertainment needs, as well as our safe haven needs? I think it's unfair to expect private specialty broadcasters to service all of those needs. They service some of those needs and they do it particularly well.

12791   Conventional broadcasters, public broadcasters and général ists ought to be serving it as well. And they ought to be looking at the citizenship issues as a function of using the public airwaves and making a profit.

12792   So to say, yes, it is doing well is not the same thing as to say, yes, it's doing what it ought to do.

12793   COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, thank you very much. Those are all my questions.

12794   Thank you.

12795   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.

12796   Len?

12797   COMMISSIONER KATZ: I want to follow up on that last statement "what it ought to do". And back to your discussion with the Chairman on page 3 where you have identified the percentages, you basically indicate that on the English-language side the educational broadcasters are contributing 0.7 percent but on the French-language side it appears as though the educational broadcasters are contributing 20.8 percent which is a major, major difference.

12798   Have you taken a look as to why that is?

12799   MR. MOSS: I think that it's -- I mean the short answer is Michel Fortin. I mean Télé-Québec has done a spectacular job in presenting children's programming and dedicating their efforts and their resources to children's programming and prioritizing their role as a purveyor of original quality children's programming that is socially relevant and that helps their audience.

12800   I think that that isn't to say that TVO and B.C. Knowledge Network and Access Alberta don't do it, but they don't do it to the same extent and in the same way.

12801   COMMISSIONER KATZ: Well, 0.7 percent is certainly not the same extent. l'm just wondering whether that's where the challenge should be and the target should be equal, if not more than the challenge of trying to get more out of the conventional private broadcasters.

12802   MR. MOSS: I think what you are going to find is that we can try and shift the balance to provincial broadcasters but if we look at where the funding comes from to make up 100 percent of children's programming these statistics are from the CTF '07-'08. The fund puts 19.1, conventional broadcasters 1.7 percent, educational 0.7, CBC 2.7, specialty and pay 24.4; and that's 29.5 percent.


12804   MR. MOSS: So to say that provincial broadcasters have to kick up a bit more I certainly wouldn't disagree with you but conventional provincial educational broadcasters, and in Ontario it comes out of -- it's funded by the educational authority, not the communications authority. I think B.C. Knowledge Network is in the same situation -- can't be expected to pick up the same kind of slack that a conventional broadcaster with their many billions of dollars are putting up 1.7 percent of all production in English-language Canada and 0.2 percent in French-language production.

12805   So yes, there is a source of revenue from the educational broadcasters perhaps if they can be coerced into providing more, but there is an opportunity for the CRTC to do this on a national basis and ask conventional broadcasters to --

12806   COMMISSIONER KATZ: But clearly, by definition, an educational broadcaster's genre is education and may stem from the youth up to the adults but the focus is on education. You think that if there is such a dichotomy between the French and the English that one of the targets should be looking at the provincial support or whatever for educational TV on the English side?

12807   MR. MOSS: I mean, if you are asking do we lobby in that way, absolutely. But if you are asking this is a provincial jurisdiction; it's their decision whether they want to create a program of public affairs called agenda or whether they want to spend their resources by creating programs for children, it doesn't seem to be within the purview of the CRTC to actually interfere with whether the education -- I mean it's the Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

12808   They do over-the-air broadcasting to schools. They do educational in its strictest sense. They have a preschool block that they do in the afternoon. I am most familiar with TVO so I can tell you -- which they are -- you know make as much as they can of their limited resources. We are always saying, "Please give us more".

12809   COMMISSIONER KATZ: Is there a target percent that you are looking at that you think is what we should all be striving for?

12810   MR. MOSS: We feel that if children's programming was reintroduced as priority programming that would be sufficient. In that instance those over-the-air broadcasters would make their decisions accordingly, but understanding that some to whatever extent that they feel comfortable doing this, has to be spent on children's programming. It has to be made available to children's programming. At the moment they can simply turn their back on it and do nothing.

12811   COMMISSIONER KATZ: Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.

12812   THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those, I believe, are all our questions. Thank you very much for coming. Thank you for your presentation.

12813   Madame la Secrétaire, on peut procéder avec la prochaine, s'il vous plaît.

12814   THE SECRETARY: Yes, thank you, the last presenter.

12815   J'aimerais maintenant inviter l'Union des Artistes et SARTEC.

--- Pause

12816   LA SECRÉTAIRE : S'il vous plaît vous présenter et présenter vos collègues, après quoi vous aurez 15 minutes pour votre présentation. Merci.


12817   MME LUSSIER : Merci.

12818   Bonjour, Monsieur le Président, Messieurs, Mesdames Membres du panel.

12819   Mon nom est Sylvie Lussier. Je suis la présidente de la Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma, la SARTEC.

12820   Aujourd'hui, je suis accompagnée, à ma droite, de Raymond Legault, président de l'Union des Artistes, et de Sylvie Brousseau, directrice des communications de l'UDA; et à ma gauche d'Yves Légaré, directeur général de la SARTEC.

12821   La SARTEC est un syndicat professionnel regroupant plus de 1 250 scénaristes oeuvrant dans le secteur audiovisuel francophone. L'UDA est un syndicat professionnel représentant plus de 7 500 artistes actifs et 4 350 membres stagiaires oeuvrant en français, partout au Canada.

12822   L'objectif de l'instance initiée par l'Avis de consultation CRTC 2009-411 est, et je cite :

« d'établir un cadre de réglementation général qui donnera à tous les groupes de radiodiffusion la latitude nécessaire pour s'adapter à l'évolution rapide du milieu des communications tout en assurant que le contenu présenté par le système canadien de radiodiffusion ait un caractère distinctement canadien. »

12823   Selon le Conseil, cet objectif implique que les parties intéressées privilégient les facteurs suivants :

12824   - le rôle capital des créateurs et des producteurs canadiens dans le système de radiodiffusion;

12825   - les différentes conditions d'exploitation dans lesquelles fonctionnent les radiodiffuseurs de langue française et anglaise, ainsi que leurs besoins différents, qui existent malgré des points communs; et

12826   - le rôle du radiodiffuseur public dans un univers des communications en constante évolution.

