ARCHIVED - Transcript of Proceeding
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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
Policy proceeding on a group-based approach to the licensing of television services and on certain issues relating to conventional television
140 Promenade du Portage
November 27, 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
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
Jeff Conrad Hearing Manager /
140 Promenade du Portage
November 27, 2009
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
E1 Entertainment Ltd. 2318 /13024
Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters 2344 /13179
Mtroop Creative Services 2368 /13305
ELAN 2386 /13391
ADISQ 2412 /13507
James Ivers 2444 /13673
- v -
ERRATA / ADDENDA
November 24, 2009
Page 1793, Para 10118
"as if you already had taken a postion" should be "as if we already had taken a postion"
--- Upon resuming on Friday, November 27, 2009 at 0900
13019 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Bonjour.
13020 Madame la Secrétaire, commençons.
13021 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
13022 We will now hear the presentation of E1 Entertainment Ltd.
13023 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
13024 MR. THROOP: Thank you.
13025 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission and staff.
13026 My name is Darren Throop and I am the Chief Executive Officer of E1 Entertainment.
13027 With me today are Laszlo Barna, President of E1 Television, and Grant Buchanan of McCarthy Tétrault, our outside counsel.
13028 We would like to thank you for allowing us to speak here today. As this is our first appearance at one of your proceedings, I wanted to begin by telling you a little bit about our company.
13029 E1 is a diversified Canadian independent production and distribution company. We are building a leading international independent entertainment content ownership and distribution business which acquires film product for distribution in theatrical, television, cable, satellite, DVD and digital markets throughout the world.
13030 Our goal with respect to film product is to create a network of consolidated independent content distributors in a traditionally fragmented market to offer producers an alternative to the major Hollywood studios' multi-territory distribution operations.
13031 E1 has more than 1200 employees in Canada, with 1500 worldwide in Los Angeles, London, Europe and New York City. We have Canadian operations in Brampton, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Nova Scotia. Our revenues this year will exceed $750 million, so ours is an important Canadian media undertaking.
13032 Here at home we have helped produce, co-produce, finance and/or distribute a number of Canadian television productions such as "The Bridge" with CTV and CBS; "Shattered" with Canwest; "Copper" with Canwest and ABC; "Keep Your Head Up: The Don Cherry Story" with CBC; "The Dating Guy" on Teletoon; "Kenny vs. Spenny" with CBC, Showcase, Comedy Central; and "Men with Brooms" on CBC.
13033 So that is enough about us.
13034 Our participation in your proceeding is based on two key concerns.
13035 The first is that the Canadian English-language broadcasting ecosystem needs more high-quality Canadian-scripted programming, particularly in the area of drama and documentaries.
13036 The second is that the Commission needs to continue to do what it can to facilitate the protection and distribution of these rights, particularly digital rights across various platforms.
13037 We propose to discuss both of these concerns with you today and will begin by talking about the need for more funding of content for what the Commission has called programs of national interest.
13038 Despite the successes mentioned above, we should be under no illusions. Much remains to be done to keep current and to adapt to the new changes in market. If we change the broadcasting system in the wrong manner, opportunities to create and sustain Canadian programs might pass us by.
13039 So what do we recommend?
13040 First, a CPE to be imposed on over-the-air broadcasters for the production of the sorts of key programs that we have been talking about. Whether you call them dramas, documentaries or programs of national interest or some other name, we think that an expenditure condition is required but just for those sorts of shows. Beyond that, the broadcasters should be able to spend as they please. We would leave it to the Commission to set the rate and any program that is produced with the monies from such condition should air in peak prime time.
13041 Second, we would eliminate the priority programming and drop the exhibition requirement over the broadcast day from 60 percent to 55 percent.
13042 Third, we are not supporters of the group-licensing scenario. We are concerned that dollars will flow into narrow areas of programming with the greatest financial return for the broadcasters rather than to the wide spectrum of Canadian programming mandated by the Broadcasting Act.
13043 If there is going to be flexibility granted to the broadcasters, there needs to be a safety net if you want to ensure the production of Canadian dramas and documentaries. Otherwise, we see the prospect of unnecessarily increasing spending on news and sports shows. These types of programs are stale-dated within days of airing.
13044 The Broadcasting Act requires the programming provided by the Canadian broadcasting system to be, and I quote:
"...varied and comprehensive, providing a balance of information, enlightenment and entertainment for men, women, children of all ages, interests and tastes."
13045 It does not take much to imagine the types of high-end drama and documentary productions we are talking about disappearing if we are not careful. In our view, these productions provide an important element of the programming balance called for under the Broadcasting Act. These are the types of programs that require funding.
13046 We work closely with the over-the-air broadcasters and are familiar with their financial situation. We have programs either in production, on the air or both with each of CTV, Canwest and CBC, among others, and in our view, we need healthy over-the-air broadcasters, including the CBC.
13047 How can the over-the-air broadcasters rebound?
13048 Well, besides an improving economy, we have heard a number of ideas, including the Local Programming Incentive Fund, which you have started; sharing of the proceeds from the analog broadcast spectrum; targeted advertising; better merchandising tie-ins; non-simultaneous substitution; the Part II tax refund/freeze; and others.
13049 We understand that you are not responsible for some of the foregoing. However, we also think that you should be vigilant in guarding against allowing any new types of advertising which would take money from the broadcasters. This could include the sale of local avails on U.S. specialties, VOD advertising and dynamic insertion of advertising, among others.
13050 However, the most important thing that you could do for the over-the-air broadcasters is allow them to negotiate value-for-signal compensation with the BDUs. This is a controversial idea but it is one that we support.
13051 That said, if the Commission does allow value for signal to be negotiated, then a majority of that funding must be directed into types of Canadian programs that require it the most, including dramas and documentaries.
13052 The final area that we want to comment on this morning relates to the ownership and management of program rights and, by extension, terms of trade. We will be brief as we appreciate that the Commission's jurisdiction is relatively limited in this area.
13053 However, we urge you to stay the course that you charted in your Regulatory Policy 2009-406, where you indicated that the Commission would only consider broadcaster seven-year renewal applications with finalized terms of trade agreements in place.
13054 The whole concept underlying terms of trade is that they level the playing field in terms of negotiations between the independent producers and the broadcasters. They would ensure that negotiations would be held in a fair and straightforward manner and we are pleased to see that the Commission has focused its attention on this matter.
13055 That concludes our remarks and we look forward to any questions that you may have. Thank you.
13056 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation.
13057 Now, you are making some observations here about advertising on page 7. Explain to me something which I don't -- I have heard different advice.
13058 Hello, Mr. Buchanan. It is the second time or third time in this hearing you are appearing. You seem to have many --
13059 MR. BUCHANAN: Like a bad penny.
13060 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would local avail advertising cannibalize the existing advertising or -- we have heard both views. We have heard one of them saying yes, it was just a redistribution problem; others saying, look, if the program is already interrupted for those two minutes, people are used to it, it is not going to change anything and in effect if you allow them access to it, you give them an extra two minutes on which they can advertise where they don't get anything right now.
13061 What is your view?
13062 MR. BARNA: My understanding is that well, you know, particularly at a time when advertising dollars are really scarce and it is coming out of a constant pool that there would be a drain on the advertising dollars that would be going to the broadcasters and it is a really ill time in terms of the economy and the robustness of the advertising market, which, you know, will stay in some kind of decline.
13063 So, you know, our concern would be that, you know, on the one hand we are trying to build up the broadcasters, give them the ability to move ahead, and with the other hand take away something that -- create something that might actually hurt them.
13064 MR. BUCHANAN: We haven't, of course, seen --
13065 THE CHAIRPERSON: My question was whether there would be cannibalizing or not, whether that is the same advertising, in effect, you allow this extra window, you diminish the other one or is it generically different?
13066 MR. BUCHANAN: We would draw a distinction between different types of new advertising, the dynamic insertion and so on --
13067 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
13068 MR. BUCHANAN: -- which arguably would have the possibility of being more targeted and so on versus this, which -- now, we haven't seen Mr. O'Farrell's application but what it looks like is pure 30s and 60s of the old school, they are just dropped into U.S. programming.
13069 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not talking about O'Farrell, I mean just generically --
13070 MR. BUCHANAN: No, I agree.
13071 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is the only principle --
13072 MR. BUCHANAN: It is a traditional 30 or 60 and the fact that there is suddenly a lot of new inventory in new 30s and 60s being made available, your question how it would grow the pie --
13073 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What about VOD, speaking generically, is that a different type of advertising? Because there you do know who is demanding it.
13074 So let's say if it's a biker movie and you have somebody in mind, obviously it is a young man. So you know if you advertise on it you are reaching young men, while if you are advertising on CTV generally, you don't have that sort of specific target.
13075 Does that make it a different kind of advertising or not?
13076 MR. THROOP: Yes, it does make it different. It is certainly more pointed and certainly more valuable. You can target the market that you are specifically going after.
13077 In regards to your first question, it is an additional source of advertising -- a potential additional source of advertising revenue.
13078 And the answer to the second question, absolutely, if we can be more targeted specifically on the market that we are after, we are going to pay more for that advertising. So I think it is a great benefit.
13079 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
13080 Elizabeth, I believe you have some questions?
13081 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes.
13082 Good morning. I have a few questions.
13083 First of all, just following along on the discussion you were having with the Chairman with respect to the local ad avails and the VOD, the Association of Canadian Advertisers appeared the other day. I don't know whether you heard their presentation but their message or part of it was that there is a lot of untapped advertising out there and one of the examples they gave was that they can't effectively reach into local markets.
13084 So I am just wondering if you had heard that and what your comments might be to that. The message they gave is that there is plenty of advertising still out there that is untapped.
13085 MR. THROOP: Yes, I didn't see the presentation but I would have to agree with that statement. If you look at smaller markets' local advertising, it largely is part and parcel what you are seeing everywhere else. It is the same feed, so I would agree with that statement.
13086 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And I think the VOD, the understanding I am getting is that the revenues at some point will be shared with the broadcasters. I gather that is all evolving but that is a possibility.
13087 I also wondered, you make the point on value for signal, that a majority of the funding if it came to pass should be directed to the type of programs that you are proposing should see more -- that we should see a greater production of.
13088 What about the balance of it? Do you have an opinion on that? Do you think all of the money should go to programming or some of it should be allowed to flow through to the bottom line and to shareholders?
13089 MR. THROOP: I mean as a production company we would love to see all the money flow through to programming. We thought that was a little aggressive from our standpoint, so we went with the majority as opposed to all.
13090 The over-the-air broadcasters are having a difficult time and we acknowledge that, so we would like to help them with that. But, you know, directing some of that funding to Canadian production, indeed, will help them.
13091 There have been some huge success stories in the Canadian production model in the last year, two years, three years. We have a wonderful community from a production standpoint. So increasing the funding specifically in Canadian production is going to help the broadcasters, in our opinion.
13092 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay, thank you.
13093 Now, just referring to your submission and my first question is just in relation to your introduction. I think you changed it a bit in your presentation here today, so maybe it's nothing but I just wanted to understand.
13094 You refer to both analog and digital rights for audiovisual product in Canada and you say, and I am quoting part of this anyway:
"While the digitization of the Canadian broadcasting system creates significant opportunities as well as potential risks [you want] to comment on the situation in the analog world as it will continue to be relevant for some time to come."
13095 So I was just curious to know what you are thinking there because I thought most of the production would be done in HD now.
13096 I can tell you where it is, in paragraph 4.
13097 MR. THROOP: I mean we are in a significant state of flux, I think, is what we are trying to get to, where, you know, the analog world exists with this new emerging digital world. So it is just -- I think the point was it is just not exclusively a digital discussion, it also relates greatly to the analog world, where a large portion of the revenues are coming from.
13098 I don't know if that answered your question.
13099 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: The productions are all done in high definition now though, aren't they?
13100 MR. THROOP: Yes.
13101 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay, thank you.
13102 Then again this morning I noticed that although you make a number of recommendations you don't attempt to quantify them, and in fact when you are talking about the CPE, you say that you leave it up to the Commission to find what is appropriate.
13103 I just wondered if you had any more concrete numbers or perhaps you might be submitting that in the final comments.
13104 MR. BUCHANAN: Perhaps in the final comments. What is on the record, of course, is the Commission set a 6 percent revenue benchmark in 2004 to be reached by 2009, where we are now. It was to be phased in by steps.
13105 That did not include documentaries. That was drama. The documentary figures are not broken out in the Commission's -- you have those numbers. We don't have those numbers.
13106 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
13107 MR. BUCHANAN: So presumably you would be thinking of a number like that, together with something for documentaries or however you chose to do it but those are sort of --
13108 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Around there.
13109 MR. BUCHANAN: Not 50.
13110 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: And are you talking about a phase-in or do you think that -- it has to be phased in since there was a phase-in period? Do you think it needs to be gradually phased in or you are open?
13111 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, you know, we are kind of a year behind in the release of figures and so on. I think that is why they chose to leave it in your hands but you are right up to date with the numbers.
13112 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. And do you have a view on whether the CPE should be applied against revenues or expenditures?
13113 MR. THROOP: Revenues.
13114 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Revenues. Okay.
13115 And I was also wondering if you thought that the CPE should be across the board or whether it should be determined on a case-by-case basis by broadcasters? We have heard some different comments on that.
13116 MR. THROOP: Could you just explain a little more?
13117 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Should we just come up -- the CPE -- with one percentage overall, say, it should be 35 percent and that would be common to each -- that would apply to each group, CTV, Canwest Global, Rogers, or should we customize it, should it be case-by-case?
13118 MR. BUCHANAN: Just so we understand, 35 is way beyond the realm of what -- we are talking about a much more targeted number.
13119 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I am talking about CPE requirement in total.
13120 MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, and we weren't recommending that. We were recommending a CPE only for drama and docs. It would be a much more modest number.
13121 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
13122 MR. BUCHANAN: But it doesn't avoid the application of your question. One would have thought that it would be the same for all because it would calibrate according to revenues and that would self-adjust.
13123 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. So you don't think that there is a need for a CPE for anything other than for the category of programming that you are talking about?
13124 MR. THROOP: Go ahead.
13125 MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that is the area that needs the work. That is what is left after you finish with the LPIF and taking care of the news and so on.
13126 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
13127 MR. BUCHANAN: The problem area remains that one from 2004 that never got fixed.
13128 So if we do that, then you don't have to tie up broadcasters' hands anymore and if they want to go down and spend money in Hollywood, they can do that provided they have done the Canadian content drama and documentaries first, they have taken care of financing those first. Then what is left over they can run their business, pay their people and buy their American programming.
13129 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: All right, thank you. That is helpful, very reasonable. Okay.
13130 And again, the other ones are also related to the floors but you are leaving them up to us.
13131 And the children's programming, do you think that it needs additional support?
13132 MR. THROOP: Yes, certainly. We view it as a subset of drama. But yes.
13133 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. And what about feature films? I see you are including that. You are the first party that -- well, I shouldn't say the first party -- that I am aware of, at any rate, that mentioned feature films and I just wondered, do you see a difference between -- or is it just a normal part of drama? Like is there a distinction between feature films and drama?
