ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 12 April 2011
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Volume 7, 12 April 2011
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications for the group-based licence renewals for English-language television groups listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-952, 2010-952-1, 2010-952-2 and 2010-952-3
140 Promenade du Portage
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 Contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To consider the broadcasting applications for the group-based licence renewals for English-language television groups listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-952, 2010-952-1, 2010-952-2 and 2010-952-3
Konrad von Finckenstein Chairperson
Leonard Katz Commissioner
Rita Cugini Commissioner
Suzanne Lamarre Commissioner
Peter Menzies Commissioner
Tom Pentefountas Commissioner
Stephen Simpson Commissioner
Jade Roy Secretary
Joshua Dougherty Legal Counsel
Sheehan Carter Hearing Manager
140 Promenade du Portage
April 12, 2011
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Media Access Canada
on behalf of the Access 2020 Coalition 1103 / 6607
- vi -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking 1139 / 6835
--- Upon resuming on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 0858
6600 THE SECRETARY: Please take your seats.
6601 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour. Good morning, everybody.
6602 Madame la Secrétaire, vous avez la parole.
6603 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
6604 We would like to announce that all of the abridged transcripts from the in camera sessions are available on the CRTC website and in the examination room.
6605 We will now proceed with the presentation by the Media Access Canada on behalf of the Access 2020 Coalition.
6606 Please introduce yourself for the record, after which you will have 15 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
6607 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
6608 For the record, my name is Beverley Milligan. I'm the Chief Executive Officer of Media Access Canada Inc.
6609 To my immediate right is Gary Malkowski, Special Advisor to the President of the Canadian Hearing Society.
6610 And to Gary's right is Cathy Moore, CNIB's National Director of Consumer and Government Relations.
6611 To my immediate left is Jim Tokos, National Vice President of Canadian Council of the Blind.
6612 And to Jim's left is Harvey Gilatt, representative for the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.
6613 Behind me is Yves Séguin, Project Manager for the Accessible Content Best Practices Working Group currently developing French and English descriptive video best practices.
6614 And to his right is Mary Louise Laughton, Research Manager for Media and Access Canada.
6615 Commissioners, Commission staff and members of the audience, good morning.
6616 The Access 2020 Coalition is honoured to appear before you today on behalf of the millions of people with disabilities who live in Canada.
6617 We are here today to discuss closed captioning and descriptive video in the context of five-year licence renewals of the four largest broadcast companies in the country.
6618 Of the four, two have complied with existing accessibility conditions of licence and two have failed to do so. Compliance therefore will be an issue we will cover in this presentation.
6619 Access 2020 Coalition has two objectives for accessibility in Canadian broadcasting for the next five years. They are improved quality of closed captioning through measureable, compliable and enforceable standards supported by ongoing updates to best practices and increases in the quality of descriptive video in three ways:
6620 First, by bumping up original descriptive video per week per programming service by 50 to 75 percent and paid for by the programming service.
6621 Second, by requiring broadcasters to get the described version of an acquired program and;
6622 Third, including "delivery of a described and captioned master" in their licencing production agreements.
6623 We base our comments today on the interim report of the research soon to be published, "Monitor 2, Phase 1 of 2: A Report on the Quantity of Accessible Content in Canadian Broadcasting in 2010".
6624 This interim report and research, funded by the CTV Chum tangible benefits, sampled and evaluated over 1,800 hours of Canadian television broadcasting. This first of two reports will be posted on our website this month and we provide to the Commission as part of this presentation, some of the highlights through a PowerPoint presentation given to the Access 2020 Coalition on March 28th.
6625 MR. GILATT: Before we dig into our ideas for achieving the two objectives that Bev mentioned, I would like to, for the record, spend a minute to right a few inaccuracies that seem to have taken hold as fact:
6626 First, you don't have to recaption or redescribe a program to stream it to the web. All you need is a little software and you are on your way. So, it is not too expensive.
6627 Two, monitoring for accessibility means more than just confirming captions are there at the beginning of the program. It means ensuring editing for commercials and ensuring technical glitches don't go un-noticed. Monitoring means providing evidence you have met the conditions of licence.