12827   Aussi, comme vous le savez, la Loi sur la radiodiffusion déclare que, et je cite :

« toutes les entreprises de radiodiffusion sont tenues de faire appel au maximum, et dans tous les cas au moins de manière prédominante, aux ressources - créatrices et autres - canadiennes pour la création et la présentation de leur programmation à moins qu'une telle pratique ne s'avère difficilement réalisable en raison de la nature du service... »

12828   M. LEGAULT : L'UDA et la SARTEC veulent apporter un éclairage positif à la consultation du Conseil. Nous croyons que c'est une excellente idée de convoquer les groupes de propriété conjointement, avec tous leurs services télévisuels présents, pour pouvoir discuter de l'ensemble de la contribution de chaque groupe aux objectifs de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion. Dans le secteur francophone, cela veut dire convoquer ensemble Radio-Canada, Quebecor Media/TVA et TQS/V.

12829   Nous avons cependant l'impression que l'approche par groupe de propriété proposée par le Conseil est la résultante des difficultés de certains groupes qui oeuvrent dans le secteur de la télévision anglophone.

12830   Étant donné le très petit nombre de groupes de propriété faisant partie de la télévision française, et comme le permet l'article 3(1)c) de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, nous considérons que le secteur francophone mérite un traitement distinct. Chacun des trois groupes de propriété oeuvrant en télévision généraliste francophone diffère l'un de l'autre et chacun mérite un traitement au cas par cas.

12831   De façon générale, les francophones demeurent fidèles à leur télévision, et le secteur francophone a toujours connu un grand succès. Malgré l'augmentation du nombre de services télévisuels disponibles et du choix qui en découle, les auditoires regardent davantage les services canadiens et la programmation canadienne. En fait, plus l'offre d'émissions canadiennes dans les catégories prioritaires est grande, plus les téléspectateurs francophones s'en prévalent.

12832   Comme nous l'avons expliqué dans notre mémoire, c'est la télévision généraliste publique et privée qui, en grande majorité, est le déclencheur du financement des émissions prioritaires auprès des institutions financières, et cette situation continuera dans un avenir prévisible.

12833   Par exemple, comme le démontre le tableau 1 de notre mémoire, en 2007-2008, 94 pour cent du financement des dramatiques de langue française initié par les télédiffuseurs auprès du Fonds canadien de télévision a été fourni par les télévisions généralistes, principalement Radio-Canada et le réseau TVA.

12834   Il n'en reste pas moins que la situation financière de la télévision généraliste, et particulièrement celle de Radio-Canada, a contribué à la modification de la nature des émissions prioritaires diffusées par les services généralistes. Le nombre de dramatiques scénarisées figurant dans les 10 émissions les plus populaires diminue depuis une dizaine d'années.

12835   Déjà en 2003, l'importance des émissions comme « Occupation double » et « Loft Story » était frappante. Il semblerait que, au cours des dernières années, l'abandon graduel des chaînes généralistes par le public, et la compétition qui s'en est suivie, a incité les chaînes privées à réduire leurs coûts pour maintenir leur rentabilité.

12836   Cette réduction de coûts a affecté négativement les dépenses reliées aux émissions à grand budget, telles les dramatiques, particulièrement les séries lourdes, en faveur d'émissions moins chères, comme les télé-réalités et les concepts étrangers.

12837   Dans un environnement de convergence, ces derniers ont aussi été privilégiés par certains services généralistes à cause de leur potentiel de distribution sur plusieurs plateformes.

12838   Dans la décision de radiodiffusion CRTC 2009-410 renouvelant les licences du réseau TVA et de six de ses stations affiliées, le Conseil note :

« que TVA a tendance, depuis quelques années, à diffuser des émissions développées à partir de concepts étrangers et produites à l'interne ou par des producteurs indépendants canadiens comme, par exemple, « Star Académie », « Le Banquier », « Le Cercle » et « La Classe de cinquième ». Le Conseil note également que cette tendance est aussi présente chez les autres télédiffuseurs traditionnels de langue française que sont SRC avec « Tout le monde en parle » et « Pyramide », et TQS/V, « Wipeout », « Le mur », « Call TV ». »

12839   Tout comme le Conseil, nous sommes préoccupés par cette tendance qui s'accentue au détriment du développement du talent créatif canadien et québécois.

12840   Qui plus est, l'acteur le plus important, Groupe TVA, affiche, par rapport à la même période l'an dernier, une augmentation du produit d'exploitation et du bénéfice d'exploitation dans le secteur de la télévision au cours des neuf mois se terminant le 30 septembre 2009.

12841   Mis à part TVA, la télévision généraliste connaît des difficultés non seulement au Québec et au Canada mais également aux États-Unis et ailleurs dans le monde.

12842   Appuyé par le groupe Quebecor Media, présent dans tous les médias et dominant dans plusieurs, TVA a réussi à trouver des façons d'attirer de larges auditoires -- du moins pour l'instant. Il n'en reste pas moins que TVA connaîtra probablement le même sort que les autres services généralistes à plus ou moins brève échéance.

12843   Pour leur part, Radio-Canada et TQS/V éprouvent des difficultés financières depuis quelque temps. Le cas de Radio-Canada nous préoccupe particulièrement car, historiquement, son dynamisme dans le secteur des dramatiques a eu un effet d'entraînement crucial sur les autres acteurs du secteur privé.

12844   L'environnement des télédiffuseurs francophones possède ses propres caractéristiques qui diffèrent de l'environnement anglophone, et il nous semble que le nombre restreint d'acteurs présents dans le milieu francophone nécessite une approche au cas par cas.

