Transcript, Virtual Hearing January 11, 2021
Location: National Capital Region, in virtual mode
Date: January 11, 2021
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Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
Attendees and Location
National Capital Region, in virtual mode
- Chairperson: Ian Scott
- Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting: Caroline J. Simard
- Commissioner, Québec: Alicia Barin
- Commissioner, Ontario: Monique Lafontaine
- Commissioner, British Columbia and Yukon: Claire Anderson
- Legal Advisors: Jean-Sébastien Gagnon, James Wilson
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Céline Legault, Manon Auger
Table of Contents
PHASE I – Presentation by the Licensee
40 - Presentation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / La Société Radio-Canada (the Corporation) to renew the broadcasting licences for its various English and French-language audio and audio-visual programming services
271 - Undertaking
275 - Undertaking
405 - Undertaking
461 - Undertaking
599 - Undertaking
678 - Undertaking
--- Upon commencing on Monday, January 11th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m./ L’audience débute le lundi 11 janvier 2021 à 10 h 00
1 THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, and welcome to this virtual hearing. And I'd like to wish you all a very happy New Year.
2 Bonjour et bienvenue à cette audience publique virtuelle. Je vous souhaite à tous une très bonne année.
3 Avant de commencer, je tiens à préciser que je préside actuellement cette audience depuis le siège du CRTC, qui se trouve sur le territoire traditionnel non cédé des Algonquins. Je tiens à remercier le peuple algonquin et à rendre hommage à ses Aînés. Les conseillers et le personnel du Conseil travaillent à distance en ce moment.
4 As the Commission announced in November 2020, this public hearing will be hosted virtually. It was originally supposed to be held in May of 2020, but was delayed until now due to, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. And under the current circumstances, and like everyone else, the Commission is making adjustments so we can continue to support the broadcasting and telecommunications industries upon which Canadians are relying.
5 We appreciate your support as we conduct a virtual hearing under challenging circumstances, and your patience when the occasional technical glitch that will no doubt arise occurs.
6 Au cours des prochaines semaines, le Conseil examinera les demandes de renouvellement des licences de télévision et de radio déposées par la Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada.
7 Le diffuseur public national du Canada joue un rôle important dans la vie des Canadiens, et ce depuis sa création en novembre 1936. Au-delà de sa mission qui consiste à s’assurer que sa programmation est disponible et accessible à tous les Canadiens, la CBC/Radio-Canada doit offrir une programmation principalement et distinctement canadienne qui nous informe, nous éclaire et nous divertit. En outre, elle doit refléter les diverses réalités et identités géographiques, culturelles et linguistiques du Canada dans les deux langues officielles.
8 Cette instance a débuté à l’automne 2019 lorsque nous avons invité les Canadiens à nous faire part de leurs points de vue sur le diffuseur public national du Canada. Nous avons demandé aux Canadiens de nous dire si la programmation de la CBC/Radio-Canada reflète et représente ce que nous sommes en tant que collectivité diversifiée, en tant que société démocratique et, en fin de compte, en tant que pays. Nous avons également demandé comment la CBC/Radio-Canada soutenait les créateurs et les producteurs canadiens. Enfin, nous avons demandé aux Canadiens de nous dire comment ils consomment le contenu de la CBC/Radio-Canada sur différentes plateformes, compte tenu des développements des modèles de distribution du contenu.
9 The Commission received over 20,000 interventions from Canadians as well as from a variety of interested parties, and I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank all of those who took the time to participate in this public consultation. Your views are important to us. They're on the public record, and they will be taken into account by the Commission in our decision-making process.
10 We know the ways in which Canadians consume content is changing, and even though the CBC/Radio-Canada continues to provide programming on conventional mediums such as radio and television services, it has also been seeking to reach Canadians by offering programming on multiple online services and platforms for some time now.
11 To date, the Commission's approach to ensuring that CBC/Radio-Canada meets its mandate has focused on only a part of its activities, that is to say, its television and radio services.
12 We know that Canadians are consuming more and more content through online services and that we must take a broader view of the CBC/Radio-Canada's activities while continuing to work with the tools that we do have.
13 Furthermore, in its renewal applications, CBC/Radio-Canada is asking the Commission for considerable flexibility in order to meet its mandate and to respond to these technological and market changes. As a result, we'll explore how the Commission may provide the CBC/Radio-Canada with more flexibility where appropriate, while ensuring that Canada's national public broadcasters -- broadcaster continues to fulfil its mandate across all of its services and platforms.
14 Cette audience permettra d'examiner le rendement passé et les engagements futurs de la CBC/Radio-Canada afin de s'assurer de sa programmation:
15 soit pertinente et reflète les besoins et les intérêts de tous les Canadiens, y compris les membres des groupes minoritaires, dans les deux -- dans les deux langues; soit de grande qualité et appuie les producteurs et les créateurs de contenu canadiens; soit accessible et découvrable partout au Canada et à l’étranger; et contribue à la vie démocratique du Canada.
16 Bien qu'une flexibilité accrue puisse être appropriée, le Conseil doit remplir son mandat en vertu de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et avoir la capacité de déterminer dans quelle mesure la CBC/Radio-Canada répond aux besoins des Canadiens. Le Conseil et la CBC/Radio-Canada doivent être en mesure de rendre compte de ces résultats de manière transparente. Nous examinerons les moyens de moderniser les outils que nous utilisons pour y parvenir.
17 As many of you will be well aware, the government has tabled Bill C‑10 which addresses the ever-changing digital broadcasting environment, who provides for a more flexible approach to regulation, and modernizes the CRTC's enforcement powers. While we welcome the new legislation, this bill is currently being studied by Parliament and we are closely following the work of Parliamentarians with great interest. Should there be any change in legislation during the proceeding, the Commission will inform all interested parties of how it could affect the proceeding and whether changes in procedure are warranted.
18 And finally, the Commission notes that is has received, in the last week, a number of requests to add additional information to the record of the proceeding from the Community Media Advocacy Centre (CMAC) and from persons concerned with the CBC's temporary suspension of local newscasts in Prince Edward Island. The Commission anticipates that it may receive further requests to add new information to the record of this proceeding during the course of the hearing.
19 The Commission intends to take those requests currently received, and any others received during the course of the hearing, under advisement and will rule on them at a future point in time.
20 Avant de commencer, je voudrais prendre un moment pour remercier les membres du personnel du Conseil pour les efforts qu’ils ont déployés pour organiser cette audience publique. Pour garantir une audience ordonnée, ils ont fait beaucoup d’efforts en coulisses, pour s’adapter à la nouveau -- nouvelle, pardon, réalité de l’organisation d’« audiences virtuelles ». Nous leur sommes reconnaissants pour tout ce qu’ils font.
21 Et maintenant, avant de commencer, laissez-moi faire quelques présentations.
22 Le comité d’audience est composé des personnes suivantes:
23 Madame Claire Anderson, conseillère pour la Colombie-Britannique et le Yukon; Madame Alicia Barin, conseillère pour le Québec; Madame Monique Lafontaine, conseillère pour l’Ontario; Madame Caroline Simard, vice-présidente, Radiodiffusion du Conseil; et moi-même, Ian Scott, président du CRTC. Je présiderai cette audience.
24 L’équipe du Conseil qui nous assiste comprend:
25 Céline Legault et Manon Auger, gestionnaires de l’audience; Jean-Sébastien Gagnon et James Wilson, conseillers juridiques; et Madame Jade Roy, secrétaire de l’audience.
26 I'd now invite our Hearing Secretary, Madame Roy, to explain the procedures we'll be following during this public hearing.
27 Madame la Secrétaire.
28 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Merci, et bonjour à tous.
29 Before we start, I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing.
30 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the court reporter. Please note that the transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission's website the following business day.
31 Veuillez noter que les documents seront disponibles sur Twitter sur le compte du Conseil à arobase CRTCaudiences au pluriel, en utilisant le mot‑clic diaise CRTC. Veuillez noter que les documents sont… désolée.
32 Just a reminder that pursuant to section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures, you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this rule, you must ask permission of the Panel of the hearing before you do so.
33 Veuillez noter que si les parties s'engagent à déposer des renseignements auprès du Conseil en réponse à des questions posées par le comité d’audition, ces engagements seront confirmés dans la transcription de l'audience.
34 The hearing is expected to last 13 days. We will advise you of any schedule changes as they occur. Participants are reminded that they must be ready to present on the day scheduled or, if necessary, the day before or after, depending on the progress of the hearing.
35 Please make sure to speak clearly in your mic, and if you are not speaking put your microphone on mute.
36 Si vous plaits assurez de parler clairement dans votre micro et si vous ne parlez pas mettre votre micro sur sourdine.
37 And now, Mr. Chairman, we will begin Phase 1 of this hearing in which we will hear the presentation by the applicant, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Nous entendrons maintenant la présentation de la Société Radio-Canada.
38 Si vous plaits, vous présenter et présenter vos collègues, après quoi vous aurez 30 minutes pour votre présentation.
39 Madame Tait, you may begin.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
40 MS. TAIT: Merci, monsieur le présidente, madame la vice-présidente, madame la conseillère. Bonjour.
41 Mon nom est Catherine Tait et je suis présidente-directrice générale de CBC/Radio-Canada. Avant de débuter, j'aimerais vous présenter les personnes qui m'accompagnent sur ce panel:
42 Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President, CBC; Michel Bissonnette, vice-président principal, Radio-Canada; Claude Galipeau, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Development; Marco Dubé, vice-président, Personnes et culture; Michael Mooney, Acting Executive Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer; Bev Kirshenblatt, Executive Director, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs; Donald Lizotte, directeur général et chef des revenus, Solutions Média; Nicky Davis, Director, Engagement and Inclusion, CBC; Dorothy Alexandre, première spécialiste et coordonnatrice externe, Inclusion des communautés, Radio-Canada.
43 C'est avec plaisir que je vous présenterai les personnes qui vont se joindre à nous lorsque nous allons discuter des questions touchant la programmation.
44 As we are holding this meeting virtually, I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we are today is the traditional unceded territory of the Anishnaabeg people. I would also like to acknowledge Indigenous people from all territories in which each of us is situated today. From coast to coast, we acknowledge traditional territories of all Inuit, Métis and First Nations.
45 When I started at CBC/Radio-Canada, I was reminded that Canadians have two jobs - their own and running the CBC. As it should be. We welcome the debate, the passion, the input, and the thoughtful reflections of all Canadians about their public broadcaster at all times, and especially during this licence renewal hearing.
46 Before we begin, I would like to note this historic moment. As the first female President of CBC/Radio-Canada in 80 years, sitting before four female Commissioners, I look forward to discussing how the public broadcaster can become even more representative of all Canadians over our next license term.
47 It is no coincidence that as we participate for the first time in a virtual hearing much of our discussion will centre on the immutable presence of digital in today's media reality. And speaking of historic moments, let us not forget that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, an unprecedented public health crisis that has reverberated throughout our society, our economy, and for many of us has touched painfully our families and loved ones. Despite enormous uncertainty, it is our hope over the coming days to share with you a vision for the future that clearly paves a way for all Canadians to be represented and to participate in their public broadcaster.
48 Notre demande de renouvèlement de licence a été soumise en août 2019. À l’époque, personne ne connaissait encore la COVID-19. Évidemment, quand nous avons commencé à nous préparer en vue de ces audiences, la première question que nous nous sommes posés a été la suivante : comment les choses ont-elles changé? Clairement, on voit que les tendances de fond déjà présentes dans le secteur des médias avant la pandémie se sont accélérées et amplifiées pendant la crise.
49 Parmi ces tendances, on retrouve la présence et la popularité croissante des géants numériques étrangers et surtout, leurs services par contournement, le transfert accru des auditoires vers le numérique, l’explosion des fausses nouvelles et de la désinformation, l’attachement de plus en plus important des jeunes Canadiens au numérique et surtout, une nouvelle urgence dans les revendications des Canadiens appartenant à des groupes sous-représentés pour une plus grande justice sociale et une correction au racisme systémique dans toutes nos institutions publiques.
50 Le gouffre qui sépare les services traditionnels de radio et de télévision et les nouveaux services numériques audio et vidéo continuent de s’agrandir. C’est pourquoi nous observons avec beaucoup d’attention l’évolution de ces tendances et leur impact sur la pertinence du diffuseur public dans l’avenir.
51 As the former Director-General of the BBC and CEO of the New York Times Mark Thompson said, "You can't invent the future if you're spending 80 percent of your time on legacy operations." And I would add to this observation. It is impossible to remain relevant to a dramatically changing population of Canadians without adopting change and innovation as critical to the DNA of the public broadcaster.
52 Since our last license renewal here in 2012, Canada has welcomed over 2.5 million new Canadians. By 2036 we know that racialized communities will represent between 31 and 36 percent of the population, but there are other important demographic shifts: an aging population, a growing, younger Indigenous population, all of which form our future. Canada is changing, and we, the public broadcaster, must change with it.
53 With the same budget of 20 years ago, in fact in real dollars a lower budget, we now offer services across multiple platforms to reach new Canadians and younger Canadians who have never owned a TV set. And yet at the same time, we continue to offer linear services to isolated communities without sufficient broadband service to access any of our digital offerings.
54 We believe it is this balancing act between linear and digital that is at the core of these hearings, a balancing act between the interest and needs of Canadians with very different profiles and media habits. How do we serve all Canadians in a time of galloping technological change, accelerated audience and platform fragmentation, and increasingly challenged business models for our media industry?
55 If the public broadcaster is to remain relevant, we believe we must be bold and we must embrace change. We must imagine what a digital future will look like and make sure we are there. Our public service media colleagues like the BBC, France Télévisions, the ABC in Australia, NHK in Japan, ZDF in Germany, are all grappling with the same issues. And we all agree that if we do not move with our audiences, we risk becoming dinosaurs on a melting icecap.
56 So, to the question would you change your proposal of August 2019 given the experience and learnings of the pandemic, our answer is no. We proposed a bridge to the future, understanding that for this hearing we would be working within the parameters of the existing Broadcasting Act. The idea of a bridge is to ensure that we retain the flexibility to respond to our audiences changing viewing habits. We understand that some may think we should leave the digital space to others. In response, we would say if we were to do so, we are abandoning the future and with it all future generations of Canadians.
57 Aujourd’hui, un peu moins de la moitié des Canadiens regardent des contenus à la fois sur les plateformes traditionnelles et numériques. Or, environ 25 % sont uniquement sur les plateformes linéaires alors qu’un autre 25 % est uniquement sur le numérique, un nombre qui continuera d’augmenter dans l’avenir. Est-ce que l’on voudrait vraiment un diffuseur public qui ne s’adresse à une partie de la population, et ce, sur des plateformes qui sont en déclin?
58 Au cours des prochains jours, plusieurs des intervenants souhaitent profiter de cette audience pour discuter du mandat du diffuseur public et de son modèle de financement. Ce sont des questions qui relèvent du Parlement et qui sont liées à la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, une loi qui est actuellement en processus de révision.
59 Pendant ces audiences, il va plutôt être question de nos services de programmation, plus précisément nos services audio et audiovisuels. La principale différence par rapport à nos dernières audiences, c’est que nous proposons cette fois que la programmation audiovisuelle sur CBC Gem et ICI Tou.tv soit aussi reconnue dans le calcul de nos obligations envers les Canadiens. Ne pas le faire, selon nous, serait ignorer l’avenir, un avenir dans lequel nous sommes déjà.
60 Le 11 mars dernier, l'Organisation mondiale de la santé a déclaré une pandémie mondiale. Comme toutes les entreprises au pays, CBC/Radio-Canada a dû réagir rapidement. Dès le début de la crise, nous avons placé la majorité de nos 7 600 employés en télétravail. Il a fallu ajuster nos grilles en fonction des annulations du Gala Québec Cinéma et de celui des prix Juno, en plus du report du hockey et, bien sûr, des Jeux Olympiques et Paralympiques de Tokyo. De plus, nous avons rapidement mis en place des mesures pour protéger nos équipes de nouvelles qui, elles, devaient rester sur place. Plus que jamais, notre couverture devenait essentielle pour aider les Canadiens à naviguer entre une information qui évolue chaque minute et la désinformation qui se multiplie autour de la COVID.
61 Depuis le début de la crise, nous avons adapté notre offre pour proposer une plus grande variété de contenu pour les jeunes, les familles et les communautés de partout au pays. La réponse des Canadiens a été des plus positives : ils ont été plus nombreux que jamais à se tourner vers nos services pour s’informer et se divertir, autant à CBC qu’à Radio-Canada.
62 So, to our proposal, simply stated, our proposal acknowledges that the silos of traditional television, radio and digital are no longer relevant when audiences move seamlessly between them. Our goal for this license renewal is to put audiences first, regardless of the platforms they use, and as our audiences, their demographics and habits change, our goal is to reflect their realities in everything we do. Central to our proposal is our enduring and highly valued partnership with the independent production sector.
63 We believe that CBC/Radio-Canada more than ever, in a post-COVID world, is an essential engine for Canada’s own artists, creators, performers, musicians, and cultural industries. Our role as a support for emerging artists and developing talent is critical. It helps ensure the survival of Canadian cultural expression in an increasingly global entertainment marketplace.
64 This leads me to CBC/Radio-Canada’s role in relationship to programming by and for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. As we mark the fifth anniversary of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we want to continue to improve our service to Indigenous communities across Canada.
65 Over the next licence term, we propose to develop an Indigenous strategy at the Public Broadcaster with meaningful input from Indigenous own broadcasters, production companies and other stakeholders. In 2020, we appointed two Indigenous advisors at CBC and Radio-Canada to lead this work. And I am delighted to say that we have already agreed to pursue a Memorandum of Understanding, in 2021, with APTN as part of this effort.
66 Finally, another critical part of our proposal is accelerating our commitment to truly reflect contemporary Canada. We know that the Public Broadcaster has a unique leadership role to play in this regard. All Canadians must see themselves in the Public Broadcaster, in our content and at all levels across our creative, journalistic and management ranks. And we are ready to commit to more comprehensive tracking and reporting on representation and leadership across all our activities.
67 I would like now to invite Barb Williams to talk about the News and Entertainment Programming Services at CBC and how they reflect this dual challenge of diversity and digital at CBC/Radio-Canada.
68 Ensuite, pour sa part, Michel Bissonnette va vous parler du rôle fondamental que joue Radio-Canada pour les francophones au pays.
69 But first, Barb.
70 MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Catherine.
71 A mandate to serve all Canadians with a wide range of programming; the ever-increasing use of digital platforms and devices to access content; and a need to reflect Canada’s changing population. These themes don’t just permit CRTC hearings, they are embodied in CBC’s own activities and structure in our corporate strategies and of course in our content plans and decisions.
72 Consider for a moment CBC News with about 18 hundred employees devoted to the production of news and current affaires. CBC operates the most extensive news operation in the country. And in fact, we are expanding our capabilities by opening a new foreign bureau in Mumbai.
73 The information we gather and the news we produce populate our radio and TV stations, our all-news discretionary services, and our digital properties. It is truly a multi-platform news ecosystem. And it has to be. In today’s environment, no large media company can pursue a single-platform strategy and effectively reach all Canadians. The mix simply has to include digital.
74 Traditional TV and especially conventional TV is in decline everywhere, except of course it seems for the “Bye Bye” of Radio-Canada.
75 It is important to note that at the peak of the pandemic, CBC.ca combined with Radio-Canada.ca became Canada’s leading digital platform after Google, Facebook, and Microsoft with 24 million active monthly users.
