Transcript, Hearing 4 December 2023

Volume: 11 of 15
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: 4 December 2023
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Attendees and Location

Held at:

Conference Centre
Portage IV
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec


Table of Contents


8252 Independent Production Fund

8384 Rogers Group of Funds

8461 ACTRA

8571 Société de télédiffusion du Québec

8703 John Roman

8762 Apple Canada Inc.


8836 Undertaking


Gatineau, Quebec
4 December 2023
Opening of Hearing at 8:59 a.m.

Gatineau, Québec

‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Monday, December 4, 2023 at 8:59 a.m.

8247 THE SECRETARY: Good morning.

8248 Before we begin, we just like to announce that TikTok advised us that they will not be appearing at the hearing.

8249 Also, Wednesday, December 6th, we will be starting the hearing at 10:30.

8250 We will start this morning with the presentation of the Independent Production Fund.

8251 Please introduce yourself and you may begin.


8252 MR. TAYLOR: Good morning, everyone, Madam Chair, Vice‑Chairs, Commissioners.

8253 I’m Jon Taylor, CEO of the Independent Production Fund. On behalf of the IPF’s board of directors and staff, I want to thank you for inviting me to speak with you today to share more about the IPF, our programs and the incredible producers we serve.

8254 The IPF was created over three decades ago when Canada’s creative funding system was just at its very beginning. It launched with a traditional TV Production Fund but has changed over the years to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

8255 In 2010 the IPF launched Canada’s first Short Form Series Production funding program and in 2020, we launched our Short Form Series Development program. The IPF is known for its Short Form Series. You can also call them Web Series or Digital Series. It’s what makes us somewhat unique.

8256 I want to take just a little bit of time today to expand on the cultural importance of this unique format.

8257 We define Short Form Series, so you understand, as series with episodes that are less than 20 minutes in length. This is important because by restricting the episode length, traditional TV projects are not eligible. This creates a wide open and much more level playing field for new voices and emerging creators to gain valuable experience, where they are the creative lead and the IP owner. The smaller budgets and shorter timelines also create a manageable environment for both the project and people to grow.

8258 We define success in two ways: one, the advancement of new and original IP, and two, the advancement of the careers of the creative team.

8259 Demand is very high for our program. In 2023 we saw a record number of applications from across Canada, over 200 in total, including record increases in the number of applications from the Territories, B.C. and Atlantic Canada, and positive gains for the OLMC projects outside of Quebec.

8260 Those regional increases are the direct result of the time and money that the IPF has invested in those regions via our Professional Development Program. So far in 2023 we have supported over 30 regional events across the country, with a special focus on the northern Territories and OLMCs outside of Quebec. That’s more than one event every two weeks.

8261 It’s important to also note that the CMF has been a financial partner with us in our development program since its inception in 2020. We would be funding less projects each year if not for the support of the CMF.

8262 When we look at the themes of the applications we receive, it’s clear to us we are tapping into unique Indigenous and Canadian stories not being told elsewhere. Just in this year’s cohort, we saw several stories from the children of immigrants, Indigenous‑led stories about finding identity, stories led by characters with disabilities, stories of housing affordability, financial insecurity, and themes of anxiety and mental health. The creators are applying to us with stories that truly reflect their current lives.

8263 Those stories can also be unique in other ways, like the group of talking fish who live in a restaurant in Ottawa in the 1980s; the animated egg who hosts a podcast from his bedroom but secretly dreams of riding a scooter in the skate park across the street; a Bollywood musical coming‑of‑age series about an 18‑year‑old girl in Surrey B.C. whose immigrant parents’ demon‑slaying business is totally messing up her life.

8264 For our applicants, being unhindered by traditional formats and gatekeepers, they are able to express the many complex parts of themselves and their experience living in Canada.

8265 There are many people who rightfully point out that they do not see themselves reflected back in the content they see on Canadian screens. At the IPF, one of the best parts of our Short Form Series program is how it naturally supports such a diverse set of creators and gives their amazingly unique points of view a chance to be seen.

8266 There are still things that need to improve, of course. Regional applications are up but success rates are still flat and effective pre‑development programs are needed to improve certain regions' success rates. There is still a meaningful gap between successful emerging producers and being a trusted long form producer/writer. Better support is needed to help talented emergent and mid‑career teams find career paths forward into larger scale productions.

8267 You have heard from many commenters that a national, standardized self‑identity system is required to ensure we collectively achieve our DEI goals. We totally agree. We need to transparently and accurately track the who, what, where and when of our funding system to know if we are succeeding or not and what needs to change.

8268 The CMF's Persona ID is a great start and we support the idea of leveraging that platform to create a standardized national self‑identification system everyone can use. While there is no standard to track DEI outcomes today, at the IPF we believe we can see in the application materials we receive the people in the key roles and in the creative themes of the projects we fund. Our programs are likely starting to achieve some of these goals.

8269 This year we asked the teams that were funded in our first cohort in 2020, so three years later, if being funded by the IPF Short Form Series Program helped advance their careers. Nearly two‑thirds said it did.

8270 Some of them provided testimonials. I will read just three of them for you:

8271     “The IPF was the first funder to come on board our project. That first vote of confidence led to us getting fully financed, premiering at a major festival and winning the top awards at another important festival.”

8272 One of our French producers said:

8273     “FIP gave me the chance to direct my first series and, as a production company, allowed us to now have the experience and résumé to participate in the development of full length TV series.”

8274 And finally:

8275     “Most of our key team members were in assistant type roles prior to being key leads in our IPF funded series. After the success of our series, we are all working in bigger roles for larger productions.”

8276 As a final point, I thought it would be relevant today to also highlight the IPF’s unique history of administering funds for other organizations.

8277 Over the years the IPF has administered funding programs on behalf of several regulated entities, including Mountain Cablevision, Canwest, Videon, and currently Cogeco, who we have supported since 2018, administering the Cogeco Television Production Fund.

8278 The fact that all of our board members are fully independent and non‑aligned, our brand is unaffiliated, and through an economy of scale we are able to administer these programs within the 5 percent admin cap, makes us a proven and efficient partner.

8279 In closing, we have world‑class talent and high‑value IP in this country. That is a direct result of the broader funding system that we have all collectively built and strategically evolved over the past 30 years. We also believe the IPF’s specific focus on Short Form Series has helped create a space for many of the teams and stories we are all seeking here to better support as part of this process.

8280 The IPF, like other CIPFs, has proven to be a nimble and useful tool for the CRTC and will continue to be so by efficiently supporting the evolving needs of Indigenous and Canadian creators and the Canadian industry as a whole.

8281 Thank you for your time. I welcome your questions.

8282 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for being here with us to kick off week 3, our final week of the hearing.

8283 Maybe I can just start with a few questions and then I will turn things over to my colleagues.

8284 One of the things that you mention a lot in your submissions, you talked about it today, is just how nimble and strategically evolved, and you used a lot of words like how you have improved over the years.

8285 What improvements do you think we need to existing funds to ensure that underrepresented creators are supported?

8286 MR. TAYLOR: Very good question. Thank you. We think about this all the time, how can we pivot and change. It's why we launched the Short Form Program. We believe it's a valuable part of it. It's why we evolved into development of that program.

8287 The one that you've heard from several people and you will hear from me again is that need to create a measurement system, some unified national standard for self‑identification.

8288 I hinted at some other gaps: that emerging mid‑career role. So there is ‑‑ we think we're doing a great job. One piece of the puzzle for serving emerging producers, we can see a gap, and sometimes it feels like a canyon when you've got those first credits but you still can't get that trust all the way across into larger projects, larger budgets, et cetera. So there is something to focus on for there.

8289 Regionality. We talk a lot about the importance of supporting Indigenous and Black and people of colour content. We have to also keep in mind the regionality of those efforts, because if the solution ends up with more funding in Southern Ontario, it doesn't serve the Atlantic and B.C. and the Territories, who have unique needs beyond that. So I always think we have to keep an eye on that.

8290 And the IPF is an equity investor in our projects. In a very small way, we're your first and friendliest partner, but the commercialization of these things is really important. So if we create a system where getting funding is a skill versus making TV shows that are commercially successful, we won't have a viable industry or there's no reason to have IP ownership in the long run.

8291 So there's lots of gaps in the industry for us to fill. We think about these. We're one of the smaller funds, but we've taken our own small steps to start to address some of those.

8292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that. I have a couple of questions to follow up on that. I took note of “your first and friendliest partner”.

8293 You have talked about the efficiency of existing funds. I know that we just discussed some gaps. Do you have a number in mind of how much of an initial base contribution should go to IPF, should go to other certified funds?

8294 MR. TAYLOR: Yes. Thank you for that question. I did think a lot about this. We talked about it with our board before coming here.

8295 We are comfortable with the Indigenous ‑‑ the calculation, we're going to respectfully leave to the board to think about, you know, who should be assigned to pay and how much the percentage of their revenue should come, and we're comfortable with 80/20. We believe in the partnership with the CMF and we're comfortable with 80/20 and 20 coming our way after you decide what those base contributions are.

8296 We're also very supportive of an Indigenous funding portion coming right off the top before we talk about the 80/20 which applies to the Canadian content.

8297 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for that.

8298 Could you talk a little bit more about ‑‑ you gave some numbers this morning. You said, you know, the record demand, over 200 applications so far this year. You talked about the over 30 regional events and how those kind of lead into the applications. Can you just talk a little bit more about how those events lead into the applications?

8299 MR. TAYLOR: Yes, no problem.

8300 I should note that I started as the CEO in 2020. My predecessor Andra Sheffer is still a mentor of mine who I bother for lunch almost quarterly. I'm really grateful to be here, but when I'm speaking about our historical numbers, I'm still sometimes learning a little bit. The good news is that our development program launched the year that I started, so I launched it, and that was the record.

8301 So we saw the demand in the industry ‑‑ we've been a production fund for Short Form Series since 2010 and what we could see happening was to get to the application people were begging, borrowing and stealing and pulling favours to get a concept made, et cetera. In addition to that, some platforms who were doing just a little bit of pre‑development with short form were kind of kingmakers, because just having $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 to develop something puts your application really forward.

8302 So we backed our program up. That really is what created the demand. The first year there was 170 applications. We had a little dip after the pandemic, as everyone did. And then this year, like I said, it was over 200. We only fund 30 of those. If it was just our money, we would be funding 10 to 15.

8303 The CMF recognized the value of our program and partnered with us on it. So the producers actually contract with both of us. So that allowed us to double and this year triple the amount of projects we could fund. So we funded 30 out of 200. That's still, you know, 16 per cent, 15 per cent, something like that. So that demand is very high.

8304 And then, sorry, those 30 go into our production deadline, only the 30 that have come through development are eligible for production. We only fund 10 of those. And so that's 30 per cent. And that's still not ‑‑ you know, when you think they now have had development money, we could be funding 70, 80 per cent of those for production. Those projects should also have the shot to go forward, to get made, turned into even more valuable IP.

8305 The work we've done, so we have a professional development program that's a rolling deadline. There's no deadline. It's somewhat selective. Anyone can apply. When I came in, we had lots of legacy relationships. And I would ask our team, Why are we sponsoring that? What are our objectives? So we had a wholesale review of what are our objectives. And it looked like a lot of it was brand awareness.

8306 We don't have a brand awareness issue with the people who know us. We do have an awareness issue where we need to go to the regions and explain how our program works, but we certainly don't need people to know what ‑‑ the IPF brand. What we need to do is have the right size of producer applying to us. And we can see we're oversubscribed with 200 this year. It's we already have enough demand. We don't need to create awareness.

8307 So what we did is we went in and we started taking those funds to make workshops and training programs and outside of southern Ontario and B.C., and we've targeted a whole bunch of different partners to make sure we're reaching communities that we weren't reaching before in the regions and also the cultural communities that weren't aware of us.

8308 And that's an ongoing process. That is something we do continually, and that's why it's so frequent because these are often just 10 or 20 people in a cohort in a town lab of some kind, and we just make sure we are getting to them and understanding that we're an option if they're thinking of a feature film. Many of them think, Oh, I was thinking feature film, and I didn't realize this was something I could go for. I was always thinking TV in the long run, so.

8309 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that. And maybe just a follow‑up question because the Commission's always interested in hearing about how funds are working together and how you're partnering. You've talked about the partnership with CMF. Could you give us any more details about partnerships with other funds?

8310 MR. TAYLOR: Absolutely, yeah. You have heard from my colleagues at the other CIPFs. We talk regularly. We're all aligned on the mission to make things simpler for the producers. That's why you see alignment on centralized documents like it's the same budget template. It's the same reporting or recoupment process for those of us who are equity investment and not grants. It's the same instructions around tax credits, et cetera. So we try to make it as unified as possible.

8311 Also, we fund 10 projects out of our 30 for production. To complete your financing, you need at least one other. So we're always ‑‑ there's different ways for people to complete that puzzle. But the financing for a short form series, even with our $200,000, you need at least one other person to somehow get in there to complete your financing. I also think that's a healthy skill.

8312 You don't want to have a hundred other people financing your project, but if you have a sole source of finance, that's a different model. It's closer to the studio model. How much is the creator giving away? Perhaps in their IP, et cetera. So it's critical for us to work with our CIPF partners, and our focus is always on the producers and how we can serve our producers. And I look to ‑‑ we look to the CMF as a centralized source for standardized things like budgets. You know, it would make sense with the Persona ID as well. Thank you.

8313 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you. I have one last question, and then I will turn things over to my colleagues.

8314 You talked about the regional applications being up and then the success rates being flat. And you said that effective pre‑development programs are needed to improve certain regions' success rates. You've talked about this a little bit, but is there anything else in terms of detail that you could give? What more is needed to support emerging talent?

8315 MR. TAYLOR: We are just starting to dig into this. But so one thing we did, I'll just simplify it, we've digitized our evaluation grid so that it's now parsable by region, by if we have self‑ID. So I will be able to see a much ‑‑ we've made it more granular. It's the same guidelines. It's the same rules. It's just a back‑end thing where now I can look at it more like data. And so we can see ‑‑ I'll be able to say, Here's the winning 30 applications. How did this particular group or this region compare?

8316 And so one thing we can see, even before we have the first year of reports that can do that, is there seems to be ‑‑ there's mentorship running across the country, but in certain regions, the mentors are much deeper. It's they're attaching themselves to the product.

8317 So when you're a new and emerging producer, one of the things after you have this amazing unique idea, it's really just a question of confidence. The evaluator is looking for can this project be made. We're excited about the creative idea. And they're emerging teams. So one of the strongest things an emerging team can do, and it's mandatory in our application, is to attach a mentor.

8318 But there's different flavours of mentors can be attached. A mentor can be a friend who's just one slight level above, or a mentor can be really an amazing, you know, multi‑decade experienced person who's written a beautiful letter about why they love this project, why they love this producer, and they want to champion it.

8319 And we can see in the regions, if you think of the territories, they don't have that same access to ‑‑ there's not strong mentors that are attaching themselves. So it's easy to do a one‑hour mentor session and they do gain knowledge from that. But I think one gap we're looking at trying to solve in 2024 is matchmaking; actually taking the emerging producer and their amazing idea and finding someone who's going to work with them on the project over months as opposed to just a one‑hour mentorship session.

8320 That's one of probably many solutions to the problem, but we can ‑‑ once we start ‑‑ I'm getting to the point now where we can digitize a lot of our data, and I can start analyzing and sharing reports with the regions and different cultural groups as needed.

8321 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

8322 I will turn things over to my colleagues, starting with our vice‑chair for Telecommunications, Adam Scott.

8323 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Good morning. Last week, we spoke to Digital First Canada representing a lot of streamers, YouTubers, et cetera. Their key messages for us, to paraphrase, were as you seek to get online undertakings into the system, don't screw this up for us. And kind of the corollary to that, if you are looking to support Canadian champions, you know, bet on our talent in the Digital First community where we are punching well above our weight.

8324 How would you react to that? And where do the companies that you work with fit on the scale? How “Digital First” are they? And is that the path that they're headed down? Or I think you were maybe insinuating a little bit that this is a stepping stone into more traditional types of production ‑‑

8325 MR. TAYLOR: That's a really good, thank you, smart question. So just to be very clear, the IPF funds scripted series, and that's been since our creation in 1990. And so we have projects that come in, and they'll have ‑‑ I'm assuming Digital First is a little bit about the influencer and YouTubers, et cetera, et cetera, right?

8326 So we ‑‑ for this is not a new conversation. For a decade now, it's been how can we take this incredible growing creator economy that's happening and explosive growth, and how does that ‑‑ do they want to become ‑‑ make TV? And we've seen lots of those creators do want to make TV. We've seen them come in our applications. And when success is actually closer to traditional ‑‑ it's a traditional production model. And that ‑‑ I should spend time talking with Digital First so we can start solving this together. But that influencer doesn't always bring ‑‑ scripted audience versus their real life is such a different product. It doesn't always translate. It is fantastic marketing. They do bring their audience. But it is a traditional product that we're making because it's scripted and it's acting and it's a crew. And it's such a different model; it's a different experience.

8327 So we haven't ‑‑ we've see many applications where they bring them together. The value that our evaluators have assigned on those is really they've got a personality, they've got kind of a star that has a following and that team can definitely deliver on these things. But they've not written a script. They still need to get that person who knows how to, you know, write a story arc and a season arc and an episode and character, et cetera. So that there is, I think, an important gap that needs to be closed there as well.

8328 And our focus is ‑‑ so the people that are coming to us, we're not doing outreach to influencers. But they come with sometimes producers attached or themselves.

8329 I hope that answers your question.

8330 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: It does. And then maybe just a quick follow‑up for my better understanding. So who are the distribution channels that your customers or clients work through at the end of the day?

8331 MR. TAYLOR: Yeah, yes. It's a smart question, yeah. It is really interesting, because we see CBC Gem, if you look at CBC Gem Originals, those are going to be a lot of our short form are there. Crave this year has just started licensing short form and announcing it and applying their amazing marketing machine behind it. We see it on Tou.TV, we see it on Noovo. So you're hearing very traditional names for our products. And those are the ones who are licensing. And the producers that are coming through our program emergent are looking for their career, their future career in traditional TV. We also have OutTV, we also have content at Roku. We also have content at Tubi, all of those platforms.

8332 We also have of course self‑publishing happening on YouTube. That's an important bucket as well. Those producers, and I spoke about commercialization and the importance of it. There we see merchandizing success. So they are ‑‑ certain shows have got onto YouTube. It's a different model. You're not getting a licence. The rev share really is working if you have a high volume of views. But even if they don't have a high volume of views, they can start selling merch. And we have seen some of that success.

8333 So it's kind of a full spectrum, but the most people that are applying to us are looking ‑‑ appear to be looking down that traditional path, if that makes sense.

8334 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: It does. That was really helpful. Thank you.

8335 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks so much. So we will go over to Commissioner Naidoo next.

8336 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Hi there. Thank you for being here. I am wondering what barriers you perceive in the funding ecosystem overall, but particularly for new creators and those creators who have historically been marginalized by the broadcasting system.