13134 MR. BARNA: You know, we distribute many Canadian and help produce by distributing Canadian feature films. What we have been seeing in the past couple of years is that there is less and less availability of financing for Canadian features.
13135 Television used to be a really good source because we could pre-sell the features to television and, you know, our biggest partners were generally, of course, Astral. That community is suffering. The feature industry is suffering as a result.
13136 So that is why we put features in there because it is an industry that can work. It certainly is working in Quebec. We would like to see it work better in English Canada but they deserve attention. It is one of our legacies.
13137 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you. I just have two more questions for you.
13138 You recommend the 8:00 to 11:00 Sunday to Friday time period for airing these Canadian dramatic and documentary programs. I am wondering, you didn't say how many hours per week. Are you in line with the others, two hours or...?
13139 MR. THROOP: Yes. I mean we are saying they have to be broadcast during that period of time. We haven't been specific on exactly how much time but we would expect at least two hours.
13140 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay.
13141 And my last question is on independent production because I thought that you went farther because you say -- you state that:
"Given the consolidation..."
13142 I think it is important to set the context because you state:
"Given the consolidation in the broadcasting system and the desirability of a diversity of voices in the broadcasting system, [you] believe it would also be appropriate to ensure that the minimum 75% rule in favour of independent producers is elevated to a requirement and that is also extended to expenditures." (As read)
13143 So I am wondering, it previously was just for the large companies for the priority programming but you are saying all the programming now, all the Canadian programming -- of all the Canadian programming, 75 percent should go to Canadian independent producers?
13144 MR. THROOP: Yes, of scripted.
13145 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Perfect. Thank you very much.
13146 MR. THROOP: You are welcome.
13147 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
13148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
13150 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The other day we were asking a question about the whole Canadian star system and we had heard repeatedly from program producers and broadcasters that American content had always had this advantage of coming sort of bundled with the star machinery of the U.S. marketplace and usually significant promotional dollars.
13151 I have been asking this question for the last two weeks and I still haven't really gotten a good answer.
13152 The question is: Is there a need to look at some type of built-in promotional funding component to the financing of Canadian productions -- I am thinking, you know, the Canadian Media Fund, CTF and so on -- that really amp up the promotional side of Canadian production so they really start to get -- they start to build the Canadian star system and build the recognition of Canadian content?
13153 MR. BARNA: Having produced many, many series, some very well promoted and then less promoted as time went on -- for instance, when we started "Da Vinci's Inquest," the CBC went nuts and they threw a hell of a lot of money at it. And then eventually, you know, they had to make choices and it was a program that worked, and unlike the United States where they really advertise program that work so that they continue to work, they had to pull back and they didn't have the energy and the financial robustness to continue with it.
13154 We do have a problem. People are not making rational choices at the networks about promotion. They are choosing what they can afford. So I think it is a problem that needs to be addressed, you know.
13155 Of course, the issue is, are we imposing so much of a burden on the CMF and will this be, you know, dollar-neutral? In other words, now that there is a promotion fund, will broadcasters step up from what they are currently doing and then transfer the cost to this other agency?
13156 So, you know, there are pitfalls in that but I think you are identifying a very major problem that we face in our own market.
13157 Interestingly enough, when we do something in co-production it's a bitter -- or if we do it with the Americans we have -- well, if you look at "Flashpoint" for instance, it gets a lot of promotion in the United States, although CTV is usually pretty good at that. We have two shows coming up, one with ABC, one with CBS, both Canadian shows. We are going to rely on that.
13158 The shows that sit in Canada, by and large, suffer from lack of dollars and creativity but mostly dollars to promote them properly. So I think there is some merit in that idea.
13159 MR. THROOP: I think further to that the reality is there seems to be this stigma about Canadian production. From my point of view, we produce the best that is coming out of Hollywood right now.
13160 This concept of going to the U.S. to buy programming and bringing it back so that we can show it to our own public is one that personally is getting a little bit tired for me. Some of the productions that we do and a lot of the independent producers in Canada do are of a quality that is at least as good and in some cases better than what you are getting out of Hollywood anyway.
13161 So promotional fund, yes, but I really think we need kind of a step change from an understanding point of view or from a public standpoint that says, yes, it is Canadian content but it is the best in the world, the best it has to offer.
13162 We sell this stuff all over the world and they don't say, oh, are you Canadian, because if you are Canadian, it can't be good. They say, how much do you have, when is the second series coming, who are the stars?
13163 So I think there needs to be kind of a change in perception on what is Canadian content. It is good, solid Canadian content and we are funding it so that it is so. So a production fund, I am sure could help but I think part of it is perception as well.
13164 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes. I get the sense that the exhibitor is looking for every mechanism by which to extract revenue from -- either it is an imposed need or it is a choice to engage in Canadian productions and its gain is that it fulfils its content obligation but it doesn't try as much as it should perhaps to really maximize the revenue return by investing more in the promotion of that product is what you are saying. I hear you.
13165 The other question I have -- and this will be my last question -- is can you give the Commission a takeaway as a notion as to how you see, as a producer, the digital world of five years from now, video on demand -- what I am getting at is the rights issue in terms of trade, you are saying, should be tied to ongoing strategies for negotiation with broadcasters.
13166 How do you see your relationship in the video-on-demand world? Are you going to be negotiating directly with the BDUs or are you going to still be having all your rights tied up with the original exhibitor and let them carry that negotiation onward?
13167 MR. THROOP: I mean our point has been that, you know, traditionally the licensor has taken those rights. The commissioner has taken those rights and our real issue with that is exploitation. So, you know, we are happy to negotiate directly with the VOD services if indeed the holder of our rights doesn't do it in an effective manner.
13168 This rights sweep, if you wanted to look at it that way, where because of the licence agreement that we sign they take all rights is fine with us as long as they are exploited in a mindful manner and that they have an infrastructure that supports the exploitation of those rights, not just here but also abroad, and by virtue of what they do for a living, in some cases, the abroad part doesn't really work. It is not what they do for a living. It is what we do for a living in addition to production and others do for a living.
13169 So it is more about what are you doing with them when you get them. We don't have any issue with, you know, giving our rights to the broadcasters. What we have an issue with is if they sit there unutilized and we think there are more effective ways to exploit them. That is all we have said and we are very consistent in that view.
13170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much. Those are our questions. We appreciate your coming.
13171 MR. THROOP: Thank you.
13172 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire, let's go on with the next one, please.
13173 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
13174 I would now invite the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters to come to the presentation table.
13175 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. East, so far at every hearing that I have chaired you were the last presenter.
13176 MR. EAST: I did note that actually. Is this a good thing?
13177 MR. EAST: I hope this means you think of me more fondly now.
13178 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, go ahead.
13179 MR. EAST: Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs and Commissioners, I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Ted East and I am President of the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters, or CAFDE.
13180 CAFDE is a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of Canadian owned and controlled feature film distributors and exporters. Our members include Alliance Films, Equinoxe Films, Maple Pictures, Metropole Films, Mongrel Media, E1 Films/Seville Pictures and TVA Films.
13181 CAFDE members distribute over 90 percent of the non-studio and Canadian films released theatrically in Canada each year. CAFDE members distribute films in Canada from all over the world and in the widest range of genres and budgets.
13182 Although television is not the main business of CAFDE members, broadcast sales are a critical component in the life of a feature film both in terms of revenue and reaching audiences. Additionally, Canadian feature films draw heavily on the common talent pool that also serves the Canadian television and drama industry.
13183 Of the issues being discussed during these hearings, the one that is most critical to us is ensuring that broadcasters spend an appropriate amount on Canadian programming. We were very encouraged to hear the Chairman state in his opening remarks that these hearings are about ensuring that Canadians continue to receive high quality Canadian programming regardless of where they live or how they receive their television programming.
13184 We respect that these hearings are not about the past or protecting old business models. We understand that enormous technological changes have transformed the industry in the past 10 years and even more radical changes are on the horizon. These changes pose considerable regulatory challenges to the Commission.
13185 Complicating matters has been the appalling public propaganda war between the BDUs and OTA networks over the fee for carriage or value for signal issue. This propaganda war has confused and alarmed the public and has demonstrated an extraordinary disrespect for the Commission and the hearing process. It has also distracted the industry from other issues and created a very tense and antagonistic atmosphere at a time when cooperation and leadership are needed.
13186 We are being asked to contemplate greater flexibility and regulations to allow broadcasters and BDUs to respond to the challenges and opportunities that will emerge in the years ahead. The ridiculous public feud makes us wonder if a stronger and firmer regulatory hand is needed.
13187 The primary focus on these hearings and the group-based renewal hearings next year must be on ensuring the continued production and distribution of high quality Canadian programming to Canadians. It should not be hijacked by corporate agendas or feuds. Technology changes have created and will continue to create opportunities for new forms of content and new forms of distribution.
13188 Technology changes will also provide Canadians with the possibility of accessing a variety and volume of non-Canadian programming that would have been inconceivable several years ago. In truth, Canadians do not need Canadian broadcasters or BDUs to access this content but they do need and want Canadian content, which is why Canadian broadcasters and BDUs are necessary.
13189 I am unaware of any Canadian broadcaster or BDU appearing before this Commission asking for more Canadian content. I suspect this has never happened. However, the reverse is often true.
13190 Broadcasters have asked this Commission for regulatory relief on their Canadian content burden. BDUs have often complained about the burden of being forced to carry new Canadian services. To my knowledge, they have never offered to drop any of the American services to make way for new Canadian services.
13191 It's safe to say that the first priority of Canadian broadcasters and BDUs is not ensuring that Canadians continue to receive high quality Canadian programs. That is not a surprise, of course. For the most part they are for profit businesses and their first priority must be the bottom line.
13192 The challenge for the Commission and, indeed, the entire industry is to create a future regulatory environment where supporting high quality Canadian programming is a high second priority for the broadcasters and BDUs and not just the cost of doing business.
13193 In considering measures to offer broadcasters more expenditure and scheduling flexibility, we are urging the Commission to ensure that more, not less Canadian drama is commissioned and programmed in the years ahead. Of all the genres, drama is the most imperilled. It is the most costly to produce and arguably faces the stiffest competition from abroad. It is also the genre that receives the greatest regulatory resistance from broadcasters.
13194 As mentioned in our written intervention, one possible solution is to require broadcasters to match in some fashion their programming of non-Canadian drama with Canadian drama. In our view, it is unacceptable for a broadcaster to program a significant volume of non-Canadian drama without programming an appropriate amount of Canadian drama.
13195 Earlier this year, during its short-term licence renewal hearings, Rogers asked that the Citytv stations in Toronto and Vancouver be relieved of their requirement to broadcast a minimum of 100 hours per broadcast year of Canadian long form features during peak viewing hours. They proposed instead to meet their Canadian content requirement with less expensive local programming.
13196 Given that primetime programming for these stations is dominated by high profile American drama, this request is unacceptable. The Commission wisely turned down this request but we fully accept Rogers to make a similar request next year.
13197 The decline in the volume of Canadian drama in the past 10 years as a result of changes to the definition of priority programming is well known. New regulatory measures need to be found. Any group-based CPE or programming models that are being contemplated need to appreciate the unique requirements of a successful Canadian drama output.
13198 Canadian drama needs to be funded properly and it needs to be programmed and promoted so it reaches the maximum Canadian audience. The billions of dollars of annual revenues generated by the industry are more than enough to support this.
13199 Of all the sub-genres of drama, we believe the largest decline has been in feature films. Canadian feature films are becoming all but extinct on conventional television. In partnership with the CFTPA we are working on a study that will examine this issue in some detail and which we will submit at the group-based hearings next year so the Commission can better understand the situation.
13200 CAFDE is opposed to any regulatory changes that would result in less independent production, particularly in the area of drama. The combined membership of the CFTPA and APFTQ is over 500 companies. These are typically small to medium-sized companies from every region in the country. Their very survival depends on their creative entrepreneurial skills.
13201 Any reduction in the production output from the independent sector due to lower regulatory requirements would not only weaken that sector but be at odds with the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. It would almost certainly lead to a decline in the quality and originality of the programming. Diversity and originality are more likely to come from motivated entrepreneurs than from employees of large companies.
13202 A strong independent sector also needs a business environment that allows them to prosper. This is why a new equitable and reasonable terms of trade agreement with the broadcasters is necessary. As you are aware, there has been a dramatic shift in the terms of the contracts offered by Canadian broadcasters for Canadian programming.
13203 Broadcasters are demanding longer terms and more rights without additional compensation and they are using the cover of the challenge of a changing technological environment as a justification.
13204 Yes, the world is a much different place than it was 10 years ago and, yes, business arrangements need to be changed to reflect the changing world. But to borrow a phrase that the broadcasters are fond of using, there needs to be proper value for signal.
13205 It is interesting to note some differences and similarities between the value for signal issue and the terms of trade issue. In the former, the BDUs hold the power and believe no changes to old business arrangements are needed and refusing to compromise or acknowledge that the environment has changed for the conventional broadcasters.
13206 In the latter, the broadcasters hold the power, citing a need to adapt to a changing world that unilaterally and dramatically changed their deal structure with independent producers. In both cases the party holding the power is reluctant to come to the bargaining table and would rather the Commission not get involved.
13207 But the Commission needs to get involved. The economic power and political influences wielded by the BDUs and the larger broadcast groups is considerable.
13208 Creating a regulatory framework that meets the challenges of the future is not an easy task but we do need to find a way to ensure that the goals of the Broadcasting Act are realized in the 21st century. The best way to achieve that is to ensure the future of a vibrant and independent Canadian production community.
13209 I thank you for your attention and I would be happy to answer any questions.
13210 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation and, indeed, you know you weren't scheduled last because it was just a scheduling quirk. This time I said let's make sure we don't put you on last.
13211 MR. EAST: Okay.
13212 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are making -- you are using alternately the expressions drama and film.
13213 MR. EAST: Yes.
13214 THE CHAIRPERSON: We usually focus on drama.
13215 MR. EAST: Yes.
13216 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then let the producers and broadcasters decide whether it should be a television series or a feature film or whatever. Yet, I get the strong feeling you feel we should sort of have a sub-focus on film as well.
13217 MR. EAST: Yes.
13218 THE CHAIRPERSON: And not only on drama. Why? Explain that to me, if we do focus on drama isn't it then up to the producers to decide which is the best way to use their talents in order to attract audiences?
13219 MR. EAST: Well, in the regulatory environment that we have, I mean, I think the Commission and the industry needs to appreciate the role that television plays. I mean one of the reasons the feature film industry particularly in English is in the shape that it's in is that it has not had the support from broadcasters that countries particularly in Europe where the domestic feature film industry is much more successful. So they are definitely connected.
13220 I mean this year Telefilm produced a report by Peter Grant and Michel Houle that examine this in some detail and the findings were that. I mean in order to have a successful domestic feature film industry you need strong support from the broadcast industry.