12845   MME LUSSIER : Pour permettre aux services généralistes de rétablir leur santé financière, l'UDA et la SARTEC appuient le principe d'une juste valeur marchande pour tous les services généralistes et éducatifs, et croient que le CRTC devrait instaurer un régime pour la négociation de la juste valeur des signaux des stations locales de télévision en direct pour aider à couvrir les coûts des émissions canadiennes, particulièrement les émissions prioritaires qu'elles diffusent.

12846   À quelques exceptions près, le montant que chaque diffuseur obtiendrait d'un tel régime devrait reposer sur sa part de marché.

12847   Certains acteurs, tels Radio-Canada et Quebecor, ont proposé des critères additionnels, mais considérant la forte présence d'intégration verticale et horizontale de la télédiffusion de langue française, la SARTEC et l'UDA se demandent comment des négociations pourraient avoir lieu sur la base de critères autres que la part de marché, sans causer de préjudice aux plus petites entités publiques comme Télé-Québec et TFO.

12848   En contrepartie d'un tel tarif pour tous les services généralistes et éducatifs, publics et privés, le Conseil devrait exiger des obligations additionnelles en matière de DEC et de diffusion des émissions prioritaires que nous allons maintenant décrire.

12849   Dans l'Avis de consultation 2009-411, le Conseil souligne que diverses parties, tout particulièrement des représentants des créateurs, ont fait le lien entre la suppression des obligations en matière de dépenses pour les stations de télévision traditionnelle et la baisse du nombre de productions dramatiques canadiennes, en même temps qu'une hausse marquée dans les dépenses allouées à la programmation non canadienne.

12850   Par conséquent, le Conseil a annoncé qu'il étudiera comment une obligation unique par groupe de propriété en matière de dépenses obligatoires au titre des émissions canadiennes serait appliquée de façon globale et de façon suffisamment souple pour permettre de compter les dépenses en matière de DEC pour toutes les plateformes des entreprises intégrées, y compris la vidéo sur demande, le cas échéant.

12851   La SARTEC et l'UDA sont en faveur de nouvelles obligations de dépenses obligatoires au titre des émissions canadiennes et appuient l'ouverture du Conseil à ce sujet. Cependant, nous avons de grands doutes quant à l'utilité d'une obligation unique en matière de DEC pour l'ensemble des entreprises intégrées.

12852   De fait, dans le secteur privé francophone, il n'y a qu'une seule entreprise intégrée, soit Quebecor Media.

12853   V Interactions n'est ni un grand groupe ni une entreprise intégrée en ce qui concerne la radiodiffusion, et bien qu'elle est censée revenir en audience publique du Conseil au cours de l'an 2011 pour discuter ses émissions prioritaires, elle détient déjà une licence allant jusqu'au 31 août 2015.

12854   La société publique Radio-Canada, dont nous nous attendons un niveau de performance plus élevé que celui de la télévision privée, constitue un cas complètement à part.

12855   Par conséquent, il nous semble que chaque service de télédiffusion francophone devrait être assujetti à une obligation en matière de DEC taillée à sa mesure.

12856   Un service de télévision réglementé par le Conseil devrait contribuer au système de radiodiffusion et à la programmation canadienne en fonction de sa capacité et des bénéfices nets qu'il retire de la réglementation.

12857   Le tableau que nous présentons en Annexe A au document devant vous propose une obligation générale en forme de grille progressive qui pourrait être appliquée à l'ensemble des services généralistes, spécialisés et payants, y compris la VSD, sur une base annuelle.

12858   Elle est calquée sur l'obligation différentielle imposée à certains services spécialisés, et proposée sommairement dans notre mémoire du 14 septembre dernier.

12859   Notre proposition repose sur le bénéfice net avant impôts et intérêts de chaque service et comporte l'avantage de prendre en considération sa rentabilité ou son efficacité financière, plutôt que sa taille.

12860   Selon cette proposition, un service en difficulté financière, comme V, n'aurait pas d'obligation en matière de DEC tant qu'il ne jouirait pas d'une certaine santé financière.

12861   Dans le cas de Quebecor Media, par contre, le réseau TVA et ses stations affiliées, ainsi que chacun de ses services spécialisés et payants, tels que Mystère, Prise 2, Canal Indigo et Première Loge, auraient une obligation en matière de DEC.

12862   Toute obligation de cette nature serait appliquée aux services télévisuels individuels, stations et réseaux, sans la possibilité du transfert d'une obligation d'un service à l'autre.

12863   Nous recommandons que ce genre d'obligation soit imposé par le Conseil à chaque service généraliste comme condition de licence sur la base de l'année 2009-2010 de radiodiffusion.

12864   Calculée sur la base des informations contenues dans le rapport annuel de chaque service au CRTC, une telle obligation serait relativement facile à gérer pour le titulaire et à contrôler par le Conseil.

12865   Dans le cas de Radio-Canada, il faudra trouver une autre formulation, calquée possiblement sur le rapport recettes publicitaires sur revenus totaux, parce qu'un tel service public n'a pas de revenus nets ou de bénéfices.

12866   Toute nouvelle obligation concernant les dépenses obligatoires au titre des émissions canadiennes devrait s'ajouter aux obligations particulières en matière de DEC qu'ont certains services par rapport aux émissions prioritaires.

12867   M. LEGAULT : L'UDA et la SARTEC continuent de croire que la solution aux problèmes de la programmation originale francophone, surtout les catégories de programmation sous-représentées ou prioritaires comme les dramatiques, les documentaires et les émissions jeunesse, réside dans des conditions de licence précises et ciblées, service par service, catégorie par catégorie.

12868   Ce principe s'applique aussi bien à des groupes de propriété comme Radio-Canada et TQS/V qu'à un grand groupe comme Quebecor Media/TVA.

12869   En ce qui concerne les dramatiques canadiennes, dans la décision CRTC 2000-2 renouvelant les licences des services de télévision de Radio-Canada, le Conseil a accepté l'engagement de la Société de diffuser, en moyenne, un minimum de sept heures par semaine de dramatiques, dont une moyenne d'au moins cinq heures et demi en période de grande écoute.