6628 Three, broadcasters are profiting from closed captioning sponsorship ads. So if they say they can't afford what we outline today, they must prove it by disclosing revenue from closed caption advertising versus the actual amount spent on closed captioning and description.
6629 Four, the cost of one hour of description to a broadcaster ranges anywhere from zero to $1,400 per hour. It is zero the first and every time of rebroadcast, zero if it comes with an acquired foreign program and zero when Telefilm or the CMF has participated in production funding.
6630 In fact, the only time descriptions cost $1,000 to $1,400 is when a broadcaster is paying for Canadian content not funded by CMF or Telefilm.
6631 There seems to be the general impression that the accessibility groups want to stall the caption quality standards process. This is absolutely false. We have no reason to stall. What we want is to eliminate vagueness and to establish fact-based, achievable and enforceable standards.
6632 And finally, there is no captioning or description available on Netflix, so the Access 2020 Coalition shares some of the same concerns as the licencees in this regard.
6633 MR. TOKOS: Now, back to our two objectives for the next five years.
6634 We hope our suggestions for conditions of licence will be considered and become part of the licence renewal process, or the licence renewal decision -- sorry.
6635 However, in addition to what the CRTC establishes as conditions, we need to examine compliance. As the committee or as the Commission now knows, two of the licencees were not in compliance of their accessible conditions of licence in the week they were monitored for descriptive video. So how can we change that going forward?
6636 First, by regular and random monitoring.
6637 Second, by ensuring the possibility of introducing a system of fines, similar to those in telecom.
6638 And third, that those who were found not to be in compliance receive a shorter licence renewal than those who are in compliance.
6639 We doubt that -- or we point out that we are not asking the Commission to deny broadcast licences, but rather to send a clear message or send a clear signal to broadcasters that conditions of licence must be complied with.
6640 We represent millions of Canadians who require captioning or description to understand broadcast content. These broadcasters have had close to 10 years to comply, and some of them haven't. We encourage the Commission to use our evidence in ensuring compliance in the next round of decisions.
6641 Thank you.
6642 MR. MALKOWSKI: Good morning, Commissioners.
6643 I would like to discuss quality of captions and, in so doing, point out to the Commission that there have been two attempts at creating a standard for quality of closed captioning through the CAB appointed working groups.
6644 The first time the Canadian Association of Broadcasters met with a couple of deaf and hard of hearing organizations in over 18 months the group could not come to a consensus. 2009-430 told CAB to get back to work on developing quality standards for captioning, expand participation of deaf and hard of hearing organizations and report back. They met for eight months, and once again came to no agreement on standards.
6645 While we cannot speak for the Canadian Association of Broadcasters we felt no qualitative decisions could be made without evidence to support them and came to the conclusion that those organizations most interested in achieving a standard, accessibility organizations should project/manage the standards process in the future.
6646 Thanks to the Monitor 2 results, we are now able to develop standards for quality and have filed with the Commission our high level recommendations for standards based on Monitor 2 findings.
6647 Attached, for the record, is the complete series of recommendations to date, supported by evidence from·the Monitor 2 study, for qualitative standards that we touched on in our intervention.
6648 In their response to our intervention, where we proposed a few of the qualitative standards we recommended, all four broadcasters rejected us in lieu of a CAB working group process, a process that has failed twice.
6649 To be clear, we believe the development of standards and best practices should include all stakeholders and, more importantly must be controlled and led by the accessibility industry, not Éthe Canadian Association of Broadcasters or their working groups.
6650 In this regard 2009-430 has been tested and has not worked. It is time to pass the torch to Media Access Canada on behalf of the Access 2020 Coalition to ensure quality standards for closed captioning and ongoing best practices that are properly developed and complied to.
6651 It is time to address the gaps and ensure the four licencees today, along with future licencees comply with a standard that is reasonable, measureable and enforceable. This is the only way to ensure 100 percent accessibility by 2020.
6652 Until a standard exists, there Is no condition of licence to measure against. That has to change soon and we, the accessibility community, through the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, will make this happen.
