Transcript, Virtual Hearing January 25, 2021
Location: National Capital Region, in virtual mode
Date: January 25, 2021
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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 II – Presentation by the interveners
10211 Directors Guild of Canada
10396 Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC)
10545 On Screen Manitoba
10653 Writers Guild of Canada
10794 Daniel Parle
10820 John Bruce Smedley
10842 Association of Canadian Advertisers and Canadian Media Directors Council
--- Upon commencing on Monday, January 25th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m./L’audience débute le lundi 25 janvier 2021 à 10h00
10209 MS. ROY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman. We will now begin this week with the presentation of Directors Guild of Canada.
10210 Welcome. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
10212 MR. SONODA: Thank you very much, dear Chair, Vice-Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff.
10213 My name is Warren Sonoda. I'm the national president of the Directors Guild of Canada. And with me here today is David Forget, our executive director and Sam Bischoff, our director of policy of the Guild.
10214 We thank the Commission for the opportunity to appear at this public hearing.
10215 The DGC is a national labour organization that represents key creative and logistical personnel in the film, television and digital media industries. Today, we have approximately 5,000 members regularly taking part in CBC productions across the country. I'm actually in Halifax right now directing this hour's 22 Minutes, and you can check that out tomorrow night on the CBC. We will limit our comments this morning to CBC English-language audiovisual services.
10216 A public hearing is an important opportunity for CBC/Radio-Canada to share its vision widely and in CBC's own words: to build 'a bridge to the future' with Canadians and the media industry.
10217 In the course of this public hearing, CBC's president Catherine Tait has made it clear that audiences come first in the Corporation's strategy and that digital is a transformative force that should guide the national public broadcaster in its next licence term. We fully agree with this thinking.
10218 However, we believe that this proceeding has been challenging for a number of stakeholders, including us. Conceptually, we understand that the CBC is seeking to embrace digital platforms as an important component of their strategy going forward. At the same time, we are concerned about a lack of systemic and transparent reporting and public accountability on activities associated with their digital services.
10219 Based on CBC's annual return filings, we recalculated the three-year average of English television CPE and PNI. We found that our proposed condition of licence for a group expenditure approach for the next licence term with a 54 percent CPE was accurate for 2020, but the corrected minimum of PNI of 21 percent to 28 percent. It appears that both the forecasted CPE and PNI expenditures presented in CBC's application for 2020 were actually higher than the actual levels reported recently.
10220 Now, we praise the CBC for driving new audiences online with diverse programming that takes creative risks: from Burden of Truth to Utopia Falls, multi-award winning Schitt's Creek, and more recently The Porter series which will begin production in the spring. But, in the drive for more content being commissioned for CBC's online platforms, we are concerned by the lack of available data for its digital services and, also, the lack of clarity between operating and content expenditures for these services.
10221 A notable part of CBC's parliamentary appropriation today goes to finance CBC's digital platforms, and according to CBC's financial projections, this will grow over time. As CBC seeks greater regulatory flexibility, this should logically translate into a greater requirement for accountability and transparency from the Corporation.
10222 In orderto continue to provide high-quality programming, we recognize that the current funding model for the CBC, which complements the parliamentary appropriation with resources from advertising, may still be necessary and appropriate in the years to come. However, the quest for ratings to obtain ad dollars, as well as branded content initiatives, should not compromise the quality, distinctiveness and integrity of CBC programming.
10223 At a time when competition is accelerating in the content business, the Corporation should distinguish itself from private broadcasters. We recommend CBC place a greater focus on supporting under-represented genres of programming and creators, under the banner of programs of national interest (PNI). In doing so, the Corporation will maximize Canadian talent in key creative roles.
10224 MR. FORGET: CBC submitted its application for licence renewal in the fall of 2019, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC did not update the submission with new financial projections or release its full strategic plan. While we understand the difficult circumstances, nonetheless, we are disappointed that CBC has not shared updated financials or overall information on its strategic plan.
10225 The Directors Guild joins other interveners in calling for the introduction of a regulatory framework that encompasses all content commissioned by the public broadcaster and rejects CBC's proposed cross-platform approach for its linear and digital services.
10226 For example, we believe there is a consensus around the fact that the use of incremental exhibition hours as proposed by the CBC is not applicable to digital platforms. In our view, the question is not how many hours can the GEM platform host, but what are the actual investments made by CBC on original programming for GEM.
10227 The Directors Guild recommends the CRTC require CBC to transition into a group-based expenditure approach for all its audiovisual services and platforms, including conventional, online and discretionary television stations for each of the two official language markets.
10228 Our proposal is consistent with comments made two weeks ago by CBC's executive vice president Barbara Williams, that CBC English services already operates under a 'very integrated approach'. In other words, CBC has already implemented a group operational approach for its services.
10229 CBC is seeking more flexibility to deliver content to a wide diversity of audiences. This group approach based on expenditure requirements is a proven methodology that provides precisely the flexibility CBC is looking for.
10230 CBC's limited disclosure and reluctance to share information with regard to its digital activities concerns us that CBC might progressively disengage from its CPE and PNI commitments on both conventional and online, favouring instead foreign and/or library content, and repeat programming, rather than original Canadian programming.
10231 We're surprised that CBC has not addressed the concept and feasibility of an expenditure-based approach. And we appreciate that the Commission has asked CBC to provide their preferred method of calculating a cross-platform CPE requirement.
10232 The DGC is not only concerned with the total volume of programming commissioned by the CBC but also the budget amounts, depending on the services and platforms where the content is exhibited. Budgets and production costs for scripted content vary significantly, particularly between conventional TV and online services. We fear that the absence of expenditure requirements may result in more hours with lower budgets, impacting the quality and distinctiveness of the production.
10233 In fact, spending on CPE dropped in the course of CBC's current licence term and PNI expenditures have decreased in the last three years. Based on this, we respectfully disagree with CBC president Catherine Tait's recent statement that 'there is really no concern about our commitment to Canadian content'.
10234 This is why the DGC believes that in a multi-platform world, and in an already highly concentred broadcasting market, programs of national interest are the quintessential form of programming where CBC can distinguish itself. For this reason, we are recommending the Commission maintain the same PNI exhibition requirement of 12 weekly hours on conventional television already in place as a condition of licence.
10235 As CBC is currently reporting on Canadian programming expenditures for all its conventional and discretionary television services in Canada, a new condition of licence should direct CBC to report in detail its Canadian programming and non-programming expenses on its online audiovisual services by program category and by service. This means that CPE and PNI programming expenses would both be reported on a cross platform basis.
10236 CBC's new expanded definition of original programming will not be comparable with the Commission’s current definition, which is already adopted by all of the private broadcasters. In order to have an effective policy, the DGC recommends the Commission require CBC to continue reporting original programming on all its services and platforms separately, based on the CRTC’s definition.
10237 The context and timing of this licence renewal are unique and the approach taken by the Commission will have lasting consequences. The incapacity to properly examine CBC’s past and future programming activities and expenses is inevitably resulting in approximations and guesswork.
10238 We recommend the Commission introduce new expenditure requirements for CBC’s digital platforms and services and require CBC to report on a regular basis, restoring confidence with the Canadian public, industry stakeholders and Parliament. Simply put, what gets measured gets done.
10239 If the Commission was to decide to opt for an expenditure-based model for all CBC audiovisual services, the DGC would support a five-year licence term. If the Commission was to decide to continue to exempt CBC’s digital audiovisual platforms, the DGC recommends a shorter licence term of three years.
10240 In closing, the Commission has a very important role to play in this major proceeding. We welcome the opportunity to participate in this process. Chair, members of the panel, we thank you for your time. We look forward to answering any questions you may have. Thank you.
10241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation. I believe Madame Barin has some questions for you.
10242 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I do. Thank you. Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you very much for your presentation this morning and for your submissions. I have some questions that are more general, and then some specific ones that are based on the interventions that you filed previously.
10243 So, I want to start with kind of a more general question about the regulatory approach and, more specifically, about the programs that you feel need support for the program categories. So, I note your recommendation on the CPE, and I will get back to it a little bit later, but for now I’d just like to ask you a general question.
10244 So, if the Commission were to impose conditions of licence or CPE but strictly on the types of content that needed specific safeguards, in your view, what types of content should these be? So, I know you have spoken about PNI in general, feature films, documentaries. But, specifically, if -- what categories of programming, in your view, are the ones that need safeguards?
10245 MR. FORGET: So, you’re asking us which specific categories, not the genre of programming? I just want to make sure I understand the question.
10246 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I guess you could interchange “category” by “genre”, but is it documentaries, children’s programming? Within that bucket, which ones are the ones that you feel would need specific regulatory action?
10247 MR. FORGET: Right. Okay, thank you for the clarification. So, I’ll start and, Sam, maybe you would like to add to that. And, it’s easier for me to relate to this as genre and, you know, we did make reference in our submission to children’s programming, to long-form documentary and to feature film.
10248 And, obviously, and I think, Commissioner, you’ve mentioned this already, overall, a PNI is a priority for us. It’s the type of programming that we feel both has impact and also reflects CBC’s mandate to foster distinctively Canadian productions and foster cultural expression.
10249 So, let me begin by making the case for feature film. This is in an organization with approximately 700 directors. As you can imagine, I hear regularly the importance of feature film as both a standalone form of content in itself, and the extent to which a career in feature film is what allows filmmakers to -- once they graduate to episodic and to other forms, other genres of television, but it is -- if you look at examples like Andrew Cividino with his recent Emmy on Schitt’s Creek, he started his career, you know, on the feature film side. And so, I can give you lots of examples, we actually could use up the whole time just with that, but there is certainly a very important connection that’s made.
10250 We also feel that feature film is -- it’s under siege right now. We’re all experiencing what is going on with COVID, with lockdowns, and so on. And, I think what we have seen with the extent to which features are not following the typical path of going to movie theatres first, we already knew that feature films are an important form of content that are mostly seen by Canadians on television.
10251 The point I’m making here is that that process has been accelerated by COVID and by people having to self-isolate, and so on. And so, it’s more the case than ever, and it’s more urgent than -- and, we’ve talked about this for a number of years now, but we believe for features, it is more urgent than ever that they be seen.
10252 We were glad to see that the government is considering, for example, increasing support through telephone in Canada, but there is another side to that equation, and it’s the partnership with broadcasters. It’s a model that has been successful in other jurisdictions. And, unfortunately, it’s a model that hasn’t worked as well in Canada, and that’s why, and I’ll just use that as an example, we’ve highlighted features as an example of impactful programming that is distinctive and fits very neatly into a mandate of fostering cultural expression in Canada and is important to support.
10253 Unfortunately, when we look at the numbers, notwithstanding CBC’s commitments, verbal commitments and statements that they made, when we look at the numbers, the actual investment in feature film is very low. And so, what we’re left with is a situation where it’s important we believe, if not CBC, then who? It’s certainly is within the public broadcaster’s mandate, and that the most effective way to support features, in addition to the exhibition on the main service and in prime time, making them available on GEM, is investment.
10254 The numbers we have and in our reporting show that the actual investment in features is low. This is, sorry, a long answer to a short question, but the reason that we highlighted that is we see the disconnect between what is stated and which we take at face value that there is a commitment to feature film, but the most meaningful way that that support can happen, and that we’ve seen that a partnership with broadcasting needs to be the way going forward and, also, it fits neatly into a strategy for moving more content online and having more viewing take place online.
10255 Similarly, long-form documentary and children’s programming, I guess I would say they’re both forms of programming that resonate with Canadians, and do also meet with this general definition of impactful programming. And, quite frankly, there are things that Canadians do really well.
10256 We are world leaders in equality of children’s programming and, likewise, with documentaries. So, I guess I would like to have it all but, you know, we’ve identified all three of those as precisely the kind of programming that has impact with Canadians and does the job.
10257 All that said, and I’ll speak specifically about long-form and feature film, those are the virtues. The difficulty, of course, and this is -- you know, I’m reluctant to use the phrase “market failure”, but what we mean by market failure is that the market doesn’t naturally gravitate to forms of content that are difficult to develop, are creatively challenging, are creatively risky, are expensive to make.
10258 And so, when you think about feature film, a two-hour feature that resonates, has impact and has power over -- measured in years, they’re nonetheless, and Warren can speak directly to this experience as a director, they’re difficult to develop, difficult to make, they’re expensive to make, and they’re very risky. And, I can understand very well, if you’re programming and you want to stretch your dollars, why you wouldn’t necessarily gravitate -- so, this is when we talk about the concept of market failure, it’s that the market naturally -- doesn’t naturally gravitate to this, but we submit that that’s precisely why they’re part of the public broadcaster’s mandate.
10259 And so, unfortunately, when we look at practice versus, what I would call, aspirational, there’s a disconnect there in the actual dollars they are investing. And, the remedy for that, of course, is conditions of licence. Conditions of licence, for example, for feature film that a minimum level of expenditure be required.
10260 And, one last point, and I’ll stop there is that also consistency. We’ve seen swings in the investment in documentaries as a general category from year to year, and that’s problematic for the system, it’s problematic for the industry, but also for the flow of content that’s made available.
10261 So another outcome of the basket, so to speak, of approach to an investment scheme that we’ve -- that we’re presenting, is more consistency from year to year in the level of investment.
10262 So I’ll stop there and I’m not sure if Warren or Sam would like to add?
10263 MR. SONODA: Thank you, David. And thank you, Commissioner, for the question. I appreciate the word that you used, which is safeguard, which is an interesting word. We feel that the CBC can do more than just safeguard. They can be an industry leader on this and set an example for the rest of Canadian broadcasting and be a place where creators can go.
10264 In addition to what Dave just said, with feature films, long-form documentary, children’s programming, part of that also is at a time when we want to hear as many diverse voices as possible, those specific genres lend the ability for underrepresented creators, directors, filmmakers, to explore and tell stories, and explore the Canadian idea. And as much as we want to safeguard programming and expenditure, we also think that those are the programs where you get the most interesting points of view as well.
10265 Sam, I don’t know if you have anything else to add?
10266 MR. BISCHOFF: Yes, thank you, Warren.
10267 Maybe just one thing is that just to go back to what Dave was saying, is that we see in this -- for this new licence term, for the new CBC licence term, probably the best approach is to maintain and preserve existing conditions of licence, based on exhibition requirements, and at the same time moving towards expenditure requirements and additional reporting. So I wanted to make sure that we want to keep this conditions of licences already in place for children’s programming, for documentaries ---
10268 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay.
10269 MR. BISCHOFF: --- and additional ones for feature films.
10270 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you. That was a long answer and a lot of information, and I want to stay on this feature film point for a little bit.
10271 So what I hear you saying is there’s currently a condition of licence on the CBC with regards to exhibition of feature films. I think I heard Mr. Forget say, it’s not enough, it’s not working. The market failure with regard to English language feature films is not new. It’s something that, you know, has been historically an issue.
10272 And so I guess my question is, in a multi-platform environment, how do you tackle it? Because if you’ve got an exhibition requirement on the traditional platforms, and right now it’s, I believe one a week, if you look at the Gem platform, for example, you’ve got, you know, over 50 Canadian feature films on that platform.
10273 So question, what is the right approach, and is it just conditions on the traditional platform? Like, what is -- what does the feature film industry need from the CBC in order to kind of correct some of this market failure? So that’s one question.
10274 The second question stems from a distinction you made in your interventions on category 7(c) and (d). And there -- you appeared to say that there was more focus on the 7(c) category, which is made for television films, versus, theatrical films. And yet, Mr. Forget, you also spoke about how, you know, with Covid and the industry transitioning, is it really theatrical feature films, is that really now the way the feature film industry is being categorized? Like, what exactly needs support?
10275 MR. FORGET: Thank you. Yes, thank you, Commissioner. That’s an excellent question, number of questions. I’m going to defer to Sam in a second on the technical question about (c) and (d) and try to -- I’m going to tackle or try to tackle in reverse order, your two questions.
There is a debate that’s been happening about what is an MOW, what’s a movie of the week and what’s a feature film? This is an ongoing discussion, so I don’t -- I don’t presume to be the exhaustive expert on this. But other than to say -- and I’ll try to keep my answer succinct -- they are different. They are different forms and that when I speak to the directors, in many cases whose career vary and do to, they are different animals.
10276 One is a very consistent format and type of storytelling that’s oriented around the timeslot that tends to be much more consistent in terms of the scope of the budget, the type of project, and quite frankly, the type of story that’s being told, you know, within those parameters. And so movies for television fit -- and this is not the complete answer to the question, but it’s something of a distinction.
10277 Feature films on the other hand range from, you know, microbudget first-time film makers who, you know, crashed the Toronto festival and win an award, to you know, Dunkirk, or at the other end of the spectrum, or Marvel films out of Hollywood. So the -- the range and type of storytelling that happens in the feature film world is very different, and it is quite a different animal in terms of the level of creative risk and so on.
10278 And so there are differences in terms of the format, to the approach of making them in the first place, and how they are produced. And it is possible, generally, to make the distinction between the two, so I think it is actually a mistake to lump them together when thinking about investment.
10279 And what we’re focussed on mostly is feature film in the conventional sense. Now, people have been predicting the demise of feature film for a long time. But what I would say is what we’ve been witnessing in the last couple of years is not so much the demise of feature film, but the detachment of features as a shared experience in a movie theater, in the way that we understood that. And in fact, even the most avid film goer, when theaters were open for business on a regular basis, was probably not seeing more than 5 percent of the features that they viewed in the context of the cinema.
10280 So I suggest that that is a different experience and that the type of impact -- they’re highly valued in the system and the type of impact they have in terms of creative -- their creativity, is very important. So our focus tends to be more on the feature side, although we see the virtue of both.
10281 I want to come back to the first question, I just want to make sure I remember -- the first question was to do with market failure in feature. I’ll have a quick -- mercifully a quick answer for that, and the missing element is investment. If they’re -- they are risky and expensive to make. Exhibition requirements are important and I don’t presume to know better what the exhibition and programming strategy should be.
10282 But it seems to me that the way in which -- from the numbers that we look at -- where most Canadians are viewing content on CBC is still on the main conventional platform on the over the air service. And so having a showcase for raising discoverability, raising awareness, is -- that is the best tool, I think that CBC would agree, the best tool they have for promotion and awareness.
10283 Gem is a showcase, but also great for catch up. And it seems to me that -- I understand that there’s an intersection there with their strategy and that makes sense to me. So I tend to agree, and that the two can work in tandem in that way.
10284 That said though, the answer -- my answer to your question, Commissioner, is that the missing element is what complements exhibition, is investment. And what’s missing is significant investment in helping those films get made in the first place. Sam, did you want to tackle ---
10285 MR. BISCHOFF: Yes, I will just maybe add something to what you just said.
10286 To your question, Commissioner, the initial question about the difference between 7(c) and 7(d), like Dave said, we see a system of condition of licence with expenditures, with also exhibition and promotion requirements, but at the same time reporting. And right now, they issue we have is that we cannot make this distinction between these two categories in the reporting. So that’s why we added this condition of licence asking for more reporting, and more precise reporting on feature films.
10287 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Great, thank you. Yes, go ahead, Mr. Sonoda?
10288 MR. SONODA: Thank you, Commissioner, I appreciate that.
10289 I will just add, being a filmmaker myself, this is a very pertinent question. Thank you for asking it. When it comes to how we view feature films, being the Director’s Guild, we very much view it as a filmmaker driven enterprise. I think your question is how do we tackle this? I think the one thing that we wouldn’t want to see happen is the CBC not being an avenue, like Dave said, for investment or exhibition, after or before, as we’re making our movies, as a way to actually make them.
10290 So we need this avenue available for us to tell our stories.
10291 I just did my 11th feature film and basically financed it all myself.
10292 How great would it have been if CBC was available to me to invest in it as a resource?
10293 So I just wanted to add that point.
10294 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So then just one clarification on your proposal, because I believe there’s a five percent you’re suggesting be allocated to a feature film, and that is out of the PNI budget?
10295 MR. SONODA: Yes.
10296 COMMISSIONER BARIN: All right. Perfect. Thank you. Okay. So I’d like to move on to original programming now and the definition.
10297 Your intervention supports the definition of original programming as is.
10298 And what I would like to understand is really your concerns. Like, you do bring up the example of Utopia as, you know, a digital youth-oriented series that CBC has made.
10299 And I’m wondering, you know, under the old definition, Utopia wouldn’t be considered an original program. And I’m wondering why you would be against that?
10300 And again back to the first question, what are your concerns with the definition -- the expanded definition that the CBC has put forward?
10301 MR. FORGET: Yeah, we actually don’t have a major concern with the definition in and of itself. It’s more to do with consistency.
10302 So I guess my answer is we get it, we get that the issue that CBC is identifying is that going forward, we anticipate, and we actually would encourage this, that CBC is partnering with other investors to, you know, to make the money go further and to provide the productions with the kind of resources that they need to make distinctive content. We totally support that and we agree.
10303 And partnerships, like the one that came together to create Utopia, are commendable and we absolutely are behind that.
10304 What we are simply highlighting is that it’s not the same definition that’s being used for the broadcasters.
10305 So really, on the first, I just want to be clear that we are not, in and of itself, against the issue that CBC is proposing to reconcile, because we think that’s the way of the future and they should be given those -- that flexibility.
10306 The only issue is it’s an apple to oranges, or how are we comparing the performance of other broadcasters in the system?
10307 So is there an opportunity? If it’s -- if there’s a version of a new definition that’s appropriate, is it appropriate for everybody? So it’s really about this. I’ll just stop.
10308 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I’d like to move on to budgets now. And so the CBC has proposed conditions that would kind of flex from the traditional across to the online platform.
10309 And I note that you talk about the difference in budgets for scripted half hours that are targeted to a traditional platform versus online.
10310 I’d like to understand whether you see this kind of dichotomy in the production budgets as a transition as the industry kind of migrates to more viewing on online? Or -- like, are we headed to a kind of platform agnostic content environment where it’s not going to make a difference? Content is going to be aired on different platforms and the budgets aren’t necessarily going to be different?
10311 Or do you see that there is going to be this -- two tracks, where you’ve got higher budget geared to online and the lower budget geared to -- sorry, higher budget to traditional and lower budget to online?
10312 I want to understand whether this is kind of a temporary problem or whether this is ultimately going to resolve itself in the shorter term?
10313 MR. FORGET: Thank you, Commissioner. That’s an excellent question. I wish I had a definitive answer for you.
10314 I guess the way that we look -- the two points I want to make here, one is that I wouldn’t say we’re agnostic with regards to budgets, but the point that we were making in the division was that exhibition, in the absence of addressing the investment question, it’s mainly to a situation where the hours are made up of predominately lower budget productions and we’re concerned that -- and, you know, in conversations with Warren the other day, you know, he can speak for himself of course, but he put it very clearly, it’s the difference between shooting three pages a day and 10 pages a day, as a director. I mean, it’s how much time you have to do the work and what ends up on screen in terms of the impact and distinctiveness.
