ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing Februrary 3, 2016
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Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: Februrary 3, 2016
© Copyright Reserved
Attendees and Location
140 Promenade du Portage
- Chairman: Jean-Pierre Blais
- Members: Candice Molnar, Yves Dupras, Stephen Simpson, Christopher MacDonald
- Legal Counsel: Shari Fisher
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Managers:
Guillaume Castonguay, Jean-Pierre Lefebvre
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at 9:01 a.m.
12566 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l'ordre, À l'ordre, s'il vous plait. O.k., la petite musique est bien charmante, mais on va l'arrêter. Merci.
12567 Madame la secrétaire.
12568 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, good morning.
12569 We will now start with the presentation of Independent Web Series Creators of Canada. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes.
12570 MS. ZBORALSKA: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Emilia Zboralska and I'm a member of the Board of directors of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada or the IWCC, and with me is my colleague and President of the IWCC, Mr. Ashton Catherwood.
12571 So we are a three-year old not-for-profit association that seeks to build a strong Canadian digital media industry by building relationships with other associations, guilds and governing bodies to create opportunities for digital creators.
12572 Our organization was founded by leading Canadian media producers who are after the new opportunities that were enabled by the Web. They were excited by the potential of the internet, the global reach to audiences it provides, and the removal of barriers that come along with digital distribution.
12573 We are here to provide you with a look at the issues of this hearing from the perspective of digital creators. Today I’m going to focus our submission on two key points: 1) that is it absolutely vital that physical community production facilities are maintained; and 2) that true evolution of the community sector will require innovative thinking and a marriage of the physical and the digital.
12574 The current myth being used to downgrade the importance of community television by many intervenors is the idea that the internet replaces traditional distribution channels, that with cheap cameras and YouTube, everybody’s voice can now be heard.
12575 However, in fact open digital distribution platforms such as YouTube suffer from the digital noise phenomenon, where a vast amount of content that is readily available is unknown to most viewers. Commercial entities are able to purchase exposure on high-traffic sites, making it increasingly difficult for audiences to locate independent content.
12576 A significant community of digital-first creators exist in Canada. Based on early observations for my PhD research on the narrative digital production sector, and in discussions with those who attend our organization’s Web Series meet-ups, we know that many independent Web Series creators see Web Series creation akin to community media production.
12577 Many of them tell stories that they believe have been neglected by mainstream media. Our Toronto Web Series community group on Facebook has over 3,000 members alone. Our page is a space for them to share tips, industry news and resources. Our members are very active on the page. And while this virtual landing zone is a great way to connect the community, it does not obviate the need for a consistent physical infrastructure that only a dedicated studio could provide.
12578 Creators continue to be limited by both physical and financial constraints. They lack consistent access to studio space and the high-end equipment necessary to compete and keep up with the increasing demand for production quality online, even on supposedly democratized platforms such as YouTube.
12579 Many lack the skills needed to succeed. These skills include hard production skills, for example, camera operation, but they also include soft skills such as networking and social media connection. Access on the web is therefore relative. The degree of connections, skills and web literacy creators have, determines their capacity to tell and share their stories and the stories of their communities in meaningful ways.
12580 In the digital age, physical spaces and experiences ground us. These centres have the potential to provide a centralized location for training, mentoring and the production and trade of ideas. Physical production centres also lead to higher production values in programming, as they facilitate necessary equipment such as video, lighting, sound mixing, broadcast, and Internet resources. This is how true access is achieved.
12582 Having physical facilities also provides a means of including communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in the Canadian broadcasting system. We know that the screen industry tends to favour those who are already entrenched within it. Women and visible minorities have been shown to have less access to the established networks that lead to privileged resources and jobs.
12583 Early observations from my PhD research indicate that the underrepresentation of certain designated groups has carried over to the web space. Women are underrepresented in funded web-drama in roles including writer, director and director of photography. Early observations also appear to indicate that the same holds true for visible minorities in funded web-drama series as well, in key writer and director roles. Thus, such funds appear to be used for the sustainability of those already likely to participate in the traditional sector, and not for the emergence and growth of new talent from traditionally underrepresented groups.
12584 Considerable effort must therefore be made to ensure that systemic barriers are addressed. Physical community media centres could, through outreach and other means, act as catalysts of change, resource connectors, and provide training on key industry professional practices, including grant writing.
12585 We see potential integration here between community media centres, and the Canadian Media Fund's newly proposed emerging program vertical, which seeks to encourage the entry of new voices into the Canadian screen system. Community media centres could provide the physical spaces necessary to facilitate and enable this vision. This encourages synergies across the many layers of resources in the Canadian system, and, in our view, increases their likelihood of success.
12586 Future-oriented entrepreneurial thinking is what will lead our broadcasting sector forward. Although e-working is possible for tech entrepreneurs for example, incubators, physical spaces, have been created to maximize chances for success.
12587 Imagine if our community media sector could function in a similar capacity to an incubator. Design thinking and the lean startup method have overtaken the traditional approach to business planning. Some of the content developed at the community level could perhaps be thought of as "rapid prototypes".
12588 Access requirements could evolve to include a proportion of community-initiated content, as well as content initiated by professional production staff where training opportunities through mentorships, shadow schemes or other methods are offered.
12589 Community media staff could then connect those with promising rapid prototype programming with meaningful opportunities to mature and further professionalize this content by providing links and touch points to potential partners.
12590 We also believe that the web presents new opportunities for the dissemination of community media content. For community-produced content to be relevant, it must be available and readily accessible on as many platforms as possible, and this includes traditional TV and online.
12591 For clarity, when we say “readily accessible”, we mean accessible in a way that is simple and inviting to users. Creators of web-based content often discuss the “three-click rule”, that a user must be able to find important information on a website in three clicks of the mouse or less.
12592 Our concern is that the current BDU-operated VOD services often require users to navigate through numerous pages of menus and content to find such programming. The result is that unless a user is actively looking for a particular piece of content, the likelihood of the user discovering it is exceedingly low.
12593 Many intervenors suggest placing community media content on BDU-branded YouTube channels. We suggest thinking bigger. To this end, an over-the-top community media free-to-use service could act as a centralizing digital location for all community programming by all community channels.
12594 This centralized access point would aid in the discoverability of such content in the online space. Opportunities for mandate-driven advertising could be explored, and a revenue sharing scheme amongst community channels and partners could be developed.
12595 The community media OTT service we propose could also be offered by way of a mobile app. Imagine that the community media content created in the innovative physical centres we propose, was to live on a uniquely designed app with its own uniquely designed digital infrastructure. Perhaps the app the programming is housed on could then curate or splice the content into different views.
12596 For example, what's trending in the GTA, or the West End, or if I wanted something a little closer to home, Liberty Village, or perhaps I just want to see the most trending media content across all regions. I could do that. The app could allow me to do that.
12597 Now, imagine if this app could also allow for a dialogue and discussion through comments generated from community members. It could become its own social media network. Such innovative thinking could push the sector forward.
12598 A lot can happen when the physical and the digital meet. So you need the physical spaces to ensure that community members have true access, including access to physical resources as well as key skills, and you can use the digital to maximize the spread and sharing of the content that is created.
12599 Many other exciting opportunities exist to evolve the community media sector. To conclude, even though much of our lives are now lived in the digital ether, physical spaces and a networked and forward looking community media sector are perhaps more important now than they have ever been.
12600 We thank you for the opportunity to share our views and we welcome your questions.
12601 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
12602 I have a few questions for you.
12603 I notice, first of all, in paragraph 4 of your presentation you reiterate this need for physical community production facilities that are -- be maintained. And as you know, there's over 160 community channels ---
12604 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12605 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- across the country that many of them have actual physical presence.
12606 And is that -- are those the community production facilities you believe ought to be maintained or are you thinking about other things?
12607 MS. ZBORALSKA: So absolutely, those should be maintained, but we're also thinking of sort of future proofing them and allowing them to become more innovative, interesting spaces, where a lot of this kind of activity that we described could take place. So it's moving them forward, evolving them, essentially.
12608 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, okay.
12609 Do you have any specific recommendations to us with respect to the policy proceeding we have before us?
12610 MR. CATHERWOOD: We don't have specific recommendations in terms of how to enact those things, only to remind the Commission of their importance.
12611 At its centre is the importance of meaningful participation by all involved, and I think we can all agree that physical spaces really make that possible.
12612 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
12613 You talk about the importance of development of hard and soft skills.
12614 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12615 THE CHAIRPERSON: The last time I looked, education was a provincial responsibility. What do you see as the federal, or more specifically, the CRTC's role in skill development?
12616 MS. ZBORALSKA: Sure.
12617 We do think that there's a big role here for skills development. Firstly, not everyone has access to film schools, and also, not everybody has the financial means to access the kind of resources that are required to become really web literate, and I really think that the federal sector could play a role in helping that.
12618 THE CHAIRPERSON: The evidence so far has suggested that the current community channel does play such a role ---
12619 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12620 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- that young Canadians that might want to explore a number of facets of audiovisual production, whether it's in linear/non linear world have been attracted to community channels.
12621 Is that a valid way of ensuring training and soft skill development?
12622 MR. CATHERWOOD: Yes, absolutely.
12623 It's basically an outreach concern. These things exist and people do make use of these as skills development, but what we're hoping to increase in the future is, you know, information being available for potential communities to have access to -- for these resources.
12624 MS. ZBORALSKA: And sorry, to pick up on what Ash is saying, it's also to outreach to communities that might not likely be interested or used to participating in the system. So designated groups increasing outreach efforts to bring these people into the system.
12625 THE CHAIRPERSON: The evidence we've heard so far from companies like Shaw and Rogers and others is that they actually do that. That they go out with schoolboards and teaching institutions to find, what in that system is called volunteers, to work community channels.
12626 Is that the sort of thing you're favouring?
12627 MR. CATHERWOOD: Yeah, along those lines, but we're looking for not just kind of service producers. We're looking for more access producers and more active involvement from those who are looking for that type of training.
12628 THE CHAIRPERSON: They have access to the access portion, which the Commission, under the current rule, requires it to be 50 percent of ---
12629 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12630 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- programming in the channel is access. So meaning that the ideas originate from ---
12631 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12632 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- made by those volunteers.
12633 Does that not meet the requirement or the sort of underlying policy concern you're raising?
12634 MR. CATHERWOOD: Yes, it meets it. It's just the -- the concern is just on the importance going forward in maintaining these physical spaces for skills development.
12635 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
12636 You also talk about the challenge of bringing forward into the digital media some of the underrepresented realities we've seen in a broader audiovisual space.
12637 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12638 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whether it's for women or other underrepresented groups, I assume that includes ethno cultural diversity, Aboriginal diversity ---
12639 MS. ZBORALSKA: Yes.
12640 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and so forth.
12641 So what role should the CRTC play to remove barriers, or do you actually see us having a role?
12642 MS. ZBORALSKA: Oh, absolutely, I do see you having a role.
12643 So I know the Commission is obviously doing work with diversity reporting requirements. I think that should continue, and perhaps, include the community sector in that space as well. And what we're thinking is also including, for example, proportional staffing requirements, perhaps, in community media channels. If we can get some sort of ratio or proportionality with respect to who's actually employed in these community channels, we think that would be great as well.
12644 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned the development potentially of apps or other aggregation tools.
12645 Again, an interesting idea, but I'm wondering what, in practice, is the CRTC's role in achieving that?
12646 MS. ZBORALSKA: Just to encourage innovation, just to continue to encourage innovation and hopefully somebody will make that happen.
12647 THE CHAIRPERSON: The -- you make some comments on BDU¬operated VOD services may be not as user friendly as they could be for people to reach audiences.
12648 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12649 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't know if you were listening to some of the evidence that we've been hearing over the past previous seven days, but in fact, it would seem that VOD has -- is in the best position to actually demonstrate that people are connecting to the content because of the way the systems work.
12650 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12651 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I'm wondering exactly, concretely, again, what role would the Commission play in making sure that those VOD platforms are better at reaching audiences?
12652 I mean, we all know ---
12653 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12654 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- discoverability is a problem.
12655 MS. ZBORALSKA: Absolutely.
12656 THE CHAIRPERSON: We've identified the problem.
12657 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12658 THE CHAIRPERSON: We're looking for solutions.
12659 MS. ZBORALSKA: Yeah, well, I mean, we've proposed a few options. We're not saying that the Commission needs to regulate and say, you know, you have to offer your content in those ways. We're just offering different sort of ways of achieving that kind of approach and making sure, like we mention with our three click rule, that things are easy.
12660 Because before, when we did a little bit of research for this, we found that it was really difficult online to sort of navigate and find content from these community channels. I mean, they're not always consistently put up, not every episode of every series there. It's actually quite difficult to find.
12661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
12662 And there is an opportunity for the Commission in this proceeding to reinvigorate the community channel model.
12663 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12664 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I was wondering if you had any views on that, specifically, to give younger creators access?
12665 I don't know if you had a chance to listen in to Telus's presentation yesterday, but certainly their VOD model seems to add very low costs in terms of overhead but a great deal of investment in ---
12666 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12667 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- onscreen results, and VOD content seems to be attracting a lot of young and emerging creators.
12668 MR. CATHERWOOD: We -- yes, we agree that the -- as to the importance of young creators getting involved, of course.
12669 The thing we found online in our community is that obviously many people are very engaged and able to connect, and actually, very, very interested in connected, but there is a portion of them who are still just finding out about these community access points and ways to develop within more traditional systems as opposed to just online.
12670 And we just feel it important to think about new strategies of ways to outreach to these people and to make these known.
12671 THE CHAIRPERSON: My last question before I turn to my colleagues to see if they have questions.
12672 Am I correct in assuming that what you’re advocating for here is that we -- building on the existing community channel model, that we, however, tweak, encourage, nudge, whatever the right words are, that model to modernize it to the digital reality of -- that you mention in your presentation.
12673 Would that be a fair assumption?
12674 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12675 MR. CATHERWOOD: Yes, I would say that would be fair.
12676 THE CHAIRPERSON: And therefore you’re not -- because there’s another model being put, where there’s more of a community owned and operated not-for-profit. That’s not something you’re advocating?
12677 MR. CATHERWOOD: We don’t want to speak to who should control -- who should have control, whether it’s the broadcaster or whether it’s community owned.
12678 We just -- we believe in the importance of perhaps an editorial board --
12679 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
12680 MR. CAHERWOOD: -- comprised of community members. So that’s, you know, it is truly community programming as opposed to something mimicking that --
12681 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
12682 MR. CATHERWOOD: -- brought on by the broadcaster.
12683 THE CHAIRPERSON: A bit like the consultative committee that was setup by Videotron?
12684 MS. ZBORALSKA: Yes.
12685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And you think that there’s a need for that right across the board or is mostly an urban issue, where maybe diversity is harder to mediate?
12686 MS. ZBORALSKA: Well we’ve certainly heard the evidence from different groups and from what we’ve heard it is primarily an urban issue, but we don’t know. We can’t speak to that and we haven’t actually seen the data.
12687 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good. Thank you, those are my questions. I’m turning to my colleagues now. No? No? Not from legal?
12688 Well thank you very much for your participating in the hearing.
12689 MS. ZBORALSKA: Thank you.
12690 MR. CATHERWOOD: Thank you.
12691 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire, les prochains intervenants, s’il vous plait.
12692 LA SECRÉTAIRE: J’inviterais maintenant l’Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada à s’approcher.
(A SHORT PAUSE)
12693 LA SECRÉTAIRE: S’il vous plait vous présenter et vous avez 10 minutes.
12694 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Allô, oui. Et bien bon matin. Malheureusement les Canadiens ont encore perdus, Monsieur le président, hier soir.
12695 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et puis je suis certain que c’est encore notre faute.
12696 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Alors, Monsieur le président, membres du Conseil, membres du personnel, je suis Jean-Claude Bellefeuille, Président de l’Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada, mieux probablement connu sous l’acronyme APFC, qui est le porte‐parole de la production indépendante francophone de la télévision, du multimédia et du film à l’échelle canadienne.
12697 Je vous remercie de nous avoir invités à comparaitre aujourd’hui. Il va s’en dire que cette audience portant sur la programmation locale est très importante pour nous, car elle participe à l’essor culturel et identitaire de notre -- de nos communautés, et ce partout au pays.
12698 La notion de se reconnaître à l’écran peut paraître vague pour un Québécois vivant à Montréal ou dans certaines régions du Québec, car ils ont accès à une multitude de contenus francophones.
12699 Pour un franco‐canadien vivant dans un petit marché tel que Bathurst, Whitehorse ou encore Sudbury, cette reconnaissance est d'une importance critique et elle passe par des catégories d’émissions variées.
12700 Les producteurs indépendants issus des CLOSM francophones peuvent participer à une programmation locale offerte par la télévision traditionnelle aux diverses communautés de nos petits marchés.
12701 Nous vous sommes donc très reconnaissants de vous intéresser aux petits marchés dans le cadre de cette audience.
12702 Nos commentaires d’aujourd’hui porteront sur trois points. L'établissement de définitions claires et précises pour la programmation locale et la programmation d'accès et la programmation de nouvelles locales.
12703 Les mesures pour assurer un niveau continu et approprié de programmation locale et de reflet local.
12704 Et, enfin, La modulation des exigences en matière de programmation locale et de programmation d'accès, basée sur la taille des marchés et les besoins prouvés de la communauté.
12705 En ce qui concerne l’établissement de définitions claires et précises de programmation locale et de programmation d'accès, rappelons que les résultats des consultations du processus Parlons télé, indiquent clairement que les Canadiens tiennent à 81 pourcent aux nouvelles locales, mais également à 53 pourcent à la programmation locale.
12706 Ce qui indique très clairement l’importance et l’intérêt des Canadiens pour une diversification des contenus.
12707 Nous sommes d’avis qu’une définition de programmation locale doit inclure, bien sûr, des nouvelles locales et des émissions de catégories variées, produites par des producteurs indépendants issus de nos communautés.
12708 Car, et en conformité avec l'objectif énoncé dans l'article 3 de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, les stations de télévision doivent veiller à ce que la production des contenus soit équitablement partagée entre la production interne des stations et les producteurs indépendants vivant dans les CLOSM, de manière à favoriser une diversité et une pertinence des contenus.
12709 Nul doute que cela permet aux stations traditionnelles régionales de remplir leur mandat et de jouer leur rôle local en offrant une plus grande variété d’émissions sur des sujets ou des événements qui intéressent les collectivités desservies.
12710 En ce qui concerne la programmation de nouvelles locales, l’APFC maintient sa proposition que la couverture médiatique doit refléter la réalité et le contexte de la communauté locale.
12711 Attendu que cette couverture médiatique télévisuelle couvre tous les secteurs de notre société, afin de refléter les réalités culturelles, économiques, sociologiques des communautés francophones du Canada.
12712 Notre deuxième point porte sur les mesures pour assurer un niveau continu et approprié de programmation locale.
12713 Comme plusieurs groupes, nous ne sommes pas convaincus que le financement est suffisant à même le système actuel, pour assurer la production indépendante d’émissions créées localement reflétant la réalité locale.
12714 Le contexte économique de la télévision traditionnelle ne va pas s’améliorer. Tout nous porte à croire que se sont encore les stations de petits marchés à l’extérieur du Québec qui seront affectées les premières, ayant un impact directement sur la création de contenus émanant de nos communautés. Ce qui aura pour résultat de ne pas répondre aux attentes de celles‐ci.
12715 Plus que jamais, nous sommes d’avis que le Conseil doit mettre en place des mesures pour reconnaître le rôle central que jouent les stations traditionnelles dans l’expression locale.
12716 Nous pensons que les obligations des contributions des EDRs et SDRs doivent être maintenues au même niveau pour garantir une contribution à la création et à la présentation de programmation locale.
12717 L’APFC est d’avis, tout comme le Conseil, que l’aide supplémentaire pour financer la programmation locale doit provenir de la réallocation des contributions existantes.
12718 À même l’actuelle contribution de 5 pourcent à la création et à la production d’émissions canadiennes, la réallocation pourrait prévoir entre 1 et 1.5 pourcent pour constituer un fonds désigné à la programmation canadienne et aux nouvelles locales produites et diffusées par les stations de télévision indépendantes des petits marchés.
12719 Ce fonds serait soumis à des conditions d’utilisation précises quant à une programmation locale qui offre des émissions de tout genre, tel documentaires uniques, des séries documentaires, séries dramatiques, de variété émissions enfants jeunesse, magazines d’intérêts locaux et bien sûr des nouvelles locales.
12720 Des contenus émanant de producteurs indépendants, dont nous représentons, professionnels vivant, œuvrant dans les communautés francophones en situation minoritaire.
12721 En mettant en place ce mécanisme, le Conseil reconnaît le rôle central que les stations de télévision traditionnelle desservant les petits jouent et doit continuer de jouer en matière de programmation locale, et ce partout à travers le Canada.
12722 L’APFC souligne ici que les stations régionales de Radio Canada participent à cette diversification de programmation et nous pensons qu’elles doivent pouvoir accéder à ce Fonds.
12723 Rappelons que pour près de 60 pourcent de la population ayant le français comme langue première officielle à l’extérieur du Québec, les stations régionales de Radio Canada représentent la seule source de programmation télévisuelle locale.
