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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
REVIEW OF THE OVER-THE-AIR TV POLICY /
EXAMEN DE CERTAINS ASPECTS DU CADRE RÉGLEMENTAIRE
DE LA TÉLÉVISION EN DIRECT
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Portage IV Portage IV
140 Promenade du Portage 140, promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
December 4, 2006 Le 4 décembre 2006
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès‑verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
REVIEW OF THE OVER-THE-AIR TV POLICY /
EXAMEN DE CERTAINS ASPECTS DU CADRE RÉGLEMENTAIRE
DE LA TÉLÉVISION EN DIRECT
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Michel Arpin Chairperson / Président
Rita Cugini Commissioner / Conseillère
Richard French Commissioner / Conseiller
Elizabeth Duncan Commissioner / Conseillère
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Chantal Boulet Secretary / Secrétaire
John Keogh Legal Counsel /
Valérie Lagacé Conseillers juridiques
Peter Foster Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Portage IV Portage IV
140 Promenade du Portage 140, promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
December 4, 2006 Le 4 décembre 2006
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Ontario Ministry of Culture and 1627 / 8980
Ontario Media Development Corporation
Canadian Television Fund 1657 / 9155
Media Access Canada 1679 / 9271
L'Union des artistes (UDA) et SARTEC 1698 / 9387
Coalition of Canadian Audio‑visual Unions 1734 / 9552
Writers Guild of Canada 1770 / 9765
Directors Guild of Canada 1791 / 9882
ACTRA 1823 / 10040
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers 1852 / 10171
Union of Canada
Media Awareness Network 1884 / 10346
The New Canada Institute 1910 / 10472
Gatineau, Quebec / Gatineau (Québec)
‑‑‑ Upon resuming on Monday, December 4, 2006
at 0830 / L'audience reprend le lundi
4 décembre 2006 à 0830
8973 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
8974 Madame la Secrétaire.
8975 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
8976 Good morning, everyone. Before we begin I would just like to indicate to all parties and participants in these proceedings that there is additional documentation that has been added to the record since the beginning of this hearing. The documents are available in the examination room.
8977 L'interprétation gestuelle est également disponible à cette audience. Toute personne qui aimerait utiliser l'interprétation devrait m'en aviser, et puis je le communiquerai aux interprètes qui sont ici, à ma gauche.
8978 We will now proceed with the next participant, which is the Ontario Ministry of Culture and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. I would ask Minister Caroline Di Cocco to introduce her panel, after which you will have 15 minutes for your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
8980 HON. CAROLINE DI COCCO: Thank you. Thank you very much and good morning.
8981 Ontario is pleased to contribute to the Commission's review of the regulatory framework for over‑the‑air television.
8982 Joining me today are: to my right, Stephen Stohn, a member of the Board of the Ontario Media Development Corporation; Steven Davidson, to my left, Assistant Deputy Minister of Culture; and Kristine Murphy, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.
8983 As Ontario's Minister of Culture, I am here in support of culture and cultural industries.
8984 Ontario is home to the largest critical mass of Canada's cultural industries. These industries are creating content in a multiplicity of forms.
8985 Ontario is also home to an array of content creators, producers as well as writers, musicians, performers and other artists who breathe life into our culture industries and who also deserve recognition.
8986 Over‑the‑air broadcasters provide major market access and much needed exposure for Ontario's and Canada's creative content.
8987 Entertainment and cultural industries are key economic drivers as well, contributing $9.9 billion to Ontario in 2005 and accounting for almost half of Canada's culture GDP.
8988 Ontario's over‑the‑air broadcast sector is a significant part of this contribution. It is nearly $1.4 billion to Ontario's economy and supporting an estimated 5,500 jobs.
8989 However, as the Commission knows, sweeping new market forces are now under way.
8990 Cultural industries are facing constantly evolving changes in technology, intense international competition and new business models. To address these challenges and to build globally competitive industries, Ontario has adopted a strategic policy framework that we are calling the Entertainment and Creative Cluster Strategy.
8991 The cluster strategy is designed to harness the full potential of our cultural industries by encouraging individual players to increase their competitive advantage through the pooling of knowledge and resources. This strategy emphasizes partnerships, innovation, research and development.
8992 As a major segment of Ontario's Entertainment and Creative Cluster, over‑the‑air broadcasters clearly stand to benefit. Ontario's cluster strategy aligns well with the goals of the Broadcasting Act.
8993 We are looking forward to working together with you as we navigate this environment of change.
8994 Ontario has some specific comments to offer the Commission, which my Assistant Deputy Minister Steven Davidson will address in his remarks.