10315 So that said, our view is that an orientation to expenditure gives the flexibility that programmers need to make decisions about, you know, the portfolio of productions that they’re going to be commissioning. Some would be smaller, some smaller, and that’s appropriate.
10316 But specifically to address your question, I would challenge the notion -- I’ll start here.
10317 Right now, if you’re making content exclusively for your online service, it’s a function of the economics of that service.
10318 And so depending on the number of subscribers you have, the base you have, what people are paying, the revenue that’s coming in, it’s clear that your capacity to support the production of larger or smaller productions is a function of the economics of what you have.
10319 So at one end of the spectrum, I would say a large international streamer with a multi-billion-dollar budget essentially can make, you know, productions of any scope, big and small.
10320 But when we look at the economics of Gem as it exists today, they’re relatively limited and it’s no surprise that as a function of that, the type of production that can be supported, even with allocation of a portion of the Parliamentary Appropriation, is limited.
10321 Where this goes is really the heart of your question, I think, and it leads us to, you know, what does the landscape look like in five or 10 years? And we’ve been of the opinion, as well as many others, that we’re in a transition from a conventional world to and online world.
10322 And so what does that mean today? Most of CBC’s revenue and viewership is taking place in the conventional sphere, but we’re seeing -- I mean, if you take a simple metric as their own projections over the next few years, we’re seeing that CBC themselves recognize, I think correctly, that the shift is on and that we’re going to see the revenue base rise and activity rise online.
10323 When do we reach the tipping point where online overtakes conventional? I’m not sure. But it’s really a question of how many years in the future that is. It will.
10324 When that happens, I guess economic change.
10325 In the meantime though, not that I -- well, I am pitching it, one of the virtues of an expenditure approach with flexibility across your services, is that you can think in terms of programming and see the big picture of both those happening.
10326 I think we remain in a system that has online growing, but still relatively small on CBC’s side, and conventional that still is the main event for a period of time. But of course, that’s all changing.
10327 So it really comes down to the economics of how much money do you have coming in? How much can you afford to invest in production?
10328 I hope that answers your question.
10329 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yeah, well, as you said, I don’t think it’s a question that has a clear answer or a clear timeframe. But I was interested in where you thought -- if you thought we were headed to a point where it wasn’t going to matter anymore what platform you were producing for, it was going to be both.
10330 Mr. Sonoda, you want ---
10331 MR. SONODA: Yes. Sorry to interrupt, Commissioner. I just wanted to add, because I think it was part of your question in terms of where we’re headed.
10332 I think the one thing with our intervention is where we don’t want to head, and I think Dave mentioned this earlier, is all things being equal, if someone has a decision to make something for less money than more money, we don’t want to head in a situation where, again, if I’m on set and I have to get 10 pages a day, that’s a big day for me.
10333 When I have a day that’s six pages, I can take a little more care in craft and sculpting those scenes.
10334 So the decisions you make with PNI and expenditures reflect directly with what happens on set.
10335 So I just want to make that connection there, that where we’re headed, I hope, is an amalgamation of both, because some of these smaller productions are important.
10336 When we're talking about these web series, like, Save Me and How to Buy a Baby, they're fantastic, but they are not what we do on something like Utopia Falls, which you mentioned, which I directed two episodes on. We just had greater resources to tell those stories.
10337 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So I note you are not supporting the CBC's flex approach with regards to exhibition. And yet your approach with regards to CPE has a flex component. And I want to understand it because you're saying there would be a CPE requirement that you propose be imposed on the traditional side, but that 25 percent of the budget be -- that CBC would be able to spend it on the digital side on programming for digital -- for its digital platforms. Can you just maybe walk me through it and explain how you see it working? And specifically, because on the online platform, there's, you know, conditions of licence don't exist, so are you proposing expectations? Just, you know, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
10338 MR. FORGET: We think it's only normal that there would be some flexibility. The reality is, some of that content is being commissioned for exhibition on both the online and conventional platform, and that that allowed CBC some flexibility to shift resources inspired by what already exists for the private group, is -- was really the basis of it. So, we didn't see this as being necessarily something innovative, just allowing for the normal flexibility that any broadcaster would be seeking in a group approach. And that the 25 percent was -- is the number that has already been used in the system and seems to work well.
10339 So it's really -- it was a straightforward concept that it's only normal that the broadcaster would seek some flexibility across their services, but that we wanted to have a limit to that. I mean, if a hundred percent of what was meant to be spent on conventional gets spent online, we think that that -- we don't think they would do this to begin with because they're serving an audience, so this is just purely hypothetical, but we think it would disadvantage the audience that's using the over the years service, and we know that's still the majority of Canadians.
10340 So, really, it's a matter of giving the flexibility that we all I think would agree would be necessary in that type of a protocol, but putting a limit to it, and the limit we're suggesting is 25 percent.
10341 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. So I have one last question, and this one's a little bit more narrow, and it relates to your proposal for children and youth and the reporting. Right now, the corporation is required to file an annual reporting. You're suggesting that they file on a weekly basis on programming hours and expenditures regarding children's programming. So, I just want to understand why you feel that it's important that they report more frequently on that particular category.
10342 MR. FORGET: Sam, did you want to take this one?
10343 MR. BISCHOFF: Yes, thank you.
10344 The reason why we ask actually for detailed reporting on Canada programming hours was that we noticed, you know, looking at the historical numbers that were significant swings in terms of the expenditures. So, when we look at PNI and especially for children's programming, we want to make sure that the funding is consistent over time. And in terms of programming itself, sometimes we also noticed that there were -- it was not always completely consistent. So, it comes back to our request of more detailed programming across the board.
10345 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. Okay. So I would like to then end with what you said at the beginning of your written interventions, what gets measured gets done. And I understand that you're advocating for more transparency and more detailed reporting. And over the course of the discussion, you mentioned the distinction between 7C and 7D as one of those elements that you wanted included in a performance or measurement framework, if you will. Are there other elements -- do you have any suggestions on, you know, what kinds of reporting you would like to see that kind of supports the proposals that you've put forward with regards to PNI and exhibition?
10346 MR. FORGET: Thank you for that question, Commissioner. Yes, we do. Sam, we have a shopping list. It's short, but I'll let Sam take you to it.
10347 MR. BISCHOFF: Just so I understand your question, Commissioner, what you're asking is within our submission or maybe in addition to, you know, the submission that we already presented, what's kind of reporting or what detailed reporting for PNI?
10348 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yes, because you've made some pretty detailed proposals in that regard, so what is it that you would like to see that you're not currently getting that would give you that transparency?
10349 MR. BISCHOFF: Yes, so I believe, you know, the first thing, you know, without getting to the details of condition of licence, would be to have detailed reporting by genre, or, you know, in other words, by categories, which is not always the case. Also, regular reporting, not always annual, but, you know, in some instances weekly reporting, and at the same time, you know, again, reporting on -- sorry, exhibition hours and at the same time on expenditures ---
10350 COMMISSIONER BARIN: The private broadcasters report their PNI with a production report that is fairly detailed in the regard. Is that something that would kind of meet the requirements of what you are asking for?
10351 MR. BISCHOFF: We believe that for the best policy, it's always a positive thing to be consistent and to be able to have comparable numbers and data.
10352 So maybe, Dave, you want to add something to this?
10353 MR. FORGET: Well, we haven't made the specific comparison, but, yes, that's the type of thing that we're looking at. You know, when we reviewed the revenues, you know, we're looking for things like disaggregated revenues by digital platform, or at least by -- for applicable digital platforms for the purpose of monitoring expectations to PNI. So in a number of cases, it's a matter of revenue that's there but it's rolled up in an aggregate number, and we'd like to see a little bit more granularity of the distinction between operating and program expenses, for example, on the online services.
10354 But we could take a look at what the reporting requirements or the privates are and come back to you if you'd like with some more specific suggestions.
10355 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Actually, yes, and in fact I believe you can file a final submission by the end of February, so if you can include that in your final comments, that would be very appreciated.
10356 MR. FORGET: Great.
10357 MR. SONODA: Sorry, Commissioner.
10358 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Go ahead.
10359 MR. SONODA: One last thing, and I don't believe it was specifically in our submission. I'm new to the presidency of the DGC, so I wasn't on the job at that point. But as we go further into this, especially with the CBC and it being -- having a special place within the Act itself, when you talk about reporting, not just expenditures and numbers, but it would be interesting to be able to get a little bit more granular reporting from the CBC when it comes to BIPOC, creators, and who is doing the creating.
10360 Sorry, sorry to interrupt with that. I don't know if you're talking right now or -- okay.
10361 COMMISSIONER BARIN: No, no, sorry.
10362 MR. SONODA: Yes.
10363 Yeah, no, it's just -- it's something that we've discussed internally. Data is so important, and not only to figure out what the broadcasters are doing and what the trends are, but also, who's telling the stories and how much money is going to those stories as comparative. That would be amazing data to get in their reporting, and it's fairly easy to do, I believe.
10364 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I appreciate and thank you very much for your answers to my questions this morning. I will now pass the floor back to the Chair, so thanks again.
10365 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Barin.
10366 I believe Commissioner LaFontaine has some follow-up question as well.
10367 COMMISSIONER LaFONTAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you, Mr. Forget, Mr. Sonoda and Mr. Bischoff -- I hope I'm pronouncing your name properly -- for your presentation this morning and for your interventions.
10368 I have a couple of quick questions for you. I’m mindful of the time, but I just want to come back to the first question that my colleague, Commissioner Barin, had asked you about what particular types of content, to your mind, would necessitate particular support by the regulator, and you talked at great length about children, documentaries and feature film. But I’m wondering if there's anything more you’d like to say about drama. I mean, you did say that PNI is a priority for the Director’s Guild, but I’m curious to know whether there was something more, or more emphasis that you would like to put on drama since, as I say, most of the discussion focused on those other areas. And, granted, features and children’s are dramas but I’d just like to know whether there is something more you’d like to add on that point.
10369 MR. FORGET: Thank you, Commissioner Lafontaine. Thank you for that question.
10370 Yeah, I’ll just share our thinking on this. We made a number of suggestions with regard to PNI and that we’ve seen in practice that, you know, where most of those resources get directed is for episodic drama; that tends to be the lion’s share of PNI sending.
10371 So we may have felt that it was implicit in advocating for a stronger commitment for PNI that -- I wouldn’t say the problem solves itself but we understand, and judging from past practice, that broadcasters tend to put resources into episodic drama, and we think that is important and commendable, and that’s exactly what they should be doing.
10372 But that said, what we found in the past is for many reasons, some of which are related to the economics, getting a series off the ground, I won’t say it’s an annuity but once you have a series off the ground, your investment is leveraged into many hours of programming. That’s not the case with a one-off documentary and it’s not the case with feature film, which is why what we presented was an overall priority for PNI programming, which we believe will translate into many hours of high-quality drama, but then, within that, special focus on feature docs and on feature film.
10373 So that’s kind of the way we see it, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify.
10374 MR. SONODA: And, yes, just to follow that if I may, Commissioner -- thank you, David.
10375 I think David’s absolutely correct in why we highlighted those several key areas. I mean, the line of, you know, “what gets measured, gets done” could be also said, “what gets spent, gets watched”. So we already spend a significant amount on CBC dramas and CBC comedies, which are phenomenal, you know, all the successes that Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek and Burden of Truth and Diggstown; we highlighted those because we would also like to see spending in those categories as well.
10376 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you.
10377 And my next question relates to a comment that Mr. Forget had said during his exchange with Commissioner Barin about feature films. And, Mr. Forget, you indicated that movies are mostly seen by Canadians on television. And I’m wondering if you could tell us a little bit more about that, about what you know on that point in terms of audience viewing of feature films and television.
10378 MR. FORGET: Thank you for that question, Commissioner.
10379 It’s widely understood, and we’d be happy in our final submissions to provide some statistics on this, but in just -- in our own backyard, Telefilm Canada does publish reporting on where the films they’ve invested in are viewed. And it isn’t just that more Canadians see films on TV, the overwhelming vast majority of Canadians, and I don’t have the numbers in front of me but I remember there was a year a few years ago where the overall number of views of Canadian films, writ large, by Canadians was approximately 100 million and 90 million of those views were on television. So when I say overwhelming, it is the vast majority.
10380 And that’s -- when you think about your own viewing habits, ask yourself the question; of the last few feature films that you viewed, where did you watch them?
10381 MR. SONODA: Before COVID, before the pandemic.
10382 MR. FORGET: Right, before -- even before the pandemic in a sort of more normal environment. And I think for most people, the average Canadian goes out to a movie theatre three times a year; and this is not just to see Canadian films, to see a movie in a movie theatre, the average Canadian goes three times a year. So it’s really the vast. But thank you for the question.
10383 It’s clear to us that as we move along the movie theatre experience has -- I wouldn’t say it’s a loss leader because it’s a business in and of itself, but what that does is leverage viewing that is happening in my other places, whether it’s online through the streamers or through conventional or pay TV, and so on.
10384 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay, great. Thanks very much for the responses to my questions.
10385 Thank you, Mr. Chair, those are all of my questions.
10386 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
10387 Thank you again for your presentation and taking the time to be with us.
10388 Madam Secretary, do we need a pause before the next intervenors?
10389 MS. ROY: We will take a 15-minute break, yes.
10390 MR. FORGET: Thank you.
10391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Returning at 11:10?
10392 MS. ROY: Yes, thank you very much.
10393 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
10394 MR. SONODA: Thank you. Merci.
--- Upon recessing at 10:54 a.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 10h54
--- Upon resuming at 11:09 a.m./
L’audience est reprise à 11 h 09
10395 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Bon retour. Nous continuerons avec la présentation de L’Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada. S’il vous plaît vous présenter et présentez votre collègue, après quoi vous avez dix minutes pour votre présentation. Madame Pilon, on va juste vous enlever de sourdine avant. Parfait.
10397 Mme PILON : Monsieur le président, Madame la vice-présidente, mesdames les conseillères, membres du personnel, je suis Carol Ann Pilon, directrice générale de l’Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada. M’accompagne aujourd’hui, M. Michel Houle, notre consultant en matière de radiodiffusion.
10398 Comme vous le savez, Monsieur le président, l’APFC est l’association professionnelle qui regroupe les producteurs indépendants œuvrant au sein des communautés de langue française en situation minoritaires au Canada. Nos membres proviennent de toutes les régions, de Terre-Neuve et Labrador au Yukon, en passant par le Nouveau-Brunswick, la Nouvelle-Écosse, l’Ontario et le Manitoba, l’Alberta et la Colombie-Britannique.
10399 À travers leurs activités, nos membres et tous ceux qui y sont associés : scénaristes, réalisateurs, artistes-interprètes, techniciens et sténographes, contribuent au dynamisme économique, à la vitalité culturelle et à la pérennité des communautés dont ils sont issus, tout en assurant l’expression d’une diversité de voix francophone au pays.
10400 En tant que diffuseur public national, Radio-Canada est un partenaire privilégié de l’APFC, avec lequel nous entretenons des relations harmonieuses. L’APFC appuie donc sans hésitations le renouvellement des licences d’ICI Radio-Canada Télé et de ses services facultatifs. On se saurait (sic) imaginer que ces licences ne soient pas renouvelées.
10401 L’APFC considère par ailleurs que compte tenu du rôle incontournable que jouent, et sont appelés à jouer les plateformes numériques de la Société pour rejoindre les Canadiens, il serait inconcevable d’exclure les plateformes numériques du présent renouvellement et de s’en tenir aux seuls services règlementés, comme par le passé. D’autant que les données consolidées, fournies par la Société, indiquent qu’au cours de la prochaine période de licence, une part substantielle des crédits parlementaires, comme des dépenses de programmation canadienne de la Société, seront transférés de ses réseaux traditionnels vers ses plateformes numériques.
10402 L’APFC est également disposée à reconnaître qu’en certaines circonstances, un allègement des conditions de licence imposées au réseau pourrait être acceptable s’il s’accompagne d’engagements plus soutenus, applicable au réseau et aux plateformes numériques. L’APFC considère toutefois que ces allègements aux conditions de licence du réseau doivent être établis par rapport aux pratiques réelles du réseau, à la moyenne historique du nombre d’heures diffusées au cours des trois dernières années, et non par rapport à l’obligation imposée en 2013, dans un contexte de réduction des crédits parlementaires alloués à Radio-Canada.
10403 Enfin, nous sommes disposés à accepter que les engagements additionnels de la Société, applicables conjointement au réseau et aux plateformes, prennent la forme d’une attente plutôt que d’une condition de licence et ce, étant donné qu’actuellement, et on l’espère pour une très courte période, les plateformes numériques sont exemptées de l’obligation de détenir une licence. Cela dit, l’APFC s’oppose fermement à ce que ces attentes soient exprimées en heures de diffusion.
10404 Nous avons exposés longuement dans notre intervention écrite, les raisons pour lesquelles les engagements exprimés en heures de diffusion, sont inacceptables et ne peuvent répondre aux objectifs du Conseil, à savoir que ces engagements constituent un instrument de mesure qui soit pertinent, transparent, proportionnel, opportun, facile à communiquer et simple d’application. Nous n’y reviendrons pas en détail dans cette présentation, mais nous serons heureux de répondre à toutes questions à ce sujet.
10405 Dans ce contexte, deux modes alternatifs peuvent être utilisés pour la formulation des attentes, applicables conjointement au réseau et aux plateformes, en sus des conditions de licence applicables au réseau : En pourcentage des revenus, comme c’est le cas pour les grands groupes de radiodiffusion, ainsi que pour les services indépendants qui renouvellent sur une base individuelle. Ou, en pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émission canadienne du réseau et des plateformes.
10406 L’APFC propose que le Conseil adopte la seconde approche, notamment en ce qui a trait aux émissions d’intérêt national et aux émissions pour jeunes… Pour enfants et jeunes. Et ce pour plusieurs raisons. Premièrement, la Société s’oppose à la première approche, qu’elle juge redondante, étant donné le fort pourcentage de diffusion de contenu canadien auquel elle s’astreint. Contenu canadien, qui accapare la part du lion de ses dépenses totales de programmation.
10407 Deuxièmement, lors de sa comparution, la Société n’a pas fourni d’arguments probants à l’encontre de la seconde option. Une approche avec laquelle elle est déjà familière et qui ne semble pas lui causer de réels problèmes. Elle a en effet proposé en 2013 et proposé aujourd’hui de reconduire un engagement de ce type en ce qui a trait aux dépenses d’émissions indépendantes régionales, qui est exprimé en pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes.
10408 Enfin, c’est la seule approche qui permet de prendre globalement en compte les transformations actuelles et à venir, de l’archipel des plateformes traditionnelles et numériques qu’opérera la Société au cours de sa prochaine période de licence. Une dépense d’émission canadienne est une dépense dont la définition est balisée par le Conseil, et ce, peu importe que l’émission soit destinée au réseau ou à une plateforme, que cette plateforme soit gratuite ou payante, existante ou à venir.
10409 Un engagement exprimé en pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émissions canadiennes est donc le seul à garantir qu’au fur et à mesure que s’opérera le transfert des DÉC du réseau vers les plateformes numériques, la même proportion de ses dépenses totales sera allouée à une catégorie d’émission donnée. En terminant sur ce point, nous tenons à souligner que notre proposition est raisonnable et accorde une flexibilité certaine à la société, tout en assurant au téléspectateur canadien, comme à ses partenaires, un minimum de continuité.
10410 Je voudrais maintenant aborder un engagement qui nous touche encore plus directement en tant que producteur des CLOSM, soit celui du pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes que la Société doit allouer à des émissions produites par nous, ou par des producteurs des régions du Québec hors Montréal.
10411 Je veux d’abord exprimer notre profonde déception, de constater que la Société propose que ces obligations à l’endroit des producteurs des CLOSM, soient confinées à sa plateforme traditionnelle en déclin, le réseau, et soit complètement évacuée des plateformes numériques en forte croissance qui représente l’avenir. De notre point de vue, c’est totalement inacceptable.
10412 Selon les dernières informations fournies par la Société, la moyenne historique des dépenses d’émissions régionales indépendantes, étaient de 9% des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes, dont 60% étaient consacrées aux émissions produites par des producteurs des CLOSM. C’est pourquoi nous demandons avec empressement que le Conseil impose à la fois une condition de licence au réseau à l’effet de consacrer au moins 9% de ces dépenses d’émissions indépendantes aux émissions produites hors Montréal, et une attente à l’effet de consacrer au moins 9% des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes du réseau et des plateformes, à des émissions indépendantes produites hors Montréal.
10413 Lors de sa comparution, la Société s’est beaucoup félicitée d’avoir proposé une nouvelle mesure applicable au seul réseau, à l’effet qu’un minimum de 50% des dépenses d’émissions indépendantes régionales soit alloué aux producteurs CLOSM. Or qu’en moyenne historique, elle y a consacré 60%. Nous ne pouvons guère nous réjouir d’une telle mesure qui, en pratique, représente une diminution significative des sommes qui nous seront allouées par rapport aux pratiques actuelles de la Société.
10414 C’est pourquoi nous demandons au conseil d’inclure dans la condition de licence et dans l’attente mentionnée plus tôt, qu’au moins 60% des dépenses d’émissions indépendantes régionales soient allouées aux producteurs des CLOSM, conformément à la moyenne historique. Nous sommes également profondément déçus de constater que la Société propose d’éliminer complètement des conditions de licence d’ICI ARTV. Ce qui constituait une de ses singularités et de ses raisons d’être fondamentales, soit les obligations qui lui étaient faites, de détenir, compte tenu du caractère unique… De tenir compte du caractère unique de la culture québécoise et des besoins et particularités des communautés de langue française d’autres régions du Canada, et de consacrer au moins 20% de ses budgets annuels de production originale canadienne à des émissions produites à l’extérieur du Québec. Dont au moins 50% de ces montants, à des émissions provenant de sociétés de productions indépendantes.
10415 Nous soumettons respectueusement, que les arguments évoqués par la Société en appui dans sa demande, et lors de sa comparution, ne tiennent pas la route. Premièrement, il est faux de prétendre que les dispositions… Que ces dispositions étaient liées au statut d’accès garanti à la distribution du service, car il existait bien avant que ce statut soit conféré à ICI ARTV. Il est également faux de prétendre que la règle édictée par le Conseil obligeant les EDR à distribuer un service de langue française pour dix services de langues anglaises va assurer la distribution d’ICI ARTV dans les marchés hors Québec.