6653 MR. SÉGUIN: Good morning. Bonjour à tous.
6654 Since many of the large companies involved in broadcasting in Canada own many different programming services, the issues of what should constitute "original programming" for described video is a matter of concern to Access 2020. There is currently a practice to describe a program that airs on one specific channel, then rebroadcast it with the descriptions later on a different channel owned by the same group and report this as part of the "original programming", because it is programming new to that service. This results in double-counting "original" descriptive video hours.
6655 Under 2009-430 broadcasters are required to produce four hours of described video each broadcast week with 50 percent of this consisting of original programming. We believe the intent of this policy was to introduce an actual spending on new descriptions.
6656 To date, broadcasters have been able to meet this requirement by taking CMF funded descriptions, or foreign acquired, broadcasting them on multiple programming services and counting and recounting them to reach the four hour target. Some have managed to meet the four hour requirement without any financial outlay.
6657 To be clear, currently one hour of original description costs $1,000 to $1,400 depending on the volume. We want each and every programming service to spend three times $1,000 to 1,400 a week on original descriptions, for their content in meeting a 75 percent quota.
6658 We would also like to see the Commission increase the amount of original programming by one hour in each year of the licence.
6659 This would substantially increase the amount of descriptions over the five-year licence term. If CMF's precedent is 100 percent description, then our request for condition of licence is reasonable.
6660 MS MOORE: The licencees were united in their opposition to the establishment of an independent Broadcasting Accessibility Fund. In their response to our intervention, all four licencees preferred the model of the Shaw decision. The Commission has since required BCE to establish an independent fund controlled by us.
6661 I am sure by now every Commissioner is aware of how strongly the Access 2020 Coalition opposed the Shaw decision that they spend $3 million to describe Programs of National Interest.
6662 We unanimously opposed this because most descriptions for PNI will already be paid for by the CMF and other funds. The Shaw ruling therefore will permit Shaw to use the tangible benefits to pay for their own programming.
6663 We therefore request that the Commission, as part of the conditions of licence ensure not one cent of this $3 million go toward the existing four hours condition of licence descriptions, that the $3 million be spent on descriptions in addition to the existing four hours.
6664 This would mean Shaw's condition of licence for Global Television would be the blanket four hour condition for each programming service I mentioned earlier, plus an additional minimum of four hours per week of programming broadcast with described video for the first time and paid for by the program service.
6665 MS MILLIGAN: In the next five years, thanks to the establishment of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, we will support the accessibility conditions of licence by:
6666 Reducing the cost of producing descriptions through technical innovation and group RFP's;
6667 Develop and fund business plans to support broadcasters in monetizing accessible content copyright;
6668 Further cost reduction through speaker-dependent voice recognition;
6669 Utilize the Monitor 2 data and methodology, along with additional research to provide an incremental, revenue neutral or profitable accessibility·strategy for each broadcast group;
6670 Develop standards and support MAC's ongoing best practices working groups and ensure all stakeholders have access to the information;
6671 Examine and demonstrate how broadcasters can easily and cost effectively move their accessible content to new distribution platforms;
6672 And, continue to build the fund so that we can achieve 100 percent accessible content by 2020.
6673 The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund will allow us to get to work to support the Commission, communications companies and other stakeholders. We want to note that in providing us with this fund, the Commission has set a precedent for regulators around the world to follow. All eyes are on us and we will not let you down.
6674 Thanks to the fund then, we respectfully ask for slight changes to some of the existing COLs that will allow us to meet our two objectives:
6675 First, that:
"Each program service will, by condition of licence, provide described video for a minimum of four hours per week of programming, of which 75 percent must consist of Canadian content programming broadcast with described video for the first time and paid for by the program undertaking."
6676 Second, one hour incremental increase per year of Canadian programming broadcast with described video for the first time and paid for by the program undertaking.
6677 Third, that all program undertakings make an effort to acquire the captioned and described version of a foreign program and that they require delivery of a captioned and described master in their licensing agreements with independent producers.