76 But digital is only one important piece of this complex puzzle. Despite its many advantages, you can’t reach all Canadians with only digital either, and we were reminded of this last March. When the COVID crisis hit, we experienced a surge in demand for news and information across all of our platforms, including our flagship newscasts. And CBC also faced technical bottlenecks on some of our conventional TV stations principally due to an unprecedent volume of live press conferences. And this, combined with overload in our technical systems and staff shortages, forced us to temporarily cut back on suppertime TV newscasts.
77 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms. Williams ---
78 MS. WILLIAMS: Now, we put each of these programs back up as soon ---
79 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry to interrupt, Ms. Williams. Could you raise your microphone a tiny bit, we are just losing you on occasion.
80 Thank you. Sorry to interrupt.
81 MS. WILLIAMS: No, no, no. I’m so glad you did. I hope this is better. Does it sound better? Excellent. Thank you.
82 Of course, we put each of these programs back up as soon as possible but nevertheless, in certain markets like PEI, we learned firsthand just how much some Canadians continue to rely on our legacy television stations. And this is why we have promised in this process to maintain our TV transmitters for the next licence term because it is yet another way we can reach all Canadians.
83 Similarly, while CBC is unquestionably a domestic leader in podcasts, more on that in a minute, we shouldn’t overlook the extraordinary reach of our traditional radio stations and their ability to reflect contemporary Canada. After all, CBC Radio One is the country’s premier destination for local, regional, national, and international news, current affairs, and arts and cultural programming. Our morning show is ranked number one in 20 of 27 measured markets.
84 But I wonder how many Canadians know we also provide radio newscasts in six different Indigenous languages out of Yellowknife; or that we offer news in Iqaluit in Inuktitut; or that we have a Cree media unit.
85 Now, many Canadians know that CBC music stations introduce listeners to new and emerging Canadian artists across a staggering range of musical genre. But reflecting Canada’s diversity is also a key objective and next month, for example, CBC music will launch a nightly two-hour show that exclusively features music of black origin, including hip hop, R&B, soul, and afrobeat.
86 Now, of course, an audience centric content strategy typically requires a digital presence, and CBC was an early adopter of podcasting and quickly assumed a domestic leadership role.
87 Today, CBC podcasts are downloaded on average 13.4 million times each month. It’s a digital platform that allows us to explore even more subjects, even more in depth, and clearly reach larger audiences. This past fall, for example, we launched the podcast series “Inuit Unikkaangit”, which means “Our Stories”, hosted by Archivist Mary Powder from Grise Fiord, Nunavut. The podcast replays original teachings of Elders from CBC North’s recently digitized Indigenous Language Archives and is an invaluable record of Inuit experiences over the past 60 years or so. In some cases, these are the only recordings in existence with Elders’ wisdom.
88 Now, before turning the virtual floor over to Michel, it is worth noting that diverse content by itself is insufficient and a platform, any platform is simply a conduit, a vehicle. To deliver on an audience centric strategy, you need great content and, in our case, great Canadian content since it quite literally fills our schedules and content libraries.
89 Many of us here have worked in content sector for decades. It’s a lifelong passion and we can say without hesitation that no other media company in this country comes close to providing such diverse range of high-quality, wonderfully produced domestic content.
90 Last month, Playback Magazine named Trickster “Scripted Series of the Year” for 2020. Now, yes, it’s been in the news recently. And this show marks the first time CBC has developed a television show based on books by an Indigenous author, Eden Robinson, from Kitimat, British Columbia, and featuring all Indigenous talent. It’s new and important storytelling, and it’s getting people’s attention, not just here but in countries around the world. And we are proud to be involved in a show like this and to help Canadians discover amazing new talent.
91 So many other smart dramas, comedies and documentaries have aired on our stations or been added to CBC Gem during this licence term, and some have become part of Canadian lore.
92 Shows like "Schitt's Creek", which made television history when it won all the Emmys in its
93 category last year. "Kim’s Convenience", a success in Canada but also a top-rated series in South Korea. Nova Scotia-based "Diggstown", created by a black writer/director starring the very talented Vinessa Antoine. The documentary series "Enslaved", which has also been so well received in the United Kingdom and the U.S. "The Nature of Things" with David Suzuki, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. And "The 410", a crime drama created, co-produced and starring the amazing Supinder Wraich about a South Asian community in Brampton, Ontario.
94 All of these shows, and so many others, have exposed Canadians and the world to diverse, homegrown talent through clever, thoughtful story-telling and high production values. And in so doing, our viewers see themselves represented and reflected in the widest range of truly authentic Canadian programming.
95 And we’re not stopping, on any platform. A comprehensive and diverse slate of new domestic content in all genres will be announced this year, and in every year of the next licence term.
97 M. BISSONNETTE: Merci, Barbara.
98 Les changements dont Catherine et Barb vous ont parlé, on les observe aussi dans le marché francophone. Avec la COVID-19, les questions de diversité et d’inclusion ont été au cœur de nos préoccupations en 2020. C’est pourquoi nous avons accéléré nos efforts pour mieux refléter le Canada d’aujourd’hui sur nos plateformes. On le sent de plus en plus dans nos séries dramatiques : dans le choix des comédiens, évidemment, mais surtout dans les histoires que l’on raconte. Je pense entre autres à Toute la vie, qui suit le parcours d’adolescentes enceintes, tout en abordant la diversité sous toutes ses formes. Cet automne, dans la foulée du mouvement Black Lives Matter, ICI TÉLÉ a diffusé le documentaire Pour mes fils, mon silence est impossible, où Isabelle Racicot porte un regard très personnel sur le racisme. Sur Radio-Canada OHdio, on retrouve Laissez-nous raconter : l’histoire crochie, un balado qui revisite l’histoire d’un point de vue autochtone à travers 11 mots lourds de sens. Cette production de Terre Innue a été couronnée récemment « Meilleur balado francophone » au Paris Podcast Festival.
99 Si on regarde maintenant du côté des habitudes médias, les francophones ont assurément le même appétit pour le numérique que leurs concitoyens anglophones. Mais ce n’est pas le changement le plus préoccupant.
100 La barrière de la langue, qui a longtemps protégé le marché francophone, n’est plus un obstacle aujourd’hui. Les données du dernier recensement nous confirment que la plus jeune génération est de plus en plus bilingue. Il n’est donc pas surprenant de voir que Netflix est nettement plus populaire auprès des plus jeunes. Si un peu moins de la moitié des francophones sont abonnés à Netflix, ce taux monte à 80 % chez les 18-34 ans.
101 Si on ne veut pas perdre une génération, il est plus important que jamais de leur offrir une alternative francophone diversifiée et de qualité. Surtout, il faut continuer d’innover, comme on l’a fait il y a un peu plus de 10 ans avec la création d’ICI TOU.TV qui nous permet aujourd’hui d’atteindre un nouveau public qui, autrement, ne regarderait pas nos émissions. Aux côtés de services comme TVA+, Crave et Club illico, ICI TOU.TV est notre meilleur rempart contre les géants comme Netflix, Apple, Disney et Amazon.
102 J’aime dire que le diffuseur public ne fait pas nécessairement autre chose, mais il doit absolument le faire autrement. Cela ne fait aucun doute lorsque l’on écoute nos radios, qui occupent chacune une place unique dans le paysage radiophonique. Avec l’application Radio-Canada OHdio, qui a été lancée l’an dernier, nous réussissons à attirer un nouveau public, comme nous l’avons fait avec ICI TOU.TV.
103 Sur ICI TÉLÉ, faire autrement se traduit dans nos choix de programmation et dans l’équilibre de la grille. À côté d’une offre d’affaires publiques unique dans le marché francophone, nous proposons des dramatiques distinctives comme Fragile ou C’est comme ça que je t’aime, et des variétés rassembleuses comme En direct de l’univers.
104 Sur les 20 émissions les plus regardées par les francophones cet automne, plus de la moitié étaient présentées par Radio-Canada. Nous sommes très fiers de voir que ce palmarès représente toute la richesse de notre offre, incluant bien sûr District 31, 5e rang, Tout le monde en parle et La facture, pour ne citer que quelques titres. Demeurer pertinent pour le diffuseur public, c’est aussi s’assurer que nous créons des liens avec les Canadiens dès leur plus jeune âge. Dès 2019, nous avons élargi notre programmation jeunesse avec l’ajout de plus d’une quarantaine de titres, dont dix originaux.
105 Les résultats sont là. Pendant la pandémie, l’écoute de nos contenus jeunesse a littéralement explosé sur ICI TOU.TV, ce qui vient confirmer l’importance d’offrir une alternative aux jeunes francophones.
106 À l’automne 2019, nous avons aussi lancé MAJ, Mon actualité du jour. Inspiré du succès de CBC Kids News, MAJ propose un regard sur l’actualité par et pour les jeunes. Ses contenus sont disponibles à la fois sur Radio-Canada.ca, mais aussi sur Facebook, Instagram et YouTube.
107 Il y a quelques années, nous avons complètement transformé notre offre régionale pour créer une approche multiplateforme. Cela nous permet, entre autres, de mieux desservir les francophones en milieu minoritaire pour qui, bien souvent, le « vivre en français » serait beaucoup plus difficile sans Radio-Canada.
108 Aujourd’hui, nous offrons une couverture régionale 7 jours sur 7 aux francophones de partout au pays. Nous travaillons aussi pour soutenir activement la vitalité francophone dans chacune des communautés et leur assurer un meilleur reflet sur nos antennes nationales.
109 Par exemple, nous collaborons avec les producteurs indépendants des communautés francophones pour offrir de plus en plus de séries dramatiques, de comédies et d’émissions de variétés. C’est ce qui nous permet d’avoir aujourd’hui une série comme Eaux turbulentes, de la Franco-ontarienne Marie-Thé Morin, qui sera bientôt distribuée à l’international, ou une comédie comme À la valdrague, dont la 4e saison sera entièrement écrite, jouée, produite et réalisée par des Acadiens.
110 Partout au pays, nos stations collaborent étroitement avec celles de CBC, en partageant entre autres les mêmes locaux et les mêmes ressources afin de mieux servir les Canadiens et rencontrer notre engagement d’être encore plus présent au niveau local et régional.
111 Avant de redonner la parole à Catherine, j’aimerais dire quelques mots sur l’importance de nos chaînes d’information continue. À notre époque dominée par la désinformation et les fausses nouvelles, l’accès à une information crédible et fiable est crucial. Pour les francophones qui vivent en milieu minoritaire, il est essentiel. Dans ce contexte, le rôle d’ICI RDI est plus important que jamais. Tout comme celui de CBC News Network au Québec, d’ailleurs.
112 Comme CBC News Network, ICI RDI est présente partout au pays et offre une couverture inégalée de l’actualité régionale, nationale et internationale. Elle est la seule chaîne d’information continue de langue française au pays avec un mandat véritablement national. Par exemple, en plus de couvrir les campagnes au Nouveau-Brunswick, en Saskatchewan et en Colombie-Britannique l’automne dernier, ICI RDI a aussi diffusé les soirées électorales pour chacune de ces élections.
113 La contribution d’ICI RDI, comme celle de CBC News Network, est exceptionnelle et rencontre clairement les objectifs de politique publique en matière de radiodiffusion et de dualité linguistique. C’est pourquoi nous souhaitons entre autres le maintien de leur distribution obligatoire dans les marchés minoritaires.
114 ICI RDI s’appuie sur la force journalistique extraordinaire de Radio-Canada. Avec nos journalistes au pays et partout dans le monde, nous aidons les francophones à mieux comprendre ce qui se passe ici et ailleurs, et ce, avec un point de vue canadien. L’information, c’est notre ADN et c’est au cœur du rôle essentiel que joue le diffuseur public dans la vie démocratique au pays.
115 Si nous avons réussi à créer une radio et une télé auxquelles les francophones sont encore fortement attachés aujourd’hui, c’est parce que nous avons cette capacité extraordinaire de raconter des histoires dans lesquelles les francophones se retrouvent et se reconnaissent.
116 La force de notre industrie repose sur l’équilibre entre médias publics, privés et communautaires. C’est un équilibre qu’il ne faut pas briser. Comme tous les joueurs, le diffuseur public doit avoir les outils et la flexibilité nécessaires pour réaliser pleinement son mandat et rejoindre les francophones sur les plateformes de leur choix, traditionnelles et numériques.
118 Mme TAIT: Merci, Michel.
119 Thank you, Barb.
120 Le dernier renouvellement des licences de CBC/Radio-Canada remonte à neuf ans. Beaucoup de choses ont changé depuis, c’est peu dire. Si le passé est garant de l’avenir, on peut s’attendre à ce que l’industrie des médias soit très différente dans cinq ans.
121 Depuis le dépôt de notre demande de renouvellement il y a plus d’un an, nous sommes entrés dans une pandémie, où la transition vers le numérique s’est accéléré. En même temps, nous avons vu émerger une urgence d’agir, encore plus forte, pour lutter contre les inégalités dans notre société.
122 It is our belief that by acknowledging the digital reality in the public broadcaster’s regulatory framework, and by giving us the flexibility to serve Canadians where they are, we will have built a bridge to the future. We are not abandoning traditional TV and radio; we have proposed solid commitments in that regard.
123 What we urge all stakeholders to recognize is that without this move forward, their public broadcaster risks being tethered to the past; and, ultimately, risks being disconnected from the future. It is our belief, that Canadians will be better served by a public broadcaster that reflects them in all their diversity and richness of difference, and that responds to their content needs on whatever platform they choice.
124 It is this pairing of digital and diversity that is the future of CBC/Radio-Canada, and it’s a powerful opportunity for transformative change for the public broadcaster and the society we serve.
125 In closing I would like to thank all of CBC/Radio-Canada’s talented teams for their extraordinary efforts, determination, creativity, and dedication to the principles of public broadcasting, and the country, during this licence term.
126 I would also like to thank the Commission and all your staff for working with us to bring this hearing to light in spite of extraordinary circumstances. And I would also like to thank our Board of Directors for their leadership and guidance during these most challenging, yet promising, of times.
127 We look forward to an informative and fruitful discussion over the next few days and we’re ready for your questions.
128 Thank you. Merci.
129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Madam Tait, and thank you for your presentations; it’s very helpful.
130 Let’s see; I’ll kick things off.
131 You mentioned in your opening remarks, and I think it’s quite apropos, that this is a balancing act for the Corporation, as you described it, between linear and digital, and that’s at the core of the hearings. I thin that’s an accurate statement in many respects.
132 And the balancing act for us, as a regulator, extends to what’s the appropriate regulatory tool and -- to use, given this fast -- an environment that’s already changed and continues to change. It’s sort of a spectrum; on the one hand we have the traditional tried and true approaches that the Commission has used and the Corporation has followed for many years of -- based on very specific or prescribed conditions of licence, and the second is on the other end of the pendulum, so to speak, one that, as you have described, includes a digital platforms but is more predicated on outcomes rather than prescriptive measures.
133 So I think I’d like to start there because you, the Corporation, is currently subject to a significant number of such conditions and requirements and expectations, and they're all designed, obviously, to ensure that particular behaviours are undertaken. You know, these range from size of playlists on Radio 2 and Espace musique, to consultations on, for example, the needs of OLMCs.
134 So I guess, to start, how effective do you think these conditions and requirements -- these prescriptive conditions have been and are in permitting the Corporation to meet its mandate today?
135 MS. TAIT: Well, I think the -- it’s a big question, so ---
136 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can break it down further but I just thought it’s a starting -- it’s a starting point.
137 MS. TAIT: It’s a good place to start.
138 I think that, ultimately, the proof is in the pudding and when you look at the performance of the public broadcaster over the last licence term, you will see that we have not only met our obligations but exceeded them in many cases.
139 And I guess I would say -- and I understand the challenge of these. You know, certainly in the Harnessing Change document you were looking -- the Commission was looking for a lighter regulatory approach or a less burdensome.
140 I would say that to some extent the public broadcaster is a different beast, and perhaps the approach, because we have this extraordinary obligation, extraordinary when compared to what private broadcasters have to do, with respect to serving all Canadians.
141 So I guess I would start there; how do you serve all Canadians with a regulatory regime that does not have some prescriptive guidelines? And, you know, we think that we’ve come up with a path forward that allows the Commission to be very, very -- very much aware of the direction that we’re heading in but at the same time gives us some flexibility. And, ultimately, that’s what this -- our proposal is about; it’s about seeking flexibility to go where the audiences are going.
142 I’m not sure if I’ve completely answered your question but maybe you want to do a part two.
143 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we’ll go on. I mean, I think this is going to be a theme that we will discuss many times in many different ways.
144 I guess to put the question a different way or continue the question; you know, it becomes to what degree would the Corporation continue to meet all of its mandate and the outcomes we set, absent, you know, prescriptive measures. We have -- we’ve imposed conditions of licence, for example, with respect to local programming. And as you’ve pointed out, you’ve largely outpaced them through the licence term.
145 But the question raised by a number of intervenors, and should be asked by the Commission, is if those prescriptive measures are removed, how can we be sure that they’ll be met; that you will provide the programming at a local regional level in a way that’s verifiably relevant to Canadians?
146 MS. TAIT: Is my mic on? Yes.
147 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it is.
148 MS. TAIT: Thank you. I actually hadn’t turned it off, so there you go.
149 I think the key for us, if I may just kind of step back for a minute, is; how do we operate as a Corporation? We start with the mandate to inform, to enlighten, and to entertain all Canadians. And so when we talked about the balancing act between digital and traditional, we take our obligations across all platforms to all Canadians very, very seriously.
150 And unlike others, we have almost close to 90 percent Canadian content, in some cases in some platforms, 100 percent Canadian content. And so, from that regard, you’re ultimately putting the question about not whether or not we would move away from our Canadian content obligations but really about allocation and how do we allocate resources across all of the different activities that we have.
151 If I may, you know, we are all struggling -- and I feel for the Commission as for all of our teams -- with some big challenges in our industry. And if I can just -- if you permit me, I would like to talk just a little bit about that, because I do think it informs the regulatory approach.
152 We have the issue of managing accelerated change in the industry and we’ve talked about that. It’s the, you know, structural decline of linear, the challenges that COVID has put on the economics in the business; the profound loss of local news outlet, which was also already very much underway prior to COVID but has been accelerated; and the unbelievable tsunami of choice that Canadians, and in particularly in the English market, a highly fragmented market, that Canadians have from foreign outlets. And so we -- in a system -- an overall system where there is weakening, let’s put it, of the domestic media system, how does the regulator that they will stay within that description, predominantly alphanumeric.
153 That said, that's not to say that there isn't video and audio on those services; and that said, some of that video and audio may travel to CBC Gem or CBC Listen or CBC TOU.TV, or audio.
154 And one of the themes that I'd like to introduce, and maybe it's too early and somebody else can come in on and be more precise on the alphanumeric piece, but one of the themes I think that I'd like to introduce is we don't operate in silos, in clear, you know, lane ways of -- not just in terms of TV or radio or digital platform, but in cross-genre. So if a piece of video comes out of Winnipeg and it's super fabulous, you know, a documentary, a short documentary created with a local independent production company, it might appear on a .ca environment, but it also might appear in a -- a CBC Gem environment.
155 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm. And do you have metrics on how often video content is accessed, for example, on CBC.ca?
156 MS. TAIT: We do track. But maybe Bev, you want to give some detail on that?
157 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: In terms of metrics, I suggest that Claude, perhaps, could provide some more information about how we track.