12724 Enfin, quant à la question portant sur les exigences en matière de dépenses, ce qui nous importe le plus est que le Conseil s’assure que les Canadiens accèdent à une programmation variée. Pour nous, dans un contexte de CLOSM francophone, seule une réglementation d’utilisation de ce fonds peut garantir une programmation diversifiée proposant des contenus émanant de nos communautés et produits par des producteurs indépendants implantés dans leur communauté.
12725 En ce qui concerne la modulation des exigences en matière de programmation locale et de programmation d'accès, nous reconnaissons le rôle de la télévision communautaire dans l’écosystème télévisuel canadien. La télévision communautaire citoyenne est complémentaire à l’offre de la télévision traditionnelle des petits marchés.
12726 Toutefois, dans le marché francophone hors Québec, il existe très peu de stations communautaires et celles qui offrent un volume d’heures de programmation est très restreint.
12727 De plus, si la programmation communautaire peut servir de complémentarité, elle ne peut en aucun cas remplacer une programmation locale émanant des stations régionales et commerciales des petits marchés.
12728 D’autre part, l’élément communautaire dans les stations commerciales de télévision traditionnelle se trouve tant dans les nouvelles locales que dans les contenus de tout genre dans les productions internes et indépendantes pour les communautés desservies.
12729 En conclusion, devant l’évolution des habitudes de consommation des contenus et les réalités des petits marchés, les stations commerciales de télévision traditionnelle de langue française auront besoin d’un nouveau support financier qui, lui seul, peut permettre l’amélioration de l’offre de programmation locale.
12730 L’APFC remercie le Conseil de faire en sorte que le cadre politique et réglementaire demeure fidèle aux objectifs de la politique canadienne de radiodiffusion et qu’il incite tous les acteurs de cet environnement à contribuer de la manière qui convient au financement de nouvelles émissions canadiennes de qualité, innovatrices et captivantes.
12731 Enfin, l’APFC tient également à remercier le Conseil pour sa reconnaissance de l’importance des CLOSM, ainsi que la contribution essentielle de ses producteurs indépendants à la richesse de notre système de radiodiffusion.
12732 Nous sommes persuadés qu’ainsi les Canadiens, en tant que créateurs, citoyens et consommateurs y gagneront.
12733 Je vous remercie de votre attention et je suis prêt à répondre à vos questions.
12734 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup. Je vous mets entre les mains de Monsieur le conseiller Dupras.
12735 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci. Bon matin.
12736 Le Conseil a déjà pris plusieurs mesures pour soutenir les CLOSM et les producteurs indépendants hors Québec au cours des dernières années par les avantages tangibles dans les transactions Bell-Astral et Corus, par exemple, lors du renouvellement de Radio-Canada.
12737 En quoi un nouveau fonds qui ne soutiendrait pas seulement les nouvelles locales permettrait quelque chose de plus par rapport aux mesures déjà en place?
12738 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Bon, lorsqu’on parle, effectivement, nous avons eu au niveau des CLOSM, nous avons une enveloppe au Fonds des médias du Canada.
12739 Nous avons également eu des avantages tangibles dans leurs transactions avec TVA.
12740 Mais il faut dire que c’est une question pour les stations et, bon, principalement comme on vous le mentionnait, Radio-Canada et une station régionale dans l’est du pays également. C’est une question d’avoir accès pour déclencher vers ces fonds.
12741 Évidemment, dans la transaction Bell-Astral, on utilise ces argents comme levier -- alors, comme critère d’admissibilité au niveau du Fonds des médias du Canada où on possède déjà une enveloppe.
12742 Alors, le but de s’inscrire présentement au niveau de la programmation locale c’est de permettre -- et certains télédiffuseurs vous l’ont écrit clairement dans leur mémoire également -- de permettre de pouvoir lever des licences vers d’autres sources de financement. Et c’est ça qui semble le problème présentement des stations.
12743 D’ailleurs, Radio-Canada est venu vous dire cette semaine qu’on a dû, depuis les trois dernières années, faute -- et bon, pas nécessairement revenir en arrière et vous parler de FAPL, mais c’est ce que subtilement c’est ce qu’on vous dit, sans intervention, la diversification de la programmation au niveau des régions des CLOSM a été affectée. Et c’est le vice-président de la Société Radio-Canada, qui est venu vous le dire.
12744 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Est-ce que vous trouvez que le contenu offert par les stations locales communautaires répond aux besoins des communautés francophones hors-Québec?
12745 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Bon, au niveau -- je crois que, écoutez, j’ai tout de même œuvré pendant les cinq premières années de ma carrière en télé communautaire. Avec éloquence et j’omets le nom, le monsieur de Vancouver qui a comparu par vidéoconférence à 83 ans, qui demandait de la relève, j’ai trouvé ça formidable, dans un esprit, effectivement, de télévision, d’accès, de complémentarité, de télévision citoyenne.
12746 Alors, quand j’écoute les présentations et j’écoutais celle de TVA. Et s’il faut attendre après Vidéotron ou TVA au niveau des CLOSM, bien on vous l’a clairement établi; que Radio-Canada s’en occupe. Bon.
12747 Et suite aux avantages tangibles, on ne peut pas dire là qu’il y a une panoplie d’émissions qui proviennent des CLOSM au niveau du réseau privé de TVA en français puisqu’on parle de CLOSM francophones.
12748 Alors, tant qu’à moi, il faut garder les choses dans son esprit.
12749 La télévision communautaire locale est importante. C’est une télévision qui doit être accessible. C’est une télévision qui doit être complémentaire et qui permet aux différents groupes une diversité des voix effectivement.
12750 Au niveau des budgets, écoutez, si nous avions eu ces budgets-là, à l’époque quand j’en ai pris connaissance, je trouvais ça hallucinant au niveau du 40 pour cent. Et je me souviens, on opérait à Moncton sous la compagnie Câble Service, à peine deux stations; une francophone et une anglophone, avec les mêmes studios, les mêmes équipements.
12751 Alors, au niveau de la dépense et, bon, sauf qu’au niveau anglophone, il y avait six employés. Au niveau francophone, nous étions deux des Mohicans.
12752 Alors, c’est de cette façon-là et on devait recruter, on devait animer la communauté.
12753 Je regardais la programmation à Moncton, on avait un bingo à l’époque. On est rendu à trois bingos maintenant.
12754 Je comprends bien que la démographie du Nouveau-Brunswick, on est une des provinces où il y a plus de personnes de 65 ans et plus. Mais écoutez, je veux dire -- et c’est parfait parce que ça répond à un besoin, qui ne serait pas couvert par la société d’état et qui ne serait pas couvert également par la production des stations traditionnelles dans ce petit marché.
12755 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et comme ce sont surtout les stations de Radio-Canada qui s’occupent des CLOSM, est-ce que ça ne revient pas à Radio-Canada justement de s’en occuper?
12756 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Bon, effectivement, j’aurais tendance à dire qu’on se sent un peu pris en otage dans tout ça et je comprends très bien. Il y a les obligations de licences et on est entre les deux.
12757 Alors nous, on demande effectivement à quelque part de pouvoir être protégés. Il semble que Radio-Canada nous dise, nous faisions des choses alors qu’il y avait les fonds qui étaient dévolus pour nous permettre de déclencher des projets vers les autres fonds. Et certains diffuseurs privés concernant justement les CLOSM ont dit, bien, ça nous permettait de diversifier et effectivement d’améliorer l’offre et d’amener les téléspectateurs.
12758 Au niveau des nouvelles présentement et je crois qu’on vous l’a démontré -- et Monsieur le président, vous l’avez soulevé la semaine dernière -- au niveau des cotes d’écoute, il y a un engouement au niveau des nouvelles.
12759 Les directions de stations étaient très contentes mais il y a des besoins un petit peu partout et c’est morcelé. Nous ne sommes pas homogènes au niveau de la population; peut-être un peu plus à l’est mais bon.
12760 Nous devons couvrir l’ensemble du Canada et revendiquer pour l’ensemble du Canada.
12761 Alors, ce qu’on demande, si vous faites une réallocation, qu’il y ait une partie qui puisse être dévolue à la production indépendante et qu’il y ait un pourcentage pour aider ces stations-là, parce que dans le passé, apparemment, ils l’ont fait. Ils peuvent vous le démontrer.
12762 Alors, de servir justement de tremplin de base, parce que concernant la production indépendante, bien, le diffuseur fait foi de tout. Alors, on ne peut pas déclencher nous-même une licence.
12763 Alors c’est le diffuseur qui fait foi de tout et si notre diffuseur dit, malheureusement, nous n’avons pas les sous pour déclencher, bien il n’y aura pas de production indépendante.
12764 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Est-ce qu’il y a des marchés où il y a des besoins plus grands que d’autres?
12765 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Bien, écoutez, au niveau des marchés -- oui, bon, disons c’est des grands marchés.
12766 Au niveau de l’écoute, il faut voir les habitudes d’écoute également. Moi je pense que tous les marchés au niveau de la télévision privée et traditionnelle, bon, en français, si on regarde à l’ouest d’Ottawa, bon, y a pas grand-chose. Au niveau du marché de l’est, ben, vous avez Télévision Inter-Rives et Radio-Canada. Effectivement, Inter-Rives au niveau des nouvelles a des bureaux à Edmundston, est campé à Caraquet, et touche à peu près 230 à 240 000 francophones alors potentiellement.
12767 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Et à l’aide du multiplateformes et des réseaux sociaux là, est-ce que la télévision linéaire a encore la même importance pour les CLOSM? Est-ce qui a pas moyen d’utiliser des plateformes numériques pour ---
12768 M. BELLEFEUILLE : Ben, écoutez ---
12769 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- pour mieux refléter les CLOSM?
12770 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Conseiller Dupras, je pense que y a une convergence, y a une complémentarité, mais y a une habitude également. Souvent dans les CLOSM y a une migration au niveau de cette génération Y là ou du millénaire. On tente de se renouveler. Moi je pense que on utilise déjà les médias sociaux parce que nous sommes en région éloignée, mais la -- ça ne remplace pas, c'est -- il y a complémentarité et une habitude d’écoute. Et la télévision, le mass média pour les CLOSM est important.
12771 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Donc pour ce qui pourrait y avoir de programmation additionnelle, d’addition pour les communautés ---
12772 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Mais les ---
12773 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- ça pourrait venir des nouvelles plateformes?
12774 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Ben, écoutez, moi je pense que y a un mélange, on peut pas exclure les nouvelles plateformes, ce sont la réalité. Mais au niveau de la télévision linéaire également, faut voir qui apporte l’influx, qui apporte le contenu effectivement.
12775 Alors, au niveau du mass média ce sont les deux interlocuteurs, la télévision publique, et une partie du privé dans le grand spectre CLOSM canadien qui apporte ce contenu, et qui peut être réutilisé et rediffusé. Et ça -- oui, oui, effectivement, et on le fait déjà.
12776 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon, essentiellement c'est du financement que vous réclamez?
12777 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Exactement.
12778 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon. Y a certains câblos qui ont proposé -- ben y a un câblo-là, Vidéotron, qui a proposé que l’argent des EDR qui est consacré à l’exploitation d’un deuxième canal communautaire dans les marchés bilingues ---
12779 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Écoutez ---
12780 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- soit réalloué pour créer un fonds à production locale. Qu’est-ce que vous pensez de cette proposition?
12781 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Écoutez là, j’ai entendu, j’ai écouté, je ne sais pas ce que ça représente. Est-ce qu’on veut tout simplement -- qu’est-ce qu’on avait exactement en tête et ça représente combien d’argent? C'est une façon, ils vous ont ---
12782 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais seulement le principe là, est-ce que dans les marchés bilingues vous êtes d'accord ---
12783 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Ben, pour nous dans le marché francophone ---
12784 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: --- vous êtes d’accord?
12785 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Écoutez là, nous on est pas -- je crois qu’on aurait un autre problème au niveau politique si y fallait mettre la chaîne communautaire, parce que là y a toutes sortes de débats. On parle de mettre les mêmes étudiants au Nouveau-Brunswick dans les mêmes autobus, anglophones et francophones dans cette dualité.
12786 Je vous comprends au niveau du marché bilingue, mais c'est comme quand on a demandé la traduction tantôt, la personne a regardé mon permis de conduire et a dit, « Vous venez du Nouveau-Brunswick, alors vous êtes bilingue. » Alors faut faire attention, et on va pas -- là ça devient plus complexe et ça déborde justement je crois les cadres -- en tout cas, télévisuel.
12787 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je comprends. Bon, et bien voilà, ce sont toutes mes questions. Je vous remercie, Monsieur Bellefeuille.
12788 LE PRÉSIDENT: Juste une dernière petite question très rapidement. Vous préconisez que l’appui à la production locale devrait être financée par une réallocation des contributions allouées au canal communautaire, parce que la production locale est tellement importante. Pourquoi ne pas préconiser la réallocation à même le 3 pourcent alloué au Fonds des médias et des Fonds indépendants.
12789 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Ben écoutez, ça serait une solution. En fin de compte, l’important c'est d’avoir accès. Et Conseiller Dupras, vous venez de me le mentionner, vous avez dit, « Bon, l’argent semble être le nerf de la guerre », c'est une question de réallocation. Monsieur le président -- et vous étiez au ministère du Patrimoine à l'époque -- on a réussi à obtenir un fonds, et ça très bien fonctionné.
12790 Présentement, la problématique c'est que -- bon, avec une nouvelle station, une nouvelle offre, bon, la demande de fonds elle devient de moins en moins suffisante, et c'est la problématique. On est un peu victime de notre succès de ce côté-là. Alors on a besoin d’effet de levier, et qu’on le considère dans le 3 pourcent ou au niveau de la réallocation pour les télés communautaires, ben écoutez, là on est prêt à être ouvert et à discuter en ce sens-là.
12791 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ma question voulait provoquer une réflexion parce que évidemment on est devant des choix difficiles là du moment qu’on fait ---
12792 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Sûr, nous comprenons.
12793 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- de la réallocation.
12794 D’accord, ce sont nos questions. Merci beaucoup pour votre participation.
12795 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Bienvenue.
12796 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
12797 M. BELLEFEUILLE: Et merci beaucoup au Conseil.
12798 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
12799 Madame la secrétaire.
12800 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci. I will now ask the Canadian Olympic Committee to come to presentation table.
12801 THE SECRETARY: Pease introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes.
12802 MR. OVERHOLT: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Good morning, everyone, bon matin. My name is Chris Overholt and I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee. To my right is Madame Isabelle Charest, who is a celebrated three-time Olympian Medalist in the sport of short track speed skating and a two-time World Champion in the 500-Meter Event. We’ve also asked a Canadian Interuniversity Sport athlete to join your panel, this is Matthew Bond-Lapointe, a former football player from the University of Ottawa. And to my left is Mr. Christopher Hebb, President of Starting Five Media Consulting, who represents the COC in this proceeding as a consultant.
12803 The COC is a private sector, not-for-profit entity dedicated to leading the achievement of the Canadian Olympic team's podium success and advancing Olympic values in Canada.
12804 The COC is responsible for all aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic Movement, including: Canada's participation in the Olympic, Pan American and Youth Olympic Games; managing a wide variety of cultural and educational programs promoting Olympic values in Canada; additional grassroots programs where communities develop and promote Olympic values at all levels; and selecting and supporting Canadian cities in bids to host Olympic and Pan American Games.
12805 All of our Olympic athletes have received government funding of some sort, but most require private funding by several different means. In order to achieve their goals, the COC raises funds. It must secure sponsorship dollars to support the athletes, or they will not be able to train fulltime to achieve their goals.
12806 Mme CHAREST: La plupart des Canadiens savent que nos athlètes ont récolté un nombre record de médailles aux Jeux olympiques d'hiver de 2010 à Vancouver, la même chose aux Jeux olympiques de 2014 à Sotchi. Bon nombre de nos athlètes ont acquis une grande notoriété durant ces jeux, une renommée dont ils ont joui longtemps après ces grandes compétitions. Les Canadiens se sont ralliés à ces athlètes et c'est fièrement qu’on les a vus monter sur le podium.
12807 Récemment, lors d’un évènement de sport amateur, la Coupe du monde féminine de la FIFA, qui a eu lieu au Canada en 2015 pour la toute première fois, les auditoires ont été stupéfiants. Le match de quart de finale qui opposait le Canada à l'Angleterre a été le match de la Coupe du monde féminine de la FIFA le plus regardé de toute l'histoire avec un auditoire moyen de 3,2 millions de téléspectateurs. En tout, ce sont 15 millions de Canadiens qui ont suivi à l'écran les cinq matchs du Canada. En tant qu'athlète, je peux vous affirmer qu'un tel auditoire a un effet incommensurable sur notre parcours.
12808 Mais entre ces grands rendez-vous, c'est là que le travail commence, et c'est là qu’on a besoin de support, de soutien pour pouvoir représenter le Canada à nouveau sur la scène internationale. Pour poursuivre leurs rêves olympiques, nos athlètes doivent ménager aucun effort pour subvenir à leurs besoins. Ils misent notamment sur les commandites de produits de consommation, les campagnes de financement sur les réseaux sociaux, pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns, et tout cela nécessite évidemment de la visibilité.
12809 MR. OVERHOLT: While there are national training facilities available, most of these athletes train in their communities. They are part of the social fabric of towns and cities across our great land. And, on their behalf, the COC felt that we needed to add our voice to the chorus of interveners who see the disturbing trend that has reduced the viability of local television.
12810 We’re not here to point fingers, Mr. Chairman. In terms of exposure for the Games themselves, the Canadian broadcasters have been very supportive. The CBC, Bell and Rogers have all been great partners in not only paying for the rights but also producing hours of unparalleled coverage. And the audiences have grown immensely, not only on TV, but also on radio, on mobile and the internet. The last two Olympic Winter Games were the most watched Games in Canadian history, with 33.4 million viewers each.
12811 However, in the years between these major events, amateur sport is fighting to find room on program schedules. Professional sport is the dominant player on the specialty channels and there are very few conventional channels that deliver Canadian sport content of any kind any more.
12812 On a local basis, as broadcasters come under more and more financial pressure, the future of amateur sport coverage looks bleak. In our communities coast-to-coast-to-coast sports coverage is a major part of news programming and, as local news is diminished, so too is the public profile of our athletes.
12814 Meanwhile, our sports specialty channels have a growing tendency to gravitate away from Canadian amateur sports and air internationally acquired professional sports programming. Even though, in the past, the CRTC mandated the sports channels to cover amateur and university sports, now they almost exclusively air professional events, teams and leagues, the majority of which are not Canadian.
12815 Mme CHAREST: Nos récits ne sont donc pas racontés. Même si nous avons inspiré les Canadiens par nos efforts, nous sommes retirés des écrans dans notre propre pays. La télévision locale a du mal à trouver les ressources pour nous assurer une couverture. Les réseaux sportifs régionaux et nationaux ont peu de temps à nous consacrer. Et les réseaux nationaux conventionnels ne s'intéressent à nous que tous les quatre ans durant les Jeux olympiques.
12816 Rien n’a un pouvoir aussi unificateur, dans notre pays, que les grands Jeux internationaux auxquels nous participons. Nous le savons pour l'avoir vécu à Vancouver. Nous le savons pour l'avoir vécu à Sotchi. Et nous le vivrons encore cet été à Rio. Mais entre ces Jeux, nous, les athlètes, participons continuellement à des compétitions qui sont rarement télévisées, mais qui sont toutes aussi importantes et d’aussi bon sinon de meilleur calibre.
12817 Par exemple, dans mon propre sport, le patinage de vitesse, seulement certaines compétitions au Canada sont télédiffusées, malgré le succès phénoménal de nos athlètes dans les compétitions internationales. Ces évènements méritent certainement leur place sur les canaux canadiens. Nos athlètes, modèles de persévérance et d’excellence, méritent autant de visibilité sur la scène médiatique que nos acteurs, nos comédiens, nos musiciens et autres personnalités du monde du divertissement.
12818 MR. BOND-LAPOINTE: Ironically, we university athletes can watch our American competitors here in Canada on the American specialty channels like Pac-12 Network, CBS College Sports Network or the Big Ten Network 24 hours a day. Meanwhile, our Canadian sports specialty channels carry NCAA U.S. college hockey and basketball games routinely, while our regular season games in the Canadian interuniversity sports schedule go unnoticed.
12819 Rogers Sportsnet has secured a package of national Canadian interuniversity sports playoff games. That six-year deal includes potentially 10 to 20 games per year of mainly football, hockey and basketball. The American universities, meanwhile, have hundreds of their regular season games in a variety of sports made available on Canadian television, as well as all of their NCAA Men’s playoff games in hockey, basketball and football.
12820 The effect of this type of exposure on an athlete is immense and that is why many of our best are taking their skills to American schools. Then at least our parents can watch us on television if they can’t make it to our games. Our amateur athletes are not only losing ground to professional sports but American amateur sports have pushed us off the dial as well. It just doesn’t seem right that my parents in Canada can’t see me play week-to-week unless I go to school in the States.