6678 Fourth, change the wording in 2009-430 from "the licensee will adhere to the closed captioning quality standards developed by the te1evision industry's French and English working groups", to "the accessibility community's French and English working groups".
6679 MAC is currently running four and launching an additional four over the next year. I note that we actually own the copyright of our work and are producing results.
6680 Fifth, that Shaw, as a condition of licence, be required to provide an additional four hours per week of original descriptive programming as we have defined.
6681 Finally, while not a condition of licence, (COL) that non-compliance penalties, like fines or shorter licence terms be examined as a way to ensure future accessibility compliance.
6682 Mr. Chair and Commissioners, we thank you for establishing this international legacy in the Broadcasting Accessibility Fu.nd and hope you will agree the above adjustments to existing COLs is reasonable.
6683 Thank you, and we look forward to any questions you have.
6684 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submission.
6685 First of all, a matter of housekeeping:
6686 You introduced four new documents today, I understand, a table for each ownership group, the interim report on accessibility dated the 28th of March 2011, a letter filing the report under the accessibility policy dated February 23, 2011 and Appendix 4, "MAC at Work" or whatever it's called.
6687 Just informally, you have to ask me for permission to introduce them. I will give them to you.
6688 Would you give them to Madam Secretary so we can post them on the board? That's the drill that you should be following when you do new documents.
6689 MS MILLIGAN: Okay, my apologies.
6690 THE CHAIRPERSON: No problem, just so you will give them to Madam Secretary and we will post them.
6691 And you mentioned, quite rightly, until a standard exists there is no condition of licence to measure against, and standards should be developed. Part of the reason that we agreed to the establishment of the Accessibility Fund and put $75.5 million is to get those standards established.
6692 The CAB Working Group according to you is not working. It's not developing these standards, et cetera.
6693 Now, that you have it properly funded, et cetera, is it not time that you get together? I mean a unilateral standard is something that we do obviously have some reservations to impose. We would much rather that you and the broadcasters come together and agree on a standard and we then adopt that.
6694 Why has the CIB not been working and was it partially because of your lack of funding which has now been addressed?
6695 MS MILLIGAN: I think that lack of funding was absolutely key. There was no ability to create standards because there was no evidence or research to substantiate or make a decision from.
6696 Since the Monitor 2 from CHUM tangible benefits package is slowly -- it's going to be published this month or this week even but we are slowly getting information out of that -- so that we were able to make these recommendations.
6697 I am happy to say that we approached the broadcasters and are hoping to schedule a meeting with them early next week or this month so that we can discuss what we submitted and what they have submitted. The preliminary meeting that we had at this point was very, very positive.
6698 We believe that they see now with the evidence that we have that maybe procurement for example is a better approach, thereby directing responsibility for whatever problems there are in the inflow of captioning; things of this nature. So now that we have some data I think that we should be able to continue.
6699 The fund will also look, of course, at the future and ongoing types of monitoring of this nature so that we can adjust accordingly for new technologies.
6700 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the various standards that your colleague talked about, how long by your estimate will it take to establish them?
6701 MS MILLIGAN: The sooner that we can meet I think that we could establish it very quickly.
6702 THE CHAIRPERSON: Give me a timeline that we could impose this part of the licence on you.
6703 MS MILLIGAN: Our hope would be end of May.
6704 THE CHAIRPERSON: End of May?
6705 MS MILLIGAN: We really think we are very close. I mean but that's our position.
6706 THE CHAIRPERSON: So there is no reason then that the standards could not be there for the commencement of the new licences that should be August the 1st?
6707 MS MILLIGAN: We would certainly be prepared to work with the broadcasters intensely in order to achieve that goal, and we think with the evidence we have that we can get there.
6708 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, talking about the Broadcast Accessibility Fund, your colleague, Ms Moore, says it's a fund controlled by us. I don't know who "us" is.
6709 I presume the fund will be established according to the board which includes you but it's all sorts of other stakeholders.
6710 MS MILLIGAN: I am going to ask Cathy to address that in just a minute.
6711 But what I would like to at the very last, if I might update you on what we have done with respect to the fund?
6712 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
6713 MS MILLIGAN: On the last sheet of your package -- it's not an appendices but it's a list of the board of directors that we have submitted to them.