10416 Il y a actuellement 32 services facultatifs de langue française pour 130 services facultatifs de langue anglaise ou bilingue, ce qui est très loin de pouvoir garantir que tous les services facultatifs de langue française sont offerts. Plusieurs francophones et francophiles en milieux minoritaires pourraient donc être privés d’accès à ICI ARTV. Enfin, il est faux de prétendre que l’élimination des obligations d’ICI ARTV sera compensée par un engagement plus soutenu du réseau. Puisqu’on l’a vu, la société propose plutôt des engagements qui sont très en deçà de ses pratiques actuelles.
10417 Pour toutes ces raisons, nous demandons au Conseil de maintenir le droit d’accès à la distribution d’ICI ARTV dans les marchés anglophones ainsi que les deux conditions de licence évoquées plus tôt.
10418 En terminant, je voudrais inviter le Conseil à mettre en pratique la recommandation du comité Yale en se donnant comme mission de règlementer les relations commerciales entre les producteurs indépendants et les grands groupes de radiodiffusion, y compris le diffuseur public national.
10419 Je vous remercie de votre attention – nous sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.
10420 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Madame Pilon. Madame Simard, vous avez des questions?
10421 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Oui, j’en ai – merci, Monsieur le président.
10422 D’abord, bonjour Madame Pilon, bonjour Monsieur Houle et merci d’être avec nous ce matin. Merci pour la préparation aussi faite dans ce dossier.
10423 Alors, je vais tenter avec vous d’optimiser le temps dont nous disposons pour aller éclaircir peut-être certains points, pour s’assurer que toute l’information pertinente se trouve bien consignée au dossier public.
10424 Alors pour commencer, ça serait une petite clarification : j’ai noté lorsque j’ai pris connaissance de votre intervention écrite, au niveau des régions – donc évidemment, vous faites référence à cinq régions dont la région du Nord. Et j’aurais aimé que vous m’aiguilliez et que vous éclarcissiez pour moi un petit détail en partant – mais c’est parce qu’ensuite, ça va être important pour le reste de notre discussion puisqu’on va toujours référer à ces cinq régions là. Donc, pour la région du Nord, je comprends que vous demandez donc de préciser que les régions du Nord excluent le Nord du Québec. Est-ce que c’est ça? Puis en fait, ce que je devinais, pour vous, le Nord, ça serait évidemment le Territoire du Nord-Ouest, le Yukon puis le Nunavut, mais j’aurais aimé avoir la clarification de votre part, s’il vous plaît.
10425 Mme PILON: Oui, en effet – on demande à ce que ces régions-là du nord du Québec soient incluses dans le calcul qui est fait soit en nombre d’heures de présentation ou de dépenses, qu’il soit inclus dans le calcul des régions du Québec hors-Montréal.
10426 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Parfait.
10427 Mme PILON: Pour qu’on soit bien… pour qu’on comprenne bien ce qui est dévoué ou dédié à la production en milieu minoritaire.
10428 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Oui.
10429 Mme PILON: Et la production québécoise.
10430 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Alors le Nord, pour vous, Territoire du Nord-Ouest, Yukon et Nunavut, n’est-ce-pas?
10431 Mme PILON: Exact. Je pense que Monsieur Houle souhaite ajouter?
10432 M. HOULE : Oui. Je voulais dire, ça fait partie des demandes qu’on fait pour harmoniser des définitions entre les autres catégories de diffuseurs et Radio-Canada. Les émissions en question qui sont identifiées au nord sont en fait produites à Sept-Îles et dans l’extrême est du Québec. Pour tous les autres diffuseurs, ça fait partie de la production régionale hors-Montréal. On comprend mal pourquoi Radio-Canada le met dans le Nord et ensuite, quand arrive les dépenses, comme il y en a très peu, on les fusionne avec l’ouest. Donc, ces dépenses-là viennent dans la catégorie « ouest » et [Rires] c’est un peu paradoxal par rapport à la position de Sept-Îles au Canada.
10433 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Je comprends – je comprends bien. Parfait, excellent. Alors, on se comprend bien puis on peut donc poursuivre la discussion; lorsqu’on se réfèrera aux cinq régions, on comprend bien maintenant de quoi il en retourne.
10434 Après avoir donc… après vous avoir posé une question très spécifique, maintenant on va plonger vraiment dans le cœur de votre intervention et de vos propositions. Je ne sais pas si vous avez eu l’occasion de suivre un peu les différentes discussions depuis le début de l’audience, mais il est ressorti clairement, lors de différentes discussions, l’importance de différents besoins spécifiques pour les CLOSM.
10435 Évidemment, plusieurs intervenants ont mis de l’avant l’importance de se voir, de s’entendre à l’écran – donc je parle ici des Canadiens francophones – aussi l’importance, et je pense que si je me rappelle bien, vous y aviez fait référence dans votre intervention, l’importance pour les enfants, donc dans l’apprentissage du français; on l’apprend à l’école, mais on l’apprend aussi via notamment notre radiodiffuseur public. Aussi, évidemment, d’autres intervenants ont mis de l’avant l’importance de savoir ce qui se passe dans les autres régions du Canada comme francophones puis d’autres besoins qui ont été aussi exprimés.
10436 Aussi, d’autres intervenants ont rappelé l’importance de parler de priorités ; alors, c’est important, donc, de se concentrer sur les priorités de leur… Alors, quand on met tout ça ensemble, je serais intéressée à partir la discussion avec vous pour connaître votre avis sur ces priorités-là à la lumière de ces besoins-là, donc, pour la population des Canadiens francophones, disons hors-Montréal ou hors-Québec et donc, quelles seraient selon vous ces priorités-là, surtout dans l’idée de connaître du succès? Alors, j’aimerais vous entendre là-dessus, s’il vous plaît.
10437 Mme PILON: Si… je vais parler premièrement pour la production indépendante parce que c’est bel et bien ce secteur que je représente. On sent que depuis le renouvèlement de la dernière licence de Radio-Canada en 2013, que les engagements plus soutenus, non seulement de rapports, mais dans les conditions de licence plus spécifiques ont réussi… ont quand même eu des impacts significatifs importants. Donc, par exemple, l’an dernier, on a vu une diversification des genres plus accrue avec ce partenaire… avec Radio-Canada, il y a eu trois dramatiques qui ont été produites dans une seule année, c’était du jamais vu. Et parmi celles-là, il y en a certaines qui ont été produites sans coproducteur québécois; encore là, une avancée importante.
10438 Il y a une diversification qui se fait aussi dans les genres via le contenu jeunesse et c’est bien, on voit qu’il y a quand même un engagement soutenu de Radio-Canada de continuer à soutenir ce genre-là dans les communautés.
10439 Par contre, quand on regarde les rapports – puis si on se base seulement sur des rapports qui ont tout récemment été déposés au dossier, le 30 novembre – il y a une large part de cette programmation jeunesse qui est rapportée dans les régions, par exemple en Ontario, qui est du contenu doublé, du contenu qui a été produit en première langue anglophone et qui est doublé en français et qui fait partie du calcul des heures et des dépenses en région pour les CLOSM.
10440 Donc à ce moment-là, on ne se voit pas et on ne s’entend pas lorsque c’est une production qui est doublée. Par contre, elle fait quand même partie des rapports qui démontrent que le diffuseur a rencontré ses obligations.
10441 Il est absolument important – et je pense qu’il y a aussi des avancées qui ont été faites au niveau réseau. On a parlé beaucoup de se voir sur le réseau national; certaines émissions profitent ou bénéficient d’une diffusion sur le réseau ainsi qu’en région, mais il reste qu’il y a plusieurs émissions qui restent toujours régionales et on justifie cette place-là dans la grille horaire du fait que le sujet est très local. Mais on a entendu de la part d’autres intervenants qu’ils veulent, ils veulent apprendre à s’entendre, à s’écouter, à se voir, à savoir ce qui se fait dans les autres régions. On nous a souvent dit que les cotes d’écoute ne sont pas là, mais il y a peut-être une question de promotion aussi. alors, si on en faisait la promotion, si on faisait une place particulière dans la grille pour promouvoir ces émissions-là, peut-être que les cotes d’écoute seraient plus élevées puis on aurait une adhésion plus grande.
10442 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Alors, ce que je retiens comme priorité, si on veut – puis là, dans cet esprit-là d’atteindre, d’obtenir du succès - vous avez dont identifié le contenu doublé. Est-ce que – de mémoire, ça m’échappe – vous avez fait une recommandation précise sur cette problématique-là ou non?
10443 Mme PILON: Non, pas dans l’intervention qu’on a soulignée et mise dans l’intervention du mois de juillet non plus, mais c’est quelque chose qu’on pourra aborder dans nos commentaires finaux.
10444 CONSEILÈRE SIMARD: Parfait, excellent. Et donc, je retiens aussi, donc, cette… à moins que je trompe, mais je pense que c'est la première fois que j’entends vraiment l’accent mis davantage sur la promotion.
10445 Il y a un autre intervenant aussi qui a dit quelle importance, hein, c'est-à-dire lorsqu’on se voit et… en fait, c’est la problématique de la poule et de l‘œuf, peut-être. Alors je mettrais un peu dans la même catégorie comme argument. Avez-vous autre chose à ajouter en termes de priorités pour atteindre les succès ou ça fait le tour de votre réponse?
10446 Mme PILON: Bien, je pense qu’il faut absolument maintenir les investissements, le niveau d’investissement qu’on a démontré ou pour lequel on a fait les calculs pour la moyenne historique des dépenses de Radio-Canada. Parce que la moyenne, la moyenne historique, est bien au-delà de ce que Radio-Canada compte faire dans sa prochaine condition, dans sa prochaine période de licence. Alors le 6% qui est proposé, avec un 50% de ce montant dédié au CLOSM, tombe bien en deçà de ce qu’ils ont fait de façon historique. Et on démontre… et ça démontre que, également, lorsqu’on…
10447 J’attirais aussi l’attention, on a fait un commentaire par rapport à l’attente vis-à-vis les seuils, le maintien des seuils minimums et on a remarqués que Radio-Canada souhaitait éliminer cette attente, c'est-à-dire le… L’attente qui indique que le Conseil s’attend à ce que la Société dépasse les seuils minimums énoncés dans les conditions de licence. Plus particulièrement lorsque ces seuils minimums sont en deçà des seuils historiques de la Société à l’égard de la programmation et des dépenses.
10448 Donc je pense que ça va tout à fait dans le sens de nos propositions et il faudrait bien sûr, je pense que lorsqu’on met des conditions plus contraignantes, on commence à avoir des résultats. Alors, surtout que tout commence à se déplacer vers les plateformes numériques, je penserais… Et là je ça m’apporte à ce point très important qu’on va sans doute discuter davantage, mais en ce moment, ce que Radio-Canada propose dans sa condition de licence pour les dépenses en émission canadienne dans les régions, et même la présentation en nombre d’heures, on ne propose aucune condition qui vise les plateformes numériques.
10449 Donc, il faut penser que maintenant on soit… On va être relégués au réseau, comme on a dit dans notre présentation d’ouverture, puis on sait très bien que les prévisions budgétaires de Radio-Canada démontrent qu’ils vont investir jusqu’à 258% de plus, que ce qu’ils ont fait par le passé, dans les plateformes numériques. Alors on est très préoccupés du fait que les CLOSM ne soient pas considérés dans ce transfert, si on veut là, de contenu et de dépenses et de présentation dans les plateformes.
10450 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. C’était effectivement prévu un petit peu plus tard dans la discussion, mais pourquoi pas l’aborder tout de suite, profiter de cet élan-là. J’ai retenu que c’était… Donc on parle de priorités, mais il y a un point vraiment important dans vos représentations.
10451 Je comprends que vous n’êtes pas du tout d’accord avec l’idée d’utiliser les heures. Vous avez mis en lumière cette problématique-là, la proportionnalité, qui est difficile à atteindre, n’est-ce pas, dans un monde, moi que je qualifiais d’infini versus fini, quand on parlait des 126 heures pour le réseau conventionnel. Donc je comprends bien que vous mettez en lumière cette problématique-là.
10452 Je serais intéressée maintenant, ce matin avec vous, à aborder les solutions possibles. C’est sûr que là c’est un, c’est… Et c’est rempli évidemment de grands défis. C’est ce qu’on retient des différentes discussions qu’on a eues avec différents intervenants, mais je serais tout de même intéressée à vous entendre, en termes de solutions. Et encore une fois dans cette idée-là, d’aller chercher du succès. Donc vous vous sentez… Donc selon la proposition actuelle de Radio-Canada, ce que j’entends c’est que vous vous sentez exclus de cette proposition-là, pour le contenu CLOSM sur les plateformes numériques.
10453 Est-ce que pour vous ça passe plus par la découvrabilité, des moyens pratiques d’assurer une découvrabilité de ce contenu-là, ou non ? Et si c’est non, qu’est-ce que vous envisagez ?
10454 Mme PILON : Bien, je vous dirais premièrement, pour être découvrable, il faut être là. Alors si on n’est pas présentés du tout, si on n’est pas sur les plateformes, on peut mettre pleins de mécanismes puis pleins de moteurs de recherches et de menus, mais si on ne présente pas le contenu, on… Même si on met les mécanismes pour le trouver, on ne le trouvera pas.
10455 Donc je pense que ça part, le premier point de départ, c’est de s’assurer qu’on soit là. C’est de s’assurer que le contenu soit développé, produit et mis en ligne aussi sur les plateformes numériques. Michel, est-ce que tu voulais ajouter quelque chose ?
10456 M. HOULE : Oui, si je peux ajouter. La solution qu’on propose, c’est que les conditions de licence soient fixées en pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émissions canadiennes. Comme Carol Ann le soulignait dans sa présentation, une dépense d’émission canadienne, c’est une dépense, peu importe que l’émission soit destinée au réseau ou à une plateforme, à une plateforme gratuite ou payante ou à une plateforme existante ou à venir.
10457 Donc en demandant que, par exemple, le minimum de dépenses alloué au CLOSM en pourcentage des dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes s’applique à la fois sur le total des émissions indépendantes du réseau et le total des émissions indépendantes du réseau et des plateformes, bien on assure qu’il va y avoir une présence sur les plateformes également. Et que généralement, quand on investit dans un produit on veut le promouvoir, on veut le faire voir. Donc que c’est l’investissement qui est le moteur de la guerre.
10458 Si on veut faire un parallèle avec la situation des grands groupes privés où le Conseil a dit bien, je vais réduire les obligations de contenu canadien, mais maintenir la moyenne historique des investissements, de sorte que les émissions soient plus attrayantes, plus compétitives, atteignent le succès. Je pense que si on veut atteindre le succès, il faut proportionnellement mettre des sous aussi sur les plateformes pour ce type de productions là et elles vont atteindre le succès.
10459 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Et on parle de 9%, au moins 9%, c’est ça ?
10460 Mme PILON : Exact.
10461 M. HOULE : C’est ça. Dont 60% iraient aux CLOSM, ce qui était déjà… Ce qui est la moyenne historique. Radio-Canada propose 50% de 6%, ça veut dire 3% en fait. Si on y pense actuellement, Radio-Canada consacre 95% de ses dépenses d’émissions indépendantes à des producteurs québécois et 5% pour les quatre autres régions du Québec. Je ne pense pas que ce soit excessif de dire qu’il faut au moins que ça se maintienne là. Qu’on ne peut pas accepter une réduction quand le pourcentage est déjà aussi faible. Donc, notre mesure de dire 9%, dont 60% iraient aux CLOSM, garantirait à tout le moins le maintien de ce qui se fait actuellement, qui est quand même très peu.
10462 Mme PILON : D’autant plus que, dans le calcul de ces heures et de ces montants dépensés, je le répète, toutes les productions anglophones produites à l’extérieur du Québec, qui sont doublées, sont comptées. Sont comptabilisées. Donc qu’est-ce qui va vraiment aux productions et aux… créés par et pour les francophones, dans un premier temps ? C’est encore moins que 5%.
10463 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Et donc, au-delà de cette proposition-là, basée sur les dépenses, on l’a abordée, mais je veux juste m’assurer que vous avez eu vraiment l’occasion de vous prononcer là-dessus.
10464 Est-ce que vous voyez des moyens plus pratiques, au niveau de la découvrabilité, concrètement sur le site web. Des positionnements sur les pages web, ou des trucs comme ça, ou avec les algorithmes, des propositions particulières ou non ?
10465 Mme PILON : Oui tout à fait. Je veux dire, si on va sur Tou.TV puis on regarde ce qui est présenté. Moi j’avais fait le test un moment donné cet été, en me préparant pour les interventions. Je crois qu’il fallait aller à la page 9 avant de trouver une production francophone et ça, c’était sur la page de présentation avec tous les autres diffuseurs et on la trouvait sur Unis TV et non sur Radio-Canada.
10466 Et pour avoir les émissions régionales, il faut aller à… T’sais, il faut aller vraiment au bas de la page de présentation de Tou.TV et on se trouve juste au-dessus de GEM. Et bien que Radio-Canada ait indiqué que tous documentaires se retrouvaient dans la section Documentaires et Régions, s’il prenait des régions, c’est pas tout à fait vrai. Si on fait le test, ce n’est pas toutes les productions qui ont été présentées sur les ondes de Radio-Canada en documentaire, qui vont se retrouver forcément dans la porti… Dans l’onglet Documentaire. Donc il y a encore du travail à faire de ce côté-là.
10467 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Je comprends. Puis on parle toujours de Tou.TV, la plateforme gratuite ?
10468 Mme PILON : Oui.
10469 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Avez-vous quelque chose à ajouter pour la plateforme Extra ?
10470 Mme PILON : Bien, je n’ai pas les données pour démontrer qu’est-ce… La présence des productions CLOSM sur Extra. Avant de pouvoir se prononcer sur des améliorations, il faudrait savoir déjà où est-ce qu’on se situe sur cette plateforme-là et en… T’sais, de là l’importance d’avoir des données et de demander à Radio-Canada de faire des rapports très précis sur la place qu’occupe la production en milieux minoritaires, sur leurs diverses plateformes, non seulement en nombres d’heures et en dépenses, mais également sur chaque plateforme.
10471 Et disons que les rapports qu’ils ont à fournir au CRTC sur les CLOSM en ce moment, il faudrait sans doute rajouter dans ces rapports-là sur quelle plateforme les contenus ont été présentés, si effectivement vous choisissez d’offrir ou de… de renouveler la licence de Radio-Canada, en tenant compte d’une présentation et de dépenses sur les plateformes.
10472 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Alors si on quitte l’univers des plateformes en ligne pour se concentrer davantage sur les rapports. Donc vous le dites, il y aurait cette première proposition-là, est-ce qu’il y en a d’autres ?
10473 C'est-à-dire, est-ce que pour vous, il y aurait d’autres façons de s’assurer que Radio-Canada demeure transparente et responsable, devant les Canadiens et le Conseil, pour la programmation en général. Puis je serais aussi intéressée à vous entendre plus particulièrement pour la programmation pour les enfants et les jeunes.
10474 Mme PILON : Je vais passer la parole à Michel pour ce qui est de la programmation générale et enfant-jeune, EIN, Etc.
10475 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait, merci.
10476 M. HOULE : Bien, je pense que d’une part, au point de vue de la programmation générale, la façon dont Radio-Canada a formulé sa demande, elle exclut, si j’ai bien compris, totalement ICI Tou.TV Extra de toute forme d’engagement ou de rapport. Puisqu’elle dit que ça s’appliquerait au réseau et à la plateforme gratuite.
10477 C’est difficile de comprendre pourquoi ICI Tou.TV Extra, qui est quand même une plateforme très importante, où elle concentre la plupart de ses émissions originales en première diffusion sur une plateforme, sur ICI Tou.TV Extra et non pas sur Tou.TV, soit exclu. Ça la rendrait totalement indépendante, cette plateforme-là.
10478 Si je reprends la métaphore qui a été utilisée plusieurs fois pendant l’audience, celle du pont. On peut dire que Radio-Canada dispose d’un archipel de plateformes numériques puis elle propose un pont avec une île seulement et on ne voit pas le reste de l’archipel existant.
10479 Et on peut aussi penser que dans l’univers numérique, ça évolue très rapidement, que dans cinq, sept ou huit ans, parce que souvent les licences de Radio-Canada durent très longtemps, il y aura peut-être d’autres modes ou d’autres types de plateformes qui vont apparaître puis elles vont s’avérer plus innovatrices ou plus performantes. Et si la condition de licence est reliée à une seule plateforme nommée… nommément à ICI Tou.TV, bien ces nouvelles plateformes vont aussi échapper au scrutin du CRTC et du public, complètement.
10480 Donc la première chose, c’est de dire qu’en procédant en pourcentage des dépenses, on peut inclure les dépenses de toutes les plateformes pourvu que ce soit une dépense d’émission, tel que défini par le Conseil. Sur l’autre point, qui est la programmation jeunesse, ce qu’on déplore dans un premier temps, c’est que Radio-Canada n’a pas fourni aucune information sur le volume de production. On sait que son obligation était de diffuser 100 heures par années d’émissions entre zéro et douze ans, mais elle n’a jamais dit combien effectivement elle en avait diffusé. Quelle était sa moyenne historique.
10481 D’autre part, elle propose que le… Ce soit changé pour un certain nombre d’heures pour les zéros, dix-sept ans. Donc il serait important de savoir aussi combien d’heures d’émission pour les 13-17 ans elle a diffusées en moyenne historique. Selon les données qu’elle a fournies dans sa demande, elle a quand même consacré 24% de ses dépenses totales d’émissions jeunesse aux émissions de 13 à 17 ans, ça a dû générer un certain nombre d’heures d’émissions originales. Et on ne sait pas non plus combien actuellement, sur les plateformes, elle diffuse d’émissions jeunesse exclusives à ses plateformes.
10482 Donc c’est très difficile pour nous de juger, est-ce que le 80 heures qu’elle propose sur le réseau, ou le 70 heures, est pertinent ? Puisqu’on ne sait pas par rapport à quoi ça se présente. Donc je pense qu’on pourrait exiger que lorsque Radio-Canada renouvelle, elle soit tenue, d’au moins démontrer, qu’elle a à respecter la condition de licence ou dans quelle mesure elle l’a dépassée. Qu’elle soit tenue à une certaine transparence pour faire en sorte que ce qu’elle propose, elle indique qu’elle a été sa moyenne historique. En changeant ça, si on ajoute aussi le changement à la définition d’émission originale, ça rajoute encore potentiellement des émissions additionnelles.