12821 MR. OVERHOLT: And so that brings us to today and the reason for our appearance. The CRTC has reaffirmed in these proceedings that local coverage of news and current affairs is a fundamental element of television programming. The CRTC has also indicated that community, local and regional broadcasting services
12822 have become an endangered species and that many parts of Canada are being underserved. The COC believes that amateur sport coverage is integral to the nature of a community, reflects a region’s culture and is also critically important to the local news ecosystem.
12823 Unfortunately, given the pressure of the structural economic changes that are facing local news producers, sport at the amateur level is feeling the pinch as well. The COC felt that it was important that we represent the sport community that is highly relevant in any discussion about local television. In our submission, you hear the voices of over 12-million Canadians who are involved in amateur sports in Canada today.
12824 The COC has counted over 30 amateur sport organizations from communities across the country that took the time to write interventions to support their BDU and its sport initiatives. They all feel it is critical that the system continues to receive funding equal to what it has received in the past and we have seen very little opposition to that stance in the submissions. It is really about how we divide the funding now. In that regard, we conditionally support the initiatives that the CRTC has put forward in Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-421-3.
12825 With regard to Initiative A, the COC is encouraged by the idea of establishing a fund that would provide incremental support for the production of local news and focus on local news and information programming. We feel strongly that sports must be part of that definition so amateur athletes can be covered in ways that are currently unavailable to them. How exactly the funding mechanisms unfold is for others to decide, but we would argue vehemently for an approach recognizing amateur sports as a key element of the programming that is supported by the fund.
12826 As for Initiative B, it is important to ensure that the local broadcast stations in large markets are not forced to stop covering local amateur sports altogether. The stations are important news sources, complementary to what the community channels offer and they need support. However, in the markets with no over-the-air stations, for the purpose of accessing funding, the COC feels that the community channels should have a definition of news and information programming that emphatically includes sports. Furthermore, the community channels, should they be given the option of selling advertising, will definitely benefit from a schedule that includes live and VOD sports, given the demonstrated interest in that type of programming.
12827 In terms of other issues raised by intervenors, the COC also supports, in particular circumstances, sharing relevant content across the country with communities of interest. As indicated in the CCSA submission, Access Communications was a major partner in the hosting and presentation of the 2014 North American Indigenous Games and it made it available free of charge to small BDUs’ community channels throughout Canada and North America.
12828 The COC sees this type of sharing of amateur sport content outside of a local area to be of value to many sport communities. It is quite simply a win-win situation, in that content flows to audiences that are interested and productions reach more viewers. We agree with the CCSA in urging the Commission to recognize the considerable value such sharing can add to the lives of Canadians by allowing this distribution model that is efficient and affordable.
12829 It is clear that with the newspaper industry falling on hard times and some broadcasters shortening their newscasts or downsizing newsrooms or centralizing production, the coverage of amateur sport is impacted deeply and we fear it will continue to diminish. Sport -- especially local amateur sport -- is a victim of the changes in fortune that the news industry is experiencing.
12830 Our concern for amateur sport is that it is becoming less relevant in the Canadian consciousness, as a result. As the governing body for the Olympic Movement in Canada, the COC is here to declare that the Canadian television system, which is so critical to maintaining profile and relevance, is not working for amateur sport.
12831 Participation in amateur sport in particular is one of our greatest avenues for creating improved health, self-confidence, community and culture. As a steward of amateur sport in our country, the COC represents a community that is large, multiethnic, multilingual and culturally significant. Sport is clearly part of the fabric of this nation.
12832 This country thrives at amateur sport. Professional leagues are fed by amateur sport. Some of our greatest cultural moments are derived from amateur sport. It will take a collaborative effort of the distributors, the incumbent sports specialties, the public broadcasters, the conventional channel, the community channels and the CRTC to ensure a place for amateur sport on our system. But it is the right thing to do.
12833 We were encouraged to see the incoming federal government appoint a Minister of Sport in the recent cabinet announcement. It gives us hope that the efforts of our athletes are growing in -- of growing importance to Canadians. And the COC is grateful for support received by our athletes through the Ministry of Heritage in the past and we know we have many supporters there who will continue to carry the torch.
12834 And this policy hearing can set the bar. The Commission has an opportunity to cement the place of local programming as unassailable in delivering Canadian stories. Community channels need to be properly funded, local news needs to be delivered by the system, and in tandem, amateur sport needs to be recognized as part of our heritage along with drama, music and the arts.
12835 As the Commission deliberates in the next few months over the community and local television policy, we urge the CRTC to remember that amateur sport is dependent largely on community television and local news because much of the rest of the license system in this country has grown enamoured with foreign and professional sport programming.
12836 Whatever solutions come out of these hearings, that discrepancy needs to be addressed. Our athletes need to have access to a Canadian broadcast system that celebrates them, supports them and is driving them to the podium.
12837 In closing, Mr. Chairman, with regard to this proceeding, the COC recommends the following.
12838 First, that amateur sport be recognized in the definition of news and local programming, and be included in any fund that would provide support for the production of local news and information programming.
12839 Second, the local over-the-air stations in large markets be encouraged to continue to cover local amateur sport should they receive additional funding.
12840 Third, the community channels should be encouraged to support amateur sport as part of their access and local programming.
12841 Fourth, that sharing amateur sport programming outside of the BDU’s geographic area be encouraged in what it has a potentially broader audience.
12842 And finally, that limited advertising be allowed to help defray production costs for live amateur sport events on community channels.
12843 The COC wishes to thank the CRTC for its invitation to hear from Canadians. We look forward to picking up the conversation in earnest and working together to assure Canadians that amateur sport remains a respected and fundamental element of our culture and will be part of the television industry in this country for many years to come.
12844 We would certainly now be prepared to answer any of your questions. And thank you once again, Mr. Chair.
12845 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald.
12846 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Good morning and thank you very much for being part of this process today.
12847 I have a few general questions and then some more specific questions that perhaps relate more closely to the hearing.
12848 And I’d like to start out by getting your view on how amateur sports is covered in Canada in relation to how it may be covered south of the border or in other countries. Do you feel that other countries put more of a focus on the coverage of amateur sports?
12849 MR. OVERHOLT: I’ll take that first in general terms and then I’ll pass to Chris based on his experience.
12850 I had the opportunity to live in the United States for seven years. I was living in Florida right up until just after Vancouver in 2010. And so I can answer unequivocally that amateur sport in the United States is provided far more attention in all ways than it is here in Canada.
12851 And as a result, and again particularly in the communities that I lived in and worked in in Florida, I can tell you that it meant a significant difference to the support for and advocacy for those programs.
12852 So whether it be the impact of high school football on -- and the support that it received or local baseball, all the way down to aquatics’ events held in Fort Lauderdale, those events were often covered, not only local news but in mainstream media, particularly where they were big stories. And the participation levels in the state that I lived in, and certainly true of many of the states where those sports are prominent, as an example, certainly leads to higher participating -- participation rates where they’re covered in that way.
12854 MR. HEBB: Yeah, Commissioner MacDonald, I think it’s a question of balance in Canada. I think what’s happened is there’s been a shift from local and amateur sport being considered relevant to it being lost in the shadow of professional sports in Canada, and in specifically American professional sports in Canada. There’s just been a growth in that industry that has allowed international events to become part of our regular diet as Canadians.
12855 And if you were to look at even a newscast 25 years ago, a lot of the focus would have been on amateur sports, college, high school. Now it just seems like with the reduction in time, the reduction in resources, that the easiest thing to do is just to cover the professional sports. And that’s what’s happened in Canada. The balance is out of whack.
12856 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Have you been able to quantify what the trickledown effect is of that with respect to funding for amateur sports? If it’s carried -- if it’s carried more in the United States than it is in Canada, one might assume that it’s easier to raise funds for amateur athletes because they’re getting -- if they’re getting more coverage. Have you been able to quantify what the impact is on Canadian athletes?
12857 MR. OVERHOLT: Strictly speaking, I’m not sure I can at this moment give you a definitive answer to that but we can certainly consider that in our replies.
12858 I can tell you that a big part of my responsibility as the Chief Executive of the Canadian Olympic Committee is to advocate for and raise funds for our athletes. And I can tell you that in the context of what the Canadian marketplace provides today and while we receive incredible support, it is as difficult, it is as challenging as it has ever been.
12859 We’ve had in recent time, and particularly since Vancouver as the Canadian Olympic Committee, much more success than we’ve experienced ever in our 110-year history. But that’s not true and cannot be said for all organizations at the amateur sport level in this country. It certainly cannot be said or be true today for our national sport organizations who carry the principal responsibility of developing these athletes from playground to podium.
12860 They have the principal on the front line opportunity and responsibility to deliver athletes in that way. And it is as difficult financially for them as it has ever been. And we could certainly quantify that in our replies.
12861 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
12862 With respect to the different sports, certain sports tend to take up a lot of oxygen in the room, be they, you know, hockey, basketball, football, the ones that -- the sports that most people tend to tune into. Do you find that there are particular problems or even more lack of coverage with respect to some other sports that may not be quite as popular from a viewership standpoint; swimming, diving competitions, speed skating, whatever the case may be?
12863 MR. OVERHOLT: You want to take that Isabelle?
12864 Mme CHAREST: Je pense que pour avoir vu les auditoires pour les Jeux olympiques où les Canadiens se rallient et regardent les compétitions, apprécient les compétitions, je pense que ces sports-là peuvent être populaires.
12865 Le problème c’est que la diffusion des sports qui sont un peu moins traditionnels dans le paysage médiatique c’est qu’ils sont couverts souvent un mois en retard, après que l’événement soit passé et où il n’y a pas de “build-up” pour la compétition comme il y aurait pendant les Jeux olympiques.
12866 Je pense que les Jeux olympiques tous les quatre ans ne sont pas une bonne façon de mesurer la carrière d’un athlète et qu’on aurait intérêt à voir les athlètes évoluer beaucoup plus régulièrement. De cette façon, je pense qu’il y aurait un attachement à ces athlètes au sport qui sont tout aussi excitants à regarder que le basketball, que le football et le hockey.
12867 Mais définitivement en ayant une couverture de qualité, à temps approprié, donc que ce soit de la couverture live ou que ce soit les grands événements qui soient couverts, je pense que la popularité serait là aussi pour ces sports-là.
12868 MR. OVERHOLT: I might add to that, if you’ll allow me. If you believe as we do that sport inspires, if you believe as we do that some of those performances that are oftentimes missed in between Olympic games but that are equally as heralded internationally and are as much to be celebrated, perhaps, in those terms. If you believe in those things as being inspiring for the country and for the youth of this country in particular, then I think you can start to separate some of the challenges that come with the commercial viability of, say, a sport like speed skating in our example, versus the commercial viability of virtually any hockey game that we might decide to air.
12869 Again, we all love that game but when you speak to our athletes, our Olympic athletes, and you talk to them about what caused them to get engaged and involved in sport -- I daresay this would be true for our interuniversity brethren as well -- oftentimes they point to performances of our amateur athletes. Oftentimes they -- you know, modern-day athletes will talk about watching Mark Tewkesbury win his medal in Barcelona, or a Clare Hughes inspired performance at any one of those games.
12870 There’s more room for that. There should be more room for that on our airwaves, in our culture. It should be the silver thread that strings it all together, in a lot of ways. We believe that that is very powerful; good for our country, good for our communities.
12871 You know, the power of our athletes is because they come from the four corners of this country. They are who we are. They are ethnically diverse; they are representative of those communities that they come from. And in many ways most of us are only several degrees of separation removed from them; almost all of us knows somebody who knows somebody, if we don’t know an athlete directly. That has power. And that’s a story that needs to be told more than 17 days every two years.
12872 MS. CHAREST: And they are both gender as well.
12873 MR. OVERHOLT: Of course. Of course.
12874 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You’re supportive of community TV taking a more active role in the coverage of sports, and do you have any thoughts on what that should look like? Should it be a specific number of hours of coverage a day or a week of amateur sporting events?
12875 MR. HEBB: We think that live sports especially is very important at the amateur level, for kids to be able to see themselves on the community channel is important. And the thing about live sports is it’s costly. It’s not a VOD one-camera shoot; it requires production quality. So I think what we’re hoping to see come out of this is that there is an emphasis on quality hours of live amateur sports.
12876 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: We’ve heard a lot over the last seven days of varying different viewpoints of what is actually considered local. Some people believe that to be considered local it should be -- content should be solely produced by people living within a particular community, talking about just that community on one end of the spectrum, and on the other end, more relaxed rules or more flexibility.
12877 When trying to decide what constitutes local in sports, what criteria should we put around that? Is it just as simple as wherever the stadium is that the sporting event is taking place, it’s only local to that community, or does it go beyond that?
12878 MR. HEBB: I think that local is about communities of interest. And amateur sports, if there is a tournament in Truro, Nova Scotia, there may a team there from Sherbrooke, Quebec so it’s really hard to define local as specifically that community.
12879 But as we said in our intervention, it’s important for there to be communities of interest that get served by local production, as the Indigenous Games were through Access Communications sharing of those games with other small BDUs around the country.
12880 So do we want a fence put around local so that it actually interferes with the sharing of these athletes’ performances coast to coast? No. Is the focus going to be on venues and events in a locality? Of course it is. That’s where the event needs to take place. But we would be cautious to indicate to the CRTC that we don’t feel local is just because an event takes place in a community.
12881 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I wonder; are the venues themselves ever an obstacle in having a sporting event covered on television? I’m thinking of, you know, if a community station goes out, there’s a truck rolled, there could be disruption at a local aquatic centre with equipment and cameramen going through. Do you think these venues every discourage community stations from coming in and covering the entire event?
12882 MR. HEBB: I think that there are a number of venues around the country that are prewired, they’re lit properly, they have transmission capability out of them that the BDUs have taken advantage of. But, generally, for live events it does require either rolling a truck or a fly pack where you basically have camera equipment and a control room that you take in a suitcase, and create the event through that type of technology.
12883 But ultimately, yes, the venues are a barrier because not a lot of the small communities have their arenas wired properly and even lit properly. But that’s why there’s associated expense with doing these live events. You have to bring that with you.
12884 MR. OVERHOLT: It’s also the case that sport content and sport programming need not be event-driven, right? The power of what we do in between games is the manner in which and the depth of which we offer the athletes’ stories to the medium and to the market. So while we don’t have the benefit of, you know, dasher boards or regular media to build around an event like any professional hockey club would, we have great inspired stories that can be understood and portrayed in video, in short form content that can live online and be produced also for multiplatform.
12885 And in many ways, as we go back to again the power of the inspired performance to tie those communities together and to tie that inspiration together for our young people, those can be as powerful, if not more so. Telling those stories can be as relevant as the live event itself.
12886 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Still just on the topic of the venues, are there any copyright issues that broadcasters need to be aware of? I’m thinking if they are showing, you know, the hockey game, there may be company-branded logos on the boards or there may be other advertisements. There may be music that’s played that they need to be mindful of airing on television. Are there any concerns or pitfalls that -- especially community stations that maybe not -- maybe don’t have as much history in broadcasting these events that they would need to be aware of?
12887 MR. OVERHOLT: In this world and these times with the focus on intellectual property rights and so on, I think it would be naïve for me to say that these wouldn’t be things that we need to consider.
12888 But to your point, those that are engaged in supporting those community events, those small businesses that support those community events and facilities with their names and with their sponsor dollars to bring them to life, I’m sure would be more than pleased to see their support acknowledged and advocated for as part of that live production. So those things are always a concern but, generally speaking, I think those are issues that could be overcome in that context.
12889 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. You mentioned in your intervention that the broadcasting of sporting events involves news and analysis and interpretation. Just to clarify, are you suggesting that sports coverage should be considered local news?
12890 MR. HEBB: I think what we’re saying it’s integral to local news. If you look at any news production at a station in a city around Canada, there's generally a segment of that news that is devoted to sports, just as there is to weather. So, yes, we consider it local news.
12891 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So just so I’m clear, you consider it local news; if there's snippets, if there’s commentary, that should count as local news.
12892 What about in a situation where a station may air the entire event that’s taking place; would that also be considered local news or would that be a separate category?
12893 MR. HEBB: I think that would fall under local news and information programming in the community channel context.
12894 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Just a couple of final questions.
12895 Do you find that some platforms are more fitted to covering news than others? Is a linear station broadcasting a live event the best way? What role can video on demand play; coverage on YouTube? Do you have any information about how people actually want to view this content?
12896 MR. HEBB: I think that the -- what Chris was saying earlier is we welcome any platform for amateur sports, video on demand, live event coverage, news coverage, clips, YouTube.
12897 It’s really about exposure for these athletes and whatever method of exposure is available is where the production should go.
12898 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, I believe those are my questions. I will turn it back over to the Chair.
12899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
12900 Commissioner Simpson?
12901 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning, thank you. A couple of questions, first on the issue of -- there’s -- you’ve got a chicken and egg problem.
12902 You’ve got to raise money for amateur sport and raising awareness for amateur sport and the question is which comes first.
12903 In your last ask, you had said that the Commission should consider loosening the regulations with respect to sports -- or advertising and promotion and sponsorship.
12904 So with that in mind, with the ‘which comes first’, normally in professional sports marketing when a sponsor makes an investment in something like Davis Cup tennis or World Cup soccer, they know that for every dollar they’re spending on the advertising rights there’s another dollar that has to be spent on the merchandising and sponsorship right. You know, it’s a -- you have to double your budget.
12905 Have you ever given any thought or perhaps -- well yes, I’ll put it to you rather than us. Have you ever given any thought to how you control your product?
12906 NBA, NFL has a complete lock on every aspect of how their product is marketed and associated with.
12907 Is this something that you can do in amateur sport, so that you can create an environment where you say to a potential sponsor if you make an investment in our sport, amateur soccer, what have you, that investment has to come first and then we can unlock the door through regulation from the Commission, to a relaxed form of advertising and promotion that comes with it?
12908 So you are getting both happening at once, but it’s up to the sports organization to see that the investment in the sport is made first before the other -- you know, the inverse of what normally happens.
12909 Have you ever thought about that?
12910 MR. OVERHOLT: Commissioner Simpson, I don’t -- I’m not sure what your background is but you seem quite intuitive with respect to this part of our business.
12911 Thank you for your question and you’re quite right. You know, the beginning of a support for our organisation, for our athletes and for our coaches, is really just the start of the investment.
12912 And in fact I would argue that the broader Canadian marketplace is supporting our athletes right now, again, at unprecedented levels.
12913 And they’re doing -- they’re supporting our Canadian Olympic brand, our organisation, our athletes, and coaches, and their association to it.
12914 We’re here today as an advocate for all of sport and we do that -- we do that for the reasons we mentioned in our intervention.
12915 It would be very difficult for us, I think, to throw our arms around all of sport in the country. Frankly, that’s not even our mandate, as you would appreciate I’m sure.
12916 But one of the things we have tried to do in recent years, in the time that I’ve been involved, since just after Vancouver in 2010, is we have tried to broaden our support for sport and for high performance sport particularly in the country.
12917 We do that in a number of ways but first we do it by raising the money and then what we try to do is open up various programs for our sport -- national sport federations, in the ways that we support our athletes with Own The Podium funding, things like this.
12918 We have talked about ideas that we have, for how we might throw our arms around a media platform, for example, and we’re working on that actively today.
12919 We work on it independent of the IOC, we’re working on it with them, we’re talking about it actively as recently as last week, overseas in Europe with the IOC.
12920 We think there is the beginnings of something there that we do believe that our partners would be interested in as well, beyond the sponsorship dollars that they already offer, but I can say that it’s yet undeveloped.
12921 So the qualifier I’ll put on it is our work would be done on behalf of the Olympic Movement. It would be done working with our partners and maybe a broader set of partners in that environment.
12922 I don’t think it could reasonably be said that -- while we can always be advocate for sport, I don’t think it could be reasonably said that commercially we could throw our arms around the whole of the community. I think that would be unmanageable for us.
12923 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I think that’s essentially something we grapple with on this end.
12924 Because the devil is in the details and every region is different in its support, in -- and involvement and every broadcast distributer and community channel is different in this country. So I -- but it’s a notion that I throw out there.
12925 The other question I’ve got is along the lines of getting some insight, when we talk about the American system.
12926 The whole alumni system in the United States is really the jet fuel of that level of sport, just before the jumping off point into professional sports, when the PACs, the NCAA and so on.
12927 And I was wondering if you could comment on the difference in the Canadian alumni system?
12928 It seems that corporations in Canada lend themselves more towards incenting academic activities, scientific activities and so on, in their support of post-secondary institutions and sports doesn’t quite have the same enthusiasm as it does in the United States.
12929 Is that a factor that contributes to your problem?
12930 MR. OVERHOLT: Again, having lived in the United States I can tell you that you’re quite right to make the statement.
12931 The -- you know, the alumnus of any given university, sport alumnus of any given university is, in many ways, instrumental to its core programs.
12932 Certainly true of -- it’s certainly true of football, in the North-east certainly true of their hockey programs and so on, so they are key drivers.
12933 It is something that I think at the Canadian Olympic Committee we’re doing a slightly better job of than we have in past years.
12934 Evidence of the relationship we enjoy with Isabelle and many of our colleagues, former Olympians, who have performed so well over the years.
12935 Today we have, I think, seven Olympians working inside our business, inside our organisation, but we can certainly do a much broader and better job of engaging all of our alumnus.