8995 So I am going to turn it over to Steven.
8996 MR. DAVIDSON: Thank you, Minister.
8997 Ontario's support of its entertainment and creative industries is longstanding and constantly evolving.
8998 As the Minister described we recently adopted a new cluster strategy, one that focuses on innovation, transition to new technologies and partnerships. This strategy informs our response to the issues put forward at this hearing.
8999 We believe the cluster strategy aligns well with key objectives of the Broadcasting Act, particularly facilitating the provision of Canadian programs to Canadians, the development of Canadian expression and diverse perspectives and ensuring that the broadcasting system is readily adaptable to scientific and technological changes.
9000 Recognizing that the current regulatory tools may be less effective in the future, our strategy emphasizes the use of incentives and aligns with a light approach to regulation.
9001 As video‑on‑demand, podcasting, IPTV, mobile television and other new technologies emerge, they bring with them new challenges and business models. Greater flexibility in regulatory requirements and increased use of incentives would permit industry players to innovate and compete with those who operate outside regulation, both in Canada and around the world.
9002 I would like to highlight three main points from our submission.
9003 The first addresses the Benefits Policy.
9004 We believe that the Commission's current Benefits Policy works well. Benefits funding encourages risk‑taking and provides capital to get promising new projects off the ground. The current Benefits Policy has the capacity to support targeted research and development activities.
9005 We support the principle that the benefits should flow to the community in which the transaction occurs. This is especially important where broadcasters such as CHUM make strong contributions to community and diversity, elements that contribute to the unique nature of our local and national voice.
9006 Our second point addresses how best to facilitate the transition to new digital technologies.
9007 The Commission has identified this as a priority not just for over‑the‑air broadcasters but for all types of content producers. We agree that producers need to build a library of high definition television programming to remain competitive in international markets. The question is how to speed up this transition so we are not left behind.
9008 It is also important to ensure that funds make their way through the system so that content creators are encouraged to produce HD content for national and global audiences and markets.
9009 To balance the different perspectives expressed at this hearing we have proposed several options for the Commission's consideration:
‑ Incentives for HD programming;
‑ Flexible advertising guidelines could accommodate innovation by enabling broadcasters to bring new ad revenues on stream;
‑ Carriage fees for value‑added HD services; and
‑ Funds from the auctioning of analog channels could be an effective method of generating additional funding for content producers.
9010 Finally, the development and dissemination of Canadian content is key to the success of our entertainment and creative industries.
9011 Because content creators are central to the success of cultural industries, we support an expenditure approach to programming requirements that allows broadcasters and producers to adapt to changing market conditions as quickly as possible and encourages a wide range of programming, including high‑quality drama, documentary, children's and cross‑platform convergent forms.
9012 These activities, we believe, will result in a more profitable, sustainable cultural sector.
9013 Ontario's cluster strategy encourages partnership and collaboration among a range of players. We believe that our strategy will help manage the rapid transition to a new and diverse multi‑platform universe.
9014 The Commission's decisions will be critical to helping foster an environment in which creators of Canadian content can innovate, embrace new technologies and find new audiences in national and international markets.
9015 I will now invite Stephen Stohn to comment on behalf of the OMDC.
9016 MR. STOHN: Thank you, Steven.
9017 The OMDC, Ontario Media Development Corporation, is an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture and we have been in existence for 20 years.
9018 Initially we were the Ontario Film Development Corporation ‑‑ you might know us as that ‑‑ but six years ago our mandate was expanded to capture books, magazines, music and interactive digital media along with, of course, film and television industries.
9019 So the OMDC, we feel, truly is a vehicle through which the Ontario government supports the growth of Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster.
9020 At OMDC we are proud of our ability to support Ontario's independent production companies that play such a pivotal role in the Canadian broadcasting system.
9021 We do this in a variety of ways, including six individual media tax credits, film commission activities ‑‑ that is location services ‑‑ as well as support for content creation, marketing and export activity.
9022 And the OMDC, together with the Ministry of Culture, delivers the Entertainment and Creative Cluster Partnerships Fund. This Fund promotes growth in the cluster through things like capacity‑building, prototype development and domestic and international market support.
9023 Given our role in supporting the production industry in Ontario, OMDC would like to highlight the following points from our submission.
9024 First, we support the establishment of an expenditure requirement for Canadian programming. Such an expenditure requirement should promote a strong and broad mix of genres on Canadian television.
9025 Second, the Commission's current expectation that at least 75 percent of all priority programming should be produced by independent production companies, we believe, should be maintained.