12870   Dans la décision CRTC 2001-385 qui renouvelait la licence du réseau TVA, et reconduite par la décision 2009-410, le Conseil s'attendait à ce que TVA diffuse le même nombre d'heures en dramatiques retransmises durant la saison automne-hiver 2000-2001. TQS/V n'a pas d'obligation en ce qui concerne les dramatiques.

12871   En ce qui a trait aux émissions jeunesse, selon la décision CRTC 2000-2, le Conseil s'attend que Radio-Canada remplisse son engagement de diffuser 20 heures par semaine d'émissions destinées aux enfants et aux jeunes et qu'elle dépasse cet engagement si possible.

12872   Cette décision stipule aussi, par condition de licence, que Radio-Canada doit diffuser, en moyenne, au moins quatre heures par semaine par année d'émissions originales canadiennes destinées aux enfants de moins de 12 ans. TVA et V n'ont pas d'obligation en ce qui a trait aux émissions pour enfants.

12873   Quant au volume de dramatiques ou d'émissions jeunesse que chaque service généraliste devrait diffuser, ce genre de précision devrait se faire au moment du renouvellement de chaque licence concernée. Il n'en reste pas moins que chaque service généraliste devrait maintenir ou accroître ses obligations courantes.

12874   Enfin, au lieu de créer, comme par le passe, des obligations à la suite des engagements de chaque titulaire, le Conseil pourrait annoncer d'avance qu'il s'attend à ce que les titulaires s'engagent dans un certain nombre de domaines et, par la suite, imposer des obligations en fonction des engagements et des capacités de chacun.

12875   Ce principe pourrait s'appliquer aux télévisions généralistes aussi bien qu'aux services spécialisés et payants, dont la grille horaire comprend, disons, plus de 20 pour cent d'émissions prioritaires.

12876   MME LUSSIER : En tant que représentants de deux associations d'artistes et de créateurs oeuvrant principalement au Québec, permettez-nous de conclure en vous rappelant l'importance primordiale que revêt la télévision produite chez nous pour les spectateurs francophones du Québec et du reste du Canada.

12877   Nous bénéficions d'un succès d'écoute qui fait l'envie de plusieurs. Il a été démontré à maintes reprises que lorsque des émissions francophones sont offertes, le public les regarde de préférence à toute autre, et ce, autant en télévision jeunesse que pour les autres genres d'émission.

12878   M. LEGAULT : Il est certain que le système de radiodiffusion et les habitudes d'écoute sont en train d'évoluer. Ce qui ne change pas, c'est la nécessité de fournir un cadre réglementaire équitable qui permettra, entre autres, aux télévisions généralistes de continuer à jouer leur rôle central auprès de notre système de radiodiffusion.

12879   Les télévisions généralistes sont à l'origine des émissions prioritaires qui contribuent à forger notre identité culturelle. Il faut leur assurer les moyens de continuer à déclencher la production de ces émissions qui sont au coeur de cette identité.

12880   MME LUSSIER : Au bout du compte, c'est le public qui finit par payer la facture de la télévision. Assurons-nous qu'il reçoive des oeuvres de qualité, celles que nos membres veulent continuer à créer et qui continuent à captiver le public.

12881   M. LEGAULT : Mesdames, Messieurs, Membres du Conseil, ceci complète notre présentation. Merci de votre attention. Il nous fera plaisir de répondre à vos questions.

12882   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci. Si je comprends bien, vous êtes en faveur qu'on établisse un système où les radiodiffuseurs conventionnels sont payés pour leurs signaux par les EDR?

12883   MME LUSSIER : Exactement.

12884   LE PRÉSIDENT : Le grand problème, comme vous la savez, et qu'on a discuté et qu'on a vu sur les annonces publicitaires, est que les EDR menacent que chaque dollar qu'ils doivent payer va passer au consommateur.

12885   Qu'est-ce que vous suggérez qu'on fasse pour éviter ça, que le consommateur ultime va recevoir une facture plus haute que maintenant?

12886   M. LEGAULT : Le problème n'est pas... Je reviens de Los Angeles et de Londres, où on parlait de la télévision de façon générale à travers le monde, et ce, autant du côté américain que du côté anglais, que du côté australien et du côté français. Les recettes publicitaires ont diminué. Donc, la télévision gratuite, telle qu'on l'a connue, est de plus en plus compliquée puisqu'il reste que ce sont les annonces publicitaires et c'est la publicité, de façon générale, qui payaient pour le contenu.

12887   Dans un contexte où cette télévision-là est de moins en moins gratuite ou, en tout cas, la difficulté d'assurer la gratuité de cette télévision-là ou du contenu de la télévision est de plus en plus mise à mal, je ne pense pas qu'il faille aller complètement d'une... il y a probablement un équilibre.

12888   Est-ce que l'équilibre viendrait à revoir un peu comment l'argent est... les redevances sont redonnées, pour peut-être faire profiter un peu plus les télévisions généralistes publiques et privées d'une partie de cet argent-là et peut-être une autre partie qui pourrait provenir d'une hausse? Parce que je ne vois pas comment le faire autrement.

12889   Je sais que l'année dernière, Vidéotron a augmenté de $ 1.00 ses services en général, et je ne pense pas qu'il s'est fait non plus de révolution, et les consommateurs ont absorbé ce coût-là.

12890   Je pense qu'il y a probablement l'équilibre, et c'est probablement... il n'y a pas qu'une solution, ni d'un côté, ni de l'autre. Je pense que c'est probablement un équilibre entre les deux, à la fois possiblement une hausse, mais je ne pense pas qu'il faille qu'elle soit de l'ordre de $ 10.00, ni de $ 5.00.

12891   LE PRÉSIDENT : Mais la question clé est qu'est-ce que nous comme réglementateurs peuvent faire pour nous assurer qu'on va avoir cet équilibre duquel vous parlez?