13221 And the genres are -- I mean, yes, feature film is part of drama but it is a very distinct sub-genre within drama. It is more different than all other aspects of drama than, say, mini-series are from movie of the weeks or drama series.
13222 THE CHAIRPERSON: So this is not a licence renewal hearing but if it were, I gather you would urge us that the obligation that City has regarding showing feature films --
13223 MR. EAST: Yes.
13224 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- should be extended to CTV and CanWest?
13225 MR. EAST: Yes.
13226 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
13227 Tim, I believe you have some questions?
13228 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Good morning.
13229 MR. EAST: Good morning.
13230 COMMISSIONER DENTON: We are coming to the end of the hearings and perhaps it's as a result of that that I am going to ask you these questions or engage in this discussion.
13231 Every time I listen to the production artistic communities, I'm struck by how much they believe regulators can and should accomplish to cause to happen what they want to see happen. And in this argument among billionaires we are supposed to find a way to generate -- cause to be generated the Canadian content that you would like to see and most people would like to see in some measure.
13232 Are you exaggerating our powers to cause this to happen or do you have a realistic appreciation of the extent of which we are limited in our powers?
13233 MR. EAST: I have a basic understanding of the powers you have and the limits that you have. The issue for my members and, I think, for the creative community as well is there needs to be some equity. There needs to be a level playing field. The whole broadcast --
13234 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Between who and whom the level playing field?
13235 MR. EAST: Between -- well, there is three different levels. There is the BDUs -- I mean if the pecking order -- if you were to examine the pecking order I would suggest at the top are the BDUs. They have the most power. They seem to be the richest and they are the first line of revenue which always gives you some power, and underneath them are the broadcasters and underneath them are the producers.
13236 And the producers -- but if you were to look at the importance, I would say the reverse is true. The producers are the most -- the people that produce the content are the most important. And then the broadcasters are the second most important and the BDUs are the third most important.
13237 I mean the whole reason that we have this system is in order for Canadians to see Canadian content. If that wasn't important we don't need any of these people. I mean if Canadians were content to look at signals coming from abroad in this technological age with satellites, you could just open the borders and nobody -- we wouldn't need the Commission. We wouldn't need any of this.
13238 And, yes, Canadian content would more or less disappear. I mean the challenges really are -- and maybe what is needed is more power for the Commission, which is a larger political issue.
13239 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Well, it's just the sense that I get is that in this game we are stuck with causing the cross-subsidies to flow from various revenue sources into Canadian production, a policy goal with which I think we all agree.
13240 MR. EAST: Right.
13241 COMMISSIONER DENTON: And we are also stuck with the inefficiencies of that transfer in the sense that there seems to be some kind of -- we don't seem, despite spending enough to produce a nuclear-powered frigate every year on this, that we get -- we can't seem to get Canadians to watch the television or somehow we can't seem to get the combination of talent, actors and money to cause there to be a significant rival to U.S.-based production. And you know we fight this year in and year out. I mean the issue is the same as it was in the 1980s as it was in the 1960s.
13242 MR. EAST: Right.
13243 COMMISSIONER DENTON: So no matter what we seem to do, no matter what amount of money seems to flow through the system to Canadian program production, we don't seem able to generate or to cause a self-sustaining production industry to get going whose products would rival those of, say, Hollywood for the eye of the Canadian and foreign viewer.
13244 MR. EAST: Right.
13245 COMMISSIONER DENTON: So that leaves us to reflect upon how adequate these tools are to cause to happen what you would like to see happen because we have been at this for a long time now and, yet, the desired promised land just doesn't seem to appear.
13246 MR. EAST: Well, I don't think it's -- first of all, I don't think it's ever going to be self-sustaining. I don't think it's possible. I mean if you were to compare the feature film industry, there is only two countries in the world that can produce a viable film industry from the resources, just the commercial resources of their own country, and that is the United States and India. And I don't even think that's the case with the United States anymore because the cost of production has increased so much.
13247 I think the measurement should be less about how we compare to the Americans but the audiences that are being reached on individual productions. Those are the goals, right, and we are doing very well with the dramas that we are producing. There needs to be more of them.
13248 And I don't think that we should be so concerned if, gee, in the top 10 shows being watched by Canadians only one this year is Canadian and that's a failure of the system, as long as there is enough drama and enough Canadians are watching the individual dramas that are being produced. I think that is the point.
13249 COMMISSIONER DENTON: And what is enough, in your view?
13250 MR. EAST: Well, I think depending on the amount of money that's being spent and the broadcaster that's involved. It depends on their audience reach.
13251 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay.
13252 MR. EAST: I don't think -- I mean the thing to understand, and this is not going to change; in fact, it may get worse -- Canada is inundated with product from the United States, not just the product but the promotion, right? So if -- I mean just take a chapter from the film industry, if you have got a movie like Passchendaele, for instance, which had a significant release and it did very well at the box office. Paul Gross is not going to be on the cover of Vanity Fair. Paul Gross is not going to be on the David Letterman Show.
13253 And the same thing happens in television. When you are introducing a new drama series you are not going to get the stars on the cover of American magazines unless, in the case of Copper and Flashpoint and some other examples, there is also an American broadcaster.
13254 So if you are -- you're not just producing the shows that you've got to attract to Canadians that are competing against the shows, you are competing against the media storm that those shows attract that bleeds into Canada.
13255 And that's not going to change and I don't think that we want to say, well, the regulatory tools are not enough that we are not succeeding enough. I think we have to keep progressing and we do have to state that Canadian drama is part of our cultural legacy, has been and should be and we need to find the resources.
13256 I mean the resources are there. If you spend tens of millions of dollars on Canadian drama or hundreds of millions of dollars in Canadian drama you do expect some kind of audience return for that. But I don't think we want to expect enough financial return in order for it to be self-sustaining. That's probably not possible.
13257 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay. So we spend the money, we get the audiences and you are saying therefore that we should spend more or that we should have a more efficient distribution system conveying those profits into the production industry?
13258 MR. EAST: I would say both, we need to spend more and we need to promote them more and -- yes.
13259 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay. And do you think that we have the powers to cause this to happen?
13260 MR. EAST: I believe you do.
13261 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay.
13262 MR. EAST: I mean you are the ones that decide when the licences are being renewed what the conditions of licence are.
13263 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Well, the reflection I am drawn to make after -- you know, I was in this writing up the Broadcasting Act 20 years ago and now -- is that we do our best. We labour mightily. We produce some stuff that is worthy of watching or causes to watch. And, yet, when I sit down with my wife in the evening to watch entertainment I want to be entertained. I want to find something that is amusingly distracting. I don't necessarily want to be lectured at or made to feel rah, rah, rah Canada.
13264 It's somehow at the end of all this production subsidy and artistic concern, I might like to see something that is just lightheartedly entertaining coming out of this entire effort. And I realize that's not a policy issue so much as it's a flavour issue at the end of the day.
13265 MR. EAST: Right.
13266 COMMISSIONER DENTON: I realize I'm just complaining. But I really wouldn't mind watching something that was Canadian that didn't have a Maple Leaf on every desk and so absolutely earnestly Canadian. It might be nice to watch some mindless entertainment that we only learned later was Canadian.
13267 I don't expect a rational policy answer to that complain but that's how I feel about it. And I really wouldn't mind seeing some more entertainment coming at us for all this money.
13268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can we stick to the questions?
13269 COMISSIONER DENTON: All right. Thank you.
13270 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I needed that.
13271 That concludes the points I want to make.
13272 THE CHAIRPERSON: Candice?
13273 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
13274 As Commissioner Denton began, one of the issues is when you are at the end you are kind of batting clean up.
13275 MR. EAST: Right.
13276 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And so I'm going to ask you a question that has been sort of percolating in my mind for the last few days.
13277 We have had many groups come before us talking about the need -- you know, the importance of drama and others have come and talked about the importance of children's programming, and you have a particular interest in feature film, and we have had documentary organizations here as well. The one thing that has flowed through all of those is the notion of scripted programming and scripted programming -- it's through scripted programming that you can tell the stories. And it's through scripted programming you can engage the independent producers and the creativity and so on.
13278 Do you see any risk if we move away from telling what is of national interest and saying it's drama or documentaries or otherwise, to us talking about a requirement for broadcasters to make a commitment to scripted programming?
13279 MR. EAST: I think we need to have a stronger commitment for scripted programming.
13280 I also want to say to Commissioner Denton that when I talk about drama in this context I really mean scripted programming which would include comedy.
13281 So yes, you know, but one of the ideas that we like to float is some kind of mirroring system for broadcasters. If you are showing children's programming from abroad you should be finding ways to show children's programming from Canada. If you are doing a comedy series, drama series from the United States then your requirement should be to do that in Canada as well in some kind of ratio that makes sense.
13282 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I'm going to throw it out again. I mean the mirroring says we need to do the same as others. Can't we create a niche for ourselves if we -- you know, if we provide the most flexibility for the Canadian system by saying we need to have scripted Canadian programming you don't need to do copycat, you know, but do it where you can do it best, do it where the audiences go best, but tell Canadian stories and move back from this, you know, mandating the genre it's in and the type and so on.
13283 Wouldn't that work?
13284 MR. EAST: I don't -- I mean I'm not entirely clear what you are suggesting. But my point here is not to be so specific that if you are doing three hours of American cop shows you have to do three hours of Canadian cop shows. It's more general than that.
13285 If you are doing scripted content from America you should be doing scripted content from Canada in some ratio. And that could be comedy versus drama. You see a better opportunity of reaching Canadian audiences with Canadian comedy. I think that's fine.
13286 You know, getting back to Inspector or Commissioner Denton's frustration, the serious -- I mean Canadian content doesn't have to be serious educational, you know, Mounties and flags. It should be fun. It should be entertaining and we need to be doing more of that. More particularly in the feature film industry I have long been an advocate for expanding the genre of feature films, And that's a big problem, public perception with English-Canadian feature films; that they are all very serious and they are not a lot of fun. They are not a fun night out at the movie theatre.
13287 Things have changed. We have produced some successful comedies and successful thrillers in the last few years and we are going to hopefully do more. And I think in television that should apply as well.
13288 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. Those are my questions.
13289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Elizabeth, a last question?
13290 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I just have one quick question and it's sort of following along on your discussion with Commissioner Molnar.
13291 In your comments today you recommend one possible solution. You describe it is to require broadcasters to match in some fashion their programming of non-Canadian drama with a Canadian drama.
13292 And I just wonder if you had any idea -- we have heard in terms of dollars how much more to spend. Do you have any idea what that is currently, what that looks like -- hours -- in terms of hours?
13293 MR. EAST: What that looks like currently, no.
13294 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No? No, okay. Would that information be available anywhere?
13295 MR. EAST: I think the broadcasters would have it.
13296 I mean it's -- I can tell you on Citytv because we were looking at -- we monitor that fairly carefully. There is significantly more scripted drama from outside of the country than inside. I mean their primetime weekday schedule is dominated by scripted shows from the United States and they have got that one two-hour slot every Saturday night where they are showing old, old movies from a library they inherited from the CTV sale that I'm sure is getting poor viewership and they are probably going to come next year to say, gee, movies don't work.
13297 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you very much.
13298 MR. EAST: Okay.
13299 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
13300 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. Those are our questions.
13301 We will take a 10-minute break.
--- Upon recessing at 0958
--- Upon resuming at 1014
13302 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K., commençons, Madame la Secrétaire.
13303 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation of Mtroop Creative Services.
13304 Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
13305 MS. BURKE: Good morning. My name is Debbie Burke, I am an independent producer of non-commissioned programming.
13306 I am here because I believe producers such as myself and, in addition, local programming is vital to the survival of the production industry in Canada, because we are the place where people start, we are the places where the producers and the directors and the actresses and the DOPs and all those guys have to start somewhere, and they start in productions like ours.
13307 I want to start by talking about what has changed, and I think what has changed is the widened monopoly power of the broadcasters in the marketplace. The networks have essentially eliminated all potential competition by buying them out. They are so entrenched and confident in their newfound market power that they feel that they can even dictate policy, and they do this by threatening to close down local programming, blackout programs if they don't have their demands reached.
13308 In essence, what they are doing is they are acting like bullies on the playground and the problem is they control all the playgrounds. So in the context of the broadcast landscape there has been a dramatic and significant shift where producers, where advertisers and even regulators are running out of choices. The broadcasters can dictate their price, they can dictate content and now they are trying to dictate regulation.
13309 As a regulatory body, you are going to be forced to act, and I am hoping you will do it in a way that will put some balance back into the process.
13310 What is the problem with local programming Canadian content? Well, to the broadcasters, I think Canadian content is viewed as a liability. It is an expense, it hurts the bottom line and you can't blame business for trying to minimize or eliminate costs and that is what they see Canadian content as.
13311 If everyone here believes that Canadian content has value, then we can't have the people that deal in Canadian content viewing it as a liability. So there needs to be a shift in perception.
13312 So how do you change perception? I think you do that by making it more of a commodity that can be bought and sold. You create a market for Canadian content and local programming via Canadian content credits. But before I get into explaining the concept of the credits, I want to talk about how easy it is to shift perception.
13313 If I came in today and, as part of my presentation, I gave you all a little gift box, chances are when you left today you would leave that box on the table, because you wouldn't perceive it as having much value. It is kind of the reason I didn't do it.
13314 But if I told you that when you left the room today you would have to give me a buck if you took the box, chances are you absolutely all would leave a box on the table because now it is an expense.
13315 But if I told you that when you left the room today and you gave me a couple bucks there is a whole bunch of people standing out in the hall and they have things out there that you want and you can trade that box for whatever you want, you would likely take the box.
13316 Now, the box hasn't changed, but your perception about the box has changed. It has gone from having no value because I gave it to you for free, to becoming a liability because it was an expense, to becoming an asset because now you can trade for something that you want. And I think, in the same way, that would work with Canadian content credits.
13317 So how will this work? Well, the concept is really simple; broadcasters could purchase Canadian content credits that could be cashed in for the opportunity to televise additional American or other foreign programming that they may deem to be more profitable.
13318 The idea might sound very radical but, in essence, you are doing that right now, except that you are giving them these Canadian content credits for free and it equates to about 40 per cent of the programming they air.
13319 If the broadcasters had to purchase credits for the right to air these programs, the credits have gone from being free to whatever the market will bear. So by association, if the credits have value then the Canadian programming has value because you are trading one off against the other.
13320 If its more profitable to produce Canadian programming, broadcasters will in fact reduce it. And if it's more profitable to purchase the credits, then they will purchase the credits.
13321 So it may sound like this would diminish Canadian programming, but I think it would have the opposite effect, because where would that money go that would be changing hands for the credits? Well, the money could go to create a fund for Canadian content. The greater volume of credits the higher the fund becomes for the creation of Canadian content, including local programming.
13322 It could be implemented in one of two ways; an independent body could be setup to control the fund and Canadian producers not associated with a broadcaster could access the fund based on a set of criteria, or the credits could be distributed amongst qualified Canadian producers and the broadcasters would negotiate with the producers directly to purchase the credits.