158 MR. GALIPEAU: Yeah. Thanks Bev. Thanks, Commissioner.
159 We do track internally how much of our video is used across Radio-Canada.ca and CBC.ca. We also track video and audio, how it is used at CBC Gem, TOU.TV, and audio, and CBC Listen, and we also track audio as it accessed across CBC.ca and Radio-Canada.ca. So we can track the initiation of streams, and in some cases we also track the average listening and total listening.
160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I guess back to a more specific question: When you take into account, for example, the mandate to inform, enlighten, and entertain, and I look at a service like Curio, it's an educational platform that you have within your broadcast ecosystem that offers programming that I think certainly enlightens Canadians. Your rad.ca news-based program, I think you described in your submissions as « un laboratoire journalistique abordant des enjeux de la société et de nouvelles sous différents formats avec rigueur et authenticité. »
161 These two platforms appear to directly support your mandate and don't appear to be predominantly alphanumeric. So when you think of those, why wouldn't the Commission consider your contributions when considering how to ensure that, you know, you meet your full mandate? In terms of the digital platform.
162 MS. TAIT: Again, we looked at the -- the kind of the ensemble of any of our activities. Curio, just for those in the -- viewers or -- who aren't familiar with, is a -- what started primarily as a service because we had many, many requests to access to the archives or to programs in the school or library setting, and that's how Curio developed. It's not like some of the educational broadcaster services which are primarily -- which sit more centrally in their mandate. For us, it was about giving access to schoolrooms and universities and libraries to that programming. It -- again, it is -- it is a replay of programming that already exists on other platforms for the large part.
163 In terms of Rad, you're absolutely right, it is a -- it is -- it is not pure alphanumeric, but again when we looked at where -- we looked at the entire ecosystem of the .ca platforms, and we said they are predominantly alphanumeric. That's -- again, as I said, that doesn't mean that there is no video or audio on them.
164 I saw Barb put up a finger, but I don't know if that meant she wanted to speak or not. Do you have something to add to this, Barb? I'm just kind of trying to be dynamic in this virtual setting.
165 MS. WILLIAMS: Sure. Thank you, Catherine.
166 Yeah, I hope that this is helpful and not further confusing. But I guess one of the ways we really thought about this was it -- it's actually a very, very small bridge for this first licence term that we have proposed here. We haven't tried to build a huge bridge that takes us to everything and provides ultimate flexibility for all platforms. It's a bridge that's still your -- the regulator's traditional COLs play a significant role.
167 We still are living up to almost all of the -- the, you know, regulatory COLs that people that think of mostly as our PNI commitment, our children's commitment, our local news commitment. Those are all still, for the most part, all intact. And it's a very small piece of flexibility that we thought would be good in this changing environment to start to understand how we are going to work with the regulator to respect and respond to the changing view or have it.
168 So we actually said, you know what, we'll go bigger. We'll promise more PNI than before and more children's programming or local news, depending on the French services or English services, and we'll make a very small piece of that accountable to another platform beyond TV. But in no way does this flexibility sort of with reckless abandon leave TV and those traditional COLs behind; they are still such a significant part of our proposal.
169 And it's tempting to go into the conversation with you about including .ca's in all of the platforms. We thought, again, small bridge in this first step. Let's just include the platforms that most obviously today are mimicking, if you will, what our traditional platforms do, which is Gem and Listen in the English market, and so thought that that bridge most easily stepped in in a small way to those platforms. But just to be clear, this concern that we share about how does one track and account and measure and ultimately be responsible to the digital platforms is a very small piece of our overall commitment, which still is largely rooted in the traditional COLs on the traditional platforms.
170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. And the point of my questions is, among other things, for us to understand just, you know, where that -- the bridge to where and what's on which side of -- what's on the mainland and what's on the island, so to speak. So bear with me and my colleagues as we try and work our way through. We're certainly open-minded and encourage, you know ---
171 Mme TAIT: Monsieur le président, je pense que Michel Bissonnette, il a aussi signalé qu’il voulait parler, alors…
172 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pardon, pardon. Allons-y, Monsieur Bissonnette.
173 M. BISSONNETTE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
174 C’est parce que vous avez soulevé le dossier RAD, que je trouve est un très bel exemple. Vous savez, on a lancé RAD en 2017 pour une raison qui était fort simple. C’est qu’on réalisait que la clientèle des milléniaux ne venait plus consommer l’information dans nos bulletins de nouvelles, ou de moins en moins, et de moins en moins sur le site de Radio-Canada parce qu’ils consommaient leur information sur les sites de médias sociaux.
175 Et on a donc décidé de créer RAD de façon à pouvoir avoir toujours avoir la même rigueur journalistique, les mêmes normes et pratiques journalistiques, et on a demandé à des milléniaux de venir faire des nouvelles avec un narratif qui était différent et une diffusion qui se faisait uniquement sur les médias sociaux, de façon à aller rejoindre cette clientèle-là, et du jour au lendemain, les nouvelles ont été de plus en plus transmises entre eux et la marque de Radio-Canada est redevenue pertinente.
176 Donc quand on vous parle de ce pont-là vers le futur, c’est qu’il y a des générations qui sont moins présentes sur les médias traditionnels. On essaie donc de trouver des façons de ne pas échapper une génération et RAD est assurément un des bons exemples au niveau de l’information.
177 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’accord. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Bissonnette.
178 Sorry, I lost my train of thought for a second. So let's go back. You've mentioned that with respect to the services on digital platforms, you acknowledge that there has to be a way for us to track them and to assure ourselves and Canadians that your objectives are being met. So, when the Commission imposes requirements, I mean, logically, we try and make sure that they're both measurable and enforceable. Your proposals involving the use of license services and expectations that extend to the online services do create some regulatory challenges for us, I mean, as we get into the details.
179 So, I guess first level, why shouldn't we -- why shouldn't the Commission consider carving out then those services out of the DMEO so that we have another basket, so to speak? I know, Catherine, you've -- or Madam Tait, pardon me, you've already indicated that the world isn't just silos, but as regulators, we like to put things in neat and tidy compartments as best we can. So, why not take those out of the DMEO and have, if you will, a basket or a silo of services?
180 MS. TAIT: I'll let Bev tackle that one.
181 MS. KIRSENBRATT: Thank you.
182 So, with respect to reopening the DMEO, we don't think it makes sense to have a fragmented ad hoc approach for online services. Bill C-10, which you referenced at the opening, provides the basis for a proper coherent approach going forward. So, we think it makes sense to wait until the Act is amended, and then move forward on that basis.
183 In addition, reopening the DMEO would require a full public consultation, and that would seriously delay the conclusion of CBC/Radio-Canada's license renewal process that was launched a year-and-a-half ago. It would also be inefficient to reopen the DMEO for just a single broadcaster. As I mentioned previously, we've provided adequate protections and accountability through our bridge for the future proposal.
184 And then finally, there is section 9(4) of the Broadcasting Act. That's the section that refers to exempting classes of broadcasting undertakings. And that's the section I think the Commission used in initially creating the DMEO. CBC/Radio-Canada is not a class of undertaking, so that an approach that would separate CBC/Radio-Canada either by excluding CBC/Radio-Canada from the existing DMEO or doing something would appear to run contrary to not only the purpose of section 9(4) of the Broadcasting Act, but it might be outside the scope of the section.
185 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Still leaves me thinking though, the corporation's proposed a cross -- you know, a cross-platform approach that contemplates the regulation of audio/visual content only, and that misses out on the fact that you are serving Canadians on all of the platforms, be they audio or video. So, when you serve Canadians on your audio services, you do that beyond, you know, provision of music, you provide news and information programming, audio documentaries through podcasts and so on. As we look at the relevance of this program for Canadians, you know, across the country, if we were to impose a requirement or expectation regarding the relevance of your program, why wouldn't we consider your audio platforms, you know, at the same time? Why would we leave out the audio platform?
186 MS. TAIT: Well, to be clear, when we submitted our proposal, the OHdio and CBC Listen had not been launched, just to -- once again, a clear indication of how quickly things change. We were in the podcasting business, of course, but the actual platforms or apps had not yet been launched. And the obligations around audio, as you well know, around radio are very different. And again, we, you know, we did not think that that was necessary at this time, as the les enjeux were -- are very different, so that was our, that was our position on that.
187 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks. Well, let me be maybe a little more specific. So when we're considering your contributions to Canadian content, emerging artists and diversity of musical content, would it be appropriate to consider the contributions that you make on your OHdio and Listen platforms to fulfilling those outcomes?
188 MS. TAIT: Michel, do you want to answer that one?
189 MR. BISSONNETTE: Est-ce que vous pouvez juste répéter… can you just repeat the question, please?
190 MS. TAIT: Oh, sorry.
191 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oui, certainement. When we're looking, when the Commission is looking at the contributions to the corporations making to Canadian content, for example, emerging artists, diversity of musical content, should the Commission -- is it appropriate for us to consider the contributions that you are making through OHdio, for example, and Listen, towards meeting those broader outcomes?
192 MR. BISSONNETTE: Comme Catherine vous l’expliquait, la plateforme de CBC Audio et de CBC Listen et OHdio ont été lancées à l’automne 2019, donc après notre dépôt. Donc, on est encore en train d’apprendre les données de marché sur ce qui fonctionne bien et ce qui ne fonctionne pas bien.
193 Nos obligations qu’on a par rapport à la musique émergente et les obligations qu’on a par rapport à la relève se font très bien présentement sur nos plateformes linéaires que sont ICI Musique et ICI Première, au même titre qu’elles se font très bien sur Radio One et Radio Two. Donc, on atteint déjà l’objectif de diffusion. L’avantage de OHdio comme Tou.tv, c’est plutôt d’avoir une case horaire qui est limitée à uniquement un dimanche après-midi, le contenu ou les playlists se retrouvent disponibles 24 heures sur 24, sept jours sur sept.
194 Donc, on a l’impression que dans quelques mois, nous aurons davantage de données de marché par rapport à nos plateformes audio de façon à être plus précis sur les engagements qu’on pourrait prendre à votre endroit.
195 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci, M Bissonnette.
196 So, if we look at -- if we -- sort of same kind of question, when we're looking at discoverability of content, should the Commission be limiting itself to looking at video programming and platforms, or should we also consider your audio programming and services in the context of discoverability?
197 MS. TAIT: Bev, do you want to take that one?
198 MS. KIRSHENBRATT: Sure. Thank you.
199 So as Barb mentioned earlier, we have proposed a smaller bridge to the future, and that bridge is based on exhibition. Now, the areas that you have highlighted, Minister Chair, are important things that our digital audio services actually contribute to. And I think we would be prepared to report on how these types -- how our platforms contribute to these objectives and these important goals.
200 I think the challenge that you've heard and that we've had is in creating this bridge, it is based on exhibition, so that's how we're measuring it. That's why we've stuck to conditions of license and expectations on the audio/visual. But the points you've raised are very important ways that we can achieve our mandate and deliver on our mandate on digital. So, I think we can think about how we might be able to do that once we get into a full discussion of discoverability generally, but it makes sense.
201 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
202 I guess another concern, maybe not be the right word but consideration is if the Commission establishes license conditions for some activities and expectations for others. Doesn’t that create an incentive for the corporation to shift activities to areas with expectations and theoretically is a way of avoiding certain COLs?
203 MS. TAIT: I don’t -- I think that that is why we put floors -- very firm floors in place, so as to protect against any concern or consideration that we would do -- we would do so. I mean, ultimately it is -- and that was, you know, we were trying -- we were struggling with, how do we do more, but do more in a -- in different ways to reach different audiences. So that was the -- that was the thinking behind this -- the approach that we came up with. And you know, the floors are there to protect against what you’re talking about.
204 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough. Thank you. I think I have one -- maybe I’ll touch on one more subject, and then we can take our morning break.
205 Maybe a little bit about access to programming. You’ve seen on the record that a number of intervenors believe that CBC Radio Canada’s online content should be free, since the corporation is primarily funded by government. And the content on GEM is free.
206 So can you give me a comment on why content on the ICI TOU.TV extra for example, should not be made available free of charge?
207 MS. TAIT: Thank you for that question. I think there is some -- perhaps if I can just give a little bit of clarity around what it is we actually do. we provide free access and what would be called SVOD access, or paid subscription access for both CBC GEM and ICI TOU.TV. And in the case of IC TOU.TV we call it extra.
208 The idea here is that the public broadcaster has as part of its financial model, what we call or often call a mixed model or a diversified financing model, and if I may, the commercial revenues that we earn are not insignificant to -- it is not a small number. And in that regard, those dollars are absolutely critical to reinvesting in more services, and more journalists, and more programs for Canadians.
209 So the paid version of both CBC GEM and ICI TOU.TV is a way that we can deepen a relationship with our viewers who do -- who choose those -- to subscribe because; one, they don’t want to see advertising; or two, they could have access to other programming that might no be available on the free platform.
210 However, having said that, the same goes for our specialty channels that also are available via the BDUs on a paid basis. There’s nothing new in this model is what I’m saying there.
211 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. But you do -- I guess there’s a concern, a remaining concern. I mean, there’s approximately 10 percent of Canadian households who can’t -- who don’t have access to digital platforms.
212 Are there ways, or can you comment on any means by which you could adapt to ensure that those -- or those who are unable to pay for a monthly subscription aren’t disproportionately disadvantaged in this -- in this model?
213 MS. TAIT: Well, almost all of the basic services that are provided are carried on both. It’s, you know, what drives the -- the online platform is the rattrapage -- catch up viewing, and that is really the core of what that is, so that people can view our programming on demand. That really -- that’s front and centre and that’s why, you know, the free service would be available to anybody as opposed -- so but they would be able to get that over the air also on traditional television.
214 THE CHAIRPERSON: But some shows are first aired on your subscription platforms before they are broadcast free of charge. Is that -- is that correct?
215 MS. TAIT: That is correct.
216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you. I think, Madam Secretary, this might be a good time to take our mid-morning break. I think we could return in 15 minutes. So 11:45.
217 THE SECRETARY: Perfect, 11:45 we will reconvene.
218 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much. Can I remind members, turn off or mute your mics. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 11:31 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 11:47 a.m.
219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secrétaire are we ready to resume?
220 THE SECRETARY: We are ready to resume. You may continue.
221 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you. All right. Let’s talk a little bit about exhibition and expenditures.
222 The outcome for this proceeding included a framework that will emphasize the availability of content across platforms, the discoverability of that content, and the measurability of requirements that are in tune with the outcomes that are sought.
223 So I guess to start, how does the incremental addition of hours of content meet those outcomes?
224 MS. TAIT: Do you mean versus expenditures? I’m sorry; I’m not quite understanding your question, Mr. Chair.
225 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, generally.
226 MS. TAIT: Well, we would account for all hours spent in each of the -- across the exhibition number, and I think we have outlined how we would do that.
227 If I may go to the exhibition versus expenditure approach, the reason -- and I think Bev was getting at this earlier, the reason that we went forward with an exhibition approach was really to capture what we think is the essence of the public broadcaster, which is that there is really no concern about our commitment to Canadian content; that the expenditure regime was devised or created to really regulate and to ensure that private broadcasters were not spending on foreign, or to at least ensure that they were spending some portion on Canadian content.
228 So that’s why we have stuck with that as our base proposal. And that allows us to look at each of the platforms in a kind of a self-contained fashion. And again, with respect to exhibition hours, we would do so on both the traditional and the digital ones.
229 I’ll just pause there and see if anybody wants to add to that comment from my pals? No? Okay.
230 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s fine. And I’ll try to be more specific in my questions.
231 MS. TAIT: Yes. Yes.
232 THE CHAIRPERSON: So how will the Corporation ensure the balance, or balance programming in terms of a strategy between traditional and online platforms, then? Like, how do you get a balance? Not everything is available on all platforms, while much content is repeated across multiple platforms, how do you -- what is the strategy for getting the balance right and to ensure that new content will be available on both mediums on an equitable basis, not, you know, one particular -- favour of one particular side of the equation or the other? I keep calling it a balance sheet, that’s probably not a good term when we’re talking about cultural content.
233 MS. TAIT: No, I’m going to ask Barb and Michel to speak to this. I’ll just say that, first of all, when we’re talking about the kinds of PNI commitments, there is a really -- or children’s programming for that matter, there is really very, very little incentive not to have those programs be available on all the platforms. Just to be very, very clear; these are significant investments and what we’re doing, actually, is rather than just limiting a show to its -- a linear library, we’re actually extending it a digital life so it has a longer life and a greater chance of being discovered by Canadian viewers, so...
234 But maybe I’ll start with Barb and then Michel après.
235 MS. WILLIAMS: Sure, thank you.
236 So I think -- so I’m just going to turn off this.
237 I think that the balance is actually predeterminedfor us, to a great degree, through the proposal that we’ve made because the COL commitments that we’ve made to PNI and children’s and local news stand, for the most part, with only a very, very slight shift over to the digital world.
238 So that balance is quite predetermined. We still have very significant commitments in our proposal to have that content on television the way people are used to.
239 When it comes to, then, what content is over on digital, I think there’s two thoughts here to make. One is that everything that’s on TV will end up on Gem. There's no reason to not have a full duplication of that content, so that those pieces of our audience that just don’t go to television for whatever reason; they don’t have a TV or they just don’t use that platform in any way, still have access to everything that the Canadian broadcaster is making for that traditional platform; it will also be available on Gem.
240 There is an opportunity, though, the Gem platform, and we see this with Netflix and the other big streamers, does a particular kind of content particularly well. It does highly serialized “bingeable” shorts, you know, like five episodes, six episodes of an intense story that you want to watch all in a rush that may be extreme content in some ways. It may be, you know, beyond what the general expectations of a broad broadcaster might put on in primetime, and yet it’s of particular interest to a segment of our audience.
241 So by putting a little, wee piece of this opportunity to be measured and counted and recognized over on the digital platform, essentially on Gem in the English services, what we’re acknowledging is that there’s a whole segment of our audience that’s never going to go to TV, and that love this kind of content that they’re discovering on all those other streamers.
242 So we want a little bit of the balancing act to be counted over there for those kinds of content that are uniquely positioned to be successful on a streaming platform, and, frankly, wouldn’t be successful on television in the same way.
243 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
244 M. BISSONNETTE: En complément d’infor…
245 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oui ?
246 M. BISSONNETTE: En complément d’information, Monsieur le président. Vous savez, vous avez parlé tantôt de Tou.tv Extra, donc c’est une alternative pour nous. Les gens peuvent avoir accès à du contenu sans avoir la publicité et de pouvoir consommer la série en rafale, de façon à avoir une alternative francophone, comme je l’ai dit dans mon mot, aux Netflix, Amazon et Disney de ce monde. Ceci étant dit, la très vaste majorité de nos contenus sur l’Extra, se retrouvent pas la suite sur Ici télé et deviennent donc gratuit en rattrapage sur Ici Tou.tv dans sa section gratuite.
247 Vous savez, on a 25% de notre auditoire qui ne nous consomme que sur la télévision linéaire. On a 25% de notre auditoire qui ne nous consomme que sur le numérique et on a 50% de notre auditoire qui nous consomme, des fois à la télévision linéaire, et des fois sur le numérique. Donc, il est hors de question que nous abandonnions la clientèle qui est sur le linéaire seulement, parce qu’on doit rejoindre tous les Canadiens. Mais en même temps, si on n’a pas une offre qui est intéressante pour le numérique, on va échapper une nouvelle génération. Donc pour nous, c’est vraiment une question d’équilibre. Et Mme Williams, l’a bien résumé.