10483 Donc c’est tous ces éléments-là, de transparence et d’obligation de rapport qui soit précisé. On a proposé qu’il y ait des rapports annuels qui énumèrent les dépenses d’émissions, d’émissions canadiennes pour le réseau, pour les plateformes et au total. Et qu’on puisse ainsi savoir exactement où on s’en va. Parce que c’est le transfert des dépenses des plateformes… Du réseau vers les plateformes est quand même très conséquent dans ses prévisions. Comme le dit Carol Ann, c’est 278 millions de progression.
10484 Et quand on regarde les dernières données pour le réseau, pour les deux réseaux en 2019-20, par rapport au début de la période elle a réduit de 55 millions, les crédits parlementaires alloués au réseau. Dans un contexte où elle recevait 150 millions de dollars de plus de crédits parlementaires par années. Donc ça veut dire que la totalité de ses crédits parlementaires, sont allés… additionnels, sont allés à d’autres choses que les réseaux. Donc c’est pour ça qu’on s’inquiète qu’il y ait une obligation qui soit exprimée en heures, et qu’on n’oublie complètement les dépenses.
10485 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Parfait. Si on poursuit sur ce sujet-là, des rapports, et donc de la transparence puis la réduction de comptes. Souhaitez-vous vous exprimer sur la question plus pointue de la diversité et de… qui comprend également la parité hommes-femmes. Donc les données nécessaires à ce sujet-là.
10486 J’en ai pas vu… j’ai pas vu… Selon ma mémoire, je ne pense pas que vous vous êtes exprimés dans votre intervention sur ces sujets-là, mais je voulais m’assurer que vous ayez l’occasion de le faire oralement, si vous souhaitez le faire.
10487 Mme PILON : On a pris connaissance de votre demande, que vous avez fait auprès de Radio-Canada, de fournir des données à cet effet. On a remarqué que, bon les communautés de langues officielles en situation minoritaires, n’étaient pas un groupe qui avait été identifié parmi les données que vous avez demandées. On comprend que peut-être… Peut-être que vous avez présumé que, puisque les stations régionales sont à l’extérieur du Québec, que forcément les employés et la place que Radio-Canada accorde à ce groupe est bien rempli, mais je vous inviterais aussi à considérer les groupes de langues officielles en situation minoritaires, parmi les groupes minoritaires que vous souhaitez… Pour lequel vous souhaitez avoir des données. Et monitorer où est-ce qu’en est la Société avec ses engagements de ce côté-là.
10488 Du côté de la diversité si on veut, culturelle, ethnoculturelle, on comprend que Radio-Canada commence à faire des projets en ce sens, avec des organismes du milieu associatif. Nous nous sommes joints à une telle initiative que Radio-Canada appuie avec le Festival Reelworld, qui s’appelle Access Reelworld. Ils ont développé un répertoire de professionnels du milieu de la production pour les personnes noires, de couleur, et ils sont en train de faire aussi un partenariat avec le bureau de l’écran autochtone en ce sens.
10489 Nous nous sommes joints à cette initiative-là, parce que nous, nous avons un répertoire qui offre, qui permet, de repérer les professionnels des langues officielles en situation… Des francophones en situation minoritaire. Alors on fait des ponts avec eux pour voir, comment est-ce qu’on peut partager nos répertoires ou s’autopromouvoir.
10490 Parce que je vous dirais que c’est quand même un défi du côté de la production indépendante, de s’assurer d’avoir une représentativité devant et derrière l’écran, pour rencontrer ces obligations-là. Premièrement parce que ces gens-là n’ont pas forcément eu l’occasion de développer, de se développer, dans ces carrières en français en milieu minoritaire. Alors c’est souvent difficile de les identifier, de un. C’est souvent des nouvelles, des nouveaux arrivants, qui sont francophones, qui viennent s’installer dans les communautés francophones en milieux minoritaires, donc des premières et deuxièmes générations. Donc souvent, encore là, il faut construire ces ponts-là, avec ces communautés-là, pour leur présenter des opportunités de travailler dans le milieu de l’audiovisuel. Cela dit, il n’y a pas d’écoles à l’extérieur du Québec, qui offrent des opportunités de développer ces compétences-là. Si on veut faire l’École du cinéma, il faut aller à Montréal. Bon, y’a la Cité collégiale qui a offert de temps à autre des programmes en documentaires aussi, mais encore là, au niveau… peut-être au niveau de la technique, on peut aller se former là, mais sinon, il faut… y’a pas beaucoup d’issues pour développer des nouveaux talents et viser ces communautés dans nos communautés.
10491 En ce qui a trait à la parité, c’est la même chose, le Fonds des médias du Canada a quand même mis en place des politiques pour encourager la parité homme-femme dans les productions qu’ils soutiennent, ils ont imposé certaines attentes aussi vis-à-vis les radiodiffuseurs.
10492 En ce qui a trait aux fonds auxquels… qui sont dédiés au CLOSM, dans la grille d’évaluation, il y a un critère qui accorde un certain nombre de points aux productions qui ont… qui atteignent 40 % des postes créatifs à des femmes, qui offrent ces postes-là à des femmes. Encore là, faut-il avoir aussi l’appui nécessaire pour aider à ces femmes-là d’avoir l’occasion de construire leur carrière et d'avoir l’expérience nécessaire pour accéder à ces postes-là.
10493 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Merci, Madame Pilon, Monsieur Houle. Il me reste deux questions pour vous ce matin.
10494 Donc, la prochaine concerne les indicateurs de succès, et plus particulièrement, je veux m’assurer qu’on a toute l’information pertinente sur le dossier public, je le disais d’entrée de jeu, pour la programmation concernant les enfants, les jeunes, donc, on en a parlé, mais je veux m’assurer que vous ayez bien l’occasion de vous exprimer sur d’autres indicateurs de succès, ou des outils de mesure, ou des données qui seraient pertinentes pour, donc, encore une fois, évaluer ce qui se fait tant sur les plateformes traditionnelles que numériques, et donc, des indicateurs de succès, ou des outils de mesure, ou des données qui pourraient être incluses dans un nouveau cadre de mesures afin de s’assurer encore une fois que la programmation pour enfants et jeunes répond bien aux besoins des Canadiens.
10495 Alors, avez-vous quelque chose à dire à ce sujet?
10496 M. HOULE: Tout ce que je pourrais dire à ce sujet-là, c’est que souvent la programmation pour enfants et jeunes, si on regarde la part d’écoute qu’elle représente sur l’ensemble de l’écoute de tous les… l’ensemble de la population, c’est faible, mais lorsque l’on cherche, par exemple, à établir, si vous faites une émission… les émissions jeunesse sont souvent ciblées très court, on fait des émissions pour les 6-9 ans, pour les 10-13 ans, pour les 2-4 ans, c’est des auditoires qui changent beaucoup, alors quand on… si Radio-Canada pouvait fournir des données sur la part de l’auditoire, par exemple des 6‑9 ans ou des 10-13 ans, si l’émission cible ce groupe d’âge-là, je pense que ça apparaitrait, le succès serait mieux évalué que de considérer la seule part d’écoute là dans la grille totale de programmation. Je pense que ça, c’est un moyen, et je pense qu’à ce titre-là, pour avoir déjà vu… avoir vu récemment de telles données, Radio-Canada performe quand même assez bien vers ces groupes cibles.
10497 Bon, évidemment, c’est beaucoup plus difficile d’appliquer cette mesure telle qu’elle sur les plateformes, mais on a quand même le nombre de visites, le nombre de personnes qui ont fréquenté – là aussi, c’est assez indicatif.
10498 Je pense qu’on devrait élargir la notion de succès, succès social. Certaines des émissions de Radio-Canada et d’autres diffuseurs sont reprises dans les écoles, par exemple. « Ils » ont une vie indépendamment de l’écoute générale de la télévision là. Je sais que Radio-Canada a fait des expériences dans le passé de ce côté-là pour offrir aux jeunes dans les écoles l’accès aux émissions.
10499 Alors, je pense que c’est cet ensemble de facteurs là que Radio-Canada serait sans doute mieux placée que nous pour énumérer ou développer là, on n’est pas des spécialistes là-dedans, mais qui pourrait l’aider à mieux cerner le succès de ses émissions et en faire état.
10500 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait.
10501 Et ma dernière question pour vous ce matin, la consultation avec les CLOSM. J’étais curieuse de savoir si vous avez eu l’occasion de participer à ces consultations-là et, si oui, si vous souhaitez vous exprimer à ce sujet-là.
10502 Mme PILON: Oui. Juste avant d’aborder ça, je voudrais juste revenir sur votre question de découvrabilité.
10503 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui.
10504 Mme PILON: L’APFC a mené un projet pendant… là, ça fait presque trois ans qu’on travaille sur ce projet-là, on a fait un projet pilote pour tester les stratégies de découvrabilité pour des contenus francophones en milieux minoritaires. Radio-Canada a participé à cette étude-là parce que y’a deux productions qui ont été diffusées sur leurs ondes qui ont fait partie du projet pilote des six, et ce que je vous dirais, ce qui est essentiel et ce qu’on sait aujourd'hui, c’est que ce n’est plus que la responsabilité du diffuseur de faire la promotion des œuvres; le producteur a aussi un rôle à jouer là-dedans.
10505 Par contre, la complexité que ça demande et la connaissance que ça demande, premièrement, de savoir comment configurer toutes ces plateformes pour recueillir des données, bien les configurer pour avoir les bonnes données, le partage d’informations entre les radiodiffuseurs et les producteurs pour maximiser l’impact de ces actions, et aussi l’identification des communautés francophones en milieu minoritaire lorsqu’ils utilisent l’internet, parce qu’il y en a qui vont avoir configuré leur internet en anglais, mais qui vont quand même accéder à des contenus en français, et juste ça, cette petite particularité-là peut d’un seul coup les exclure de la mesure qu’on met en place.
10506 Donc, il faut vraiment que ce partage d’informations là, de données qu’ils sont en mesure de recueillir soit beaucoup plus accessible et il doit y avoir beaucoup plus de transparence si on veut vraiment travailler, mettre nos efforts en commun pour promouvoir et s’assurer que les œuvres sont découvrables.
10507 Sur votre question au sujet de la consultation, je vous dirais que, depuis la dernière licence, le fait que vous ayez imposé aux radiodiffuseurs de rencontrer les communautés aux deux ans et que vous ayez spécifié qu’ils devaient également rencontrer les producteurs, pour nous, ç’a été vraiment gagnant.
10508 Il y a eu… ça a pris un certain temps avant d’avoir le bon rythme et la bonne formule pour ces rencontres-là, on a fait comprendre aux radio… à Radio-Canada qu’il est essentiel que ces rencontres-là aient lieu en personne lorsque possible, et qu’ils soient arrimés aux rencontres plus larges avec la communauté pour pouvoir profiter de la haute direction qui est sur place souvent, qui va se déplacer – bon, là, on est en pandémie, c’est autre chose –, mais avant la pandémie, lorsque la haute direction se déplaçait dans les communautés, on organisait la rencontre des producteurs le lendemain ou la journée d’avant pour s’assurer d’une présence. C'est important que la haute direction écoute ce que les producteurs ont à dire également et c'est important de ne pas juste faire état de ce que Radio-Canada a fait de puis les deux dernières années, mais bel et bien regarder vers l’avenir et écouter, s’écouter mutuellement. Je pense qu’on est rendu à une formule qui fonctionne bien et on trouve souvent des pistes de solutions ou on identifie souvent des problèmes à ce moment-là qui… sur lesquels on travaille par la suite, donc elles sont essentielles, elles devraient être maintenues.
10509 Au niveau des rapports qui sont faits, en écoutant les autres intervenants des CLOSM, ce qui est devenu apparent, c’est qu’il y en a plusieurs qui n’ont pas accès à ces rapports-là ou qui n’ont pas consulté les rapports. Donc, peut-être qu’il pourrait y avoir un effort supplémentaire pour faire la promotion de ces rapports-là auprès des communautés et continuer à imposer à Radio-Canada que, lorsqu’ils font un rapport et lorsqu’ils prennent des décisions – parce que c'est indiqué dans la condition de licence qu’ils doivent démontrer comment ils ont pris les commentaires de la communauté pour en arriver à cette décision-là –, ça, ça doit être maintenu aussi.
10510 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Et la fréquence, deux ans?
10511 Mme PILON: Du côté des producteurs, c’est pas mauvais parce que, d’une part, moi, j’assiste à chacun, donc je peux faire le relais et je peux aussi communiquer des préoccupations plus générales du milieu. Jusqu’à présent, je pense que ça fonctionne assez bien de faire à chaque deux ans chaque région. On s’entend que la région du Nord et de l’Ouest est toujours amalgamée par contre.
10512 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Excellent.
10513 Ça fait le tour de mes questions pour ce matin. Je vous remercie, Madame Pilon, Monsieur Houle, pour votre participation à l’audience. Merci beaucoup.
10514 Monsieur le président, la parole est à vous.
10515 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Madame Simard.
10516 Je pense que mes collègues ont des questions.
10517 Madame Barin?
10518 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le président.
10519 Merci beaucoup pour votre participation, Monsieur Houle, Madame Pilon.
10520 J’ai une question de suivi sur le point que vous avez fait pour ARTV. Alors, selon ce que j’ai compris, ARTV a toujours eu l’obligation de dépenser le 20 % de ses productions indépendantes avec les producteurs dans les CLOSM. Et maintenant, la proposition, c’est d’enlever la condition et aussi d’enlever l’ordonnance de distribution obligatoire.
10521 Ce que j’aimerais savoir, c’est par rapport à la condition actuelle, l’importance de la condition pour les producteurs francophones hors-Montréal et hors Québec et aussi l’importance de la production qui vise ARTV; on a parlé beaucoup de la programmation qui vise le réseau principal, mais quel rôle joue ce type de production et les dépenses sur ARTV pour les producteurs francophones hors-Québec et hors-Montréal?
10522 Mme PILON: Bien, ARTV, c’est la seule chaîne canadienne francophone qui se consacre aux arts et à la culture au Canada, donc c’est vraiment la seule vitrine spécifiquement dédiée à mettre en valeur les artistes et la culture francophones au Canada. Et la grande majorité des émissions de variété qui sont produites dans la francophonie canadienne – il n’y en a pas énormément, mais celles qui sont produites – sont majoritairement produites par Radio-Canada et reçoivent une diffusion, une fenêtre de diffusion sur ARTV. Donc, toutes les émissions qui ont été créées, il y en a eu quand même beaucoup en variétés qui mettaient en valeur les artistes de la chanson et musique – c’est une façon pour la francophonie canadienne de connaître et une façon pour notre milieu de promouvoir ces artistes-là auprès de nos communautés et aussi auprès du public québécois.
10523 Les documentaires qui ont touché toutes les disciplines – on parle de la littérature, le théâtre, la danse, les arts visuels – encore là, il y a très peu de vitrines pour mettre en valeur ces artistes-là et ces documentaires et ces séries. Donc, si tout d’un coup, on ferme la porte, on s’inquiète que ce type de programmation là va avoir beaucoup de difficulté à voir le jour et nos artistes vont en souffrir en bout de ligne.
10524 Et bien que Radio-Canada indique que bon, faire une place, qu’il y a plus d’opportunités sur les plateformes du réseau national pour ce genre de productions, quand on regarde ce qu’ils prévoient faire dans la prochaine licence, on voit que c’est bien en deçà des moyennes historiques. Donc, on s’inquiète particulièrement du fait qu’en plus de maintenir, en plus de reconduire la condition de licence qui est déjà beaucoup moindre que ce qu’ils font historiquement, qu’ils veulent en plus éliminer les possibilités via ARTV, on n’est pas convaincus que le Réseau va compenser cette perte-là.
10525 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup, Madame Pilon.
10526 M. HOULE: Est-ce que je peux ajouter quelque chose?
10527 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Absolument.
10528 M. HOULE: Dans le cas d’ARTV, le risque aussi il est pour les communautés de langue française. Pour l’instant, son accès garanti à la distribution permet à tous les francophones et francophiles de l’extérieur du Québec qui veulent s’y abonner de s’y abonner; ils ne sont pas obligés, mais ils peuvent le faire. Mais si on retire à la fois l’obligation de refléter la culture des Canadiens français hors-Québec, on retire la condition de licence qui exigeait une certaine production en région et on retire la distribution obligatoire – pas obligatoire, mais l’accès garanti à la distribution – les raisons qu’on fournit… on fournit aux ADR des raisons de retirer ce service-là parce qu’ils ne diffusent pas tous les 32 services francophones puis peut-être qu’ils en diffusent 10, 15.
10529 Mais pour celui-là actuellement, ils ont une bonne raison de le faire – en dehors de l’obligation, d’ailleurs, qui n’existait pas au début – parce qu’effectivement, ça reflète les communautés, il y a une obligation de refléter la culture des communautés, il y a de la production sur place. Si on enlève tout ça, il se peut qu’ARTV ait un rayonnement hors-Québec beaucoup plus faible et comme le dit Carol-Ann, c’est important pour les communautés d’avoir un véhicule culturel qui présentent des chansons, de la danse, du théâtre, etc., qui leur fasse une certaine place. Donc, on s’inquiète beaucoup du fait que Radio-Canada veuille complètement abandonner toutes ces dispositions-là.
10530 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup – c’était une réponse très complète. Je repasse la parole au président.
10531 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
10532 Madame Lafontaine?
10533 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Merci, Monsieur le président et merci à Madame Pilon et Monsieur Houle pour votre présentation aujourd’hui.
10534 J’aurais une question de précision concernant votre recommandation en ce qui a trait aux dépenses de Radio-Canada pour les communautés en région, hors-Montréal, hors-Québec. Dans votre présentation aujourd’hui, vous avez parlé de 9 % et je note dans votre intervention écrite, vous parlez de 8 % et je me demandais s’il y a eu un changement à votre recommandation ou… en tout cas, je vous laisse répondre. Merci!
10535 Mme PILON: Oui, vas-y Michel.
10536 M. HOULE: C’est tout simplement qu’on a mis à jour… on avait pris au moment où on a fait notre intervention les trois dernières années disponibles pour établir la moyenne historique. Or, depuis cette époque-là, le temps a passé et Radio-Canada a fourni de nouvelles données sur une année additionnelle. Donc, en ajoutant l’année additionnelle, ça donne 9 % pour la moyenne historique des trois dernières années. C’était tout simplement un ajustement pour tenir compte de cette réalité-là.
10537 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Très bien, merci! Merci, Monsieur le président – ce sont toutes mes questions.
10538 MME ROY: Monsieur le président, vous êtes sur sourdine.
10539 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup Madame la secrétaire! Je dis merci encore pour votre présentation et Madame la secrétaire, c’est à vous.
10540 MME ROY: Là, c’est moi qui est sur sourdine! [Rires] Donc, merci Monsieur le président! Nous prendons la pause pour le dîner et nous serons de retour à 1 h 5. Merci!
10541 Mme PILON: Merci à vous!
10542 MME ROY: Merci pour votre participation!
--- Upon recessing at 12:06 p.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 12h06.
--- Upon resuming at 1:04 p.m./
L’audience est reprise à 13h04
10543 Mme ROY: Bon après-midi. Nous débuterons maintenant avec la présentation de On Screen Manitoba.
10544 S’il vous plait vous présenter et vous avez 10 minutes pour votre présentation.
10546 Mme MATIATION: Merci. Monsieur le président, Madame la vice-présidente, Mesdames les conseillères, Membres du personnel, bonjour. Je m’appelle Nicole Matiation, je suis la directrice générale d’On Screen Manitoba, l’association provinciale de l’industrie de la production audiovisuelle.
10547 Les membres d’On Screen Manitoba représentent l’ensemble du milieu ici au Manitoba. Nos membres incluent des individus, des producteurs, cinéastes, scénaristes, techniciennes, artisans, des syndicats, des sociétés de production, des fournisseurs de service, des festivals de films et d’autres organismes et individus ayant un intérêt dans ce secteur au Manitoba. Parmi nos membres se trouvent des individus des milieux anglophone, francophone, LGBTQ+, ainsi que des personnes autochtones, noires et de couleur.
10548 CBC/Radio-Canada joue un rôle important pour tous nos membres et je remercie le Conseil de me recevoir à cette audience.
10549 Je vais maintenant passer en anglais pour communiquer des remarques d’ordre générale qui s’appliquent aussi bien à CBC qu’à Radio-Canada.
10550 On Screen Manitoba recognizes and values the special place CBC/Radio-Canada holds in the Canadian broadcasting system, and we support the renewal of its broadcasting licence. As our national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate is enshrined in the Broadcasting Act, and it receives an annual appropriation from the Government of Canada with which to carry out that mandate.
10551 With this privilege comes responsibilities. This includes the responsibility to connect Canadians across the country in both official languages and to facilitate the expression of the cultural, geographic, demographic and linguistic diversity of Canadian society through original independent programming of all types and genres; independent original programming that is conceived and produced in all regions of Canada by the people who live there.
10552 The required regular meetings with French language media production professionals who live and work outside of Quebec have contributed to building understanding of community needs and capacity. This proven approach could be extended to include Indigenous media production industry professionals and, we would add, regionally-based industry professionals.
10553 It has been noted over the course of the hearing that audiences are looking for local content, whether through conventional broadcast or through online platforms. Those same audiences also have access to the very best in international content. Ensuring that our public broadcaster invests in regionally-generated programming is critical to ensuring high quality, diversified content for Canadian audiences.
10554 We agree that CBC/Radio-Canada needs the flexibility to continue to explore and expand both broadcast and online offerings. We understand that it will always be focused on Canadian content. However, we also agree with many other participating this hearing, that that which is measured is more likely to be achieved.
10555 The group-based licensing policy provides a proven model for regulating a variety of different programming services within one “ownership group”. The group-based approach relies on Canadian Programming Expenditure levels combined with exhibition hours and Programs of National Interest requirements. It forms a best practice to ensure Canadian programming obligations are met.
10556 We believe that a similar approach that maintains CBC/Radio-Canada’s current minimum historic obligations would provide a balanced approach that is measurable. Broadcast exhibition obligations would continue to ensure the significant percentage of Canadians who continue to watch conventional television have prime time access to original Canadian programming, and expenditure requirements offer a means to track investment in original Canadian programming across all platforms.
10557 In order to ensure that exhibition hours and expenditures on Canadian programming include content that is created by industry professionals based in all regions of the country and representing the diversity of Canada’s population, annual transparent reporting is necessary. And, we agree with other intervenors that the Group Licence Production Report provides a reasonable model as a starting point.