12892   MME LUSSIER : C'est très difficile, effectivement, parce que tout le monde tient à protéger ses acquis. C'est certain que la voie d'une offre de base, de changer les bouquets ou les menus offerts par les cablôdistributeurs pourrait être une option ici, mettre dans le service de base les services généralistes obligatoirement et le reste en options. Ainsi, le consommateur aurait un plus grand choix, aurait plus de pouvoir sur ce qu'il choisit de regarder et ce qu'il choisit de payer.

12893   LE PRÉSIDENT : Et je ne suis pas sûr, est-ce que vous êtes en faveur que, si on établit un régime, que ça s'applique aussi aux radiodiffuseurs publics comme Radio-Canada et TFO?

12894   M. LÉGARÉ : Oui, assurément. Ce qui nous préoccupe, c'est la contribution au système canadien de radiodiffusion. Or, la contribution des radiodiffuseurs publics à notre système est fort importante. La valeur du signal est également importante. Je pense que c'est une donnée sur laquelle on doit se baser.

12895   Et pour le public qui reçoit le signal de Radio-Canada ou qui le reçoit de TVA, il reçoit du contenu canadien, et, en ce sens-là, nous ne faisons pas de distinction entre le diffuseur public ou privé.

12896   LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est le principe que nous avons appliqué pour le Fonds d'amélioration de la programmation locale.

12897   Mais nous avons écouté beaucoup les représentations ces dernières semaines, que, franchement, le financement des organismes publics comme Radio-Canada, Télé-Québec ou TFO, c'est quelque chose qui appartient au gouvernement, ce n'est pas votre rôle de trouver des nouvelles sources de revenus pour ces organismes-là. C'est, généralement, la moitié des représentants qui ont dit, non, ce n'est pas... vous ne devez pas vous occuper avec ce problème-là.

12898   Évidemment, vous n'êtes pas d'accord du tout avec cette position?

12899   M. LÉGARÉ : Notre préoccupation est peut-être différente de ceux détiennent une autre position. C'est-à-dire c'est sûr qu'ils sont en concurrence, en tant que tel.

12900   Nous, ce que nous regardons, ce n'est pas la concurrence de ces secteurs-là, mais ce que le système produit, et on voit que le mode de financement actuel -- et Raymond Legault l'a souligné -- n'est plus capable de produire autant d'émissions. Or, ces émissions-là, dans le système francophone, elles sont souhaitées, elles sont écoutées, et le public veut que ce système soit maintenu, il veut que ces émissions soient produites.

12901   Or, notre préoccupation est à l'effet, justement, que le public continue à pouvoir avoir accès à ce contenu national.

12902   LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci.

12903   Suzanne, tu as des questions?

12904   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.

12905   Bonjour.

12906   M. LEGAULT : Bonjour.

12907   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci d'être ici cet après-midi.

12908   Je dois avouer que votre présentation cet après-midi a éclairci certains points qui me semblaient nébuleux dans votre soumission. Alors, je ne reviendrai pas sur ces points-là.

12909   Mais, par contre, ça me donne aussi d'autre matière pour poser des questions parce que vous avez élaboré sur d'autres points. Donc, je vais me servir surtout de votre présentation en termes de structure pour poser mes questions.

12910   Dans la section de votre présentation sur l'état de la télévision aujourd'hui, vous notez le changement de cap au niveau du choix des émissions, où est-ce que, depuis 2003, on a moins de dramatiques, on a plus d'émissions de type télé-réalité, et vous imputez ce changement de cap-là surtout à des questions financières de réduction de coûts.

12911   Mais quelle part de ce changement de cap-là, d'après vous, est-ce qu'on pourrait imputer aux choix des consommateurs et des auditeurs, qui auraient évolué au cours de ces années-là?

12912   M. LEGAULT : Bonne question.

12913   M. LÉGARÉ : Il est sûr que des phénomènes parfois qui arrivent, comme la télé-réalité, sont très populaires en tant que tels, mais il est sûr aussi que ces télé-réalités là sont moins coûteuses à produire, donc, plus intéressantes pour le diffuseur, et le diffuseur en fait souvent une promotion excellente, et ces télé-réalités peuvent se décliner de différentes façons.

12914   Si vous prenez un exemple comme « Occupation double », « Occupation double » est non seulement une émission hebdomadaire mais quotidienne, et on peut la voir aussi... ils en parlent dans les journaux, on en parle dans les magazines. Donc, la promotion qui entoure ces séries-là est très bonne, est très facile à faire, et c'est plus difficile pour une dramatique, qui est plus coûteuse.

12915   Donc, oui, effectivement, certaines émissions parfois attirent encore du public, et elles sont populaires, on ne le nie pas. Mais d'une certaine façon, les émissions sous-représentées, elles, ont un financement de moins en moins grand, et il est important justement que ces émissions-là soient appuyées. Or, on se rend compte qu'on a des budgets de plus en plus restreints, et depuis des années, les budgets ont diminué plutôt qu'augmenté, et il faut satisfaire le public avec une concurrence d'émissions étrangères de très grande qualité.

12916   Lorsque le public voit des émissions américaines qui sont produites à coût de plusieurs millions l'épisode et que nous avons $ 300 000 ou $ 400 000 pour produire une heure, la compétition est féroce.

12917   Donc, c'est un peu ce phénomène-là. C'est-à-dire oui, le public, on lui propose une grande variété, et, en même temps, le paysage audiovisuel, où il y a une fragmentation du marché, mais justement, la concurrence est souvent induite par le coût de production moindre qui fait que les diffuseurs favorisent ces émissions-là.

12918   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et si je comprends bien aussi une partie de votre réponse, vous estimez que la question de la promotion des émissions aussi a une grosse influence sur la popularité qu'elles peuvent avoir?