248 Donc en réponse à votre préoccupation, la très, très vaste majorité de notre contenu se retrouve sur la télévision linéaire. Mais des fois, le numérique nous permet de faire des épisodes de dix minutes. Des fois le numérique nous permet d’avoir des propos qui sont un peu plus osés. L’exemple que je vous donnais de RAD ou encore de Carbone, sont de beaux exemples où on produit des contenus d’informations qui sont destinés aux médias sociaux, parce qu’on sait que les gens qui sont dans la vingtaine, ne viennent pas écouter le Téléjournal à 22h et on voulait que la marque scientifique, la marque environnementale et la marque information de Radio-Canada, puisse résonner pour ces gens-là. Donc ces contenus-là ne seront faits que sur le numérique, mais encore une fois, c’est minime par rapport à l’ensemble des contenus qu’on peut produire.
249 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci, Mr. Bissonnette; and you as well, Ms. Williams, thank you for that. That helps me understand a little better about the programming itself.
250 But back to my kind of earlier question, or preoccupation, about measurement and compliance. In your application, the Corporation states that the Commission could measure compliance of the incremental content on its online platforms by consulting CBC/SRC’s online services to determine the availability of the content. You also proposed an annual report could be submitted to the Commission detailing information relating to the incremental content.
251 So can you help me understand a little better, explain how this verification could be done, given the frequency, the addition of content that may not be done on a regular basis throughout the year based on changing content? As you just described, it’s a fast-moving, changing environment so saying we can see it online doesn't seem like a complete response to me.
252 MS. TAIT: Oh, apologies then. What -- we are really very happy to report, and I will ask Bev Kirshenblatt again to give you an idea of what it is we're proposing.
253 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Thanks.
254 So I think there are a few elements in terms of accountability and ensuring that we are meeting our conditions of licence and our expectations.
255 When it comes to exhibition of content, the Commission has a definition of -- well, let me take a step back. We wanted to make sure that we were not double-counting something that had appeared on one platform and then appeared on another towards meeting our overall commitment. So the linear world is still the linear world where we have exhibition commitments and we're not proposing to do anything differently and we could provide information in terms of what shows are broadcast on those linear platforms.
256 With respect to digital, we have proposed a definition of original first-run programming. That's a bit adjusted to take into account that the Commission's definition had never anticipated including digital. So what it would mean is that it would ensure that if we broadcast something, and let's take an example of either Michel or Barb's PNI, it couldn't be counted on both television and digital. And we could provide a list of what is distinct that we're using to meet our -- over our expectation in the digital world.
257 When it comes to local, if local is measured on a weekly basis, we could also provide an accounting, if -- to use a term, to ensure that whether it's the COL or the overall commitment there's a way of the Commission verifying it. And I -- and in terms of reporting, what we're proposing is a report that's filed once a year.
258 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have to take myself off mute. That will be a refrain we hear often over the next couple of weeks.
259 I guess to follow on that, and thank you, Ms. Kirshenblatt, but would it be appropriate to have a more frequent reporting, given the nature of the frequency of the changing content, just to have a publicly transparent approach? I'm -- I guess I'm questioning whether an annual report is sufficient and whether the corporation would consider more frequent reporting on these activities.
260 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Well, the reason why we proposed annual reporting is that in terms of reporting generally on programming all broadcasters, on the linear side, we have logs.
261 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
262 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: So we submit those, so the Commission is aware of what's going on.
263 And in terms of our digital, I guess it could be open to the Commission to ask us to provide a report on a sample week, for example, to get a sense. But the idea would be that, you know, the full a year would allow us to demonstrate how we're meeting. With the exception of something that's measured on a weekly basis, I'm not sure what the -- the need for the -- of increased frequency. Generally speaking the Commission demands that of parties where they're in non‑compliance. That hasn't been the case with us.
264 So I just would like to understand a bit more to -- in order to meet the Commission's ---
265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Really what I'm after or what I'm suggesting is, you know, how does the Commission obtain that content-related information throughout the year as opposed to, you know, prior to the submission of an annual report? Rather than after a year, a lookback to satisfy ourselves, that is an agreed and important element, and I'm not talking about non‑compliance, but rather the Commission being aware and there being a degree of transparency that is appropriate for the public broadcaster.
266 I guess maybe I can add on that before you answer, Ms. Kirshenblatt. Maybe you can help too to say what type of information do you envisage being in that annual report?
267 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: That's a very broad question because it involves so many types of ---
268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.
269 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Yeah.
270 THE CHAIRPERSON: I meant at a general level, and perhaps we can take an undertaking to provide, and we'll summarize any undertakings. I'll have counsel review it with everyone at the end of the Panel's -- the day or the Panel's questioning and provide a due date or a proposed -- have a discussion about when it could be made available. So perhaps you might want to answer the latter one by way of undertaking.
271 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
272 THE CHAIRPERSON: But again, back to my earlier question. Just help me help you. How do we -- how -- what -- how do we satisfy ourselves throughout the year rather than only on an annual basis?
273 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Well with respect to our exhibition-based proposal, I suggest that we take an undertaking and get back to you in terms of -- I guess it really goes to -- in order to answer frequency of reporting I'd need to understand and have agreement of what it is that we're reporting on because that could help me explain and flush something out. So perhaps if the Commission agrees, we could take that back as an undertaking.
274 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that would be fine, and as I said, we'll identify timing at the end of the day.
275 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
276 THE CHAIRPERSON: So an alternative approach to exhibition-based regulation lies with the manner in which the Commission currently regulates traditional on demand services. So can you comment on the appropriateness of applying those condition of licences, either as conditions or expectations, to the exhibition-based regulation of the CBC SRCs online video platforms?
277 MS. TAIT: Bev?
278 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: I'm not sure I understood the question. Do you think you could repeat or ---
279 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
280 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: --- rephrase it?
281 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm just saying an approach -- well, we have -- we have in existence the way in which we currently look at on demand services, and I'm just -- I guess, how could the requirements be changed to adapt to an online environment, keeping with the outcomes of discoverability? Is that not helping you?
282 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: I hope so. I'm going to try and answer, and if it doesn't answer your question please let me know.
283 So with our proposal is an exhibition-based proposal. So we are talking about digital, audiovisual programming. So in terms of meeting our proposal and demonstrating compliance, it would be measuring hours of types of certain genres of production and hours that are distinct from what is on linear, so no double-counting.
284 Is that....
285 THE CHAIRPERSON: And do they need to be changed at all for the online component? I mean, that's how we do the traditional. So for online is there -- are there unique aspects to that measurement? None?
286 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Unless I -- no, the content is content.
287 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. No, thank you.
288 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Thanks.
289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me just flip pages here. So a number of intervenors have expressed the view that exhibition requirements are out of line with the regulatory framework, that ensures the corporation meets its mandate across all platforms and have opted -- and you've opted, instead, for exhibition-based requirement.
290 So leaving aside your proposal, and you answered this in part earlier, Ms. TAIT, can we go back to that and give you another opportunity to answer, you know, the criticism that the -- that the corporation's mandate can't be fully met using -- without an expenditure-based requirement, if it is limited to an exhibition-based one.
291 MS. TAIT: Well, to avoid repeating what I've said already, I might invite my colleagues if they want to raise a hand and add to it.
292 But just to be -- we felt -- I'll do this summary and then if somebody wants to elaborate, I invite them to do so.
293 We really felt that the exhibition -- first of all, pull back.
294 The public broadcaster is a different beast, and to the extent that the Commission is moving towards expenditure -- expenditures as a kind of a regulatory tool and we recognize that there has been -- you know, that that has been a direction, we felt that given our particular obligations as defined by the current Broadcasting Act, a range of programming, a range of services, a great -- and probably the most important being that we serve all Canadians -- that -- ultimately, that we needed this exhibition requirement so that we could address these very, very unique requirements on many different platforms and to many different -- very many different situations.
295 And again, that our assessment was that the expenditure tool is really about ensuring Canadians spend and we feel that we have demonstrated year upon year, licence term upon licence term, that that's not the issue for us because the lion's share, the majority of what we spend is, in fact, on Canadian.
296 But I don't -- again, I look to my colleagues to see if anybody would like to add anything to that comment.
297 Maybe Bev – oup! on a deux. On va commencer avec Michel et puis ensuite Bev. Merci.
298 M. BISSONNETTE: Monsieur le Président, comme vous avez pu le voir dans notre soumission au mois d’août 2019, le plus important pour nous, c’était la flexibilité entre le linéaire et le numérique, parce qu’on sait qu’il y a des auditoires qu’on ne plus rejoindre via le linéaire, et le constat auquel on est arrivé, c'est si, en plus de demander cette flexibilité-là, on arrivait et on demandait que ça ne soit uniquement des pourcentages de dépenses, vous savez comme moi que les Canadiens sont… ont beaucoup d’attentes à notre endroit, le CRCT a beaucoup d’attentes à notre endroit et l’industrie canadienne de la culture et de la production a beaucoup d’attentes à notre endroit, et on pense qu’avec les obligations qu’on a présentement qui sont des heures de visibilité sur nos écrans, c’est une façon de rassurer chacun des types de consommateurs et/ou de producteurs sur notre volonté de bien remplir notre mandat.
299 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Monsieur Bissonnette.
300 Sorry, Madam TAIT. You said two. Sorry. I didn't want to interrupt. Was that -- okay. I'll continue.
301 MS. TAIT: I think we should just continue. Thank you.
302 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can.
303 I think you've probably -- my next question was really to compare it to the private sector and say, you know, why shouldn't an expenditure requirement similar to theirs, you know, be a good idea, but I think you've answered that perhaps twice now, so I'll leave that.
304 Maybe to get a little more granular, what about -- what about expenditure requirements not -- not specific to a service, but maybe in a situation where the Commission might require that a majority spending be made towards a specific type of content while not specifying on what platform the content must be distributed on?
305 Is that some -- go ahead, Barb.
306 MS. TAIT: Sorry. I'm just trying to find my unmute.
307 Barb, why don't you go ahead first?
308 MS. WILLIAMS: Sure. I mean, I think we're all kind of circling around the same thing here, which is I think the value of the exhibition requirements, actually, is that it allows the Commission to ensure that the broadcaster is -- media company is focusing on the areas that are of most concern or interest or they believe of most importance, so that's why the P&I, the children's, the local news. And the commitment of hours accomplishes that focus without needing expenditure because, as we sort of keep saying, we spend it all on Canadian anyway.
309 So it's not about are you spending enough; it's about are you focused on the things that the Commission feels is most important for the public broadcaster to uphold. And exhibition accomplishes that with its hours commitment, which we're suggesting could also now be recognized and valued as hours that show up on a digital platform, not only on TV.
310 But I think that's what's at the heart of our belief that, actually, exhibition accomplishes the goal very successfully and that an expenditure adds a layer of accounting that isn't necessary when one is completely dedicated to the Canadian content commitment anyway.
311 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
312 No, and I agree. I mean, we are circling around. It's a broad subject, and I'm sure we'll have a chance to get into a little more detail.
313 Maybe I can say, and you may wish to comment on it, but for the -- from the Commission's perspective, you know, our optic would be that with greater regulatory flexibility, you know, there's greater -- a greater requirement for accountability and transparency from the corporation, and that has to come in some manner through reporting.
314 So we've had a little bit of discussion about that, and we'll look forward to getting some further specifics through the -- through the undertaking as discussed earlier.
315 Does a -- slightly different subject. Does an expenditure-based requirement help or detract from the outcome of discoverability of content?
316 Is that question puzzling you or did I not say it very clearly?
317 MS. TAIT: No.
318 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe it's the latter.
319 So I know you don't like expenditure-based requirements, but in your view, are they good or bad from the perspective of making content discoverable?
320 MS. TAIT: I'm not sure that, again -- the discoverability issue is one where you're looking -- seeking to shine a light on Canadian content and privileging one type of content over another kind of content if you are a -- in the case of the public broadcaster, if I may say, all our children are equally dear to us.
321 We have -- we shine the light on our podcasts, we shine the light on our documentaries, on our short films and on our big primetime dramas. So I'm struggling a little bit with the idea that somehow an expenditure requirement would assist in any of that when, in fact, when you go back to the Act, it is exactly the range.
322 It is our duty to provide that range of service, all of it Canada, and we will do -- and quite frankly, when we look at Audio or CBC Listen, we've seen it in action this last year how that -- how those audio services are actually feeding discoverability.
323 No expenditure requirement required. Its happening in ways that are absolutely, in my mind, thrilling.
324 And so again -- but if I may, Mr. Chair, just on your comment on reporting and transparency, I just want you to know that we are more than willing and -- willing to work with the Commission and to respond to your need for greater transparency and more reporting.
325 And you know, I understand that that has been something that you've been seeking, so I just want to put that on the record, that we are here to serve.
326 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
327 And you'll understand, I wasn't -- I wasn't asking you to pick a favourite child, and I know and share your view about the importance of discoverability. All I was after was just is there a difference. Maybe I should have put it in the positive rather than the negative. Rather than talking about an expenditure-based requirement, I could have turned it the other way and said if we were to adopt your exhibition-based requirement, would it have a beneficial impact with respect to discoverability. But I take it from your answer that you're saying it's somewhat moot, that it doesn't matter. Discoverability is, if you will, a stand-alone consideration.
328 MS. TAIT: Well, no, except that I would add, if I may, as a footnote, that clearly the bridge to the future is in fact also a bridge to greater discoverability. The fact that we're trying to pull in the CBC Gem and ICI TOU.TV platforms is in fact to feed and to support our efforts to promote -- to promote all of the content on a cross-platform basis. That's all I would add to that point.
329 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. See, you're much more cooperative if I start with the assumption that I agree with your proposal. Then you have much more to add. It's only when I disagree or suggest a negative connotation that I'm left well understood, but I appreciate -- and I appreciate your comment about your willingness to help us find a way to ensure that the processes -- that the -- well, that we do our job in terms of ensuring that the regulatory framework ensures that the corporation will fulfil its mandate.
330 Just a little bit more in this area. If the Commission were to forego the imposition of exhibition or expenditure requirements on certain types of content, distributed on all of CBC/SRC's platforms, can you comment on how we ensure that it continues to meet the needs of Canadians and be relevant to Canadians across the country in all parts of the country?
331 MS. TAIT: Just to be clear, we are not suggesting that you drop exhibition requirements. So your ---
332 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
333 MS. TAIT: --- your question suggested that you would drop those as well as expenditure requirements, so ---
334 THE CHAIRPERSON: It did.
335 MS. TAIT: Well, there's a, there's a new thought. Let me, let me ponder that one. I guess then it would have, you know, in terms of ---
336 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess and/or. I mean, I understand your proposal.
337 MS. TAIT: Right. As I am looking to my colleagues to see if -- Barb, you want to take a crack at that?
338 MS. WILLIAMS: You know, at the risk of sounding just like the keener, there could be nothing that's more exciting to the team that comes to CBC every day than filling the linear platform, the digital platform of GEM, working on the .cas, working on the -- this new Listen app which is so dear to us, keeping the strength of radio. We know where our connection to Canadians is. We hear from them all the time about everything. And, and we know when we have successfully managed to really connect with our audience, and we work towards that every day. We respect the value of the conditions that we currently have. As I say, they help us focus on, on the output that really is what ultimately Canadians care about. They care about what we put out there for them. And, and is it interesting, and is it smart, and is it accurate, and is it entertaining, and is it fun, and is it serving them.
339 And, and what we're doing and the power of radio where we are number one in the mornings, as I think I said at the beginning of this today, you know, number one in 20 or 27 markets. There is no regulation around radio per se that says, you know, we must do this at this time, or that at that time. And yet we have developed a profoundly important platform that, that reaches all Canadians and continue to do so without very specific regulation there at all because that's who we are. That's -- it's kind of what we do.
340 Same with our news content, and I could go on and on. I'm sure -- people are telling me I've made my point, but it's a critical point. I think the regulation of the output of particular hours against particular genres is important, and we're prepared to continue to live up to it, and we see smart ways to extend that output commitment, if you will, onto digital platforms. But the heart and sole of what we do is all Canadian, to serve all Canadians, and, and we're using those platforms every day the best way we can to accomplish that, regulation aside, dare I, dare I say.
341 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's -- thank you for that, Ms. Williams. And it's perfectly okay to be a keener.
342 And, you know, just to go back, Ms. Tait, I mean, I know you're surprised by the question. All I was after really here is, you know, we talked a little bit about, you know, an approach where there were exhibition only requirements on all platforms including online, and then we were talking a little bit about combining, you know, exhibition and expenditure requirements. And the last one I was just touching on really is where could we appropriately potentially eliminate or reduce regulatory requirements, all in the interest of both reducing regulatory burden while at the same time continuing to fulfil the corporation's mandate and our regulatory responsibilities. So, just so that it puts it in context why I was suggesting absent, you know, an and/or with exhibition or expenditure requirements.
343 I guess on a more granular level, if we have less regulation, less reporting, how, you know, how can the corporation demonstrate that it is meeting the needs, for example, of underrepresented groups such as LGBTQ or Indigenous communities, persons with disabilities and so on. Perhaps that will be best answered in the undertaking. I'm not sure if you'd like to respond to that now or leave it to an undertaking on potential reporting arrangements.
344 MS. TAIT: Yeah, I believe that really fits into the undertaking that we described earlier. I'm happy to talk about how we serve underrepresented communities and Indigenous, but I think you're specifically ---
345 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will ---
346 MS. TAIT: --- asking ---
347 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- get to that, yeah.
348 MS. TAIT: Yeah, I'm sure.
349 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I'm thinking of it in the ---
350 MS. TAIT: Yeah ---
351 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in the larger context.
352 MS. TAIT: Yeah.
353 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll have an opportunity ---
354 MS. TAIT: Yes, of course.
355 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- to discuss how various communities, and regions, and localities ---
356 MS. TAIT: M'hm.
357 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- are served.
358 All right. Let's move on to measurement framework. So, as the national public broadcaster, you have some unique responsibilities, as you are well aware. You have multiple layers of accountability and you're subject to multiple measurement and reporting requirements. Can you discuss just at a general broad level your views on the CRTC's approach to measuring the corporation's performance relative to the objects set out for it in the Act? You know, are there parts back to my theme about necessary and not necessary regulation? You know, are there elements that you find unnecessary or duplicative, burdensome?
359 MS. TAIT: I would say ---
360 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm giving you a platform, Ms. Tait.
361 MS. TAIT: I know. Boy, are you ever. I'm pausing. I'm going to just have to hold Bev back. And I will turn it to her because she obviously, with her fabulous team, work day and night on this very issue. But I would say, you know, when we made comments to the panel, the L Panel about the revisiting the Broadcasting Act, one of the things that we have found in general is that the system is not as broken as some would say when it comes to how the public broadcaster has been able to perform over the years and serve Canadians. Like, we do not have the same concerns, and to a large extent, you know, our reporting -- only where there's jurisdictional issues, and I guess that's where it gets down to is because as the system -- as we have moved to digital -- and you're very cognizant of that, the Act has not -- did not contemplate a lot of those activities, so there's some, there's some bubbles in that.
362 And, and with that, I'll turn it over to Bev on the specifics of our burden, if there is such a thing, vis-à-vis reporting requirements.
363 MS. KIRSHENBRATT: So I'm going to tackle this question a little bit differently. The way I see it is that CBC/Radio-Canada has a broad mandate that's set out in the Broadcasting Act. And the Commission has imposed conditions of license, particularly in the -- on conventional television, to ensure that we provide a broad array of programming, that it's balanced, that we reflect official language, minority communities, ensure there is independent production, what have you.