9026 And third, OMDC supports the current Benefits Policy. To ensure ongoing commitment to local programming and news in any transfer of ownership, we believe the policy's emphasis on local benefits and diversity should be maintained.
9027 The diversity found throughout Ontario's urban centres as well as its rural communities is a defining feature of Ontario's entertainment and creative cluster and Ontario companies are demonstrating their eagerness and ability to embrace emerging technologies and to produce innovative content.
9028 As a result, we feel Ontario's independent production community working hand‑in‑hand with broadcasters are uniquely positioned to create and distribution information and programming that reflects Canadian perspectives to Canadians and Canadian diversity and creativity to audiences around the world.
9029 Thank you. I now invite Minister Di Cocco to provide her final comments.
9030 HON. CAROLINE DI COCCO: Thank you.
9031 Our presence here today, I just want to say, reinforces the importance that we attribute to this hearing and I would like to state how important it is that we work cooperatively in this new world of rapid and complex change in the entertainment and creative cluster industries.
9032 Ontario wants to strengthen and support its industries in meeting the challenges and opportunities in this changing environment and these challenges must be met in order to ensure that Canadian voices are heard and that our industries remain competitive globally.
9033 We believe that the Commission has a pivotal role to play here.
9034 Our submission has the intent to provide, we hope, some useful comment to inform your policy deliberations.
9035 We are happy to answer any questions that you may have. I would ask that you maybe direct your questions to my Assistant Deputy Minister Steven Davidson.
9036 Thank you.
9037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Minister. I am asking Commissioner Cugini to ask the first questions. Thank you.
9038 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Good morning and welcome to all of you. I do find your comments very useful and I would like to thank you very much for participating in these proceedings. I understand it is your first time in front of a CRTC Commission, so I hope to make this as painless as possible.
9039 HON. CAROLINE DI COCCO: Thank you for that.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9040 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: I have questions that are specific to both of your submissions and I also have questions that I am sure will be common to both of your submissions. So I just invite you, if either the OMDC or the Ministry has something to add to one of my questions, to just please turn your microphone on and we will be glad to receive your comments.
9041 The first question I have is with regard to the cluster strategy and I just want to put some logistics around it.
9042 Is it a forum where you meet on a regular basis with the members of the cluster strategy or exactly how does this exchange of information work in a practical sense?
9043 HON. CAROLINE DI COCCO: Well, I will just begin. The whole aspect or the whole, if you want, approach is about collaborators from all these different areas, that they come together in innovative ‑‑ it is kind of a network of creation basically. I mean it is the new paradigm that our creators are working in.
9044 And what we are trying to do with the cluster is maximizing opportunities, opportunities from sharing of information and new processes basically, and also sharing business models to create products, products that are innovative, that are visionary and that are about the future, about being competitive globally.
9045 I will give you an example. In Toronto there is the Liberty Village. This is kind of an example of the model that we hope comes from this approach. The Liberty Village, there are producers who are specializing in animation, in children's TV, convergent products, ITV, web or mobile, mobile content forms, and they come together and they share expertise and skill.
9046 Then, out of that, there are also satellite hubs that have grown throughout Ontario around this type of centre. There are game producers for instance in St. Catharines that have come out of this hub, London as well. Then there is digital media and animation in Sudbury. It has come out of this concept, if you want, of everybody coming together.
9047 It is a new approach. This approach is forward‑looking. It is unique and it recognizes that there is this rapidly changing transition to new digital formats and distribution technologies.
9048 I will pass it over to Stephen Stohn because he can give you some more detail, but it is basically the premise is about supporting this new era for the sector, and it is about keeping us globally competitive.
9049 It is new. Again, it is a way that we are going to be measuring as well what works in this and what doesn't. So in a year or two's time we will be able to be able to say this is how this investment or this approach has worked.
9050 Because it hasn't been done before in this way, it is kind of groundbreaking. But we believe that the model and working with our stakeholders that we really have great hope that it will help in this development of this innovative new world that we live in.
9052 MR. DAVIDSON: Before Stephen talks about some of the programmatic approaches that we are taking to implement the strategy, I would just build on what the Minister has said.
9053 One of the core competitive advantages that we have recognized in Ontario is our strength across a breadth of creative industries, from film, television, book publishing, music, interactive digital, so the notion of the cluster is really based on an appreciation of the common challenges being faced across these sectors in terms of the importance of transition into new technologies and the importance of being able to undertake innovative activities to help support that transition.
9054 So the cluster strategy is really about defining some specific approaches that can be taken both by government and collaboratively amongst the members of the sector. "Members" I use very loosely, it is really just a whole group of companies, large, small, who do a variety of things but share an interest in a common marketplace.