12919   MME LUSSIER : Sur les choix aussi de diffusion, puisqu'on parle de « Occupation double ». C'est certain qu'à partir du moment où... tu ne pourrais pas... en tout cas, difficilement faire ça avec une émission dramatique traditionnelle. Les gens ne peuvent pas suivre ce qui arrive à leurs personnages 24 heures sur 24 sur Internet ou, en tout cas, ça prendrait... ça serait le fun, ça prendrait un gros pool d'auteurs pour arriver à faire ça. On peut faire ça. On peut proposer ça. Ça serait bien... et de comédiens. Alors qu'avec « Occupation double », c'est possible de faire ça.

12920   C'est donc avantageux pour un groupe comme Quebecor, qui, à ce moment-là, son service illico sur Internet ou Canoë, je ne sais pas... en tout cas, je pense que c'est sur la plateforme Canoë qu'on peut suivre les concurrents matin, midi et soir.

12921   C'est des émissions qui sont plus faciles à décliner sur plusieurs plateformes et qui sont faciles à promouvoir leurs péripéties amoureuses en première page de toutes les revues du groupe aussi. Je pense que c'est... c'est des exemples qu'on a sous les yeux chaque fois qu'on va à l'épicerie, en fait.

12922   M. LÉGARÉ : Mais je vous dirais, pour compléter, que lorsqu'on compare une dramatique avec une autre dramatique, les émissions québécoises prennent la tête. Les télé-réalités, c'est un phénomène particulier, mais si on pense, par exemple, à « Grey's Anatomy », c'est diffusé le samedi soir. Ce n'est pas diffusé en heures de grande écoute en semaine. Donc, à quelques exceptions près ou à très peu d'exceptions près, les émissions dramatiques québécoises ont plus de succès que les émissions américaines.

12923   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Maintenant, en ce qui concerne l'appui aux télédiffuseurs généralistes sur le plan des revenus là, j'ai, évidemment, bien écouté votre conversation avec monsieur le président, mais je veux revenir sur certains points de votre discussion.

12924   Vous proposez que si un tel régime devait être mis en place que les négociations pour la juste valeur du marché soient principalement basées sur les cotes d'écoute, et vous soulignez, de façon tout à fait lucide, que c'est probablement le critère le plus facile et le plus objectif à utiliser pour ça. Mais vous concluez en disant que d'autres critères que la part de marché pourraient causer préjudice aux entités publiques comme Télé-Québec et TFO.

12925   Mais est-ce que les parts du marché, si on l'utilise comme critère, est-ce que ça non plus, ça ne crée pas un préjudice indirectement, compte tenu de la nature particulière de la programmation qu'ils fournissent?

12926   M. LÉGARÉ : D'une certaine façon, oui, mais c'est un critère objectif en tant que tel, et il est sûr que si on avait pris d'autres critères qui avaient été suggérés, comme les dépenses de programmation, bien là, les capacités de dépenses de Télé-Québec ou de TFO sont, encore là, très, très limitées. Donc, on s'est basé sur un critère qui est quand même objectif.

12927   Il y a des critères subjectifs comme la valeur culturelle qui ne peuvent pas être pris en compte par un organisme comme le CRTC. La part de marché nous semblait le critère le moins facile à contester.

12928   Encore que pour TFO, il faudrait trouver quelque chose d'autre puisque, dans ce cas-là, n'étant pas calculé dans les BBM, on ne pourrait pas identifier la part de marché.

12929   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et des critères, par exemple, comme le nombre d'heures originales de contenu canadien diffusées dans une année ou le nombre d'heures de contenu canadien, tout court, diffusées dans une année, est-ce que vous pensez que ça pourrait être intégré dans un type de calcul ou d'équation pour essayer de baliser les négociations si le concept était retenu?

12930   M. LÉGARÉ : On n'est pas fermé à d'autres modes de calcul. Nous, on a suggéré celui-là. On n'est pas non plus...

12931   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Parce que c'était le plus évident?

12932   MME LUSSIER : On essayait de vous simplifier la vie.

12933   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Oui, oui, je comprends. Je comprends. Je ne vous en veux pas.

12934   M. LÉGARÉ : Mais si voulez vous la compliquer, on peut vous suggérer...

12935   MME LUSSIER : Ah, oui! On est bon aussi, il n'y a pas de problème.

12936   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Au niveau des dépenses obligatoires au titre des émissions canadiennes, vous avez bien fait la démonstration de ce qui se fait présentement et, selon vous, ce qui devrait se faire, mais il y a un point sur lequel j'achoppe un peu dans votre présentation.

12937   À la page -- elles ne sont pas numérotées -- bien, la page où est-ce qu'il y a la note de bas de page numéro 5, le dernier paragraphe. Vous expliquez votre proposition qui est en annexe, qu'on voit très, très bien que c'est un modèle d'augmentation annuelle, compte tenu de la santé financière de l'entreprise.

12938   Mais vous parlez du cas de Quebecor Media, « le réseau TVA et ses stations affiliées ». Les stations affiliées de Quebecor n'appartiennent pas à Quebecor. À ce moment-là, est-ce que vous estimez que Télé Inter-Rives et RNC devraient être traitées de la même façon que TVA sous le modèle que vous proposez?

12939   MME LUSSIER : En fait, je ne connais pas ces deux émissions. Ce qu'on voudrait éviter, c'est un transfert des obligations d'une à l'autre, même à l'intérieur des mêmes groupes de propriété.

12940   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : O.K. Je comprends. Merci.

12941   Maintenant, comme vous le soulignez vous-même là, vous dites que dans le cas de Radio-Canada, à qui vous voudriez que des objectifs de dépenses en émissions canadiennes soient aussi imposés, il faudrait trouver une autre formulation, et vous pensez peut-être là à un rapport entre recettes publicitaires et revenus totaux.

12942   Mais à ce moment-là, de quels revenus est-ce que vous parlez ici? Est-ce que vous incluriez le Fonds d'amélioration de la programmation locale, et comment est-ce que vous feriez la distinction, compte tenu de l'appropriation parlementaire, entre ce qui est dévolu à la télévision française, Radio-Canada, et ce qui est dévolu au reste de la Société Radio-Canada?