10558 We would note, however, that it is a model that requires further enhancement. Public discourse over the past year has brought to the forefront long-standing issues in regard to diversity and inclusion. Tracking productions led by official language minority community producers and Indigenous producers could be expanded to include other communities that are currently underrepresented, both in terms of creation and ownership of IP. Ownership of IP is an important issue for all producers, and I would note that we support the CMPA and the APFC and other national organizations in their request for a Code of Practice.
10559 Production companies based in Manitoba produce all types and genres of programming. They are anchored in their communities and provide CBC/Radio- Canada with a pathway to local audiences of all ages and interests. Independently produced documentary, children and youth programming play critical rolls in connecting audiences, both via conventional television and online platforms.
10560 Producers in all regions of Canada and both official languages bring a wide range of cultural perspectives, experiences and storytelling capacity. As the national public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada has both the opportunity and the responsibility to connect with and nurture the development of creators and producers in their home regions, in both official languages. Those creators and producers enrich the Canadian broadcasting system as they tell their stories, locally, nationally and internationally.
10561 Je reprends mes propose en français afin de souligner le rôle essentiel que des créateurs et autres professionnels du milieu de la production audio-visuelle en région jouent pour assurer une diversité de voix dans le système de la télédiffusion au Canada.
10562 Cette contribution doit continuer et elle doit continuer sur toutes les plateformes. Tout comme l’APFC, on trouve inacceptable que Radio-Canada propose de restreindre les émissions produites par les francophones à l’extérieur du Québec ou sur le réseau.
10563 En 2016, le CRTC a reconnu l’importance d’un service universel de l’internet à large bande pour tous les Canadiens. Les Canadiens s’attendent à trouver des émissions de qualité qui reflètent leur réalité, un pays avec une population diverse de par ses origines, sa démographie et sa région -- ses régions sur toutes les plateformes.
10564 Nous venons d’entendre dans la présentation de l’APFC qu’en moyenne, pendant les trois dernières années, Radio-Canada a consacré 9% de ses dépenses totales d’émissions indépendantes vers les émissions produites en région, c’est-à-dire à l’extérieur de Montréal. De ces 9% des dépenses, 60% étaient allouées aux producteurs à l’extérieur du Québec. Nous appuyons l’APFC dans leur demande que cette approche historique aux dépenses d’émissions indépendantes soit exprimée comme une condition de licence du réseau et des plateformes.
10565 Je voudrais maintenant souligner également l’importance d’ARTV dans les communautés francophones à l’extérieur du Québec. Ces communautés ont déjà peu de choix au niveau des services en français. ARTV joue un rôle important dans le partage du dynamisme de la scène artistique et culturelle francophone du Canada.
10566 Nous demandons donc au Conseil de maintenir l’accès garantit à ARTV dans les marchés anglophones et nous demandons au Conseil de maintenir la condition de licence qui exige qu’au moins 20% des budgets annuels de production de Radio-Canada soit consacré à des émissions produites à l’extérieur du Québec et qu’au moins 50% de ces montants soient consacrés à des émissions canadiennes provenant des sociétés de production indépendante.
10567 Le Canada est un pays vaste avec un peuple diversifié de par leurs langues, leurs cultures et leur vécu. Le système de la radiodiffusion a pour mandat de proposer aux canadiens l’occasion non seulement de recevoir de la programmation qui reflète cette diversité, y compris leur réalité locale, mais aussi de participer dans la création de ce contenu, et ceci pour des marchés de langue anglaise, française et autochtone également.
10568 Je vous remercie de cette occasion de partager le point de vue des membres d’On Screen Manitoba et je suis à votre disposition pour répondre à vos questions.
10570 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup. Merci pour votre présentation.
10571 Alors je pense que Madame Lafontaine avait des questions pour vous.
10572 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Oui, merci, Monsieur le président et merci à Madame Matiation pour votre présentation cet après-midi.
10573 Est-ce que je prononce bien votre nom? C’est bien Matiation?
10574 Mme MATIATION: Oui, très bien prononcé.
10575 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: O.k. Très bien. Merci. Parce que je veux pas passer une demi-heure à mal prononcer votre nom.
10576 I want to -- I do want to underscore the importance of your presentation today. You're bringing another very important voice to this proceeding, the voice of content creators and producers and, I mean, the On Screen Manitoba organisation represents such a vast membership that the viewpoints that you're bringing to the table I think are, you know, vital for the proceeding, both from a regional perspective and also from the diversity of your membership base, both in terms of the work that they're doing, and as you mentioned in your opening that you're representing Anglophones, Francophones, Indigenous communities, multicultural communities, LGBTQ+, so I just wanted to underscore that importance.
10577 So, and I also note the bilingualism in your written intervention and in your presentation today. Alors, je vous remercie pour ça aussi. Donc, sans plus attendre, voici mes questions.
10578 I have a few questions for you. I'd like to start with local programming and On Screen Manitoba's submission with regards to local programming. You've indicated that you don't support the CBC's Radio/Canada's cross-platform proposals I think across the board in terms of local PNI and children, but just in terms of local, you indicated your disappointment in your written intervention, and you also stated that true regional expression includes content of all types and genres that is conceived, developed by regionally based creators and producers.
10579 And in light of this, I was wondering if you could speak to why, in your view, that which CBC/Radio-Canada has put forward in terms of local programming is not -- is problematic and in terms of local and regional reflection.
10580 MS. MATIATION: I think our main concern is ensuring that we don't find the regional producer or creators would have locked into a silo where their productions are seen locally only, or where a local production is not promoted or discoverable on a national -- on the national network or within the online platforms. So, we do take heart and recognise that there is enormous opportunity coming through the online platform for emerging creators based in regional locations. And we understand that those opportunities are important, but we feel that it's important to underline that we need to ensure that the opportunity continues to extend across all of CBC's platforms.
10581 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: And is it the lack of proposals by CBC/Radio-Canada in terms of ensuring this reflection across the board? Is that what you take issue with?
10582 MS. MATIATION: Yes, I think there's a real concern amongst my members that there won't be invested follow-up to really ensure that some of those emerging creators will have opportunities for some of the larger budget productions as those opportunities emerge.
10583 You know, I think -- I listened also to the presentation of the DGC this morning and, you know, was reminded of my members who work primarily in features, and the importance of there being opportunity to move from a small local documentary that is very focussed and importantly focussed on a local subject matter, but also to be able to move into the realm where a locally produced feature also has opportunity to be seen nationally. And, again, I think it is about connecting audiences across the country.
10584 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay. Thank you.
10585 I'll just shift gears a bit and I'd like to have an exchange with you about the CBC/Radio-Canada's consultations. You mentioned it in your presentation this afternoon, it's in your written submission, that you support an expansion or the expansion that CBC -- that the corporation has put forward for Indigenous communities. And you also noted in your written intervention that you have first-hand experience with the consultations, I suspect, on the OLMC/CLOSM side, and so I was wondering if you could speak to that experience, how effective that was on the f -- for the francophone communities and how you see that this will be helpful for Indigenous communities.
10586 MS. MATIATION: Yes. Last year actually at our -- we put on an annual forum called "All Access." And last year, the western and northern I guess OLMC meeting was held in conjunction with our event. So, we had already invited a number of key Radio-Canada people at various -- you know, commissioning editors and so on, but all of a sudden at our event, we had the benefit of a number of decision makers, higher number of Radio-Canada decision makers participating. So, that was of obvious benefit to the creators and producers to have them at the event, and to have the opportunity to engage with them at the event, and then also to have the added opportunity of this specific meeting between the producers and the Radio-Canada decision makers who were present.
10587 And I would add, because our event happens to be -- happens to offer both in French-language and in English-language programming, indirectly, English-language audiences or delegates, producers and creators also benefited from that attendance of CBC/Radio-Canada decision makers because some of them are spread across both English and French-language markets. And just building understanding period within the broadcaster of the challenges that regional producers and creators face I think is really a huge benefit.
10588 And, again, so I think this could be extended to Indigenous communities, and, in general terms, to producers based in the regions.
10589 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Right, I did note that in your written intervention in terms of expanding the consultations, as you say, generally, to the regional.
10590 Let's come back to that. I just want to speak to you -- I have a couple more questions for you on the proposed consultations for Indigenous communities, if I may. And I'd be interested to know if you have any suggestions of with whom CBC and Radio-Canada should be meeting in terms of the Indigenous consultations. How do you -- what are your views on how they should go about launching this consultation?
10591 MS. MATIATION: Well, I think obviously, the, you know, the first step is to consult with the Indigenous organisations that exist already within our industry. Obviously, the Indigenous Screen Office, Imaginative, locally in Manitoba there's an Indigenous Filmmaker's Association that runs the Indigenous Filmmaker Summit. So, I think there's an opportunity to work through existing industry organisations to determine who CBC/Radio-Canada should be meeting with. And I would happily, of course, also share, you know, contacts for the Indigenous-run companies who are part of On Screen Manitoba and Indigenous filmmakers who are part of On Screen Manitoba. You know, we always want to be broadening the net.
10592 I think the Indigenous Filmmakers Association knows most of the same folks that we know at On Screen Manitoba, but it's always good to compare notes. But number one is consulting with the Indigenous-run organisations first.
10593 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Great, thank you.
10594 So then let's just -- let's come back to your point about broadening the consultation for regional content creators and producers, not just for minority francophone communities and anglophone communities, minority communities in Quebec, but Indigenous communities. Can you just speak a little bit more to why it would be important for CBC/Radio-Canada to also meet more regularly with regional producers and content creators?
10595 MS. MATIATION: Well, and I think this really goes back to my experience prior to last year. My experience of consultations had been the public online consultations that CBC/Radio-Canada, you know, holds on a fairly regular basis. It would be possibly a CBC/Radio-Canada decision maker would be coming through Winnipeg and might also meet with me as well as meeting with producers along the way. But when I saw the level of conversation and detail of information that could be shared within the OLMC consultation, I felt that regionally -- all regionally based producers would really benefit from having that exchange with CBC Radio-Canada at that level so there's an understanding from the producer's perspective of the decision-making process and that from the producer's perspective there's, you know, an understanding of the challenges that, you know, that each are facing, and outside of a context where the producer is already pitching and building a relationship to move their project forward.
10596 I think it's this opportunity to just set aside our immediate concerns and -- you know, obligations and objectives and sort of stand back and have a conversation about our shared goals around creating great Canadian content and how can we do that better.
10597 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. So I have a few questions for you now in terms of PNI and children's programming. I noted in your interventions that you support both an expenditure obligation and an exhibition requirement, in particular for programs of national interest. I was wondering if you could elaborate on why both would be essential. Why not one or the other?
10598 MS. MATIATION: Well, I think, you know, as other intervenors have noted, we are still in a period of transition and the majority of the CBC Radio-Canada audience is still watching conventional television, and there the exhibition requirements are useful, obviously very useful tools in terms of ensuring that we have Canadian content on during primetime. But we also see audiences of course moving to online platforms, and you know, CBC, you know, is predicting that that's going to continue to grow, and I agree certainly that that is where audiences are moving. So I think we need a measure that is going to allow us to understand and continue to be able to celebrate the achievements of CBC Radio-Canada overall platforms.
10599 So expenditures work well across any platform, and I see really that's where that value is -- comes from is that flexibility that the expenditure allows.
10600 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: In terms of the corporation's proposal in terms of the hours, the expectation of hours or an aspiration for a certain amount of hours for programs of national interest and of children's programming, in relation to that part of their application one of the issues that you and many other intervenors have raised is this notion that one hour of content on the traditional television screen is not equivalent to one hour of programming online, so on CBC Gem.
10601 And I'm wondering if you have any comments on how this issue can be addressed? That is, is there any way that through discoverability or through additional requirements that the time broadcast on the digital platforms would be elevated to something akin to primetime -- a primetime hour television if it were -- if the Commission were to impose an hours-based exhibition requirement?
10602 MS. MATIATION: Well, it's certainly a very interesting question to -- you know, when I think one that many of us are reflecting on is what is the value of an hour online and how do we measure that value. And I think until we've got -- like until we've established some sort of a baseline it's very difficult to determine the value of that hour.
10603 That hour may have more viewers potentially than conventional television if we got the discoverability right, but again, we're in such an experimental stage still that I think, you know, further experimentation is required and further information is required.
10604 You know, we don't really understand what an hour on an online platform means and when are the people -- when are people watching and how many people are watching when -- and does when matter when we're looking at online. Certainly, that's where discoverability becomes so important because if we don't have the same function of -- as the primetime requirement where, you know, the expectation was that there are many -- many, many regarding, watching, sorry, television at that same time, you know, somehow through discoverability we're going to have to try to replicate that.
10605 But I certainly don't have, you know, sort of a magic answer to that, other than I think -- you know, I think there's some interesting points and issues that require further exploration that were raised through the study that Carol Ann Pilon did with the APSC. She mentioned it in her presentation, and you know, again reminding me that it's a study that I want to go back and look at and reflect on as we continue to try to understand how best to measure success in the -- in this emerging online -- well, it's not really an emerging universe anymore, I think we're very much online, but we still don't quite know how to measure the success of content.
10606 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you for that. Just -- still in the area of programs of national interest, I -- I have a few questions for you about documentaries.
10607 You've highlighted the importance of documentary productions within the Canadian Broadcasting System, and you stated that your members are involved in a -- the creation of documentary programming and you stated that you recognized the important role that documentary programming plays in informing and entertaining Canadians.
10608 And I'm wondering if you could just take a moment to highlight what that important role is that documentary productions play within the broadcasting system and why you have maintained or are recommending that the CBC Radio-Canada maintain their PNI obligation to documentary productions?
10609 MS. MATIATION: You know, again, I think documentary comes back to telling our stories from where we live and that they offer a special opportunity for that. They also -- because they have a lower financial barrier to -- in terms of accessing how that filmmaker might first tell a story, we know that many filmmakers begin by telling documentary.
10610 Certainly, that's the pattern we see in Manitoba that many filmmakers will begin by telling a documentary. It doesn't mean that they're not telling fiction or it doesn't mean that they can't start by fiction, but we do see many beginning through documentary short form/long form.
10611 And again, you know, this is where the online platform has become very interesting because it's opened up more opportunities for short form storytelling and much of that is happening in the documentary format.
10612 But there is still a very important place we believe for the future documentary, both on conventional television and on the new online platforms, and it remains a way that we tell the stories from where we live from the perspective -- bringing that local perspective to the national audience.
10613 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. One of the arguments that you've put forward in opposition to the CBC's proposal, the cross-platform proposal, although I do recognize that you've stated that, you know, the world is heading to digital and that we can't turn a blind eye as it were to it. But in your intervention, one of the issues that you raise is access to broadband services.
10614 And I was wondering if you could speak to that, and why that is of concern for you as an organization from Manitoba in terms of CBC Radio-Canada's cross-platform proposal?
10615 MS. MATIATION: Well, there's a certain number of communities in Manitoba who still don't have broadband access. And so while there are provincial and federal efforts underway to extend broadband access, we know that not all communities can access broadband, and so we know that not all communities are successfully accessing online platforms.
10616 And I think that we need to remain mindful of that portion of our population, and we need to be mindful of the statistics that show that there is still a significant number of Canadians who primarily are watching television through conventional means. And so we really need to consider the whole rather than all the parts one by one.
10617 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. I just have a couple more questions for. You've touched on a lot of the areas that I was going to ask you questions on during your presentation, so that was very informative and helpful.
10618 But I do want to come back to the issue of reporting. You did state in your presentation that you -- that On Screen Manitoba supports the approach set out in the Commission’s Information Bulletin 2019-304 on production reports. You also stated in your presentation that there were some things that you would recommend, or some elements of reporting that you would recommend be added to the production report. Is there anything else that you would like to speak to, in terms of CBC/Radio-Canada’s reporting obligations, that would enhance the transparency and the efficacy of the measures that the Commission may be putting in place for the next licence term?
10619 MS. MATIATION: Well, I think, again, the Group Licence Production Report provides, you know, a good model to start from. You know, when I was reviewing it in preparation for the hearing, you know, the first thing that jumped out at me was that we’re not, in that report, tracking people of colour, Black people, and that is an issue that we’re looking at very closely within On Screen Manitoba in discussing, and nationally as well, right, as we, as a country, work towards truly putting our best foot forward in trying to facilitate a diversity of voice that is representative of our population.
10620 And, again, I come back to, I think, many intervenors, many of us present at the hearing have come back to that notion that what is being measured tends to be achieved or tends to get done. And so that was one area, certainly, that jumped out at me.
10621 I think, again, you know, looking very carefully at the categories of the genres and types of content, making sure that we’re tracking everything there in the way that will be useful moving forward, recognizing that we’re moving into a digital -- more and more into digital world, or a digital delivery system. And then, of course, ensuring that we’re tracking over all platforms. It does make a difference to understand where -- you know, we would be in a better place today if we understood better how audiences were interacting with CBC/Radio-Canada’s online platforms.
10622 And so moving forward in the future, of course we want to understand that because that will help us all work together towards ensuring that there’s great Canadian content available for Canadian audiences.
10623 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you.
10624 So my last area of questions for you, Madame Matiation, is on the OLMC’s, les CLOSM. Les CLOSM ou les CLOSM, vous avez bien énoncé, je crois, votre position dans votre présentation cet après-midi, et également dans votre intervention écrite. Mais… Et je note aussi que vous appuyez la recommandation de l’APFC en ce qui concerne un pourcentage de 9% pour la production en région, à l’extérieur de Montréal, et dont 60% seraient alloués pour les régions à l’extérieur du Québec.
10625 Mais j’aimerais savoir si vous pouvez nous parler un peu du pourquoi, selon vous, ce problème persiste.
10626 On a eu les consultations pendant la dernière période de licence, vous avez souligné l’importance de ces consultations. Il y a eu cette… Une obligation de la part de la Société de contribuer aux communautés minoritaires, mais pourquoi pensez-vous que ce problème persiste toujours en ce qui concerne le reflet dans les régions, ou les communautés francophones dans les régions ? Et pourquoi pensez-vous que cette recommandation va aider à régler le problème ?
10627 Mme MATIATION : Bien je crois que c’est surtout on a… On a besoin d’être sur les écrans. T’sais pour être ici, on a besoin de s’assurer que les francophones hors Québec soient présents sur tous les écrans, sur toutes les plateformes. Et comme pour tout producteur-créateur en région, la création du contenu doit être dans tous les genres et tous les types, pour réellement pouvoir explorer qu’est-ce que c’est que d’être franco-manitobain, ou franco-albertain.
10628 Ce sont des gens créatifs, comme il y a des gens créatifs partout dans le pays. Ils ont envie de raconter leur histoire, il y a une place pour leur histoire sur les ondes et sur les plateformes de CBC/Radio-Canada. Et il faudrait au moins qu’on reconnaisse et qu’on accepte… Enfin, qu’on met de l’avant le niveau d’investissement historique qui a été fait. Et comme M. Houle a mentionné plus tôt ce matin, ce n’est pas beaucoup quand même. Ça reste quand même une petite partie du budget, c’est des débuts, c’est… Mais c’est une première fenêtre qui commence à ouvrir des possibilités.
10629 On a constaté quand même, plus de productions et plus de diversité dans le type de productions dans les dernières années. Et ça, on l’accueille avec beaucoup de plaisir. En fait, la production francophone de fiction hors Québec, a eu lieu avec un télédiffuseur privé également cette année. Donc on est en train de voir au fur et à mesure, une communauté qui se développe, les talents se développent.
10630 On sait qu’au niveau des scénaristes c’est en développement, au niveau des réalisateurs aussi, des producteurs aussi. On va puiser dans le théâtre pour chercher, dans la danse, pour chercher les acteurs et afin de prendre notre place sur les écrans.
10631 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE : Alors il y a eu des améliorations, mais il y a encore du travail à faire, c’est ça ?
10632 Mme MATIATION : C’est ça.
10633 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE : C’est ça, très bien. Alors bien, je vous remercie infiniment d’avoir répondu à mes questions cet après-midi, Madame Matiation, Monsieur le président, ce sont toutes mes questions.
10634 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup. Madame Simard, vous avez une question ?
10635 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD : Oui s’il vous plaît, merci beaucoup, Monsieur le président. Alors merci, Madame Matiation, pour votre présentation pour votre participation à cette audience. D’avoir si activement collaboré avec ma collègue, Madame Lafontaine.
10636 Alors, j’ai une question pour vous qui concerne le documentaire. Vous l’avez abordé, d’autres l’ont fait aussi avant vous. J’essaie de préciser un détail par rapport au documentaire qui, à ma connaissance, n’a pas été clarifié jusqu’à maintenant. Vous avez dit donc, le documentaire c’est important au sein du radiodiffuseur public pour sa portée nationale. Mais je serais curieuse de vous entendre aussi sur, peut-être, le rôle qu’un radiodiffuseur public peut jouer au niveau du documentaire, pour toute la question de la fiabilité de l’information qui est véhiculée.
10637 Puis le deuxième volet c’est, on sait qu’il y a une tendance vers le documentaire, mais un documentaire qui se dirige vers les plateformes en ligne. Alors est-ce qu’au sein du radiodiffuseur public, vous voulez vous exprimer sur, peut-être le modèle. Est-ce que vous voyez une présence plus forte sur les réseaux traditionnels ? Ou au contraire, pour suivre cette tendance-là du documentaire en ligne, de dire bien il y a peut-être une place qui devrait se faire davantage sur la, ou les plateformes en ligne du radiodiffuseur public ?
10638 Mme MATIATION : Merci. Je, je… Enfin je crois qu’on est encore une fois, vraiment entre deux. Et on a la possibilité de jouer aussi bien sur le réseau que sur les plateformes. Et là, ce que je vois avez les plateformes en ligne c’est, ça ouvre la possibilité notamment pour les créateurs émergents. Notamment pour les créateurs qui ont des histoires, peut-être très locales à raconter. C’est plus facile de leur trouver une place sur les plateformes en ligne, parce qu’il n’y a pas une limite d’heures, on peut en rajouter. En autant qu’on couvre la découvrabilité pour s’assurer que quand même le public puisse trouver ces émissions-là.
10639 Et ça a certainement des avantages et on voudrait travailler de pair avec CBC/Radio-Canada à continuer à développer ce potentiel-là. En même temps, oui il y a la possibilité d’inclure davantage de documentaires sur les réseaux de télédiffusion également. Et on voit ça, l’intérêt qu’on va avoir avec les cotes d’écoute quand il y a des séries documentaires qui sont passées, il y a une envie chez le public de connaitre d’autres gens dans le pays, comme les franco-Manitobains voudraient savoir sur les Québécois. Comme les Québécois voudraient savoir sur les franco-Manitobains, on essaie de se comprendre. C’est le rôle que les télécommunications ont toujours joué au Canada. C’était de tisser ce peuple qui est tellement dispersé à travers ce pays énorme. C’est comment on se tisse ensemble, comment on se comprend un petit peu mieux à travers les histoires. Puis je crois que le documentaire a un rôle particulier à jouer, et ça sur toutes les plateformes.