6714 And we submitted -- we met the Access 2020 Coalition outreach to all of the disability organizations to come to a meeting to create this board of directors, with the sole purpose of this board being submitted to BCE for the fund.
6715 You will see on the second page that we have Terry Coles as a broadcaster already.
6716 So we wanted -- we did that to sort of say you know we want to work with broadcasters but there is a balance here. So we have submitted this.
6717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I have just taken note that you are "controlled by us" and "us" was nobody, I guess.
6718 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6719 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6720 Then earlier before us this week was the Council of Canadians with Disabilities -- the Council of Canadians with Disabilities -- and I asked them about the very fund that we are talking about and what is the progress there, et cetera.
6721 And I got a very poor reply. I heard a letter but that's all. I have no idea whether -- I would have thought that they would be implicated in this fund.
6722 MS MILLIGAN: Hopefully others will respond to this.
6723 I can tell you that on seven different occasions we have had communications with Council of Canadians with Disabilities and that the national director and myself have spoken at length about this, and so that they are quite aware of the fund.
6724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Then of the conditions of licence you want us, if I understand it correctly, in effect reverse the decision we made on Shaw.
6725 MS MILLIGAN: No.
6726 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you are saying to now impose it as a condition of licence something that you asked for at that point in time which we didn't impose then and you want us to do it now.
6727 MS MILLIGAN: So if that is the impression that is not what we are asking for.
6728 If I might clarify?
6729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6730 MS MILLIGAN: We are asking to -- and whether or not it fits in the condition of licence is, I guess, what we are talking about.
6731 What we want to ensure is that the blanket four hours that exists as a condition of licence currently, that none of the $3 million in the Shaw decision be used to underwrite that particular cost so that --
6732 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hear what you are saying, but I mean when we made the decision we specifically did not specify incrementality, you know. And, of course, if you don't specify it, it is not going to be used that way, that goes without saying.
6733 So it will be used that way, but I mean that was a conscious decision that we made. You may disagree with it or not, but now, you are in effect -- unless I have missed something -- in effect saying, no, please alter that decision and impose this incrementality on them.
6734 MS MILLIGAN: Then I guess that is what we are asking, if in fact that's -- yes.
6735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Just so you understand, that causes us certain problems. I mean decisions are decisions. They are done with. We move forward from now on. But I at least understand your position now.
6736 Suzanne, you have some questions?
6737 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Oui. Merci, Monsieur le Président.
6738 Good morning.
6739 MS MILLIGAN: Good morning
6740 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: I will refer mainly to paragraphs in your presentation to ask the questions and I think to some extent I am probably going to follow the flow of your presentation. So if we are jumping from one issue to another, don't be too surprised.
6741 First of all, on the monitoring issue, I just need to make a comment. You are asking that we monitor it, and if they are non-compliant, either we shorten the licence term or we impose a fine.
6742 Well, under the Broadcasting Act we have no power to impose fines, and believe me, there are some of us here who wish greatly we would be able to impose fines, but at this point in time we can't. So we are basically limited to shorter licence terms of mandatory orders. Those are our two main tools just so you keep it in mind.
6743 Now, when you are talking in paragraph 20 about regular and random monitoring, when you say "regular," what do you imply by "regular" and "random" also? Tell me specifically what you would like because obviously this is something you would like to see us doing.
6744 MS MILLIGAN: No.
6745 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: No?
6746 MS MILLIGAN: No. That would fall under the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, so that we would in fact report back to the Commission and submit reports on regular monitoring across the system and supply you with data on who's doing what at any point in time.
6747 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So one activity of the Fund would be to spot-check, if I can use that expression --
6748 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6749 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: -- programs that have been aired or the data have been aired by a certain broadcaster and then you would see whether they did excellent, well, just good, fair or bad?
6750 MS MILLIGAN: Yes, and hopefully we will always be able to say excellent. But yes, and we would, on an ongoing basis, report back.