12936 Many of them -- many of whom have gone on to great careers and have redefined their lives in that way professionally and can provide inspiration for our current athletes and for sport generally in this country.
12937 We’ve recently launched a program for our athletes, built with our athletes and it’s called Game Plan.
12938 That program was just launched in September and fundamental to it is engagement with our athletes in a total wellness perspective, but inherent in it is alumnus engagement and all of that to help build that strength of community around it.
12939 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you, last question.
12940 In thinking community here and trying to incent both the community broadcasters and the community itself, in getting more involved at a regional and local level in sports, it’s been my experience that the art form, in markets like the United States, is to take a sporting event and wrap it -- wrap a festival and event around it.
12941 I’m thinking the Pasadena Rose Bowl, I’m thinking Orange Bowl. Even the Indianapolis 500 is a weeklong festival in Indianapolis and it gets the entire community engaged.
12942 And I’m wondering if that’s a level that you’ve reached in Canada or is it something to aspire to?
12943 MR. OVERHOLT: It’s an excellent thought and, of course, we’ve seen that at the highest level on the biggest stage in Vancouver and what that meant, not only for Vancouver and for the Province of British Columbia, but for the entire nation, in fact.
12944 Event business and event ownership and development among our sports is actually something that we are exploring as a strategy, something that we’ve talked about.
12945 Consistently our sports who get engaged and have the capacity to get engaged in that way are able to build stronger organisations as a result. One that would be top of mind at this moment would be Rugby Canada.
12946 They’ve had a very aggressive event posture over the last half a dozen years in particular and that has led to not only the growth of the sport, but the financial viability of that Canadian organisation, such that they’ve now got two quite competitive high performance programs in Rugby Sevens.
12947 And we’ve got a 100 percent medal contender in our ladies that are heading off to Rio.
12948 So events and event strategy for sport can be something that lends credence to it and, you know, the strength of that often times, financially, is rooted in its broadcast potential.
12949 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. You may or may not know that I’ve got a bit of history with the amateur sporting movement.
12950 MR. OVERHOLT: Yes, sir.
12951 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And I say amateur in quotes because I was responsible for Sports Canada when I was the Assistant Deputy Minister over Heritage, in the 2010 bid for Vancouver, anti-doping treaty.
12952 And I think I wrote what might be still a leading article on television rights in sporting events. So -- when I was a lawyer.
12953 So my questions may be a bit inside baseball but I think they’re still important because of your position here and what you’ve put forward.
12954 You use in your recommendations the expression “amateur sport”. Help me understand what you mean by it.
12955 MR. OVERHOLT: Sure. I think it has two connotations in our context today. First, and given the focus of these hearings, it’s amateur sports in the traditional sense. It’s our high school athletes; it’s our minor hockey systems; it’s our minor baseball systems. It’s sport in the community and the importance of what that means to those communities and the relative focus that we believe it should have in the context of news and information for those communities.
12956 When we speak of amateur sports sometimes we add the word “elite”, amateur elite sport, because we are, by definition, meant to be advocates for -- certainly for broader sport in the country and for the Olympic values but we’re meant to be advocates for our high performance athletes as well. And so in that context that’s what we also mean.
12957 THE CHAIRPERSON: So does your definition include all Olympic events or sports that are played by or participated in -- even the word “played” I think had some notion to it -- had participation by Canadians even if there is significant sponsorship dollars associated with those individual athletes? I’m thinking of tennis and golf.
12958 MR. OVERHOLT: Yeah, and more recently, you know, just this past weekend we watched the X-Games. You know, those athletes are professional athletes for sure in that context.
12959 In the moment that they are Olympians, if their sport discipline is included in the Olympic program then they are amateur for the purposes of that discussion.
12960 And we shouldn’t be concerned, in my view, about the fact that we have athletes that are able to make a good living being advocates for excellent at a sport discipline, because again for the inspiration it provides.
12961 You know, a young athlete like Mark McMorris is -- you know, that young guy is probably the best acknowledged snowboarder in the world right now. He’s providing inspiration and an attitude toward health and wellness and a can-do spirit that -- irrespective of the money that he might make in between Olympic Games. In the moment that he’s an Olympian, he is an amateur, he’s there with that in mind and provides inspiration irrespective of his financial standing.
12962 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that, and I’m not critical of that, except that if we are going to start creating a definition and incenting something under our regulations we want to know exactly what we’re incenting, and broadcasters being broadcasters they sometimes go where the money is.
12963 And I’m sure we won’t achieve what you’re thinking about if the coverage ends up being of people that compete in international Olympics, for instance, but are heavily sponsored and maybe not the people you’re trying to highlight at the more grassroots level.
12964 MR. OVERHOLT: No, that’s it.
12965 And again, we have multiple conversations to have with the Canadian populace and the Canadian marketplace, and I suppose with this Commission.
12966 THE CHAIRPERSON: And perhaps it’s too complicated to give me the answer now, but when you make recommendations and refer to amateur sports would you be able to actually give us what you mean by amateur sports in that context?
12967 MR. OVERHOLT: Sure.
12968 THE CHAIRPERSON: And could you do that through an undertaking?
12969 MR. OVERHOLT: Yeah, of course we can.
12971 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would your comments extend to the Paralympic movement?
12972 MR. OVERHOLT: I think they appropriately could but I don’t serve as a representative of the Paralympic Committee. I can’t say that I speak for them today.
12973 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate that, but would there be any reason, from your perspective, your Association’s, that they would not be covered by your proposal?
12974 MR. OVERHOLT: None whatsoever.
12975 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Own the Podium approach, si je ne me trompe pas, tentait de faire un choix stratégique entre certains sports, disant qu’on va peut-être investir plus dans certains sports que d’autres, peut-être le ski acrobatique plutôt que le boulingrin.
12976 Est-ce que vous voulez qu’on mette cette même lentille dans notre cadre réglementaire? En d’autres termes, est-ce que les sports qui devraient être couverts sont ceux que le Canada, à travers Sports Canada, ont décidé de mettre de l’avant comme les sports les plus importants du point de vue stratégique?
12977 MR. OVERHOLT: Actually, I think the opportunity for this Commission is to support those sports that aren’t targeted as the priority, because what we should want to do from a high performance strategy is while we’re busy focusing on where we have the best opportunities to be successful today, and we do that as you point out, sir, with the support of On the Podium and their good technical advice, we have the greater challenge of figuring out how we grow the sports that aren’t targeted today and how we provide increased participation levels for them and heightened awareness for them such that children want to participate in sports that are not of profile, biathlon, you know, speed skating to some degree, outside of a couple of the provinces.
12978 Those are wonderful sports. We were talking last night about how exciting speed skating is in a number of ways. That sport is today targeted but it hasn’t always been.
12979 And so I think, actually, the opportunity for this Commission would bring attention and to provide a platform for growth for some of those other sports that aren’t our focus on a high performance level today.
12980 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you refresh my memory about how much the federal government currently is investing in amateur sports?
12981 MR. OVERHOLT: Order of magnitude, almost $240 million, $260 million annually.
12982 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that includes the hosting program, as well as the Own the Podium and the participation ---
12983 MR. OVERHOLT: Yes.
12984 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- across all categories. Is that correct?
12985 MR. OVERHOLT: Yes.
12986 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does it include the foregone revenues for the non-tax -- pour les athlètes qui ont des brevets? Si je me rappelle bien, le montant que vous recevez, si vous avez le brevet, n’est pas taxable. Et donc est-ce que votre estimé comprend les revenus que l’impôt ne collecte pas par ailleurs quand vous donniez le chiffre tout à l’heure?
12987 MR. OVERHOLT: If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re referring to the athlete assistance program. Is that right?
12988 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
12989 MR. OVERHOLT: Yeah, the carding program for our high performance athletes. And I believe that number is in there but I would have to verify that.
12990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So maybe you could do that through an undertaking.
12991 MR. OVERHOLT: Sure.
12993 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I’m not targeting you. Every other group that’s come up here and asked to participate in a subsidy program we’ve been curious about other subsidy programs that exist because we have to look at the broader area.
12994 Just building on what my colleague Commissioner Simpson was asking about, obviously the IOC’s economic model is based a great deal on trademark licencing, sponsorship by large multinational companies and national companies. And that only works really if those brands get media attention through television broadcasts.
12995 I was wondering if you’re able to help me understand if we were to implement your proposal what impact it would have on the marketing dollars both for the NSOs, the National Sports Organizations, and individual athletes that may have sponsorship deals.
12996 MR. OVERHOLT: First, with regard to your commercial -- or your comment on the commercial viability of sponsors in the IOC, I think that’s right. Certainly the supporters of the IOC enjoy marketing opportunities around the rings certainly at games times and they do that with 30-second spots and other programs.
12997 They do not -- as I’m sure most are aware, they do not have signage opportunities like hockey clubs do, and so on, during the games. Those things are still -- it’s a last bastion of commercialism I think for the IOC.
12998 And I would also say, our national partners, while they enjoy some of that same placement against Olympic Games, they buy that placement incrementally from our partner at CBC. And so it’s important to understand and acknowledge the very significant contribution that the likes of our partners make -- our national partners make to the Canadian Olympic team in the absence of media support. It really -- what they’re supporting is our athletes and coaches, their kind of moments in between games as much as they are their moments at games, and programs that we build to support our athletes and coaches in that regard.
12999 With respect to National Sports Organizations and how they might be impacted by all of this, I think that would have to be a story that could be best answered over a period of time. I don’t think there’s an instant remedy here for some of the challenges that our National Sport Organizations face.
13000 But we could agree, of course, that where we’re all seen to be supporting the growth of and proliferation of sport, in whichever ways we choose to do that, where that leads to increased participation in sports and ultimately converting some of those playground activities into podium pathways. Where those things are happening, then over time we can, I think, feel comfortable knowing that we're doing our bit to contribute to the growth of the National Sport Organization, whatever sport it might be. Ultimately, their job is to convert that. Right? Ultimately, their capacity to do that is something that we've been trying to help them with.
13001 One of the roles that we can play in all of this is to provide leadership training, mechanical training around sports and marketing for them. We have very, very capable people, but this is a sophisticated challenge these days for all of us, including our organization.
13002 So that story would have to be told over time, I think so.
13003 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you would agree with me that beyond your presentation today about having more coverage for sport that maybe is underrepresented in the system, which may actually contribute to social benefits of feeling good, more participation, I get all that ---
13004 MR. OVERHOLT: M'hm.
13005 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- but there's money involved in this as well; right? More visibility means more money?
13006 MR. OVERHOLT: Ultimately, yes. Should be over time. If it's the case that in doing all of these things to support the local effort, we're growing the capacity for participation, it should ultimately translate into greater opportunity.
13007 THE CHAIRPERSON: And assuming we accept all your recommendations on paragraph 33, would you hazard a guess as to what the value of that would be commercially?
13008 MR. OVERHOLT: I could not. I would love to be able to, because I think it would be quite compelling, but I could not do that.
13009 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, and even with more time you could not do that?
13010 MR. OVERHOLT: I don't believe I could put my thumb on that in this particular way as you're suggesting, sir.
13011 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
13012 I believe those are our questions. Thank you very much.
13013 MR. OVERHOLT: Thank you very much.
13014 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13015 Donc on va prendre -- on va ajourner jusqu’à 11h00 pour compléter avec les autres intervenants.
--- Upon recessing at 10:42 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 10:59 a.m.
13016 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l'odre s'il vous plaît.
13017 Madame la secrétaire.
13018 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
13019 We will now hear the presentation of the National Campus and Community Radio Association.
13020 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes.
13021 MR. ROOKE: Hello, my name is Barry Rooke. I'm the Executive Director of the National Campus and Community Radio Association, or NCRA.
13022 With me to my right is Luke Smith, the NCRA's Membership Coordinator. To the left is Francella Fiallos, the NCRA's National Advertising Coordinator.
13023 We want to thank you for the opportunity to present today, as well as recognize we are on unceded Algonquin land.
13024 As you know, the NCRA is an association of mostly English-language not for profit radio stations committed to volunteer-driven, community-oriented radio across Canada. Our goals are to ensure stability and support for local campus and community radio stations and to promote long-term growth and effectiveness in the sector. Our mandate also highlights the importance of promoting the participation and engagement of underrepresented groups within community media.
13025 We currently represent 95 broadcasters, which are community-owned and controlled, public -- enable public access, and deliver high quality programming with financial support from the communities they serve, the Community Radio Fund of Canada, and other granting bodies.
13026 We are here today as part of the larger community media sector, which shares a focus with community television on local content and community access. Our comments are based on the best practices in our sector that we feel are appropriate to the community television sector.
13027 We believe the mandate of community television and community radio are similar in that the structure of both contemplates participation by the audience and the needs, values and goals of the communities the stations serve. By enabling community members to control and participate in creating the content, the programming becomes a reflection of the communities served.
13028 MR. SMITH: The NCRA recognizes the importance of community broadcasters having a physical space where community members can work together to produce local programming. Without a physical space, many people would not have access to the equipment, knowledge or resources necessary to produce meaningful and locally relevant content, particularly under-served community members, like people with disabilities, learning or cognitive impairments, or addictions. Some people also require extra training by staff or more experienced volunteers.
13029 For example, CGPE-FM is a new FM station serving Prince Edward County, Ontario. It's the only radio station in this widely dispersed rural area, and has grown from a 2011 idea to a social space that brings 80 plus volunteers together to develop 120 hours plus of programming each week.
13030 Prince Edward County is a retirement location and the station plays a key role in connecting many otherwise isolated seniors within the greater community. Their physical space provides seniors and members of disadvantaged social groups with access to training and learning opportunities, and opportunities to be involved in local affairs by producing local news and other community programming. The station has over 5,000 people come through their physical space in the first year of existence.
13031 MS. FIALLOS: With respect to the Commission's January 12th Notice of Hearing and working document for discussion, we have a few comments:
13032 First, we define local programming based on current or target AM or FM signal range. Our members apply this definition even when they broadcast over the Internet and can reach a much larger audience outside that signal range.
13033 This is because focussing on the area in and around the signal range is an effective means for stations to bring people together and encourage dialogue and community building. It also helps them determine which news and information will be most relevant to the bulk of their listeners, and which issues require discussion and analysis in public affairs programming.
13034 In our sector, community members themselves, who live within a signal's range, play a crucial role in making these decisions and creating or curating programming they feel is relevant.
13035 We define access programming as programming created by and for community members, usually with training and support by station staff or other volunteers. Our members are particularly adept at this and most of their programming would fit this definition.
13036 In recent years, new technologies enable the expansion of access programming to include submissions by community members produced outside the station and even outside the radio broadcast area.
13037 MR. ROOKE: Our sector also promotes the representation of traditionally underserved groups, like gender and sexual minorities and people of colour. Some stations do not have the physical and financial resources to develop targeted programming by and or for these listeners.
13038 The NCRA runs a community radio programming exchange program, which is used by our stations to share access programming that they produce. When produced by other stations, it's not considered local but it is consumed by niche markets at a local level.
13039 In our opinion, good community programming involves diverse voices and languages and is a balance of local programming and niche programming developed for underrepresented groups. It entails engaging with community members directly to determine community needs and interests to inform which programming content is most appropriate for its listeners.
13040 Stations often do this via individuals or committees who oversee and analyze the need for content types and genres, and ensure that proper programming balance is met.
13041 Additionally, the NCRA receives funding to support the distribution of sector-produced niche marketing as the Community Radio Fund of Canada recently supported an update to the community radio program exchange.
13042 This has seen a 200 percent increase in traffic within the last month of going live. To support these updates would not have been possible without funding opportunities at the association level.
13043 MR. SMITH: With respect to the Commission's invitation for proposals for a third-party fund to support local news, we note that large and established NCRA member stations produce significant local news programming. For example, CFEP-FM in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia completes 10 newscasts per weekday, 7 on Saturdays and 2 on Sundays.
13044 Each newscast is five minutes long and includes sports, weather, and individual community programs are encouraged to update their listeners as breaking news and environmental incidents occur. However, CFEP-FM is a large, stable station with a strong financial foundation that allows the station to develop news reporting without external funding.
13045 Unlike CFEP-FM, the majority of our sector finds it very challenging to create locally relevant and reflective news programming without stable and adequate funding sources because this type of programming is very labour intensive and requires considerable training and resources.
13046 We highlight the CRFC as it has assisted our members in achieving local programming goals. It's significant that over 50 percent of the stations receiving CRFC funding are in areas with populations of less than 50,000, where resources, funds, and broadcasting expertise are scarce. Yet on average, they provide around 350 hours of training and an additional 550 hours of coaching per year with very limited staff, which is necessary to enable the production of high quality programming.
13047 CRFC funding often helps them to do that. Stations like CHHA-AM, a Spanish language community station in Toronto, or CKMS-FM in Waterloo, or CKAR-FM in Huntsville have identified the need for local news content on their schedules and ran projects in 2015 funded by the CRFC to develop their news capacity.
13048 We encourage the Commission to ensure that news funding sources are made available to licensed broadcasters as many communities do not have access to television but are tightly connected also by their radio networks.
13049 MS. FIALLOS: Finally, our colleagues at AMARC, which is the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, recently attended the International Seminar on Community Media Sustainability: Strengthening Policies and Funding, which was hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO.
13050 The event in Paris brought together regulators and community media practitioners from all over the world and resulted in 37 recommendations. We believe that some of these recommendations support the comments we’ve made today.
13051 For example, one recommendation calls for the creation of funds to support community media. Another calls on governments to adopt measures to support the rollout of community media services to underserved areas. And recommendation eight asks regulators to promote the engagement of women, young people, persons with disabilities and marginalized groups in the community media sector.
13052 MR. ROOKE: The NCRA believes that community engagement and ownership are paramount to operating effective community broadcasters. Stable funding is also essential for community media to fulfill its mandate and adopted changes. I hope our insight can help the Commission in developing policy for community television.
13053 Thank you and we look forward to any questions you have.
13054 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner Molnar.
13055 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Good morning. I want to ask you first about your organization. You say that one of the goals is to promote effectiveness in the sector.
13056 MR. ROOKE: Yes.
13057 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So how do you define “effectiveness” as it regards your organization and the community radio sector?
13058 MR. ROOKE: I believe it’s a combination of the ability for our members to be able to complete the tasks that they have set out in their own individual mandates, as well as match those with the requirements of the regulatory body in -- of the governance that allows them to do what they do.
13059 So it’s a combination of trying to meet their needs and tie them into what the requirements are. COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So promoting the effectiveness of the sector is ---
13060 MR. ROOKE: So it would also include, for example, highlighting the fact that a lot of the content that is developed and broadcast is specifically for underrepresented groups or niche listeners or broadcast participants who don’t normally have that opportunity to have their voices heard. So an effective -- in essence, we would -- we’re working towards allowing that information to be presented, shared by the community to the community; whereas, again, it’s not necessarily a requirement in the licensing of many of the other broadcast levels.
13061 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: One of the questions that we asked and you had responded to related to how do you measure success. And your response was -- and I’ve lost the page here. You spoke of qualitative measures that should be taken into account. What type of qualitative measures do you believe need to be considered in looking at how effective a policy related to community programming would be?
13062 MR. ROOKE: I think it’s a combination of both qualitative and quantitative in that sense. For example, there’s recent studies that have recently been completed by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, as well as our own internal work, and there’s a handful of academic papers that are currently in progress in the research side of things that look at both aspects of them.
13063 A lot of it comes back to the discussion of how the community feels as though the radio stations are actually serving their needs. And that’s tied back into the way that the radio stations themselves are connected to the ownership of that organization.
13064 All of our member stations are non-profit owned and controlled by the community, therefore, their board of directors has representation, whether it’s from the campus side or the community side and others that have needs and involvements in it. For example, campus stations have people -- academics circles sit in on it.
13065 So it’s sort of a combination of all of those areas together that meets the needs of what people are broadcasting and if the community itself is happy with the results that they’re hearing.
13066 And the way that you see a lot of that comes back with the number of memberships and the amount of funding at a local level that comes back to the radio station. You could also include the amount of advertising that comes back as well as listener numbers, which are extremely difficult to find in our sector.
13067 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So do you believe that the need to sort of sell membership is perhaps an effective way of ensuring that you remain connected to your community?
13068 MR. ROOKE: I think a lot of stations work on more of how many people are involved in the station as well and compared to membership and support. So a lot of stations see people come through the -- come through the stations as volunteers, rather than pay an annual fee to support.
13069 So there’s a combination of those two different areas, as well as the community organizations themselves who are involved with the radio stations and participating who seek out the support when organizations are looking to promote a local event.
13070 So I think it’s a combination of all those three. It’s very difficult to say specifically that membership is linked to how successful and how much support the radio station receives. Some stations don’t necessarily work on members as a traditional pay an annual fee to get into it. And they’re -- each station is bound by a different set of what their membership looks like as well.
13071 MR. SMITH: So a couple of examples is we have a station in Winnipeg that serves predominantly seniors in the area. And they work on the membership based and they make a very substantial budget that sustains the station based on all of the seniors who are signed up as members.
13072 In Ottawa we have a completely different story where CKCU-FM based out of Carleton, their volunteers who do their programming generate a third of the revenues through a funding drive and they make very, very little in membership fees.