12943   M. LÉGARÉ : On s'est surtout attardé à l'autre proposition qui est en annexe. Pour Radio-Canada, on n'a pas voulu embarquer dans un détail aussi précis. Donc, on pourra peut-être le regarder et vous revenir là-dessus.

12944   C'était simplement qu'on considérait que la proposition qu'on vous faisait dans l'Annexe A ne pouvait pas s'appliquer à Radio-Canada, et donc, on s'est dit, les revenus totaux... on ne les a pas définis en tant que tel, mais cette proposition, elle est très, très peu détaillée. C'était simplement une suggestion.

12945   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Une chose à laquelle je vous amènerais peut-être à réfléchir, même en ce qui concerne la proposition pour TVA et V, c'est un point que monsieur le vice-président Arpin a soulevé avec d'autres intervenants, à savoir que si les revenus qui viennent du Fonds d'amélioration de la programmation locale sont inclus dans les revenus qu'on considère pour établir le montant de dépenses d'émissions canadiennes, que ça pervertit peut-être un petit peu l'objectif de ce Fonds-là, qui est d'améliorer la programmation locale. Donc, vous voudrez peut-être y penser.

12946   M. LÉGARÉ : Oui.

12947   MME LUSSIER : Oui, l'exclure des calculs, effectivement.


12949   Maintenant, en ce qui concerne le minimum d'heures d'émissions prioritaires, confirmez-moi que ce que vous définissez comme émissions prioritaires, ce sont les émissions scénarisées, les dramatiques? Est-ce que ça inclut aussi les documentaires et les émissions jeunesse?

12950   MME LUSSIER : Oui.

12951   M. LÉGARÉ : Oui.

12952   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Oui. Et on est d'accord que pour les émissions jeunesse, les heures de grande écoute ne sont pas nécessairement les mêmes que pour les autres?

12953   MME LUSSIER : Non, effectivement.

12954   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Vous avez fait référence dans une intervention avec monsieur le président à l'effet que les heures de grande écoute... En fait, c'est peut-être un petit peu plus avec moi, lorsque vous avez parlé de « Grey's Anatomy », que vous avez dit, ça passe le samedi soir, ce n'est pas en heures de grande écoute.

12955   Donc, vous considérez que les heures de grande écoute excluent le samedi soir carrément?

12956   M. LÉGARÉ : Bien, généralement, on les perçoit plus comme la semaine, effectivement.

12957   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Parce qu'on a eu d'autres intervenants du côté anglophone qui préconisaient que la définition des heures de grande écoute soit restreinte du dimanche au vendredi, donc, excluant le samedi. Est-ce que c'est une position sur laquelle vous avez une opinion?

12958   MME LUSSIER : On ne s'est pas penché là-dessus dans le cadre de cette consultation-là. Quand on vous dit que ça... en fait, nous, on se base sur les cotes d'écoute du samedi soir, à savoir que quand j'écris une fiction, je n'aimerais pas ça qu'elle soit programmée le samedi soir, mais il n'y pas une étude plus approfondie que ça pour le moment.

12959   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Finalement, en ce qui concerne la production indépendante, dans votre mémoire, au paragraphe 35, vous faites un point qui, moi, apparaît un petit peu contradictoire. Alors, je voudrais l'éclaircir.

12960   Vous dites d'abord qu'en télédiffusion, la production originale importe plus que l'endroit où est-ce qu'on va, effectivement, la faire, et je comprends bien ce que vous dites. Mais vous considérez quand même acceptable que le pourcentage de productions indépendantes demeure à 75 pour cent?

12961   MME LUSSIER : Oui.

12962   M. LEGAULT : Au moins, et je crois qu'il est plus élevé que ça en ce moment, il me semble, en tout cas, dans l'ensemble. Pour nous, c'est un seuil en bas duquel il ne faudrait pas descendre.

12963   M. LÉGARÉ : Et c'est en réponse aussi... vous nous demandiez s'il y avait des obligations de dépenses qui devraient être fixées. Nous, on a dit, non, pas besoin de fixer d'obligations de dépenses. Mais il reste que le 75 pour cent est, effectivement, une règle qui nous convient.

12964   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Qui vous convient présentement?

12965   M. LÉGARÉ : C'est ça, et on ne voulait pas se commettre à fixer des obligations ou à chiffrer des obligations en termes de dépenses.

12966   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et l'autre chose, si je comprends bien, qui vous convient aussi, c'est qu'au niveau du cadre réglementaire pour les télévisions francophones et les groupes de propriété francophones, qu'on s'en tienne à ce qu'on fait présentement, qu'on ne change pas la recette et qu'on continue à y aller au cas par cas au moment où les licences sont renouvelées et qu'on n'essaie pas de faire un cadre général, un format pour tous?

12967   M. LEGAULT : Mais je pense que chaque... elles sont tellement spécifiques. Radio-Canada vraiment a son rôle, TVA a son rôle, le 5 a son rôle. C'est difficile de demander à l'un, puis de ramener ça... est-ce qu'on veut trois chaînes généralistes exactement les mêmes? Non, je pense qu'elles ont chacune leur fonction.

12968   Donc, on ne peut pas les juger de la même façon et on ne peut pas imposer les mêmes conditions à chacune. Je ne pense pas que ce serait une bonne solution.

12969   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Donc, vous juger que, de cette façon-là, on peut maintenir une offre diversifiée dans le marché francophone, qui pourrait attirer tout un chacun au moment opportun?

12970   M. LEGAULT : Puis les structures sont différentes.

12971   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Les structures sont différentes.

12972   M. LEGAULT : Elles sont extrêmement différentes d'une à l'autre. Alors, je trouve ça difficile de faire une règle pour, finalement, faire des exceptions pour chacune. Ça revient à traiter chaque cas séparément.

12973   CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Ce sont toutes mes questions. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le Président.

12974   LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci.

12975   Michel?

12976   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Merci, Monsieur le Président.