6751 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
6752 On the descriptive video issue, there is a theme that comes back through your written submission and through your presentation, and that is to not only increase the exhibition requirement but also to increase the spending requirement.
6753 Some of those descriptive video programs can be funded by, as you pointed out, the CMF or sometimes maybe they just come with the program that has been acquired.
6754 So why would it be so important that it be an out-of-pocket expense every time or a certain amount of time for the broadcaster if the exhibition requirements are met as far as new descriptive video is concerned?
6755 MS MILLIGAN: Our objective is 100 percent by 2020.
6756 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: That's ambitious.
6757 MS MILLIGAN: I don't think so.
6758 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: No?
6759 MS MILLIGAN: We don't think so.
6760 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
6761 MS MILLIGAN: I will tell you why and it addresses your question.
6762 And that is if you follow content, if you follow the content through wherever it goes, so that if every programming service has a spend on original, plus they are getting acquired, plus they are getting CMF-funded, all of these areas are already coming to the programming service described.
6763 Then you have a small portion -- really, at the end of the day, if you look at a programming grid for a broadcaster and you cross out acquired and you cross out CMF-funded, you are left with very little programming that is actually left over to be described by 2020, and that programming is what the broadcaster is actually producing themselves.
6764 So what we are looking at is news, what we are looking at is special event programming, things of this nature. So if we can address that and really zero in on that programming, everything else will seamlessly fall into place.
6765 In the U.S. they are doing their stuff. So we are going to see more and more described programs coming with the program as long as the broadcaster is aware of it and asks for that version of it.
6766 And so this is just the one area that is not being covered off by anything. So if we focus there, we can actually achieve this.
6767 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So should we be moving away from the exhibition requirement and just concentrate on the spending requirement as the policy does for Canadian programming?
6768 MS MILLIGAN: It's definitely something to look at. At this point we are looking at the next five years, 2016, so we will have four years following that and I would like to answer that particular question at that time. Right now we want to zero in on that.
6769 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Fair enough.
6770 Now you have touched on the issue of news, i.e. live programming --
6771 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6772 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: -- being video described. Closed captioning of live events is already a challenge.
6773 How does the challenge of descriptive video for live programming compare with the one of closed captioning of live programming in your experience?
6774 MS MILLIGAN: I am going to ask actually Yves Séguin who is in charge of the production and presentation best practices for French descriptive video to speak to this, as well as Mary Frances if she has anything to top on.
6775 But to say that audio description is currently or live description is currently being tested with CTV. CTV is on our best practices production and presentation working group for descriptive video and that is an area that -- they are actually doing some and we are studying it, along with Ryerson University, and we are studying the production process and all of that, working with descriptive video production companies and writing up the best practices for that.
6776 We plan on publishing in September the descriptive video English best practices for production and presentation where live will be included. So we will be well on our way this year.
6777 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. But just to be clear, when you are talking about live programming, are you requiring more audio description or are you requiring audio description plus descriptive video?
6778 MS MILLIGAN: Well, that's a very good question that we are kind of studying right now. So --
6779 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: It is the audio description?
6780 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6781 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Definitely audio description?
6782 MS MILLIGAN: Yes. But it's -- somebody else may have an opinion, but it's definitely descriptive video as well because we are describing what is going on. So, you know, a CTV program that is live, they would certainly be describing what someone is wearing if there is time and so on and so forth.
6783 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
6784 MS MILLIGAN: Does anyone --
6785 MS MOORE: I suspect it's more a question of semantics, this question. I think the audio description is exactly what is required in a live event.
6786 Obviously pre-production of something is obviously counterintuitive. So it is absolutely the audio description of what is occurring that is not obvious from the crowd cheering, for example, et cetera, et cetera.
6787 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
6788 M. SÉGUIN : Et peut-être, Madame la Conseillère, si je peux me permettre d'ajouter concernant la description ou enfin les événements qui se passent en direct à l'écran, il y a beaucoup d'information qui échappe encore, malheureusement, à la communauté des personnes vivant avec un handicap visuel, comme, par exemple, toutes les informations qui concernent les cotes boursières, toutes les choses qu'on voit défiler au bas de l'écran mais qui ne sont, malheureusement pas, rendues de façon audible.