13323 If a lottery system is used for the dispersion of credits, it would open up the opportunity for up and coming young producers to access funds that are not currently available to them through traditional processes. This is an important point, because I think having young talent up and coming and having access to money is key to the sustainability of the industry.
13324 The Canadian content credits would also open up new opportunity for all independent producers. It would result in a revitalized incentive for the production of Canadian content because these funds could be used to create the content and purchase airtime, if necessary. Currently, if you are an independent producer of non-commissioned programming in Canada you must purchase airtime in order to get your programs aired, and that is something that has emerged out of the growth of the monopolies in the networks.
13325 I think also the development of these credits would create more diverse programming because the programming decisions would no longer be in the control of just a few people located in a metropolitan area, but would be something that all producers could have a say in.
13326 How would you ensure the survival of Canadian content under this program? Well, you could set a quantity of credits that would be available, perhaps 10 per cent. The broadcasters could keep their current 40 per cent at no cost. In order to expand beyond the 40 per cent they would have to purchase the credits. The broadcasters could also be given transferable credits that could be banked or traded if they hit targets below their current 40 per cent.
13327 The advantage of the credit system is that it will give the broadcasters some flexibility, it would allow them to maximize profits, but at the same time it would take some of that monopoly profit and put it back into the system. The Canadian content credits could have different levels that would target concerns about type of programming, for example, 1, 2, 3, where 1 would be primetime drama, 2 could be primetime news and local news and current affairs, 3 could be other types of programming.
13328 There's a lot of different ways that this could be setup, so consideration has to be given to which system would benefit the most people, and by "the most people" I do mean the broadcasters, the Canadian television production industry and all Canadians who view our programs.
13329 Can this system work? I think this system can work because a credit system has successfully altered behaviour in other industries where regulation could not make an impact. And, for example, in Los Angeles regulators were able to decrease the levels of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere by more than 10 times the baseline emissions targets by allowing companies to trade pollution credits amongst each other.
13330 A similar process has been used in the Canadian fishing industry, an idea that is spawn out of the fishing industry in Great Britain. The Canadian content credit idea is just a spin on that concept.
13331 In summary, if the role of the Canadian broadcasters is to facilitate the exchange and flow of uniquely Canadian ideas, lifestyles and beliefs, then Canadian content must continue to be a priority. The transfer of wealth that the broadcasters wants is not going to benefit Canadian content, it is just going to flow out of the hands of the average Canadian and straight into the pockets of the broadcasters and their investors.
13332 The licence holders and the broadcasters have been given the opportunity to make money from something that in Canada we view as a public property. And therefore, I think the responsibility of Canadian local content should be the responsibility of that licence holder. I think for the broadcasters to have bought up all the licences that they have and then claim that they can't afford to support them is calculative.
13333 Down loading that responsibility is the cable companies and satellite companies or diminishing the amount of Canadian content will only lead you right back to where you are now, and that is because these industries will continue to pick away at Canadian content as long as they perceive it as being a liability.
13334 The broadcasters, through their own actions, have changed the game. And if they have changed the game, then the rules of that game should also change. The concept of Canadian content credits is innovative and, I believe, could prove effective. If there is going to be a transfer of wealth, then it should be to the Canadian television production industry, and all levels, all levels, that support that industry.
13335 Thank you. I would be happy to answer any questions.
13336 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your interesting idea.
13337 Tell me, who would be selling the credits?
13338 MS. BURKE: Pardon me?
13339 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who is selling the credits under your scheme?
13340 MS. BURKE: Well, I would think that, as a regulatory body, you would either have to setup a separate body to be responsible, that you would have to determine the quantity of credits that would be available within the marketplace. And then how those credits would be dispersed would have to be determined.
13341 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are suggesting in here basically -- let's just stay with your three levels of target time. So I am a broadcaster, I want to buy an hour of primetime.
13342 MS. BURKE: Well --
13343 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I understand your idea, I want to show U.S. programming, in order to be able to do that I have to buy a credit for that. So somebody, us or some independent, sets the price of what one hour of primetime costs, right? And that is what we use and have to buy. Is it the same price for all of them or is it different? Would CTV pay a higher amount than CanWest or a lower amount, whatever?
13344 MS. BURKE: I think you would have to keep it equitable to everyone. And so depending on the time of day or the value of that airtime or the value of the programming, then it would have to determine, you know, what that value would be. But I think it also would have to let some of the market forces determine what that price should be.
13345 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, take my concrete example: Broadcaster wants to buy a hour of primetime, so that they can show U.S. programming other than Canadian. Would they pay the same amount if they are CTV or CanWest or would it be different? And then now you say throw in the concept of market forces. How would you throw market forces into this?
13346 MS. BURKE: Well, I think it would depend on which concept you went with in terms of setting it up. If you are setting it up like there is going to be an independent body that controls the fund, that would work differently than if you had a certain amount of credits disbursed among producers and then they could trade these credits with the broadcaster. If the broadcaster --
13347 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought you said the fund is how it goes out. But how to set it up, get the money for it. The way I understood your scheme was broadcasters have to purchase credits in order to produce. They have to purchase it from somebody and it has nothing to do with the fund at the other end, it is how do you create this value first of all?
13348 So somebody has to be selling credits, has to put a value on them. And I am asking very simply: who would be doing that; and secondly, how do they set the value when it is a value the same for all broadcasters or is there a different price for a different broadcaster?
13349 MS. BURKE: I think it would work the same way that advertising works, depending on the broadcaster and the reach that they have and the amount of people that they can bring in on a programming, that is the value that the advertising dollars reflect. And I think the credits have to reflect that same sort of process.
13350 So whether you setup a board or a body that controls the dispersion of the credits and they collect that fund directly, I think it would be based those same sort of targets.
13351 THE CHAIRPERSON: But isn't the value of the advertising determined not only by the time of the day that you show it but to what show it is put in?
13352 MS. BURKE: That is correct, because you anticipate that there is going to be a certain kind of draw on a show. But I think you can also anticipate that there is going to be a certain draw on a time of day that you are going to put a show in.
13353 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And why do you think this scheme which, to me at first blush, sounds relatively complicated because several decisions have to be made. But let's assume we go over that. Why is this better than what we are contemplating, which is mandating a Canadian program expenditure for the broadcasters and let them decide how to spend that money?
13354 MS. BURKE: I think because it gives more flexibility. You know, one of the biggest problems I think that the broadcasters have right now is that there isn't a flexibility, everything is kind of steadfast in terms of quantities and targets that you have to reach.
13355 And if you can flow things back and forth and you can bank credits so that you can use them and have maybe more volume of programming in one time or in a different property than in another, I think that flexibility provides an incentive to work harder. It is incentive-based essentially.
13356 THE CHAIRPERSON: The broadcasters are listening to us and I am sure, in their final comments, they will make observations on your scheme. It is an interesting idea.
13357 But Steve, you are --
13358 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Mr. Chairman, it is me.
13359 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, it is you?
13360 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, it is.
13361 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, I am misreading this.
13362 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No, that is fine.
13363 THE CHAIRPERSON: Candice, over to you.
13364 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.
13365 I agree, it is interesting, and I will be honest, I don't think I fully understand it. And you mentioned in your comments that it is something that would need to be evaluated in-depth before being implemented. So it is --
13366 MS. BURKE: Yes, it is not something you just can run away with today and say, yes, we are going to do this. I mean, there are people who are experts in this field and you would have to study it. It is not something you could just package in a basket and walk away with, you can't do that.
13367 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Exactly. So it is something that you have floated out there, you have an opportunity to consider it more, and if you want to add more at the end of this process, you know, I would welcome you doing it. And if the broadcasters want to comment, they can do that as well.
13368 What I wanted to do today is just understand better perhaps some of the problems that you think this will address. Taking from your remarks today as well as the remarks that you submitted in September, there is a couple of points I picked out.
13369 And you focused on local programming and not just Canadian content, but you focused a number of times on local programming. And the other thing I picked out of here is the reference to young and independent producers or those with non-commissioned works. And I wondered if you want just to give us a brief maybe picture --
13370 MS. BURKE: Understanding of what that is?
13371 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: -- right, picture of both how you think local programming could be helped by this and also how you think something like this could particularly be helpful to young and independent producers who maybe haven't had an opportunity to have full access to the system as it exists today.
13372 MS. BURKE: Well, I think part of the idea is and what you hear a lot is about the high-end programming, the documentaries, the movies, the feature productions and that sort of thing. And that is at the top, but you need this whole industry that is down below to feed the top, things need to float up to the top.
13373 And what I am seeing as a producer, it is not at the top of the production scale, is that we are probably hurting more than anybody because all our options have disappeared. And we can't take our programs, like we did years ago, and go negotiate airtime and get our programs on the air.
13374 Some of our programs have commercial properties to it, some of our programs do not. But we have no more options left to us. And I think you are slowly going to see that kind of grass root programming that we do just dry up and go away. And when you have that happen, then you don't have this bottom layer that floats up to the top. And I think a lot of what this kind of non-commissioned type programming is where all these ideas are percolating and the good ones kind of come up.
13375 And I think that is also the case with local programming. Local programming is where, you know, the kids come out of school and they start and they get their feet wet and they try things. And when you close down local channels and you put independent producers that are doing these non-commissioned programming, that are talking to just the ordinary guy that has a great idea and trying to put it onto tape and onto air, you know, you just cut the industry right off at the knees.
13376 You know, you are saying where is our creative, where is our funny, where is our entertainment? And you are destroying all the people that are coming out full of energy and ideas. You know, what is the point of having an idea if you can't get it anywhere? You know, and not every idea starts at the very top of the scale. You have to help the guys that are down at the bottom too.
13377 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Is this something that you have seen change over time?
13378 MS. BURKE: Absolutely.
13379 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You mentioned the closure of local stations and so on. Is this something that you have seen change, that there was access for you that has gone away?
13380 MS. BURKE: Absolutely, absolutely, that is exactly what has happened. You know, when there was, you know, an independent local channel that we could access, we could create little networks for ourselves, I could take my programming and I could call Atlantic Canada and I could call B.C. and I could call Northern Ontario and I could call London, and I could get these programs here and there.
13381 And if somebody came in and they had a great idea, I could say, okay, well let's try it, let's run with that. And I could create this little network and I could get it out. And, you know, sometimes the program would take off and it would have life and sometimes it would, you know, end up somewhere even bigger and sometimes it wouldn't, it would just go away.
13382 But, you know, we would find our benefactors, we would find our advertisers, we would tap into small Canadian industry that couldn't advertise on the big network primetime shows and they would come and work with us and they would get exposure, we would get exposure, we financed an industry. That is gone. Those stations are gone. We can't do that anymore.
13383 And the only option we have now is to negotiate with the broadcasters, and they charge us, they want to charge us. So we are creating the content, and then they want to pay us and put it on the air and, you know, you can't do that, you can't survive that way.
13384 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
13385 MS BURKE: Thanks.
13386 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much for your presentation. As I say, I look forward to seeing the comments from others on your scheme. Thank you.
13387 Madame la Secrétaire, let's go on with the next one.
13388 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
13389 I would now invite the English Language Arts Network of Quebec, ELAN, to make its presentation.
13390 Please present yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
13391 MR. RODGERS: Thank you.
13392 Chairman von Finckenstein and Members and Commissioners, I would like to thank you for allowing ELAN to make this presentation this afternoon.
13393 My name is Guy Rodgers, I am the Executive Director of ELAN. To my left is Kirwan Cox, who is a consultant with ELAN.
13394 The English Language Arts Network represents the English-speaking cultural workers of Quebec. One part of our membership is drawn from the film and television industry. To define positions, we work with independent producers as well as the Quebec chapter of the Directors Guild of Canada, and ACTRA, and they have jointly sent a letter that is appended to our document.
13395 In addition, ELAN consults with consumers from Quebec's English-speaking community via the Quebec Community Groups Network and its members associated located in many regions of Quebec. So we will be focusing today on concerns of the English-language minority community.
13396 We have no problem with the quantity of programming available. If our only need was for English-language content we wouldn't be here today. Our concern is about quality, not quality of production values or creative storytelling, the quality lacking is storytelling that reflects local expression and regional reflection.
13397 This is especially true for the 200,000 Anglophones who live in small communities far from Montreal. The new Local Programming Improvement Fund is a splendid initiative. The LPIF could provide new production funding for minority-language communities if official language program envelopes were placed inside relevant production funding obligations that the CRTC has authorized, such as the Canada Media Fund, other BDU-supported independent funds and community channels.
13398 As currently designed, the LPIF cannot be used to support the English-language programming in Quebec; none. It came as a surprise to us to learn that we are not in fact a minority in Montreal, despite contrary information from the Commissioner of Official Languages and Statistics Canada. Why? The CRTC defines Anglophones as "anyone with a knowledge of English." It is true that many people in Montreal have a knowledge of English. On est nombreux d'être très bilingue.
13399 It is also true that many people in Stockholm have a knowledge of English -- and Istanbul. Using the CRTC's definition, there is no English-language minority in Montreal or Stockholm or Istanbul. Where did this definition come from and what does it mean?
13400 The only reason to consider knowledge of English or French is the Official Languages Act, which views this definition as "first official language spoken" or "official languages usually spoken." The purpose of the definition is to determine which citizens receive minority language services.
13401 The CRTC's knowledge of English definition to establish eligibility for the LPIF appears deliberately designed to exclude Montreal's Anglophone population from minority consideration by rigging the count.
13402 We request that the CRTC change its definition to harmonize with definitions currently in use by Treasury Board, Statistics Canada, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Official Languages Act.
13403 In our brief and in the attached letter from DGC and ACTRA we give some notions about how to allocate the LPIF. We can debate the administrative details, but there is no debating that the LPIF, in its current form, is defined to exclude the English minority in Quebec. Unless this is CRTC's deliberate design, the definition must be changed.
13404 And now for the public record. We would like to comment on some other issues raised by your public notice. The 1:1 ratio. We have heard arguments at this hearing on the question of market manipulation of demand versus supply. Perhaps we should recall that the Broadcasting Act was enacted to manipulate the market in favour of the public interest, as defined by Parliament in 1992.
13405 It is your difficult task to be sure that market forces and their beneficiaries are not the only ones making decisions about the public's airwaves. Practically speaking, the broadcasting system in Canada requires a balance between measures encouraging demand and supply. In the English-language system there is a constant outside pressure and we need to be particularly careful of unintended consequences.
13406 When the CRTC eliminated minimum expenditure rules for OTA broadcasters in the 1999 TV policy it disrupted the production system. The unintended consequence of this decision saw English off-air broadcaster spending on CanCon declined from 53 per cent of the total program dollars to roughly 37 per cent today. This is astonishing and, to some, a shocking change within a single decade.
13407 We do not believe that this imbalance in program expenditure is consistent with the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. As we have said previously, we estimate that decline has meant a loss of $800 million in Canadian licence fees over the last decade, representing about $3.4 billion in lost Canadian program budgets. That is over $500 million in lost production within Quebec. In fact, we have actually seen CAVCO's certified English production fall by 40 per cent during this decade.