8337 MR. TAYLOR: Yeah. It depends on the fund design. So our Cogeco Fund is a really useful example of finance completion for major TV shows that are very de‑risked. They have tons of ‑‑ they already have a broadcaster attached. They already have experienced producers assigned. So that's obviously not the place to go for an emerging producer.

8338 So I think emerging producers, there are definitely funds like our Short Form Development Program that are supporting them. The gap that I highlighted is this step you take from being you're a successful short form producer; you're a digital producer; you've run a $1 million budget or maybe even a $2 million budget, but are you going to be trusted to make that $20 million budget, run that $8 million, $10 million, $20 million budget? And there's a gap in there. Our program doesn't solve that. And when I look across the industry, I know there's ideas in place, but I think that's a gap that we're interested in solving as well.

8339 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: You're not the first person I have heard that from. And do you think that there's any way to solve that?

8340 MR. TAYLOR: I don't have a solution today. Here's what we're ‑‑ it's a really good ‑‑ so part of what we invest in, we believe, we just defined in the last year our success metrics, which are career advancement, and ‑‑ one of which is career advancement. So IP advancement really could be that commercialization bucket. You get it made; you get it licensed; but also that IP could become a subsequent work. It could be a long form thing.

8341 So from our world, what we can control, we're thinking if that IP can become a bigger TV show. So this is a program idea that we're designing for next year, for launch next year. If we can take the short form IP that we've created with that creator attached and get it somehow championed into becoming a TV show without ‑‑ but the structure of it would be such that the emergent team goes with it as opposed to the IP just disappears and maybe they ‑‑ it's more star system studio model where they take the idea and one writer and they ‑‑ it's created by, and they're working with the ‑‑ the goal would be to try to get the team in positions where they're actually shadowing ‑‑ not even just shadowing ‑‑ in positions with safety and support around them that allows them to ‑‑ their idea is good, they get to go with it. The budget is bigger. Obviously, the people that are financing it need to de‑risk and make sure that it's going to be what they expect and developed by them. But that team would go with their IP through the process.

8342 So we're trying to put money behind that to back that up, basically, to push ‑‑ we think the IP is valuable enough that we could push the team with it into the next level. But that's untested. That's something we're hoping to start next year.

8343 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Thank you very much.

8344 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks very much. We will go over to Commissioner Levy.

8345 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Good morning. The IPF has been well placed with administering other funds and so forth to get a broad view of the industry. And it sounds to me as though you've created a niche as it relates to helping emerging producers and then trying to get them to that next step.

8346 As a result of this process, there is hopefully going to be more money going into the system. And I wonder how you see attracting some of that money and how you would use it to address some of the gaps that you've identified in particular on the regionality side and the diversity side.

8347 MR. TAYLOR: Thank you for your question. Part of our attraction, so the first year in 2020, my goal was to not break anything and just learn and listen from all the producers we serve and our partners. And the pandemic kind of made everything a bit convoluted, but by 2021‑2022, our new team was feeling a little bit more confident about the impacts we can make. The development program was yielding results. And it's just now that we're starting to communicate who we are, what our mission is, our position in the industry. And we're now starting to project that attractiveness as partnership.

8348 The timing of this hearing is good for us. If it had happened in 2020, I wouldn't have been as confident about what we could take on, et cetera. So I understand now how efficient we can be, how we can run the projects for other people.

8349 We started having those conversations just this year with some of the new entrants to say if you're interested, you sound an original intervention. We're not opposed to regulated new streamers, et cetera, starting their own funds, branded or otherwise. We also are cognizant, as you all are, about introducing too many new funds, could potentially create more complexity, and that's not needed as well. So balancing that need.

8350 The two things, if partners are interested, I want to hear their ideas about how they can help us bridge that gap. The concept I just mentioned right now is something we want to talk to partners about. We believe we have ‑‑ every year we fund 30 fantastic new ideas, new IPs. These are concepts you're not seeing elsewhere because, again, the fact that it's not traditional television to begin with, they feel unhindered, they feel able to come up with the ‑‑ we favour uniqueness. So I would like to partner, it would be great to partner with someone on their IP accelerant with the career path thing attached to it.

8351 In terms of regionality, we definitely have been talking to both B.C. and Atlantic Canada about that mentorship matchmaking program. So there's a few different partners that we would love to see in those regions to help us support that. We'll put some money behind it, but we're really going to need a financial partner to make that sing.

8352 And I am very interested in the territories. There's an incredible depth of stories, as we all know, that are untapped. In the territories, there's people there that deserve career‑pathing. And it's such a different ecosystem. It's also so ‑‑ the territories, I believe, really should and do work together to ‑‑ because the amount of people each year that are going to be coming out of there is slightly different, so their needs are different. And I think that's actually a pre‑development program that helps them.

8353 So in the regions I described, it's really about upping their matchmaking, just one person attached. In the territories, it's kind of wholesale. They need script support. They need a lot more mentorship in the pre‑development, not even just as part of the application.

8354 So two programs in my mind ‑‑ three programs in my mind: a territorial pre‑development exclusive to the territories; a regional matchmaking for mentorship to get one rock star attached to all the great ‑‑ these great ideas; and ones that have come through our program and maybe even have been produced, an IP accelerant program that takes them to a platform and surrounds them with support for bigger budgets. Those are three ideas that I ‑‑ we've just begun those discussions now to talk to partners about those.

8355 COMMISSIONER LEVY: When you talk about getting creators to the next level, is it the Cogeco Television Production Fund that has a slate development program as part of it?

8356 MR. TAYLOR: No.


8358 MR. TAYLOR: Bell Fund as a slate program, which is a great program, by the way. It's ‑‑

8359 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I'm sorry, who?

8360 MR. TAYLOR: Bell Fund has a slate program, yeah.

8361 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Yes, yeah.

8362 MR. TAYLOR: And this slate, when I speak actually to new producers, and that's of those 30 things we do throughout the year and will increase, a lot of it is one‑on‑ones. When I'm there, I make sure I do small group sessions and one‑on‑ones. And in that, I say, Don't just develop the one idea with us. Develop a slate, and by the way, Bell Fund has a great slate program that you should consider. Our short form projects also apply, but you can also develop factual ‑‑ feature‑length factual ‑‑

8363 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So that's how the puzzle fits together, they go with you, they go with them ‑‑

8364 MR. TAYLOR: That's right, yeah, yeah, complementary.

8365 Also, the CMF has ‑‑ we only fund ‑‑ just to give you another piece of the puzzle, we ‑‑ the nature of our fund is that we fund first season only. And meanwhile, we're developing, and then we're funding for production 10 for first season. And we get asked all the time, Can I come to you for second season? And we are ‑‑ if we were funding second seasons, we wouldn't have the space each year to fund more first seasons. And we really feel we're a launching pad. If you look at CMF's program slate, they have the short form second season program. So it's a ‑‑ the pieces of the puzzle are somewhat fitting together.

8366 COMMISSIONER LEVY: A lot of different programs all wanting some cash, so you can understand ‑‑

8367 MR. TAYLOR: All providing ‑‑ I understand, yeah, yeah.

8368 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And it gets very dispersed after a while.

8369 MR. TAYLOR: Well, yeah, no, you're entirely right. Yeah, you have to ‑‑ it can get to ‑‑ you can be ‑‑ it's possible to be oversimplified where it's one person giving you the money, and it's very simple and attractive on one hand. I worry about when someone's a hundred per cent the funder, what are they now asking for to get that.

8370 One the flip side, if you have to go to 12 different competing interests, and they all have their different objectives, in the same ‑‑ in those same coaching sessions, I always say, Your project might be the same in the different applications, but you do really have to think about what the objectives are of that fund you're going for.

8371 And you're right; it is, there is a lot of different pieces at play right now. I think it is working. We definitely hear feedback saying it's complex. But in our world, when you apply to us for development, 99 per cent of the time, we are the single source of your development funding. You don't need to go get someone else. And when you apply to us for short form production, you probably need one other. In traditional TV in the $20 million, it's a different ‑‑ you're going to need more people in addition to your tax credits, et cetera.

8372 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.

8373 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I think that's it for our questions from the Panel. So we'd like to turn things back over to you for any concluding remarks.

8374 MR. TAYLOR: Thank you. I appreciate your very smart questions.

8375 I think we covered most of the things. There's probably just a couple pieces, so just to reiterate the points we want to make, the Persona ID, you know it. We have to have some program that we can anecdotally feel that we're serving the right need and the right producer. We think we see it, for example, with the IPF in the content in the applications. But it would be nice to see how we fit, confirm that, our assumptions. And also see how that fits in the broader industry. So you know that.

8376 I talked enough about the regionality and the mid‑career advancement.

8377 One piece I think ‑‑ two pieces that I'll just leave you with.

8378 Crewing ‑‑ so it's something that we don't focus on at all, but we do hear at certain times of year that crews are challenged and certain skill sets really need to be backfilled. And so I do think that there is a need, a coming need where programs are not serving just auteurs, writer‑directors, but actually the crews that get these things done, the so‑called below‑the‑line that actually is on the ‑‑ all of the productions front on the backs of those, that's important.

8379 And throughout these hearings, I haven't heard a ton about sustainable production. It's an initiative that the IPF takes very seriously. We took one of our employees and gave them the title of Climate Lens Facilitator. And everyone, all 30 who come through our program, get ‑‑ we sponsor them for sustainable production training. So when they go to production, it's just a full‑day session run by the Green Spark Group. Again, it's a smaller budget, smaller minutes. It's a great place to learn that as well, and why wouldn't we make that at the beginning of their career, understanding the choices they can make to make more sustainable productions. And I think Canada could be a leader in that.

8380 That's all. Thank you.

8381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for participating in the proceeding and for being here with us this morning.

8382 MR. TAYLOR: Thank you for your time.

8383 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask Rogers Group of Funds to come to the presentation table, please. Welcome. When you are ready, please introduce yourself and you may begin.


8384 MS. MIRSKY: Good morning, Madam Chair Eatrides, Vice‑Chairs Barin and Scott, Commissioners Naidoo and Levy, and Commission staff.

8385 My name is Robin Mirsky, and I am the Executive Director of the Rogers Group of Funds. RGF appreciates the opportunity to provide our views in this first step of the Commission’s development of a modernized contribution regime.

8386 The Rogers Group of Funds started as Rogers Telefund. It was founded in 1980 by two of our industry’s great pioneers and visionaries: Ted Rogers and Phil Lind. Over the past 40 years, it has provided close to $500 million in low‑interest loans to over 900 productions. It is Canada’s only interim financing fund for the film and TV industry and continues to operate today.

8387 In 1996, we launched our production fund, now known as the Rogers Documentary and Cable Network Fund, which became a CIPF in 2000. It offers two funding streams: the Rogers Documentary Fund, the premier source of funding for Canadian documentary film‑makers, and the Rogers Cable Network Fund, which supports Canadian programs destined for a first play on Canadian discretionary services. Over the past 26 years, our fund has administered more than $200 million to almost 2,000 Canadian productions.

8388 As you’ve heard from multiple stakeholders in this proceeding, RGF has been incredibly important in supporting high quality independent production in Canada.

8389 Rogers Group of Funds has built a legacy in the Canadian independent production sector, but make no mistake, we are not a “legacy fund”. RGF has embraced change and has constantly adapted our operations and funding strategies to remain agile, respond to the evolving distribution landscape, and meet the needs of Canadian producers and audiences.

8390 Since 2016, under the flexibility provided by the CIPF Policy Framework, the Rogers Documentary Fund has been open to foreign streamers as a funding trigger. Last year, RGF was pleased to provide funding to Canadian documentaries commissioned by Paramount+ (500 Days in the Wild) as well as Amazon Prime (Mr. Dress‑up: The Magic of Make Believe). We have also funded a number of projects involving partnerships between Canadian broadcasters and foreign streamers, including Travelers, licensed by Corus and Netflix, and Blown Away, licensed by Blue Ant and Netflix.

8391 Building on these accomplishments, we are excited to announce here today a major upcoming change to RGF. In January 2024, we will launch our new funding stream known as the “Rogers Series Fund”, and the Rogers Cable Network Fund will be permanently retired.

8392 The Rogers Series Fund will support scripted drama, documentary and unscripted series. Consistent with the Policy Direction, the Series Fund is strategically designed to incentivize both partnerships between Canadian broadcasters and foreign streamers as well as industry investment in production by equity‑deserving groups.

8393 To trigger the Series Fund, a production will require a Canadian licence commitment from both a Canadian broadcaster and an online undertaking, Canadian or foreign. Additionally, the Series Fund will provide a bonus of up to 20 percent of the requested investment for production companies that are Indigenous or BPOC‑owned.

8394 The Series Fund’s incentives in support of equity‑deserving groups are just one component of RGF’s broader mission.

8395 Over the past three years, we have directed over 15 percent of our CIPF funds to Indigenous creators and 16 percent to BPOC creators. Additionally, as you heard last week, RGF has proactively leveraged a series of partnerships with the Black Screen Office and the Canadian Independent Screen Fund as well as Creative BC. Since 2020, we have committed almost $3 million to support these initiatives, which have benefited more than 100 producers, writers, filmmakers and creators from equity‑deserving groups.

8396 Despite our success, since 2010, RGF’s funding has decreased by 40 percent. Last year, RGF was only able to provide funding to 44 percent of the commissioned Canadian productions that applied to our fund, and in most cases we could not fulfill successful applicants’ full funding requests.

8397 Without the Commission’s intervention, RGF’s ability to provide meaningful support to Canadian independent producers will continue to decline. For this reason, RGF supports the Commission imposing an initial base contribution on foreign streamers, with a portion directed to the existing CIPFs who are uniquely positioned to efficiently distribute any new proceeds.

8398 A key question that has come up in this proceeding is whether it is equitable to require foreign streamers to contribute to funds they cannot access. This concern does not apply to RGF as evidenced by our past funding commitments and our new Series Fund.

8399 The streamers have already benefited from the existing CIPF framework through RGF and others. We think it is only fair that they also help support the CIPFs through a reasonable initial base contribution.

8400 RGF proposes that, of the initial base contribution earmarked for the CIPFs, a mandatory allocation be directed to the Indigenous Screen Office, the Black Screen Fund and the CISF, with the balance directed to the CIPFs of the contributor’s choice. Providing some discretion with respect to foreign streamers’ CIPF contributions is consistent with the flexibility provided to BDUs. It would also leave room for healthy competition among the CIPFs to develop innovative ways to incentivize contributions to their funds.

8401 Finally, strengthening the CIPFs and the Canadian independent production sector more broadly requires that the new framework supports Canadian broadcasters. As you’ve heard throughout this proceeding, Canadian broadcasters are the foundation of our domestic production ecosystem. Supporting and recognizing the important role of Canadian broadcasters going forward and their ability to partner and compete with foreign streamers is critical to the success of all other elements of the Canadian‑owned and controlled broadcasting system, including a vibrant Canadian independent production sector.

8402 RGF appreciates the opportunity to provide these comments and I look forward to your questions.

8403 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much and thank you to RGF for participating in these proceedings.

8404 I will turn things over to my colleague, Commissioner Naidoo, to start with questions. Thank you.

8405 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Hi. Thanks for being here today.

8406 You had mentioned that besides additional funding, you felt that greater flexibility should be granted to broadcasting distribution undertakings and also ownership groups in the way that they contribute to the broadcasting system, so I’m wondering if you can explain or paint a vivid picture of what that would look like and how this could be positive for the broadcasting system but not negative to other recipients of contributions such as the CMF.

8407 MS. MIRSKY: Well, I think part of that question is part of the Phase 2 framework, but I believe that a number of priorities have been identified throughout this process and I think that providing greater flexibility to the 80/20 split could meet some of the requirements that certain interest groups have expressed a desire for.

8408 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: And do you think that there could be a negative impact on some of the recipients of contributions from the Canada Media Fund, for example?

8409 MS. MIRSKY: Can you clarify? I don't quite understand.

8410 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Well, you’re basically asking for greater flexibility for broadcasting distribution undertakings and ownership groups in how they contribute to the broadcasting system. Would that have any impact, either positive or negative, that you can see on recipients of contributions from other media funds?

8411 MS. MIRSKY: I think it would add to the system. I think greater flexibility is ‑‑ certainly for the CIPFs has shown to be a good thing. I can’t see how it would be negative.

8412 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Thank you for that.

8413 You also advocate for allocating contributions to existing funds and not to impose additional prescriptive regulations on funds to ensure the support of the Broadcasting Act’s diversity‑related objectives. What are your strategies to continue supporting the objectives of the Broadcasting Act in the foreseeable future and what do you suggest for the Commission to ensure the objectives are met?

8414 MS. MIRSKY: So with respect to diversity, you know, as I mentioned in my opening statements today, we’re introducing a 20 percent production bonus for Indigenous and BPOC‑owned production companies. I think that will go a long way.

8415 I also believe that a mandatory base contribution going to the new CIPFs, the ISO, the BSO and the Canadian Independent Screen Fund will also go a long way to promoting diversity in the system.


8417 You noted in your intervention that you’ve collaborated with other funds to initiate projects for under‑represented groups. Do you believe that established general funds who work in collaboration with other equity‑focused funds such as yourself and CMF are the most suitable entities to support equity‑deserving groups or should the Commission require the a certain portion of the initial base contributions be directed to these funds?

8418 MS. MIRSKY: We absolutely believe that a mandatory contribution coming out of the initial base contribution should go to these new CIPFs, the ISO, the BSO and the Canadian Independent Screen Fund.

8419 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Thank you for that.

8420 And who do you believe that the Indigenous Screen Office is best positioned to support the creation of Indigenous audio content as opposed to a new fund specifically dedicated to this or distinct funding envelopes within FACTOR or Musicaction?

8421 MS. MIRSKY: Honestly, we're not involved in audio at all. I’m not the best person to answer that question.

8422 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: All right. I appreciate that. Thank you very much.

8423 That’s all I have. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

8424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

8425 We will go over to Vice‑Chair Scott.

8426 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Good morning. So I was intrigued by the idea of the series fund and the condition of requiring partnership with a Canadian broadcaster as well as an online streamer. Does that skew towards larger, more established producers who might have pre‑existing relationships and is it harder for a small player to make those same types of connections?

8427 MS. MIRSKY: I have actually not thought of it in that way. I’m not sure. I’m hoping that out of this proceeding the foreign online streamers will be encouraged to partner with more independent producers in Canada. I’m not actually sure.

8428 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: That makes two of us then. Thank you.

8429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks very much.

8430 Let’s go over to Vice‑Chair Barin.


8432 So I have a follow‑up question on the 80/20 split. So if the Commission decided to mandate the contribution to funds, the 80/20 split favours the CMF. In your view, should this be the approach that the Commission takes?

8433 MS. MIRSKY: So I think the 80/20 split ‑‑ as I said, with respect to the initial base contribution, I think it would be difficult to stick to the 80/20 because so many priorities have been talked about in this proceeding. I think that providing CIPFs with more funding creates more decision‑makers in the system and more diverse programming than having the majority of the money staying with the CMF.