13073 So like Barry was saying, the member -- the way that they generate revenues is very dispersed across our sector.
13074 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And as you speak of best practices, is there a best practice that would suggest there is a way to ensure that you are responding to your community’s needs?
13075 MR. ROOKE: When it comes to funding?
13076 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, I’m thinking of funding, yeah. Like as a way of -- you know, there’s an investment. There’s an investment made in expectations back through some of these funding models.
13077 MR. ROOKE: Yes. Specifically regarding funding I think that the member stations each react to the communities in -- or environment that they serve. So it’s very difficult to say a funding model. We have members -- about a third of our members make under $15,000 a year. We have another third of our members that are $200,000 up to 600,000, $700,000.
13078 And the ways that they each receive funding is completely dispersed throughout the whole sector. So some large community stations are able to pull in and bring in advertising revenues of 300,000 or so a year, others make none.
13079 So it’s very hard to kind of have a best practice. It’s really based on the communities that they serve or the way that the organizations individually are set up and how they can find funding in order to meet those goals when it comes to producing content support for development and operational costs as well.
13080 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: We’ve heard in the last number of days and you reference here as well sort of the small market versus large market and some of the different objectives or needs. Do you have anything you might be able to share with us as it regards the role of community or how it is different or the needs are different within large metropolitan areas versus smaller communities?
13081 MR. ROOKE: I think a lot of the work that our members do are based around that specific community. Licensing for example, in Toronto we have approximately seven stations that are members, which serve a lot of the Toronto community. However, each of their broadcast signals are relatively small or they're very isolated to a specific area or listenership in that sense.
13082 So there really is not that many large radio stations that cover entire sectors. Calgary might be one example of a standalone radio station there that serves the majority of that community. But most community -- or most campus stations and almost all community stations are very focused on a smaller sector that they represent, whether -- even if their membership or their broadcast power is quite large, it’s usually over a very rural sector.
13083 So we don’t see numbers or we wouldn’t be able to see numbers that rival that of commercial radio listenership, because the communities that are served are so focused in that sense. I’m not sure if that answers ---
13084 MR. SMITH: One of the biggest difference I’ve seen in speaking to our members, between the small stations and the larger stations generally in metropolitan areas, is in the programming. The programming in urban areas are usually far more niche. There’s some fantastic Somali shows here in Ottawa. I do a GLBT show here in Ottawa. And we -- you get less of that in the smaller rural stations, and they tend to rely more on the programming exchange that we referenced earlier to kind of get in that specially programming, because they simply don’t have the communities in the smaller areas to facilitate it.
13085 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: One final question and it's on access and community -- community advisory boards and the need to have such boards to help govern what is produced and distributed. Do you have any thoughts on whether or not that is an important, necessary component?
13086 MR. ROOKE: The way that all of our stations are set up is in that format, where they do have a board of directors that is set out in order to oversee the structure of how the station works. Often that board, if there is funding available, will hire staff in order to look after it.
13087 But again, 20 to 30 percent of our stations are essentially run at the board of directors’ level, they're in the offices writing the bills, paying the work. And all -- the way that they’re elected is through the non-profit, incorporation or society-based model. So you can't have a single owner per se, you can have someone who is organizing to do -- run the station as a single station manager, but they are overseen by the community itself that is elected by that community.
13088 Luke sits on one of those boards, I've sat on them before. I think Francella understands the same way as well, that it is very much community oriented and focused. And if the listeners and if the people that have stake and involvement in the stations themselves don’t like what is happening, it tends to be a change from the board level, which then facilitates a new direction for the station going.
13089 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.
13090 Those are my questions.
13091 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, my colleagues -- apparently those are our questions. Thank you very much for having participated in the hearing. Thank you.
13092 MR. SMITH: Thank you.
13093 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire.
13094 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci. I will now ask Access Communications Co-operative to come to presentation table.
13095 THE SECRETARY: Pease introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes.
13096 MR. DEANE: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Jim Deane and I am President and CEO of Access Communications Co-operative. I’m pleased to be here today along with Carmela Haines, Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Wade Peterson, Manager of Community Programming.
13097 Access is a not-for-profit, community-owned co-operative operating 223 cable systems in Saskatchewan, serving 230 communities. Community television featuring high levels of local programming, including local news and information, is at the very heart of what we do. We do not operate our community channels merely to comply with CRTC regulations. Rather, we do this because it is part of our mission as a community-owned co-operative.
13098 In our remarks today, we will discuss two things: first, our commitment to community television; and secondly, the positive impact the Commission’s current regulatory framework has had on our channels and the communities that they serve.
13099 First, we’d like to demonstrate how our community channels, called Access7, provide locally reflective and relevant programming, including news, in large and small communities across the province.
13100 We will now show a brief video that highlights this achievement.
13101 (VIDEO PRESENTATION/PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)
13102 MR. DEANE: We’re proud and committed to our community channels. Our commitment is reflected in the following numbers: 2,011, the number of original hours of local programming we delivered in 2015 on Access7; 1,738, the number of current community programs on our VOD platform; 321, the volunteers helping to produce Access7 programming last year; 89, the number of unique community channels we operate in Saskatchewan, over 95% of our customers receive an Access7 community channel; 55 percent, this is the amount of access programming created by members of our communities in 2015; 22, full time and part time employees dedicated to our community channels, province-wide; 8, the number of our regional studios operated by Access7; 6, the number of rural cable systems we have purchased and invested in in the last six months; 3, the number of “Tuned-In Canada” awards our community programming won this year; 2, only two of the communities we serve also have a local television station.
13103 Community TV was the founding purpose of our predecessor, the Regina Cablevision Co-operative when it was formed in 1974. Even today, our mandate remains the same.
13104 MR. PETERSON: Our local programming reflects our communities, including the multicultural diverse and indigenous people who live there. It includes talk shows, live events, public service messages and interviews.
13105 All of this program has enormous value to Canadians living in our communities and should continue to be supported by the community television framework.
13106 Our local news programming is similarly pertinent and locally reflective. Last year, Access7 aired city council meetings in 9 different communities.
13107 We broadcast 21 municipal, provincial and federal election debates and we also prepared a variety of candidate profiles and live results program.
13108 We broadcast fundraisers, conferences and other live events. We also provided public affairs programs that included discussions of local issues.
13109 These news and information programs form the fabric of our democracy. The community channels should be encouraged to continue to feature them.
13110 We provide a key source, and in some cases, the only source of local and access programming in the communities we serve.
13111 We know that our channels are highly valued by our viewers. In the last three months two Saskatchewan communities, Arcola and Yellow Grass, put their trust in us by gifting us their cable systems.
13112 They did this to preserve community ownership and to provide an added opportunity for a dedicated community channel in each community.
13113 We are developing innovative ways of delivering this programming to our subscribers and will be launching a Go app for out of the home streaming of Access7 content this year.
13114 Access7 has thrived in the current regulatory environment. Any changes to the current framework that undermines our ability to deliver local programming in those communities would harm our customers.
13115 MS. HAINES: Our second topic is funding. We firmly believe that the current mechanisms for funding Access7 should be maintained.
13116 In each market we serve, we are permitted to contribute 5 percent of our annual broadcast revenues to local expression on our community channels, including our channel in Regina.
13117 We regularly exceed that. Last year, we devoted nearly 6 percent of those revenues to Access7.
13118 The Commission’s decision to allow our licensed Regina system to devote the full 5 percent to community programming has been an enormous success.
13119 As the Chairman said at the outset of the proceeding, the Commission intervenes only when necessary. In our case, we believe intervention is not necessary.
13120 We have heard proposals about setting up a local news fund. We do not oppose the creation of such a fund, but we do not think that we should be required to contribute to it.
13121 A not-for-profit, community-owned co-operative should not be giving a subsidy to VI companies like Bell and Shaw.
13122 That was the flaw in the LPIF. We think it was unfair to require Access Communications, a not-for-profit, community-owned co-operative, to fund Canada’s largest for-profit communication companies.
13123 Any reduction in funding levels to our own community channels would have a serious impact on the communities we serve.
13124 Don’t get us wrong; we are dedicated to producing high quality local programming, including local news.
13125 However, even for us, if we are required to redirect our money to a new fund or to some other regulatory mechanism, our community channels will suffer.
13126 As a final point on funding, we think there might be some merit in the proposal to allow some community channels to supplement their current funds with advertising revenues.
13127 We do not know the value of this proposal however. We are hopeful that it potentially could ensure that small market community channels have some additional funding to perhaps produce more local programming.
13128 MR. DEANE: In closing, we firmly support the current community television policy.
13129 Our community channels are meeting the local programming needs of the communities we serve and we believe that independent distributors, particularly those that are community-owned co-operatives, should not be forced to fund television stations operated by VI companies.
13130 We thank you for this opportunity to express our views and would be pleased to answer any questions. Thank you.
13131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Commissioner Simpson will start us off.
13132 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Hello. Thank you very much for coming. I say I put emphasis on “very much”, because your system, your proposals, your method of operation are different.
13133 We often hear the same thing repeatedly and so I’ve got, with great interest, the opportunity to ask you and learn more about your system.
13134 First question I’d like to ask, because you’re house proud, being a co-op are you in your mind better at what you do because you are a co-op or is it because you are a co-op you’re expected by your members to be better?
13135 MR. DEANE: Well thank you for your comments, to start. I think it’s both.
13136 I think as a cooperative there’s certainly some seven principles of cooperatives and one of which is contribution to community and that’s certainly something we take very seriously so I think that’s part of it.
13137 And being community owned and local, I think that it’s pretty hard to get closer to the communities that we serve.
13138 I think our structure allows us to do that. A membership in the cooperative is only $1, so it’s not restrictive so we encourage as many of our customers as possible to be members and to weigh-in.
13139 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.
13140 MR. DEANE: And be part of the governance process.
13141 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Co-ops are traditionally structured around offering -- the notion of offering best value buying power if you like or in the case of you, a certain quality and emphasis on the needs of your constituents.
13142 So with that in mind, do you ever find yourself at odds with your mission in trying to provide better value in terms of the cost of your system to your subscribers, when you obviously seem to want to invest their subscription money into producing better product?
13143 Do you ever find yourself at that nexus?
13144 MR. DEANE: It’s a difficult balance at times. I think that’s a good question. You know, earnings are not returned to the membership in terms of dividends as a not-for-profit.
13145 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.
13146 MR. DEANE: So therefore for us they’re -- the earnings are used to broaden community programming and at the same time invest in the organisation itself and ensure the sustainability of the organisation.
13147 So that’s a -- that can be a difficult balance at times, but again being community owned and having governance, a board of directors that are members of the community I think we’ve been able to achieve that balance.
13148 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.
13149 When it comes to your ambitions to be as hyper local as possible within the confines of the technology and your geography, first question I have on that is of all the systems you have, how many are licenced and how many are exempt?
13150 MR. DEANE: All but one are exempt.
13151 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Really.
13152 MR. DEANE: Our licence system is in Regina.
13153 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13154 You made mention of the fact you have eight access points within your system for community participation.
13155 What would you guess is the driving distance in a worst case scenario to -- I’m trying to get an idea of geographic distribution.
13156 We’ve heard a lot about having to drive 30 minutes and pay parking in metro markets and that seems to be a major inhibitor to participation.
13157 What are your community programming producers have to face in getting access geographically or cost-wise?
13158 MR. DEANE: Okay so driving distances can be vast but we do have, we said, a number of regional studios across the province so I don’t imagine ---
13159 If somebody, for example, in Melville wanted to produce a program using our regional studio, it would be a 40 minute drive to Yorkton, as an example.
13160 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.
13161 And in using these access points, are they all full facility, from the standpoint of technology, equipment and editing facilities?
13162 I’ll ask that as a first question and then my next question.
13163 MR. DEANE: They are. They’re a smaller version of the facilities that we have in Regina. We do have mobile production units based in a number of communities as well.
13164 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13165 MR. DEANE: And so it -- do they have the same lighting grid or green screens in Regina, no, but it’s close.
13166 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, okay.
13167 And of the quantum or total of your access producers, how many are coming to you with product that is made by their own technology versus using yours?
13168 MR. DEANE: I think the vast majority of the local access, the community producers as we call them, are using our expertise and our facilities.
13169 We do certainly get some that are produced by the producers themselves. I think Wade might give us a better ---
13170 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13171 MR. DEANE: In terms of percentages but I think the vast majority would be using our technical expertise and our facilities.
13172 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right, right.
13173 MR. DEANE: It’s important as well -- and I think community producers recognize this, that the quality be maintained.
13174 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Nothing to add?
13175 MR. DEANE: As a percentage? Yes, it’s probably about 20 percent of content that’s brought to us.
13176 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, I’m asking because we hear a lot about the garage band technology having moved to video production. You know, we see a TV series now being shot on an iPhone, and we're trying to gauge the, you know, the veracity and the actuality of complaints that access to technology is a major barrier ---
13177 MR. DEANE: Right.
13178 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- and so that gives me an idea that about 20 percent are ---
13179 MR. DEANE: Yeah.
13180 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- finding their own means.
13181 Sorry if I'm going slow here, but I'm -- the Sudafed's kicking in.
13182 In terms of your system, I want to understand how you do things. You've got a linear operation, correct, which is out of Regina?
13183 MR. DEANE: That's correct, yeah.
13184 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13185 So when it comes to -- you know, you've got a very big emphasis on hyper -- on the importance about being hyper or local.
13186 When it comes to actually getting that product back into the community, how do you do that in terms of discriminating within your system? Do you -- you know, given that you've got, what you said, the better part of 80 some odd exempt facilities, how does that hyper local content get back into that community? Is it through VOD only or what?
13187 MR. DEANE: No, it can be linear in the communities as well. We use our broadband infrastructure to push the programming out to individual communities ---
13188 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13189 MR. DEANE: --- so as well as both the video itself, the live, not live but the full motion video and the character generator public service announcements that we use.
13190 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13191 You mentioned, in both your oral and written submissions, that all but two of your market service areas do not have an OTA in that service area. And I presume as a result of that, this is why you've taken up the need to fulfill a certain amount of news and community information because of that?
13192 MR. DEANE: I think we're responding to demand from viewers in those communities as well. I think it's part of who we are ---
13193 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13194 MR. DEANE: --- to do this.
13195 And secondly, it's certainly part of viewer demand and viewer interest in each of those communities to provide this kind of, if you like, long form news where we would cover issues in-depth.
13196 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And can you just describe to me how you do that?
13197 Because there is a lot of huffing and puffing about the need for journalistic integrity, journalism as a trade a craft a -- that needs to be practiced with a certain amount of regimen and oversight.
13198 And do you find yourself being in the hard news business at any point, or are you strictly informational?
13199 MR. DEANE: I think for the most part we're strictly informational. I mean, I think one of the things that we do with local producers is we -- community producers is we ensure that they exercise editorial control.
13200 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13201 MR. DEANE: To give you an example, we broadcast some federal election debates in Regina that were produced by the Association of Regina Realtors, the Regina Chamber of Commerce, and the Association of Regina builders -- home builders, and they were the ones that moderated the debate, they were the ones that provided the questions, and the like ---
13202 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13203 MR. DEANE: --- so we partnered with them.
13204 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Interesting.
13205 In your position -- which is very clear that the funds of the BDUs should be left alone for use under the determination of that BDU -- but acknowledging that there is a need for news, do you see BDUs, such as yourself, stepping up at all to try and be more of a news source?
13206 Given that we're seeing the potential of some OTAs failing in the next while, we've had that told to us, and if news starts to fail, like in television broadcasting like it's failing in print industry, where does that put an organization like yours? Is this something that you fill the gap or do you just let it happen?
13207 MR. DEANE: Well, I think first, with respect to BDUs, I think it's -- we think BDUs structured like ourselves ought to be able to continue operating the way they are.
13208 Secondly, I think if -- we respond to community need and being owned, I imagine if there's a dearth of local news in a community and there's a need from the community itself, we would naturally respond to that, as we have with other interests expressed by the community itself.
13209 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13210 I'd like to get a better understanding of the competitive nature of your markets.
13211 And I'm first going to go to the question of how many markets are you in, with the exception of your two licensed markets, where there is a competitive BDU product, first of all, a terrestrial BDU? Do you have any -- are any of your markets served by both SaskTel and yourself?
13212 MR. DEANE: Yeah, I think probably it's 80 percent of our customer is -- we're competing with the terrestrial BDU.
13213 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13214 MR. DEANE: And of course, in the other markets we're competing with the ---
13215 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: BTH?
13216 MR. DEANE: The BTH services, yeah.
13217 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13218 And my reason for asking that question is that you had done a practice analytics survey, which I found very interesting, and you had indicated that 63 percent of respondents watched your channel, at least once or twice a week. But the stat that I would like to focus in on is that you had asked and the answer from the respondents was that 55 percent said community -- the community channel was the important part of their choice in BDU selection, and that's something that really interested me.
13219 So going back to your figure, you said that you were up against SaskTel in how many markets?
13220 MR. DEANE: Eighty (80) percent of our base would be competing with them, yes.
13221 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And in terms of subs, how are you doing up against SaskTel if selection of -- by virtue of community programming is important to more than half of the market?
13222 MR. DEANE: Yeah, I mean, they're certainly operating their version of a community channel as well. So I mean, when we asked our customers whether it's a deciding influence, so yes, I think that's important to us.
13223 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13224 MR. DEANE: You know, it's a very competitive environment. I mean, it's -- I can't say it's an easy business anymore. It's certainly interesting. The days go quicker, but it is highly competitive.
13225 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13226 On -- back to funding for a second on a few questions I've missed. You were very clear, as well, that the LPIF may have been full of good intentions but there were many areas of it that you disagreed with.
13227 May I ask if you disagreed with the fund as a whole, or did you see that in part it had value, specifically with respect to helping OLMC communities and possibly some of the independents, who weren't under the shelter of a parent company?
13228 MR. DEANE: Yeah, I think probably -- it would be difficult for me to speak on the impact for the independents, for example.
13229 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
13230 MR. DEANE: I can speak to the impact it had on Access Communications' co operative though.
13231 Our contributions, while probably very small in the large scheme of things, had a significant impact on us. The LPIF represented a third of our average earnings over the last five years and a quarter of our spend on community programming, so it had a significant impact on our operations.
13232 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: If this fund, that has been discussed in the last week and a half, were to be looked at from the standpoint of news -- and I had asked you if you would step up to the plate if it was -- if there was access to a fund even -- or at least recognition of the need for news -- would you or are you now collaborating with any other local media to help bring more news to that community?
13233 Are you, for example, collaborating or cooperating with community radio or private radio or the local newspapers to try and bring this to the -- bring more news and information to the community?
13234 MR. DEANE: Yeah, I'm probably not in the narrow definition of news. We do collaborate with local radio in events like United Way telethons, things like that. They're in the community interest, but raw news in the narrow definition, no, not yet.
13235 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
13236 I think the last questions I've got are with respect to the nature of the co op model, and it seems -- is it an anomaly, because of anything sociological, for example, or philosophical to the Saskatchewan marketplace, or is it something that just hasn’t had its day yet in other markets?
13237 MR. DEANE: Well, for three generations we’ve argued we’re unique in Saskatchewan. I mean it’s -- I think that’s changing. But no, I think the home of the cooperative movement has probably been Saskatchewan and to a large degree Quebec. A lot -- we’re members of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance and certainly there’s, I think, at least 20 plus members of -- our members of the Alliance are cooperatives based in Quebec.
13238 But certainly the co-op movement in Saskatchewan is large. It’s -- as a sector it’s one of the largest employers. If you scratch anybody in the province they’re at least a member of one co-op or two credit unions and it’s -- it has resonance, there’s no doubt.
13239 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: When it comes to any extraordinary need, because there is demands on the system everywhere -- and in the discussions we’ve had this week the view of the Commission has been that there’s sufficient funds within the system, but perhaps they need to be differently managed, moved around. In your operation as a cooperative, aside from the revenues you get from your constituency, from your members; do you ever find yourself in a situation because of either need, or want for something special, to levy or pull your membership for any extra money to be able to do something extraordinary?
13240 MR. DEANE: Well, I think one of the things we’ve found, probably through the talk TV proceedings and the outreach by the Commission to our customers and Canadians as a whole, there’s a whole lot of price fatigue out there with respect to television programming in particular. So I think our ability to reach out and find something specific would be fairly limited.
13241 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. So there hasn’t been an instance where ---
13242 MR. DEANE: We haven’t tried that. No, we got off the ground with member loans to start with, a combination of member loans and a government loan guarantee back in the mid-‘70s. But I think that our ability to do that today -- and you know, given the cost of some of these things that our access to capital is a limiting factor for cooperatives, and for us it’s -- we debt finance growth and initiatives such as you’re talking about.
13243 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right. I think in closing, all of your positions are extremely clear and we -- I sure appreciate that. I have just one question and it’s a little off the -- out of scope, but SaskTel has announced that they’ve -- they’re ready to launch their new basic. How are you guys doing?
13244 MR. DEANE: We’ll be ready March 1st. Yeah, we’re certainly getting some phone calls from interested consumers and I think speaking personally too, getting off topic, I think I probably underestimated the demand for the smaller basic package. I think consumers are going to embrace it.