364 And in terms of reporting, what we do is that we report to ensure that we're meeting those conditions of license. So, from a pure regulatory perspective, it seems to me the measurement is that we're meeting what we're supposed to be doing and we report in that way.
365 So, I'm not sure how the -- you know, we're not suggesting -- and I'm not sure where this question is going with respect to measurement, if that's how -- how is that somehow different from reporting, and perhaps you could explain that a bit to us and it might help us answer your question in a more straightforward manner.
366 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that's fine. Let -- okay, I'm off mute. We'll change the perspective slightly. You're familiar with the Cullen report, and in that report, it showed that every public broadcaster in the jurisdiction study had a performance measurement framework that included measures, and I think these are all terms that you're familiar with and from their report: consumption, perception and quality output.
367 And I guess I'm asking on the use, you know, when I talk about measurement, that's the -- that's what I'm thinking of, and can you comment on the use of those elements to determine whether the corporation is fulfilling its mandate and achieving the outcomes.
368 MS. TAIT: Perhaps Claude would like to respond to that because he's our measurement guru.
369 Oh, he disappeared. Is he there?
370 MR. GALIPEAU: Sorry, I pressed the wrong button.
371 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, he is.
372 MR. GALIPEAU: Thanks, Catherine. Thank you for the question, Mr. President.
373 On consumption -- I'll deal with both consumption and perception, so let's start with consumption. We have a strategic plan at the moment, and we do measure ourselves in terms of our key performance indicators against performance metrics, many of which we publish in our financials as well as in our corporate plan which we submit to Parliament. And how we do that, at the moment, is that we use industry standard metrics. They may be -- and the Commission staff know these measurement vendors or companies, Numeris for TV and radio and Comscore for digital. The advantage of using these companies is that they are well understood, broad across the players in the industry, and because they are broad and inclusive, players in the industry allow for comparative measures.
374 And while there are methodological challenges between the differences in the way in which the data is collected from, let's say, traditional platforms, radio and television versus digital, they do give you very good tangential and directional information, and they also give you comparative information.
375 So, for example, we most recently, and you will see it -- we submitted this in our opening speech as an appendix, we are able to compare our performance in digital, for example, against the digital giants, other -- and other Canadian players in terms of the popularity or the use of our digital platforms among Canadians. We can also do that as, you know, we have historically done that also in television and in radio using region share and hours tuned or -- and the like. So, those we report on regularly, and we're very well practiced on doing that, and it's well known in the industry. So, for consumption I think it's not that problematic to use existing industry sources.
376 There are in digital internal metrics that various companies use, mostly operationally, to manage their product, manage their -- how they serve audiences and the like. These are not comparable amongst players because they're differently configured. They come from different vendors, and they achieve different purposes operationally.
377 So that would be for me, you know, consumption. So, I think if you look at the existing practices, you know, we can, we can further standardise for the Commission reporting along that route.
378 As you know as well and as the staff know quite well, we do regular perception studies to listen mostly to Canadians. In particular, the primary purpose is to listen to Canadians for feedback on how they perceive us along a number of metrics. And, for example, we regularly survey Canadians about their perception with regards to the trust in our news, how informative we are, how reflective we are of regions, how we reflective are Canadian diversity. And we publish those metrics again in our -- regularly in our annual reports and our quarterly financials and in our corporate plan, which we submit to Parliament. Those are survey based. They are recollection based. And but they follow very standard methodology in the industry with statistically weighted samples that represent Canadians.
379 So, we can, we can provide those data as well, and they are somewhat in fact comparable because -- amongst players, because you poll Canadians, and you ask them to assess how they would perceive us versus others. And we can report on that as well, and I think the methodologies around that are well known and well understood.
380 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. That was very helpful, and you may have saved yourself answering a couple of questions that came later on about some of the measurement framework.
381 But I'd like to come back to something that you said at the beginning of your comment where you did note many layers of reporting, and I think that's fair. You report annually using program logs to the Commission on expenditures on Canadian content. You submit reports to other public institutions, to Parliament, and all of that is described in the accountability framework of your corporate plan.
382 But you will have observed, as I have, that a number of intervenors in the proceeding continually come back to a call for greater accountability and greater transparency, and hence a lot of my questions this morning.
383 Why do you think that's the case? I mean, you do a lot of reporting, but this is a prevalent theme in the submissions in the proceeding.
384 MS. TAIT: I'll start and then I'll go -- I'll invite Claude to comment again.
385 I think the concern that -- and we obviously noted it as well, is the -- with respect to the digital .cas, let's call it, the non-programming digital services that are causing this requirement for more transparency. I believe that for the purposes of what -- of the traditional services, I think, I believe that people are finding the reporting satisfactory. I don't sense that that's really where the questions reside, it resides in what resources we have put towards digital.
386 And, and just by way of context, this move into digital is not something that we undertook without full transparency to Parliament. In fact, it has been a subject of several years, over 10 years. My predecessor, I believe, had a strategic plan that was called the Digital Future, and it has been an ongoing theme for a number of years for...
387 And really, I know I mentioned earlier the Yale report, probably one of the things that we commented on the revisions to the Broadcasting Act was our desire that the role of innovation of the public broadcaster being more apparent in our -- in the description of the public broadcaster. Because many of our colleagues around the world have this -- public broadcaster colleagues around the world have innovation as a definitive -- as sort of part of their definition or raison d'etre.
388 And the reason I bring that up is to say that in everything we do we are informed by the overall mandate to serve Canadians, all Canadians, but we also have a very unique role with respect to risk and to innovation that other companies that have perhaps a commercial imperative are not able to participate in in the same way. And that has always been a very clear part of this institution and very much encouraged because we can do things that others cannot. And in that regard the -- some of the unbelievable ground-breaking work in podcasts, that we have become a world leader. Canada is a world leader in podcasting because CBC started to do things that others had never done before.
389 So I think, if I may, I think the concern around transparency is what exactly are they doing in the digital arena. And I don't know, Claude, if you want to add anything to my comment or come back after the Chair has made further comments.
390 MR. GALIPEAU: I'm okay.
391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Mr. Galipeau, was that okay you are going to add or you're okay?
392 MR. GALIPEAU: Sorry, Mr. Chair. No, I'm okay to pass the baton to you.
393 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, well the baton was thrown back to me by the president.
394 I think this might be a good point in the process to take our lunchbreak. Madame Secretary?
395 THE SECRETARY: Yes. So we could take a lunchbreak and come back at 1:45.
396 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. We will recess until 1:45. Thank you very much everyone.
397 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 12:42 p.m./L’audience est suspendue à 12h42
--- Upon resuming at 1:47 p.m. /L’audience est reprise à 13h47
398 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Merci, Madame la secrétaire.
399 We’ll resume our conversation and questions with the panel from CBC/Radio Canada.
400 I’d like to take a little bit of a step back. We’ve been talking before the break about measurement and results, and, to a lesser extent, the regulatory requirements that go with them.
401 And I noted, as I was thinking during the lunchbreak, that -- sort of two interpretations. And we heard -- I heard one response from Ms. Kirshenblatt that quite properly said, no, you know, we are filing everything we’re supposed to file and, you know, all is good on the traditional side.
402 And then Mr. Galipeau very helpfully provided quite an extensive description of a number of the measurement instruments, methods, that would allow -- the best term I can think of is success to be measured on the digital platforms.
403 And maybe that’s a good place to start to go back because, you know, exhibition requirements are one thing, ad it is a good example to say, for example, you might have Indigenous programming and you can assure or prove to the Commission through logs on conventional television that, indeed, that programming was exhibited.
404 Whether or not the programming was successful in meeting the needs of Indigenous Canadians is a different thing and a different metric. And when -- I think it was Mr. Galipeau who described the various tools that could be used on a digital platform, it struck me that that’s exactly what we’d like to obtain perhaps from the Corporation, and I would ask you if you could accept an undertaking where you could outline some of those measurement tools and how they could be applied in order to determine success.
405 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
406 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that’s a very long introduction to a pretty specific question but I think that would be helpful, and as I said, some of the measures that were described by Mr. Galipeau, I think are -- could be very helpful.
407 MS. TAIT: Happy to take that undertaking, Mr. Chair.
408 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
409 And it kind of sets us up for talking a little bit about, you know, what is success.
410 CBC’s new strategy on Your Stories Taken to Heart puts a very strong emphasis on putting audiences first, and as you outlined in your opening remarks, Ms. Tait.
411 So back to the performance measurements -- and that’s why I’m happy you’ve taken the undertaking, but we’ll still talk about it a little bit. It’s to demonstrate how effective the programming is on whatever platform it is delivered in meeting that objective. So that’s what I’m after.
412 And I maybe don’t need you to explain the audience measures you think are most effective because I assume that those are the ones that you will propose to us via that undertaking, but I will ask that my understanding, or the Commission’s understanding is that Numeris is planning on rolling out video audience measurement during this broadcast year.
413 Can I ask if the Corporation intends to incorporate -- I think we used the term “VAM” but I’m not sure if that’s overly colloquial -- VAM into its measurement framework, and do you anticipate that ---
414 MS. TAIT: If I can -- sorry; finish up.
415 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead. No, no, that’s fine. You can answer the question.
416 MS. TAIT: If I can, I’ll let Claude answer the VAM question.
417 I just want to be clear, and it may be completely apparent in your line of questioning, but I just wanted to emphasize that not everything is susceptible to Numeris measurement or digital measurement, and I point to the podcast that Barb mentioned in her opening remarks, which is Our Stories based on the Indigenous or the Inuit podcast in Inuktitut, that would have, obviously, a very different set of measurement requirements than perhaps a broader-based program.
418 So I just want to be clear, you know, that these kind of measure tools don’t necessarily capture everything. but we would also try to find ways to assess what you call what is success in our measurement proposal to you and the undertaking.
419 But Claude, maybe you would like to speak to the VAM.
420 MR. GALIPEAU: Thanks, Catherine.
421 Thank you, Mr. President.
422 Yes, we are involved in the VAM project, we are on the technical working group, along with other industry players, and we’re actually looking forward to participating in it and we do have VAM measurement in our work plans for reporting.
423 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that. And I guess a little follow-on, getting down a little bit into the weeds, perhaps, but do you anticipate that your internal digital audience measures would be replaced with third-party digital measures?
424 MR. GALIPEAU: I think we will be using both. The way in which I would describe it is that VAM will be an industry standard for digital and linear video consumption, and it will allow comparative measures amongst those who participate in VAM, what's technically known as tagging, which means being incorporated in that -- in the measurement.
425 But we still require internal systems to measure the performance of our products, the -- measure the loads and the like, so we will keep doing that. We find that very useful, particularly when trying to understand the movement of audiences, let's say, from a news page to a page or a selection on -- for Gem, and those are -- we use internal metrics to look at those kinds of cross-pollenization or movements of audiences.
426 So we find both to be important, both to be useful, but for different purposes.
427 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
428 Thank you for the response.
429 And Ms. Tait, I take note of your point of emphasis that those -- that some of those measurement tools are more subtle or perhaps will have to be looked at very differently. They can be quite subjective. But we appreciate your willingness to help build the sort of framework or summary of possible measurement tools that we could consider.
430 And perhaps I should add that I will also note that we understand that some of those measures might need to be -- measurements may need to be filed in confidence, although obviously to the greatest extent possible as the public broadcaster, I'm sure you'd agree that we want as much as possible to be publicly available and transparent.
431 MS. TAIT: Yes.
432 THE CHAIRPERSON: That -- so that sort of went to a little bit about the measurement of -- I guess of consumption of programming.
433 In terms of perception about the corporation's programming, my understanding is that the corporation has been conducting the mission metrics public opinion survey for well over a decade, and it was designed to measure whether Canadians believe that CBC/SRC is fulfilling its mandate under the Broadcasting Act.
434 We've noticed that the results of the survey were no longer available online. Does the measurement framework for the corporation's new strategy, your stories taken to heart, does it continue to include the mission metrics survey?
435 MS. TAIT: Claude, why don't you answer that? Go ahead.
436 MR. GALIPEAU: Yes, it continues to include it, and we summarize key findings in our regular financial recording and in the corporate plan.
437 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the fact that it's not online now, is that a function of changes to the approach?
438 I'm just a little unclear.
439 MR. GALIPEAU: I don't believe it's related to that whatsoever.
440 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. So -- all right. So there's no need for a replacement for it. You'll continue to use it in addition to other measurement tools, is the plan, if I paraphrase.
441 MR. GALIPEAU: Yes. I agree with that.
442 If I may, we viewed it very useful in terms of measuring the perception of our performance amongst Canadians, all Canadians, as well as francophones and anglophones.
443 You're on mute.
444 THE CHAIRPERSON: Makes my question less articulate if I don't press that button, doesn't it?
445 I was saying, since you're being so responsive to my questions, I was going to continue and ask you another one, again a little bit down into the weeds. But if additional perception data was to be required by the CRTC as part of the licence renewal, would the corporation be able and willing to include questions on additional data as part of the mission metrics survey?
446 MR. GALIPEAU: We would consider it, yes.
447 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll take that as an unqualified maybe?
448 MR. GALIPEAU: Depends on the questions and our ability to get a methodologically sound response.
449 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough. That's fair enough.
450 And maybe moving on, last area, and they're talking about measurement, a little bit on sort of quality and output.
451 The measurement framework that's included in the strategy 2020 document included CRTC exhibition requirements. Will the measurement framework for the new strategy include any of the current CRTC reporting requirements?
452 MR. GALIPEAU: I'm not sure I understand the question.
453 The framework we use for measuring our strategy at the moment used a number of sources, being mostly ComScore and Numerous.
454 THE CHAIRPERSON: But my understanding is that -- and we'll just refer to it as the predecessor measurement framework included CRTC exhibition requirements as part of that measurement.
455 MR. GALIPEAU: It's before my time, or at least before my time of my return at CBC/Radio Canada, so I ---
456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
457 MR. GALIPEAU: I can investigate that and confirm it at your convenience.
458 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then -- pardon me for interrupting.
459 Then why don't we just leave it and accept it, if you would, as an undertaking just to clarify that.
460 MR. GALIPEAU: Certainly.
461 (UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT)
462 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'll repeat it if you like.
463 My understanding was that the previous measurement framework included CRTC exhibition requirements, and I'd just like to know if the measurement framework for your new strategy, "Your Stories Your Way", would include any of the current CRTC reporting requirements.
464 MR. GALIPEAU: Thank you for that. Thank you for the clarification and the restating.
465 We'll undertake to respond to that.
466 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
467 Now, most of the current reporting requirements relate to exhibition or output. Are there current reporting requirements that you feel are no longer necessary or relevant?
468 These are the questions that, Ms. Tait, you should enjoy when I ask you, are there things that we're doing that we need not do any more.
469 MS. TAIT: I'll ask Bev if she has anything to add on that on.
470 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Thank you.
471 So we hadn't proposed to get rid of any of the current reporting requirements that we have because what we have proposed to the Commission is to carry many of these forward, and that was how we demonstrate compliance.
472 However, further to the discussion that we had earlier today about looking at things differently, I think there's an opportunity when we come back to you from the undertaking from this morning to see if we are measuring things differently if there's an opportunity to streamline our reporting.
473 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
474 And I had in mind, by the way, for example, you currently do report on expenditure outputs and, under your proposed model, you wouldn't. You would have exhibition requirements.
475 So the question is, would you have intended to continue reporting on expenditure in the measurement framework. Just to give you a very explicit example.
476 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: So when we get back to you in terms of an overall approach, I think we can come up with a more comprehensive way of looking at how we would measure our performance and outputs big picture-wise.
477 Does that make sense?
478 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. No, that's fine.
479 All right. Let's move on away from measurement.
480 Perhaps we can talk a little bit about discoverability.
481 And I mean, as you've already ascertained this morning, many of these questions are, you know, so to speak, at the 40,000 foot level and there will be lots of opportunity for a dialogue with my colleagues and yourselves digging down into a number of these areas. But I wanted to start with you know, some broad-brush questions so that we -- we kind of set some guard rails or parameters around the discussion.
482 So on discoverability, I guess I'd like to start with giving you an opportunity to provide a little more detail on how you market your content on your different platforms.
483 So are there different approaches to how you market content from independent producers or foreign content or original productions or linguistic markets? And I'll stop there and say -- let you respond.
484 MS. TAIT: That's a fabulous question. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
485 And obviously, we have -- discoverability is really at the heart of our move into digital, and it's really been how we've leveraged just some amazing results in terms of not just exposing Canadians to our content, but leading them or introducing them to programming in not just other programs, but also other programs that exist on other platforms.
486 So I'm sure that Barb and Michel are just chomping at the bit on this one. Maybe I'll start with Michel and then to Barb to talk about how we market our content on each of our platforms and how we use that to advance discoverability.
487 M. BISSONNETTE: Merci, Monsieur le Président, pour votre question parce que c’est un enjeu, un défi et une passion importante qu’on a.
488 Donc, pour répondre au premier volet de votre question, notre priorité est toujours de la mise en marché des productions originales canadiennes et puis, comme vous le savez, dans le marché francophone, c'est ce qui attire le plus grand auditoire possible.
489 Ceci étant dit, il fut une époque quand le CRTC règlementait tous ceux qui pouvaient jouer sur la patinoire canadienne, c’était une époque où il y avait peu de joueurs et une simple campagne sur nos propres antennes suffisait pour faire découvrir nos propres émissions et vice versa pour les autres diffuseurs.
490 Maintenant se sont ajoutés les géants du Web que sont Disney, que sont Netflix, que sont Amazon, il y a eu une multiplication des chaines spécialisées. Inévitablement, il y a beaucoup plus de trafic et, comme je le disais dans mon mot d’ouverture, les francophones, surtout la nouvelle génération, sont davantage bilingues, donc nous devons faire découvrir le contenu canadien parmi un éventail incroyable de séries américaines et étrangères, et, en ce sens là, on utilise maintenant beaucoup le marketing 360 degrés, c'est-à-dire que pour chacun des produits, selon la cible qu’on veut rejoindre, il y aura toujours un mix marketing entre les médias sociaux, nos propres antennes, la radio, l’affichage, et on s’assure également de pouvoir s’assurer de rejoindre le plus de monde possible selon chacun des produits, mais surtout, ce qui est fort intéressant, c'est que les plateformes numériques nous permettent maintenant de faire des recommandations.
491 Donc, si un Canadien est venu voir sur TOU.TV la série Fragile, bien, automatiquement, dès que la série se termine, nous pouvons lui dire : « Vous avez aimé Fragile? Nous pensons que telle ou telle série devrait vous intéresser également. » Et cette façon de faire nous permet de pouvoir rejoindre des gens et d’attirer des auditoires qu’on n’aurait pas rejoints sinon.
492 J’espère que j’ai répondu à votre question et je passerais maintenant la parole à ma collègue, Madame Williams.
493 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Monsieur Bissonnette.
494 Madame Williams.
495 MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
496 We do a very similar approach in the English market, not surprisingly.
497 We think of our offering of all of our incredible content across all of our platforms as one CBC, and we are looking to bring all Canadians into that one CBC in whatever way they first come for whatever reason they might first come, and then we use every tool we've got to say, "While you're here, we also want to tell you about this and that and go over here and try that over there".
498 So it's a -- it's a very integrated approach. It's very much about cross-promotion, and it's very much also about what Claude touched on a minute ago of using our internal systems to help us understand where someone coming in to watch a podcast is most likely to go to next.
499 If we get someone to click on a story on the arts page of cbc.ca, how do we help them discover what they're most likely to find next? How do we use the opportunity to give people alerts that a news story just broke and use that opportunity to bring them into our news app and then introduce them to something new from there?