8435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks very much.

8436 Let's go over to Commissioner Levy.

8437 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Good morning. I’m interested in your approach to diversity. You have some very solid statistics that you’re very confident of, and I wonder how you determined those because we’ve heard the CMF has developed this Persona‑ID system, and I’m ‑‑ we’ve had lots of discussion about trying to create a standard for that across the system and I wonder how you do it.

8438 MS. MIRSKY: So we don’t ‑‑ I mean, I think you’ve heard everybody say there is no standardized data collection in the industry. We think it’s really important that there be one and I think Persona‑ID is probably a great place to start. But our data collection is really based on authentic storytelling as well as key creative positions being held by those diverse producers in order for us to determine what we consider to be an Indigenous production or a BPOC production.

8439 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And your new series fund I’m quite interested in because, of course, you just hatched it, so to speak, before our very eyes. And it ‑‑ do you see a day when programs going through that fund would be triggered without a Canadian broadcaster attached, with just an online streamer attached?

8440 MS. MIRSKY: I mean, that's a very good question. I believe that Canadian broadcasters are integral to a Canadian owned and controlled broadcasting system. I certainly would not like to see the Canadian system without Canadian broadcasters.

8441 I really hope that the partnerships between Canadian broadcasters and foreign or Canadian online streamers is a great way to make more quality content in the country.

8442 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And you've seen this decrease in the contributions to your fund, obviously, as the result of cutting and all of the rest of it. So how do you see supplementing that in future; with sort of a direct infusion from the initial rate contribution? Is that the primary ‑‑

8443 MS. MIRSKY: Initially that would be terrific. Moving forward, as part of Phase 2, I think that a recalibration of the 80/20 split would be very beneficial to all of the Certified Independent Production Funds.

8444 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.

8445 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

8446 We will go back to Commissioner Naidoo.

8447 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: I have one last question for you. I wanted to talk about intermediate players.

8448 You just heard IMF was saying that there’s funding for emerging creators out there, but one of the issues is that mid‑range players aren’t trusted with larger budgets. And so I’m wondering what you think the solution is to that.

8449 MS. MIRSKY: Well, I think mentoring is important. I believe that creating more opportunities for independent producers.

8450 We fund a lot of documentaries. That is a great entry point for emerging or mid‑level producers to manage production budgets, to tell diverse stories. It’s an easier entry point than, you know, a 10 or 20 million dollar budget.

8451 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: All right. Thank you very much.

8452 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for answering all of our questions. We’d like to turn things back over to you for concluding remarks. And if there’s something that we haven’t covered our discussion this morning, perhaps you could add that now.

8453 Thank you.

8454 MS. MIRSKY: In closing, RGF submits that all existing CIPFs should benefit from long‑term stable funding under the modernized contribution framework. RGF has over 40 years of experience directly supporting Canadian independent producers and we have the infrastructure and expertise to quickly and efficiently disburse incremental contributions.

8455 RGF has a clear track record of success in advancing the Act’s objectives, a demonstrated commitment to evolving and adapting our fund to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital age and a clear focus on addressing systemic barriers within the Canadian broadcasting system.

8456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

8457 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

8458 We will take a 15‑minute break and be back at 10:05.

‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 9:53 a.m.

‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 10:09 a.m.

8459 THE SECRETARY: Welcome. We will now hear ACTRA's presentation.

8460 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you may begin.


8461 MS. NOBLE: Thank you very much for having us. I’m Eleanor Noble, the National president of ACTRA.

8462 MS. KELLY: Good morning, everyone. I’m the very proud National Executive Director for ACTRA.

8463 MR. CHAI: Good morning. I’m Ian Chai, and I’m the Regional Director with ACTRA.

8464 MS. NOBLE: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you on behalf of 28,000 members of ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists.

8465 For 80 years, ACTRA has been representing professional actors across Canada who bring Canadian stories to life. We play an essential role in a nearly $14 billion industry that generates a quarter of a million jobs a year.

8466 Our industry exists today because, over decades, our government has supported both stable tax incentives to entice service work from across our border and a strong Canadian content regime to safeguard and promote our own storytelling here in Canada.

8467 We are here today because the foundations of our system have been shaken by the massive global shift in the business model and how people consume our work. That shift has dramatically reduced the percentage of Canadian productions we make today.

8468 This problem couldn’t have been made clearer than when U.S. studio production came to a halt this past summer as a result of the WGA and SAG‑AFTRA strikes. Those of us who work in this industry felt the pain of an industry that today relies far too much on service work. There simply was not enough Canadian production being filmed in Canada to offset the loss of work caused by our American friends closing up shop.

8469 While we welcome foreign production, Canada also needs to be more than just a service industry. We should be proudly telling Canadian stories to the world. Therefore, from an economic Perspective, it's not wise to be susceptible to collapse should foreign production stop for any reason.

8470 We need ongoing Canadian production created by Canadians to have the opportunity to grow, to grow, to create a viable, sustainable and remarkable Canadian film and television industry that can and does stand on its own two feet. One that is not solely dependent on foreign investment for success, but rather one that provides real incentive for Canadian creatives to stay and earn a living here in Canada. So how do we do that?

8471 Marie Kelly, ACTRA’s National Executive Director, and I will walk you through our four core recommendations: funding; distribution; minimum rates; and discoverability.

8472 Marie?

8473 MS. KELLY: Thank you, Eleanor.

8474 We want to begin by talking about funding. We believe there needs to be a threshold for online undertakings that the CRTC should regulate. ACTRA recommends that any online undertaking with gross earnings between one million and five million dollars should register with and provide information about its services to the CRTC, essentially placing themselves on the CRTC radar. Any online undertakings earning over five million dollars should be required to register with the CRTC and make contributions to Canadian Content. This will ensure that online undertakings, such as media giants and studio‑backed platforms generating massive profits in Canada, must contribute to our system.

8475 To be clear, recording and uploading cat videos and birthday memories will not be impacted by this. Only once an undertaking monetizes content over the five‑million‑dollar threshold, will they be obligated to contribute to our system here in Canada.

8476 MS. NOBLE: As Marie mentioned, media giants and studio‑backed platforms, who earn huge profits in our country, must contribute to the Canadian Broadcasting system. To those who claim that creating a formula to do just that is “too complex”, ACTRA proposes a simple way forward.

8477 We suggest a minimum of five percent of the annual gross revenue earned in Canada by online undertakings be given to already existing funding mechanisms, including the CMF, Telefilm, Black Screen Office, Indigenous Screen Office, Reel World, Disability Screen Office, and other similar organizations that help to financially support and develop Canadian content.

8478 We also suggest that 10 to 15 percent of annual revenues earned in Canada go directly to the production or acquisition of Canadian content. This small contribution is essential in preserving Canadian sovereignty and culture and is an important vehicle for cultural expression. It would create a new generation of Canadian content to appear on the very same streaming platforms, driving profits further. All it requires is the major streamers investing in the very place they make their wealth.

8479 MS. KELLY: You have heard us speak about the Status of the Artist Act, a piece of legislation enacted federally in recognition of the very precarious nature of the work of artists and the need to ensure they have a collective voice in setting minimum terms and conditions. For over 80 years, the industry and ACTRA have come together to bargain for the basic minimum terms that work both for performers and the industry. Those very basic minimums form a necessary component of protecting Canadian content by ensuring that artists are able to sustain themselves in the film and TV industry.

8480 ACTRA proposes that the CRTC requires every producer of content that seeks to receive accreditation as Canadian content be required to pay the minimum terms and conditions set by ACTRA and other industry unions. Further, we suggest those that are receiving any support from any arm of government adhere to the terms and conditions of the appropriate collective agreements negotiated by the unions and guilds. For ACTRA members, this ensures an actor is never paid less than the basic minimums that both the industry and the union that represents them have set through free collective bargaining. If we want to support our Canadian industry, in our view, we must start with the basics, and support the people in our industry that the industry relies on to make it world class.

8481 MS. NOBLE: And finally, we would like to highlight discoverability. We take immense pride in creating Canadian content. But an audience needs to be able to find it; otherwise, it’s all for naught.

8482 ACTRA recommends that the CRTC require online undertakings ensure the fair and appropriate discoverability of Canadian content on their platforms. Why have discoverability requirements? We believe it’s ill‑advised for the Canadian government to fund Canadian content only to get buried. Our modern industry gives online streamers too much power to shape the viewing preferences of its audience. Controls are needed and discoverability is essential. In the past we ensured not only the production of Canadian content but its placement in prime‑time television viewing.

8483 A program like Schitt’s Creek became a global, viral hit. But sadly, this is rare as our stories are often lost within streaming systems and platforms. So, we urge the CRTC require online undertakings to deliver, under discoverability, that at least one out of every four content choices be Canadian.

8484 To be clear, that does not in any way stop a viewer from finding what they are looking for. It does, however, highlight Canadian content up front so it may have a fair opportunity of discovery. Without it, Canadian programming won’t be readily available to Canadians and our whole system will fail in its goal, which is both to create and to promote Canadian content. Other countries are doing it; don’t our Canadian productions and actors deserve an equal shot at being discovered as well?

8485 The second part of discoverability concerns the talent. It’s long overdue for Canada to build a star system. Because we don’t have one, we lack incentive for Canadian actors to reach high levels of success here. So they leave and seek it south of the border. We have the talent. It’s time for Canada to invest in our talent through creating and supporting a real star system.

8486 We suggest creating an incentive for productions to include the name of the highest paid Canadian actor in any production in its streaming promotional screens. Making our talent known not only brings the world to Canada for our star power but helps to keep our talent here.

8487 These issues have been festering for 30 years, since the last iteration of the Broadcasting Act in the 1990’s. I’d be crestfallen to have to return to my membership to let them know they will have to wait another 30 years to be recognized. Too many have packed their bags and continue to pack their bags to get discovered somewhere else. If we let another 30 years go by, we may not have any Canadian culture left to protect. With these contributions to both funding and discoverability, we would finally be able to take our well‑deserved and long overdue spot on the global stage. It’s our time.

8488 Thank you, and we are happy to answer any questions.

8489 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you so much to ACTRA for your presentation this morning, and also for participating in the proceedings.

8490 And I know we’re looking forward to the discussions, so I will turn things over to our Vice‑Chair for Broadcasting, Alicia Barin.

8491 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Thank you, Madam Chair. Welcome, ACTRA, and thank you, Ms. Noble and Ms. Kelly, for the presentation this morning.

8492 I am going to start with a general question. I heard you on the issue of volume of service productions in Canada and the impact that it can have on your membership. But given that you are representing the creators ‑‑ the artists that are at the bottom of the food chain of the cultural production industry ‑‑ I want to understand, when we are talking about service productions versus Canadian productions, do your members benefit equally, or more, or less, from service productions?

8493 And I guess I am trying to understand if what you are saying is that you would prefer that there were only Canadian productions, which is, I think, and undertone of your comments this morning?

8494 MS. NOBLE: No, we are not suggesting there only be Canadian production. We ‑‑ as I just, in what I was saying ‑‑ we welcome foreign production and we are happy to provide the service and be a service industry here. But we also need a strong and vibrant and viable Canadian content production industry in this country. And as I said, with the SAG‑AFTRA and WGA strike, when their productions left, we really suffered. We didn’t have a hammock of Canadian content productions happening at the same time, and we absolutely should have that going at the same time.

8495 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay, but do your members benefit equally, whether they are working on a Canadian production versus a foreign service production?

8496 MS. NOBLE: If we had at par or more Canadian production happening in this country, yes, they would, because everybody would be working.

8497 MS. KELLY: Can I just say, so, our collective agreement, when it comes to film and TV or any other industry, we have video game collective agreements; we have commercial collective agreements ‑‑ so, it doesn’t distinguish between the two types of productions for what a performer is paid, but what we’re saying is that actors cobble together a living based on them auditioning each and every week for a variety of different parts, whether it be in TV, film ‑‑ whether it’s in a video game, whether it’s dubbing ‑‑ they have to get their livelihood through a bunch of different pieces of parts that they get. And so, when we have an industry that is both service and Canadian production, and you see Canadian production dropping, the opportunities for performers is dropping.

8498 And so, what we’re saying to you is that for two reasons: one, we want the work here in Canada for our performers to grow, not to decrease; but secondly, quite frankly, performers enjoy the work that they do whether it’s service or Canadian productions, but there is something that is very important about Canadian productions and Canadians actually telling our stories. And so, performers understand the role that they play in holding up and telling the stories of our culture so that our culture is not just there for Canadians but it’s there globally. And they understand the part that they play in that role, and we don’t want to see that diminished by seeing Canadian productions dropped.

8499 And I would just say, as we live above one of the largest countries of the world, that has the biggest industry in TV and film, we recognize that their culture can creep into ours. And so, it’s really important for us to maintain and grow Canadian productions so that not only just writers and directors can participate in telling our stories, but performers who want to participate in telling our stories, but performers who want to participate in Canadian culture and giving back to Canadian audiences and the world.

8500 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay. Thank you for that.

8501 I’m going to ask a few questions that are more specific to the record, that we need for we need for this proceeding on the initial base contribution. And in your interventions, you propose that a five‑million threshold be used for undertakings for that initial base contribution. In your view, do undertakings of that size have the ability to make substantial contributions without impeding their ability to grow? Why did you pick that threshold in particular?

8502 MS. KELLY: I think this is a new area in which we are all debating and trying to figure out what the appropriate level would be. You know, we’ve talked with a variety of people in the industry. We tried to come at this in a reasonable perspective, not going too low or too high. We don’t propose to be experts in this field, but in discussions with others and in looking at what the industry provides, we thought five million was a good threshold.


8504 Now, for the contributions going to funds, the AQPM, so the Quebec Producers’ Association, suggested that 80 percent of the contributions go to the CMF, and 20 percent be distributed among other funds. Would you support that approach? And if so, where would you suggest that the 20 percent ‑‑ or the percent that’s not going to the CMF ‑‑ be allocated?

8505 MS. KELLY: So, we like the current system of the 80/20 split, and as Eleanor said in the opening, we think that it should go to the similarly situated, whether it’s the Black Screen Office, whether it’s the Indigenous Screen Office ‑‑ all of the different pieces that currently live in our ecosystem, we think that they should be supported, and we weren’t looking for any changes in the 80/20 split.


8507 Now, my next question is on the development and production of Indigenous content, as well as content from equity‑deserving groups. Do you believe that we can achieve those objectives through existing funds? And if not, are there any needs that are not being met with the current funds and programs that are in place?

8508 MS. KELLY: So, let me just step out of that question for a moment, because we are really eager to have this conversation on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. And so, I would say a couple of things. Eleanor talked about the star system, and we generally would like to see us step into that area of creating a star system for actors in general. But think of what we could do with a star system if we decided we were going to try and right some of the inequities of the history of our film and TV industry, and decided we would use that vehicle first to uplift those who have been historically disadvantage, and to try and promote our Indigenous, our Black, our disabled performers.

8509 We think that’s a great vehicle in order to be able to promote in that kind of regime, and when we’re talking about a star system, what we’re saying is that in the U.S., performers not only have talent agents, but they have managers, because the idea there is ‑‑ the manager is, like, “How do we promote that actor? Can we get them somewhere on morning, you know, TV shows? Can we get them somewhere at some gala event where we can get them promoted?” We don’t have that system here in Canada, and as Eleanor talks about performers, performers in Canada are not sort of given the limelight the way they have been in the U.S. or, quite frankly, in Great Britain or in Australia. And so, the idea here is about giving them promotion on the product that they are actually involved in, putting the name of the highest‑ranking performer there.

8510 Then, why don’t we do something else? Why don’t we give a little bit of incentive with all of this additional money that’s coming into the system, and why don’t we say, “If you’re promoting somebody who’s from a historically disadvantaged group through having them somewhere on how you advertise your product?” why not give them some incentive to do that?

8511 So, we think ‑‑ there was another point ‑‑ just one second. Oh, we also wanted to talk about basic minimums. And you’ve heard us talk ‑‑ our collective agreements work very different in this industry. In other industries, it’s, you know, in a factory, “I work this machine, I get paid 40 dollars an hour to do that.” In our industry, all we set is the basic minimums ‑‑ the lowest you can pay a performer in order to do different tasks.

8512 What we find ‑‑ when you talk about Indigenous performers, what you find all too often is that we are funding our low‑budget films, series ‑‑ TV series, et cetera, at too low a level, so that what happens is, we get a call at the ACTRA office that says, “Geez, we have funding for this nice film that we’re doing. It’s an Indigenous film, but we would like performer A to not get paid the minimums because we can’t afford to pay performer A the minimums.”

8513 And we get left as a union in thinking about, “Geez, do we want to help promote this Indigenous production, but at the risk and the detriment to an Indigenous performer?” That just doesn’t sit right with us. And so, we have started to say, “No.” We are not going to go below the minimums because we don’t think it’s fair. It happens too often that it is our historically disadvantaged performers who are being asked to take less than the absolute basic minimums.

8514 So, what we’re saying is, if you require, when the money is being paid out to create Canadian content, shouldn’t we ensure that everybody in that ecosystem is being properly paid, is being given the proper terms and conditions, so that the ecosystem can thrive? How can you lift up an Indigenous performer if they’re constantly hearing, “We want you to perform, but we want you to perform below the minimums”? That’s not lifting somebody up. That’s keeping somebody down.

8515 And so, there are a variety of ways we think creatively that you can actually embed in the systems ways to promote and advance those that are historically disadvantaged in this ecosystem.

8516 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay, thank you. Yes, you have raised some of the challenges in the existing system. Not all of them are under CRTC jurisdiction, but they are well noted.

8517 I think my final question is going to touch on your proposal to require online undertakings between one and five million to provide information to the Commission, and that those with revenues above five million be required to register. Now, the Commission recently rendered a decision requiring online undertakings with revenue of more than 10 million, with a group approach ‑‑ so, not individual ones but as a group ‑‑ to register with the Commission. And I’m just trying to understand whether you are aware of that decision, and if your position has changed?

8518 MS. KELLY: No, I think we still believe, you know, five million is fairly substantial, and we believe that initially, if we are going to work in a system, if we are going to get data so we understand how the system operates, I think it’s important for us to get it at a level that allows us to become knowledgeable about what’s doable and not.

8519 I think about ‑‑ and I’m not an expert in it, but I think about the system that we learned very much in France for their system, and I think about the fact that there is so much information that that government gets ‑‑ information that we are never able to get in bargaining, for example, on where our product is being streamed, how many eyes are on it. It’s the great taboo in North America on, you know, the trade secret and not being able to get that kind of information so we know with any kind of granularity what’s going on and what we need to do in order to build our system here. In France, it’s not taboo, and they actually get all of the information on eyes on it.

8520 So, I’ve become less ‑‑ we’ve become less certain ‑‑ uncertain about what we should and can ask for as we look around the globe and figure out what other countries are demanding. I think information is something that I think we should all want.

8521 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: I hear you on that. Thank you very much. And I will pass it back to the Chair. Thank you.