13408 Nothing you could do would have a bigger impact on Canadian program expenditure of OTA broadcasters than requiring that they spend a dollar on CanCon for every dollar they spend south of the border. This would also help these broadcasters survive their budgetary problems.
13409 The 1:1 ratio or similar minimum spending requirements would increase the profit that these broadcasters derive from foreign programs by capping their costs. This would help the private broadcaster balance their books just as salary caps on hockey players help the NHL team owners survive their self-destructive tendency to over-pay top athletes.
13410 We also want to say a few things about simultaneous substitution. The rule provides broadcasters with a benefit calculated at about $200 million in ad revenues. Unfortunately, simulcasting also pushes CanCon to the fringes of peak viewing time on private English-language networks and that reduces audiences for Canadian programs.
13411 For example, 80 per cent of the top-rated programs on CTV and Global during the week of November 9 to 15 was scheduled at 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. These were all simulcast American programs such as CSI, House, Grey's Anatomy, Survivor and so on and so forth. Their audiences range from 2.4 million to 3.4 million.
13412 The Canadian programming on CTV or Global cannot access the peak viewing audiences because of simulcasting. Flashpoint is the highest rated Canadian drama with an audience of 1.8 million on Friday at 10 p.m. What audience would it reach on another night in peak viewing time? We will never know because those time slots on Canadian network schedules are, practically speaking, reserved for American programs.
13413 We know the BDUs say they can't do non-simultaneous substitution but this is a serious problem that needs a better solution.
13414 Just a few words about CBC: CBC, like the Trans-Canada Highway, becomes increasingly important the further you travel from major population centres. In many remote regions, CBC and the Trans-Canada Highway are literally the lifeline. Some regions are so remote they have only CBC. This is especially true for official language minority communities. The CBC regional station in Quebec is no longer a significant source of English-language independent programming. If CBC cannot or will not serve official language minority communities who will?
13415 This is another serious problem that needs a better solution. In the meantime, the CBC needs to be included along with private broadcasters in any measures that would provide additional program funding to private OTA broadcasters.
13416 And in conclusion, I would like to say the Canadian television industry is in upheaval. The model is broken. If we are to retain a regulated system, rather than to permit broadcasting to become a free-for-all, we need to remember that the regulations are intended to provide quality programming for Canadians and to promote Canadian content.
13417 And regulations are intended to provide equitable access to all Canadians including minority language communities and even to the most remote communities for whom broadcasting is not entertainment but a lifeline to vital information.
13418 Thank you. We would be happy to answer any questions.
13419 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation.
13420 On page 4 when you talk about CBC, you know we include the CBC in the LPIF and our rationale is very simple. It's that there is local programming that Canadians want and whether that comes from the CBC or whether it comes from the private broadcasters, the unfortunate fact is it needs some subsidy and that's what the LPIF is. So just because you live in the area of service by the CBC and not by CTV or by TVO or whatever is no reason that you should be punished, and so therefore we made CBC eligible for that.
13421 But now when we are talking about, in effect, the model of the overall -- the general OTA broadcasters being broken, et cetera, certain parties before us have said that really isn't your business. It may be very desirable. The CBC is underfunded. We all know that, et cetera, but it is the responsibility of the government. After all they are the shareholder. Additional sources for revenue is not part of the CRTC's job to manufacture for CBC.
13422 What is your position on that?
13423 MR. RODGERS: Well, I'm going to pass this over to Kirwan Cox here who has done a number of studies and has stronger opinions than mine on this particular subject.
13424 THE CHAIRPERSON: While you are the meek and mild, are you?
13425 MR. COX: As Guy Rodgers just said the Broadcasting Act is designed to create a system that benefits Canadian production, Canadian programming, et cetera. And the government of the day gave the CRTC the responsibility to fulfil the objectives in the Broadcasting Act.
13426 The CBC, the public broadcaster, is in the Broadcasting Act and there are certain assumptions made in the Broadcasting Act about the kind of role that the CBC is supposed to play, the kind of programming the CBC is supposed to give, the kind of people and communities within Canada that the CBC is supposed to represent in two languages or more. And I think it is quite clear that you have a responsibility to see that the Broadcasting Act which Parliament gave you is upheld.
13427 If the CBC or any part of the broadcasting community does not have the resources to do its job, then I think that it is incumbent upon you to go back to the government or the Governor in Council and say, "It is our duty to inform you that you are not giving the resources needed to fulfil the Broadcasting Act". If they choose to ignore you, then it's on them.
13428 But I think it's your responsibility to at least make sure that there is no ambiguity that if you feel the CBC cannot do its job because it doesn't have the resources, whether you do it publicly or privately you have to tell the Governor in Council.
13429 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's a different proposition than you set out on the bottom of page 4 of your oral presentation today. You said:
"In the meantime, the CBC needs to be included among the private broadcasters in any measures that would provide additional program funding to private OTA broadcasters."
13430 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are saying that I have a duty to alert the government in saying the CBC is underfunded. Maybe I have; maybe I don't, but that's not what you set down here. So are you changing what you are saying here?
13431 MR. COX: No, not at all. You asked me, I thought, a different question which was a broader question of what business is it of yours if the CBC has higher or lower funding.
13432 The point here is that you are looking at the LPIF not this year, which has already been decided how it's going to be designed, but for future years. Some private broadcasters have come to you and said, "We don't think the CBC should be included in LPIF benefits in the future" as you are deciding at this hearing.
13433 So all we are doing is saying, "As you decide on the LPIF's design in the future, we would suggest" -- well, we would suggest a number of things. It should remain at 1.5 percent and not go back to 1 percent. It should include the CBC, et cetera.
13434 THE CHAIRPERSON: LPIF we don't have an argument. Okay, fine. So this, I should read this in the context of the LPIF?
13435 MR. COX: Yes.
13436 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13437 Okay, Steve, I believe you have some questions?
13438 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I sure do, thank you very much.
13439 With respect to the LPIF -- I would like to deal with that first and get it out of the way -- your position is that because of our interpretation in our policy utterances, we are describing individuals as having a knowledge of language, rather than being English being a first language, and your feeling is that if we were to change our definition that would change the eligibility of LPIF. Is that correct?
13440 MR. RODGERS: Well, according to Statistics Canada there are far fewer than one million English speakers in Montreal. There is no question about that.
13441 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13442 The focus of this hearing has been to try and square the objectives of the Broadcast Act with the needs of the economics of the broadcasting industry. And the LPIF from my view -- I'm just speaking as an individual here -- was created more out of an economic condition than a cultural condition and that's why it was deemed to have a focus on non-metropolitan markets serving the needs of the majority audience in that non-metropolitan market, not the minority.
13443 So consequently, even if we were to try and recast the objective of the LPIF, it would take it farther away from its initial purpose.
13444 So my question is this, is it the only mechanism you can identify that comes close to serving the needs that you are bringing to the Commission today, or are there others?
13445 MR. COX: What we are saying, first of all, is that the CRTC over time has created a number of programming production funds of various types and that we believe that within all of those funds there should be an official language minority community envelope of one size or another and however defined for both the English and the French official language minorities.
13446 In the case of the LPIF you said, I think in 2008-100, that it was really only for news. But obviously you are thinking it's for more than just news.
13447 And also the needs of the broadcasters kind of change. I mean, if you had designed it a year ago it might look like one thing. If you design it now it might look like a different thing.
13448 We think it should be broadly for all kinds of programming, not limited to news. It should include independent producers as well as the broadcaster themselves.
13449 And we are also saying that your definitions need to be consistent in order to be fair. You said when you defined a market it was either a million people or more or a million people or less. You then said, "We are going to have an exception with Montreal because we are going to consider there to be more than a million English speakers in Montreal". So we are raising a question about your definition.
13450 The other thing about that is that what you are telling me now is that, yeah, but we kind of made the exception for Montreal because we think the broadcasters in that city in English are not in as bad shape as they are in Red Deer or Brandon or one of those places, and I'm sure that's true. But then you should have not said a million. You should have said 500,000 or, you know, changed the rules.
13451 What we are asking you to do is abide by the rules that you have established. If you establish that a non-metropolitan market has to be less than 500,000 then say so.
13452 The other thing about minorities is the Official Languages Act says you have to consider minorities, official language minorities in your deliberations, as you know. And so we are also saying you cannot say because Montreal with both official languages has three million or more people, therefore it's automatically out of the game.
13453 For the English-language minority you must consider that minority and the same for French outside of Quebec and therefore you should make rules that would allow for -- if there were more English first official language spoken speakers in Montreal then we would not be here on this subject at all because we would be, you know, out of the definition.
13454 What is annoying for us is that we fit your definition but you are still saying we can't get the benefits.
13455 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: (Off microphone) First time I have done that.
13456 I understand the nature of your argument but I don't understand the logic of it because, in looking at a market like Vancouver, but given your argument if we would have made a change in our approach to the definition of the speaker in question, Vancouver would qualify as a major market because there are not a million -- there is significantly fewer French-speaking Canadians than English-speaking Canadians.
13457 You see what I'm saying? You talk about unintended consequence but it essentially would cause the LPIF to be eligible everywhere.
13458 MR. COX: No. No, it wouldn't, I don't think because what we would say is there are fewer than a million French speakers in Vancouver, which is probably true if you use first official language spoken.
13459 Therefore, the LPIF should be used by Radio-Canada probably to broadcast in French in Vancouver, and it would qualify. It would not qualify for CBC to use it for English production in Vancouver. And in Montreal it would be eligible -- not eligible for French on Radio-Canada in Montreal but it would be eligible for the English CBC or other broadcasters in Montreal.
13460 The problem is that as you have defined the situation, leaving outside the logic, because you cross your own logic -- not Montreal -- Quebec is completely ineligible for LPIF in English even though it has a widely scattered population of Anglophones outside of Montreal and even though inside Montreal it has less than a million English speakers.
13461 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Fine. Then, are you not really then saying that it's not a local programming improvement fund but a minority programming improvement fund?
13462 MR. COX: That's what the Official Languages Act would say, I think. They would say that you have to -- that sure it's a local improvement fund but you have to consider language in defining what is local. You can't say to us, "Wait a minute. You have got local programming in French so, you know, you don't need any in English because it's local and it's in French". What does language matter?
13463 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, let's move off the mechanics of the fund and talk about its application.
13464 Following through on your suggestion, if a broadcaster in Montreal was able to access the fund for the purpose you are intending, outside of Montreal what -- given the nature of the conditions of licence and the propensity or the proliferation of French broadcasting in most markets in Quebec, what mechanisms -- how can you make that program local, is what I'm getting at?
13465 If it's emanating from Montreal and its intent, though, is to reach the English speaker in Trois-Rivieres or Sherbrooke or Noranda Mines how do you -- how does that fund create a locality if its winding up being a major market broadcast because there is no mechanism by which you can make it a local broadcast in the smaller markets?
13466 MR. COX: I think there are two ways of looking at that. First, English Montreal is not a major market. It's a medium market because of the million thing we just discussed.
13467 Secondly, we are asking for a redesign of the LPIF as it applies to Quebec so it would include independent production so that only 25 percent of it would be held by the broadcaster for news or whatever they want to use it for. And that we would think that you could include various other conditions to say, "Okay, independent production is going to be used" so that those people in far distant areas maybe would be able to have better access to it because it's not limited to the CFCF news operation and then cross-subsidizing what they do in Los Angeles and all that kind of stuff.
13468 So we are saying that the LPIF needs to especially have a redesign in Quebec for the English-language minority because of the rules that you have established and because of the Official Languages Act but that part of that should require a redesign in terms of, no, it's not 100 percent going to broadcast news. It's going to independent production and other genres and so forth.
13469 And so we would really welcome you to take a step in that direction because regional reflection and local expression, as Guy pointed out, is really what we have a problem with.
13470 The official language minority outside of Quebec may have a problem accessing French-language programming.
13471 We inside Quebec don't have the same problem but we have a huge problem with local expression. We have no educational channel in English, for example, like Ontario has for French. We have limits on what SODEC is allowed to spend. We have a differential in tax credits. We have nothing in the community channel to speak of, in English even though Vidéotron is reached by -- or 93 percent of Anglophones are reached by Vidéotron, Vidéotron has, I think, two programs.
13472 So we are bereft of that kind of thing but, boy, do we know a lot about what's going on in Los Angeles.
13473 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I take your point.
13474 May I move on to the one to one position you have taken? We have heard from the production and greater communities at large that 1999 was not what they would consider a banner year for decision making, given that it made massive changes that had significant consequences to both the funding and the exhibition of Canadian content.
13475 So understanding your harmonization with that view, I am interested to know because it doesn't seem to appear here what your position is on group-based CPE, which is designed to try and bring up those levels particularly in the specialty area.
13476 Indeed, do you have a view on that?
13477 MR. COX: Yeah, I would suggest that group-based licensing is an extremely good and important idea. I think we would support it and if you were to say something like over a group licence that includes specialty plus over-the-air and whatever other things, if that entire group had to meet, say, a 55 percent CPE and maybe couldn't go below 35 percent for any particular network or channel, I think that would be a very good idea.
13478 And I was also fascinated by the idea that was presented here just before we showed up about the carbon credits for programming because it seemed to me that even just thinking about that, whether you run out and say, oh, you know, that should be done, but rather to take the idea that, okay, every time you licence a network you are in fact holding an auction for seven years' worth of 24-hour programming on a particular frequency or set of frequencies.
13479 And in that auction, number one, you are only auctioning to one buyer because you refuse to have a real auction like they have sometimes in the U.K. and whatever, and then secondly -- so therefore that depresses the value. But you do get something for it, which is Canadian content and you say, okay, whoever has the licence, we will give you a licence which is worth a certain amount of money. We don't know how much because we are not holding a real auction and, furthermore -- but we are going to charge you Canadian content expenditures and all the rest of it, and then you go on.
13480 So the question of who sells the credits, it would seem to me, is you sell the credits but once every seven years in a kind of a global fashion. And I think it's an interesting idea exercise just to think about that a bit more. I'm not sure it's going to have a big impact on this particular hearing but I think in terms of the future it's worth considering that.
13481 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you very much.
13482 At the beginning of your presentation you said that you are concerned that there is not an abundance problem but an equality problem, and that your remedy is to see the creation of more content that effectively does local storytelling. And I'm curious as to whether you see that in the documentary form, in the news form. What is the format for that storytelling?
13483 MR. RODGERS: You go ahead.
13484 MR. COX: Well, in all formats, in all genres. But obviously the broadcasters are largely limited to Montreal, for example.
13485 And so if you go to independent production, if you go to other genres like documentary, for example, then I think it is possible to start saying, hey, we are going to do something coming out of the Eastern Townships or out of the Pontiac or out of the Lower North Shore and all of these other places because you don't have to worry about time to the same degree that you do with a news format. So once you start to elongate the time thing then you can begin to have stories in other places.