500 Once we've got someone into Gem, how do we use that rotator across the top of the Gem page to say, "We also have a collection of the very best of Canadian feature films that you might not have had a chance to experience before"?
501 So it's a constant effort of bringing people in and then helping move them around one CBC to discover what is I know a world of content that most people don't even know exists unless we continue to tell them.
502 And in digital marketing, we have more tools today than we ever did before to better understand what people are interested in and help them find the next piece of content that might delight them.
503 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
504 I think your assessment, Madam Tait, that your colleagues were chomping at the bit to answer that question was borne out by their responses and the enthusiastic tone that accompanied them.
505 MS. TAIT: If I may, Mr. Chair, you will have noted that the customization of digital services is one of our -- of the five pillars of our strategic plan, so this is -- this business of connecting a Canadian with a whole, you know, realm of content has been very much front and centre of the efforts of the last two years, practically. So that's where you're getting the enthusiasm.
506 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.
507 So let me be a little more granular. In the intervention from ADISQ, they stated that French vocal music, in their view, should be, I think, shared by the corporation and by the Commission, that French vocal music should have a high priority as the public -- as the national broadcaster.
508 It also emphasized the importance for French language music artists being broadcast on traditional radio services to increase their discoverability in Quebec.
509 Does the CBC/Radio Canada employ different programming and discoverability strategies in regards to Canadian music that it broadcasts on its traditional and online platforms in the French language market versus the English language market?
510 MS. TAIT: Michel, est-ce que tu veux commencer avec la réponse?
511 M. BISSONNETTE: Oui, bien sûr.
512 Monsieur le Président, nous aurons l’occasion de pouvoir détailler davantage au panel Programmation, parce que c'est un enjeu important de notre plateforme numérique versus les chaines traditionnelles, puis je peux déjà vous dire que la plateforme OHdio qu’on a lancée à l’automne 2019 est un super bel exemple de comment on assure la découvrabilité de la musique francophone partout au pays : on a en primeur des albums qu’on offre aux gens pour qu’ils puissent découvrir des nouveaux artistes, on met en place des listes de lecture qui permettent de découvrir des talents émergents, et notre objectif, c’est toujours de pouvoir créer des rendez-vous, que ce soit sur ICI Musique ou que ce soit sur OHdio, pour élargir la capacité des gens à découvrir leurs artistes francophones, et le contenu hors Canada qu’on peut retrouver des fois – c'est certain, on a du contenu international, mais c’est essentiellement du contenu francophone international – est vraiment fait dans l’esprit de pouvoir assurer la plus grande découvrabilité des artistes canadiens et on en fait une fierté que d’avoir autant de programmation canadienne sur nos antennes, que ça soit sur ICI Musique ou encore sur la plateforme digitale qu’est OHdio.
513 Ms. TAIT: And perhaps I could address the -- you know, are there differences between the English and the French approach to that.
514 I would -- I'm just going to pull back, speaking of 40,000 feet, and say of course the Commission understands the English and the French markets are extremely different and the challenges are different, the realities are different. But to the extent possible, one of the priorities of the company over the last five years, I would say, has been to, wherever possible, build efficiencies between the two sides of the house, as it were.
515 And in digital, this is a -- this has been an enormous priority so that we share the backbone of technology and we have the same tools available. Whether Michel chooses to deploy them in one area for music or local news and Barb chooses to deploy them in some other way, the fact of the matter is the tool kit that they have, in principle, is the same. And similarly, that allows Claude to measure across -- increasingly across the two.
516 So that's really our focus is that harmonization of the back end, if I can describe it that way.
517 M. BISSONNETTE: Et j’ajouterais également, Monsieur le Président, vous savez, du côté de Radio-Canada, on a le projet… le programme Révélations qui, à chaque année, nous permet de découvrir des nouveaux artistes dans tous les genres musicaux, et CBC, je ne suis pas certain du nom du programme, mais je pense que c'est Searchlight qui existe également avec la même intention de pouvoir faire découvrir à chaque année des nouveaux talents, et ces gens-là se retrouvent par la suite dans nos autres émissions, donc on va les retrouver dans En direct de l’univers, on va les retrouver sur d’autres plateformes de façon à assurer le lancement de leur carrière.
518 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci encore, Monsieur Bissonnette.
519 You mentioned a moment ago international presence as well. The Commission has received a number of very positive interventions emphasizing the importance of CBC/SRC for Canadian content abroad. I think one individual said that the corporation should be, and I quote, "marketed more aggressively abroad", and that it was, again a quote:
520 "An opportune moment to reach a little higher and work to support, promote, and reassert Canadian content and production." (As read)
521 End quote.
522 Would you like to comment on that? I assume this would be you, Madame Tait, you know, on the interventions broadly and on the CBC/SRC's strategies to market and export content internationally?
523 MS. TAIT: With pleasure. Speaking of our five pillars, that just happens to be the Number 5. So our fifth pillar is Taking Canada To The World. So we see that not just in our entertainment programming, but also in our news and a whole lot of -- a whole gamut of programming.
524 The reason that we wanted it to be front and centre in this strategic plan was really to be able to amplify the work and the investment that the Canadian public make via the public broadcaster in Canadian content. And in -- as you know, the -- our industry has been built upon the -- a certain structural difference when you look at the -- some of our colleagues in other public broadcasters around the world where the independent producers generally hold the rights to their -- to the international exploitation of territories associated with those programs.
525 However, that being said, we do a lot to support and to make sure that the shows travel internationally. One of the first ways we do is through co‑production, co‑productions with our public broadcaster colleagues. This last year, we entered into memoranda of understanding with the BBC, with the ABC, the Australian broadcaster, and with ZDF, our -- and then also an agreement with France Télévision. And these arrangements that we have with other public broadcasters allow us to leverage -- all of us have diminishing dollars so it allows us to leverage those dollars but also to expose Canadian properties to those markets.
526 A great example would be Enslaved, I think Barb mentioned it earlier, which was a documentary series that the BBC picked up and participated in, and at the same time the partner in the United States, I think in this case was BET - correct me if I'm wrong - yes, BET. So that's a way that we can in the financing of a show ensure a greater reach.
527 In the case of a show like Schitt's Creek, for example, where we were the, let's call it the triggering broadcaster, we developed and nurtured that show, and then POP TV in the United States entered into the picture and then from there Netflix, and that was a great example of really amplifying the reach.
528 Other things that we do would be in terms of our news output. We're putting things on YouTube; we have syndication relationships with other organizations. We're promoting the Canadian news system through a lot of different platforms, including Snapchat for young audiences. CBC Snapchat news sits right next to The New York Times on that platform. And of course we have RCI that has a very special role and we're excited about some of the new things we're doing with that particular service.
529 So it's a -- I would say it's a -- talking of a 360, it's a 360 approach. We can talk to you a little bit about how we approach shows and festivals and then award ceremonies all over the world, but maybe I'll just stop there so you have a -- oh, there goes Barb's hand up. Go ahead.
530 MS. WILLIAMS: I just can't resist. One other category that is just proving to be an enormous opportunity for us in connecting with audiences around the world and that's podcasting. We have just had tremendous success with podcasting being enjoyed by audiences worldwide and we've started to do some co‑production work that way too with international broadcasters and journalists to bring podcasts to the world stage. So just a ever-evolving opportunity for us to bring terrific Canadian content to people around the world.
531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I had -- and thank you for the comprehensive response, Ms. Tait. I had a couple of more focussed questions in this area and you've answered them in part, but I will persevere with a couple of them.
532 That was a great example where you talked about co‑branding and cooperation with some of the other public broadcasters. Are you also taking advantage of other new forms, other aggregators of content, for example, Amazon channels or other means?
533 MS. TAIT: We have -- we do have relationships with different partners. I know that our podcasts are available on Apple and Spotify. And maybe Claude, he's very close to some of these business arrangements.
534 So Claude, would you like to summarize some of our other deals?
535 MR. GALIPEAU: We don't have a deal at the moment with Amazon but we've been in discussions with them. We also have syndication across -- on platforms like Roku and others, so we are -- and we're working with OEMs, so manufacturers, LG and Samsung and the likes, we syndicate into those platforms as well.
536 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I'm just getting my unmute button.
537 What about partnerships with independent producers to facilitate the discoverability of their productions domestically and abroad? Can you comment on that, Ms. Tait?
538 MS. TAIT: I'm not sure I know where that question -- what you're trying -- what the question is. Of course, we always work with our partners. I mean, when we enter into an independent production arrangement it's a -- it's often a very long road, so we are very invested, for a whole lot of reasons, on marketing and -- helping discoverability. But I mean ---
539 THE CHAIRPERSON: I meant on discoverability what you do with respect to discoverability with those independent producers to facilitate their -- domestically and abroad.
540 MS. TAIT: Okay, so starting domestically, and I'll ask Michel to talk about how we promote shows in the domestic market.
541 Go ahead, Michel. Vas-y.
542 M. BISSONNETTE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
543 Vous savez, je vais juste vous faire une mise en contexte parce que le marché francophone est très différent du marché anglophone, notamment à cause de la langue, donc dès le départ, quand une production se fait en anglais, elle a déjà des ambitions internationales puisqu’un distributeur prend une participation dans le financement de la série pour en acquérir les droits internationaux et ainsi pouvoir faire des ventes un peu partout.
544 Pendant plusieurs années, les productions francophones au pays se sont financées et ont vécu uniquement dans l’espace francophone canadien. On se retrouve aujourd'hui où juste à titre d’exemple, la série The Crown sur Netflix a couté 130 millions, c'est plus que mon budget de programmation pour 365 jours dans l’année. Donc, on se bat avec des gens qui ont des armes beaucoup plus puissantes que les nôtres pour obtenir l’intérêt du même public. On est donc fort conscient qu’on a besoin de pouvoir majorer nos budgets de production de façon à maintenir une production qui soit de qualité pour concurrencer avec des grandes productions américaines.
545 Je vous mets ça en contexte pour vous expliquer les initiatives qu’on a faites parce que certains joueurs, comme producteurs indépendants, qui ont déjà des divisions de distribution internationale, donc qui sont en mesure de faire connaitre leurs produits, mais d’autres qui sont beaucoup plus petits et qui n’ont pas cette infrastructure-là. Donc, en ce sens-là, on a engagé des gens à Radio-Canada pour pouvoir les soutenir et présenter avec une force de frappe plus grande et présenter avec une force de frappe plus grande l’ensemble de nos productions, soit des projets en développement, soit des projets finis, auprès des grands distributeurs internationaux pour que ceux-ci s’intéressent à nos productions.
546 On a également, avec les médias francophones publics, à chaque année où on présente l’ensemble de nos projets en développement ou produits de façon à intéresser les autres territoires francophones à pouvoir prendre une option sur le format.
547 Et également, on a conclu une entente avec France Télévisions et avec la RTBF, donc la télévision publique belge, de façon à ce que les meilleures de nos séries soient diffusées sur leur plateforme numérique. Et en contrepartie, nous prenons les meilleures de leurs séries que nous diffusons sur TOU.TV, de façon à assurer un meilleur rayonnement des productions francophones. Avec le but ultime que quand on développe une série francophone pour le Canada, que France Télévisions puisse faire un prix achat et ainsi pouvoir avoir de l’argent additionnel qu’on pourra investir en production.
548 J’espère que j’ai répondu à votre question.
549 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, merci beaucoup.
550 Did you want to have someone else add to that, Catherine? Or was that the -- I am fine to move on if that was the response; you said, “a couple of people”.
551 MS. TAIT: Yes, well, I was going to say, because as Michel pointed out, the strategies around promotion and discoverability for French language programming can be different; however, it’s wonderful when they come together.
552 And one great example, I don’t know if I heard him say it or not, was “C’est comme ça que je t’aime”, which was a fantastic series that was showcased in Berlin and then CBC is now showing it on Gem.
553 So we really -- that 360 approach in everything we do; it’s about helping our independent producers get supported, whether it’s at the beginning of a show, finding financial partners, and then taking those -- helping take those shows to market where they need help. I mean obviously if you’ve got a big distributor in place, sometimes it’s better that the domestic broadcaster just step back and let the people do what they do best.
554 So we are very cognizant of what our role is in those situations. But other than that, unless, Barb, you had something to add, I think we’re good to go.
555 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for the comprehensive response.
556 I said earlier that I was moving on from metrics. I’m going to go back. I had a former CEO that used to always say what gets measured gets done. And I think it must have got engrained into my mind because I am somewhat preoccupied with the Commission’s ability to measure success along with the Corporation.
557 So as we discussed discoverability, if I can come back to that; so can you comment on the metrics that you will use to measure success for those platforms with respect to discoverability?
558 MS. TAIT: I’ll head it over to our guru but before I do, I can just say that, you know, again just to go back to the international piece, in most cases where the -- where we don’t hold the rights, we are somewhat limited in measuring the pecuniary return. However, in a handful of the one-off documentaries and children’s -- some French language programs, children’s programs, we are able to see a return from those markets in terms of revenue.
559 But in terms of the discoverability piece, Claude, how are we measuring success on that front?
560 MR. GALIPEAU: And Mr. Chair, did you mean discoverability in international sphere on its own or in general?
561 THE CHAIRPERSON: In general, but we were talking about international, you know, at that moment. But generally is fine, if you can also make reference to any ---
562 MR. GALIPEAU: Yes ---
563 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- discrete international aspects, that would be helpful.
564 MR. GALIPEAU: Let me try the international first and then go more general.
565 Internationally, I think it would be the standard metrics, which would be audiences on platforms. In podcast, for example, if I think about that as an example, at the moment we measure it in terms of downloads that we have. At the moment, more -- I think at CBC, more than 13 million downloads on a monthly basis of our podcasts. And so, a proportion of those are international. And some of the top titles are -- are very strongly downloaded by foreign audiences, particularly U.S. audiences because they are in the English language. But they have also been distributed and downloaded and made available, for example, in Australia with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
566 So that would be an example of, I would say, standard metrics somewhat modified, which would look at audiences, look how they’re measured.
567 And in podcast, it’s generally done with -- with downloads.
568 On the general side, I would say it is again back to audiences and back to relatively standard metrics. I don’t think it really differs on the international from the domestic. While there are different systems and vendors that measure audiences in different territories, there is a quite well-developed currency, certainly in radio and in television. And I would say in many cases also in digital with regards to how audience and how audience engagements are measured.
569 MS. TAIT: I think Barb had something to add?
570 MS. WILLIAMS: Thanks, Catherine.
571 Claude has well explained the actual ways of measuring audience in all of its different platforms and that absolutely is the ultimate measure of discoverability and enjoyment, and appreciation of content; is did anyone watch it? Did anyone listen?
572 So audience is key, clearly, and all these different ways we measure time spent and engagement, and downloads, and all those things now, critical.
573 I guess what I want to add is, at the CBC, different from other places I have worked, the ultimate measurement is not that biggest is always best and that small is bad. We are speaking to a huge contingent of Canadians from communities, big and small, with unique needs and unique interests. And sometimes the most important content we do is only enjoyed by a few because it was so critical to them and if we didn’t serve them in that need, nobody did.
574 And so I just take very seriously the responsibility of understanding what we need when we say we measure success. It starts with measurement. I agree with you completely. What is measured gets done. I’m with you.
575 But then we don’t lead to the assumption that the biggest is what is most important and that if it was small, it was irrelevant. We are looking to be sure that all Canadians are served with our content and sometimes that’s very small audiences that need something particular that only the CBC will do for them.
576 And that happens in the North. And that happens in small communities in the East and across the country. And it happens in news and it happens in entertainment.
577 So I just feel compelled to put that layer of success measurement on top of the audience metrics that Claude has spoken so clearly about. And I think --- THE CHAIRPERSON: And Mr. Bissonnette had something to add but before we go there, Ms. Williams, yes; I mean, and you can rest assured that we too are focused on all aspects of measuring success. And you can count on us having a further discussion with you about some of those more narrow market niches and how we reach all Canadians.
578 So I appreciate that very much.
579 Monsieur Bissonnette, vous avez quelque chose à ajouter?
580 M. BISSONNETTE: Je voulais juste faire un renforcement sur le commentaire de madame Williams parce que vous savez, dans l’entreprise privée, le critère d’évaluation c’est très souvent est-ce qu’on fait de l’argent? Et si on fait de l’argent, ça fonctionne; et si on n’en fait pas, ça ne fonctionne pas.
581 Dans le cas du diffuseur public c’est davantage est-ce qu’on répond à notre mandat? Et toute la contribution qu’on peut faire auprès des francophones à l’extérieur du Québec ne se mesure pas en volume. Elle se mesure en pertinence.
582 Quand nous faisons des séries dramatiques comme Trop et Les Simone, c’est parce qu’on veut rejoindre les 18 à 24 ans. La cote d’écoute va être plus petite mais on sait que c’est une contribution pour leur faire découvrir des séries francophones et pour faire découvrir des nouveaux auteurs.
583 Donc, il y a vraiment un équilibre et c’est pas toujours la quantité, comme l’a dit madame Williams, qui est notre critère d’évaluation.
584 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, d’accord. Merci.
585 And I’m sure ---
586 MS. TAIT: If everybody is throwing in their two cents, I do -- I guess something does come to mind, which wasn’t mentioned in terms of discoverability. It’s the prizes that we award. And it's a very, very -- it slipped my mind, but think about Canada Reads, think about le débat des livres. It is absolutely -- that is, to me is the best example of how the public broadcaster serves Canadians in the interest of discovering new works. And no other broadcaster, no other media company in this country spends as much time as both Radio-Canada and CBC do in this area of helping Canadians engage in this -- in literary works, and discovering new authors, and celebrating new authors, and, and we do the same with music, and we do the same with kids. It really is -- it is so much part of, of what we do, so I didn't want to take away from -- because there are a lot of people who work on it every day on this -- on the way we shine a light on those works. And I will stop there, Mr. Chair.
587 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I was -- I guess I had a second part to that question about -- but I think you've collectively answered it, and that was just a reference to with these measurements and looking at audience engagement and the like, I'm assuming that you then modify your strategies with respect to discoverability based on those metrics. I guess it goes without saying and this would be ---
588 MS. TAIT: Well, it goes without saying, and yet it also is very important to say that just as Barb said, it doesn't necessarily mean that the largest gets the most attention ---
589 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
590 MS. TAIT: --- because oftentimes that's not the case.
591 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Different measures of success, as we've discussed already.
592 My last question in this area, having given you the opportunity several times to potentially identify areas where less regulation is required, I'm going to spin it around the other direction. Ms. Kirsenblatt will like this one less than the other question.
593 And I just wanted to ask you to comment on a requirement then that you report on your efforts with respect to discoverability on a yearly basis including how you define success with respect to discoverability, the measures you may have taken to make your content and Canadian content for which you have the rights or pay rights to broadcast more discoverable domestically and abroad, and whether you've met your measures of success. That was a mouthful. I'm -- you'll see it in transcript and we can provide it to you separately. The -- you may want to take an undertaking to respond in a more fulsome way, but could you comment, at least at a general level, on your views about accepting a requirement to file with us such a report?
594 MS. TAIT: I think in the interest of reporting and I think that seems to be the spirit of this so far, our first day, greater transparency, that would seem to be a reasonable request and, but let us -- if you don't mind, we'd like to take it as an undertaking, so that we can make sure that we've fully described it and captured what it is that you're ---
595 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
596 MS. TAIT: --- looking for. That's ---
597 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, we will see it in transcript. I can repeat it for the moment if you want, or we can have counsel repeat it in a summary of undertakings accepted at the end of the day, if you wish. That would be better? All right.