8522 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And thank you, Vice‑Chair. We will go over to Commissioner Levy.

8523 COMMISSIONER LEVY: ACTRA is primarily focused on English Canada. Correct?

8524 MS. NOBLE: Yes, that’s correct. We cover the English jurisdiction across the country.

8525 COMMISSIONER LEVY: So, when you talk about a star system, we have to recognize that Quebec is a different ecosystem and they have a lot to teach us about a star system, because I think they’ve been quite successful with that.

8526 MS. NOBLE: They sure do. UDA, Union des artistes ‑‑ yes, they have a very good system there. But ACTRA also exists in Quebec.

8527 COMMISSIONER LEVY: It does. I want to know a little bit more about, because you have so many people that you represent, how do you go about measuring diversity? What tools do you use to do that?

8528 MS. KELLY: So, we reach out to our membership at large quite a bit. We have ‑‑ you know, for example, we have stunt committees, we have branches across the country as well as a national stunt committee, and much of the conversation there is about ensuring we promote diversity within our stunt committee. We do it at the bargaining table. We’ve had some success in the last round of bargaining with our IPA in dealing with some egregious ways in which stunt performers have been, you know, blackface or using wigs, et cetera. So, we also have our members at bargaining tables who tell their stories and allow us to then try and build some language into our collective agreements.

8529 Most recently, we just ‑‑ and I think it’s going to be coming out in a week or so ‑‑ we just did a very ‑‑ across our membership across Canada ‑‑ a survey of our membership on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and we should see those results coming out soon, and that’s about what do we see in income levels of our members, what do we see in opportunities for our members within the ecosystem in which they live?

8530 We just had a hair and makeup grievance that we settled with the industry because, you know, it’s well known that in the industry, if you are a white performer you are more likely to get your hair and makeup done, but Black performers were asked to come ‑‑ Black, Asian, Latino performers who were being asked to come to set camera‑ready.

8531 And so, you know, we have a variety of different methodologies. Some of the data that I understand will come out of the survey shows that our historically disadvantaged racialized members are showing data that they are getting a lot more auditions. But the problems is, they're not getting a lot more jobs. They're getting sort of the same amount of jobs, but a lot more auditions.

8532 And we're really concerned that in this world of trying to be more equal, sometimes it's about optically looking like you are more equal and therefore bring in more disadvantaged groups into the audition room when they don't feel like they're getting a real shot at some of these roles. So we're digging down into our membership with surveys as well as just reaching out to our members generally on a regular basis and communicating with them.

8533 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I ask because CMF has implemented the Persona ID system to try to track like who's part of your group. So it's one thing to represent and try to ensure that more equity‑seeking groups are on camera and part of the creative milieu. But it's something else to make sure that you yourself, as an organization, have statistics on who you represent. So I was interested in how you come up with those metrics.

8534 MS. KELLY: I would also just say, you know, for a very long time now, not just recently, but for a very long time, we've had a system which allows the industry to search for ACTRA performers online. And so our members can self‑identify. But we are very much proponents of self‑identification, so the individual will have to make a decision as to whether they want to identify in a specific way for them to be able to be discovered on our website in that fashion.

‑‑‑ Discussion off record

8535 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Just needed to check with my colleague to make sure we'd covered this off.

8536 But you also represent strictly audio performers, correct? Yes?

8537 MS. NOBLE: Yeah, we do dubbing and audio voice, videogames.

8538 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And I was wondering if you had some suggestions on what the levels of support should be, how we should approach the specific challenges in the audio sphere, strictly the audio sphere.

8539 MS. KELLY: Are you speaking now specifically to DEIB? Or are you speaking to just general support of voice work?

8540 COMMISSIONER LEVY: I am talking about radio and voice work, yes.

8541 MS. KELLY: One moment, please.

8542 I would say, you know, as someone who listens to the CBC and listens to Canadian stories on the radio, I think it's really important for us to not lose that mode of communication. And I think that for those of us who drive in cars a lot for our living, often we listen to the radio. Anyway, I listen to the radio primarily when I'm in my car. And so we think it's important for the CRTC and the government to continue to support.

8543 There's been a lot of ‑‑ when we're in bargaining, we hear a lot about, you know, our ‑‑ we have different rates for TV than we do for digital. And so there's a question about, you know, when is one going to drop and the other going to rise, et cetera, and in the ecosystem we're in. So we're always looking at the changes in the streaming versus the radio as another thing we do in bargaining to try and ensure that we're covering everything for our members.

8544 But we do watch radio going down, and we are concerned about radio. And we think it's really important that it not get missed out on an aspect of a real proponent of Canadian culture and the importance of supporting it.

8545 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And finally, I wanted to talk a little bit about the obvious difficulties that you're having with the, well, across the system increasing the level of percentages of Canadian content. Difficulty in large part is demand, right. I mean, the broadcasters have seen a falling off of their revenues as well. So they're not positioned to commission as much Canadian content as perhaps they did in the past. And we've heard from Rogers this morning that they're looking at partnerships between streamers and Canadians and so forth.

8546 I just wonder how you feel about the shift to bringing the online streamers into the actual commissioning of content ‑‑ Canadian content.

8547 MS. KELLY: Hundred per cent in support of that. I want to quibble just a little bit with you, but ‑‑


8549 MS. KELLY: I think, as Eleanor pointed out in her opening, I honestly believe that the system as it has morphed and changed ‑‑ and every government across the globe that's a developed government is trying to catch up to it ‑‑ honestly believe that Canadians love Canadian productions. Schitt's Creek, which we always mention because we were thrilled when we watched it take all the American awards ‑‑ but we have great Canadian shows and great Canadian programming. And you know, I think of many of the programs, you know, Kim's Convenience, et cetera, that many of us bemoan the fact that they get shut down long before we think they should have.

8550 We really do believe it's an issue of discoverability. So when, you know, I'm old enough to say I used to have a TV Guide, and I would open that TV Guide and I could see everything that was available to me from 7:00 to 8:00 that night. I could see everything, and I could make my choices based on what was available to me.

8551 Today, it's not so. Today, it's like you have a whole rack of encyclopedias without an index. And buried in those encyclopedias is some Canadian content. And if I don't know it's there, if it is not shown to me, then how do I know I want to watch it? I'm not sure Canadians sit there and go, That's an American show; I think I want to watch it; but that's a Canadian show; no, I don't want to watch it.

8552 I think it's a matter of allowing these big online streaming corporations to decide what they want people to watch. And I think it's about them deciding that it's easier to have a number of shows, and we can just force‑feed it to the globe rather than having to have different ones for different markets in different countries. That's more costly. Right? I can make more money if I just have these one group and I shove it at everybody in each country that they're in.

8553 And we're saying, No. We're saying, No. If you put Canadian content front and centre, people will love it just as much as they love the American content. So I quibble with you on the fact that I don't think it's true Canadians don't want to watch Canadian content. I think it's going down in the ecosystem that we're in because we haven't given it an appropriate ability to actually be discovered and watched and loved.

8554 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Yes, I would certainly quibble if that had been my intention. My intention wasn't that Canadians don't have the demand to watch it. It was the hard economic facts of the people who commission it.

8555 However, I take your point and love your passion for Canadian content, that's ‑‑ we share that.

8556 I am going to turn it over to my colleague, who I think wants to follow up on some of the issues of discoverability. Thank you.

8557 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you so much. Let's go over to Commissioner Naidoo.

8558 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Yes, thank you for being here. And I want to stick with discoverability. And I'm wondering if you can expand on what other countries do to specifically ensure discoverability and what ‑‑ maybe you can comment if you know about the regulatory measures that they've put in place. Were there successful or unintended consequences? If you could just talk a little bit about that.

8559 MS. KELLY: Can we get back to you on that one? Because I want to ‑‑ it's an important issue for us, and I want to make sure that we're as fulsome as we can be in responding to that for you because this is such an important issue for us.

8560 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Sure, absolutely. I defer to Legal as to whether you want to have an RFI on that.

8561 MS. DIONNE: Yes, we will send a specific request for information.

8562 MS. KELLY: Thank you.

8563 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Thank you for that.

8564 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much. So we would like to turn things back over to you. You know, maybe if you think about sort of the key takeaway or takeaways that you'd like to leave the Panel with, perhaps you could cover those now. Thank you.

8565 MS. NOBLE: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you very much on behalf of ACTRA's members. We thank the Commission for this opportunity to share the voice of Canadian actors. We have also been observing the testimony of those groups who have appeared before us, and I would like to express our full support for many of the organizations, including the CISF, the Canadian Independent Screen Fund, who have asked you to appoint an equity officer to ensure DEI mandates are met. So that mirrors our discussion earlier.

8566 I'll close by reminding everyone that actors are the original gig workers. And we want the opportunity to be part of a Canadian creative system where we can do what we love in the country we call home and not have to leave. We urge you to consider the needs of Canada's entertainment industry's most valuable asset: the creators who will continue to share Canadian stories, despite all challenges, for years to come. Thank you.

8567 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, ACTRA.

8568 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.

8569 J'inviterais maintenant la Société de télédiffusion du Québec à s'approcher.

‑‑‑ Pause

8570 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Lorsque vous êtes prêts, s'il vous plaît vous présenter et présenter vos collègues, et vous pouvez débuter.


8571 MME COLLIN : Madame la Présidente, Madame la Vice‑présidente, Monsieur le Vice‑président, Mesdames les Conseillères, membres du personnel. Je suis Marie Collin, présidente‑directrice générale de Télé‑Québec.

8572 Je suis accompagnée, à ma gauche, de Nicole Tardif, vice‑présidente principale, Communications, Image de marque et Affaires gouvernementales; à sa gauche, de Dominic Gourgues, vice‑président, Affaires juridiques, Gestion de l'information et Secrétariat général; et, à ma droite, de Jean‑Claude Cadot, conseiller en veille stratégique de Télé‑Québec.

8573 Je vous remercie de nous recevoir aujourd’hui.

8574 Avant tout, je souhaiterais vous présenter brièvement Télé‑Québec.

8575 Télé‑Québec est le média public à vocation éducative et culturelle du Québec. Depuis plus de 55 ans, Télé‑Québec accompagne les Québécois et les Québécoises de tous âges dans leur quotidien en valorisant la langue française, la culture, l’éducation, l’identité, la diversité et l’innovation. Télé‑Québec a su évoluer avec eux et est devenu aujourd’hui un média multiécran.

8576 Notre offre est accessible gratuitement sur toutes nos plateformes de diffusion en ligne, principalement sur, et, évidemment, sur le service de base des services de télédistribution. Notre taux de pénétration est de 99,1 pour cent.

8577 Pour rejoindre tous nos publics, Télé‑Québec n’a pas le choix que d’être sur la majorité des téléviseurs connectés mais aussi sur les principaux réseaux sociaux comme Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram, et bien autres.

8578 Plusieurs de ses contenus sont également accessibles sur des plateformes partenaires, mais également dans près de 200 pays à travers le monde, grâce aux réseaux de TV5Monde et de sa plateforme TV5Mondeplus.

8579 Télé‑Québec est aussi un levier économique dans différentes régions et a contribué à la création et à la valorisation d’un « star system » qui fait l’envie du reste du Canada et d’autres pays du monde.

8580 Outre son siège social à Montréal, la Société a neuf bureaux régionaux.

8581 Je ne vous répéterai pas aujourd’hui les différents arguments et prises de position de Télé‑Québec au sujet de l’élaboration d’un cadre réglementaire modernisé concernant les contributions des services en ligne pour soutenir le contenu canadien et autochtone. Ceux‑ci sont clairement indiqués et exposés dans notre mémoire.

8582 Nous sommes ici aujourd’hui parce que nous croyons profondément que nous avons tous, en tant que membres de l’industrie de la radiodiffusion, législateurs et organismes réglementaires, une responsabilité immense sur l’avenir identitaire et culturel de millions de nos concitoyens et concitoyennes, et particulièrement de nos enfants.

8583 Pour reprendre les mots d’une méta‑analyse américaine et d’un rapport de l’Université d’Ottawa : «?Ce que les jeunes visionnent a un impact sur leur développement et leur attachement à l’identité de leur nation?».

8584 C’est pourquoi Télé‑Québec se fait une fierté de refléter à la fois les identités québécoises d’aujourd’hui et le monde de demain.

8585 L’abandon graduel de la télévision traditionnelle par les jeunes générations ne date pas d’hier. Télé‑Québec n’abandonnera jamais, lui, les jeunes, parce qu’ils sont notre avenir.

8586 Vous savez comme moi que les jeunes et leurs familles découvrent les contenus qui les intéressent à travers les moteurs de recherche, les réseaux sociaux et, évidemment, les recommandations de leurs amis ou de leurs proches.

8587 Malheureusement, la quasi‑totalité des visionnements de ces contenus se fait sur des plateformes étrangères, lesquelles ont des moyens de production sans précédent. De plus, ces plateformes utilisent des algorithmes de recommandation qui échappent à toute législation, ne manifestent aucune transparence et n’ont qu’un but lucratif.

8588 Pourtant, propulsés par le vedettariat québécois, les contenus d’ici réussissaient auparavant à rassembler la majorité de la population autour de référents communs. De plus, les contenus jeunesse d’ici ont démontré une capacité de rayonnement international. Mais en fragmentant le marché, les géants médiatiques étrangers réussissent à se positionner sur le chemin des publics, et réduisent ainsi la découvrabilité des contenus d'ici de qualité, et particulièrement de langue française.

8589 En effet, les contenus en français sont en perte de vitesse, particulièrement chez les plus jeunes. Un récent rapport de l’Observatoire des technologies médias nous apprenait que plus des deux tiers des enfants québécois de 2 à 11 ans ont visionné des contenus en anglais dans le dernier mois et près des trois quarts chez les 12 à 17 ans.

8590 Si les jeunes d’aujourd’hui perdent le contact avec les contenus d’ici en français, ils ne seront plus en mesure de transmettre à leurs propres enfants le goût et la fierté de leur identité culturelle et linguistique.

8591 Pour contrer cette tendance, il est primordial de produire et de rendre plus accessibles que jamais des contenus à nos jeunes enfants et à nos adolescents, des contenus de qualité qui les interpellent, en français, toujours dans un environnement sécuritaire.

8592 À Télé‑Québec, 40 pour cent de la grille de programmation télé est réservé aux émissions jeunesse; 48 pour cent des contenus en ligne sont destinés à cette cible.

8593 Je suis totalement convaincue que si nous n’agissons pas maintenant pour garder les jeunes générations d’aujourd’hui et de demain dans notre univers culturel et linguistique, nous serons responsables de les avoir abandonnées aux mains d’une culture mondiale sans aucune attache à notre identité et à notre langue.

8594 Je crois donc indispensable que la modernisation du cadre réglementaire canadien reconnaisse que l’avenir de la radiodiffusion dépend grandement de ceux et celles qui seront les citoyens et les consommateurs culturels de demain, soit les enfants et les jeunes d’aujourd’hui, qu’ils soient nés ici ou ailleurs.

8595 Ceci est particulièrement vrai dans le marché de langue française, sachant que les entreprises en ligne qui opèrent au Canada le font principalement en anglais et que la langue française est minoritaire au Canada et en Amérique du Nord.

8596 Je crois plus que jamais qu’il est nécessaire d’offrir aux jeunes d’aujourd’hui et de demain l’occasion de se voir sur tous nos écrans, dans leur réalité et dans leur diversité.

8597 Pour rejoindre tous les auditoires, notre industrie a toujours relevé le défi lancé par les concurrents étrangers, même si nous n’avons pas toujours les mêmes ressources financières qu’eux.

8598 Son aptitude à se tailler une place durable dans nos vies tient à la créativité et au talent de nos artistes, de nos créateurs, de nos producteurs et de nos diffuseurs, car nous sommes les mieux placés pour répondre aux besoins et aux intérêts des jeunes.

8599 Préserver la valeur du travail créatif d’ici dans les entreprises d’ici est essentiel pour éviter que nous ne devenions une industrie de service pour les plateformes internationales.

8600 Pour toutes ces raisons, mais également pour nous permettre d’offrir des contenus aussi séduisants que ceux de la concurrence étrangère, la propriété intellectuelle de nos contenus doit demeurer entre nos mains.

8601 Les multinationales de la diffusion numérique et des médias sociaux n’ont que des objectifs de rentabilité et notre jeunesse n’est qu’une cible marketing parmi d’autres.

8602 Nicole.

8603 MME TARDIF : C’est pourquoi la promotion et la découvrabilité des contenus québécois, canadiens et autochtones ne doivent pas être entièrement laissées aux mains des multinationales de diffusion en continu.

8604 La promotion et la découvrabilité de nos contenus passent avant tout par la vitalité et l’accessibilité des services en ligne nationaux, qui doivent pouvoir offrir une masse critique de contenus de qualité qui mettent en valeur nos identités, notre diversité et notre culture.

8605 Le nouveau cadre réglementaire ne doit donc pas entraver tous les efforts que nous faisons au quotidien dans nos entreprises québécoises et canadiennes pour répondre adéquatement aux besoins d’authenticité, de diversité et d’interaction de nos jeunes.

8606 Au contraire, le nouveau cadre réglementaire devrait, par divers incitatifs, encourager les services de diffusion nationaux à augmenter leur offre de contenus destinés à la jeunesse, et ce, sur toutes les plateformes.

8607 Le nouveau cadre réglementaire ne doit pas non plus encourager les services en ligne étrangers à investir massivement dans des productions commerciales canadiennes. Ceci aurait pour conséquence de priver les diffuseurs nationaux des ressources financières et humaines nécessaires à la création et à la production de contenus de qualité d’ici et qui nous ressemblent. Cela aurait également pour conséquence une inflation des coûts de production.

8608 Télé‑Québec croit plutôt que le Conseil devrait exiger que les services en ligne sur demande fassent la promotion des œuvres québécoises, canadiennes et autochtones dans leur catalogue. Les services étrangers devraient être obligés de les mettre en valeur en les identifiant de manière appropriée, notamment par l’incrustation des logos des diffuseurs nationaux licenciés qui ont financé les programmes pendant toute la durée de leur diffusion.

8609 La Loi sur la radiodiffusion précise que le système canadien de la radiodiffusion devrait répondre aux besoins et aux intérêts de l’ensemble des Canadiens, y compris selon leur âge.

8610 La Loi mentionne aussi que la programmation offerte par le système canadien de radiodiffusion devrait « être variée et aussi large que possible en offrant à l’intention de personnes de tous âges, intérêts et goûts une programmation équilibrée qui renseigne, éclaire et divertit ».

8611 Malheureusement, ces derniers mois et dernières années ont vu la disparition de plusieurs services de diffusion canadiens destinés aux enfants et aux adolescents.

8612 De plus, selon le dernier rapport économique sur l’industrie de la production de contenu sur écran au Canada, les contenus jeunesse ne représentaient que 14 pour cent du volume total de la production télévisuelle de contenu canadien en 2022, soit le niveau le plus bas depuis 2013.