13486 I think I told the story to you at another hearing, but in the winter the CBC's budget got so low that they wouldn't let their news crews leave the island and drive over the bridges because they couldn't shift to winter tires. It was too expensive and the unions wouldn't let them drive on summer tires or four season tires into the wilderness out beyond Victoria Bridge. And so consequently, CBC stopped doing news outside of Montreal Island.
13487 So that's an example of the kind of problems that we have.
13488 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: My last question, I will just preface it by saying that I hear you and I share some of your views with respect to the mandate of the public broadcaster. I think your remedy or suggestion is a valid one.
13489 But I would like to say that in the interim the community cable programming venue is also, from what I can see, limiting because of its nature to program more to the Francophone market than the Anglophone market. But does the video-on-demand option present any blue sky for you in terms of getting more content out there because it would be on demand and wouldn't limit or restrict the cable caster from, you know, linear programming difficulties?
13490 Does that present any options for you?
13491 MR. COX: I would say at a practical level, limited options. I heard from Mr. Denton how he is desperate for comedy and probably -- I guess he missed Corner Gas but I guess he is really desperate for high production value comedy and that's probably not going to come out of the Eastern Townships.
13492 So therefore, if there is a tremendous Eastern Townships comedy that cost $2,000 to make he might not choose to buy it. He mightn't choose to buy -- I don't know, 90210 or -- is that a comedy? -- whatever is going on. So no, I don't think that is.
13493 I think in terms of video-on-demand obviously you have got to be careful that there is a certain representation in terms of availability of material that is Canadian of total overall budget for an operation which goes to Canadian production because, frankly, we can't compete with $100 million Hollywood movie and we can't compete even with a $20 Hollywood movie. It's not -- I hate to use the term "level playing field" -- it's overused -- but it's just not comparable.
13494 And so to say, hey, let the market decide, that's like saying decide between Cadillacs and bicycles, not because the bicycles aren't good but because we don't have the money to build very many. When we do -- and Flashpoint is an extremely good example as well as Corner Gas -- then we can do extremely well.
13495 And Flashpoint even doesn't mention the word "Toronto" which I think was another point that Mr. Denton made. He hates to hear, you know, words like that. So it's done in Toronto. They don't hide it, and that's great.
13496 By the way, many years ago there was a CTV program called "Police Surgeon" a half-hour drama, and I once went to a party and I met the guy from Procter & Gamble who was sent to Canada to oversee the script and oversee the shooting to make sure nothing Canadian was in the show. No flags on a building, no post office boxes, no licence plates, nothing that could identify the program as being in Canada. And that was the condition that Procter & Gamble paid for that.
13497 We have moved beyond that and I think that's great, and Flashpoint is an example of that. Next, we will get to the point where people actually will be able to mention Canada.
13498 So I'm not sure that we are you know pushing too many Maple Leafs down people's throats. I like intelligence. I like Da Vinci's Inquest, all those kinds of programmings. They are not afraid to be, you know, located in Vancouver.
13499 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
13500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those seem to be all our questions. Thank you very much for your appearance.
13501 MR. COX: Thank you.
13502 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam la Secrétaire, let's proceed to our individual --
13503 MR. RODGERS: Thank you.
13504 THE SECRETARY: First, I would like to invite ADISQ to make their presentation.
13505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
13506 LA SECRÉTAIRE : S'il vous plaît vous présenter, et vous avez 10 minutes pour votre présentation. Merci.
13507 MME DROUIN: Alors, bonjour. Je suis donc Solange Drouin, vice-présidente aux affaires publiques et directrice générale de l'ADISQ. Je suis accompagnée d'Annie Provencher, directrice de la radiodiffusion et de la recherche à l'ADISQ.
13508 Donc, au nom des producteurs indépendants d'enregistrements sonores du Québec, et aussi de spectacles et de vidéos, je tiens à vous remercier de nous recevoir ce matin et d'avoir accepté notre changement de programme.
13509 Comme vous le savez, l'ADISQ a pour politique, en matière de réglementation de la télédiffusion, d'articuler ses positions de concert avec l'APFTQ, l'Association des producteurs de films et de télévision du Québec. Le mémoire déposé par l'APFTQ, lorsqu'il touche les intérêts des producteurs de disques, de spectacles et de vidéos, représente donc adéquatement également la vue de nos propres instances, et nous prions le Conseil de les étudier à ce titre.
13510 Ceci dit, l'ADISQ a toujours eu aussi pour mission d'intervenir de façon autonome dans tous les forums et auprès de toutes les instances d'élaboration de politiques et de réglementation, pour favoriser la plus grande présence possible de la chanson et de l'humour dans tous les médias québécois, y compris la télévision, et pour s'assurer que des ressources financières adéquates soient affectées à cette fin. C'est dans le cadre de cette mission que nous intervenons aujourd'hui.
13511 Tel que nous l'avons fait dans notre bref mémoire que nous avons déposé le 10 août dernier, nous limiterons nos commentaires aujourd'hui aux règles relatives à l'exposition des catégories d'émissions prioritaires, soit notamment la catégorie 8a et 9, respectivement Musique et Danse, et Variétés, que vous connaissez, et aussi, nous nous prononcerons sur l'application des obligations de diffusion de contenu canadien par groupe de propriété.
13512 Nous souhaitons ardemment que ces questions soient considérées à leur juste valeur malgré la place énorme qu'a pris le débat entourant l'accès aux télévisions traditionnelles à des redevances provenant des entreprises de distribution de radiodiffusion.
13513 Avant de vous soumettre ces recommandations, ainsi que de nouvelles données en soutien à notre position, il importe sans doute de situer ces dernières rapidement dans leur juste contexte.
13514 L'ADISQ croit encore aux grands rendez-vous télévisuels. À titre de coproducteur du Gala de l'ADISQ, nous en sommes témoins et constatons l'impact qu'une telle émission produit sur le milieu de la musique, notamment en termes de ventes d'albums et de billets de spectacles de nos artistes.
13515 Cette année, la grande majorité des artistes ayant remporté un Félix ont vu, encore une fois, leurs ventes augmenter de façon immédiate, et pour certains, elles ont même plus que doublé, sans oublier que pour certains d'entre eux aussi, ce phénomène perdure pendant plusieurs semaines.
13516 La programmation télévisuelle canadienne doit refléter avec force donc moyens, dynamisme et temps d'antenne, la vitalité et la diversité de notre expression artistique et culturelle.
13517 Il s'agit là, d'ailleurs, d'un principe fondateur de tout le cadre réglementaire de la radiodiffusion et de la télédiffusion au pays, que les législateurs ont toujours intimement lié à l'expression de notre culture, et à l'expression, plus largement, de la culture.
13518 Le CRTC lui-même reconnaît cette nécessité, lui qui, en 1999, a attribué un statut prioritaire aux émissions de catégorie 8a dans la programmation traditionnelle de langue française.
13519 Comme nous l'avons démontré en 2006 dans le cadre de l'examen de certains aspects du cadre réglementaire de la télévision en direct, le problème pour ce genre d'émission est loin de s'être atténué : il s'est aggravé. Il y avait encore moins de musique et de variétés sur nos télés francophones en 2006 qu'il y en avait en 1999.
13520 Nous avions alors démontré, toujours en 2006, qu'à la fois le nombre d'émissions et le nombre d'heures diffusées avait chuté de plus de 50 pour cent pour les émissions de catégorie 8a de 2000 a 2006. On observait également une chute dans la catégorie 9 : 25 pour cent moins d'émissions et 10 pour cent moins d'heures.
13521 Ce sont là des chiffres que nous trouvons assez peu incompatibles, nous semble-t-il, avec un statut de catégorie prioritaire.
13522 Nous n'avons, malheureusement, pas été en mesure de refaire cet exercice fort fastidieux du calcul du nombre d'heures d'émissions prioritaires diffusées par les chaînes généralistes francophones.
13523 Toutefois, vous retrouverez en annexe 1 de ce document un examen des grilles de programmation de l'automne, présentement donc, de Radio-Canada, TVA, V et Télé-Québec.
13524 Cette analyse nous révèle que pour l'automne 2009, dans leur ensemble, l'ensemble de ces quatre chaînes consacre actuellement que deux heures et demie par semaine aux heures de grande écoute aux émissions de catégorie 8a et qu'une heure aux émissions de catégorie 9 -- les quatre chaînes ensemble.
13525 D'ailleurs, si vous prenez l'annexe 1, vous verrez dans ce tableau fort réduit que les stations généralistes francophones privées, donc, TVA et V, ne diffusent aucune émission à l'automne, donc, aucune émission de catégories 8a et 9, tandis que les stations généralistes francophones publiques en diffusent, trois heures et demi pour Télé-Québec et une heure pour la SRC.
13526 Je reviens donc à mon texte.
13527 Cette sous-représentation se confirme également par les dépenses consacrées par les télévisions généralistes privées du marché francophone à ces catégories.
13528 L'examen du tableau de l'annexe 2, cette fois, démontre une inquiétante évolution en dents de scie des dépenses consacrées aux catégories 8a et 9, dépenses qui atteignaient 13 millions de dollars en 2001 pour descendre à 3 millions de dollars en 2008.
13529 Si vous prenez donc l'annexe 2, vous remarquerez que ce tableau, premièrement, présente, et je dois le dire, seulement les dépenses des émissions canadiennes admissibles des télévisions privées conventionnelles.
13530 Et en 2008, si on se réfère à cette dernière année-là du tableau, on voit que 3 millions de dollars ont été consacrés aux émissions de catégories 8a et 9, alors que 162 millions de dollars ont été consacrés à l'ensemble de la programmation. Donc, les dépenses de programmation pour les catégories 8a et 9 ne représentent que 2 pour cent du total.
13531 En 2007, c'était encore plus dramatique, avec 1,2 pour cent du total.
13532 En clair, lorsqu'il s'est agi de mettre en application les directives du CRTC en matière de catégories prioritaires, nos télédiffuseurs ont, en pratique, établi selon leur bon jugement et leur intérêt lesquelles de ces priorités étaient plus prioritaires que les autres.
13533 Loin de nous l'idée de leur jeter l'opprobre pour cet état de fait. Loin de nous, également, l'idée de nous immiscer dans le détail de leurs opérations avec la prétention de leur dire quoi programmer, en quelle quantité précise et à quel moment.
13534 Nous souhaitons plutôt que le CRTC fasse obligation aux radiodiffuseurs de corriger le déséquilibre actuel entre les différentes catégories prioritaires et, pour y arriver, de transférer un nombre d'heures significatif durant la période de grande écoute des catégories actuellement surexposées vers les catégories actuellement et toujours sous-exposées.
13535 Pour opérationnaliser cette proposition générale, nous formulons les deux recommandations suivantes.
13536 Nous recommandons d'abord que soit porté de façon graduelle de 8 à 12 le nombre d'heures minimum allouées aux catégories prioritaires sur semaine, donc sept jours/semaine entre 19 h 00 et 23 h 00.
13537 Cet élargissement de la plage d'exposition minimale des catégories prioritaires ne constituera pas seulement pour celles-ci une augmentation de 50 pour cent de leur présence dans les télévisions francophones, elle constituera aussi pour les radiodiffuseurs eux-mêmes une marge de manouvre accrue, une zone opérationnelle plus large pour essayer de rétablir un équilibre entre les diverses catégories prioritaires.
13538 Je précise que ce nouveau plancher de 12 heures devrait s'appliquer, sans mitigation aucune, à chacune des chaînes généralistes privées et publiques présentes dans le marché télévisuel francophone.
13539 Tout comme l'APFTQ, nous sommes d'avis que cette obligation de diffusion d'un nombre minimal d'heures d'émissions prioritaires peut difficilement être imposée par groupe de propriété, notamment pour les groupes de propriété qui détiennent seulement des services spécialisés, qui pourraient, par définition, ne pas diffuser d'émissions de genres reconnus comme prioritaires. Cette obligation ne doit donc être imposée qu'aux télévisions généralistes.
13540 Ensuite, nous recommandons qu'obligation soit également faite aux radiodiffuseurs de produire chaque année un rapport détaillé expliquant les efforts qu'ils ont déployés pour corriger le déséquilibre actuel et la progression réelle dans leur programmation des catégories actuellement victimes de sous-représentation. Plus qu'un simple compte rendu, ce rapport constituera un outil de suivi et de mesure uniforme qui permettra le maintien d'un dialogue constant entre les parties concernées et la mise en place rapide d'ajustements, lorsque le besoin s'en fera sentir.
13541 C'est une des raisons pourquoi nous n'avons pu produire un autre rapport nous-mêmes depuis 2006, c'est que faire ce travail-là est très fastidieux, et, de toute façon, nous sommes d'avis qu'il en revient au titulaire de licence de produire ces rapports et de témoigner lui-même de ce qu'il fait en matière d'émissions prioritaires, et que le CRTC n'aurait qu'à en prendre acte, évidemment l'analyser, et ensuite, cette information pourrait être disponible pour l'ensemble des parties intéressées par ce sujet-là. Sinon, c'est vraiment très fastidieux et difficile à faire pour le commun des mortels et aussi l'ADISQ.
13542 Enfin, tout comme l'APFTQ, l'ADISQ s'oppose formellement à la proposition du CRTC de changer l'expression « émissions prioritaires » pour celle d'« émissions d'intérêt national. » L'ADISQ partage le point de vue de l'APFTQ à l'effet que cette nouvelle expression risque d'englober un trop grand nombre d'émissions et risque ainsi de dévier encore plus de l'objectif premier de ce mécanisme, soit celui d'assurer une meilleure exposition aux catégories d'émissions sous-représentées à la télévision.
13543 Enfin, nous aimerions conclure notre présentation en commentant la proposition du CRTC d'harmoniser les règles de diffusion de contenu canadien pour l'ensemble des services -- télévision traditionnelle et services facultatifs -- détenus par un groupe de propriété.
13544 Ainsi, le CRTC suggère d'imposer une moyenne minimale de 55 pour cent de diffusion de contenu canadien, calculée sur l'ensemble des services d'un même groupe de propriété, ainsi qu'un minimum de 35 pour cent pour chacun de ces services.
13545 L'ADISQ note que l'APFTQ appuie cette proposition du CRTC. Par contre, il est important de souligner aussi que cet appui de l'APFTQ est assorti de plusieurs conditions qui, si elles ne sont pas remplies, remettrait totalement en question cet appui.
13546 L'ADISQ aimerait réitérer ses propres inquiétudes quant à l'application d'une telle approche.
13547 Par exemple, qu'adviendrait-il si un groupe de propriété vendait au cours de sa période de licence un de ses services et que celui-ci contribuait par sa programmation à l'atteinte du seuil minimal global de ce groupe pour la diffusion de contenu canadien? Est-ce que le CRTC devrait, dans ces cas, revoir l'ensemble des engagements de ce groupe? Comment l'impact du retrait de ce service sur l'ensemble des autres services du vendeur serait-il évalué?
13548 Dans le même ordre d'idées, comment le CRTC procédera-t-il pour les services détenus en propriété? Comment les différents propriétaires se repartiront-ils les heures de diffusion de contenu pour satisfaire chacun de leur côté à leurs obligations de diffusion de contenu canadien?