598 MS. TAIT: That would be great. Thank you.
599 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
600 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then all right. Then I will leave discoverability for a moment -- well, not for a moment. I have a couple of other areas I want to touch on still today.
601 So the next would be digital programming spend. And I'd like to discuss with you with respect to your digital activities how they align with the objectives laid out in the Act, and once again, ensure that the corporation reports on its activities to the Commission. And you are right, it is a theme for today, madam president.
602 So a number of intervenors have expressed concerns -- this is broadly in the area of finances -- regarding the lack of financial transparency for the corporation's online services, especially since the corporation benefits from Parliamentary appropriations.
603 So, can you comment on those requests for more detailed projections regarding digital services, and specifically with regards to programming spending and on non-programming services and how it relates to your proposal to move some of that important content online?
604 MS. TAIT: I'm struggling a little bit. You inverted programming and non-programming services and ---
605 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did I?
606 MS. TAIT: --- you used the word online -- yeah, so I just want to make sure I've completely understood your question.
607 THE CHAIRPERSON: I will ---
608 MS. TAIT: You're asking me to talk about the -- what we call the .cas or the CBC GEM and ICI TOU.TV?
609 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, more the -- well, on digital services broadly, but specifically on programming spending and non-programming services. Sorry, I'm reading my notes. So, and how it -- on the -- let me take a step back and restate it much more simply.
610 Can you comment on providing more details for projections regarding spending on digital services on programming expenditures, on digital services? Let's simplify it to that.
611 MS. TAIT: Okay. So, I think at this point I'll invite our -- Michael Mooney, our acting EVP of finance to give some more clarity on our digital expenditures.
612 MR. MOONEY: Thank you, yes. What we have done is provide a additional aggregate financial summary of all of our expenditures which showed digital separately. If you look at that document, we split out CBC GEM and TOU.TV separate from the audio services and the other websites.
613 So, we can provide that in the future if that would be helpful.
614 THE CHAIRPERSON: It would. Thank you.
615 Maybe I can get a little more specific. So -- I'm looking at my notes here, total digital revenues account for less than -- about a little less than a quarter of total digital expenses, about 61 million in digital revenues and about 265 in expenses in 2019. And you project that total digital expenses are to rise faster than digital revenues for at least the next four years. As a result, some of the intervenors have suggested that using these appropriations in the digital space isn't appropriate. Given that concern, what approach would you take to support your digital programming activities, given that the online specific revenues don't currently appear to support the activities, you know, on a standalone basis?
616 MR. MOONEY: What I'd like to show first of all is that if you look at our total expenses for conventional services versus the digital services ---
617 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hm.
618 MR. MOONEY: --- they remain relatively constant ---
619 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah.
620 MR. MOONEY: --- at about 80 percent of our total operating expenditures. And our digital expenditures represent approximately 20 percent. It grows to 23 I guess by the -- by '22, '23. And our revenue from digital services, it represents about a little less than five percent of our total revenues when you include appropriations, TV advertising, subscriptions, everything else, it represents about only five percent of our total.
621 But, you know, as we've said with our strategy, our spending, we’ll move toward digital because that’s where our audiences are. And I think that our financial projections demonstrate that -- is consistent.
622 THE CHAIRPERSON: So just to be clear, you would expect that you would continue to use revenues from the appropriations, and are not looking for an alternative means to support -- to generate digital revenues at this point?
623 MS. TAIT: If I may; we have obviously committed a lot of resources to generating revenue on the digital side and then we have -- we’ve been lucky, through this very difficult COVID period, to see some important gains there. But for the time being, that digital ad revenue does not sufficiently offset the costs of the digital operation.
624 So the answer would be we continue to consider this to be a primary focus of a public broadcaster, as it is with all public broadcasters around the world, the digital presence has become an absolute requirement to serve audiences.
625 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that response.
626 Maybe my last question in this area is that one element of your mandate under the Act states that you should make programming available throughout Canada, by most appropriate and efficient means, as resources become available for the purpose.
627 What’s your -- again, this is a high-level question but what’s your general approach of methodology for allocating financial resources to the various platforms as you fulfil your mandate?
628 MS. TAIT: We begin, obviously, with the mandate, which is to inform, to enlighten, and to entertain, and we go to all the elements in the Act but, specifically, a focus on, as I’ve said several times already today, our unique obligation to serve all Canadians.
629 And what we’re finding with the -- and I think I said, or somebody said it in their opening remarks, what we’re seeing is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, not in traditional television, not in linear radio, not in digital services. So what we do when we look at how to allocate resources we start with as kind of a -- it’s a philosophical grid and then it gets into a practical grid with respect to in each community what is the preferred platform; how are we seeing audience response; what are the other the other services that are available in those communities, and that’s basically the allocation exercise that we do.
630 Each year on an annual basis, you know, we prepare our budgets, we take it to the Board of Directors for their approval. There's often lively discussion about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and then we settle on; do these allocations advance the strategic priorities that we set out, and do they do so in the most efficient way possible, and are we fulfilling the obligation -- our obligations as set out by the broadcasting act and as set out by our regulator?
631 So that’s kind of a -- that’s another 400,000-foot answer to the 400,000-foot question.
632 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s fair.
633 MS. TAIT: I’m willing -- I’m happy to go down deeper, and I’ll invite Barb and Michel and others from management to comment on how we actually duke it out, as it were.
634 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's fine.
635 All right. I will -- hearing no-one jumping on, I’ll continue.
636 I guess the last area, and it sort of flows from questions about finances, relates to the impact of COVID. You obviously made reference to it, as did I, in our opening comments and there's been quite a bit of discussion on the record in relation to financial statements or financial updates reflecting the declines in revenues related to COVID, as experienced by the Corporation.
637 Can you provide -- can you provide some detail on the manner in which the changes in revenues affected the operation of the Corporation, particularly in its programming choices? Maybe we’ll start there.
638 MS. TAIT: Absolutely. Let’s -- again, I’m going to just -- I’m going to replay the tape a little bit and remember what it was like on March 11th when the global pandemic was declared and how we, as a Corporation, responded.
639 The first thing we did was, of course, make sure that our people were safe. And because we are a news organization that’s operating stations across the entire country, we had to make sure that we had adequate boots on the ground to cover probably the most intense news cycle that any of us will ever live through.
640 The reason I mention that, that became the kind of the core of our decision-making, and because -- because news right out of the gate was the driver, and then everything else would flow from there. And, obviously, programming, entertainment programming, all sorts of decisions came out of that.
641 On a pure financial basis, and I will point you, Mr. Chair, to our -- rather than our broadcast year of reporting here, I’m going to point to our second quarter financial report, just because it’s going to give you a more accurate picture.
642 When the pandemic hit, we had no idea how bad it would be, financially, or how not so bad it would be. We really, none of us, had any idea. So we immediately went into contingency plan mentality, as it were. And what that meant was freezing discretionary spending, freezing any non-essential activity, suspending about half of our capital spending; ensuring that we had sufficient health and safety budget to protect our news journalists and all the people across the country that were covering the pandemic. And all those measures were put into place very, very quickly.
643 We assumed significant drop in ad revenue, and so that’s why I turn you to the financial report and you’ll see that at the six months of our fiscal year, our current fiscal year, the hit has been about $25 million, 11 percent of our revenue. And that actually was a better outcome than we anticipated with respect to revenue. We had planned for far worse.
644 And one of the reasons I would say that is that, certainly on the advertising side, we were less vulnerable than some of the private sector colleagues who have a lot of professional sports that generate huge revenue for them.
645 Some of the other factors in our particular business, we had a lot of new traffic on our digital platforms which contributed to an offset.
646 But to your point on the programming side, that’s probably the most complicated piece of the puzzle, so I’m going to pause and I’m going to go slowly, and then Barb and Michel can correct me.
647 Right out of the gate none of us knew what was going to happen to programming. We had to cancel live shows, like the Junos I mentioned earlier, like the Quebec Cinema celebration, and we had to fill those -- that broadcast schedule with other programming. We tried to do it as best as possible with Canadian acquisitions.
648 In terms of original production, we were -- most of the original production that had been shot was okay; the things that had already been, as we say in the business, “In the can” before the COVID struck, we were okay.
649 But anything that was planning production, as you know, summer is a -- spring and summer is a great time to produce in Canada because there isn’t all that white stuff out there. And so, we were -- we really had to look very hard on how we could move forward with a very, very challenging production environment.
650 There were some lucky outcomes. The Quebec government was able to step up with some assistance for the -- for the French language productions in Quebec that helped. And I have to say that we worked very hard with independent producers to find solutions, often times, assuming higher costs on our side so that we could make sure that productions went ahead.
651 Having said all of that, if I look ahead to next year, one of the areas of uncertainty for us is that we’re -- we are not clear whether or not there will be continued federal government assistance with respect to production insurance, or other assistance at the provincial or federal level, for the increased costs associated with shooting of television programming during a health crisis.
652 Just to be very clear, for those of you who are not familiar with production, when you’re shooting with health and safety measures, you often have to create double scenarios. So you have to have people being tested, you have to have people who travel being quarantined. These, with every single extra action you are adding days to production, which adds costs to production. So all that to say, is it’s an enormously complicated -- I wish I could call it a moveable feast, because the feast is not the right word, but it is a -- it’s a moveable situation that we, I believe our teams rose to the occasion.
653 We got a lot of productions going and on air. But the challenge continues and lies ahead still. I’ll leave it there and perhaps you might have some follow up questions, or Barb and Michelle, did I forget something important?
654 MR. MOONEY: No, that’s fine.
655 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci. Thank you. Well, you did anticipate a couple of other aspects of my questions as you looked forward, in particular.
656 I guess I was going to ask you as well about lessons learned. Ms. Williams made reference earlier to the situation in Prince Edward Island and the initial decision, as did you, Madam Tait, to suspend the local -- the regional news for a period of time. I guess what lessons have you learned, aside from being able to adapt incredibly quickly in times of a historical pandemic, to avoid situations such as having to stop regional newscasts in a future crisis, we’ll say? That’s a terrible thing to say at the moment, or a continuing crisis? I hope we never repeat this current situation.
657 MS. TAIT: Yes. We learned so much. It’s hard to even begin. I will come to the temporary shut down of the local T.V. news, and I’m going to let Barb speak to that. But what I’d like to kind of talk more generally about what we learned, and certainly what I learned personally about this organization and the resilience and the dedication.
658 I know we talk about first responders, and for sure the medical workers are absolutely the most important in all of this. But our news people were -- are not that far behind. The dedication and -- we didn’t just cover Covid, we incrementally increased our news coverage. We addressed misinformation through Décrypteurs and the disinformation unit at CBC, we launched an “ask us anything” kind of website, where thousands and thousands of people sent in questions about Covid. We became kind of a one stop shop for what’s going on in the Covid world.
659 It was a -- so we were serving Canadians on every platform and we activated all our teams, whether it was in the entertainment space, or in the kids space, or in the news space. So lessons learned for me was, wow, don’t underestimate the power of this public broadcaster to respond to a crisis, and that’s the first thing I want to say.
660 The second thing, I actually had the opportunity to talk to one of Canada’s generals about this subject. I asked his advice. Did we do the right thing? How would I know? I’m not a military person in a crisis. Because there might be a terrorist act, or there might be a cyber attack, what -- who knows what lies ahead in the world?
661 And he said to me, “What was your first instinct?” And I said, “The first instinct was to look after our people.” He said, “Well, that’s good instinct. You’ve got to look after your people, got to secure your people.” We moved them all home, or as many as we could home, and then we made sure that the people that were in the -- in the newsrooms were safe.
662 And then he said, “And what was your second instinct?” And I said, “To serve Canadians in every possible way, and to fulfill our mandate.” So there were failures along the way in technology, and we have addressed some of those through looking at redundancy.
663 One of the things that is happened in our industry, as we’ve moved to -- forward in technologies, systems have become more centralized, so what happens if you have a centralized system, it does put pressure if you have -- and you remember, Mr. Chair, my phone call to you in this regard, when you have what we described as an air traffic control problem, in terms of the live news feeds coming into the Toronto broadcast centre.
664 But so, we have learned about building redundancy and making sure that we have our people covering wherever possible. But honestly, I have to say that I think that with the exception of the -- of this -- of the very, very challenging local television supper hour situation, I think we’ve acquitted ourselves reasonably well. And I think Canadians have indicated that with the, you know, the volumes of people or the numbers of people that have come to us during this time.
665 But very specifically, on the T.V. -- local T.V. supper hour situation, I would like Barb, if she could, to provide a little bit more detail. Barb?
666 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that’s fine, but I also do want to point out, we will be talking about that further later. So ---
667 MS. TAIT: Okay.
668 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- again, you can do it at sort of, 40,000 feet, Ms. Williams. I think one of my colleagues will have a more in-depth discussion about it in the coming days. But please go ahead.
669 MS. WILLIAMS: Which, yeah, no, makes total sense. And in a future discussion we will also have a couple other folks on our panel with us who were deeply living the moments as that situation unfolded. So there will be more detail coming from them.
670 I would just add that it was a confluence of challenges, some were technical, some were staffing, some were, you know, just the whole environment was shifting on us so fast. And as Catherine said, step one, make sure everyone is safe. Step two, make sure everything that we are providing is stable. Step three, let’s continue to serve everybody somehow and make sure nobody is left with nothing, while we then rebuild as quickly as possible to get everything back.
671 It was an incredible moment that turned into a really tough few weeks. But the team stepped in more than admirably to address the situation as quickly as possible and be sure that local news was still always provided. The north never lost anything because their languages were so important to them. And we used our other platforms, digital, radio, news network, to cover very best we could while those few T.V. newscasts were being addressed.
672 But I know others will have as much detail as your colleagues are interested in learning about the situation.
673 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for that. I’m almost complete my questions.
674 I have -- I guess I’d like to go back for a second to your -- Madam Tait, you were referring to the financial statements, or the quarter.
675 I guess I would like to ask you to accept an undertaking, if you would, to provide detailed financial statements or a financial update outlining the declines in revenues related to Covid-19 during the 2019-2020 broadcast year. And then if you could ensure that there is a breakdown that includes advertising, both national and local, and any other sources of revenue itemized. Obviously there may be confidential aspects to that which you can address in your undertaking.
676 MS. TAIT: Okay, we'll do that. I -- do we have -- I'm sorry, I am not sure that we report on local advertising separately, do we? We do? Oh, I'm being told we do. Okay.
677 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if you can fulfill that undertaking and I'll come back. Counsel will summarize all of the things you have volunteered for today in a moment.
678 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
679 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am going -- that's the end of my first set of questions. Before I turn to my colleagues to see if they have any follow ups for you today, I'm going to suggest we take a 15‑minute break and then we can come back. We'll have some follow up questions from my colleagues and we'll -- and then we'll complete the day.
680 So can we return at 3:20? Madame Secretary, is that okay?
681 THE SECRETARY: Perfect; 3:20 and we will be back.
682 MS. TAIT: Thank you.
683 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, everyone.
684 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
685 --- Upon recessing at 3:05 p.m. / L'audience est suspendue à 15h05
686 --- Upon resuming at 3:20 p.m. / L'audience est reprise à 15h20
687 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, welcome back, everyone. I know that a number of my colleagues have some follow up questions for the panel, so if I may I'm going to turn to Commissioner Lafontaine. Let me turn the floor over to you.
688 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the panel today for your submission.
689 I just have one question for you and it relates to your financials. You've just provided the Panel with an undertaking to update your -- I guess your actuals for the 2019-2020 broadcast year, and I'm interested to hear from you about why you have not and whether you may update your financial productions for the '20‑'21, '21‑'22, '22‑'23 broadcast years in light of the discussion that we've just had about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on revenue and expenses. I see that what we have here, dated back to 2019, that that were the financials that were submitted, and so I'm -- I'd just be interested to know why these should not also be updated.
690 MS. TAIT: Thank you, Commissioner. It's great to see you again.
691 I'm a little concerned that our CFO was struggling with his headset. Were you able to hear the question? No, he was not able to hear the question.
692 So the question was would we be able to provide updated financials -- hang on, he's just getting his papers. I'm sorry, we're -- we had some technical challenge here. If you'd just give me a moment.
693 Would you mind repeating the question, Commissioner? So I apologize. We ---
694 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Of course. No, no, no, of course.
695 MS. TAIT: We weren't plugged in.
696 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: No, not at all. No, it's part of the process.
697 I'm just interested to know whether your financial projections for the '20‑'21 to '22‑'23 broadcast years might not also be impacted by the costs, the increased costs of programming caused by, you know, the impact of the pandemic. And I guess I'm interested to know why we don't have updated financials and whether we might have, whether there -- it would be appropriate to file updated financials to take into consideration the impact of the pandemic on your financial situation.
698 MR. MOONEY: Yes. So we're -- we developed a plan to manage our impacts from the COVID situation for about 12 to 18 months. So what we're trying to do is create enough flexibility to manage our future cost increases as well as the revenue shortfalls.
699 So we're really not in a position to provide forecasts that are any better than, you know, what you have in front of you in terms of, you know, accuracy around future revenues. We think that, hopefully, this will be a short-term situation, you know, ending in the next fiscal year and then after that we'll be back to a more steady state situation. So we don't think that there is much point in providing an update given the -- you know, the uncertainty of the situation.
700 The other thing is the size of the impact. So for revenue, we're looking at, you know, less than 20 percent of our ad revenue, and as you probably are aware our appropriations make up over 70 precent of our total revenues. So we're somewhat insulated from the impacts, although it does obviously have a significant impact our total spent.
701 What else can I say? So also the cost impacts. We're -- while we're having some cost increases, we're generating savings also from, you know, travelling, that sort of thing, that we're able to redirect, help cover off the increase in production costs.
702 So I guess what I'm saying is given the uncertainty around the duration of the pandemic and the overall magnitude of the revenue impact, we don't think it would be helpful at this point to change our projections.
703 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay, thank you. And so just to be clear, the projected costs for the various types of programming that you have in your projections this is what you believe to be as accurate as one can project in terms of, you know, over the next licence term or a portion of it anyway, what we could anticipate would be -- would properly reflect what you would be expecting to expend on the various types of Canadian programs?
704 MR. MOONEY: Yes, that's correct. It reflects more the steady state approach. So you know, we're in that bumpy period where we're -- you know, we're not back to that steady state, but we think it's -- these projections are reflective of what we will be able to accomplish once we get back to a more of a normal situation.
705 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
706 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner.
707 I'll turn to the Vice-Chair, Broadcasting in one second.
708 I'll just note those travel savings, you're foregoing a wonderful two weeks in bright and sunny Ottawa in January. You must all be terribly disappointed.
709 Madame Simard, vous avez des questions?
710 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui. Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le Président.
711 Alors, je vais commencer par une question, disons… on parle évidemment ici de vue d’ensemble, alors vous avez fait mention des contenus qui sont exclusivement produits pour vos plateformes en ligne, mais est-ce que… qu’en est-il de tous les contenus qui sont produits sur vos plateformes traditionnelles? Est-ce qu’ils se retrouvent tous sur vos plateformes en ligne? Alors, est-ce que l’inverse, c'est-à-dire se fait, mais se fait entièrement, de façon archivée ou non? Parce que je sais que vous avez beaucoup évidemment de contenus archivés.
712 Mme TAIT: Je vais demander à Monsieur Bissonnette de répondre à cette question.
713 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Merci.