8613 Aussi, le nombre d’heures de production jeunesse soutenue par le Fonds des médias du Canada a chuté de 41 pour cent en neuf ans, soit de 785 heures en 2012‑2013 à 463 heures en 2021‑2022.

8614 La réalité du financement de la production télévisuelle canadienne diffère grandement selon le marché linguistique et présente donc des défis et des risques financiers spécifiques.

8615 Télé‑Québec constate aussi l’écart important entre les budgets moyens des productions entre le marché anglophone et le marché francophone. À l’instar des autres catégories de contenus, les budgets moyens des contenus pour la jeunesse dans le marché francophone représentent moins du tiers de celui des productions jeunesse anglophones.

8616 Aussi, considérant les défis auxquels sont confrontés les publics à la recherche de contenu en français, Télé‑Québec estime que le nouveau cadre de contributions devrait permettre d’augmenter le soutien à la création, à la production et à la promotion des contenus jeunesse en langue originale française.

8617 Le marché francophone a donc grand besoin de plus de moyens financiers afin d’accroître la valeur, l’attractivité et la découvrabilité de son contenu, pour assurer un volume et une qualité suffisante pour répondre aux besoins et aux attentes des enfants, un public très courtisé par les multinationales étrangères, dans un but purement commercial.

8618 MME COLLIN : C’est pour cette raison que Télé‑Québec souhaiterait qu’un nouveau fonds indépendant entièrement dédié au soutien à la création et à la découvrabilité des contenus jeunesse soit créé. Ce fonds devrait être financé par une partie des nouvelles contributions de base initiales qui seront imposées aux services en ligne des multinationales étrangères et il devrait respecter les critères imposés aux fonds certifiés par le Conseil, en y ajoutant la notion de propriété intellectuelle canadienne.

8619 Comme prévu dans la Politique canadienne de radiodiffusion, Télé‑Québec recommande donc au Conseil de répondre à un besoin particulier du marché francophone en ajoutant un objectif en ce qui concerne les contributions à la programmation et aux créateurs canadiens garantissant un soutien accru à l’égard de la programmation jeunesse de langue originale française.

8620 Par ailleurs, Télé‑Québec attire l’attention du Conseil sur le rôle grandissant des systèmes d’opération des téléviseurs connectés que sont Samsung, Amazon Fire ou Roku, mais aussi des services F.A.S.T., qui semblent un peu absents des préoccupations du Conseil en ce moment.

8621 Or, ceux‑ci jouent de plus en plus un rôle d’agrégation et de curation de services audiovisuels, et ils exercent donc une influence importante dans la découvrabilité des contenus. Nous croyons pourtant qu’il s’agit d’un enjeu de souveraineté culturelle et industrielle pour le Québec et pour le Canada, et d’autres pays l’ont compris.

8622 Par exemple, au Royaume‑Uni, le projet de loi sur les médias, qui vient d’être déposé au parlement, a pour objectif d’aider les radiodiffuseurs de service public à mieux concurrencer les géants de la diffusion en ligne. Ce projet de loi comprend notamment des mesures visant à garantir que les téléspectateurs de vidéos sur demande puissent découvrir plus facilement les services de radiodiffusion de service public tels que BBC iPlayer et la plateforme de Channel 4 sur les téléviseurs intelligents, les boîtiers décodeurs et les clés de diffusion multimédia en continu comme Roku ou Chromecast.

8623 De même, le Sénat français a récemment déposé un texte qui propose de garantir à tous les services traditionnels nationaux les mêmes conditions d’affichage que les services étrangers sur les téléviseurs connectés, pour éviter « une logique marchande qui va privilégier telle ou telle plateforme ».

8624 Pour favoriser la découvrabilité de nos contenus sur les téléviseurs connectés, lesquels sont déjà présents dans près de 70 pour cent des foyers canadiens, Télé‑Québec croit que le Conseil devrait prendre des mesures semblables pour garantir aux services de diffusion publics et privés nationaux une visibilité identique à celle des multinationales étrangères sur les écrans des téléviseurs connectés.

8625 Pour conclure, face à l’urgence d’agir, je crois qu’on a le devoir comme société de prendre des risques et d’essayer de garder nos jeunes dans notre écosystème national, dans notre culture.

8626 Nous sommes maintenant prêts à répondre à vos questions. Merci de votre attention.

8627 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation ce matin, et aussi merci pour votre participation dans notre instance.

8628 On va commencer avec notre vice‑présidente de la Radiodiffusion, madame Barin.

8629 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Merci beaucoup.

8630 Bienvenue, Télé‑Québec. Vous avez couvert beaucoup dans votre présentation orale ce matin. Alors, je vais commencer avec cette question de partenariat avec les plateformes numériques.

8631 Vous avez fait allusion à vos contenus qui sont disponibles sur les plateformes et le fait que les jeunes sont sur les plateformes en ligne. Dans nos discussions avec les plateformes dans ce procès, ils nous ont parlé des partenariats qu'ils avaient avec les radiodiffuseurs traditionnels et que ce c'était quand même un avantage pour le système canadien et que peut‑être on devrait compter ce type d'activité comme une contribution à notre système.

8632 Quelle est votre perspective, est‑ce que les partenariats que vous avez marchent ou, sinon, est‑ce qu'il y aurait un modèle de partenariat avec les plateformes en ligne qui pourrait avancer votre mission de rejoindre les jeunes francophones?

8633 MME COLLIN : Madame la Vice‑présidente, oui, on a des partenariats, mais je vous dirais que d'abord on a des partenariats sur le marché francophone. On a des partenariats avec TOU.TV EXTRA, on a avec le Club illico, on en regarde avec Crave aussi. On privilégie d'avoir des partenariats sur le marché intérieur.

8634 Là où je vous ai dit où on était, c'est que nous n'avons pas le choix d'y être parce que nous devons être sur le parcours des enfants. Est‑ce que nous avons une chaîne YouTube? Oui. Est‑ce que nous devons y être? Oui, parce qu'il y a une masse de jeunes qui sont sur ce parcours‑là. Mais c'est un travail très, très ardu après de les ramener dans notre écosystème.

8635 Télé‑Québec a ses propres plateformes de diffusion pour les jeunes. On en a une en pré‑scolaire, on en a une pour les plus vieux, puis on a une plateforme qui est globale.

8636 Faire des partenariats avec... Je ne parlerais pas de partenariats. On dépose des contenus sur ces plateformes‑là. Télé‑Québec, dans le temps, n'a fait qu'un partenariat avec son producteur, et ce n'était pas en jeunesse. Ça été un des premiers à faire un partenariat avec Netflix sur la série M'entends‑tu?, mais à condition qu'elle demeure disponible gratuitement aux abonnés de Télé‑Québec. C'est une question de financement aussi pour nous qui est très important. Nos citoyens paient pour nos contenus, et c'est important qu'ils y aient accès gratuitement.

8637 Si je reviens aux jeunes, nous y allons parce que nous n'avons pas le choix. Nous faisons ce qu'on appelle des courts formats de découvrabilité pour ramener les enfants dans notre écosystème, mais rien ne nous garantit que nous sommes découvrables. Alors, allez en partenariat avec ces plateformes‑là risque souvent de noyer nos produits. On y va pour avoir la chance d'être sur le parcours des jeunes, mais il n'y a rien qui nous garantit que nous aurons des accès, et surtout que nous aurons accès aux données d'usage que les jeunes ont sur ces plateformes.

8638 Et je vous dirais que rejoindre le public jeunesse, c'est extrêmement compliqué et coûteux, parce qu'on n'est pas dans des stratégies un peu plus de masse qu'on peut faire avec les adultes. La segmentation est très grande, parce qu'on ne parle pas à un enfant de trois ou cinq ans, comme à un de six ou huit ou à un de neuf ou 12 ans, et encore moins aux adolescents de cette façon‑là. Donc, les coûts pour les rejoindre sont quand même très élevés.

8639 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Merci pour ça.

8640 Maintenant, je vais aller dans quelques suggestions que vous avez incluses dans votre intervention écrite. Premièrement, votre proposition initiale était d'avoir un seuil de 100 millions de dollars pour les plateformes en ligne pour le versement de contribution de base. Dans votre réplique, vous avez changé d'avis, et vous avez choisi un seuil de 50 millions.

8641 Juste par curiosité, pourquoi croyez‑vous que ça serait une meilleure approche, un seuil de 50 millions?

8642 MME COLLIN : Je vais laisser monsieur Cadot répondre à votre question.

8643 M. CADOT : Merci, Madame la Vice‑présidente.

8644 Dans notre première intervention, notre premier mémoire, on a considéré plusieurs choses pour établir notre suggestion de seuil à 100 millions.

8645 Tout d'abord, la définition proposée de revenus bruts canadiens que le Conseil a proposée, qui inclut tous les revenus en ligne et traditionnels de tous les services d'un groupe de radiodiffusion. Donc, nous avons tenu aussi compte des objectifs du ministère de Patrimoine canadien pour la modernisation du cadre réglementaire, un premier objectif qui était d'intégrer les géants du Web au cadre réglementaire pour qu'ils contribuent à la programmation canadienne. Et aussi, nous avons tenu compte d'un des enjeux identifiés par le ministère de Patrimoine canadien, qui était la vulnérabilité et les difficultés des radiodiffuseurs canadiens actuellement dans le paysage audiovisuel qui les empêchent d'investir massivement dans la programmation et d'innover.

8646 Donc, pour nous, par souci d'équité, un seuil de 100 millions par groupe de radiodiffusion, on trouvait que c'était raisonnable.

8647 Par la suite, on a lu les interventions de d'autres participants au processus, et nous nous sommes ralliés à un consensus des diffuseurs, qui était autour de 50 millions par service en ligne.


8649 Maintenant, parlons de votre proposition de créer un nouveau fonds pour soutenir la création et la découvrabilité du contenu de jeunesse en français.

8650 Cependant, puisque la création d'un nouveau fonds pourrait prendre un certain temps et que le but de la contribution de base serait d'injecter de l'argent dans le système de radiodiffusion rapidement, auriez‑vous des suggestions concrètes pour que les fonds actuels soutiennent mieux le contenu jeunesse francophone?

8651 MME COLLIN : Bien, je vais commencer. Je vais laisser monsieur Cadot compléter.

8652 Par exemple, je pense que le Fonds des médias pourrait faire. On sait que le Fonds des médias du Canada a beaucoup développé au cours des dernières années des programmes particuliers, et ça, ça touche directement l'enveloppe de rendement global. La jeunesse n'a pas un fonds spécifique. Elle se retrouve à l'intérieur de l'enveloppe de rendement, et elle a baissé d'une façon très importante. Elle ne représente que 14 pour cent du financement accordé aux diffuseurs.

8653 Donc, si le Fonds des médias avaient une bonification de son enveloppe, ça pourrait nous permettre peut‑être que d'autres diffuseurs puissent se réintéresser à la jeunesse, parce qu'en ce moment, un des principaux facteurs, c'est la difficulté à financer la jeunesse. Quand on dit qu'au Québec, dans le marché linguistique francophone, les licences sont... les budgets de production sont moins du tiers que ceux accordés au Canada anglais, bien, c'est énorme, et ça ne nous permet pas de proposer aux jeunes des contenus qu'ils voient et qui sont diffusés par les plateformes en ligne étrangères, qui, eux, ont des moyens financiers énormes. Donc, il faut trouver une façon rapidement d'être capable de donner aux diffuseurs et aux producteurs des moyens de pouvoir faire des productions qui sont attirantes, mais aussi de créer un volume de productions. Parce que, en ce moment, quand nos jeunes font de la recherche pour trouver des contenus, ce ne sont pas les contenus canadiens qui sortent en premier, ce sont des contenus étrangers. Particulièrement si vous cherchez en français, c'est encore plus complexe.

8654 Donc, nous, on le voit comme une solution rapide, et, d'un autre côté, on pense que le CRTC pourrait regarder une façon de bonifier les contenus jeunesse dans le calcul canadien ou sous une autre forme. Il faut vraiment qu'on aille vers un mode incitatif pour que les joueurs reviennent vers le contenu jeunesse. La jeunesse, c'est le socle de notre culture, et si on continue dans une décennie, on n'aura plus de consommateurs de contenu adulte en jeunesse.

8655 Au Québec, tantôt vous avez un intervenant qui a parlé de notre Star système. C'est vrai qu'on a un Star système qui est fort au Québec, mais il commence dès le tout jeune âge. On a tous les souvenirs de gens qui ont écouté dans le marché francophone des émissions jeunesse qui ont marqué leur enfance. Nous, on a des vagues de Passe‑Partout, mais il y a des vagues de toute sorte au Québec, et c'est là qu'on s'entre dans le Star système québécois. Donc, ce qui va arriver, c'est que ce Star système‑là, il va s'effriter et il va être un peu absent, comme des gens du Canada anglais s'en plaignent quelquefois.


8657 M. CADOT : Si je peux me permettre d'ajouter aussi.

8658 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Oui, Monsieur Cadot, allez‑y.

8659 M. CADOT : Pour répondre à votre question, Madame la Vice‑présidente, pour aller vite, notre suggestion est d'accorder 80 pour cent de la contribution de base initiale au FMC, donc tout de suite. Et nous souhaitons aussi que la part du budget du FMC passe de 30 pour cent à 40 pour cent pour le marché francophone, comme promis par le gouvernement canadien.

8660 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Merci. Vous avez répondu à ma prochaine question, mais je vais poursuivre dans cette veine.

8661 Vous avez mentionné que les jeunes de 2 à 17 ans consomment beaucoup de contenus en ligne et de plus en plus en anglais. Les fonds actuels soutiennent‑ils suffisamment les producteurs francophones? J'ai entendu la proportion que vous proposez, mais est‑ce qu'il y a une façon que ce soutien pourrait être amélioré à court terme?

8662 M. CADOT : Oui, Madame la Vice‑présidente.

8663 Il faut vraiment tenir compte des différences des marchés linguistiques au niveau du financement de la production. Il y a des différences majeures, notamment pour la production jeunesse.

8664 Vous savez que dans le marché francophone, la structure de financement de la production de contenu jeunesse, 33 pour cent de ce financement vient des diffuseurs publics, alors qu'il y a à peine 5 pour cent dans le marché de langue anglaise.

8665 Dans le marché de langue anglaise, les producteurs bénéficient d'un financement provenant de l'étranger à la hauteur de 20 pour cent pour la production de contenu jeunesse. Dans le marché francophone, c'est négligeable, c'est moins de 1 pour cent qui provient de l'étranger.

8666 Donc, je pense que pour, notamment, répondre au besoin criant de la production jeunesse en langue française, on a besoin de contribution de fonds supplémentaires pour aider les producteurs et les diffuseurs d'ici.

8667 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Une dernière petite question qui va toucher sur la dépendance du marché local pour la production jeunesse et le lien avec la demande pour ce type de programme, la demande internationale, si vous voulez, ou la demande en ligne pour cette programmation.

8668 Est‑ce qu'il y a une dépendance ou est‑ce que c'est vraiment séparé, que la production jeunesse est plus axée sur le marché local?

8669 MME COLLIN : Si je comprends bien votre question, vous voulez savoir si la production faite dans le marché francophone est dépendante de l'offre internationale, si on produit en fonction d'une vente à l'international?

8670 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Et une demande à l'international.

8671 MME COLLIN : Une demande. C'est une très bonne question. Je vous dirais qu'outre le volet animation, je pense qu'il y a très peu de dépendance entre la demande de production dans le marché francophone pour un rayonnement à l'international. C'est généralement dans le domaine de l'animation qu'on voit ce genre de corrélation. Tout ce qui est dans le direct, le live action, il y a très peu de produits qui réussissent à passer la barre. Mais Passe‑Partout est un exemple qui est diffusé via TV5, par exemple, en Afrique francophone. Donc, il y a peu de ventes à l'international pour être diffusées dans une autre langue, je devrais préciser.

8672 VICE‑PRÉSIDENTE BARIN : Noté. Merci beaucoup. Je re‑passe la parole à la présidente.

8673 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Merci beaucoup.

8674 Alors, on va continuer avec le vice‑président des Télécommunications, monsieur Scott.


8676 La semaine passée, nous avons entendu le Shaw Rocket Fund élaboré sur le déclin de la production de contenus pour enfants sur le marché international et sur la difficulté de trouver du financement. Dans le marché francophone, s'agit‑il du même défi, du même défi mais plus difficile ou c'est un autre type de défi? Et, par rapport à ça, est‑ce qu'on a besoin d'autres solutions dans les deux marchés? Est‑ce que c'est vraiment la même dynamique?

8677 MME COLLIN : Je dirais, Monsieur le Vice‑président, que ce qu'on vit au Québec, ça toujours été très difficile de financer la production jeunesse, mais les dernières années c'est vraiment de plus en plus complexe de financer la production jeunesse. Je vous dirais que la production jeunesse, c'est souvent le parent pauvre de notre système de contenu.

8678 C'est vrai, je pense, aussi au Canada, mais les écarts entre la production... les volumes de production, mais particulièrement les budgets de production entre le marché anglophone et le marché francophone démontrent qu'il est beaucoup plus difficile dans le marché francophone de monter des structures financières pour arriver à... Et je le répète : Un enfant qui est devant son écran, il ne se dit pas, « Ah, oui, mais lui, il a moins de moyens que l'autre, et c'est pour ça que son émission, elle ne sort pas à l'extérieur des studios. » Donc, effectivement, quand on se compare, c'est là que les choses sont plus difficiles.

8679 Jean‑Claude, tu veux rajouter quelque chose?

8680 M. CADOT : Monsieur le Vice‑Président, je pourrais peut‑être rajouter que dans la dernière année, le volume de production en général de contenu au Canada a augmenté. Il y a une exception, c'est le volume de production de contenu jeunesse en français, qui est la seule catégorie à avoir baissé au Canada dans la dernière année, selon le dernier rapport économique sur l'industrie de la production de contenu sur écran au Canada.

8681 Par ailleurs, j'attire votre attention sur le budget. On l'a déjà mentionné, mais le budget de production de jeunesse en français a diminué de 10,4 pour cent en 2021‑2022. Donc, c'est une des plus fortes baisses des budgets de production de contenu au Canada. Il est égal à 292 000 $ par heure en langue française contre 924 000 $ par heure en anglais. Ça équivaut donc à moins d'un tiers du budget en langue anglaise.

8682 VICE‑PRÉSIDENT SCOTT : Merci. J'apprécie vos observations et aussi vos données détaillées. Merci.

8683 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Merci beaucoup.

8684 Alors, on va continuer avec la conseillère Levy.

8685 CONSEILLÈRE LEVY : Dans votre présentation, vous indiquez que :

8686     « ...le nouveau cadre réglementaire devrait, par divers incitatifs, encourager les services de diffusion nationaux à augmenter leur offre de contenus destinés à la jeunesse, et ce, sur toutes les plateformes. »

8687 Quels types d'incitatif envisagez‑vous?

8688 MME COLLIN : En fait, c'est un peu ce qu'on disait précédemment. On croit que les incitatifs pourraient être la bonification du Fonds des médias pour que le financement soit beaucoup plus accessible pour les producteurs qui produisent la jeunesse et aussi pour les diffuseurs qui voudraient en ajouter ou maintenir les contenus qu'ils ont présentement, et probablement, je crois que le CRTC a quelques clés, quelques outils où il pourrait donner ou favoriser, via un pourcentage de contenu canadien ou une autre façon, tout diffuseur qui proposerait en mode linéaire ou sur ses plateformes du contenu jeunesse.