6789 Et je pense que c'est une des choses sur laquelle on devrait se pencher pour s'assurer que ces informations-là, qui sont vitales et communiquées au reste des Canadiens, puissent l'être également pour le bénéfice des personnes vivant avec un handicap visuel.
6790 CONSEILLERE LAMARRE : Oui, et je vais vous avouer que même moi personnellement, je le remarque régulièrement, et mon mari, des fois, va me retenir de me fâcher un peu trop pendant la soirée.
6791 If we get back to the presentation, paragraph 35, and it comes back again -- when you are talking about acquiring foreign programming, we are talking mostly about American programming here?
6792 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6793 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
6794 Finally, on the conditions of licence, when you require that the first-time broadcast of a new video-described program, you want us to look at it for broadcasters as a group, is that what I am hearing, that if it's new, it's new for the entire group and it's only new once for the entire group and not new for every service that is owned by the group?
6795 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6796 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So basically it's within, let's say, the mindset of group licensing that you are looking at it. Okay.
6797 But at the same time you are also requiring that we move from 50 percent new to 75 percent new.
6798 Broadcasters, I expect, may argue that it's too much to ask at once. What would be your response to that?
6799 MS MILLIGAN: We are looking at the next five years and so even if it weren't 75 percent at the outset, but the broadcasters had some warning, it's a long time and so we would like to see that 75 percent kick in at some point certainly.
6800 Our intent under the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is to really dig down and begin to decrease, like we did with captioning way back when, the cost of description, and our objective is to bring that cost down to that of captioning.
6801 And so we are looking at a whole bunch of different ways and studying how that can be done and the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is going to help us do that.
6802 We, therefore, believe very strongly that over the next five years the cost will be reduced because of its priority, and as a result it will become quite reasonable within five years because we can only do licence renewal --
6803 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Every five years or so.
6804 MS MILLIGAN: Right. So it's important to us that that 75 percent kick in at some point.
6805 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Thank you. Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman. Merci.
6806 THE CHAIRPERSON: Steve?
6807 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning. Thank you very much for your presentation.
6808 Ms Milligan, in the presentation this morning there was a reference to the issue of double counting on exhibition of described video programming.
6809 Is this documented? Is this something that, if it hasn't been, can be filed as evidence for us to have a look at with respect to the frequency of this type of occurrence?
6810 MS MILLIGAN: It's a very large undertaking to actually follow the content through.
6811 In this presentation we talked about one of the things that the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund will do is create a revenue-neutral, if not profitable, accessibility strategy for each and every broadcast group.
6812 In doing so -- and we did it many, many years ago for Global -- to sort of zero in on exactly what programs needed to be captioned and when.
6813 And so it's a much larger study, if you will, but we will nonetheless do same and we will file that with the Commission.
6814 Now, it's not something that is easily done. It's very complex. So we would wait for the Fund and then we would do the proper research and provide that to you fully and also to the broadcasters, because at the end of the day if we can get them to be revenue-neutral or profitable on accessibility, then they are going to do it and we want to see the profit right after we hit 100 percent.
6815 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. I appreciate your response. I feel it's important, as I am sure you do, because in an instance where we are right now looking at four hours a week, one program that is double counted is a 25 percent reduction in the efficiency of the initiative.
6816 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
6817 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The second question I have, as you have heard all week and last, the Commission has been allotted for its change in policy not 100 percent away from exhibition but more toward content creation through following the money trail to initiate and incent production.
6818 MS MILLIGAN: Right.
6819 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I saw a lot of hints that you are of similar or like mind with respect to creation of described video, to start shifting your attention more towards where the money is coming from and how it's being applied, not just to the actual exhibition of described video.
6820 Where I am going with this is with respect to that view, is it something that is in your thought process, as you look at objectives of the Fund, to try and establish some kind of a pedigree or a registration of content so when money is applied -- fresh money is applied by a broadcaster to creating new described-video content that that is better differentiated from content that is coming pre-made or with the condition of purchase, essentially to try and make sure that fresh money is coming into the process of creating more described video out of the broadcaster obligations?