10640 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Je vous remercie beaucoup. Merci.
10641 Merci, Monsieur le président.
10642 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup. I don’t see any other questions.
10643 Alors, Madame la secrétaire…
10644 Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation et bonne fin de journée.
10645 Madame la secrétaire?
10646 Mme MATIATION: Merci à vous.
10647 Mme ROY: Merci, Monsieur le président. Nous prendrons une petite pause de cinq minutes avant le prochain participant.
10648 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci.
10649 Mme ROY: Merci.
--- Upon recessing at 1:45 p.m./
L’audience est suspendue à 13h45
--- Upon resuming at 1:50 p.m. /
L'audience est reprise à 13 h 50
10650 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We will now -- for the record, before we begin, I would just like to announce that Whispering Willows Records will not be appearing at the hearing.
10651 We’ll now hear the presentation of Writers Guild of Canada.
10652 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
10653 PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
10654 MS. PARKER: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair and Commissioners.
10655 My name is Maureen Parker and I am the Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Canada. With me today is Neal McDougall, our Director of Policy.
10656 The WGC strongly supports public broadcasting, and the vital role that the CBC plays in Canadian society. Values such as citizen engagement, diversity and inclusion, and shared Canadian consciousness and identity are central to Canadian life, and the CBC’s job in supporting them through the public service is more important now than ever. These things are expressed in lots of ways, including the cultural and entertainment content in which our values are embedded and expressed in drama, comedy, documentary, and in the content for our youngest citizens.
10657 This renewal proceeding comes at a time of transition. The world of digital is well and truly here, with large numbers of Canadians preferring to access content online. At the same time, many Canadians still watch TV, our legislative framework is decades old, and the CBC’s current conditions of licence were set for the activities of a traditional broadcaster. Hopefully, Bill C-10 will soon move the entire system forward, but until then, we seem pulled between two worlds in this proceeding. The CBC has referred to its proposed regulatory model as a “bridge”, and that metaphor may be fair. But at the same time, a good bridge is well built and takes people where they need to go. We cannot build a bridge to the future with rickety, outdated materials, and a good bridge must get us to the other side of the river, and not dump us into the middle.
10658 The WGC agrees that the future is largely online, and CBC must be there. We also believe, however, that the Commission has a vital role to play in regulating the national public broadcaster, and if the CBC is going to be in digital, the Commission should be there with them. So, it worries us that many of the CBC’s comments in this proceeding imply that the public broadcaster’s mandate effectively replaces CRTC oversight. We strongly disagree with that.
10659 MR. MCDOUGALL: At the same time, the WGC is concerned that substantive regulation of the CBC’s digital activities may be premature for at least two reasons. For one, we currently lack meaningful data on the CBC’s activities online, and indeed this has been a theme of this proceeding. The WGC provided our written comments this summer on the additional information the CBC provided on June 12. We said that data was unhelpful because:
10660 It combined English and French revenues and expenses; it did not provide cross-platform exhibition hours data and therefore did not speak to the CBC’s cross-platform exhibition hours proposal;
10661 It did not separate programming expenses and non-programming expenses;
10662 It did not separate Canadian programming and non-Canadian programming; and,
10663 It does not support the suggestion that audiences on TV and online are comparable, and therefore does not support the CBC’s proposal that exhibition hours on each platform should be comparable.
10664 As the Chair accurately stated earlier, “What gets measured gets done.” It’s also how we, and the Canadian public, understand what’s being done, so we can comment on it.
10665 The second reason is that we have new broadcasting legislation coming down the pipe, and we would not want to set online regulatory precedents for the CBC that private broadcasters and streamers would then want for themselves. Everybody understands that the national public broadcaster is fundamentally different from private entities, yet precedents can have a gravitational pull of their own. Private broadcasters are already here arguing about competitive unfairness around the CBC. Very frankly, we worry about giving them more ammunition, in pursuit of an unclear purpose.
10666 All of that said, if the Commission decides to include online activities in the substantive regulation of CBC, then we continue to believe that expenditure requirements are the way to go. Expenditures are the best proxy for what ultimately is sought by Canadian content policies, namely, meaningful investment in quality programming that is most likely to be successful with audiences. Financial investment means talent, labour, and time. From a writing perspective, it means hiring writing talent and giving them time to develop characters and storylines, write drafts, rewrite them, rewrite some more, and deliver top-quality, polished scripts. Expenditures are the best quantitative measure of high-quality production we have, and the same dollar can only be spent once, whereas a program can be run multiple times for multiple exhibition hours.
10667 On this point, the conversation with the CBC two weeks ago got into the issue of so-called “double counting” of hours. The CBC said there would be no “double counting” across platforms. But of course, the current PNI requirement for the main network is not for original, first-run programming, so these hours are not just double-counted, but multiple-counted. And, frankly, the claim that hours would not be double-counted across platforms was news to us. We didn’t see that stated in the CBC’s application, nor do we see it reflected in their proposed expectations. To be clear, the CBC’s PNI proposal is not for original, first-run hours — it’s just for hours. And that opens the door to more repeats.
10668 Moreover, we still believe that an hour in primetime on the CBC network is not the same as an hour placed on Gem. In response to a question on this earlier, the CBC’s Barbara Williams questioned whether people would say the same thing about an hour on Netflix. Indeed, they might not, because Gem is not Netflix. Radio-Canada’s Michel Bissonnette said it would be “pretentious” to consider Tou.TV to be a French Netflix, and Ms. Williams later said that Gem didn’t come to compete with Netflix or other big services, but rather is about niche content. We believe that is more accurate. Gem is not a Canadian Netflix, and until it becomes one, we cannot rely upon the nature or brand of the service to establish standards for the quality of the programming. So why try? Why not look at dollars instead?
10669 CBC’s only argument against expenditures appears to be that those are for private broadcasters because they spend money on foreign content, and the CBC has a public mandate. The CBC does have a public mandate, but it is untrue that they do not spend on foreign programming. According to aggregate annual returns, CBC television spent over 100 million dollars on non-Canadian programming over the last 7 years. That’s less than the privates, but it’s not nothing. Indeed, with respect to the documentary channel, CBC has acknowledged during this hearing that their proposed changes to exhibition requirements on primetime are so they can air more foreign programming as a “discoverability” tool, so that the channel can attract more viewers in a competitive marketplace. How is the CBC’s proposal for less PNI on the CBC network any different? When it comes to Canadian programming, if you’re not airing it, you’re airing something else, and that something else is non-Canadian programming. It’s one or the other.
10670 MS. PARKER: So, what does this all mean? One thing it means is, we need better data to set us up for the future. Whether the Commission chooses, for the next licence term, to impose substantive regulatory obligations on CBC programming or not, to include online or stay with traditional platforms for now, and whatever types of activities it deems important, we should not be here in 3 to 5 years and still not have the data we need. We need to know what the CBC is spending, and on what platforms, for how many hours, on what programming, made by whom, and seen by whom. In other words, future reporting should not just be about compliance with existing licence conditions, but about building that bridge to the future. The bridge is built with data.
10671 Finally, the Writers Guild of Canada would be remiss if we didn’t talk about screenwriters. Television is widely recognized as a screenwriter’s medium, and rightly so. In dramatic series in particular, characters and stories develop over multiple episodes and seasons, and this is at the core of why people watch. If you didn’t like how Game of Thrones ended, you probably blamed the showrunners – writer/producers, in other words – for that, and you were right to do so, because they were the ones who made and you were right to do so, because they were the ones who made the creative decisions that were so controversial. Similarly, we praise writers and showrunners when their shows are creatively successful.
10672 The story of Kim’s Convenience is also the story of co-creator Ins Choi, whose life growing up in a Korean-Canadian family inspired him to write a play based on those experiences, and then to co-develop and co-create the TV show based on that play. Without Ins Choi, there is no Kim’s Convenience, and it’s a really good show, by the way.
10673 This is what we mean when we talk about a Canadian authorial voice in television. It is the creative core of the medium. And, if programming is to have a Canadian voice, then we feel strongly that it must be written by a Canadian.
10674 As you know, however, the 10-point system used by both the CRTC and CAVCO does not distinguish between feature film and TV, and makes the presence of a Canadian writer optional. This is not the forum to talk about the points system per se, but we strongly believe that all CBC shows should be Canadian-written.
10675 We would like to also reiterate our position that reporting by the CBC should include the number of Canadians in those key creative roles. We made this suggestion to the Commission with respect to the Production Report, and while you did not take us up on it there, we should submit that the CBC is the national public broadcaster and should be subject to this higher standard of reporting.
10676 We thank you very much for your time, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
10677 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I will turn the floor back to Madame Lafontaine.
10678 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you very much, Ms. Parker and Mr. McDougall for your presentation this afternoon. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in terms of your oral presentation.
10679 MS. ROY: Ms. Parker, I think you -- are you listening to the stream? Sorry, now you’re on mute. Perfect, I think now it’s okay because we were hearing the stream in the background.
10680 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Right. Okay, thank you. I’ll continue. Yes, well, thank you for your thoughtful presentation and your thoughtful written submission. I would just like to start where you finished off in your oral presentation in terms of where you state that you strongly believe that all CBC shows should be Canadian-written.
10681 And, I’m just wondering if you could, without getting into, as you say, the whole CAVCO point system, but just in terms of the Canadian writers’ experiences in terms of productions that are commissioned and acquired by CBC, what is -- what can you tell us about the Canadian screenwriters’ participation?
10682 MS. PARKER: Well, thank you for the question, Madame Lafontaine, and I’m very pleased to have that question. So, as you’re probably aware, the CBC is really the home of Canadian content. And, while private broadcasters have been decreasing their numbers of PNI and making less and less dramatic programming in particular and long-form documentary, the CBC has continued to make that type of programming, and that’s because it’s a publicly-owned broadcaster. It’s not because, you know, the management has decided that they’re going to make all Canadian. It is their mandate, and we are paying for it as taxpayers.
10683 So, looking at that, writers have a place to pitch stories, a place to develop Canadian shows that really speak to the nature of Canada; our public consciousness. And, I was just listening to your last speaker who really did a great job at talking about local, and we believe that that’s what makes stories wonderful like Kim’s convenience, because that’s a local story based on a family that grew up in Toronto. Murdoch Mysteries, you know, again set in the past, but set in Canada.
10684 And, these are the stories that our public broadcaster should be telling; not necessarily foreign acquisitions and international co-corrections. Those are great, but I can see those somewhere else. I’m watching them online somewhere else. And, I want to see on the CBC things that we can’t see anywhere else and that speaks to being a Canadian.
10685 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you, Ms. Parker. I appreciate your -- or I have understood, I believe, your submission with regards to programs of national interest and children’s programming, the Writers Guild of Canada does not support CBC/Radio-Canada’s or CBC’s cross-platform proposal. In your presentation today, you stated or restated that expenditures is the way to go.
10686 I’m wondering if -- and, as -- if you have been following the hearing, you would have heard some discussions, including with the Directors Guild this morning, there were some -- there is discussion around the production values in terms of online content versus television -- content made for television. And so -- and, that there’s a distinction or there’s a difference between the amounts of monies that are spent on programs for traditional platforms as compared to digital platforms.
10687 And so, I’m wondering if you wanted to weigh in on that or contribute to that discussion in terms of distinctions between the productions online and on television, and how this expenditure -- the route down the expenditure obligations might help with that.
10688 MS. PARKER: I would be pleased to. So, I want to clarify our position right off the top. We are only supporting an expenditure-based model if the CBC decides to go with a cross-platform approach, and we don’t think you should, because we don’t have any data on CBC GEM. We don’t know what we’re talking about.
10689 The CBC has fallen down in terms of giving us data, giving the public data and, again, it’s public money. So, I think it’s very premature of them to propose a cross-platform without giving interested parties the information.
10690 So, our main position is too early to do a cross-platform, and especially because we have Bill C10 coming in. And so, we really think they should stick with their current model and back to 10 hours of historical -- based on historical numbers and no decrease. That only means that they will do less, I mean, we all know how that works, and that will not require an expenditure requirement. So, normal, no expenditure requirement, exhibition, 10 and not seven and not nine.
10691 So, talking about, then, the type of programming and why it matters according to budgets, because the most expensive type of programming to produce is dramatic content, and the budgets range, but they start at least $1.5 million per episode. And, you know, some of the shows we have on right now are running $3 million an episode.
10692 Now, that’s a major financial investment, and I was listening to the CB -- sorry, the DGC talking about features. And, a feature is, again, of proper quality would be, above that, and dramatic serials are really the thing that drives television, because you do develop characters and the attachment to the characters.
10693 So, I guess the main question about expenditures is that you know, with an expenditures-base, they have to spend some of it on high quality dramatic production and not just looking at hours, which could be made up of 12 one-minute segments or five minutes in the (indiscernible). The length can be very -- can fluctuate in the digital environment or, really, still on the traditional prime time environment, which is still strong. we haven’t switched completely to all online. The one-hour drama or half-hour dram rules the day, and those are expensive to make.
10694 I hope that answers your question.
10695 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: It does. Thank you. Still on this, on the topic of distinctions between traditional and online -- and, thank you for the clarification and the confirmation of your position on PNI, in particular, but one of the issues that's come up in this proceeding, and I had an exchange about this with the previous intervenor, with On Screen Manitoba, this whole notion of one hour of programming on the traditional platform is not comparable to one hour on digital. And you've mentioned it in your written intervention and you've spoken about it today.
10696 I would ask you the same question that I asked On Screen Manitoba: If the Commission were to go down the hours route, is there a way - in terms of exhibition, across platform exhibition requirement - is there a way or are there any measures that could also be put in place to elevate the online content, as it were, so that the broadcast of it would mirror in some way primetime broadcast on traditional platforms? And this might be through prominence or time spent or -- I'm just wondering whether the Writer's Guild has any views on this.
10697 MS. PARKER: Well, you know, as we just talked about, I think the digital online world is still developing, especially at the CBC. It's not Netflix. It's CBC Gem. I think you'd really need to look at expenditure requirements to make sure they're spending a certain amount on programs of national interest, and you'd need to look at the length and the type of programming.
10698 So if there's going to be little interstitials or, you know, shorts, drama, or children's programming, then that's why you would need the expenditure requirement to ensure that those were of a high quality.
10699 And I'm not getting that feeling from anything the CBC is talking about. You know, they want complete flexibility, they have also said that they're going to do more and spend less. Well, I don't know how you could do that unless you're going to use foreign and then look to super digital production.
10700 So yes, there is a way to measure it. If you were going to look at that expenditures would be the key and then length and genre.
10701 And I -- you know what, Neal, would you like to add anything?
10702 MR. McDOUGALL: Sure. Yeah, I think a primetime exhibition requirement is sort of doing two things at once: One of the things it's doing is that it's putting that exhibition hour at a time and a place where most people are watching television. So there's a sort of a discoverability or an audience element there.
10703 Which is I think very difficult if not impossible to translate to what is an OnDemand platform, where people are accessing the content on their own time. And then it sort of becomes well are there things you can do with prominence or discoverability to make sure that there's some sort of equivalency there but it's not clear to me exactly what that would be.
10704 The second thing that the primetime exhibition requirement does is it sort of says "This is where people are watching, this is our showcase period of time, this is really where we're going to put our investment, the biggest bang for the buck, so this is where we're going to put the most bucks." And the primetime slot encourages that level of spending.
10705 That also doesn't translate easily to an hour online, you know, which is why we keep coming back to the expenditure thing. Ultimately it's about investment in program. People will watch the programming based on the quality, and the best quantitative measure that we can think of to really reflect the quality of the programming is money spent, expenditures.
10706 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. Still on the topic of programs of national interest, I noted in your presentation today your concern about the double counting. And the CBC had indicated during the first week of the proceeding that they had confirmed that they would not double count programs of national interest that appeared on the digital platform. And you had indicated that you didn't see any such commitment in the application.
10707 I think it is set out in the summary, at a minimum anyway, in the summary of what CBC Radio-Canada proposes to do in the definition of broadcast, albeit it's a -- an expectation. So they're prepared to commit by way of expectation that, through this definition of broadcast, that programs on the digital platform will not duplicate those that appear on the traditional platform.
10708 And so in light of that, does that change your view at all or does it minimize your concern at all in terms of the double counting of the programs of national interest?
10709 MS. PARKER: Neal?
10710 MR. McDOUGALL: I don't know that we have the same interpretation. So we'll definitely go back and take a look at that. I think you know one of the concerns is it's not an original first run requirement, so that in and of itself on television, you know, if it's not original first run it can go any amount of time.
10711 We definitely saw in the application that they were saying that "When we put it online it will be counted once", as opposed to, for example, how many times it's viewed or accessed. So I think we understood that.
10712 I don't think we were clear though that if you broadcast it once - and this we believe was shared amongst other intervenors, so if we're confused I think other people are confused as well - that you could broadcast something on the TV network and then put it online and it would count, again, albeit only once. And I guess then if it's online and it goes to the network how many times is it being counted? And I guess conceptually if you can count -- it's not original first run so you can count the same hour multiple times on the network but not when they go between, is I think confusing.
10713 So I think at the very least we would like to see that clarified and in the language of the expectation itself.
10714 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Noted, and thank you.
10715 One of the questions that was asked this morning of the Director's Guild by my colleague, Commissioner Barin, was if the Commission were to only put measures in place for specific types of content, what types of content, in your view, would come within that -- the basket of the -- those that would necessitate or require regulatory support?
10716 MS. PARKER: Well, we would go back, of course, to programs of national interest. We think that that's a very clear definition. So that would be drama, comedies, varieties, long form -- longer documentaries. It would include children's programming and animation.
10717 So I think those are all the key areas. And again, it's because of the cost. The cost to make that type of programming is more expensive, so if you don't protect it it will not be made. That's how you could do more with less, as the CBC says.
10718 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. In your written intervention you raised a concern about -- and I'm just going to shift now to reporting, and I know that the Writer's Guild, and you've talked about it today, you've raised a lot of concerns and issues in terms of CBC's reporting. One of them that you've -- that you stated in your written intervention was about the way the corporation reports on script and concept development, and this is at paragraphs 59 to 61 of your written intervention. And I'm wondering if you could speak to that and why the way they've reported that information is problematic?
10719 MS. PARKER: I'm going to turn this over to Neal, but I would like to just touch on first why we need that. Because that's where you see the development of homegrown Canadian drama or comedy or animation is in those particular categories. And we do want to assess how much of that they're actually doing comparative to their acquisitions or their promotion and their wanting to put on coproduction's. So we want to see what they're actually spending at home to develop content.
10720 And developing is different than producing, because as you know, having worked in this world with us, that many things need to be developed in order to get one thing produced. You know, there's a ratio of about 10 to 1. If you want to have successful programming you have to spend money on development. And that might not eventually turn into a show, maybe along the line, it gets scrapped. But you need to do that initial development work to ensure that you’re going to make quality programming that Canadian audiences want.
10721 So, Neal?
10722 MR. McDOUGALL: Sure. Thank you. So, yes. The concern arises from -- and I’m just going to read this because I want to try to get it right. It’s the aggregated annual returns for the CBC’s English language television stations under programming expenses.
10723 So there are multiple lines on that form for different types of costs, including line number 10, which is “Script and Concept Development Programs Not Telecast”. And line 28, “Script and Concept Development Programs Telecast”.
10724 And for example, in the 2018/2019 aggregated annual return, on line 10, there’s just zero dollars reported there.
10725 We would be very surprised if the CBC actually spent zero dollars on script and concept development that year for programs not telecast. It just doesn’t make any sense.
10726 One of the business of broadcasters, fundamentally, is to develop and commission programming. Dramatic programming, most children’s programming, just about any type of programming, has a development phase. You don’t jump straight from an idea to production. You develop scripts, you write them, et cetera.
10727 On line 28 in that same year, only 147,000 was recorded, and zero dollars for category seven. Category seven is the drama category where all of this development would occur.
10728 So when we look at these aggregated annual reports for the CBC, and other broadcasters, by the way, we’ve mentioned this in some previous proceedings, the group-based licensing proceeding for example, we were also seeing zeros or blanks where we felt there should be a number. So this is not the first time we’ve mentioned this.
10729 The guess is that they’re not filling it out correctly.
10730 We feel like we need to understand what’s being spent on script and concept so that we have the data. It goes to the theme of the bridge is built with data. Everything is built with data these days when it comes to regulation.
10731 So if we want to understand the writing process, which is crucial to the creation of great Canadian television, we need to know what’s being spent. We need to have the right data.
10732 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. In terms of the data collection, much has been said during this proceeding about the CBC’s commencing the filing of the production reports. You’ve discussed it in your presentation today.
10733 If that were a requirement, is there -- are there other things that you would recommend be included in the CBC’s filing of the production report that you have not yet highlighted in terms of information that the Commission should be seeking from the Public Broadcaster in terms of these annual filings and information about the programs that it’s commissioning and acquiring and broadcasting?
10734 MS. PARKER: I’m just going to start, Monique -- sorry, Commissioner Lafontaine, and then hand it over to Neal.
10735 One of the things we’d like to see is some data as well on foreign acquisitions and international co-productions.
10736 I mean, we’ve heard from the CBC that those are essential in order to work with discoverability on the main network and then digital as well. So to drive in audiences to watch, let’s say, Kim’s Convenience.
10737 And we actually have zero data about that. How much are they spending on these international co-productions and what sort of audience retention are they actually getting? Because, again, we can’t see whether that’s a valid argument or not because there’s zero data.
10738 And I would say with regards to the production reports, and Neal is the expert on that, that even when we get those from private broadcasters, et cetera, they’re not filled out. So this is not just a CBC program -- problem. This hearing in particular was very data deficient. Very. It was kind of shocking. But we’ve also had problems in the past with private broadcasters and data.
10739 And what concerns me is that somehow, the CRTC is not going back to the broadcasters and saying, “Look, your report is not complete.”
10740 I forget -- I think it was CORUS, actually, who put down that they spent zero on Canadian drama, which, of course, we knew was not correct. But that was in their actual report.
10741 I think it behoves the CRTC to also reinforce that reporting and make sure that it’s properly filled out, and if not, to give it back to them and say, “Do it over.”
10743 MR. McDOUGALL: Thank you. So I do think that there’s some other things that we could look for, but rather than try to give you a list here, I think, you know, we’ll probably try and do that in our final written submissions, and maybe even give you a template for everything that we think we could ask for.