8689 CONSEILLÈRE LEVY : C'est tout pour moi. Merci.

8690 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Excellent. Merci beaucoup. Alors, on vous laisse le dernier mot. Merci.

8691 MME COLLIN : Écoutez, Télé‑Québec aurait pu vous parler de culture, hein, parce qu'on est aussi une télévision culturelle. On fait beaucoup de place au contenu, à la musique, à la relève et à la diversité. Si on a trouvé aujourd'hui important de vous parler surtout de contenu jeunesse et le prioriser, c'est qu'il y a de moins en moins de joueurs pour vous en parler maintenant.

8692 C'est vraiment triste, parce que je le répète, l'avenir de notre système audiovisuel canadien dépend de nos consommateurs de demain, de nos concitoyens, qui sont les enfants et qui seront les parents de d'autres enfants plus tard, et s'ils quittent en ce moment massivement notre système de radiodiffusion, vous imaginez à quel point ça va être difficile, une fois adultes, de les faire revenir dans notre giron et dans notre système, duquel ils n'auront pas de souvenir, duquel ils n'auront pas de moments qui ont marqué leur enfance, duquel ils ne reconnaîtront pas aucun comédien, aucun auteur, aucun scénariste.

8693 On est convaincus chez nous qu'il y a une urgence d'agir, et je dois vous dire, ce qui m'inquiète le plus, c'est que la fin de votre cycle de révision réglementaire n'arrive pas un peu tard pour ce groupe cible, puisque leur transition vers les plateformes étrangères est grandement entamée.

8694 Je vous remercie beaucoup d'avoir pris le temps d'entendre parler de la jeunesse au Canada. Merci.

8695 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Merci beaucoup d'être venus ici ce matin et aussi d'avoir partagé vos perspectives avec nous. Merci.

8696 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci beaucoup.

8697 We will now go to the next presenter via Zoom, Mr. John Roman.

8698 Can you hear me?

‑‑‑ Pause

8699 THE SECRETARY: Hello. Welcome.

8700 MR. ROMAN: Hello.

8701 THE SECRETARY: Perfect. We can hear you and we can see you.

8702 You may begin your presentation.


8703 MR. ROMAN: Thank you.

8704 Bonjour, Madam Chair, Commissioners, CRTC staff. My name is John Roman. Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today.

8705 For the last few weeks we have seen many intervenors with their hands outstretched. They are essentially asking for their proverbial fish for the day, with precious few offering to learn how to fish. For the last 55 years, whenever there’s been a hearing, everyone lines up before the Commission’s hearing table for a fish, and the Commission has usually obliged.

8706 Commissioners, giving away fish has created an industry with its hands out perpetually. Has it created a resilient industry that successfully has weathered every storm? No. The industry constantly cries for increased protections and more money, while lamenting our geography and small population.

8707 The industry will need something other than being dependent on regulatory bailouts. Canadians deserve more than a patina of Canadian symbolism paid for by a bureaucracy of funds. We need the regulator to develop a long‑term plan to create self‑reliance in the broadcasting industry. Our system would obviously benefit from more money, but so does everything else. Throwing good money after bad is a make‑work project without an industry that can draw sufficient audiences to be self‑sustaining.

8708 Putting a levy on successful streaming services won’t fix the problem if we refuse to address the root cause. It’s like having a math problem “solve for X” and the solutions proposed are taxing “Y” to throw money at “Z”. “X” isn’t the money, it’s producing content larger Canadian audiences want.

8709 Neither the policy direction, nor much of the past decade’s worth of Canadian content has actually focused on getting us there. And after watching two weeks of intervenors, they seem to want to get extra money, despite things having gotten progressively worse for the last 20 years.

8710 Put another way, Canadian eyeballs are decreasing the amount they are watching Canadian content. Between video games, Instagram doomscrolling, YouTube and foreign streaming services, Canadian eyeballs have lots of screen‑based entertainment alternatives. With the bar raised for Canadians' attention, which intervenors have justified their ask for more money with a solution to remedy the loss of audiences? Have the media funds? Have the unions? Some have cherry‑picked past successes while glazing over the overarching trend. Our domestic industry is largely failing to make content Canadians want.

8711 What about the broadcasters? What are their solutions? Aside from Blue Ant Media, more money, less regulation, more protections, and a levelling of the playing field. Well, if our broadcasters would spend more money on their content and have a greater stake in it, that would make it a more level playing field to start.

8712 I come to you with a proposal you can adopt. I do so with no self interest ‑‑ not on behalf of union members, nor shareholders I'm responsible to. Canadian content has an appeal problem, and no one who gets paid to appear before you at this hearing is trying to take a long‑term structural approach that doesn't involve a transfer of income, so I'll try.

8713 My proposals are fourfold.

8714 The Commission only follow policy direction to a minimum amount necessary. The policy direction directs you to consider a long list of issues. It does not compel you to decide these issues in any particular way. Do take necessary consideration, but please decide that you will support policies that are clearly beneficial to bringing large audiences back to Canadian broadcasters.

8715 The Commission reduce regulatory requirements for prime‑time Canadian content down to one hour; however, the expenditures for prime time content remain at the same or increased levels. One hour of good, well‑funded content is more likely to draw more eyeballs than two hours of half‑price content. This will also provide greater opportunities for profits for broadcasters in their most profitable time slots. Daytime Canadian content requirements might also need to be relaxed in a similar way to prime time to reduce the burden further.

8716 Canadian broadcasters should pay 100 per cent of the cost of Canadian content after tax credits and the like. No demanding Canadian content be saleable to international markets before it is green‑lit. This is to encourage broadcasters to make content they believe in, not content they can hedge their bets on. It should also take some of the stress off producers and directors, since they'll have a steady and reliable amount of money from day one.

8717 Finally, exempt foreign online undertakings from contributing to broadcasting funds if they spend above a certain threshold ‑‑ say, 1 to 1.5 billion on production ‑‑ in Canada per year. Also an exemption for domestic online undertakings from contribution for a set number of years from the conclusion of this hearing.

8718 Commissioners, it's very likely there will be new money going to various causes at the end of this hearing, but because that won't fix the underlying issue within the system, I'd urge the Commission to consider not throwing good money after bad. Focus on getting value for money by returning the Canadian eyeballs to Canadian content. Thank you. I would welcome your questions at this time.

8719 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for joining us and for sharing your perspectives and analogies. I will turn things over to Vice‑Chair Scott to start the discussion. Thank you.

8720 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Good morning. So a couple of questions, some stemming from your remarks this morning, and at least one stemming from your written submission.

8721 So maybe I'll start with you advised that we should take steps that are clearly beneficial to bringing large audiences back to Canadian broadcasters. How does the regulator do that? Is that really your ‑‑ I think you had kind of a quality over quantity tone to your comments this morning. Is that really what you're talking about?

8722 MR. ROMAN: Yeah, largely, yes. And by doing that, and in doing that, I would say the regulator can do that by reducing the regulatory burden on the Canadian broadcasters.

8723 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Okay. And are you concerned at all about the flow‑through of that, like if there's a reduction in the number of hours being produced, is that less support for other aspects of the broadcasting industry? It's ‑‑ sorry, go ahead.

8724 MR. ROMAN: So sorry to cut you off.

8725 To some degree, yes. But I view consolidation as essentially required at this point for the industry to readjust to what is the new norm. In 2014 at the Let's Talk TV hearing, when a Netflix tax was first discussed, there was talk of, okay, let's get money into the system. We're still at that stage. But no one in the system has talked about how to adjust the system to make it more functional in the new dynamic.

8726 So if we need to consolidate to make content that Canadians want to watch, then that's going to be a requirement. Will everyone in the industry appreciate that or enjoy that? Certainly not. But we have to figure out something that makes audiences come back to Canadian broadcasters.

8727 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Thanks for that.

‑‑‑ Discussion off record

8728 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Another one of your comments this morning, the proposal to exempt foreign online undertakings from contributing to funds if they reach a spending threshold. Do you see any risk that such a model might lead to large productions shooting in Canada but not necessarily shooting Canadian stories in Canada? Or do you think part of your proposal would require a Canadian content aspect as well?

8729 MR. ROMAN: Thank you for the question. My proposal doesn't directly address that second issue. As to whether ‑‑ I mean, yes, I said a certain threshold. Again, the Commission can set that threshold at whatever it wants to be, if the Commission wants to set that at 2.5. But obviously, there has to be the space to produce content. And I think we're already max capacity.

8730 Should the industrial Canadian producers ‑‑ and by that I mean the Netflixes, the Primes, et cetera ‑‑ do content that is exclusively Canadian content? It would be nice if they did, but should they ‑‑ how much they do and why, I'm going to leave that one fairly squarely in your court. Should they do it? Great if they do. But there's still a value‑added for them doing industrial content, and to sort of deny that I don't think is fair either.

8731 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Great, thanks.

8732 Last question from me, so in your written submission, you'd laid out your six‑tiered funding model, and you put a strong emphasis on similar types of services supporting similar types of service, I think your phrase, you know, radio supports radio, music supports music. I'll confess that I found some of those categories a bit ambiguous, maybe music and radio being the starkest example. What's wrong with radio supporting music or vice versa?

8733 MR. ROMAN: Right. So there is definitely an overlap there. And obviously, my six proposed model now has to go down to five, because the CRTC has made a ruling on videogames as per the policy direction. So I appreciate that.

8734 And is there an overlap between music and radio? Yes, certainly, there is. But there are also, you know, talk radio programs. There are programs that don't do ‑‑ radio stations that don't do music. So there is a difference there. One does mainly traffic. You know, for those sort of things, should they be paying into the music system? Well, if they don't do it, it doesn't make sense for them to pay into it. That's why there was a delineation there. But that being said, if the Commission wanted to merge the two, I could certainly appreciate that logic.

8735 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Those are all my questions, but I would like to just close by saying thank you for participating. Like you said, you don't have a financial interest in this, and I think it's very valuable that you've made your contribution nonetheless. Thank you.

8736 Back to you, Chair.

8737 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks very much. We will go over to Commissioner Naidoo.

8738 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Hi, there. Thanks so much for being here today.

8739 You bring forward in your intervention many questions regarding how some online service blur the lines between broadcasting and social media. So do you have any suggestions on how the Commission could differentiate an online service's broadcasting activities from its social media activities?

8740 MR. ROMAN: Ooh, how long is a piece of string? What an excellent question. I think that is a very narrow tightrope ‑‑ sorry, going back to a string analogy again ‑‑ but very tight delineation there, because the lines are so blurred. In my initial submission, I talk about streaming services such as Twitch.TV, where they are hosting content and getting money and doing all the rest. And some of them are contracted, some of them are not. Some are getting donations. And how that also could be analogous to conventional radio talk radio.

8741 So where the line is, is so blurred at this time, I don't know. How do you unwrap the Gordian knot would be difficult. I can try and figure that out for my final submission, but I'm going to have to think on that one a bit more.

8742 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: All right, well, thank you.

8743 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, great. Thanks very much. We will go over to Commissioner Levy.

8744 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You have posed some fairly radical ideas on how we might change the system, including reducing Canadian content to one hour in prime time and using the extra money to bump up the budgets and so forth. We've had a lot of discussion here as well about the issue of discoverability. And I wonder if you might weigh in and give us some ideas on how you see this content being made more discoverable to Canadian audiences.

8745 MR. ROMAN: Great. So actually, I see sort of two questions in what you asked, so I'd like to address them in turn, the first being funding in my radical ideas, and then discoverability, if that's okay.

8746 With regard to the funding, again, most of the intervenors who have appeared before you ‑‑ and I'm going to use an analogy here ‑‑ if I was an owner of a widget factory and I come to you, as the bank, and I say, you know, I'd like some money. And you said, Okay, what for? Well, I make widgets and new foreign competitors have come in, and they're making better widgets for less money. Your natural response would be, Okay, so you want to get some money so you can improve your factory and compete fairly, you know, making better content or better product for less money? And from what I've been seeing, the response has been, No, I want to keep doing exactly what I'm doing. I want to make the same widgets I make now that are not competitive. And that's ‑‑ no one's proposing anything new from what we've been seeing before you.

8747 So am I proposing something radical? Well, radical compared to what? There hasn't been anything else really proposed to justify why they're asking for more money. So that's why I'm doing that.

8748 As to discoverability, in my initial submission, I talked about whether there be tabs of online streaming services sort of on the sideline, you know, a Canadian flag, “O Canada,” or what have you. And that's fine.

8749 Earlier today, we heard from ACTRA, who proposed that every fourth program, I think it was, be Canadian content. There are a number of options out there and that ‑‑ which one the Commission ultimately goes with, doesn't matter whether it's a blending of the two or something special.

8750 But I would note that technology is out there, too, if ‑‑ it should essentially make it so that I don't have to view Canadian content. If I set a VPN that I have on my computer or some other system, I'm getting around any discoverability requirements that the Commission might impose.

8751 So whatever model we take, it has to be one that it doesn't cause too much undue burden on audiences and the broadcaster or the streaming service to make it onerous for audiences. Because if it's unpleasant as a system, they'll just bypass it. And I don't want that to happen because we do make great content or we have the ability to make great content. We just have to make it in a way that is not obtrusive or in your face. Because nobody likes ‑‑ when you were in school, no one would say, you know, Here, read this book. And you're going to go, Yes, I get to read this book for school. No, you went, Oh, I'm being forced to do something.

8752 So it's one thing go, I want to see what the O Canada section is for (insert streamer here). But to say we're going to force Canadian stuff everywhere in a way that is unpleasant for the eye when I don't want to watch, say, a program that is Canadian on subject X, it doesn't make sense.

8753 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.

8754 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much. So those are the questions for our Panel. We'd like to turn things back over to you for concluding remarks.

8755 MR. ROMAN: Thank you, Madam Chair.

8756 Audiences want to enjoy content, and advertisers will follow those audiences. Canadians need content worth watching. And if Canadians don't get it on traditional Canadian broadcasters, we can and do go elsewhere. Our broadcasters need help, but they also need to do content worthy of Canadian eyeballs or else all the money being discussed will be wasted.

8757 I urge the Commission to realize that the money won't fix the issues facing the Canadian broadcasting industry. If you're going to hand out more fish, I'd urge you to request something substantive in return. Thank you very much.

8758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for being here with us virtually today.

8759 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now take a lunch break and be back at 12:45.

‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 11:38 a.m.

‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 12:43 p.m.

8760 THE SECRETARY: Welcome back, everyone.

8761 We’ll now hear the presentation of Apple Canada Inc. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you may begin.


8762 MR. PATINIOS: Madam Chair, Commissioners, thank you for the opportunity to appear today. My name is Paul Patinios and I am Apple Canada’s Services Director, based in Toronto.

8763 With me this afternoon are my colleagues Mike Lawless, Head of Music, Karthiga Ratnasabapathy, Head of Video for Services Canada, , Roberta Westin, legal counsel, Tim Powderly at the end of the table, Head of Government Affairs, and Tara Lignos, Head of Legal and Studio Affairs, Original Content.

8764 Our goal today is to introduce you to our businesses, hopefully explain why we are so passionate about what we do and, of course, answer your questions.

8765 Apple shares the Commission’s goal of ensuring online streaming services meaningfully support Canadian and Indigenous content. We embrace your intent to start with a blank sheet of paper in considering what a modernized broadcasting framework should look like. As more and more Canadians embrace new ways of consuming content, we are grateful the Commission has acknowledged that a new approach is needed and we are excited to work together towards this goal.

8766 As we’ve explained in our written interventions, we agree with the Commission’s goal of ensuring this new framework is modern, flexible and light touch.

8767 For our presentation today, we wanted to introduce you to our businesses Apple Music, Apple TV App and TV+ and share examples of how we promote Canadian and Indigenous content every day, and also bring those creators to a global audience.

8768 Now I will turn it over to my colleague, Mike Lawless, who leads our Apple Music team in Canada.

8769 MR. LAWLESS: Thank you, Paul.

8770 Our objective today is share how our team at Apple Music Canada operates and to showcase through our efforts the deep contributions we’ve been making to Canadian and Indigenous music, artists and industry for years.

8771 Apple Music takes deep pride in its extensive collection of playlists designed to delight listeners in Canada with the best possible music listening experience, while elevating our favourite Canadian and Indigenous music. While we have dedicated editorial content for Canadian music, Indigenous artists and Francophone music, our local editors are focused on ensuring all of this music is reflected across all of our biggest playlists.

8772 Specific to Musique Francophone, we have operated for 13 years on the ground in Quebec, applying deep local knowledge to build a bilingual experience that includes localized editorial, a suite of francophone playlists, editorial spotlights for key local moments, and deep efforts to export French Canadian music through editorial programs and global promotion.

8773 We have also developed Indigenous Sounds as a destination on Apple Music designed to celebrate First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists, featuring playlists curated by Indigenous editors, and art created by Indigenous artists.

8774 Our support for Indigenous artists extends across broad Apple Music editorial programs and through our efforts to export local Indigenous music to a global audience.

8775 Beyond all this, we also focus on bespoke artist programs we have developed to elevate and promote new and emerging artists from across the country and to deliver listeners surprise and delight moments from their favourite Canadian and Indigenous talents.

8776 One of Apple Music’s favourite programs to promote these artists is Up Next. Through this editorial and marketing program, Up Next helps to tell the stories of the best developing artists as they carve their path to superstardom.

8777 And when it comes to creative storytelling, there is no one better in music than George Strombolopolous, who continues to find moments to highlight Canadian and Indigenous artists through bespoke interviews and his global platform on Apple Music Radio.

8778 We have also been able to tell compelling local stories through bespoke programs such as 99 Nights Radio hosted by Charlotte Cardin, the CCMA nominated program Canada’s Country Radio hosted by Brett Kissel, and our Hip‑Hop DNA Canada episode which tells the story of how Canadian rap became a global superpower.

8779 And for those customers that want to access their favourite Canadian terrestrial radio stations, they are available across the country in Apple Music.

8780 Beyond the Apple Music App, we recognize the reach that Apple has and will continue to find opportunities across our company to elevate Canadian and Indigenous creators through these broad channels across our entire ecosystem.

8781 We also continue to find ways to help tell the story of Apple Music and the story of diverse Canadian and Indigenous artists side by side outside of Apple, finding the right moments and opportunities to amplify the incredible creative community that we have been working alongside for many years.

8782 Of course, as a global platform, our team continues to focus on finding ways to support Canadian and Indigenous artists well beyond our borders, helping to introduce these incredible artists to new audiences around the world.