6821 MS MILLIGAN: Absolutely. There are two areas where this will be done. One, what we have put forward as part of the standard is a procurement process where it's actually -- once it has been broadcast, it is not going to be fixed. The person who is looking at the content has -- you know, it is not going to be fixed. That experience can't be, you know, retro-fixed.
6822 So what we have asked is that they procure with or contract with only broadcast-quality captioning houses and then the Broadcasting Fund will certify the production houses.
6823 And so there would be a code in there and that code would be what we would check on and we would be able to identify who is producing poor quality and so on. So we would leverage that code into other areas.
6824 The other area that you touch on is under the business innovation envelope, and in the business innovation envelope we are looking at the new revenues for the broadcasters by parking their accessible content with something called the "Accessible Content Clearinghouse."
6825 And what we would do is clear -- make sure that there was this library of everything in existence new and anything else we could get, but create the library so that there was one source, and then royalties could be paid back to whoever owned the copyright.
6826 So these types of business opportunities, we also want to create, prove and give back to the broadcasters.
6827 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thank you very much.
6828 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have two clean-up issues.
6829 You talked about the Monitor 2 study and the data that is based on the study. I have a note here from staff that is saying it would be very helpful if you would make the study and the underlying data available so that it can be dealt with by critical analysis both by us and by the industry.
6830 MS MILLIGAN: Absolutely. Not only we will provide the study, we will do our level best -- what is being published, hopefully this week, is not just -- it's the tip of the iceberg in terms of the data that we have. The data that we have for the purposes of providing evidence and empirical evidence to support standards and best practices is just huge.
6831 As you know or as I believe you know, we are a group of volunteers and so the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund is going to be extremely helpful in allowing us to hire the statisticians to further develop the data and provide as much as we possibly can to whoever wants it.
6832 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but you made a study based on existing data.
6833 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6834 THE CHAIRPERSON: The study is no use if you don't make the data also available so people can test it.
6835 MS MILLIGAN: Everything that we have talked about in here will be provided.
6836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6837 Secondly, your colleague Mr. Glatt, in a sort of throwaway reference in paragraph 16 talked about Netflix, and Netflix is obviously on everybody's mind.
6838 I am not quite sure what you have in mind here because, as you know, we don't regulate Netflix. It falls under the exemption order.
6839 MS MILLIGAN: At this point we wanted to bring to your attention that Netflix is neither captioned nor described, that we have actually talked to them and asked them about what their plans might be. So we are following what the --
6840 THE CHAIRPERSON: What was their answer?
6841 MS MILLIGAN: No, they have no plans.
6842 So it's important to us -- and again, the Monitor 2 data demonstrates that, you know, and consistent with Netflix, that unless accessibility is in some way regulated, it doesn't get captioned or described. So that is going to be really, really big and so we are watching.
6843 THE CHAIRPERSON: It most definitely will be big, and also you might want to focus on whether delivery by the Internet is to facilitate dealing with accessibility or make it more difficult. We have heard evidence both ways, you know.
6844 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6845 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would have thought just as a neophyte that it actually would make things easier to sort of, for instance, superimpose captioning and stuff like that.
6846 But I await more data from you based on the research you have done and will do with the accessibility funding.
6847 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
6848 Just so that you know, we have a vertical and horizontal multiplatform distribution best practices subcommittee, of which CTV and TVOntario, RIM and a number of others are also on, and we are following content through all distribution platforms and creating the best practices.
6849 And we will be making that available to everybody free of charge so that a broadcaster can just methodically see how it's done through the experience. We will be doing that through the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.
6850 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, thank you very much. It's always very interesting hearing from you and I am glad to see you are making progress on these issues.
6851 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you very much.
6852 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6853 Madame la Secrétaire, je crois que c'est tout pour aujourd'hui.
6854 THE SECRETARY: Exactly. So tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
6855 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6856 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 0952, to resume on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 0900
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