10744 But here I think I might mention a few principles that might be helpful.
10745 I think the first principle is disaggregation; right? One of the big concerns of the data that came out over the summer is combining English and French, combining Canadian and non-Canadian programming.
10746 You know, we really want to see the details of the data. Otherwise, it’s not really helpful to us at all.
10747 I think the second principle is, let’s not tie data exclusively to compliance. Sometimes there’s this notion that, “Well, if we have a condition of license, then we need to report on that for compliance purposes, and if we don’t, what’s the data for?”
10748 Well, the data is for understanding what’s going on, and especially when we’re talking about the public broadcaster, I don’t think there needs to be that rigid link between compliance and data.
10749 The third principle is overlap is okay. That sometimes there’s this notion that, well, that piece of data exists someplace else.
10750 I can tell you as a stakeholder, it can be incredibly challenging to sort of go to all of the different places that the data might be, looking for it.
10751 I think we understand that creating data takes resources and the CBC has limited resources.
10752 We would think that the resources are expended in the creation of the number and not necessarily copy pasting it in a different place. If the data is in multiple places, we don’t see a problem with that kind of redundancy, as long as it’s accurate.
10753 Another principle would be that the commercial sensitivity cannot override the public interest when it comes to the CBC in particular.
10754 If we’re spending public money, then it should be transparent and accountable and we should see where it goes.
10755 Sometimes there’s this notion expressed that, you know, “Well, we don’t want to provide that information because the privates don’t and, you know, we have competitive interests with them.”
10756 Well the CBC has seemingly acknowledged that they don’t compete with Netflix or Crave, that they have a niche service. So there shouldn’t be, I think, that competitive concern to begin with.
10757 But even if there is, even if they claim it, then the onus really needs to be on them to prove it, and to a high standard of prove. It shouldn’t just be, “This is competitively sensitive. End of discussion.” I think they have to say exactly why. You know, “This number was put out. Netflix would do what? Crave would do what?” I think we need to know the details. And if they can’t prove that, then I think the default should be public.
10758 And one other quick thing. I think this was mentioned by the DGC earlier.
10759 When we move to online, sometimes there’s the potential for programming costs to get mixed in with nonprogramming costs because now you have this whole other set of costs, like maintaining the website, maintain -- running the algorithm. You know, these sorts of things which, in a T.V. world, would be comparable to maintaining your over the air transmitter; right? We never said that those costs counted as programming costs in the traditional world. And so if there’s some digital costs, like maintaining the site, you know, those should not absolutely be included in programming costs.
10760 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: All right. Well thank you very much. All of that is noted.
10761 I have just a couple of quick questions for you just in terms of clarification of your position. I’m mindful of time.
10762 The first of the two relates to children’s programming and, you know, I appreciate that your submission is that you do not support the cross-platform proposal that CBC has put forward, but I don’t believe that you have commented on CBC’s current obligation, which was set out in an expectation to broadcast five hours per week for the youth audience. And so, I don’t know whether the Writers Guild has a view on this or whether you would like to come back to us with a view on this, but that would be useful.
10763 MS. PARKER: Okay, Commissioner Lafontaine, we’ll come back with an answer to that.
10764 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you. And then my last question relates to the discretionary platforms and whether you have any concerns about CBC’s proposal to remove the exhibition requirement during the evening broadcast period on the three discretionary services, Explora documentary channel and OUTtv.
10765 MS. PARKER: Yes, we do have concerns, and I mentioned that in my last answer. Again, they believe that they need to have more foreign content as a discoverability tool to drive audiences to Canadian documentaries, for example. And, nowhere have we seen the data to support that argument, and we think that we have a very strong tradition in Canada of making excellent long-form documentaries and, of course, short-form as well. So, we just don’t buy that argument and, again, it has to be supported with data.
10766 So, that would be -- Neal, is there anything you would like to add?
10767 MR. MCDOUGALL: I would just follow-up on that and say, you know, if there is an argument -- so, putting foreign programming on your channel and saying, “This is how we’re going to either drive discoverability or drive revenues for Canadian programming,” sounds a little too close to the comfort to private Canadian broadcasting strategy.
10768 So, if they’re going to go in that direction, we would love to see the detailed argument on the net benefit; that they wound up with more money in Canadian by doing that. We would like to see the success metric that said, “We were able to get this flexibility, and it benefited the system more than if we hadn’t been,” because otherwise it just feels like a stop gap when we know they’re challenged by revenue; right?
10769 And, that’s always the elephant in the room is the fact that the CBC is not very well funded as a public broadcaster in comparison to others around the world, and we know that’s not the CRTC’s job to do that, but it’s like the elephant in the room. And, if their focus is, you know, putting their finger in the dike, so to speak, to stop the water coming in, you know, we need to see that that’s actually working for the benefit of Canadian programming.
10770 MS. PARKER: What I would also -- sorry, go ahead.
10771 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: No, go ahead. Go ahead, Ms. Parker.
10772 MS. PARKER: I would just like to add on that, that the CBC has been given an extra $150 -- $150 million annually to assist them in making Canadian programming. And, I do think it’s part of the management choice as to also how do you manage your budget? You know, maybe there are cuts in other areas that you would make to put more Canadian content on the air.
10773 So, you know, I think that, yes, they are starved but, in reality, given that we’re in a worldwide pandemic, I can’t see that changing in any -- any time soon. So, in the interim, you know, we would like to see what do they think are revenue drivers? What are they doing with this extra revenue? Are they spending it on operations, on management? You know, again, what is going into Canadian content? Because that’s their primary mandate.
10774 And, you know, I think that’s what we have to focus on; not acquisitions, not co-productions, but programs of national interest in prime time. We will get the digital worked out after, I believe, C10 is in motion. I think that would make sense, because then everyone will be on an equal footing. So, maybe, just looking down the line, maybe a shorter licence is better than a longer licence to get us through this period of transition. Thank you.
10775 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Well, thank you very much, Ms. Parker and Mr. McDougall for answering my questions today. Mr. Chair, those are all of my questions.
10776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I’m going to turn the microphone to Madame Barin in one second but, Ms. Parker, you had just -- in the penultimate question from Commissioner Lafontaine, you said you would follow-up. I’m assuming that will be in your reply comments?
10777 MS. PARKER: Yes.
10778 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
10779 MS. PARKER: Yes, yes.
10780 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just wanted to be sure you weren’t seeking an undertaking. That’s fine. Madame Barin?
10781 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you, Mr. Chair. So, I appreciate the offer you made, Mr. McDougall, in your final comments to provide more of, I guess, a template or guidance as to what would be helpful in terms of data to have, because there has been a lot of emphasis on data and, as you know, the devil is in the detail, and I’m getting the sense from what you -- the comments you made on the script and concept that maybe there are issues in terms of the way the Commission is defining some categories of programming so that they are being either misreported or -- you know, that there are issues -- either definitional voids or categories that are not very clear.
10782 So, to the extent that you are aware of any of those areas, in your final reply, if you could maybe either suggest what a useful definition would be or at least indicate where it isn’t clear? And, I think you also talked about programming versus non-programming expenses on the digital platform. So, it would be helpful if you could get -- to get your perspective on what would make it clearer.
10783 MR. MCDOUGALL: Absolutely.
10784 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
10785 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, and thank you for your presentation and for taking the time to be with us today. I will turn it back over to the hearing secretary, Madame la secretaire.
10786 MS. ROY: Merci beaucoup. Thank you.
10787 MS. PARKER: Thank you, Commission.
10788 MS. ROY: Thank you. We will now connect with the next participants. And, Mr. Parle and Mr. Smedley, can you turn on your cameras and unmute your button? Hi, Mr. Smedley.
10789 MR. SMEDLEY: Hi. Can you hear my fine?
10790 MS. ROY: Yes, I can. Thank you very much. I will introduce yourself. So, before we begin, we will hear the next participants. So, Mr. Daniel Parle and John Bruce Smedley. We will hear each presentation which will then be followed by questions by the Commissioners to all participants. We will begin with the presentation by Mr. Parle. You may begin your presentation, Mr. Parle. You have five minutes.
10791 One minute, I am just going to ask you to unmute your mic.
10792 MR. PARLE: There we go. Can you hear me now?
10793 MS. ROY: Perfect. Yes.
10795 MR. PARLE: Okay, thank you, Madame la secretaire, and thank you, Mr. Chairman and other Commissioners for having me speak today. It makes me feel good about democracy and bureaucracy that I can be an individual here. I do not represent any organization or any group.
10796 I am speaking solely as a viewer and a listener to the CBC services. I do have some expertise. I’m a former print journalist and a long-time communications professional, and I have a passion just in public broadcasting and Canadian culture.
10797 There are a lot of complex issues about this licence renewal, far, far too many for me to go on. I have lots of opinions on everything, but my remarks are going to be broader and less detailed than some of the other presenters, and I think that’s probably a good thing. I want to make a few points, and I have some recommendations for you.
10798 First of all, it goes without saying that CBC Radio and Television needs to be expanded, nurtured and valued. We’re a very small country. And, if we’re going to stay relevant, (indiscernible) goes by as media, we need to promote our own stories and things. Canada would be a culture -- a much poorer place if we did not have a public broadcaster like the CBC. It doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved or it’s perfect, but we need it.
10799 Also, we also need CBC that’s funded on a more long-term and proper basis, and one with the kind of stable funding that we see in other countries, other western countries. It’s very difficult for the CBC to be independent and do the good work they do if they simply don’t have the resources.
10800 Now, the need for long-term independent funding doesn’t mean that any desperate kind of funding should be accepted. I’ve been listening to CBC Radio all my life. I remember an ill-informed attempt to put advertising on CBC Radio a few years ago it was a disaster, but I've always looked to CBC Radio as one of the few services that is not influenced by advertising, and Canada needs one of those things. So we should avoid that.
10801 I'm also surprised -- I teach media literacy and media relations off and on, both informally and formally. I'm always surprised how many people do not understand the difference between sponsored content, or whatever it is you want to call it, between the line, between advertising and content, especially in print media which is where I started.
10802 And now, we have the CBC wanting to do something called Tandem, which would be disastrous for media literacy in the country and a disaster for the CBC. We need to avoid any further encroachment of -- further development of this sponsored content, advertising being disguised as content, especially in a world now that seems to be losing its media literacy.
10803 I had a -- on my last job, I had a staff of mostly young people who were very literate in some ways of all kind of platforms and all kinds of uses, but they didn't seem to understand the distinction between information that's edited and put through journalistic ethics, et cetera, et cetera, and other content that just pours out of the internet that has a variety of sources and means behind it.
10804 And a final point before I do my recommendations: I -- many of my friends and family are very ardent CBC listeners, but I'm always surprised at how many people in Canada don't seem to understand what public broadcasting is or what the mandate of the CBC is. If you stopped 100 people on the street out there in Ottawa, I suspect -- and asked them, "What's the mandate of the CBC?" and "What is public broadcasting?", they'd probably say, "I don't know." And I'm not even sure I can answer those questions well.
10805 So anyways, a few recommendations before I finish here:
10806 One, I would say renew the CBC licence for all services with a clear public broadcasting mandate. That's pretty easy.
10807 I would encourage -- get you to encourage, and we should all encourage the federal government to adopt a clear independent funding model for the CBC at a level greater or equal to the per capita average of other similar services in other western countries. Now, I know the CRTC does not set the funding for the CBC, but you do work on their mandate and you have -- you're in a position to comment.
10808 It would be -- it's pointless for us all to sit here and say, "The CBC should do this, the CBC should do more public broadcasting", et cetera, "more Canadian content". Well, we know they don't have the resources or the long-term stable funding do to that. So I'd urge you to be brave in that. I know it's hard sometimes to be brave when you're part of a bureaucratic enterprise. By the way, I worked for the -- a government role for 30 years so I'm familiar with what it's like.
10809 I would urge you to not allow any advertising on the licence for the CBC Radio services, either French or English, for the reason that this country needs at least one service that isn't -- that you can look to that isn't influenced by advertising. And I can tell you, having worked in publishing and media, that to varying degrees all services that accept advertising are influenced in some way. Less -- some less or some more. So let's leave the CBC Radio services as the one service in Canada that is not influenced or beholden to advertising.
10810 Next recommendation: The CBC licence should not allow any form of sponsored content or Tandem, whatever they want to call it. All advertising must be clearly and instantly identified as such on television. The CRTC should develop clear expectations on how to do this.
10811 And I would extend it to all licence renewals, not just the CBC. And I say that because the lucky think about electronic broadcasting in this country is you have to have a licence. When you work in print, anybody can start a print publication and sell their soul as long as you don't break the laws.
10812 But the CRTC is in a position to influence how we distinguish between advertising and content on our electronic services, and I think you should do that, and you should do that not just in the CBC's licence but any other electronic folks that you do licensing on, because they will be moving towards this way too.
10813 And then my final recommendation: I think that the CBC and CRTC should prepare some detailed communication plans and efforts to explain to the public the difference of a -- between public broadcasting and all other broadcasting, and why we spend this money, and what the mandate of public broadcasting is.
10814 This is a very unusual licence renewal because this is the only public broadcaster we have in the country. All of the other electronic ones are not. We need to make that distinction to the general public if possible, that this is a different service, and explain to them why the government spends this kind of money on public broadcasting.
10815 I'll end there. Thank you.
10816 MS. ROY: Thank you very much for your presentation.
10817 We'll now hear the presentation of Mr. John Bruce Smedley. You may begin your presentation. You have five minutes. Please unmute your mic. One minute, Mr. Smedley. You need to unmute your mic.
10818 MR. SMEDLEY: Can you hear me now?
10819 MS. ROY: Yes, we can.
10821 MR. SMEDLEY: Good afternoon, and thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the CBC.
10822 I am John Smedley. I'm a professional engineer, retired, and have worked across the world and throughout Canada. I am concerned by how the world perceives Canada and how Canadian citizens understand foreign countries and international affairs and as this relates to the existence of programming on the CBC.
10823 At no time in our history have Canadians needed to focus so clearly on who we are, our future, or how we plan to address the future as a nation. The world is in transition, the world order is uncertain, and the stability of any of our national or international institutions is a thing of the past.
10824 Canada and all nations of the world are coming to grips with the fact that humans live on a finite planet. World resources now stressed include land use, forests, oceans, and the atmosphere, which negatively impact biodiversity; water supply, food production, and ecosystem health. Continued human existence on Planet Earth is now coming into question. The COVID-19 pandemic has made Canadians realize that all nations will need to define a "new normal" for global society and reaffirm global cooperation and international participation.
10825 Now is the opportunity for Canada to systematically develop and model a rational prosperity on a finite world. The role of the CBC is to chronicle, inform, and advertise Canada's contribution to the transition to a sustainable and equitable future for all mankind.
10826 Foreign relations: Now that Canada has emerged from the shadow of the United States, it must forge unique relationships with global partners. Canada's global presence is of great interest to foreign nations because of our fortunate political evolution and existing natural circumstances.
10827 The U.S., China, India and various members of discrete trading blocs are all looking at Canada for guidance on how we conduct our global affairs and share our resources. The global competition for the hearts, minds, and personal information of Canadians is intensive.
10828 The CBC is necessary for a nuanced understanding of the relationships between foreign nations and Canada, and essential to Canada's future as either a cohesive and progressive nation or as an adjunct component of another nation's evolution and institutions. Canada is not for profit, not a branch plant, nor a political pawn of some other nation's economic or national ambitions.
10829 Institutional transition: The U.S. is riddled by for profit national news outlets resulting in a fractured audience with opposing political agenda and regional disparity. China is currently battling the U.S. for political ideology and regional -- and access to global resources.
10830 China's four internet news outlets, larger than any than the world, are all controlled by the state. With the internet, the distribution of news and information is the medium and can be dispersed on many platforms by diverse sources.
10831 The CBC is accountable to the general public, the country, truth and accuracy, and democracy. Regionally, nationally, and internationally, the CBC is a bargain and must remain independent of political interference and the threat of destruction by financial strangulation. The CBC is Canada and Canada defines its role in and of the future of the world.
10832 Thank you.
10833 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I'm just getting myself off of mute.
10834 Thank you both. Thank you for taking the time. It's important that we hear from individual citizens, as well as those with vested interest in the system, and I very much appreciate you putting in the necessary effort and the time to share your views with us today. I don’t have any specific follow-up questions but, again, I appreciate you taking the time today. Madam Secretary?
10835 MS. ROY: Thank you. We will take a 15-minute break and come back with the last presenter of the day. So, we will be back at 3:05.
10836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
10837 MS. ROY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 2:50 p.m. /
L'audience est suspendue à 14h50
--- Upon resuming at 3:03 p.m./
L’audience est reprise à 15h03
10838 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We will now hear the presentation of the Association of Canadian Advertisers and Canadian Media Directors Council. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes.
10839 Oh, Ms. Davey, I think you’re on mute.
10840 MS. DAVEY: Thank you.
10841 MS. ROY: Perfect.
10843 MS. DAVEY: Good afternoon, and thank you for allowing us to participate in this important hearing. I’m Judy Davey, VP Media Policy and Marketing Capabilities at the Association of Canadian Advertisers. And, with me from ACA are Ron Lund, our president and CEO, and Patrick Hotte, our VP of Quebec. Joining me and presenting today is my colleague, Shannon Lewis, President, Canadian Media Directors Council. Next slide, please?
10844 A little bit about us. The ACA is the only professional trade association solely dedicated to representing the interest of client companies that market and advertise their products and services in Canada. Our members, over 300 companies and divisions, have collective annuals sales of approximately $300 billion. Over to Shannon.
10845 MS. LEWIS: Thank you, Judy. I just want to say, I’m Shannon Lewis from CMDC. I want to thank you so much for this opportunity to share our industry voice. We know that the media industry, the CRTC and the Government of Canada all share the same goals in having a vibrant, diverse and successful Canadian media ecosystem.
10846 At the same time, we obviously cannot deny the economic challenges the pandemic has placed on our industry. It has had a profound impact on Canadian business. A little bit about CMDC. CMDC is an independent association of media professional representing advertising agencies to ensure a fair, progressive marketplace.
10847 We’re an over 33-year-old brand. We have been strategic advisors, advocates and leaders in the Canadian advertising sector. Our members actually account for 92 per cent of media ad spend in Canada. And, in 2020, to give you an idea, that was $10 billion invested into the Canadian economy, Canadian jobs and obviously our communication infrastructure.
10848 Our industry really depends on the diversity and voices, and diversity was a big theme this afternoon across many associations. And, when I say “diversity”, I mean diversity in our strategic thinking, our people and obviously the audience that we serve.
10849 And, my last point is that advertising is really critical to a robust broadcasting system. Enabling Canadian media to invest creatively and flexibly is therefore not only critical to our industry, but it’s also to the news organizations and, ultimately, to our democracy. Next slide? I’m going to pass this over to Judy.
10850 MS. ROY: Ms. Davey, you are muted.
10851 MS. DAVEY: Sorry. And, you can see here, in Canada, advertising is one of the primary resources sustaining the broadcasting system. It is critical to a healthy and robust broadcasting system in Canada. Advertising spend in Canada represented $15.1 billion in revenue flow to media companies in 2019.
10852 And, you can see from the chart here, approximately $3.1 billion invested annually in TV, $1.4 billion in radio, and you can see that online investments continue to grow representing the $8.8 billion in 2019, which is up from $5.5 billion just four years ago. And, you will note that despite the growth in online advertising, TV spend is still greater than video spend.
10853 The estimated 2019 GDP economic impact of advertising in Canada, based on a Deloitte GDP multiplier of 6.37 was $96.2 billion. So, considering these substantial revenues, it is advertising, really, that pays for the programs that inform, entertain and educate Canadians. In return, advertisers have a vehicle to communicate with their customers. This relationship between broadcasting and advertising has yielded many mutual benefits since the advent of broadcasting.
10854 Slide 6, please? Canadian broadcasting is a fragile ecosystem supported by stakeholders and must work together to satisfy their customer base. Customers want value, flexibility and choice across a broad spectrum of channels. The advertiser is also a customer, and we want choice as well, including a strong and stable broadcasting system which delivers a quality environment for advertising. With the growth in online video tuning, streaming and commercial-free OTT offerings, advertising options in broad reaching vehicles continue to diminish.
10855 The ability to advertise on CBC in English Canada and SRC in French Canada are significant options for advertisers to get their messages out. We want this to continue. While CBC is important in English Canada, SRC is absolutely vital in French Canada.
10856 As the second largest broadcaster in Quebec with a market share of 20 per cent, SRC is essential as an advertising option. Without the option of advertising on SRC, competition would seriously be diminished, and it’s estimated that costs would rise exponentially threatening the affordability and viability in Quebec which would directly impact content contributions.
10857 Advertisers are constantly looking for new markets and new options of distribution to reach the many and diverse consumers that make up their customer base. As such, we have long advocated that broadcasting should be permitted and, indeed, would benefit from commercial advertising, and this includes CBC Radio broadcasts.
10858 CBC Radio services generate many unique, desirable and commercially viable audiences. Given the dominant market share of CBC Radio across the country, advertisers are being deprived of a prime vehicle to get their messages across.
10859 We respectfully request that advertisers be given the opportunity to once again showcase their messages on CBC Radio and welcome the positive impact that additional revenue could provide for investments in CBC products and services to Canadians. We briefly enjoyed this opportunity on CBC Radio 2 and EC Music, however that was halted in 2016. Next slide, please?
10860 The media landscape continues to change rapidly, and the tools and metrics that support it must continue to change as well. We need a better measurement service where audience data required to underpin the desired future state of Canadian media currency will combine data quality at a national scale that is interoperable among broadcasters and digital platforms, and provide a fair and level data ecosystem to all stakeholders.
10861 An enhanced audience measurement system will improve the viewer experience and dramatically improve the accuracy and information available to media companies, distributors, content providers, as well as advertisers. Advertisers rely on measurement information to access audience data to determine price, but they require much more depth and breadth of data than is available today.
10862 In an era of media consumption across devices and platforms, we need cross-media measurement, including measurement of commercial audiences. With commercial audience data, advertisers could plan and buy media more with more accuracy and confidence, and programmers could learn more about their individual programs.
10863 The world is moving to cross-media measurement with initiatives well underway in the U.S. and the U.K. This is a very important priority for ACA. And, under our leadership we have just launched in Canada, CBC, SRC and the CRTC could be leaders helping the industry champion its adoption across all broadcast and digital platforms, and we welcome participation. Next slide, and over to Shannon, please.