8783 I’ll pass it to Karthiga.

8784 MS. RATNASABAPATHY: Thank you, Mike.

8785 Good afternoon. We’d like to shift gears now to talk about our video service and some of their many features that support Canadian content across our platform. Our story starts with the Apple TV app, complementary on many devices.

8786 On Apple TV app, editors are content curators. Apple TV app is an editorial platform that relies mainly on curation, rather than only an algorithm. We highlight content and cultural moments relevant to Canadians.

8787 Whether it is film or television programming, our goal is to make the TV app a one‑stop shop for all of your streaming video needs. We are a content aggregator where you find everything, all in one place and on any screen.

8788 Canadians can search, browse and discover a vast catalogue in English and French of movies, TV series, documentaries, sports and kids’ content from Canadian and international providers, and Apple’s original content on Apple TV+. Our app promotes and helps Canadians enjoy many more stories than would ever be possible with traditional broadcasting.

8789 Within the TV App, our customers have access to distinct services across many devices. Apple TV+ is Apple’s own video subscription service offering its original content. Apple TV Channels offers access to select third party subscription video on‑demand services which users can subscribe to individually. And though our store, our customers have the option to buy or rent thousands of films and TV series.

8790 Apple TV+ offers premium, compelling drama and comedy series, feature films, groundbreaking documentaries and kids and family entertainment to a global audience, and is available to watch across all of your favourite screens. After its launch on November 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all‑original streaming service to launch around the world. Here is a reel highlighting just a sample of how Canadian productions and talent have played a meaningful part in this early chapter.

‑‑‑ Video presentation

8791 MS. RATNASABAPATHY: This reel highlights our partnership with the Canadian creative community so far, and we’re excited about continuing to build relationships in Canada.

8792 In addition to Apple TV+, we promote and partner with local content providers to promote their content across our services in Canada. We support many Canadian partners such as Crave, APTN, CBC Gem and many more.

8793 Across the TV app, customers have the opportunity to navigate to our “À regarder en français” room, which provides a carefully curated selection of content across all business types, all in French.

8794 We also create specific Canadian content rooms for our customers. One example is Made‑Nous. Working with CMF and Telefilm to ensure we’re on top of all of the latest Canadian releases, this space includes new release and catalogue content created by and starring Canadians, as well as work produced and shot in Canada with thematic collections including award‑winning films, films directed by women, members of the Indigenous community and more.

8795 Made‑Nous offers a one‑stop shop for Canadians to find their favourite piece of Canadian content.

8796 Another example of a Canadian content room is “Créations du Québec”. This room features hundreds of new and catalogue film and TV content offerings from Quebec creators.

8797 Showcasing content by and featuring Indigenous creators is a priority for us. Our evergreen room “Indigenous Voices: Front & Centre” is available across our platform year‑round. Within the room, we highlight new content from Indigenous writers, directors and showrunners and, like our Made‑Nous and Créations du Québec spaces, our curators work with artists to create features centred around their voice and work. We have guest curation features from Nyla Innuksuk, Michael Greyeyes and Tracey Deer, just to name a few.

8798 We also are proud to showcase Indigenous content from around the world.

8799 Finally, in our store, we have thousands of films and TV series available for rent and purchase from all over the world in multiple languages. It has been a favourite destination for Canadians for years.

8800 Apple TV app allows Canadians to have access to our vast catalogue of content, giving them access to what they love, whenever and wherever they want.

8801 This is just a sample of the investments we are making to help tell Canadian stories on our services. These are all important investments we make in Canadian stories via the Apple TV app, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg for Apple’s Canada‑centred video services.

8802 MR. PATINIOS: Thank you, Karthiga.

8803 In summary, this is a snapshot of the work we are doing every day showcasing Canadian and Indigenous content across our services.

8804 Madam Chair, we believe there is no one business model and no one way to showcase Canadian culture. Therefore, we support a contribution framework that, as a first principle, is flexible. We hope that once we have a clear definition of what it means to invest in Canadian content, we can then work with you in partnership to develop the appropriate contribution framework.

8805 Thank you again for the opportunity to appear today. We hope our presentation has outlined some of the ways Apple is already making significant contributions to Canadian culture.

8806 Our teams are passionate and will continue to collaborate with our Canadian and indigenous content partners to promote and celebrate their work.

8807 We’d be pleased to take your questions.

8808 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you to Apple for being here, for being a part of the proceeding.

8809 We also appreciate the highlights that you have shown with some of the initiatives that you have going on.

8810 I know that the Panel is really looking forward to having a discussion with you, so I will turn things over to Commissioner Levy to kick things off.

8811 Thank you.

8812 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Good afternoon and welcome. Very happy to have the chance to lead off the discussion.

8813 Let’s start with your first principle, which is flexibility. You want to determine for yourself where your contributions should go, but we’ve talked a lot over the past couple of weeks about some types of content such as news which are very difficult to sustain but are, of course, extremely important to the Canadian broadcasting system.

8814 If we allow all online streamers to contribute however they want, how do we ensure that important content such as news is still supported and who should contribute to these types of content?

8815 MR. POWDERLY: Thank you, Commissioner. As a first point, I think when we say flexibility, I don’t think we’re saying it’s a free‑for‑all and the wild, wild west. I think what we’re saying is we understand that there ought to be some options at some point, but we want to work with you to make sure there’s guard rails in place and the framework gets developed the best it can.

8816 Second, on news, if I can address that for one minute, so Apple does believe in the importance of quality independent journalism and we support that in Canada today. And if I could talk about the Apple News app for one second.

8817 So Apple News is an appt that comes on our devices and, in it, you can find work from publishers in Canada and around the world. There’s over 140 Canadian publications on Apple News right now, and the way it works is a publisher chooses if it wants to publish its work on Apple News. It’s not like we go out and get it and push it out. And if they do that, they get 100 percent of the revenue generated by that article.

8818 There’s another service called Apple News+, which is a subscription service, which is really magazines and newspapers. Again, up to the publisher if they want to be in and, if they are, again, 100 percent of the ad revenue plus a share of the subscription revenue.

8819 So we are focused on supporting journalism. We think it’s very important. We have teams of Canadian editors in Toronto and Montreal who, you know, curate the sites for us and are committed to doing it.

8820 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Thank you.

8821 In your presentation, you mention Canadian partners such as Crave, APTN, CBC Gem. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit more about those partnerships. For example, are they mostly related to the carriage of programming?

8822 MR. PATINIOS: Thank you, Commissioner Levy. I’ll hand over to Karthiga in a second.

8823 But both in the music and the video space, it’s really important that we work and promote Canadian content via our partnership, and we work very close with them in many different facets.

8824 I’ll start with Karthiga and then Mikle.

8825 MS. RATNASABAPATHY: Thank you.

8826 Yes, we work with those partners very closely to promote all of their content, but including their Canadian content as well. And we have a lot of broadcasters that we work with.

8827 So recently, with APTN, we had a Little Bird where we helped them promote Little Bird, but not only on APTN but also via Crave. So for us, discoverability and ensuring that our customers have access to the best services available is very important.

8828 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Now, do you partner on the production side as well as on the carriage side?

8829 MS. RATNASABAPATHY: No, we partner on the carriage side.

8830 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Let’s move now to the field of the second question that we were tasked with addressing in these hearings, and that’s applicability.

8831 Could you elaborate on why, in your view, transactional services do not have a material impact on the implementation of the broadcasting policy as set out in the Act and should, therefore, be exempted from the requirement to make specific contributions to the Canadian broadcasting system?

8832 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner Levy.

8833 So transactionals, we view that they are more similar to physical retail stores and transactionals, the market is in decline.

8834 This business, the vast majority of the revenue go to the content provider, so we believe that due to the nature of that service that it would not be appropriate to impose financial contributions.

8835 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You say it's in decline. Can you give me some rough statistics about how you’re measuring that decline?

8836 MS. WESTIN: We can take that back.


8837 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Next, I’d like to ask you to elaborate on how imposing lower requirements on online undertakings aligns with the trends of increased revenue and increased market share for such undertakings.

8838 You have significant market share in Canada, I would say. And also elaborate on the ‑‑ how online undertakings must contribute in an equitable manner along with other broadcasting undertakings to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act?

8839 MS. WESTIN: Thank you for the question, Commissioner Levy.

8840 So we believe that the contribution framework should be appropriate to each nature of the service and equitable.

8841 In our view, when we’re thinking about an equitable approach, it’s really recognizing that there are not only key differences between traditional broadcasters and online undertakings, but also between online undertakings themselves.

8842 So we believe that, according to the Act, the Act recognized this distinction, for example, how Canadian broadcasters should make maximum use of Canadian creators and human resources, so we believe that there should be a distinction between online undertakings and traditional broadcasters.

8843 We also understand that there are key differences. For example, online undertakings operate in a very global and dynamic and high competitive market, allow, for example, to provide access of content ‑‑ of, you know, a much larger catalogue of content to customers in comparison with traditional broadcasters, much of this content that wouldn’t otherwise be distributed in a traditional broadcaster distribution. So we believe that those differences must be taken into account in order to establish an equitable framework.

8844 COMMISSIONER LEVY: You mentioned that for your audio streaming service you pay a higher proportion of your revenues in royalties to rightsholders than traditional broadcasters do, and you said that these royalty payments should be sufficient contribution for your audio services. But when we look at the Canadian ecosystem and commercial radio as an example, they have costs associated with their licences, including royalty payments and licensing fees, in order to broadcast in Canada. These have largely been considered the cost of doing business in Canada.

8845 So what is it about your royalty payments that you think distinguishes them as more than a cost of running a licensed business in Canada?

8846 MR. LAWLESS: I’m happy to jump in there, Commissioner Levy.

8847 We are aligned in the fact that the royalties that we pay out to rightsholders are a part of our contribution. We understand that they’re a cost of doing ‑‑ or part of the cost of doing business. What we’re saying today is that we think that this just needs to be considered as a factor as we are looking at a new flexible framework that is being built.

8848 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Let's move on to funds.

8849 In your view, all online undertakings should have an equal opportunity to participate and use funds into which they would be required to contribute. How should the Commission’s new framework allow non‑Canadian undertakings to gain access to funds while ensuring that Canadian content creators, both online and traditional, have the financial stability through their continued access to funding?

8850 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner Levy.

8851 So with respect to funds, we acknowledge the importance of funds and, as mentioned by other participants before, we also believe that, to the extent online undertakings will contribute to funds, that it would be important and equitable to allow online undertakings to have the possibility to access these funds. At this moment, we understand that we still need to have more clarity with respect to the rules around such funds to understand how, for example, foreign online undertakings would be able to access these funds and participate in the system.

8852 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Could you comment on whether Apple would support a requirement that foreign online undertakings allocate all or a portion of their contributions to funds such as the Black Screen Office, the Indigenous Screen Office and/or the Independent Local News Fund?

8853 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner.

8854 So first of all, we are committed to support diversity at every level at our company, including in our services. Again, we acknowledge the importance of funds and, at this stage of the proceeding, we think it’s important for the Commission to think about the framework holistically and also recognize that there are other forms of contributions being made to the system by online undertakings.

8855 We certainly support an overall ‑‑ making an overall contribution once we have further clarity in the framework, once we go through Step 2 of the proceeding, but we believe that due to the valuable contributions that online undertakings have been making to the system, we believe that those should be taken into account to support diversity content.

8856 And I would turn to my colleagues just to provide a few more examples on that.

8857 MR. PATINIOS: Thank you, Roberta.

8858 There are many tangible and intangible ways to promote many diverse backgrounds and creators in this country, and I’ll defer to my colleagues in a moment to walk you through some of those examples. And we do this all the time.

8859 As mentioned earlier, we have teams in Toronto and Montreal. Both languages we curate our services. And we’re constantly making sure every day that we promote diverse backgrounds.

8860 So we’ll start with Karthiga.

8861 MS. RATNASABAPATHY: Yes. We have local teams in Montreal and Toronto that come from various backgrounds such as film festivals, distribution companies. We work with broadcasters and our partners on a daily basis to curate content to ensure that we have diversity and discovery on our platform.

8862 I’ll give an example of Indigenous content which I have, but we have over 30 languages that we’ve launched ‑‑ when we launched with APTN that support Indigenous languages. We work with very closely with our partners at APTN, but also any curators that we’ve been working with on a daily basis.

8863 And I’ll also ‑‑ Tara, my colleague, can give more information on production.

8864 MS. LIGNOS: Yes.

8865 Well, first of all, we are relatively new in the space at TV+, so we’re actually really happy to be here, so thank you.

8866 In terms of working with our production partners, we have titles such as Jane, Circuit Breakers. Some of those you saw on the scissor reel that include Indigenous voices and talent.

8867 Our platform allows authentic voices and storylines to be discovered on a global basis and we have many titles with Canadian talent who we believe identify as being from under‑represented communities.

8868 We are just getting started and so are open to having dialogue about more ways that we can support holistically, including dialogue with the BSO and ISO.

8869 Mike do you ‑‑

8870 MR. LAWLESS: Thank you.

8871 And then specific to music, much like our video team, we have a team of editors and music business partner managers that are located between Toronto and Montreal who are very committed to ensuring that we provide authentic support to diverse communities across Apple Music. As an example of the work that we have done specific to elevating Indigenous music and Indigenous creators, we have approached Indigenous music by looking at what we can do from an evergreen perspective, so always on programming.

8872 As mentioned in our presentation earlier, we developed a destination called Indigenous Sounds which hosts a collection of content from artists as well as a collection of playlists that have been created and curated in consultation with Indigenous curators. Within this destination, you’ll find playlists like Shakedown, which focuses on the incredible Indigenous hip‑hop community. You’ll also find playlists like Village, which is designed to take our users on a vicarious visit to the cultural heart of reservations, examining traditional Indigenous music such as throat singing, powwow.

8873 Beyond these individual destinations, we also place a lot of importance on ensuring that our support happens across all of our broad editorial programs in the areas that we place a lot of focus in, so Up Next, where we featured artists like Jaylee Wolf, our Home Sessions, which is an original content project series where we’ve had artists, including Aysanabee, Zoon. And then on Apple Music Radio, where we find opportunities ‑‑ we’ve been able to find opportunities to help elevate some incredible Indigenous creators such as recently featuring Jeremy Dutcher on our global radio station.

8874 Lastly, I’ll say that al of this has been possible because of the work that our team has done to consult and work with external organizations, with artists directly, and with the industry as a whole.

8875 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Do you work with the provincial music societies like, you know, Maria and those ‑‑ MFM in Manitoba and so forth?

8876 MR. LAWLESS: We have ‑‑ in the past, we’ve worked with provincial societies across the country. Specific to Indigenous music, we’ve actually run Apple Music 101 sessions, I believe, with Manitoba Music in the past, and we’ve also participated in an Indigenous songwriters mentorship program in B.C. in the past, too.

8877 COMMISSIONER LEVY: As it relates to the allocation of contributions, the last question I have, and that specifically is a comment about supporting ‑‑ using contributions to support public participation, for instance, in the Broadcasting Participation Fund and the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.

8878 MR. POWDERLY: Thank you, Commissioner. Yes, I mean, as part of an overall contribution framework, as the Commission decides, those would be the types of things that, you know, we would look at. For sure.

8879 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And finally, I have noticed a shift over the days of the hearing. At the beginning, we heard absolute digging in of heels that initial rate contributions were absolutely anathema and should absolutely not be discussed. I have sensed a little bit of a softening of that position, if I may say, and I wonder whether my perception is reality and whether we might want to discuss what the shape and nature of that initial rate contribution might be.

8880 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner Levy. So, first of all, we support and embrace and the broadcasting policy, and we’ve shown today just a couple of examples of how we’ve been supporting the Canadian creators and artists, but we’re not just doing that today; we’ve been contributing to the cultural industry for many years in Canada.

8881 Our view is that, with respect to initial base contribution, we believe that at this stage of the proceeding, it is premature to establish a contribution. We understand that there are still some unknowns that it is important for us to obtain clarity, and it’s a key element, for example, to understand what will be the new definition of ‘Canadian content’. We understand that this is a key element to have a sense of the outcomes of the contribution.

8882 We also believe that the rules related to funds need to be reviewed. As I said earlier, we believe that, to the extent online undertakings will contribute to a fund as an equitable approach ‑‑ we believe that they should be able to have access to these funds. Now, we do support an overall contribution, once there are further elements to the system for the framework for us to understand how all of these outcomes are going to come, and we believe that, as the Commission is starting with a blank sheet of paper, we also encourage you to consider the contribution framework holistically and take into account other forms of contributions that are also significant and valuable to the cultural industry.

8883 COMMISSIONER LEVY: Absolutely. Undoubtedly they are very valuable and there is no attempt to try to discount the quality and the quantity, that’s for sure. However, as I have mentioned on at least one other occasion, this is an open and transparent process. It is the first of several, and as I said before, this is the room where it happens. There is not going to be a backroom deal hashed out on how this is done. So, this is your opportunity to give us your best shot, and you can always decide that you want to take it away and think, and respond to us in a request for information sort of proposal, if you wish.

8884 MS. WESTIN: Yes. Commissioner Levy, thank you again for the question and comments. We are of the view that the Commission has a very significant and important mandate to implement a broadcasting policy and build a new framework for the future that will be modern, and this contribution framework ‑‑ we understand that it is so important because it will continue for years to come and generations to come as well, which is why we believe that it’s really important to take the appropriate time that is necessary to ensure that the contribution framework is the most adequate and applicable for this very dynamic market that is highly driven by innovation and creativity.

8885 COMMISSIONER LEVY: And we certainly want to create a framework that’s dynamic and responsive. It will not be set in stone, if I can allow that. And with that, I will turn it back to the Chair. Thank you very much.

8886 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Let’s go to our Vice‑Chair for Broadcasting, Alicia Barin.

8887 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Thank you. And welcome, Apple, and your team.

8888 I am going to ask some questions that may overlap a little bit with the questioning with Commissioner Levy. And I hear you on that last point that you made about feeling that ‑‑ well, your position is that this ‑‑ developing an initial contribution framework ‑‑ is premature.

8889 We as a Commission are held to implement the objectives of the Broadcasting Act, and those are law, and we are also a policy direction with the government to act now. So, the job that we have is to balance everything we are hearing from the different parties and to come up with a contribution framework that can apply now. So, while I understand that the position may be that it’s premature, we don’t have that luxury because we are looking at some urgent public policy imperatives that we need to address.

8890 So, I am going to start my questioning going back to your transactional VOD service, which you called ‘the video store’. And I guess, regardless of the performance of that service, can you ‑‑ like, considering that right now we have video‑on‑demand, whether it’s on a traditional platform or a ‑‑ whether it’s a subscription platform or a transactional platform or a pay‑per‑view platform, it’s considered a broadcasting undertaking under the current Broadcasting Act, can you explain why you feel that it wouldn’t be a broadcasting undertaking if the delivery is via the internet?