13245 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Terrific. Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
13246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13247 Commissioner Molnar?
13248 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. Good morning -- barely. I wanted to focus -- in your statistics you said that 55 percent is the amount of access programming created by members of your community. So I’d like to understand the other 45 percent. What is the makeup of the other 45 percent?
13249 MR. DEANE: It’s programming that access producers would have put together, or concepts around that sort of thing. So Wade could probably speak more clearly to that.
13250 MR. SMITH: Yeah it is. In terms of access producers, we mean our access production staff that go put together projects and things like that. The other thing also, is part of those stats would be other content that would be brought in that’s not classified as community produced. So that would be -- might be from another BDU.
13251 MR. DEANE: And I’m thinking ---
13252 MR. SMITH: Sure.
13253 MR. DEANE: --- some of our sports programming. For example we covered a minor hockey game. There might be an interest from the community that we would do, but it wouldn’t -- we don’t have a community producer that would fit -- I guess fit the definition of community produced.
13254 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you. And I just want to take it a little more broadly to understand if there is a nature of programming such as sports programming, or perhaps some of the news -- what you had defined as news -- that doesn’t fit well with -- you know, being produced or created by members of the community. So is it a type of programming, or is it a size of market, or where is it you feel that you fit best as the producer versus members of the community? Can that be defined in some way?
13255 MR. DEANE: Probably broadly, yes. The delineation would likely be on the type of programming. We have a program called Access on Location where we’re out covering events and happenings within the community and, you know, the Premier’s speech or diner, or the Premier’s -- state of the city address by the Mayor of Regina next week, we’ll be out covering that.
13256 That doesn’t lend itself to a community producer, but certainly it’s of relevance to the community itself and that’s -- I think that’s the type of production that we don’t classify as community produced. So I think the vast delineation is probably on the type of programming.
13257 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And if there was consideration of increasing the percentage of access programming required, what kind of impact would that have?
13258 MR. DEANE: I think it might have some impact in terms of driving that demand. We certainly don’t turn anyone away. We encourage access programming, community produced programming. We encourage it through bill stuffers, or public service announcements, or local insertions on our -- on the US specialty networks, those types of things. It took a lot of awareness to get, I think, the community A, aware that they could do this, and B, the interest to come in and do it.
13259 So the 55 percent has been a work in progress, you know, three years ago I think we were below 50 percent, we are at 55 percent today. But we’re certainly not turning anybody away and we encourage more members of the community to come in and produce their opus, their work of art, their passion.
13260 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. And I ask you this because I do understand you have a very large commitment to community programming and to your members, and so I believe when you say you’re encouraging them and, you know, wanting their content. And so I thought you were a good person to speak to the fact that there is non-member produced programming that doesn’t maybe fit well with members, such as you know, you said the sports programming and so on.
13261 So is there some potential to take away some important community news information reflection if it is moved from, you know, you folks as producers to more into the community. If you weren’t going to cover that amateur sports would someone else, or would it just not be reflected?
13262 MR. DEANE: I think there is an awfully good chance it would not be reflected. I think in many cases we’re the only people covering some of these things.
13263 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, thank you.
13264 LE PRÉSIDENT: Monsieur Conseiller Dupras?
13265 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Just one question. The pooling of monies from different systems into a pot to give you the flexibility to assist a given area more than another is -- this is not something that you seem to be needing. You manage well with what you’ve got so far for each system, or how does it work for you?
13266 MR. DEANE: I don’t think we -- pooling, I don’t think would have an impact. We’re committed to spending at least five percent of broadcast revenues in every sector, every area of our service areas on community programming.
13267 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Are they smaller systems that have less resources that ---
13268 MR. DEANE: They do. We produce ---
13269 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- could need more?
13270 MR. DEANE: Perhaps, but I think the five percent as we’ve been able to walk that balance so far to date and maintain five percent in our Regina Systems and five percent in our systems over 2,000 customers, and the same with our very small systems as well.
13271 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And the smallest systems you have has how many subscribers?
13272 MR. DEANE: The smallest?
13273 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yeah, on which you do a community channel.
13274 MR. DEANE: Oh, probably about 100 to 150 customers I would say would be the smallest.
13275 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And with that number of subscribers you are able to have a community channel?
13276 MR. DEANE: It would, yes.
13277 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: With the five percent?
13278 MR. DEANE: Right. Now, we’re not there every day producing programming. We’re there probably ---
13279 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Is it like mostly alphanumeric all day?
13280 MR. DEANE: No, we’re -- we have some communities of interest, some regional -- what we call regional programming.
13281 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes.
13282 MR. DEANE: So certainly, you know, some of the smaller communities around Weyburn, Saskatchewan receive some of the programming that we produce in that area. So we have a producer based in Weyburn, and a studio in Weyburn, and a lot of the programming that’s produced in that area would be played in Milestone, a community that’s close to Weyburn. But at least four, five, six times a year we would be in Milestone producing programming unique to that community
13283 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Thank you.
13284 THE CHAIRPERSON: Legal, please?
13285 MS. FISHER: Thank you, Mr. Chair. My question -- my first question is with respect to Exhibit 1, that was placed on the record of the proceeding last Monday and we’d ask that you undertake to provide responses by the 16th of February.
13286 MR. DEANE: Yes, we’d be happy to do that.
13288 MS. FISHER: Thank you.
13289 And in respect of Exhibit 3, which was placed on the record last Thursday, we would also ask that you’d undertake to provide responses as applicable by the 16th of February.
13290 MR. DEANE: We’d be happy to do that.
13292 MS. FISHER: Thank you.
13293 That’s all.
13294 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13295 Those are all our questions.
13296 So everybody knows where we’re heading, there’s three intervenors left, and rather than take a break and have you folks wait we’re just going to keep going to go through the number of intervenors.
13297 So madame le secrétaire?
13298 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
13299 And just for the record, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists are not going to be appearing at the hearing.
13300 I would now ask FirstTel to come to the presentation table.
13301 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourselves and your colleagues, and you may begin.
13302 MR. ENOSSE: Aanii. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Lawrence Enosse. I’m an elected member of the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory.
13303 With me today to my left is Lyndsay Brisard. He’s a board member for the Wiikwemkoong Development Commission operating as Enaadmaagehjik. And to my right I have Anne Marie Sandford. She is our communications business manager for FirstTel. And also we have Gordon Odjig. He’s our videographer and photographer for FirstTelTV5, formerly known as WikyTV5
13304 We’d like to -- before we begin, we’d just like to acknowledge and recognize the Algonquin Nation and their traditional territory which we are gathered on. And we would also like to acknowledge our community members back home Wiikwemkoong watching through social media.
13305 So we’d just like to say miigwech. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss a very important and unique community-based legacy that we have in our community of Wiikwemkoong. Wiikwemkoong has created, implemented and delivered a service through a small cable community channel.
13306 WikyTV5 operating under FirstTel Communications is a small cable community channel located on the Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and it’s identified for the eastern portion of Manitoulin Island where we’re located. We’ve been in operation for 26 years, a resilient, passionate, committed, community driven and proud 26 years.
13307 When WikyTV5 was first established, an agreement was made with a cable business company and over the years has changed names and ownership. That agreement was to build a cable system on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory in exchange providing that Wiikwemkoong was given a community channel for local programming.
13308 Mr. Chair, and Commissioners, we’d like to share the importance of our community programming for the people of Wiikwemkoong. The Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory has a population of 8,000-plus band members and with an on-reserve population of about 3,000 people. In our community about half or 500 households have the ability to be connected within the community for cable, the other half live outside the reach of the cable system in our seven surrounding communities.
13309 Due to our household subscribership, Eastlink, the BDU, has never been under a regulatory obligation to support our small community cable channel, furthermore, nor have they offered to.
13310 I’m proud to say that our resilient small community channel survives on its own source revenue between $35,000 to $50,000 a year. Our operating budget is about $1,0000 -- $100,000 annually. This revenue is mainly raised via our weekly television bingo which is supported by our people.
13311 We provide programming on our community channel 24 hours a day seven days a week. We are proud to announce and share with you, Mr. Chair, and Commissioners, that 40 percent of our grassroots televised community programming is produced in our language in Ojibway and Odawa so that it can be documented and shared with the future generations.
13312 Our unique, innovative and creative in-the-language grassroots programming includes elder interviews, children and youth within our education systems at our local day care, our elementary schools and our high school, puppet shows for our children and youth to promote language learning, artists to teach activities from woodworking to quill working. Retaining the language is very important in our community and work has been further developed into our own Wiikwemkoong Anishinabemowin language app on Google Play Store and Apple iTunes.
13313 With increased funding we could increase the percentage to 60 percent. We do subtitle for non-language speakers to maximize its accessibility but this does include extra costs.
13314 Furthermore, our community programming features promotion and awareness in educational, social issues, news, recreation and leisure activities, tradition and cultural activities, health, entertainment, community activities, and tourism. When moving video is not available we offer a community scroll that provides information on events and activities for our community members.
13315 The content is produced within our community with limited staff, including our own videographer Gordon, and a part-time editor, and community partnerships with our countless volunteers, the people of the Wiikwemkoong.
13316 A resilient 26 years later, WikyTV5 continues to provide unique, innovative and creative television programming that has created a legacy for our people in our community of Wiikwemkoong. Our people understand the importance of what they see and who they see on our small cable channel.
13317 Mr. Chair, and Commissioners, we have a short video presentation from our community programming that we would like to share at this time.
13318 (VIDEO PRESENTATION/PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)
13319 MR. ODJIG: In the region of Manitoulin Island in the north shore, an area with 18 First Nations communities, FirstTelTV5 is a leader in Aboriginal Broadcasting. To provide an increased visibility and awareness of our channel, our culture and our language, we have recently begun live streaming. FirstTelTV5 was able to generate over 9,000 hits of our live streaming coverage of the local annual three-day powwow with viewers from across North America, Europe, Australia and even the Middle East.
13320 Other First Nations within Ontario are beginning to look at FirstTelTV5 model to help promote Aboriginal culture within their own communities.
13321 As a community channel limited geographically in our distribution of our locally created grassroots content, it is difficult to solicit advertising to increase our revenues. The advertising revenue that we are able to generate from local community small business and organizations is minimal.
13322 In recent years WikyTV5 formed a partnership with FirstTel, a 100 percent Aboriginal-owned Bell telephone redistributor in order to explore other opportunities to generate more own source revenue and ultimately keep the channel active.
13323 If FirstTelTV5 had increased financial support, we could increase First Nation employment and raise the standard of our community news programming, we could access more training for our staff, and in turn, provide more time for our staff to train local volunteers.
13324 With increase financial support we could update our equipment. The equipment we see here today in this room is production equipment that we could only dream of having access to, let alone owning.
13325 And just to demonstrate our need for new equipment I will let you know that we still manually play back our video content on VHS tape during live broadcast. So it would be a huge step forward for us if we could modernize so that we are digital, a little more automated and in high definition.
13326 With the help of CACTUS, FirstTelTV5 was able to receive a used CBC transmitter which we would like to use to reach households that are outside the reach of the Eastlink cable network that we are currently limited to. We would also like to reach other households of Manitoulin Island.
13327 When CACTUS visited the Island in 2013 it was determined that other communities, First Nation and non-First Nation alike, would like access to a community channel to view local history, news and events, and culture.
13328 The transmitter would also allow residents who cannot afford an Eastlink cable subscription to view our programming. We just need the funding to make this transmitter operational.
13329 In our community Eastlink is a cable, telephone and internet service provider of which subscriptions combined can cost a household up to $130 a month. We calculate that Eastlink and other BDUs are extracting over $80,000 per month from our community. That’s nearly a million dollars a year revenue leaving our community. And our local community channel FirstTelTV5 sees no support to create our own content.
13330 Our community like so many others in our region is below the 2,000 person threshold that would obligate Eastlink to contribute. However, the other communities on Manitoulin Island together would exceed this requirement.
13331 Eastlink is not a small grassroots company. Eastlink is a very large vertically and horizontally integrated national corporation that can afford to give back to the small communities of our region which they extract their livelihood.
13332 Thank you.
13333 MS. SANDFORD: I’m Anne Marie. We are grateful for the infrastructure that was built there 26 years ago, but they have contributed nothing but the occasional cable service call to our community since. This is a service that could potentially be provided by trained First Nations community members, increasing employment for the Wiikwemkoong unceded territory.
13334 The televised First Nation programming is unique to Wiikwemkoong as it is solely First Nation controlled. The Wiikwemkoong subscribers are dependent on this channel for continued livelihood and information. Therefore, we support CACTUS' proposal that all BDUs contribute two percent of their revenues to a community-access media fund, regardless of system size or type.
13335 We would also like our community channel to be on Bell Satellite so that participation in our channel is not divided by service providers.
13336 We do envision our community channel to be an independent community channel featuring news of Manitoulin Island and to include the First Nation diversity.
13337 We are very pleased that CACTUS contacted us to inform us of this hearing and to give our community channel a First Nation voice at the CRTC table.
13338 Our attendance here is a stepping stone and a learning experience. We realize that the First Nation perspective has been lacking in the broadcasting and telecommunications industry. We are seeking to learn from the experience and expertise of the CRTC in ensuring that we can continue to provide quality programming for our Community. FirstTel is striving to become a leader and your first link in communications.
13339 We look forward to answering your questions and we are very happy to be here.
13340 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Thank you very much. I’ll put at first in the hands of Commissioner MacDonald and I have some questions for you.
13341 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Good afternoon and we’re happy that you’re able to be here with us today.
13342 In your submission, you described yourselves as an Aboriginal subsidized local community station. And I’m just wondering what you mean by “subsidized”. Where are your sources of funding? I know you mentioned today your operating budget and a lot of that is raised through fundraising and local -- I’m just wondering what other sources of revenue you have.
13343 MS. SANDFORD: We have a partnership with Wiikwemkoong Development Commission, which is the board of directors that oversees WikyTV5 and FirstTel. So they contribute financially through economic development initiatives that are within the community, as well as we do fundraising such as our Christmas telethon, different events that we have in the community, as well as some of the work that we produce for other First Nation communities that they require media assistance with.
13344 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you.
13345 Beyond just potential support mechanisms for your operation, do you have any thoughts on what the Commission could do or what steps we could take to improve the reflection of Aboriginal culture in Canada in general? Both within your community and outside your community?
13346 MS. SANDFORD: Well, just to let you know a little bit of our background, this is the first time that we’ve been informed about the policies around programming. And Wiikwemkoong has operated very independently within its community as being an isolated First Nation. We feel that being that we have run a community channel for 26 years that we have valuable input that can assist and support other First Nations in how they can become operational within their communities, whether it be through policy development, giving ideas on infrastructure. And it’s a learning curve for us going through this process as well.
13347 COMMISSIONER MACDONALD: Okay. In your conversations with other First Nations’ communities across the country, do you feel that the needs of smaller communities such as yourself are different from the needs that First Nations’ people may face in larger centers across the country?
13348 MS. SANDFORD: There are First Nations that are very similar to Wiikwemkoong and that have expressed a need to have their own community channels. And we have started to archive some of the material that we’ve been producing within the First Nation and we have been requested by other First Nations to provide some of that material for them to be able to also air and archive some of the Aboriginal traditional traditions that are going on.
13349 We’ve been moving into the social media which has brought more awareness and visibility with regards to Wiikwemkoong’s broadcasting abilities and -- such as archiving on YouTube and launching on Facebook. And this is a whole other area that First Nations are starting to look at and how they can bring visibility and awareness also to their communities and sharing of culture and diversity.
13350 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And how do you make decisions about what programming you do air or what programming you put online?
13351 Is there an individual that makes those decisions? Is it a committee of volunteers that makes the decisions about what gets produced and aired?
13352 MS. SANFORD: Do you want to answer that one Gordy?
13353 MR. BRISSARD: I guess it depends what’s going on in our community, because it’s a small committee.
13354 And we look at the priority of activities in the community. Our annual Pow Wow it’s a big, big event, but everybody wants to check it out and they’ll videotape it and we’ll broadcast it.
13355 Local carnival, hockey games, something of importance that the older people and the young people can’t make it there and we’ll videotape it and we’ll broadcast it on the community channel.
13356 That’s whatever is interesting to the community is our priority.
13357 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.
13358 How do you view your operation? Sometimes we say that, you know, local programming is a mirror that can reflect the individual community back on itself, for residents to view.
13359 And other times we look at it more like a -- more like a window where you can showcase your community to the rest of the country or other First Nations’ people.
13360 How do you -- how do you view yourselves? Are you focused on your community or do you want to have more of an outward looking approach to other First Nations’ communities?
13361 MS. SANFORD: With the history of WikyTV5, initially the focus was significantly just within Wiikwemkoong, but we’re seeing a huge interest in tourism, activities that are currently going on on the Island.
13362 We had a request -- there’s a Country Fest that is on Manitoulin Island and we were requested to come and videotape and as well give visibility to FirstTel as well.
13363 So people are starting to recognize the abilities and capabilities of our broadcasting channel and what we can do for them and we are moving outside of Wiikwemkoong to surrounding communities and to other First Nation communities as well.
13364 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I wonder what’s your relationship with some of the other broadcasters? Does any of your content find its way onto APTN, for example? Do you make your content available for carriage?
13365 MS. SANFORD: We’ve just recently moved into the YouTube subscribership.
13366 So just to give you an example, because -- and Gordy can attest to this. The material that was produced in the history of Wiikwemkoong, was produced with really no thought to copyright issues.
13367 And so it -- because it was only aired within Wiikwemkoong, within the First Nation community, for its community members.
13368 So we’ve had to take a step back to re-look at some of our archival documentation before we’re posting it out into social media, to make sure we are not violating any copyright issues. So that’s been a cost factor for us in doing it.
13369 And we’ve also -- have an interest in moving into podcasting where individuals such as the school systems can tap into to learn about how to make rice or fish hatchery systems that are Manitoulin Island, using our podcasting as a teaching tool. So things are evolving as we are growing.
13370 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You mentioned that Eastlink is operating in your region as the BDU and you also mentioned a desire to have your programming aired by Bell as well.
13371 And I’m just wondering have you reached out to those two organisations? Have they shown any interest or have they refused to air your content?
13372 MS. SANFORD: We have -- recently because of the result of the CRTC hearings, we basically were working in a bubble within Wiikwemkoong.
13373 And as we are looking at our strategic planning of where we are going to go in prioritizing some of the issues around telecommunications and broadcasting in Wiikwemkoong, we are starting to say hey we are a first Nation broadcasting and telecommunication’s business located on a First Nation.
13374 There are opportunities there for Bell or Eastlink or Vianet to partnership with the First Nation on matters such as cable subscribership or internet.
13375 And we’ve started the process to look at feasibility study within the First Nation.
13376 And looking at all that infrastructure that is within the community and within -- on Manitoulin Island, to look at who’s going to best look after the interests of Wiikwemkoong and how we can achieve our goals for the future.
13377 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And just one final question, since you are moving into the brave new world of online content and making sure that your videos are on YouTube, do you think the traditional television station is still going to be required long term as more and more people look to YouTube, for example, to access videos?
13378 MS. SANFORD: For Wiikwemkoong, yes. We have, as we indicated, we have seven communities that are not accessed through cable television.
13379 We have a huge request from those communities because there are elders that are living out -- there are elders that have never left the Reserve that are there and living in the isolated rural areas of Wiikwemkoong.
13380 Wiikwemkoong is -- has 55,000 hectares of land and so it’s very, very large Reserve and huge potential for increased subscribership and television viewing within our community.
13381 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you very much. Those are my questions.
13382 MS. SANFORD: Okay, thank you.
13383 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe these are all our questions.
13384 I hope the experience wasn’t too difficult and intimidating for your first time for some of you, so thank you very much for participating in the hearing. We very much appreciate your perspective. Thank you.
13385 MS. SANFORD: Miigwech.
13386 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire?
13387 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. I would now ask Making Media Public and the Communications Policy Working Group to come to the presentation table.
(A SHORT PAUSE)
13388 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself and your colleagues when you’re ready and you have 10 minutes.
13389 MR. SKINNER: Good afternoon. Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today.
13390 My name is David Skinner, I'm an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at York University, and these are my colleagues, Amanda Oye, Emilia Zboralska, Margaret Reid, and Joe Turcotte and they’re all PhD students in the York/Ryerson Joint Program in Communication and Culture.
13391 Now as you know from our submission, it’s -- we’re more concerned with Community Television than local commercial news programming.
13392 And we are particularly concerned that the independence of Community TV not be further diminished through linking it more directly with the interests of private, commercial broadcasters.
13393 So, my role in the panel is to lay out some specific points that underlie this position and then my colleagues will elaborate on specifics.
13394 The first point is that, as you well know, the problems facing both local news and community television have been long in the making.
13395 Issues confronting local news were flagged at least as early as 2003 during the hearings that established the Small Market Local Production Fund.
13396 And as for Community TV, while there have been notable success stories, the field has been in decline since at least 2002, with ongoing cutbacks of cable sponsored channels and very few independent outlets established in Anglophone Canada since that time.
13397 Unless strong action is taken to address the problems underlying these declines, of course, the future is not promising; right?