13549 Le CRTC devra, à tout le moins, se montrer vigilant afin qu'une même émission ne soit pas calculée par chacun des propriétaires aux fins de leurs obligations en matière de diffusion de contenu canadien.
13550 Bien qu'elle comprenne que les obligations minimales globales de 55 pour cent de contenu canadien par groupe de propriété proposées par le CRTC sont sensiblement du même ordre que celles actuellement imposées à chacune des télévisions traditionnelles et bien que nous comprenons aussi que les services spécialisés puissent également contribuer à l'atteinte des seuils minimaux, l'ADISQ s'inquiète du danger que le contenu canadien diffusé rejoigne de façon globale un moins large public par cette nouvelle façon de considérer par groupe de propriété.
13551 Par exemple, rien n'empêcherait un groupe de propriété détenant à la fois une télévision traditionnelle et des services spécialisés de limiter dorénavant à 35 pour cent la part des émissions canadiennes dans la programmation de sa télévision traditionnelle, alors qu'auparavant il devait y consacrer un minimum de 60 pour cent au total et 50 pour cent en soirée, et de choisir de remplir ses obligations globales en matière de diffusion de contenu canadien via un niveau de contenu canadien plus élevé dans ses services spécialisés offerts dans des formats moins accessibles, plus coûteux et rejoignant un auditoire plus limité.
13552 C'est en tout respect que nous vous soumettons aujourd'hui ces propositions. Nous avons, cependant, la conviction qu'elles peuvent fournir au Conseil, comme aux télédiffuseurs, une base opérationnelle valable et pertinente pour favoriser l'atteinte des objectifs de qualité et de diversité établis par le cadre réglementaire.
13553 Et, surtout, nous avons la conviction qu'elles constituent pour notre société la promesse de pouvoir découvrir à nouveau, à travers sa télévision, toute la créativité de ses artistes et toute la richesse de sa culture.
13554 Nous vous remercions de votre attention et nous sommes maintenant disposées, Annie et moi, à répondre à vos questions.
13555 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci pour vos observations.
13556 Vous parlez de la sous-représentation de vos catégories dans les radiodiffuseurs privés. Vous parlez comme si c'est le même cas avec les deux. Est-ce qu'il y a une différence entre V et TVA en termes de sous-représentation?
13557 MME DROUIN : Écoutez, l'analyse qu'on a faite plus récemment à l'automne, TVA et V, à l'automne... évidemment, on est très conscient du portrait très limité qu'on propose, mais quand même on voulait vous offrir quand même ce portrait-là.
13558 TVA et V, à l'automne, n'offrent aucune heure de ces genres d'émissions-là, aucune heure, zéro, tant pour les émissions de catégorie 8a que 9.
13559 Pour l'instant, les seules émissions de catégories 8a et 9 sont offertes par Télé-Québec, en majeure partie avec trois heures et demi, et une heure à SRC.
13560 C'est sûr que certaines années, quand il y a, par exemple, d'autres émissions comme « Star Académie » à TVA et autres, notamment pour le spectacle du dimanche -- pour les spectacles de télé-réalité, c'est une chose, c'est une autre chose dans la semaine -- c'est évident que TVA a des heures à ce moment-là, et là, bon, on est dans une fenêtre sans « Star Académie », mais à l'automne, c'est la situation qu'on a.
13561 LE PRÉSIDENT : Est-ce que vous avez parlé avec V, parce que quand nous avons eu les audiences sur V, ils nous ont dit qu'ils veulent se cibler sur le genre entre 18 et 38 heures, je crois, et j'imagine que vos catégories sont très attractive pour cette audience-là. Peut-être qu'ils sont en train d'avoir des programmations, je ne sais pas. Vous n'avez pas eu de discours avec eux?
13562 MME DROUIN : Non, on n'a pas eu aucune discussion avec eux. Tant mieux si votre évaluation est la bonne. Ça sera, bien sûr, bienvenue. Mais pour qu'il y ait un revirement de situation, il faudrait vraiment qu'il y ait un effort, un effort non seulement ponctuel mais durable.
13563 C'est ce qu'on reproche souvent, parce que ce qu'on vous a présenté, c'est les émissions régulières, les « Belle et Bum »... C'est quoi l'autre titre?
13564 MME PROVENCHER : « En direct de l'univers ».
13565 MME DROUIN : « En direct de l'univers ». C'est qu'on a des grands rendez-vous télévisuels une fois... comme, bon, le « Gala de l'ADISQ », pour pas le nommer, et d'autres émissions de façon ponctuelle, mais des émissions régulières qui donnent, finalement, le goût de découvrir des artistes et d'avoir une plage horaire pour en faire découvrir plus, c'est très limité, malheureusement.
13566 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci.
13567 Michel, tu as des questions?
13568 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
13569 Effectivement, vous venez de nommer « Belle et Bum », qui, à lui seul, en représente trois heures, c'est ça, par semaine?
13570 MME PROVENCHER : Il représente une heure et demi de production originale, qui est rediffusée dans la même semaine.
13571 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Effectivement, une fois le vendredi, une fois le samedi.
13572 Et à Radio-Canada, vous parlez de « Studio 12 »?
13573 MME PROVENCHER : On n'a pas inclus « Studio 12 », qui est diffusé à partir de 11 h 00. Donc, nous, la règle d'émission prioritaire, c'est jusqu'à 11 h 00 la période prioritaire.
13574 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Oui.
13575 MME PROVENCHER : Donc, on ne l'a pas inclus.
13576 CONSEILLER ARPIN : D'accord. Donc, hors les heures prioritaires, est-ce qu'il y a de la musique sur les stations conventionnelles?
13577 MME DROUIN : Les heures prioritaires... bien, il y en a...
13578 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Il y a « Studio 12 »?
13579 MME DROUIN : « Studio 12 », ça, bien évidemment. Est-ce que...
--- Off-record discussion
13580 MME DROUIN : Non, pas à première vue.
13581 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Pas à première vue. Et vous êtes les experts.
13582 MME DROUIN : Parce qu'on travaille toute la journée, alors, on n'a pas le temps de regarder la télé.
13583 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Évidemment, une partie de votre commentaire... je prends, par exemple, le paragraphe 22 de votre présentation de ce matin. C'est des représentations que vous aurez à faire, au moment des renouvellements, de manière plus spécifique, parce que ce qu'on discute aujourd'hui, c'est des aspects de politique générale, alors que cette recommandation-là, elle est très pointue.
13584 Donc, c'est dans le cadre des renouvellements que je vous suggérerais de le faire, ce commentaire de produire des rapports détaillés et de proposer un modèle de rapport, puisque si vous voulez l'imposer à tous les télédiffuseurs, il serait probablement souhaitable que ça soit un modèle unique et donc que chacun développe son propre rapport. Donc, on va laisser ça à vos bons soins.
13585 MME DROUIN : Mais, Monsieur Arpin, je ne comprends pas pourquoi ça ne pourrait pas faire partie d'une politique, l'obligation de faire rapport, parce qu'il me semble que ça pourrait... étant donné les ressources que vous avez au CRTC, ça faciliterait votre travail et le nôtre que ça soit une obligation réglementaire. Peut-être la tenue du rapport...
13586 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Bien, écoutez, il faudrait que vous consultiez... Si vous voulez en faire un règlement, un, il faudrait faire une consultation publique spécifique là-dessus, puis il faudrait que, évidemment, les institutions aussi de langue anglaise s'expriment sur le même sujet. Je ne suis pas sûr... Donc, vous cherchez à balayer très large en faisant cette requête-là.
13587 MME DROUIN : Vous nous proposez au moins que c'est recevable dans le cadre d'un renouvellement.
13588 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Absolument.
13589 MME DROUIN : Parfait!
13590 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Absolument.
13591 MME DROUIN : O.K.
13592 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Dans votre mémoire, vous dites que vous représentez 95 pour cent de la production de disques, de spectacles et de vidéoclips d'artistes canadiens.
13593 Est-ce que ça inclus Musicor et Select dans le 95 pour cent, et si ça les inclus, vous représentez quelle portion de l'industrie maintenant?
13594 MME DROUIN : Écoutez, premièrement, quand on a rédigé notre mémoire, ils étaient toujours membres de l'ADISQ. Alors, oui, ça incluait Musicor. Mais Select... c'est-à-dire...
13595 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Ce n'est pas un producteur, c'est un distributeur?
13596 MME DROUIN : Non. Non, c'est ça. C'est pour ça que je vous dis, Select, c'est une chose. En tant que production, Musicor a, je ne sais pas moi, combien d'artistes, peut-être 10, 15 là, je ne veux pas...
13597 Mais seulement pour vous dire, au « Gala de l'ADISQ », on a recensé, juste pour cette année, 245 artistes. Donc, c'était tous des membres de l'ADISQ. Comme vous le savez, il y a un débat là-dessus. Alors, si vous en retirez... on n'avait pas Select, mais Musicor avait quelques artistes là. Il y en avait peut-être trois-quatre.
13598 Alors, je pense qu'on est toujours très majoritairement significatif. Et quand on dit 95 pour cent, c'est même peu, parce qu'on n'ose pas dire 99 parce qu'on se dit que les gens vont nous dire qu'on exagère.
13599 Mais la production de disques d'artistes québécois, en tout cas francophones, l'ADISQ représente, même hors Quebecor, presque l'entièreté sauf quelques artistes qui sont produits, eux, sur étiquette Majors, et l'étiquette Majors, bien, écoutez, il y a, évidemment, des gens... Céline Dion, on le sait, mais en termes de production, c'est donc la même chose.
13600 Et le fait que Distribution Select se soit retirée de l'ADISQ pour des raisons qu'on peut expliquer très bien, que c'était... en termes de représentation, tous les producteurs qui sont associés avec Distribution Select, eux sont restés membres de l'ADISQ. Distribution Select en tant que distributeur s'est retirée, mais n'a pas amené avec lui les distributeurs qu'il représente. Eux sont restés.
13601 Et contrairement à ce qui a été dit, la vague des gens qui ont quitté l'ADISQ s'est limitée à Distribution Select et à Musicor. Il n'y a pas d'autre personne. Au contraire, notre membership augmente à chaque année.
13602 CONSEILLER ARPIN : D'accord.
13603 Maintenant, dans votre présentation orale, au paragraphe 11, vous dites que la situation s'est aggravée :
« Il y avait encore moins de musique et de variétés sur nos télés francophones en 2006 qu'il y en avait en 1999. »
13604 Et vous poursuivez, d'ailleurs, pour dire qu'en 2009, c'est encore moins bon.
13605 À quoi attribuez-vous ces facteurs-là? Pourquoi? C'est un désintérêt?
13606 MME DROUIN : Non. Non. Les gens vous diront que pour faire une bonne émission de variété, c'est beaucoup d'argent, et pour installer un rendez-vous télévisuel de façon régulière, ça prend beaucoup d'investissements.
13607 Il semblerait... les radiodiffuseurs nous disent que... vu qu'on a, évidemment, malheureusement, des télédiffuseurs, radiodiffuseurs, c'est tous la même chose, qui sont assez... qui ne sont pas patients, étant donné leurs obligations face à leurs actionnaires et tout ça, dès que quelque chose ne décolle pas, si on veut parler couramment, aussi vite qu'ils le souhaitent, ils ont plutôt tendance à le retirer qu'à persister, d'installer un rendez-vous télévisuel.
13608 Alors, on nous disait que ça coûtait très cher et que l'audience n'était peut-être pas aussi élevée qu'ils l'auraient souhaité au départ. Alors, on se dit, bien, ça prend un peu de patience, quand même. Quand il n'y en a pas du tout de rendez-vous télévisuel, d'installer une habitude chez les gens, ça prend du temps.
13609 Je veux dire, pour n'importe quelle grande émission, ça commence tranquillement, puis un moment donné, ça devient un rendez-vous incontournable, et je crois que ça tient plutôt de ça, et aussi au fait que, malheureusement, quand les gens commençaient une émission, l'investissement... parce qu'on ne peut pas présenter maintenant, aujourd'hui, juste une série d'artistes qu'on voit de la même façon qu'on les voit, par exemple, des les vidéos ou qu'on les entend à la radio.
13610 Il faut produire un concept de variété. Il faut développer tout ça, et, malheureusement, il y a certains... et ça prend des ressources, et ça prend de la recherche et développement, et ça prend des essais et des erreurs.
13611 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Croyez-vous que l'état actuel de l'économie de l'industrie de la télévision généraliste suggère des investissements aussi importants que ceux dont vous mentionnez?
13612 MME DROUIN : Écoutez, c'est sûr que c'est toujours une question de choix. Je pense que, ultimement, c'est payant. Si on voit les choses à court terme...
13613 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Mais si ça n'a pas de l'air payant, ça ne lève pas.
13614 MME DROUIN : Bien, ça ne lève pas. Ça ne lève pas peut-être parce qu'on n'a pas bien essayé.
13615 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Alors que et Quebecor et Radio-Canada...
13616 MME DROUIN : Oui.
13617 CONSEILLER ARPIN : ...sont venus nous dire ici que les dramatiques sont encore le premier choix des téléspectateurs de langue française.
13618 MME DROUIN : Oui. Mais écoutez, quand on déploie des ressources considérables, comme on le fait, par exemple... Moi, je peux parler d'une affaire que je connais, mais je ne parlerai pas des autres.
13619 Quand on fait une opération telle que le « Gala de l'ADISQ », qui est précédé par une immense promotion, c'est drôle, ça marche. Ça marche là. L'an passé... pas cette année, l'autre année, on a eu 1.6 millions. L'autre année, c'est à peu près 1.2, 1.3 millions. Et cette année, tout le monde a dit, une catastrophe, le « Gala de l'ADISQ » à 865 000.
13620 C'est ça qu'on a en moyenne, et on a oublié de dire à ce moment-là que le 865 000, toutes les chaînes avaient subi une baisse de leur cote d'écoute parce qu'il y avait 560 000 personnes qui étaient ailleurs que devant la télévision... c'est-à-dire non, ce n'est pas vrai. Il y avait 300 000 personnes de moins devant leur téléviseur à cause des élections municipales à la grandeur du Québec. Il y avait des gens dans les centres de votation. Et il y avait aussi 260 000 personnes de plus qui ont écouté LCN et RDI.
13621 Donc, il y avait 560 000 personnes de moins soit à TV ou à SRC. Donc, ce n'est pas juste le « Gala de l'ADISQ » qui a perdu à peu près 20 pour cent de cote d'écoute, mais même TVA et les autres qui ont perdu. Donc, il ne faut pas voir ça comme une catastrophe. On doit voir ça comme une... c'est très circonstanciel, et on voit que, quand même, 865 000 personnes, c'est du monde. Mais c'est des ressources considérables qu'on met, et ça marche dans ce temps-là.