8891 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner Barin, for your question. So, in our view ‑‑ for example, let’s take pay‑per‑view as an example. First, my understanding is that it’s usually offered in conjunction with distribution services. In our case, it’s not. We are ‑‑ you know, our TVOD is offered on the open internet. And in our view, we also usually ‑‑ you know, we provide a very large access of content to users which in some cases, in my view, pay‑per‑view may be more limited. So, we view that there are key differences that ‑‑ in comparison with, like, a traditional broadcaster that, you know, usually controls physical access to the home of customers or is provided in conjunction with other distribution services.

8892 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay. Thank you.

8893 A very pointed question on the royalties for the music services. We are trying to square the circle of what we’re hearing from Canadian music artists, that they don’t receive a lot of revenue from the streaming platforms, and the position that there’s a lot of money that you’re spending on rights fees for Canadian artists. I think maybe this is a question of we don’t have enough information to make that determination, and I’m wondering if you can, via RFI, provide some of that data?

8894 MR. LAWLESS: In terms of the data of how much money is going to Canadian, the challenge for us is that we ‑‑ our business deals are directly with intermediaries. So, they’re with labels and with rights societies. Those labels and rights societies have the direct relationship with artists, and they own the information that would indicate which artists are Canadian. So, we aren’t paying the artists directly; we are paying those intermediaries. So, I am uncertain whether we would be able to have that information to be able to share with the Commission. I am happy to take it bk and ‑‑ and...

8895 MS. WESTIN: Yes. If I may ‑‑ if I may add, Commissioner Barin, we do have the information with respect to, for example, how much we pay the entity in Canada such as SOCAN or the labels. As Mike said, we don’t have, like, the breakdown information of, for example, how much of that portion is actually being paid to Canadian artists versus a foreign artist.

8896 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: No, I understand that, and I understand these rights organizations have both foreign and Canadian artists under their umbrella. It just ‑‑ I hear ‑‑ and not just yourselves, but other online platforms, wanting us to take into account these contributions which you deem as valuable, and I understand, but we can’t quantify, we can’t measure if it’s not revenues. I mean, we have no data on what ‑‑ you know, how many Canadian titles, for example, as a proportion of the service, are on Apple Music, for example, or the performance of those.

8897 So, it’s very hard to value those kinds of contributions, and it brings me to maybe a bigger question, which is about your ask that the Commission look at all of these valuable activities that you’re doing ‑‑ and no one is saying that they’re not valuable ‑‑ it’s just that, as you said, some of them are intangible and some of them are tangible, and where we are today, one, we don’t have a list of what those activities are, we don’t have a sense of how valuable they are, or how to value them. And if we’re trying to come up with a framework that incorporates all those principles that we ‑‑ you know, you mentioned fairness, equity ‑‑ we need to find a system to be able to measure, value, count.

8898 And so, well, I guess I’m asking for your help. Maybe you have an approach that you can suggest for the Commission in terms of how to value those contributions? And as a starting point, maybe just let us know what they are.

8899 MS. WESTIN: Yes, if I ‑‑ if I can start? Yes, thank you, Commissioner. And we acknowledge that. So, first, let me just take a step back. I think, you know, what the music services are saying here is that there is a really significant cost for payments to rightsholders. That’s why we encourage the Commission to think about the intangibles which are extremely valuable to artists and labels to promote Canadian and Indigenous content. We acknowledge that it’s a challenge to measure those intangibles, and we are eager to work with you and continue these discussions in the steps forward.

8900 One way to look at it ‑‑ we think that it would be beneficial to establish principles supporting these goals rather than prescriptive requirements, right, because there is no one size fits all, and I think it’s really important to allow each online undertaking to do what they do best and provide their best creativity to the industry, which is not only good for Canadian creators but customers as well.

8901 So, one way would be to establish these principles and, with respect to measure, one of the things that we provided in our written submissions as an alternative, and we are happy to further discuss, is we think that perhaps requiring an annual report demonstrating how these principles are being achieved, which again it will probably be different, and we hope that it’s going to be very different from each service, but that provides the flexibility for each service to meet these principles, you know, taking into account innovation, creativity, and doing their best for the cultural industry in Canada.

8902 MR. PATINIOS: If I may add, and Roberta summed that up quite phenomenally, is also about how we export talent and how we champion Canadians and Canadian content outside of our borders. We take that as a true passion of ours. We have many examples but again, as Roberta said, we’d be happy I think with some definition to ‑‑ on an annualized basis or semi‑annual or whatever the Committee would love, to start working with you to show those examples on a regular basis, because we’re really proud of the work we do in Canada on behalf of the artist community.

8903 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Thank you. So, yes, I think as a starting point we would need that kind of information, which we don’t have now as we formulate this framework. And no one is saying that there isn’t a possibility for the Commission to at some point be able to look at contributions that potentially weren’t the traditional ones, because traditionally, the Commission used tools like expenditure ‑‑ Canadian expenditures ‑‑ and I’m going to call them ‘quotas’ or, you know, levels of ‑‑ percentages of programming that had to be aired, because those were easily quantifiable and easily measurable across different players. And so, if we’re entering a new era of looking at players that may have different contributions, that whole exercise of deciding what’s eligible and how it’s counted and how it’s tracked and how it’s measured hasn’t been done. And so, like when we look around at other jurisdictions and how they’ve dealt with this problem, many jurisdictions have gone the levy route ‑‑ the initial contribution route ‑‑ because of those kind of issues in terms of equity and measurability and tracking.

8904 Can I get your comments on why the Canadian system should be different, given that your position is that we should not go with an initial contribution?

8905 MS. WESTIN: Right. So, I think we have to sort of separate, like, music to ‑‑ to video, because of the different natures of the service. So, with respect to a contribution, we support an overall contribution. We don’t think that ‑‑ we’re not in a position to say that there shouldn’t be a contribution; we just think that it’s important to first understand, what’s the nature of the service? Does that make sense for that service to apply a financial contribution? And then, if yes, what we are saying is that, you know, flexibility should be at the heart of the framework because we operate in a market that is very driven by innovation and creativity, and it’s important to allow online undertakings to do what they do best.

8906 So, when we are talking about flexibility with respect to tangible contributions such as, you know, a financial contribution, what we are suggesting is that, for example, with respect to video, that the Commission should, for example, have familiar options such as payment to a fund, or make direct investments, or a combination of both ‑‑ which is what I understand, Commissioner Barin, that you were making reference, for example, in other jurisdictions that have considered, you know, this model of a financial contribution, but we’ve seen that some countries, you know, have considered with a flexibility approach so that you can provide a payment to a fund, or make direct investments, or do both, which is good because it allows each online undertaking to do what they do best and contribute according to their expertise and core capabilities.

8907 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay. Thank you. So, then, just to touch on that flexibility aspect, and you mentioned that the Commission should take into account the nature of the service, Apple does many things. I mean, your presentation kind of highlighted the scope of your activities, which is very impressive. But in some cases, if you look at the activities and you try to put them into the traditional descriptions that we have ‑‑ distribution and programming ‑‑ when I look at Apple’s activities, which are very varied, I would like to ask you, in terms of contributions, what is your position with regards to broadcasting distribution activities and programming activities in regards to their treatment for an initial base contribution? Do you see them differently?

8908 MS. WESTIN: Yes, so, thank you, Commissioner Barin. So, it is challenging for us because we see online undertakings as different from traditional broadcasters. So, I think it’s important, as we are starting with a blank sheet of paper, to provide regulations in this market to take into account the particularities of that market.

8909 What we see, again for example when ‑‑ let’s talk about video for a second ‑‑ we are aware that there are various different types of business models, and that’s why we think that it’s so important to take into account what is, you know, the nature of each service, because there are a lot of differences, even between online undertakings themselves. We would have to look at sort of each business model. So, for example, we have our ‑‑ you know, like TVOD, and then we have, for example, Apple TV+ and Apple TV channels, which are video‑on‑demand services providing a catalogue of content for customers to watch whenever they want. You know, they have the option to watch it.

8910 So, there are particularities that should be taken into account, and that’s why it’s difficult for us to say exactly how they would fit into a traditional broadcaster, if you will.

8911 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay. Thank you. And this will be my last question, and I am sure it is duplicative of what I’ve asked before, but I’m going to ask it in a different way. So, the Commission has to act now. We have to put a new framework in place. You are asking for flexibility, and a lot of the stuff you are asking flexibility on are not traditional categories that the Commission has counted for the purposes of looking at a contribution to the system. This process is iterative. We have different phases. That’s sort of ‑‑ we’re in a linear world, so that’s how we’re approaching it. So, what, in your view, is fair to do now, at this stage where we are looking at initial base contributions?

8912 MS. WESTIN: Yes. Thank you, Commissioner Barin, for the opportunity to comment on that. We believe that, to do now, it’s really important to take a look and understand what are the contributions being made to the system by online undertakings. What we see is that there is this misperception that online undertakings are not contributing to the system, but as we’ve mentioned, we’ve been contributing today, but for many years, in Canada, and we are very proud of that.

8913 So, we believe that it’s important for the Commission to understand what’s being contributed today, to think holistically about this framework so that then you are able to move forward with the upcoming steps of the proceeding, to understand, okay, what would be the appropriate contribution framework applicable to each nature of the service? That’s what we believe would be the appropriate approach.

8914 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Okay. And I think I’m going to ask this question on behalf of staff, because I hear you on the approach ‑‑ holistic approach ‑‑ and in terms of correcting that misconception that online undertakings are not contributing, I don’t think that’s the case, but it really ‑‑ each online undertaking has different activities. So, I think we’ve got a missing step, which is that we probably would need to ask you for some of that missing information, and maybe as part of a follow‑up to this process through RFIs. Staff may be asking you more pointed questions in order to determine, you know, how to correct that misconception by understanding really what those contributions are today.

8915 MR. PATINIOS: Yeah, we'd be happy to further those conversations because, in Canada, the reason why we have employees and focus on human curation and local business management is for this exact reason, to continue to promote Canadian content. So we'd love that opportunity.

8916 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON BARIN: Great. Thank you very much. That's it for my questions.

8917 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you, Vice‑Chair Barin.

8918 Let's go to Commissioner Naidoo.

8919 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Hi, there. Thanks for being here today, answering all our questions.

8920 You answered a similar question to what I'm about to ask, but it was more focused on audiovisual. And I just want to really focus on audio. In your presentation, you highlighted how you promote Canadian and Indigenous content in music. And I'm wondering if Apple would support a requirement that foreign online undertakings allocate a portion of their contributions to an audio fund supporting Indigenous music or audio funds that support Indigenous music through their envelopes such as FACTOR or Musicaction?

8921 MS. WESTIN: Thank you, Commissioner Naidoo, for the question. So with respect to audio services, music services, as we've mentioned earlier and mentioned, for example, by DiMA in the hearing, these services, they have really high cost with payments to rights holders which is much higher than a traditional broadcaster. So we believe that it's really important to consider other forms of contributions, intangible contributions. We embrace and support Indigenous content, so we think it's important to consider other forms of contributions for that.

8922 And I'd like my colleague Mike just to provide more context with respect to what we've been doing with respect to Indigenous content.

8923 MR. LAWLESS: Thank you, Roberta. Thank you, Commissioner.

8924 I think we shared a number of initiatives that our team have been working on specifically with the Indigenous artist community. We continue to place incredible importance on building external relationships on top of this ‑‑ and these are directly with artists ‑‑ to understand what sort of work we can do to better elevate their efforts.

8925 One specific example that I'll talk about is some work that we've done recently related to Indigenous languages. So you might be aware Apple Music has an incredible best‑in‑class lyric functionality that allows users to listen to or view lyrics while they're listening to music in a synchronous fashion. We worked really closely with an artist, Terry Uyarak, who came to our team based on relationships that we've had with his team for a while, with an interest in showcasing the lyrics to a new release, specifically in Inuktitut. And so we worked closely with his team to ensure that that was something that was visible so that we were able to support that aspect of language development.

8926 We've worked with a number of artists in this space. It is just again another example, I think, of how important it is to us that we provide an authentic space for Indigenous artists and Indigenous creators.

8927 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: And just out of curiosity, can you tell me about your discoverability, how you approach that when it comes to Indigenous content, Indigenous languages? Is it is easy for people to find what they're looking for?

8928 MR. LAWLESS: For Indigenous content, absolutely. At any given time, you'll be able to find Indigenous content across Apple Music. As we've discussed before, we have created a destination, Indigenous Voices, that is specifically designed to showcase some of this more curated content.

8929 But I think really important to note is what we mentioned in our presentation earlier on that it's not just about having that destination for Indigenous artists. It's about finding opportunities to showcase them across our biggest programs, again, whether they be original content programs, editorial programs, Apple Music Radio. I think that's an important principle for how we operate in Canada.

8930 COMMISSIONER NAIDOO: Thank you very much. That's all I have, thanks.

8931 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much. Let's go to our vice‑chair for Telecommunications, Adam Scott.

8932 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Thank you. Yeah, so your opening remarks spoke at length about curation. And we heard a lot about the things that you're doing to curate important voices. And then in the conversation in Q&A, we've spoken about kind of the gap between principles and the distance we have to travel to get to valuation.

8933 What I didn't hear in the opening remarks is how well this is working. You must have reams and reams of data that maybe doesn't get to the valuation for curating new voices. But you must know a lot about the impact that it has. So what can you tell us today about how impactful your curation efforts are, and then what would you be able to file that might help us take some steps towards valuing those types of contributions?

8934 MR. PATINIOS: Thank you, Vice‑Chair Scott.

8935 Overall, it is complicated, as you allude. A lot of what we do, because it's human‑curated and based on relationships and industry and working ‑‑ I'll defer to my colleagues to also add some insight ‑‑ is more about what we do that is right in Canada versus what drives a number. We have that benefit of having human curation versus relying on algorithms. So we can meet with artists, promote them, know when they're going to launch new albums or when, you know, APTN's going to launch Little Bird or whatnot, we can go on with some explanations. But it's really important that that is the differentiator for us is that we do this every day. And it is fairly intangible on the success, but it's more what we do in our mission statement to promote Canadian content. So it's not always about what's driving the best results for Apple; it's what's driving the best results for artists and the community and elevating them at the same level.

8936 So defer to Mike and Karthiga.

8937 MR. LAWLESS: Thank you, Paul. Thank you, Commissioner.

8938 I love being able to answer this question. We have a team of really passionate music fans with deep, deep experience within the Canadian music industry that stretches across experience in traditional broadcast, television, labels. It's our team has over 136 years of collective experience working in music. And so when we talk about Paul's point about our mission, we have people that are passionate, much like the Commission, to try and find ways to elevate Canadian artists and Canadian Indigenous stories.

8939 And so when we think about success and what success looks like, it's again very hard to define a specific metric. So we look to stories and we look to success stories of artists that we've partnered with.

8940 We look to an artist like Tate McRae who our team has been working with for many years, and she was in Calgary just starting in the industry, and we fast‑forward a number of years, and two weeks ago watching her on Saturday Night Live performing like one of the biggest songs in the world right now in “Greedy.”

8941 Or we look at an artist like Owen Riegling from Mildmay, Ontario, who was recently selected as our Up Next hero artist, and who posted on his social media after being selected

8942     “Apple Music has been supporting me and my dream since I was recording songs in my bedroom.”

8943 That is the type of story we love to hear.

8944 We know that our customers love to listen to familiar favourites, but we also know how important it is to them to be able to come to Apple Music and trust that they're going to be able to discover the next big artist. And we feel very confident in our team and the incredible work that they are doing and stories like this that we're being successful in doing that.

8945 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Yes, so and I love the stories and I love the artists.

8946 But you must be able to quantify, like when you add an Indigenous hip hop stream, you must be able to quantify a bump in listenership for Canadian hip hop artists, I would assume.

8947 MR. LAWLESS: We have the opportunity to determined I think sort of shorter‑term metrics like that to understand if there's a bump. I think what our team focuses on is how we can create more of a lasting effort.

8948 We know that our customers love listening to our playlists, but we also know that they like being able to find music on their own in their libraries and through search. And that's why when we look at success, it's important for us to be able to figure out how we can be a better part of that story, that storytelling for the artist, and also how our team of music business partner managers in Canada can help artists to utilize tools like Apple Music for Artists that help them understand our service more, help them understand how people are engaging with their music, and take control to better market and support their releases on their own.

8949 VICE‑CHAIRPERSON SCOTT: Thanks very much. And I am still optimistic that as we move forward towards valuing these types of contributions, there may be an interim step of quantifying them. So if you see any opportunities, please take them.

8950 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, great. So perhaps I could just ask one final question and then we'll turn things back over to you for closing remarks.

8951 And this sort of builds on what Vice‑Chair Barin and Commissioner Levy were asking about, and it's about flexibility. So you know, we heard last Friday morning somebody say, Flexibility cannot mean do whatever you want. In response to Commissioner Levy's first question about ‑‑ and I'm paraphrasing ‑‑ but sort of filling in the gaps and making sure that those gaps are filled, you said you know that flexibility does not mean, you know, a free‑for‑all or I think the Wild West, as you said, and that you understand that there would be guardrails in place. And that was the word that you used.

8952 I'm wondering what kind of guardrails you think would allow Apple to kind of have that space for creativity but at the same time allow us to do our jobs, which is to ensure that there is support for Canadian and Indigenous content.

8953 MS. WESTIN: Yes, thank you, Madam Chair. Yeah, so when we are talking about flexibility, we know that it can come with guardrails. I think at this stage of the proceeding, we don't have the elements to tell the Commission, for example, what would be these guardrails.

8954 We are eager to work with the Commission to think about how that can happen and be appropriate. We just, you know, we really believe that it's important for the Commission to take that into account, for example, payments to a fund, a direct investment, a combination of both. But as we go forward in the proceeding and go through step two, I think it would be ‑‑ we would be in a better position, for example, to make suggestions on how these guardrails could be placed.

8955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you for that. So perhaps we can just turn it back over to you now for any concluding remarks.

8956 MR. PATINIOS: Thank you, Madam Chair.

8957 Madam Chair, Commissioners, Apple embraces your goal of ensuring online streaming services meaningfully support Canadian and Indigenous content. We hope we have been able to demonstrate the many significant ways in which our team and services have been pursuing and achieving this goal.

8958 In our respectful view, it's premature to implement an initial base contribution at this early stage in your proceedings before a new approach and modernized overall framework for contributions has been considered and determined. This contribution framework should be equitable and appropriate. It must account for the differences between traditional broadcasters and online undertakings as well as large differences among online undertakings themselves.

8959 This framework must also include new and modern definitions of Canadian content as well as new rules for participation and funds. A modernized framework should be based upon a flexible set of rules, taking into consideration the much broader range of services that are now part of the Canadian broadcast system in order to foster innovation and effective outcomes.

8960 Madam Chair, Commissioners, we thank you again for this amazing conversation, the opportunity to appear today, and for your engagement. We wish you the best in your deliberations.

8961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much to Apple for being here and for answering our many questions.

8962 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. This concludes today's hearing.

8963 We will be back tomorrow at 9 a.m.

‑‑‑ Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1:49 p.m. to resume on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at 9:00 a.m.

Benjamin Lafrance
Monique Mahoney
Lynda Johansson
Tania Mahoney
Brian Denton

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