13398 Toward meeting with those underlying problems, our second point is that the Broadcasting Act -- as the Broadcasting Act states, broadcasting in Canada is of course a single system.
13399 Consequently, as they have in the past, emerging technologies and services that infringe on that system should be held accountable to it.
13400 For instance, if OTT services were to make appropriate cash and/or programming contributions into the system, that might actually help offset some of the problems associated with emerging content delivery models.
13401 A third point underlying our intervention is that despite being listed as one of the central elements of the system, community broadcasting -- and particularly community television -- has never really been given an opportunity to meet its potential as a vehicle for broad-based community expression.
13402 And I think the reason for this, in Anglophone Canada anyway, is that these channels have almost exclusively been under the direct control of cable companies. And certainly different companies have different practices and track records, but there are obvious conflicts between the responsibilities that privately owned BDUs have to their shareholders and their responsibilities as community broadcasters. And I think the overall trend is clear: Shuttered stations, cutbacks on access, lack of supports to community members; these are the product of BDU's management of community broadcasting over the longer term.
13403 As UNESCO has recommended, community media has to be clearly distinguished from commercial and public service media. This is the way it’s done in many other countries. Community centres, community groups, libraries; these are probably the most appropriate partners for community broadcasting.
13404 MS. OYE: The best way to both increase community access to community stations, and improve the range as well as character of programming and other content available through them, is to ensure the independent management of community channel resources. Consequently, BDUs should relinquish some, if not all, control over community media channels, and the money they currently contribute to these channels should be allocated to a Community Access Media Fund. In turn, this fund would be used to establish and help maintain multiplatform community access production and distribution centres.
13405 In this regard, we support the model for a Community Access Media Fund and community media centres put forward by CACTUS. These new centres should be mandate-driven, rather than profit-driven; and, as CACTUS elaborates, they would:
13406 “...have over-the-air licences
(possibly both radio and television from the same centre); have mandatory carriage on all BDUs; and be distributed live over the Internet, and via new media as it becomes available." (As read)
13407 Located in public facilities "such as theatres, libraries and community centres" they would be hubs of innovation that provide community members with the digital production tools necessary to create content that is meaningful and has genuine impact.
13408 Advertising might also be a revenue source for these organizations but such a decision should be in the hands of the centres.
13409 To further enhance distribution and discoverability, an online portal might provide a common site for all of the community content produced across the country. At the same time, creating zone-based community media centres, or channels, would solve the problem of overlap between BDUs operating in competitive markets and help develop economies of scale in production and distribution.
13410 MS. ZBORALSKA: Many of the major BDUs have argued that physical presence is no longer necessary in the digital age. We strongly disagree.
13411 Although digital technologies have significantly altered how viewers consume, create, and interact with content, these changes have not removed the need for physical infrastructure and dedicated production spaces. Physical community media studios offer spaces for mentorship, discussion and debate, and training.
13412 This sense of community is not something you get in a scenario where places and people are fragmented across space and time. There is, after all, a reason that entrepreneurial and digital media incubators, such as Ryerson's Digital Media Zone, occupy physical space.
13413 Several weeks ago, when I was doing fieldwork for a study about precarious screen labour, I had the pleasure to meet two dynamic women with physical limitations. They reminded me that we still live in a world of divides. Their limited financial means prohibit them from having access to the media tools that many of us take for granted. One of the women said that she cannot even afford a personal computer. There are many Canadians in the same situation.
13414 One of the greatest myths of the Internet is that it is barrier-free and has democratized access and opportunity. But the Internet does not provide all of the media tools necessary to participate in the digital world, nor does it replace the kinds of mentorship, education, and community service experiences or sense of place that are engendered through collaborative community production.
13415 In other words, YouTube and similar services cannot replicate community media outlets and facilities.
13416 It is also short-sighted, if not dangerous, to treat Google and other multinational corporations operating services such as YouTube as though they are public utilities or public service providers.
13417 YouTube has done a lot to democratize the media system but they are a corporate entity that is beholden to shareholders first and foremost and cannot replace community owned and operated media.
13418 MS. REID: Just as physical presence is still important in a digital context, access programming remains a vital feature of community broadcasting.
13419 Access programming ensures a broad range of perspectives are available in the media system. It provides opportunities for people to learn new technologies, develop skills in broadcast and production, and interact with more experienced practitioners.
13420 To broaden their reach, community media centres and channels should have programs to reach out to underserved communities in their areas and encourage their participation. Similarly, they should be staffed in a manner that reflects the diversity of the communities in which they operate. Research has shown that a lack of visibility and culturally similar role models is a major barrier to participation in the media system from traditionally underrepresented groups.
13421 To help ensure diverse representation, the 50 percent access requirement should be maintained in large markets. However, it is not clear if these requirements are currently being met. In some cases there is evidence that they are not, as we have seen with Videotron's community channel in Montreal.
13422 Consequently, there need to be stricter publicly accessible reporting requirements. Otherwise, it is left up to community groups, largely comprised of volunteers, to try and ensure that community media channels truly reflect the communities they reside in.
13423 Similarly, editorial control over content should not be in the hands of BDUs but rather community led editorial boards. The community should decide what appears on the community channel, not private corporations.
13424 While, as some report, there may not be enough people interested in participating in community television in some small markets to meet access requirements, the answer is not simply to reduce those requirements. Rather, more flexible rules must come with a caveat that access should not be denied to community members.
13425 As for the role of community TV in local news, in large markets the distinction between community stations and the commercial stations broadcasting local news should be maintained. Community TV channels and centres are one of the few formal venues for diverse community expression, particularly in the face of escalating concentration of ownership. That role must not be undermined.
13426 In small markets where there are no commercial OTA stations perhaps community stations might play a role in local news. But the Commission should ensure that these objectives are fulfilled without undermining the financial and other resources devoted to community purposes.
13427 On another note, as we outline in our submission one way to build upon the access model to create more quality content would be to have community media centres staffed with media professionals who work with community members to create content based upon their suggestions. This would allow for community members to participate in the media system while also ensuring higher quality content is produced.
13428 MR. TURCOTTE: In summary, we have five points:
13429 One, all elements of the broadcasting system should be responsible for and contribute to the goals and objectives for the system laid out by Parliament via the Broadcasting Act.
13430 Two, in line with the precedent set with the separating content and carriage, community television operations should be independent of cable and satellite operators. At minimum, editorial boards comprised of members of the community should be meaningfully incorporated into the current structure.
13431 Three, disintermediated Web-based production is no substitute for formal community channels physically located in the communities they serve; libraries and community centres might make good partners in this regard.
13432 Four, to encourage the development of and access to a diverse range of content, community television must be given carriage on the basic tier of all distributors.
13433 Finally, establishing community media centres as we have outlined would provide a bold and innovative means for producing community programming in a substantial and forward-looking fashion.
13434 Thank you for your time, and we look forward to your questions.
13435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Commissioner MacDonald will start us off.
13436 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good afternoon, and thank you for your presentation.
13437 Most of my questions are going to be with respect to community television and access, but I do -- because that was your focus, but I do have a couple of questions with respect to comments around local news that you made in your original submission from last year.
13438 You underlined the importance of definitions for local news as, you know, focused on local production and presentation so that they represent the local communities. But you also made a statement that a report providing a local perspective on a regional, national, or international news program could also be considered local news. Can you give me an example of such an instance that a local perspective on a national or international newscast could be considered as local?
13439 MR. SKINNER: That’s a good question. I’ll take a stab at that. I’m not sure, to tell you the truth. I’ll try and stall for some time while my colleagues think.
13440 I think certainly -- well, let’s see. I know the people who opened the hearing were VICE, and one of the things that they actually point out was they were talking about how some local -- they were able to take some local news and provide -- or put a spin on it where it would be of interest to national or even international audiences. So I’m not exactly sure what that might be. Say -- I haven’t watched that much VICE to actually think about it that way, analyze their content but perhaps it could be any -- maybe the way that some cities deal -- or towns deal with transportation issues. There might be novel -- novel ways in which towns have met and dealt with the transportation concern. And so that might be of larger interest to the national or regional community.
13441 There could be -- I think we often see at the local level -- I mean people do meet or often meet similar kinds of problems, they meet with similar -- similar kinds of circumstances, but they do tend to resolve them in novel ways. Exactly what those might be, we’d have to look and see. But it’d be situations like that particularly I think that might pass to the larger level.
13442 Do you have anything to add to that?
13443 MS. ZBORALSKA: Yeah, sure. And even -- specifically I think we were thinking about the lens through which these stories could be told from the community perspective. So if it’s like a federal political thing, it could be reinterpreted from the community level because perhaps whatever decision was made at the federal level will impact that specific community in different ways than it would other ones.
13444 MR. SKINNER: I think communities -- I mean the idea of living in a nation or a nation state or whatever, is that people are interested in what other parts of the country are doing, right. And certainly -- I mean -- I don’t -- we are to some extent interested, you know, in what's happening in Calgary right now, what's happening in Alberta with the decline of the income from the oil industry. So local news, local -- you know, interest or stories of local interest there would certainly I think be of interest to a larger community.
13445 But by the same time -- or at the same time I should say, that’s not true of all programming. And we certainly need to have -- there's much programming that would have a very -- specifically focused and of specific interest to local communities.
13446 So for instance, how -- in some ways, how -- again, how local communities deal with the build -- you know, there might a referendum on a building of a local swimming pool, a referendum on community centres, I mean these are the kinds of things where local news particularly plays an important role, right, in helping community members decide collectively on civic action.
13447 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you for that. In your submission you also make it clear that priority should be given to local production over any type of centralization that organizations may want to explore for the production of news program or other programming for that matter. And there are financial realities that need to be taken into consideration, these are challenging economic times and we see that with some of the local stations in their significant drop in ad revenue over the recent years.
13448 So, what is the harm in some centralization of resources? Does it -- does it really matter where the technician who splices the video together -- does it matter where they sit in relation to the local community?
13449 MR. TURCOTTE: I think our main concern with the centralization comes into the editorial and the content, how it's produced and the viewpoints that are being presented. If it’s a matter of doing technical things based in one location to save costs that way, there is definitely some value in that.
13450 But when you have a centralized apparatus that’s telling the same story or presenting it in slightly different ways based on demographics or the markets in particular, the tendency still remains to have that ability to control the content and the stories that are being told. I think we can see that happening with some of the stuff that’s happening in the newspaper industry for example.
13451 This Postmedia centralizing operations having in this last Federal Election having many editorials and endorsing one particular viewpoint that has been said to have been a top down decision, that’s our concern in terms of the centralization.
13452 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Do you think that the Commission should still provide operators with some flexibility in that regard if they're facing the situation of pursuing more of a centralized model versus just shutting down the news programming altogether? Wouldn’t it be better to centralize than lose the programming altogether?
13453 MR. SKINNER: Well it might be, but we also -- there's also a concern historically with this notion of parachute journalism, which is -- has been usually deployed at the international level, where there is, you know, the problem is that to report on international news often big news organizations would just -- when there was an event that came on their radar, they drop a reporter in at that moment to see what's happening and report back.
13454 But what those people miss is the local context, the real reasons that underlie or have given form to that event, right. And it’s -- now we can see that similar problem perhaps developing at the local level here where as you begin to centralize news production, not only do we have the problem of editorial control, but we also have the problem that there aren’t reporters on the ground to really sift through the events that take place there and decide, you know, what might be the most newsworthy events based upon local concerns. And similarly, to really understand what the circumstances might be that are animating that particular event.
13455 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. Yesterday -- I think it was yesterday, we heard from -- sort of switching over to the community element now -- yesterday we heard from Telus and they don’t operate any of their own studios, they put everything on on-demand platform, a very different model than some of the other BDUs out there. And what they told us is that allows them to contribute -- about 96 percent of their funding actually gets to be dedicated to programming as opposed to indirect cost, facility cost, bricks and mortar. What are your thoughts on that if, you know, we can dispense with these facilities and actually get more money into the hands of local access producers?
13456 MS. REID: I actually think that Telus has a good model in terms of the way in which they crowdsource, so the community actually has a say in the programs that are made. I read their submission, I think that that’s a good model, but as we’ve argued, we still think that there is a need for a physical space. How are people getting the technologies? How are they learning the technologies to make that content?
13457 I think it kind of creates an environment where people who might have more privilege are ones that are able to create and make the content that’s going to end up on their -- on their kind of digital service. So I think that that kind of creates some -- some barriers to entry for some members of communities.
13458 We still argue that the physical space is necessary as a learning hub so people can actually have the opportunity to get the skills they need to participate in the system.
13459 MR. TURCOTTE: And to build on that, I’d also like to say that Telus’ model is quite innovative and bold and exciting, and I think those are important, those kind of innovative and playing around and seeing what can be done are important, especially at a time of such changes in technological and economic circumstances.
13460 And the one thing I did have a concern about with Telus’ model is it seems that they're defining community in a different way than has historically been the case. Community historically has been looked at as central or based on location and physical proximity. Telus is in many ways doing community based on common sets of interests and ideas and themes that transcend local boundaries. And that's good and that’s exciting, community is both of those things. But by removing any sort of physical locale where people can come together and innovate and cross-pollinize ideas does have some drawbacks.
13461 MR. SKINNER: There’s also a problem I think -- well I’m not entirely sure, I’d have to have another look at the model -- but there may be an issue with editorial control. Who’s to say although they do appear to as you know draw stories from the community, who decides which of those stories will actually be taken up and which will actually be developed. And one of our concerns is that those editorial decisions really should be routed in the -- directly in the communities that these organizations serve.
13462 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You also support putting more content on on-demand platforms, but not at the expense of the existing traditional linear community stations, so you argue that television is still the way that most people want to watch that programming. My question is, it’s a relatively youthful panel, how -- how much longer? And I ask that question because it occurred to me, you know, last night as I was prepping questions in my hotel room that I haven’t turned the television on in a hotel for about six months.
13463 MS. ZBORALSKA: I think that’s a really, really important question, and I think even amongst the millennial demographic there's so much variation in how people watch. So, I know some of my friends still watch their news and community programming on television, others watch it strictly online.
13464 But, for example, one thing that’s missing when you’re just doing on-demand programming is the sort of live aspect to it that shared public space.
13465 And yes, more and more livestreaming is possible, so as we move forward with that model that’ll be really exciting, but at the same time it’s very limited and it’s expensive to do livestreaming. It’s still quite difficult and it’s not exactly stable all the time.
13466 So I think for the time being, I mean, I couldn’t personally put a number of years on it but I think it’s still going to remain important for at least the short to mid-term.
13467 MR. TURCOTTE: And just on your question of when, I think all of us up here and everyone in the room would love to know when is this going to happen and how is this going to happen, and I don’t think there is an easy way to forecast it.
13468 Even with services and online companies like Google and Facebook they’re always prone to being overtaken by the next competitor. Facebook took over from Myspace. Twitter was big and now they’re sort of falling.
13469 These aren’t easy forecasting things. It’s making sure that there are these opportunities where people can play and innovate and create new ideas of how the future is going to unfold.
13470 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Last week we had Rogers in and they expressed some frustration, for want of a better term, over a recent event that they were part of. They were -- they did a truck roll and professional quality production covering an Ottawa choir singing and welcoming some Syrian refugees that were coming, and they produced a quality piece of work that was viewed somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 times, and a local person in the audience recorded the same event on their cellphone and uploaded to YouTube and they got 100,000 views, or I forget the number.
13471 So how are these community stations supposed to compete against the YouTubes of the world if -- if YouTube isn’t the answer, how do we compete against it?
13472 MS. REID: Well, I don’t think that we should be in direct competition with them because I think community stations are serving a different purpose than YouTube.
13473 I don’t -- I think kind of that myth that okay, you can just be a YouTube star is not actually a viable reality for most people or most programs. And I think that that kind of myth would undermine the need for a physical space or the need for any sort of kind of centralized place that could be distributing content.
13474 I think there are issues that need to be addressed in terms of better online presence and, you know, seeking discoverability, all of these things. That requires a lot more resources at the community level too.
13475 I mean, not everyone’s just going to be a YouTube star and have several thousand views. I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done but I think the idea that we should be in direct competition with someone that might become famous on YouTube is not really what we should be focusing on.
13476 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: One of the ideas that we’ve been discussing -- you mentioned it today -- is the idea of, you know, community stations selling more advertising to offset some of their costs. And in the same breath you also expressed some concerns that, you know, because BDUs are driven by profits not necessarily mandate driven to offer some of this programming, that, you know, there may be concerns with too much control from the BDUs over what’s being produced.
13477 So if we allow community stations to sell more advertising are you concerned that advertisers may start dictating to them the type of programming that they offer?
13478 MS. REID: I think it depends on the management of the station and whether -- I mean, I’ve worked in community radio where we had advertisements on community radio and that never dictated our content.
13479 You can seek out even kind of mandate driven advertising, so maybe organizations that actually kind of tie in with your mandate or are not going to be in direct conflict with your mandate. I think there’s ways to get around that.
13480 And it depends on the actual management of the station itself. What are you -- does the station management think that there’s a conflict between the advertising and the content, or are they going to pursue content regardless of that.
13481 So I think that comes back to kind of the idea of the editorial boards and what content is actually going to air.
13482 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Do you think the ad dollars are still out there in the system to make a meaningful difference? We’ve seen more and more ads moving online.
13483 MS. ZBORALSKA: Just to comment on the online side, although it’s true that more and more advertising is moving online, it’s still incredibly difficult to make revenue and money online from digital sources. It really is. And I speak to this because I’ve been interviewing web producers. And making money on a platform like YouTube with their advertising model and their revenue sharing it’s incredibly difficult.
13484 So, I mean, there’s -- you know, we’re losing money in one system and on the other hand it’s not exactly there online either. So we’re in a conundrum basically and we just have to I guess try our best in both ways.
13485 MR. SKINNER: And I think the ad situation is to some extent situation-specific. By the same token, I mean, it’s not certainly -- for the community stations, it’s not going to be some panacea in terms of income, maybe a small percentage, and it would depend upon how they, you know, related to the community at the time, and the place, and what kind of support they could sort of engage. But it certainly is not going to be the major vehicle for funding these organizations. It might add a little bit of extra money.
13486 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In any of your research, do you have any instances that you can point to where a BDU has refused access programming that’s been produced by someone in the community?
13487 MR. SKINNER: I don’t think we have much of that kind of research directly. We may have some anecdotal evidence that lends in that direction.
13488 A number of years ago I was a -- around 2000 I was working in a journalism program in Kamloops, BC, and there was a person in the program whose job it was -- they were employed by Shaw -- to actually change the format of the stations in both Kamloops and Kelowna to make them, shall we say, more -- to appear in a more kind of commercial format. And during that process there were people and organizations that were foreclosed upon in terms of accessing those stations.
13489 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You suggest that BDUs take 50 percent of the revenue away that they current contribute to their community stations and reallocate it to a community media access fund. How did you arrive at that 50 percent number?
13490 MR. SKINNER: It wasn’t a scientific calculation. The primary point that we make obviously is that we believe that these community stations should be independent and mandate driven, they should not be controlled by BDUs.
13491 But obviously BDUs have a considerable investment in these organizations. They see them I imagine looking -- these are investments that have been taking place over the years. They would quite likely be reluctant to give up on that investment.
13492 So our point is that maybe one way to work this would be to have a phase-in particularly and operate some kind of pilot program to see -- test the waters and see who would come forward to develop these independent stations, independent centres, so a pilot program that would perhaps reach out to, as we say, libraries, community centres.
13493 I believe a librarian -- there was a library organization here visiting, talking with you the last couple of days, and they said they might be interested in working in this direction.
13494 So the point would be to make some funds available to see how that might develop and we thought that half of the funds seemed to be a reasonable number.
13495 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And outside of the context of what’s been put on the record by the different intervenors, have you consulted with anyone on that approach of moving 50 percent of the revenue over?
13496 MR. SKINNER: Not directly. I mean, we were at the Community Media Convergence several weeks ago and we talked with different people that were there, and it was -- the number -- we pulled the number out of the air, to be quite frank.
13497 But it seems like in order -- the problem is there has to be enough money set aside to actually give this idea of independent community centres, media centres an opportunity to be tried and see if it'll thrive, so 50 percent seemed to be a reasonable number.
13498 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Just one final question before I hand it back over to my colleagues.
13499 You supported proposals put forward by CACTUS in the 2010 policy review, and you've indicated your support again here today.
13500 Do you have any concerns, or are there any pitfalls in handing over what could be $151 million to organizations, such as libraries, that have limited to no track record in producing community television?
13501 MR. SKINNER: BDUs had limited to no track record in producing media television when they started. I mean, not to be, you know, glib about it.
13502 But certainly, there are people in the community that do have considerable -- people that have been working with BDUs historically that do have considerable experience, and one would expect that they would come forward at the time to participate in building those organizations.
13503 Certainly, there are risks, as you point out. There would be a lot of money. I think that, you know, there would have to be some built in safeguards. Exactly what those might look like; I don't have any model at the moment.
13504 MS. ZBORALSKA: And ---
13505 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Sorry, go ahead.
13506 MS. ZBORALSKA: Sorry.
13507 No, I was just going to add that that's why the idea of a pilot program is so encouraging to us, because it would allow a smaller portion of funds to be diverted and to test out the idea, to see what happens. I mean, we know this model has been applied in other jurisdictions, so why not try it out.