13622 Alors, moi, quand on me dit que ça ne marche pas, bien, c'est peut-être parce que les ressources ne sont pas là. Pour faire une heure de bonne émission de documentaire ou de téléroman, c'est des centaines de milliers de dollars, plusieurs centaines de milliers de dollars, n'est-ce pas, même si ce n'est pas un million l'heure ou la demi-heure, mais on n'a jamais ça. On le fait pour le « Gala de l'ADISQ » avec Radio-Canada, mais ce n'est jamais ces sommes-là qu'on consent pour faire des émissions de variété.
13623 Alors, qu'est-ce qui est responsable de, c'est ça qu'il faut se poser, l'oeuf ou la poule là? Si on mettait vraiment de l'argent, comme on le fait de temps en temps, bien, peut-être que ça ferait une différence, parce que « Star Académie », ça marche, le « Gala du dimanche soir », ça marche complètement.
13624 Alors, quand on me dit, mais on en met de l'argent, puis on en met de la commercialisation, c'est ça que ça veut dire. Si on y met le paquet, ça marche.
13625 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Maintenant, au paragraphe 19, je vous ai entendu dire que... vous avez parlé d'heures/semaine. Donc, est-ce que ça veut dire que vous excluez les samedi et les dimanche?
13626 MME DROUIN : Non. On l'a relu dans le train, et on aurait dû dire sur les sept jours. Je l'ai dit, d'ailleurs, quand...
13627 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Vous avez bel et bien dit sur semaine, et on entend généralement sur semaine...
13628 MME DROUIN : Je le sais.
13629 CONSEILLER ARPIN : ...du lundi au vendredi. D'ailleurs, on a eu plusieurs représentations du côté de langue anglaise disant qu'on devrait exclure le samedi des journées de diffusion d'heures prioritaires.
13630 MME DROUIN : Bien, en tout cas, nous, vraiment, c'est des soirées, sûrement pas... Le dimanche, c'est une grande soirée de télévision, je ne verrais pas pourquoi...
13631 CONSEILLER ARPIN : C'est le samedi que je veux dire.
13632 MME DROUIN : Non, non, je le sais, c'est ce que vous avez dit, puis là, j'allais dire aussi le samedi. Alors, pour nous, quand on écrivait les heures prioritaires, si ce n'est pas clair dans notre présentation, on voulait dire sept jours.
13633 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Maintenant, quand j'ai lu votre mémoire, est-ce que je dois comprendre... parce que je ne retrouvais pas dans votre présentation orale que vous avez indiqué également que dans les émissions de type dramatique, il y avait peu de musique.
13634 MME DROUIN : Il y avait... écoute... pardon. La situation est que ce qu'on constate, malheureusement, il y a plusieurs émissions qui ne font pas autant appel qu'on le souhaiterait à de la musique francophone québécoise. Des fois, comme bande sonore...
13635 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Oui.
13636 MME DROUIN : ...on n'a pas accès... on a accès plutôt à une chanson anglophone étrangère. Au lieu de se dire, bien, pourquoi qu'on n'a pas choisi... finalement, ça fait partie de l'ensemble du contexte qui favorise, finalement, la diffusion de la musique, et souvent, quand un téléroman est très populaire, c'est bien d'entendre... comme en publicité, par exemple, pour pas le nommer, la fameuse publicité sur le lait qui utilisait vraiment des grandes chansons de la culture québécoise, bien, c'est clair que ça nous les met en tête, et c'est vraiment efficace.
13637 Alors, on reprochait, je pense... en tout cas, on constatait, plutôt, qu'on aurait... on souhaiterait qu'il y ait une meilleure utilisation.
13638 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Maintenant, vous êtes partenaire avec l'APFTQ dans bien des démarches. Vous le dites, d'ailleurs, dans votre présentation que vous appuyez la démarche de l'APFTQ.
13639 Est-ce que vous parlez à l'APFTQ de ce type de question-là?
13640 MME DROUIN : Oui. Oui. On a même fait, dans le cadre des rencontres professionnelles de l'industrie de la musique, un panel là-dessus. Oui, il y avait des producteurs qui nous expliquaient pourquoi, et...
13641 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Mais avez-vous participé aux congrès de l'APFTQ? Vous en rejoindriez un plus grand nombre.
13642 MME DROUIN : Oui. S'ils nous invitent, ça va nous faire plaisir d'y aller. Je veux dire, ils nous invitent sur les panels. On est toujours invité. On y va, d'ailleurs, presque à chaque année quand on peut. Mais oui, c'est des discussions qu'on a eues avec les producteurs. D'ailleurs, il y a plusieurs producteurs aussi d'émissions de télévision qui sont membres de l'ADISQ là. Mais c'est des discussions qu'on a, oui.
13643 CONSEILLER ARPIN : D'accord.
13644 Merci, Monsieur le Président.
13645 LE PRÉSIDENT : Suzanne?
13646 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Oui, merci, Monsieur le Président.
13647 Deux questions de précision. Dans votre présentation, j'aimerais ça que vous me mettiez un petit peu dans le contexte là. Au paragraphe 14, vous mentionnez la baisse des dépenses de 13 millions de dollars en 2001 à 3 millions de dollars en 2008 là.
13648 Qu'est-ce qui est disparu de la grille là? Qu'est-ce qu'on avait dans la grille en 2001 qu'on n'a plus en 2008?
13649 MME DROUIN : Écoutez, c'est clair que dans les années où il y a plus d'argent là, comme en 2006, 12 millions de dollars, puis si on va jusqu'en 2002, 19 millions, c'est des grosses années de...
13650 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : De « Star Académie ».
13651 MME DROUIN : C'est ça.
13652 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : O.K.
13653 MME DROUIN : C'est ça. Donc, les deux dernières années, on voit que ça fait une différence.
13654 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Bon. O.K. Donc, c'est vraiment un gros morceau là de...
13655 MME DROUIN : Oui.
13656 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et au paragraphe 29 lorsque vous parlez des licences par groupe de propriété, vous exprimez une crainte, à savoir qu'il y a un transfert entre ce qui se fait en télévision généraliste vers les services spécialisés.
13657 Jusqu'à quel point est-ce que cette crainte-là, elle est réaliste, compte tenu de l'engouement des Québécois pour la télévision de chez eux? Est-ce que c'est une crainte réaliste ou si c'est seulement peut-être un risque que ça puisse arriver, mais qui est quand même très limité?
13658 MME DROUIN : Bien, moi, je pense que notre système est toujours fragile et que... j'ai entendu... je suis allée à un... Je ne vais pas seulement aux congrès de l'APFTQ, mais surtout, je vais maintenant dans les congrès des entreprises de télécommunication, parce que c'est des nouveaux partenaires qu'on doit comprendre, et la personne qui était là, qui faisait un speech, nous disait que, bon, qu'au Québec, on avait la protection de la langue et que la télé, ça allait bien parce qu'on parlait français.
13659 Puis là, moi, je ne me reconnaissais pas du tout dans ce qu'il disait, parce que moi, quand j'étais plus jeune, c'était des traductions de « La petite maison dans la prairie » et c'était « Génie » et c'était... et on a bien aimé ça là, mais la production locale, elle n'était pas aussi présente, et je pense que c'est l'ensemble de ces mesures-là qui font... dont les obligations de présentation, qui font que ça s'est développé.
13660 Il y a eu un espace qui a dû être pris et qui a été pris, qui a été bien pris et maintenant qui nous offre vraiment notre programmation, la programmation qui est produite chez nous, avec des créateurs de chez nous aussi.
13661 Alors, moi, je me dis que contrairement, même dans notre secteur, le secteur de la musique, je pense que ça va mieux ou ça va bien à cause de ça, à cause de l'ensemble de ces mesures-là. Si on les retire, ça peut mal aller, et ça ne va pas bien... on ne peut pas se... c'est l'ensemble du contexte qui fait qu'on est capable d'offrir encore ça aujourd'hui.
13662 Et les dépenses... je vous dirais, moi, ce qui m'inquiète encore plus, c'est qu'on voit qu'il y a de plus en plus de dépenses pour des émissions, l'acquisition d'émissions non canadiennes. Il y en a de plus en plus. On voit des traductions là aux heures de grande écoute de « Law and Order » et, bon, de d'autres émissions.
13663 Alors, c'est comme... je pense qu'il faut continuer à baliser ça pour s'assurer que ça soit maintenu, cette belle vitrine là, parce que les télés généralistes sont encore celles qui ont... les grands rendez-vous télévisuels dont on parle tant et que nous, on dit que c'est encore très important de les avoir, c'est beaucoup les télés généralistes.
13664 Au total, les services spécialisés font une part importante de l'écoute, mais si on les regarde à la pièce, il y en a qui ont plus ou moins d'écoute. On ne parle pas de grands rendez-vous là.
13665 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Donc, vous nous invitez à demeurer vigilant?
13666 MME DROUIN : Complètement.
13667 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Merci.
13668 C'est tout, Monsieur le Président.
13669 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci beaucoup pour vos commentaires. On va prendre une pause de cinq minutes maintenant.
--- Upon recessing at 1146
--- Upon resuming at 1154
13670 LE PRÉSIDENT : Commençons.
13671 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation from Mr. James Ivers.
13672 You have five minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
13673 MR. IVERS: I'll try not to take even the five minutes that is allotted to me.
13674 My original submission was as follows.
13675 I am extremely, and I repeat, extremely disappointed in yet another intervention by CRTC that is not taking into consideration the ramifications of their decision on how it is affecting the consumer.
13676 The impact of 2009-411 will mean additional charges to my cable bill and I will not see any advantage to that change. I am on a fixed pension and the cable TV is one of the few extras I allow myself. To see another increase within months of the last one has a negative impact on my budget.
13677 Please rethink your decision and do not proceed with this broadcasting proposal.
13678 The reasons for appearing at this hearing is I wish to question the rationale on why this proposal was brought forward in the first place and what benefits I as a consumer will obtain that I am not already obtaining or that, indeed, want or wish to obtain. I have not seen anywhere the benefits that this proposal is bringing to my listening enjoyment and I have to question the overall costs to my bottom line.
13679 Additionally I would like to point out that in my original submission I am concerned with certain issues relating to conventional television and how it will impact my restricted budget. I am not concerned with the welfare of television stations, especially when they use threats to shut down those stations in certain areas. Those are business decisions and I am not prepared subsidize their lack of what I perceive to be poor foresight and poor planning.
13680 As to the decision by the cable companies to pass the additional costs on to their customers, is this not something that CRTC would have foreseen, and if not, why not?
13681 I have options available to me with the cable company if they persist in charging for services I do not want. I can also turn the TV off. If I am not happy with any particular station, all I have to do is turn the TV off, although based on the article by Michael Geist in the Business & Technology section of the Citizen on Tuesday November 24, 2009, it appears TV screens may end up blank anyways.
13682 Just as an addition to that, I wanted to point out that on certain U.S. programs and based on when they are aired -- that is what he was talking about -- it appears that certain programs with the TV stations, the TV stations want to have control over that, so that is what I gather he was discussing in that article of his.
13683 The new library that Ottawa Councillor Jan Harder is proposing might not be such a bad idea after all, even at $200 million. I may even invest some money that I might save from turning off that TV and cancelling my cable subscription, I might put into book publishers.
13684 Thank you.
13685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for appearing and for taking the time to personally come here.
13686 You have put your finger on one of the key concerns, which, of course, is if we do any kind of recalibration of the system, how do we avoid that consumers like you suffer.
13687 You have been sitting here presumably or you have been listening to us. We talked, for instance, about such things as a skinny basic and by that what we mean is you right now -- I presume you are a Rogers customer or Bell or whatever -- you pay a basic package and then you pay options. That basic package right now contains more than the minimum that they have to offer you.
13688 They have to offer you the local channels that you can receive over the air, plus CBC English and French, and a couple of channels that we have mandated as 9(1)(h), which means, you know, it is mandatory carriage because it is natural interest, such as The Weather Channel or the APTN, and then a few channels which have mandatory carriage. But your back package, I think, has roughly 35 channels.
13689 MR. IVERS: That's right.
13690 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. The basic is 25, roughly 25. So there are 10 that they sell to you whether you want to or not.
13691 One of the questions that we posed here, exactly with someone like you in mind, is: Shouldn't they be forced to offer you 25, the basic minimum that is basically prescribed by the CRTC, and for everything else charge you?
13692 We have heard various people and essentially we were told, no less unanimous, there is no uptake for it. The one company that has a so-called skinny, which is Vidéotron, says, nobody wants to buy it, people want to buy larger amounts, they want to buy all these extra channels.
13693 Our point is well, give them the choice, let them decide, and if you raise the price next time, maybe Mr. Ivers will react and say no, I am buying too many, you are selling me stuff I don't want, I want the skinny and X, Y and Z and nothing else.
13694 So it is exactly your concerns and mine which are on the table. It may not come across that way because everybody speaks this sort of lingo of broadcasting which is very technical and uses all sorts of expressions but that is what we meant when we talked about skinny basic.
13695 MR. IVERS: I am aware of what you are mentioning and there are numerous examples of that when you are looking at certain cable companies and they offer you packages. You may want one or two of those channels on that package and the rest are useless, I never watch them.
13696 Like I have got a larger package than the basic one and it offers channels 100 series and the 200 series. I never watch them and yet I am paying for them and that to me is totally useless.
13697 So in my decisions going forward, will I continue to partake of the more deluxe package? No. I am going to go down to the basic and probably end up reading more.
13698 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, or maybe the cable companies will react to you and other's reaction and make an offering which is different and more tailored and allows you to choose, rather than forcing you to buy by packages, gives you the ability to pick individual channels.
13699 I have no idea what their business reaction is. They always tell us that the demand has a certain elasticity and then it stops and then people will not accept any more. And the question is have people arrived there and will they vote with their pocketbooks or not?
13700 MR. IVERS: That's correct. Yes. Thank you.
13701 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, but I very much appreciate your taking the time and coming to talk to us.
13702 Does anybody have a question for Mr. Ivers?
13703 COMMISSIONER DENTON: I have no questions. I just want to let you know that I am listening to you. Thank you.
13704 MR. IVERS: Thank you, I appreciate it.
13705 LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame la Secrétaire.
13706 THE SECRETARY: For the record, the interveners who did not appear and were listed in the agenda will remain on the public file as non-appearing interveners.
13707 This completes the agenda of this public hearing. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
13708 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have ascertained that there are no other interveners here?
13709 THE SECRETARY: There are no other interveners.
13710 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much then. This brings an end to our hearing.
13711 First of all, I would like to thank my staff very much for all the work that has gone into preparing this hearing and briefing the Commissioners and running it in such a smooth fashion over the last two weeks. It has been a very difficult hearing because there are so many issues and so many conflicting views but you have handled it with your usual expertise and on behalf of all my colleagues, thank you very much.
13712 THE CHAIRPERSON: So this concludes our hearings. Those of you who are listening online, you have until December 14th to make additional submissions and especially I would appreciate it if you would comment on new issues that arose -- not new but sort of new aspects of the issues that arose during the hearing.
13713 Thank you very much. That ends our proceedings.
--- Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1203
Lynda Johansson Jennifer Cheslock
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