10864 MS. LEWIS: Thank you, Judy. So, building off of Judy’s points, I think our position at CMDC and overall in our media industry is that we support the strong public broadcasting Canadians basically deserve. We share the goals of having a vibrant, diverse and prosperous Canadian media ecosystem which reflects and enhances Canada’s unique and diverse culture.
10865 Consumers rely on CBC. There is no doubt that CBC is a trusted source to inform, enlighten and also to entertain. There has been research where actually 77 per cent of consumers trust -- have absolute trust and confidence in the CBC and also to protect Canadian culture and identity.
10866 CBC should continue, definitely, to distinguish itself from private broadcasters with its distinct, diverse voice while maintaining advertising. CBC must compete and live up to the promises of supporting and promoting Canadian values, such as democracy, freedom and a shared sense of community. I think we can all attest right now what we need is really to feel united.
10867 The acceleration of the digital landscape, competition and technology is obviously very, very complex, yet it also presents opportunities that are quite exciting. The public broadcasting obviously must evolve in order to engage and be responsive to Canadian audiences. This really comes down to quality programming and diversification of offerings.
10868 We know it has been a challenging year. There is no doubt about that. COVID has accelerated the pace of change with a profound loss of local news outlets, jobs and also threatens the health of our community and domestic media ecosystem. So, what is really critical for us as an industry is how, together, we can rebuild our media system that requires greater flexibility in order to compete with foreign programming and foreign markets.
10869 Next slide? We support CBC’s investments in digital and the direction towards more opportunities for advertisers to connect directly with Canadians. Tandem, I know there has been a lot of discussion around the new channel for branded content, it’s obviously a logical extension of CBC’s mandate and we, as industry, support the CBC moving forward in this direction.
10870 Why? Advertisers demand brand safe environments and the CBC would be the perfect environment for brands to associate with safe, basically, content, and opportunities.
10871 CBC has executed branded content for many years with clarity around editorial versus advertising.
10872 Most recently, this year, CBC created paid content that featured the Shaw Festival, the Government of Ontario to inform Canadians, and also the National Gallery of Canada.
10873 We would like to see CBC put more emphasis on measurement, Judy mentioned this prior to -- in our prior slide, basically ensuring Canadians get the programming they want and advertisers could better serve the audiences with personalized, highly targeted advertising.
10874 So in conclusion, if we get this right moving forward, we will have more investment and Canadian jobs, we’d have more high-quality Canadian programming that Canadians want to watch, better personalized advertising, and ultimately the goal is to come together like today and unite as an industry to help fuel a diverse and vibrant and growing Canadian media ecosystem.
10875 Thank you so much for having us here today.
10876 LE PRÉSIDENT: Thank you. Thank you for your presentation and for taking the time to be with us. I’ll turn the microphone to Madam Barin.
10877 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
10878 Good afternoon, Ms. Davey, Ms. Lewis, Mr. Lund, Mr. Hotte, Mr. Garvie.
10879 Thank you for your contributions to this public process.
10880 As you mentioned in your brief, you are bringing the perspective of the advertising and media buying community and you are one perspective that has so far been missing in this proceeding.
10881 So I hope that you will indulge me, because I’d like to pick your brains, so to speak, to get a little bit more context for the proposals and positions that the CBC and various intervenors have been putting forward.
10882 I admit I have a wish list of general topics that I’d like to run by you, but they’re less questions and more areas where I think your perspective would be very valuable for the Commission.
10883 I’d like to begin with the topic of audience measurement, which is, as you say, your trading currency.
10884 Now, one of the challenges today is the lack of this one common currency across platforms. And in your intervention, you state that the CBC/Radio-Canada could be leaders in helping the industry champion new cross-platform or cross-media measurement.
10885 What exactly do you mean by CBC playing a leadership role? And what exactly are you looking to measure in this cross-platform universe?
10886 MS. DAVEY: Well certainly we’re looking to measure audiences and we’re looking to measure audiences in a duplicated ration frequency manner that can be consistent across broadcasts and across digital, which is very very important.
10887 And from a broadcasting perspective, right now we measure programs. We don’t measure the commercial minutes. And we want to measure the commercials, as when you purchase digital, you’re measuring the commercial, they want things to be equitable on that front. So that is the area that we’re moving towards.
10888 And we would be happy to come and give you a full blown large in-depth presentation of cross-media measurement and our ambition and objective in Canada. It’s something that is a very big priority for the ACA and we are working with global marketers, global broadcasters, global platforms, and local platforms as well.
10889 We recently launched a committee, which is being chaired by Procter and Gamble’s Judi Hoffman. And we have a number of marketers from Canadian and international companies that are on our committee and our board and we’re in the process of -- we have a stakeholder subcommittee and we’re in the process of reaching out to other people, such as yourselves will be on the list, CBC SRC will be on the list, as well, other local broadcasters and local digital players to get engagement and participation in this committee.
10890 And one of the ways that we would welcome participation is from a resource perspective, applying the -- if you have any super tech savvy engineers that can help us provide work towards the solution.
10891 And also from a funding perspective. In the U.S. and in the U.K., there has been funding provided from various levels within the stakeholder group, because this is not going to be a cheap solution.
10892 But at the end of the day, it will be an awesome and wonderful solution and will be better for consumers because consumers will have a better viewing experience when they’re exposed less frequency and more directly targeted advertising.
10893 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you. So let me push you on the targeted point.
10894 So I’m assuming we’re looking at eyeballs, engagement, demographics, which are the typical trading currency for advertising.
10895 We’ve spoken a lot about relevance in this proceeding and how to measure relevance and programming to particular viewers.
10896 My question to you, as advertisers, media buyers, is relevance something that you can sell to an advertiser? Is there a value to it?
10897 MS. DAVEY: Absolutely. There is. Not all advertisers will see the same value in it, but for a number of advertisers, there’s totally relevance. And context is very important.
10898 And there have been a number of studies that have shown when you place an ad in an environment that is contextually relevant, you can get an uptick in awareness, you can get an uptick in positive brand metrics.
10899 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. So it would be in a broadcaster’s interest, if they were selling advertising, to measure relevance because it is something that they can monetize? So that’s what I -- that’s what I think I heard. You can correct me if I’m wrong.
10900 But my second question is, how would you measure relevance? Would there be some kind of industry standard? Or how would you do it?
10901 MS. DAVEY: It’s a tricky one because relevance varies in terms of what’s relevant for one advertiser may not be relevant for another.
10902 Certainly, to get to an understanding, there’s a company in the U.S. that we’re -- headquarters in the U.S. that we’re a member of. It’s called the Media Ratings Council. And they’re involved in auditing and accrediting a number of media companies around the world actually. And they’re also in the means of developing standards.
10903 And so one of the initiatives that they currently have right now is on determining standards for outcome measurement.
10904 So certainly we would reach out to get a proper definition and measure of relevance to people who are experts in this area. And I think the MRC would be certainly one company that could have a point of view on how to do that.
10905 They do a lot of their work through industry consultations, reaching out and hearing -- talking to a number of important stakeholders, but also talking to the general public, much like you’re doing with hearings, making sure that they get an adequate representation across a wide variety of voices before they publish their standards.
10906 But having standards is a good thing so that we can all work towards things and have a common way of measuring things, but recognizing that relevance isn’t going to be the same. It’s not a cookie cutter approach that can be the same for everybody.
10907 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I think I saw Ms. Lewis ---
10908 MS. DAVEY: I think my colleague ---
10909 MS. LEWIS: Just to add to Judy’s comment, I think -- hi.
10910 Just to add to Judy’s comment, I think relevancy also corelates with access to data.
10911 So data, if we have access to data, for instance, Gem, you can actually create more tailored, smarter, kind of more meaningful and relevant customer experiences.
10912 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you.
10913 MS. LEWIS: And I’ll ---
10914 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And when you’re saying access to data, Ms. Lewis, does this mean you’re saying the information exists and it’s just it isn’t available to the advertising community?
10915 MS. LEWIS: It does exist. I think with Gem for instance, there’s an opportunity to be a bit more sophisticated and to have more access to data. So ultimately, we can leverage that data to harness smarter business decisions, consumer insight. So obviously we’ll create better quality experience. And it all comes down to relevancy and meaning.
10916 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Thank you. Thank you very much. I’d like to look now at CBC’s role in the market as an advertiser. In your presentation, you pointed out the fact that Radio-Canada has a particularly strong market share and is therefore, I guess, the more critical player in the Quebec market.
10917 Can you describe how -- well can you -- first of all, can you speak to the differences between CBC’s role as an advertiser in the French and English markets?
10918 And secondly, with respect to the French market, can you be more precise about Radio-Canada’s role in that market? Is -- are they -- and I’m more interested in the setting of advertising rates and what the impact is of having Radio-Canada in the francophone advertising market?
10919 MS. DAVEY: As we mentioned earlier, you know, its overall share is 20%. Just bear with me while I pick up this chart to show you -- to demonstrate, and we can share this information with you. When you look at their share in primetime, with both SRC French and speciality, it’s actually 28%.
10920 So, when you have a player that has such a dominant share in a market, it’s really critical to competition. If it you were to take that away, then there would be the ability for the dominant player in the market to totally jack up prices because they are the --they would be the only player -- the dominant player left in which to advertise, and the control of pricing gets out of hand when you have very limited competition.
10921 As to setting of the market rates, I mean, it’s a supply and demand thing right now, and demand is good and supply is actually growing. I mean, we saw a dip obviously with COVID, but things are picking up. And so rates are set from essentially supply and demand, when there’s -- to manage that.
10922 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Great. Thank you.
10923 So then let’s move on to kind of the more supply and demand side, and I’d like your views on the trends in the advertising market in Canada generally. You know, we’ve discussed online versus digital and where the eyeballs are moving. From an advertiser’s perspective, what do you see happening to the advertising pie? Is it migrating or is really the lion’s share of the eyeballs, are they still on the traditional platform, and where do you see that going?
10924 MS. DAVEY: There’s two answers. There’s an eyeball answer and there’s a monetary financial answer. You can see, if you go back to the slide that we included with the advertising expenditure data, you can see that video advertising and internet advertising continues to grow exponentially when other media are flat, and I think out-of-home is growing a little bit, but there has definitely been a very large migration to spend to digital area.
10925 And as services continue to proliferate, you know, with streaming and OTT, audiences are migrating to those as well, mobile device, tablets. People are consuming content across numerous devices now, and that’s not something that’s going to change.
10926 And one of the things that’s important and, you know, certainly helpful for CBC as they compete with other players, both on the global front and -- is the content can be -- and I think Shannon mentioned it -- brand-safe. And brand safety is very, very important for us. You know that the digital media system is fraught with fraud and fraught with the viewability issues, and it’s something that we as an industry are collectively tackling, but it’s not something that is frankly every going to go away. And when you can advertise in a brand-safe place like on CBC Television and CBC Radio, if you could, and SRC, that’s certainly a plus and, you know, can even speak to your maybe not direct relevance, but in terms of being a brand-safe environment, that could be considered by many to be relevant.
10927 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you, Ms. Davey.
10928 So, your brand-safe environment, you talked about it in the context of tandem, the tandem initiative as well. And I guess here I have -- I’d like you to provide your perspective on this sort of like brand association, as you call it. And correct me if I’m wrong, but inherent in the concept of branded advertising is the fact that some of that -- the brand characteristics, whether it’s trust or, you know, safety or whatever, is rubbing off on the advertiser or their sponsor’s content.
10929 So, isn’t there inherently some confusion that is being leveraged in order to sell branded content? I’m asking you because there’s been a lot of discussion.
10930 MS. DAVEY: Well, I mean, advertisers behave in a responsible way in Canada, and certainly consumers are smart and they’re smart enough to know -- they know the distinction between advertising and the distinction between content. I mean, if you are doing something that is advertising, you need to say that it’s advertising and it needs to be very clear that it’s advertising. And I think people know when they’re watching content, they know if it’s content and they know if it’s branded content.
10931 And to the point that we made earlier, as advertisers we welcome the opportunity to be able to advertise anywhere where there is a media opportunity so that we can reach our customers and our consumers in a relevant, meaningful way. And so branded content has been around in the universe for a very, very long time, and we totally fully support the initiative of CBC continuing to do this.
10932 Shannon, I don’t know if there’s anything you want to add? I think you had some great examples in your comments about the Ontario government and ---
10933 MS. LEWIS: Yeah. I think this isn’t something new. Branded content has been, gosh, something that brands have tapped into for the past over 10 years, but I think in CBC’s proposal, they clearly distinguish the difference between editorial and journalism and branded content.
10934 And how brands have done that, it’s like custom content that’s actually properly labelled, and there’s transparency there, which is important, because I think, number one, on every marketer’s agenda, like Judy said, is to be responsible. And that’s not even -- and there’s even a global association through WFA, GARM, which is about responsible advertising. So, it’s a top priority on our agenda.
10935 COMMISSIONER BARIN: So, given that, I guess, logic, even if CBC wasn’t producing the content, the fact that there was some content that was in this brand-safe environment would achieve the same kind of value for an advertiser. Is that right?
10936 MS. LEWIS: That’s correct.
10937 And there are opportunities where brands are working in partnership with content creators and broadcasters, and that partnership ultimately invests in better programming. And actually, there’s the beauty of it too, there’s kind of an artistic side where content creators, you know, they are -- they have their craftmanship that they offer to brands, and they guide brands along the journey of creating, you know, the best stories to ultimately better serve Canadian audiences.
10938 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Great. Thank you.
10939 So just to stay on this branded content point, with regards to the market for branded content, you’ve discussed that it’s something that’s been going on for a long, long time.
10940 If you go back to your advertising pie, can you give us a sense of how large that segment is? Maybe two questions. How large is it today and do you see that as a growing segment of the advertising pie and, if so, you know, what are your projections?
10941 MS. DAVEY: To give you an accurate answer, we would have to survey our members and/or agencies, but relative to -- I mean, I would say it’s a smaller pie. It’s nowhere near the level of investment in 30-second and 15-second television commercials, but to get you an accurate answer, we would need to do some more research and get back to you on that.
10942 And as with anything, if anything can demonstrate that it’s delivering efficacy and/or value, then it will be an area that continues to grow.
10943 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. So, it’s growing, but it’s difficult to -- so I guess you’re saying it’s part of the offer but not yet a significant part, but it is kind of a growth area?
10944 MS. DAVEY: To be -- yes, but to be confirmed.
10945 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay, great. Thank you. Okay.
10946 So, now, to look at the advertising pie from another perspective, on the traditional platform, you’re competing with other Canadian broadcasters for the Canadian eyeballs that they’re delivering on the Canadian channels.
10947 On the digital side, it’s a lot more expansive with, I guess, a lot more competition from non-Canadian players in the advertising side.
10948 And I guess I just -- I want your perspective on this transfer from the traditional advertising pie to the digital one and whether you see it kind of going proportionately to Canadian digital players or whether you see foreign digital players taking a larger chunk of that advertising pie in the digital space?
10949 MS. DAVEY: It’s been documented certainly in Canada that Google and Facebook take by far and away the absolute large, large, large majority of digital spend.
10950 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And when you look -- when I look at the figures that you provided in your presentation, when you're looking at the video advertising spend on digital, is that primarily coming from the foreign providers, like the foreign digital players?
10951 MS. DAVEY: Yeah, a lot of that would be on YouTube, and then -- but -- I mean, some of it would be on local broadcasters as well. But a good significant chunk from YouTube.
10952 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. And if we look just at the little slice of pie that would be like streaming video. So right now a lot of the streaming video models are subscription based, so like the Netflix. Netflix doesn't have advertising. What do you see as the potential for that little sliver that would be like the Gems and the TOU.TV? Is that a big market?
10953 MS. DAVEY: I mean, relative to, you know, to Netflix? Not right now. But as with anything, if you have valuable content priced affordably, you know, it's dictated by the marketplace. If there's something that consumers want and they feel that they're getting value at an affordable price, then it will continue to grow.
10954 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay, great. Thank you. And I realize I'm asking you to take some educated guesses.
10955 So my last question relates to the pandemic and how the advertising market has been impacted. But more specifically whether it has, in your view, caused any fundamental changes in direction. So as consumers have changed their viewing habits have advertisers changed the way that they're buying advertising? Have they also, you know, migrated more to the digital or do you see this as kind of a blip and then we're still kind of going along a smoother transition if you will?
10956 MS. DAVEY: I think everybody has become more agile and there's a lot more constant planning going on and shifting and changing, and that has definitely accelerated. For some members, there has been an acceleration to digital, but for some there's been a movement back to more traditional broadcast.
10957 And people who want to get a mass audience out there, you know, there's no better vehicle to do that from a mass perspective than television. It's a great vehicle to get mass awareness out there in a fast timely manner. So for messages that need to get out there's probably been a little bit of a move. You can see -- you know, you can see if you watch TV you see the advertising that both the federal and provincial governments are dedicating to local media in that respect.
10958 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay. Great.
10959 MS. LEWIS: Also -- I just wanted to add, it also depends on the category; right? But it's pretty amazing how Canadian businesses and brands have pivoted so quickly. And I think agility, to Judy's point, has been critical for industry, and also resilience is really -- you know, getting through this -- these harsh times. And we've been working closely with our marketers and our partners and shifting investment based off of the the current climate.
10960 So it really depends on, yeah, the category that you're in, if you're accelerating your digital platform, or also... And also, if you look at a really good example of the RBC, for instance, had a great campaign across national broadcast and newspapers that supported local businesses and even incentivized customers to invest in local businesses with just the right message at the right time. And actually, to be frank, it was a multi-media approach. So it covered both broadcast and digital to connect with Canadians.
10961 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Okay, great. Thank you for that example. I have no further questions, so I will pass the floor back to the Chairman. And I thank you very much for your openness and for your participation. Thank you.
10962 MR. LUND: Yeah, I was just going to ask, if may. Judy, you may want to make a short comment just -- because we talked a lot about eyeballs, and it's not a case of a gazillion eyeballs every single time. There's a quality factor that most advertisers look for, and I just think it might be worth one or two comments on that, Judy, just because it's an important factor, and that's one of the things we believe CBC offers to Canadians.
10963 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Yes, go ahead, Ms. Davey.
10964 MS. DAVEY: Can you help me out in terms of directing me ---?
10965 MR. LUND: Okay. No, it's all right. I'll do -- I'll just say, it's just not always about eyeballs, it's about what the content is.
10966 And that -- it goes to one of the questions that you asked earlier. And really what it comes down to is if there's a program that is intrinsic to the product that would be actually valued more for that.
10967 So if it was -- when digital channels first came out on television, you know, I can't remember if it was a dollar for a holler or whatever. We, as media people, we used to make fun of it because you'd see your commercial 55 times for a few bucks or whatever, but reaching no one or reach very few.
10968 However, if you happen to be -- if it was, you know, Home and Garden, if you were a garden product that would be extremely valuable to you, you know, and not only potentially for the audience but also for, as we were talking earlier, branded content. So you know, programs that are of interest isn't just how many eyeballs are on that particular program at one time, it's the quality of the eyeballs.
10969 So really nothing more than just to make that comment. Just to remember it's just not always just a -- about the lowest dollar per thousand.
10970 MS. DAVEY: Yeah, like for example, on The Great Canadian Baking Show, if you're Robin Hood flour, or Monarch, or you're a baking product, and you can see the linkage that you would have there; or on Dragon's Den, you know, having a financial institution. Just when you can make those connections that goes to support your comments on the relevancy as well.
10971 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And I'm glad ou came back to it, Mr. Lund, because I guess what you're saying is that you can potentially, as an -- or as a seller of advertising, charge a premium for things like relevance which are kind of more valuable, whether that relevance is engagement with the product or because that program has attributes that may rub off onto the advertising and it's something that the advertiser might want. So that's ---
10972 MR. LUND: Yes. Yes, I agree.
10973 COMMISSIONER BARIN: --- me paraphrasing. Great. All right.
10974 Thank you. I have no further questions.
10975 Thanks again, Mr. Chair.
10976 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Thank you very much.
10977 I believe -- Vice-Chair Simard, you have a question?
10978 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
10979 Thank you very much for your presentation. Thank you for answering my colleague's questions.
10980 I have one question for you, which is about the pies as well. So this time local and national pies.
10981 So you kind of make some brief comments about it, but I want to be sure that I have a clear understanding of maybe the potential for more local advertising in, you know, these, you know, new times. So what is your views about that, like the potential for local news, but like for -- specifically for the public broadcaster?
10982 MS. DAVEY: Ron?
10983 MS. ROY: Mr. Lund, you're on mute.
10984 MR. LUND: Okay, I see it.
10985 MS. ROY: Yes.
10986 MR. LUND: Okay, and it takes me two presses every time to get un or to mute myself. I don't know why.
10987 MS. LEWIS: Do you want to go, Ron?
10988 MR. LUND: Yeah. Yeah, so -- go ahead if you want, Shannon.
10989 MS. LEWIS: Oh, I was just going to say it's a -- it's a very interesting question, thank you so much, and it's very timely. Because I know for CNBC and our members, we come together to really look at, you know, the local media movement that's happening right now and be more proactive in supporting local media, and ultimately news. Specifically, you know, funding. Also looking at protecting jobs, and journalism, and ultimately enhancing our democracy.
10990 It's no secret that the news media outlets that are, you know, are struggling right now. I think with the stats over the pandemic 50 publications have closed. There's 2,100 journalists that have lost their jobs. So as an industry we really are looking at coming together to kind of galvanize our leaders and make sure that we're investing in Canadian -- re‑investing in the Canadian media ecosystem.
10991 COMMISSIOENR SIMARD: So the potential would be there for them?
10992 MS. LEWIS: The potential definitely is there. I also think on a consumer level, as I said before with the RBC example, there is really a buy local movement. It's already here, you can see it. And I don't think it's too late to, you know, be part of this movement and shape the movement, as it relates to our industry, which is media investment, and to -- obviously we are accountable to, you know, societal goals to achieve that as well along this kind of -- the journey that we're in.
10993 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
10994 MS. DAVEY: And we would also add, though, from an advertiser perspective our advertisers want effective, efficient properties in which to advertise. And, if a Canadian local media outlet can demonstrate that they can do something that meets those objectives, great, but it’s important not just to all of a sudden say, “Okay, we’re going to move this way because we think it’s a good thing.”
10995 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good. Thank you very much. Thank you for being with us today. Mr. Chairman?
10996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, vice chair. Thank you very much, again, for taking the time to be with us and for responding to all of our questions. I’ll turn it back to Madam Secretary.
10997 MS. ROY: Thank you very much. This concludes today. So, we will be back tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Have a nice evening.
10998 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci. Thank you.
10999 MS. ROY: Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 3:43 p.m. /
L’audience est suspendue à 15h43
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