13508 Libraries are also trying to reinvent themselves for the digital age, they're becoming maker spaces, and the community media sector is facing the exact same scenario and they have many of the same interests. So why not try it out.
13509 MR. SKINNER: We can see just -- well with the organization that was on previously, just before us. I mean, I think they demonstrated quite clearly the need for, perhaps getting new equipment and some different kinds of investments they might make.
13510 I mean, giving an existing organization like that the opportunity to actually have some money to invest to build upon what they already have, I mean, would seem to be a worthy cause.
13511 MR. TURCOTTE: And just to go back to your question. I think the fact that we did set the number at 50 percent and used a sort of phase-in does demonstrate that there is concern that maybe this won't work. It is about, though, having those opportunities to see what does and can work.
13512 All of the things on the online space that were -- are part of this ecosystem, like YouTube and Facebook, they were backed by substantial investment and venture capital to see if these ideas would work. Not everything does in the online and digital economy, so there has to be some sort of support to try out and test new things, especially around the community and public-oriented goals.
13513 MS. REID: And there is lots of successful examples of partnerships with libraries in the U.S, like we've already seen this kind of working in other places.
13514 And as Emilia was mentioning, like libraries are changing, they -- of course, we'd need more experienced staff in there to make sure that this all worked well, but there are a lot of benefits to partnering with a library, like sharing things like a space, sharing electricity, things like that.
13515 And the public already feels ownership over public libraries, so the public already feels like they can go into these organizations and, you know, they kind of have a sense of feeling that they can go in and participate, it's not an intimidating place. Whereas I don't think that community television stations necessarily feel the same way to people. So -- yeah.
13516 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you for that context.
13517 Those are my questions.
13518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13519 I'll turn to my colleagues to see if there are any questions? No.
13520 I might have one, and it's legal in context, so -- but I'm going to preface it a little bit. And it relates to your editorial boards.
13521 And the preface I'm going to make, and despite what some people write on blogs, unchallenged, because I'm not allowed to challenge them, my question's actually quite orthodox in its interpretation of the Broadcasting Act.
13522 So Section 32 says as a general principle, you can't broadcast without either a license or an exemption order. Right? There's a general principle that says you cannot do that in Canada. That's what Parliament decided.
13523 And then subparagraph 3 of Section 2 pretty much says that -- and there's some case law around that -- that says, you know, we should be looking, for instance, to the licensee for being responsible for the content they broadcast.
13524 So my question is with respect to editorial boards where is the license and who's responsible for the content that's broadcast?
13525 Because we've heard other BDUs, they really see it -- the community channel as being part of their license, and yes, some have editorial boards, but when push comes to shove we, the we, the entity responsible for overseeing the broadcasting system, has to know to whom we must turn in terms of the content.
13526 So editorial boards, who has the -- where is the license and who do we look to for the content?
13527 MR. SKINNER: Well, yes, indeed.
13528 So this is why we actually thought that at a kind of minimum, right, the community-led editorial boards should play some role. But yes, I mean, the fact is that the license holder is responsible and really has the last say, and that's one of the reasons why we advocate for independent stations, precisely that reason.
13529 MS. REID: I just want to put out, in community radio we have, I mean, at least non hierarchical consensus decision making in terms of content that actually goes to air, but that doesn't mean we don't have to be responsible to the station management and to the people that are actually operating the license.
13530 So I think there's -- I think we can separate the two in terms of responsibility, because you would still have to defer to the management of the station or to the licensee, I think.
13531 The editorial board is to ensure that there's more fair representation and participation of differing community groups that might, you know, might not get picked for their show this year. So that was kind of more to our point.
13532 MS. ZBORALSKA: Oh, and -- sorry.
13533 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, go ahead.
13534 MS. ZBORALSKA: And I believe that there might be a similar issue that I read in the past with respect to ethnic programming and who's responsible for that when it's in a different language. So I mean, if a solution was worked out there, I mean, potentially the same sort of thing could be applied; right? And -- yeah, it's an interesting question.
13535 I had another point but I forgot it.
13536 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, well you might want to think about that because it's -- theory and policy is great but the rubber hits the road at one point and we need to be able to figure it out.
13537 So if you do think that it should be a new model with not for profit, I guess they're incorporated, community-based organizations running, the license has to sit somewhere.
13538 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
13539 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have to be able to turn to someone, whether it's under the license or the exemption order, as to who is doing the broadcasting and who we can look to for the content being broadcast.
13540 Because even on commercial radio, when we have shock jocks, we don't call in the shock jocks to the hearing, we call in ---
13541 MS. ZBORALSKA: M'hm.
13542 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the licensees. They are ultimately responsible.
13543 So I invite you to think about that, perhaps, as you finalize your comments.
13544 MR. TURCOTTE: Yeah, and that governance structure that you're describing, some of the stuff that was brought up earlier today around community radio and the models that they're using of having a board of governors that's -- and the license is held with the incorporated non profit, and then the editorial board is responsible to the board governors. Those sort of models could be applied in these cases as well.
13545 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
13546 Okay, thank you.
13547 MR. TURCOTTE: Thank you.
13548 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire, s’il vous plait.
13549 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci.
13550 I will now ask the last intervenor, Mr. Paul Gallien, to come to presentation table.
13551 THE SECRETARY: You may begin when you are ready. Thank you.
13552 MR. GALLIEN: Good afternoon.
13553 I would first like to thank the committee for this opportunity to listen to what I'm going to be saying.
13554 Well, my name is Paul Gallien. Since 2003, I've been a full-time high school teacher, specializing in media arts. My educational background includes studying classical and 3 D animation at both Sheridan College and Algonquin College. Received my animation diploma in 1995.
13555 I worked in the animation industry as an artist on various animated shows for 10 years. Additionally, I received a history degree from Ottawa University in 2001, then graduated from teacher's college in 2002.
13556 I would like to address question number five, is a physical local presence still needed in the digital age?
13557 In considering this question, are studio facilities and local staff required to provide meaningful local reflective and locally relevant programming?
13558 To this question I answer, while the digital age brings a greater level of video consumption and the ability to produce video content it, by extension, also brings a greater need for local, physical access to professional video equipment and expertise.
13559 Let me draw the following analogy. Historically as literacy rates rose and access to pen, paper and the printing press became more common, we, as a society, placed greater importance on literacy education not less.
13560 My presentation is going to outline how a local television production studio in Smith Falls has helped developed my student’s ability to critically analyze media, in all its forms.
13561 How it has helped develop our school environment, how it has allowed students to explore and pursue careers in video production, and how it has also facilitated access to local services.
13562 My first point is rising screen times and negative effects. I’m sure we are all aware how screen time has been rising.
13563 However, I would like to highlight just how dramatic this rise has been. Considering these quotes from a recent BBC Article, it states:
13564 “Children aged five to 16 spend an
average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995…”
13565 A 2015 New York Times article cites a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics stating that screen time is actually much higher and while computer, tablets and smart-phones screen time is also rising that, it states:
13566 “Television, long a popular
‘babysitter’, remains the dominant Medium…"
13567 I’m sure it will not come as a surprise that such excessive screen time is simply not healthy.
13568 Physically, mentally and socially the individual suffers. This is a clear change I have noticed in my students over the past 13 years.
13569 So if we accept that people’s screen time is excessive, let me now explain how a local television broadcaster helps counter this epidemic.
13570 As a current classroom teacher, teaching media arts, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of equipping the students of today with the ability to critically analyze the media they are consuming.
13571 More than ever students today are becoming increasingly influenced and confused by media, in all its forms.
13572 Let me stress that the best way to develop critical thinking skills in relation to video and media consumption is through an understanding of how it is produced.
13573 My observations are not anecdotal. Here is a quote from a 2012 study conducted, by Brock university professor David Hutchinson. He states:
13574 “Increasingly, teachers are being
asked to address an ever-broader notion of literacy. One that includes new forms of digital literacy, related to the multimedia technologies students routinely interact with, blogs, wikis, social networking websites and such. A recent U.S. study, for example, explored the use of video production as an instructional strategy in K–12 schools. Benefits reported by teachers include strengthened curricular connections, improved student learning and increased student motivation and engagement. Teachers also noted the challenges associated with managing video production equipment, coordinating the logistics of ambitious video production projects and working within time constraints.”
13575 Our local TV production facility, TVCogeco in Smith Falls, has allowed us at no cost to our school, to properly explore and educate ourselves about television production.
13576 My animation experience only carries us so far; it does not cover live action. Indeed, the vast majority of high school media instructors I have encountered have no actual media related education, let alone professional experience.
13577 Simply put, it is only through accessing the resources that community television facilities offer that educators today are going to be able to properly develop our youth’s media literacy skills.
13578 There are other benefits, opportunities to explore career. My students have benefited from their experiences with local broadcasters like TVCogeco.
13579 To this point, I thought it best that I have some of my former students explain this themselves. I’m going to play the first video, please. It does have sound apparently, so.
13580 (VIDEO PRESENTATION/PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)
13581 MR. GALLIEN: Through the help our activities with TVCogeco Chloe and Daniel have decided to enter flourishing industry, one which Michael Hennessy, President & CEO of Canadian Media Production Association, describes this way:
13582 “Production of film, television
and digital media in Canada supports tens of thousands of jobs and generates billions in exports and GDP each and every year.”
13583 Indeed, with the current and projected rate of exchange on the Canadian dollar, timing for Chloe and Daniel is best described as ideal. It also helps develop our skilled community.
13584 The video production my students participate in often involves school events, such as sports or ceremonies. These help develop our school environment and our school pride in a positive way.
13585 Another benefit is it helps local organizations deliver services.
13586 Thanks to our partnership with TVCogeco, we are able to have students help community associations including the OPP, and most recently, this past January, my students were able to respond to a request by our local Alzheimer association in helping them promote their services.
13587 The video I will now play will feature Robin Hull, from the local Alzheimer association, outlining how my students, with the help of our local broadcaster TVCogeco, were able to assist a critical healthcare service in our community.
13588 Her video testimony includes clips from the public service announcements my students made for them.
13589 (VIDEO PRESENTATION/PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)
13590 MR. GALLIEN: It is also worth stating that these partnerships bring our community together in other ways. As I cannot think of any better way to educate youth on the topic of Alzheimer’s, as well as develop respect for our elders.
13591 In conclusion, in this screen time dominated world, physical access to local television production expertise and facilities are more needed and more valuable than ever before. Indeed, they are already in short supply.
13592 They help educate our public. They highlight local resources and valuable services. Their very presence enriches our communities.
13593 These are services that cannot be replaced with any online resource. If communities, especially those in rural areas, lose these facilities they lose more than a television station. I thank you for your time and you’re your consideration.
13594 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Commissioner Molnar?
13595 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Good afternoon, Mr. Gallien. Could you tell me have you been before the Commission before or is this your first?
13596 MR. GALLIEN: No it was my first and I’m looking at the camera, I’m pretty flushed and obviously very nervous, so.
13597 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well you can go home and watch it again if you like.
13598 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So you are -- your first time before us and you may or may not know that you are actually the last intervenor before us through this hearing.
13599 MR. GALLIEN: Yes, I am aware.
13600 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes. Well one of the things when you’re in the -- I think this is the 8th day, is we hear a lot.
13601 And a lot of different positions on different items and so I want to bounce a couple things by you and I just want to say that when I initially read your intervention I wasn’t quite sure, you know, how important this item is or -- and so your remarks before us today did help a lot in understanding the issue and why you felt it was important enough to drive here and come before us. It helped a lot.
13602 So you bring up the issue of using the production facilities to help to develop youth media literacy skills. We’ve had presentations before the Commission, not as part of this proceeding, but others from MediaSmarts -- it used to be called Media Awareness Network.
13603 MR. GALLIEN: Yeah. I’m a little bit ---
13604 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Do you work with that organization?
13605 MR. GALLIEN: No. I do not.
13606 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No. Their mandate as well is to teach skills, and actually, I believe they work with the education system. So the other thing that ---
13607 MR. GALLIEN: Can I just speak quickly to that?
13608 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Sure.
13609 MR. GALLIEN: I’m aware of that organization. I’ve looked online and have seen a lot of resources in the past, and I talked to a lot of media arts teachers, and what’s also known as ComTech teachers, essentially doing the same thing. I’ve never heard of a single teacher accessing that resource.
13610 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Pardon?
13611 MR. GALLIEN: I’ve never heard of a single teacher that ever made use of that resource; that I know of. I’m not saying any teachers don’t, but I’m not familiar with any teachers who have.
13612 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: M’hm. And I’m not here to -- to speak of it really either, except I know that there are organizations who have the same sort of desire to ensure that youth have proper media literacy skills and intend it to provide resources to make that happen.
13613 And the other one that I learned about, really through this, is the Ontario Libraries and their involvement in seeking to provide education, and information, and media hubs, and so on, for the purpose of essentially -- you know, the same sorts of purposes. So I wonder; do you work with the Ontario Library Association?
13614 MR. GALLIEN: In two ways. I teach in Perth, Ontario, and when the local library there wanted to set up a media place they came to my -- came to me for assistance and advice. So I helped them do that. And then the second way, I live actually in Ottawa, and I have an Ottawa Public Library membership and I’ve taken some of the courses related to the imagine space, or it’s like a media space that gives you some access to different facilities there, video cameras, 3D printers and the like.
13615 So I’ve helped set up a local library media facility and I’ve used some of the ones in Ottawa. So does that answer your question? Yeah.
13616 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So is it your sense that that could be sort of a primary resource in teaching media literacy and some of the skills with the technologies and so on, that you spoke of?
13617 MR. GALLIEN: I think it adds to it. What I am hoping I’m trying to stress in my presentation -- and thank you for your question -- it’s one thing to have access to the technology. It’s becoming more and more accessible every day. The real crux, what really makes the difference and what’s the most important thing is having access to the expertise. The people that come with TV, Cogeco, don’t come with the library. They don’t come with accessing stuff online, and that’s the critical difference.
13618 You know, yes, access to technology is one thing, but if you don’t know how to use it, or if you don’t know how to use it properly, that’s a limitation. In our case, our local community broadcaster, it was the expertise that came in that made the big difference. You -- say the video that was presented where we’re interviewing people at our local metro grocery store, capturing that sound, blocking out the background sound of the cash registers and the people walking by. That only came because I had worked with some of the people at TV Cogeco. I knew how to use the mic. I had the microphone. We had the camera. But if we didn’t set that shoot up properly it would have been a wasted footage, we couldn’t use it because the sound wouldn’t be useable.
13619 So the expertise is what’s really important. It’s -- as time goes by access to the technology is going to become more and more easier. But if we really want people to have proper media literacy, we’ve got to teach them how to use it and that’s what I’m really here to try to stress to you guys. Don’t let us lose access to the experts, because, you know, like I was stressing in my presentation I -- again, I talk to lots of different media teachers, ComTech teachers, and usually it’s the English teacher who gets it as an extra section with no expertise. And that’s what the local community broadcaster is going to give us, is access to the expertise.
13620 So yes, it’s a step in the right direction, but what I find is lacking is the expertise behind it.
13621 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you. And that helps me understand as well whether you were here to particularly support the notion that TV Cogeco -- that Cogeco manage and run the station, or your fundamental message was we need the presence with the technical skills and professional knowledge ---
13622 MR. GALLIEN: Yeah. We need the guidance.
13623 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- close?
13624 MR. GALLIEN: Yeah.
13625 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Lots of folks have been saying that the physical presence is still required, that’s for sure, including the group before you. So ---
13626 MR. GALLIEN: Yeah. I noticed that. Yeah, please don’t get rid of the physical presence. Don’t -- if I lose Shawn or other -- the expertise at Cogeco, I lose a big resource. I don’t know how else to put it.
13627 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, thank you. Your message was clear. Those were my questions.
13628 MR. GALLIEN: Thank you.
13629 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson?
13630 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You don’t by any chance play a musical instrument?
13631 MR. GALLIEN: I don’t. I wish I did. I don’t.
13632 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I was going to ask you for an opinion. I do, and I was going to ask you to try and help reframe your point from a different genre in music. That is something we all know. And what struck me in the way you were presenting was that there’s a difference between writing music and playing music and people who play music, or want to play music, have to learn their instrument, which is a skill. And then they have to have usually a collaboration with others, which is kind of what you get in the broadcasting business when you have a hub. And then you need a place to rehearse and a place to create, and then you need a place to play, which is, you know, what broadcasting is all about.
13633 But what I find interesting though is that when you draw that parallel to -- back to creation of audiovisual content, and you look at, you know, that parallel, there are people who want to -- have something to say, like people who want to write music, and they don’t get hung up on the technology as much as wanting to use the forum to express their ideas and become less technically reliant. Like, a writer doesn’t need to operate a printing press, and trying to find if there’s any wisdom in that parallel between the technology of broadcasting and learning the skills, and actually just wanting to use broadcasting for the purpose of communicating.
13634 MR. GALLIEN: I think your comparison is apt. I have two daughters and we’ve put some money into a piano and we’ve put some money into a guitar. And unfortunately, both my wife and I don’t know how to play the guitar, we don’t know how to play the piano; and the piano and the guitar are not being played very much. I wish I knew how to play the piano or the guitar, because I suspect they’d play it more. So your analogy is great.
13635 Another one I can speak to a little bit more directly is -- and this may be showing my age, but when I studied animation at Sheridan, we learnt on the traditional way, pen and paper. When the new technologies emerged in animation, 3D animation or whatnot, the skill set I learned transferred over directly because of the instruction I was given, the fundamental skills were transferred over.
13636 So it’s not about the technology. There’s a lot of talk about access to technology, but access to technology is not access to knowledge necessarily. It’s not access to the expertise. It’s knowing how to use that instrument, knowing how to use that tool or else it can be pretty dangerous.
13637 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe those are our questions. Thank you for participating.
13638 Madam Secretary, am I correct in assuming that there are no other intervenors?
13639 THE SECRETARY: Exactly.
13640 THE CHAIRPESON: Thank you.
13641 So -- avant de conclure cette audience, permettez-moi de remercier diverses personnes qui ont mis la main à la pâte dans les coulisses.
13642 Premièrement, je voudrais souligner le travail des interprètes et des sténographes, grâce à eux bien de ce qui s’est dit lors des audiences en cours n’a pas été perdu. Merci également à l’équipe de CPAC qui a diffusé la présente audience sur leur site web, et surtout aux opérateurs des caméras.
13643 Je voudrais remercier mes collègues du panel, eux qui se dévouent à plein lors de chacune de ces audiences auxquelles ils participent, celle-ci ne faisant pas exception.
13644 Je voudrais aussi reconnaître le travail acharné du personnel du CRTC, que ce soit ici à l’audience ou encore à partir de nos quartiers généraux ou des bureaux régionaux. Vos conseils judicieux sont une grande partie -- sont d’une grande aide pour le panel dans la prise de décisions. Merci à vous tous.
13645 I would also like to thank all the reporters, bloggers and Twitter users who bring the hearings beyond these walls into the digital world so that those who can’t attend or participate directly can still keep us -- keep up with what is unfolding.
13646 However, I want to add that it is quite concerning how little mainstream media coverage of this important hearing has garnered. It is unfortunate that a hearing on the future of locally reflective and locally relevant news has garnered very, very little in-depth reporting.
13647 Mais il est évident que les sujets discutés lors de cette audience sont importants pour les canadiens. Les commentaires reçus lors de la première période de consultation et la participation sur le forum de discussion en ligne nous ont donné un dossier public exhaustif.
13648 Jusqu’à maintenant nous avons reçu près de 1 000 commentaires en ligne sur le forum de discussion. Les canadiens peuvent évidemment continuer à partager leur opinion sur le site -- sur les sujets traités lors de l’audience sur le forum de discussion jusqu’à 20 heures, heure normale de l’est ce soir, soit 17 heures, heure normale du pacifique.
13649 In 2013 the CRTC embarked in Let’s Talk TV a wide ranging process on the future of television. This hearing followed in those -- this hearing followed in those footsteps.
13650 While content and viewers are moving to other platform, it’s important to keep in mind that Canadians still rely on television newscasts to keep informed, particularly about their communities and our country’s democratic life.
13651 This hearing aimed to access -- assess the state of local and community programming and the approaches that will enable Canadian citizens to be adequately served by these services and have access to the broadcasting system.
13652 It is vital that Canadians of all walks of life across the country have access to community programming and local news that is of high quality, high relevance and that reflects their realities and that serves their interest and their localities.
13653 This type of programming is an essential part of the broadcasting system and of Canada’s democracy as it enables citizens to stay informed and engaged in their local events and life.
13654 Il nous faut maintenant nous pencher sur les renseignements obtenus au cours de cette instance publique et ultimement parvenir à des décisions. Évidemment, toute information soumise sera considérée avec soin.
13655 J’en profite pour rappeler à tous les partis que les engagements pris au cours du présent processus, doivent nous parvenir d’ici la date prévue à cet effet en cours d’audience.
13656 Je vous remercie encore une fois tous et toutes pour votre participation.
13657 The hearing is adjourned. Thank you very much.
--- Upon adjourning at 1:30 p.m.
Debbie Di Vetta
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