12977   Vous préconisez que la valeur du service soit établie à partir d'un critère de la cote d'écoute. Évidemment, la cote d'écoute présente favorise Quebecor, avec autour d'à peu près 28, 29 parts de marché, et V, avec 7 parts de marché.

12978   Est-ce que, selon vous, il n'y a pas un danger que c'est, finalement, de faire en sorte que le plus petit des diffuseurs soit, ad vitam eternam...

12979   M. LEGAULT : Le plus petit.

12980   CONSEILLER ARPIN : ...le plus petit et puis voué à la médiocrité par rapport à son concurrent principal, puis Radio-Canada étant à mi-chemin entre les deux? Est-ce que c'est quelque chose que vous aviez considéré quand vous avez fait votre recommandation?

12981   M. LEGAULT : Moi, je dirais, comme les financements sont différents, et c'est là où... je sais que le financement ne nous regarde pas, le financement public. Télé-Québec a des sources de financement aussi qui proviennent du gouvernement du Québec. Radio-Canada a des sources de financement qui proviennent du gouvernement canadien.

12982   Donc, je pense que c'est un critère simple. C'est un critère, en même temps, qui reflète ce que les gens veulent voir. Je dirais, c'est surtout... c'est la simplicité du calcul qui se fait à partir de ça, et compte tenu aussi de chacun...

12983   Oui, c'est possible, mais V... ça ne veut pas dire que V va toujours rester dans la cave. C'est sûr que s'il y a plus d'argent... mais il va falloir qu'ils mettent plus d'ingéniosité à trouver de meilleures émissions qui rejoignent encore plus leur public.

12984   La part de marché est comme un critère plus objectif, et compte tenu... et puis là, je parle du marché francophone. Je veux dire que...

12985   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Enfin, la part de marché, c'est sûr que c'est le critère le plus facilement mesurable. Les données sont publiées hebdomadairement, et puis les consolidations sont faciles à faire.

12986   MME LUSSIER : En fait, ce n'est pas qu'on endosse la cote d'écoute ou la part de marché comme valeur absolue d'un produit, mais dans ce cas-ci, c'est une des façons de financer les produits. Il y a des fonds, il y a d'autres façons qui pourraient corriger, si on veut, cette tendance-là, qui, dans ce cas-ci, dans le cas de cette partie de financement là tiendraient compte de la cote d'écoute.

12987   CONSEILLER ARPIN : TVA avait proposé une mesure un peu plus complexe avec trois variables, que V a endossée, pour l'instant du moins. Et vous, vous revenez, vous dites, la variable la plus importante, finalement, et la plus facile à mesurer, c'est la cote d'écoute, et puis on devrait s'en tenir à cette mesure-là, à cette variable-là, effectivement, pour les fins de tous les calculs?

12988   M. LEGAULT : Écoutez, on n'est pas des experts autant que peuvent l'être ces personnes-là sur la façon de calculer les choses. On a pris connaissance aujourd'hui, je veux dire, de certaines positions. Il y a beaucoup de consultations présentement, autant du côté du Fonds des médias que...

12989   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Absolument.

12990   M. LEGAULT : Alors, ça fait beaucoup, beaucoup de chose à considérer, ce qui ne veut pas dire que les méthodes proposées ou par TVA ou par Radio-Canada, parce que Radio-Canada aussi en a fait une façon où ça pouvait se calculer...


12992   M. LEGAULT : On pourrait vous revenir et donner un avis là-dessus.

12993   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Non, non, mais je veux m'assurer de voir que votre réflexion a bien tenu compte de ces...

12994   M. LEGAULT : Bien, on en a pris connaissance aujourd'hui.


12996   M. LEGAULT : Donc, s'il y a d'autres méthodes de calcul qui pourraient être encore plus justes que celle-là ou qui pourraient satisfaire l'ensemble de ceux qui sont touchés par ça, mais je ne pense pas que TVA parle de Radio-Canada. En tout cas, s'ils en parlent, c'est...

12997   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Non, non. C'est pour dire rien.

12998   M. LEGAULT : Bien, c'est ça.

--- Laughter

12999   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Rien à Radio-Canada...

13000   M. LEGAULT : Oui, oui, oui.

13001   CONSEILLER ARPIN : non rien de Radio-Canada.

13002   M. LEGAULT : Non, non. C'est ça.

13003   MME LUSSIER : Effectivement.

--- Laughter

13004   M. LÉGARÉ : C'est quand même pour établir la valeur d'un signal en tant que tel.


13006   M. LÉGARÉ : Et sur quoi établir la valeur de ce signal-là, sinon sur une donnée qui est...

13007   MME LUSSIER : Objective.

13008   M. LÉGARÉ : ...objective. C'est-à-dire...

13009   CONSEILLER ARPIN : Est facilement mesurable.

13010   M. LÉGARÉ : est sûr que si V avait 33 pour cent plutôt que 7 pour cent, la programmation de V serait sans doute meilleure. Mais je ne pense pas que l'équilibre qu'on cherche dans le système soit pour compenser justement les lacunes de programmation de l'un, mais plutôt l'absence de revenus, le problème de la publicité, et le fait justement qu'ils n'ont pas accès à des redevances.

13011   CONSEILLER ARPIN : De toute façon, il n'y a pas d'équation entre le succès d'une émission et le coût de sa production, parce que s'il y en avait une, on n'aurait pas de problème, tout le monde aurait la formule.

13012   M. LÉGARÉ : Oui.

13013   CONSEILLER ARPIN : D'accord.

13014   C'est tout, Monsieur le Président.

13015   M. LEGAULT : Merci, Monsieur Arpin.

13016   LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci beaucoup. Ce sont toutes nos questions. Merci d'être venus.

13017   M. LEGAULT : Merci.

13018   LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame, je crois que c'est terminé pour aujourd'hui, et on recommence demain matin à 9 h 00.

--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1503, to resume Friday, November 27, 2009 at 0900


____________________      ____________________

Lynda Johansson         Madeleine Matte

____________________      ____________________

Monique Mahoney         Beverley Dillabough

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