714 M. BISSONNETTE: Bonjour. Merci, Madame la conseillère.
715 Tout le contenu qui est fait pour Radio-Canada, donc ICI TÉLÉ, se retrouve sur nos plateformes en ligne. Il y a une exception, et c’est En direct de l’univers parce que, comme l’émission est diffusée en direct, les couts pour obtenir tous les droits musicaux sont différents q1ue si on achetait la rediffusion sur toutes les plateformes numériques, donc il n’y a seulement que quelques émissions par année qui sont disponibles sur nos plateformes numériques de cette émission, notamment celle qui est En direct du jour de l’An.
716 À l’opposé, il y a certains contenus spécifiques que nous faisons pour les plateformes numériques, je pense notamment aux web-séries qui, elles, ne se retrouvent pas sur ICI TÉLÉ, mais c'est marginal comme contenu.
717 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Je vous remercie.
718 Is it the -- I assume that it's the same as here for CBC.
720 MS. TAIT: If I may, Commissioner, Claude may want to comment on the actions that we have in place to protect privacy just to be very clear.
721 As we move more into digital, we have been -- we have an internal committee that looks at data and usage of data and to put safeguards in place.
722 But Claude, maybe you could just give a little bit of assurance that this is a subject we take very seriously.
723 MR. GALIPEAU: Thank you, Catherine, Madame la conseillère.
724 Yes, we do. We have an internal committee. It's called a data council. And we meet every two weeks.
725 And sitting there, we have the leads in -- for the digital product lines. We have our Chief Privacy Officer, who comes from the -- our legal department.
726 We have our heads of research. And we regularly deal with trends in data usage in the industry, but also product development for ourselves. And we studiously seek and we, I would say, are compliant with federal privacy laws as well as industry best practices with regards to consent for the use of data by our users.
727 And as Michel said, we do not traffic in people's data either on a personal basis or an anonymized basis. We keep the data to better serve audiences principally with our recommendations for content.
728 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Je vous remercie beaucoup, Monsieur Galipeau.
729 Et ma dernière question, je vais m’excuser à l’avance parce que, évidemment, elle est… elle est un peu… un peu plus… elle fait vraiment référence au fondement, aux racines de l’écosystème de la radiodiffusion. On a déjà abordé cette question-là sous différents angles, alors on le sait, la Loi sur la radiodiffusion énonce comme un des objectifs de la politique canadienne de radiodiffusion que le système canadien de radiodiffusion offre un service public essentiel pour le maintien et la valorisation de l’identité nationale et de la souveraineté culturelle. Alors, à titre de radiodiffuseur public, comment votre rôle se distingue-t-il des joueurs des secteurs privés et communautaires dans cette offre-là du service public essentiel, et ce, dans un environnement, on l’a dit, vous l’avez dit tout à l'heure, un environnement technologique en plein bouleversement, et même je dirais un environnement social et culturel en plein bouleversement?
730 Alors vraiment, c'est au niveau de ce concept-là du service public essentiel et comment votre rôle de radiodiffuseur public se distingue de celui du rôle, donc, des joueurs du secteur privé, et surtout, ce que j’entends, et c'est ce que j’aime… je tente de valider, c'est qu’en fait, je comprends que les défis du radiodiffuseur public sont importants, vous avez dit que vous cherchez à faire plus et plus en profondeur, alors c’est ça que j’essaie de valider là. Ce que j’entends, c'est que les défis sont immenses, alors… mais j’aimerais vous entendre préciser davantage.
731 Mme TAIT: Alors, merci, Madame la conseillère. Je vais commencer, mais je vais aussi inviter Michel et Barb pour faire d’autres commentaires là-dessus.
732 Quand on parle du mandat du diffuseur public, je pense que Michel l’a bien dit quand il dit qu’on est vraiment dans un écosystème médiatique au Canada et on trouve… on pense que nous, on a un rôle très distinct à jouer en complément à nos collègues du secteur privé. On se voit pas comme concurrents du tout, on est là pour travailler avec nos collègues, même au niveau de la radiodiffusion, mais aussi les autres organismes, surtout d’info. Mais il y a quand même des obligations qu’on a qui sont très particulières pour les diffuseurs publics. Alors, on parle de l’obligation de servir tous les Canadiens dans les deux langues officielles, le Nord et bien sûr… j’ai oublié les OLMC en français, c’est le CLOSM, les CLOSM?
733 MR. BISSONNETTE: CLOSM.
734 MS. TAIT: Voilà, les CLOSM! [Rires]
735 En ce qui concerne la programmation, on a des obligations très différentes aussi. On est surtout, quand on regarde le marché anglophone à l’heure de grande écoute, on est presque 90 ou 95 % canadien, contenu canadien. Il y a une question de diversité aussi puis j’en suis sûre, on va parler de la diversité plus tard, alors je ne veux pas rester trop longtemps là-dessus.
736 Mais là où on a aussi… on a parlé tout à l’heure du risque, les risques créatifs qu’on fait chaque jour pour découvrir et promouvoir le contenu canadien. Alors, c’est sûr que pour nous, nous, on se demande chaque jour : qu’est-ce qu’on fait, qu’est-ce qu’on peut faire différemment que nos collègues du secteur privé? Et c’est sûr qu’on a un mandat vaste, mais on tient toujours à ce mandat parce que c’est vraiment… c’est la proximité à nos auditoires, au local, à toutes les communautés qui compte et qui, en fait, au bout de ligne, c’est exactement ça qui nous donne notre force.
737 Peut-être Michel, tu aimerais continuer? [Rires]
738 MR. BISSONNETTE: Oui. Merci, Madame la conseillère, je l’ai dit dans mon mot d’ouverture et le crois profondément : le rôle d’un diffuseur public n’est pas nécessairement de faire autre chose, mais il doit le faire autrement et ça se transpose dans tous nos choix de programmation.
739 Nous produisons chaque semaine six émissions d’affaires publiques, dont quatre qui sont diffusées en heure de grande écoute – un diffuseur privé ne ferait pas cela. Nos séries dramatiques, certaines ont un succès – et je le dis à la blague, mais quand on a commencé District 31, on se disait : un environnement dans un poste de police devrait être plus ou moins populaire. Et après notre phrase, c’était de se dire : on n’est jamais à l’abri d’un succès - parce que sincèrement, cette émission-là a obtenu des résultats qui étaient au-delà de nos attentes.
740 C’est le rôle également de prendre des risques créatifs. C’est facile aujourd’hui de dire que Unité 9 a été un grand succès, mais sur papier, de faire le choix d’avoir un environnement, une série dramatique qui se passerait dans un lieu carcéral avec des femmes, était risqué parce que ce n’était pas nécessairement ce qui, à prime abord, nous amène vers un succès.
741 Donc, c’est une question de risques, c’est une question du nombre de documentaires qu’on fait ; quand les diffuseurs privés font des téléréalités pour pouvoir faire la promotion de la musique, ils le font très bien. On préfère de notre côté avoir une émission comme En direct de l’univers, qui rallie ou qui présente la variété de façon différente. Le nombre de documentaires qu’on peut acquérir et, surtout, produire, que ce soit pour RDI, Explora sur ICI Télé est incommensurable. Donc, c’est nos choix de programmation en jeunesse, en sciences, en information.
742 Nous sommes le diffuseur avec le plus grand nombre de correspondants à l’étranger et c’est fondamental parce que si nous n’avions des correspondants à l’étranger pour CBC/Radio-Canada, c’est donc dire qu’on devrait se tourner vers CNN et avoir le point de vue américain sur ce qui se passe à l’international. Et en ce sens-là, notre contribution est vraiment importante pour avoir un point de vue canadien.
743 Et là, je sais que le temps passe; votre question vient éveiller en moi des heures et des heures où je serais prêt à vous répondre! Donc, je vais résumer ma réponse à ceci pour l’instant, mais sincèrement, c’est ce qui anime tous nos choix de décisions et c’est vraiment partagé par toutes les équipes qui s’occupent du programme à Radio-Canada.
744 MS. TAIT: I don't know, Barb, if you have anything to add to that, but Michel pretty well nailed it.
745 MS. WILLIAMS: But it's impossible to resist the opportunity to say something to such, like, the number one question of the whole point of why we come to work everyday. So, I promise will be short, but it is about scope and it is about scale.
746 We take the scope of opportunity to cover Canadian stories across this country, coast to coast to coast, in a way that no one else does. We have the opportunity to cover that content with a scale of resources that ensures completion and deep story telling. We have the ability to do the town halls, to really explore with communities what's really on their minds. We can give, you know, committed resources to provincial elections and be sure that they aren't short-changed in their own community about those issues that matter so much to them.
747 That diversity question is enormous. I won't even begin, but it is at heart and soul of so many decisions we make every day.
748 And then on the entertainment side, the opportunity to develop, support new creative voices and really embrace the Canadian creative community in a way that nobody else can do at some, it is the spirit that we bring to this every single day, and it is a place of distinction, there's no doubt.
749 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.
750 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, it's up to me to take it off mute. My turn.
751 I believe that completes the questioning for call it at the 40,000-foot level, and it might be at quarter to 4, an opportune time to break. It's been a fulsome day, and I am happy to say that largely devoid of any technological gremlins, so I'm going to knock on wood and hope that that continues to be the case. I thank you for your responses today.
752 And, Madame la secrétaire, we should turn to legal counsel and just do a -- perhaps I can ask counsel to do a summary of the undertakings that we've discussed today. You're aware you'll be able to see them on transcript, but I thought it would be useful to provide you with a summary. And after that, we will adjourn for the day until tomorrow morning.
753 Madam Secretary, can we turn it to counsel, please?
754 MS. ROY: Yes, now we will turn it to I think Mr. James Wilson, legal counsel.
755 MR. WILSON: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
756 Just to go over quickly -- over the undertakings as I have them in my notes, and if there are any points of clarification, we can discuss those.
757 What I have thus far is first, to provide to the Commission the kind of data that would be included in the CBC's proposed annual report on online content.
758 Second, comment on whether the -- that report could be provided on a more frequent basis than annually, and if so, what type of data could be included in that report. I note those -- I have those listed as two separate items. Obviously, they're interlinked and could be provided as part of the same answer.
759 Thirdly, discuss how the CBC could demonstrate that the needs of underrepresented groups are being met if the Commission were to reduce the current regulatory requirements on the CBC.
760 Fourthly, outline potential online measurement tools and how those tools could be used to measure success.
761 Fifthly, clarify whether the CBC's measurement framework for Your Stories Your Way includes any CRTC reporting requirements.
762 Sixthly, describe how the CBC could report on discoverability on an annual basis, and said report including -- would include describing how success is measured, what measures were taken to make the content discoverable, and then whether success has been achieved.
763 And then finally, detailed financial statements for the 2019/2019 broadcasting year showing any decline in revenues, breakdowns, including advertising and other sources of revenue.
764 That’s the list of undertakings that I have thus far. And are there any points that we need to clarify on those?
765 And seeing no points ---
766 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Would it be ---
767 MR. WILSON: Yeah.
768 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Would it be possible for legal staff to send that in writing to us with all of the details? I just can’t write ---
769 MR. WILSON: Yeah.
770 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: --- as quickly as you can speak.
771 MR. WILSON: Certainly. I can send that in an email as well.
772 In terms of a date, would it -- the date, would it be possible for you to get back to us on all of those items no later than the 3rd of February?
773 MS. KIRSHENBLATT: Yes.
774 MR. WILSON: Okay.
775 Then I have nothing further, Mr. Chairman.
776 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Chairman, you’re on mute.
777 THE CHAIRPERSON: I knew I’d do that a few times today. My apologies.
778 I’ll go back to the hearing secretary in one moment, but I should check with my other colleagues just to make sure; are there any other questions before we close off for the day from either Commissioner Anderson or Commissioner Barin?
779 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I did have one question.
780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please. Go ahead, Commissioner.
781 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And this is just a question for a submission that Ms. Tait gave, and thank you very much for your submissions, to everybody.
782 Ms. Tait, this morning you had mentioned that you believed that reporting from the CBC is satisfactory but for an outstanding issue about resources that get allocated to the digital sector. And I was wondering if you could clarify that statement, in light of some of the outstanding concerns which we’ll be discussing later on this week, specifically in relation to some of the requests for more information relating to, for example, diversity in leadership positions?
783 MS. TAIT: I’m not -- I think what I said was that the -- when the Chair asked about the absence of transparency or the seeming absence of transparency, I said that my understanding was most of the questions were about the digital non-programming services, less so than the other group of activities.
784 So is that the essence of your question?
785 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: It is, yeah.
786 MS. TAIT: And so specifically -- but I guess I’m asking what is the -- what is your -- what is I that you’re looking for? I’m just not understanding exactly.
787 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Oh, I was just wondering if you were of the view that there were no other issues relating to reporting---
788 MS. TAIT: Oh, I beg your pardon.
789 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: --- from the Corporation. I’m sorry.
790 MS. TAIT: No, I mean, I guess the -- from our point of view, you know, what’s been very, very interesting today, Commissioner and Mr. Chair, is this focus on reporting, and obviously that came up a lot in the interventions. And perhaps, as I said earlier, that part of the -- one of the barriers to what seems to be wilful lack of transparency is that it’s these activities that don’t fall within the jurisdiction of the current regime or regulatory framework. And I think where we’re getting to, if I may summarize -- I’m not going to put ideas into you head -- is a way of somehow addressing that irregularity and we look forward to that.
791 And, again, we will hopefully have some time to talk about the leadership roles question and I look forward to that tomorrow or beyond that. Thank you very much, Commissioner.
792 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
793 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Anderson.
794 Commissioner Barin.
795 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup. Vu qu’on est encore dans les questions à 40 000 pieds, j’aimerais vous poser la question qui a été soulevée par plusieurs intervenants, par rapport au rôle de la société dans l’écosystème. La… Il y en a plusieurs qui proposaient que le rôle devrait être plutôt complémentaire et non compétitif. Et je comprends qu’il y a des différents éléments de votre programmation qui peuvent se caractériser d’un côté ou de l’autre, mais j’aimerais vous entendre sur, comment vous voyez le rôle de la société au sein de l’environnement de radiodiffusion large.
796 Mme TAIT: Merci, Madame la conseillère. Si je peux donner un peu de contexte, comme vous le savez, notre système a été conçu pour permettre aux diffuseurs publics et privés de s’épanouir et de se compléter. Mais cela ne signifie pas que Radio-Canada ne doit pas commander des émissions populaires, ou d’avoir un grand succès. Au contraire, si je peux… Il y a toujours, je vais passer à l’anglais pour deux secondes.
797 The BBC head of creative content once said, “Entertainment, as a public broadcaster, does not need to be good for you” -- in the sense of medicine.
798 Si je peux, je pense qu’il y a quand même une… C’est très important que nous offrons une vaste gamme de services et une vaste gamme de programmation. Parce que là, on est quand même très importants pour la communauté créative, pour tous les créateurs. Et si on a des limites dans notre programmation, ça veut dire bon, vous autres, vous êtes toujours dans les documentaires, on laisse les dramatiques à quelqu’un d’autre. Ce n’est pas ça comme ce que… Nous on tient vraiment à notre mandat, qui est très bien décrit dans la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, c’est d’offrir cette vaste gamme de programmation. Alors je ne sais pas si quelqu’un d’autre aimerait ajouter quelque chose dans un meilleur français que le mien. Michel ?
799 M. BISSONNETTE: Premièrement Catherine, ton français est impeccable. Merci, Madame la conseillère. Vous savez la question que vous soulevez, c’est un débat qui dure depuis la nuit des temps et il y a plusieurs réponses à votre question. Un des points importants, puis je pense qu’on peut l’appeler par rapport aux chaînes d’information continue, que peuvent être LCN ou RDI, assurément nous avons un mandat qui est national. Nous avons également la responsabilité d’avoir des gens qui sont sur le terrain partout au pays. Et nous évitons totalement de faire des émissions d’opinion, parce que nous voulons que ce soit uniquement les faits et l’analyse et nous intégrons, de façon importante, la couverture internationale avec nos reporters qui sont à… Nos correspondants qui sont à l’étranger, de façon à ce qu’on ait vraiment un point de vue canadien sur ce qui se passe.
800 Après ça, notre mandat quand même, selon la Loi de la radiodiffusion, est d’être un diffuseur généraliste. C’est donc qu’on doit avoir des choix de programmation qui répondent à tous les genres et notre mandat c’est d’informer, d’éclairer et de divertir. Et la dernière étude qui est sortie par un média canadien dernièrement, démontrait que 85% des francophones considèrent que Radio-Canada répond bien à son mandat d’informer, éclairer et divertir. Et quand j’ai vu ce résultat-là, ça m’a fait chaud au cœur, parce que des fois on vient qu’on doute nous-mêmes, de nos propres décisions de programmations.
801 Et après c’est, quand on fait du divertissement, bien on s’assure de ne pas faire de téléréalité, parce que quand on tombe dans la téléréalité, je pense que les diffuseurs privés jouent bien ce rôle-là. Quand on fait du sport, on n’est pas dans le sport professionnel, parce que la télévision privée le fait bien. On est plus dans le sport de performance avec, notamment, les Olympiques. Quand on fait des séries dramatiques, on prend des risques qu’un diffuseur privé ne pourrait pas prendre. Parce qu’un diffuseur privé qui n’a que des revenus publicitaires, doit obligatoirement faire presque un million de cotes d’écoute pour réussir à rentabiliser sa série, alors que nous, on a le privilège de pouvoir faire des séries qui sont souvent plus nichées, mais qui répondent à une clientèle qui est différente.
802 On s’assure également, on l’a fait cet automne pendant la pandémie, on a ramené le radio-théâtre à Ici première, de façon à donner un coup de pouce aux gens du théâtre. On a diffusé, pendant le temps des fêtes, des concerts. On a fait un documentaire sur Nagano. Tout ce rôle-là, dans l’écosystème culturel, fait vraiment la différence entre un diffuseur public et un au système culturel fait vraiment la différence entre un diffuseur public et un diffuseur privé et je vous dirais – et je l’ai dit rapidement : dans l’entreprise privée et j’y ai été pendant plusieurs années, il y a un critère d’évaluation, c’est : est-ce qu’on fait de l’argent? Et c’est très sain, c’est la base même d’une entreprise privée : c’est de pouvoir faire rouler un écosystème et de générer des profits.
803 On n’a pas d’actionnaires, nous, à la fin de l’année à enrichir; toutes nos décisions de programmation, s’il y a des profits, sont réinvestis pour faire davantage de contenu canadien et on s’assure de pouvoir être complémentaire dans l’offre, que ce soit en affaires publiques, que ce soit en jeunesse, que ce soit en dramatique, que ce soit en variété et ceci, en gardant en tête également – et c’est notre campagne publicitaire qu’on a en ondes présentement, il n’y a pas de diffuseur public sans public. Si les gens ne viennent pas nous voir, on perd de notre pertinence. Donc, c’est vraiment cet équilibre-là dans une programmation qui est complémentaire avec un souci de rejoindre le plus de gens possible pour que les Canadiens considèrent que leur diffuseur public est pertinent.
804 COMMISSIONER BARDIN: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Bissonnette.
805 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Merci, Monsieur Bissonnette. Alors, Madame la secrétaire, does that conclude our business for today?
806 MS. ROY: Yes, this concludes our business, the hearing for today, and we will reconvene tomorrow at 10 a.m.
807 COMMISSIONER SCOTT : Merci beaucoup.
808 MS. ROY: Thank you very much.
--- Upon adjourning at 3:58 p.m.
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