9055 So in terms of the kinds of strategic thrust that we are pursuing underneath the cluster strategy, one is working with market forces to incent the kind of innovative activities that are so critical to enabling our creative cluster companies to embrace new technologies.
9056 Encouraging partnerships is a key way of doing that. Stephen will talk in a second about a Partnership Fund that we have just launched, but recognizing the value of small companies in particular, small and medium, coming together and pooling their knowledge and their resources to address issues of common interest and together come up with new approaches that might not otherwise be possible if they were working on their own.
9057 Finally, improving our access to global markets, thinking particularly in terms of HD and that kind of thing.
9058 So those are some of the components of the strategy. It is really a policy framework that we have developed, but Stephen can talk a little bit more about some of the programmatic approaches we are taking.
9059 MR. STOHN: Yes. I will just try and be very brief because the OMDC, one element is delivering certain programs, and that is what we do.
9060 In essence, almost all the programs of the OMDC contribute to the cluster strategy, either indirectly because they are aimed at helping to increase the core strength of individual partners, and also there are programs that are more directly related.
9061 I have already talked about the entertainment and creative cluster Partnership Fund which we administer with the Ministry of Culture, and just to quickly restate that that supports specifically strategic partnerships amongst players in the cluster, so two or three or more partners coming together from different backgrounds for projects that include capacity‑building and prototype development and skills development and export marketing.
9062 The Interactive Digital Media Fund is very important to us. That assists interactive digital media producers to move their proprietary projects into production. Of course, in so many of the innovations today interactive play is a part. It's not just the interactive digital media, it is television, film, books, magazines. They are all moving into that interactive universe. So that is a core program.
9063 Finally, as Steven has mentioned, the Export Fund is very important. It provides eligible companies with funding to pursue export development activities that correspond to a strategic company growth initiative.
9064 Thank you.
9065 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you. I certainly think ‑‑ I'm sorry.
9066 MS MURPHY: I'm sorry, Commissioner Cugini.
9067 MS MURPHY: I was just going to add to what Steven Davidson was saying, and Stephen Stohn, as they mentioned all of the programs of the Agency relate to the culture, but I would also like to state that we do have content and marketing programs for the book publishing sector, for the magazine sector, and for the music sector, and we also have a Feature Film Fund as well.
9068 As Steven mentioned, they all in their way contribute to the growth of that cluster.
9069 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you for that additional information.
9070 I think you guys have placed quite a bit on your plate and you are to be commended.
9071 Your written submission talked about a $7.5 million investment in the cluster strategy announced by the government.
9072 Is this to provide funding for initiatives that stem from the cluster strategy or as a result of this cluster strategy having been implemented?
9073 MS MURPHY: Thank you.
9074 The $7.5 million that was announced in the budget is specific to the cluster Partnerships Fund and that is money that will spent over the next few years, so this year the government is going to invest $2 million into those initiatives.
9075 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Have you been able to target what specifically those initiatives will be?
9076 MS MURPHY: At this point the applications are in and they will be adjudicated by a jury. The applications have come in across those four theme areas that were mentioned in terms of capacity‑building, prototype innovation, marketing, that sort of thing.
9077 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. Thank you.
9078 MS MURPHY: So we will get back to you on the results of that.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9079 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: The Deputy Minister spoke also about the transition to new technology.
9080 Would this cluster strategy, for example, fund new, innovative HD programming, or would it fund transmitter build‑up to allow for digital HD transmission?
9081 In particular here I am thinking about TVOntario. We heard that they have a number of analog transmitters.
9082 Would the upgrade of their transmitters be eligible for funding from the cluster strategy?
9083 MR. DAVIDSON: No.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9084 MR. DAVIDSON: The Partnership Fund is really intended to do two things, to encourage partnerships amongst content‑creating industries and, second, to fund innovative activities.
9085 So investments in infrastructure is outside the scope of the fund.
9086 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
9087 One thing you said about the Benefits Policy in your written submission, and you repeated it today in your oral, is that the emphasis should be on the communities in question and that it is necessary and appropriate.
9088 I'm wondering if you could elaborate for me. For example, if broadcasters are based in Ontario they should be encouraged to allocate some monies to local programming for example, a majority of the monies to local programming?
9089 In other words, what do you mean exactly when you say "communities in question"?
9090 MR. DAVIDSON: We support the current Benefits Policy which does, my understanding is, attach priority to allocation of funds to the community affected. So our understanding of that is that the transaction, if it were to occur in Ontario, then a significant portion of the benefits should be invested into that community, Ontario.
9091 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Including local programming or local news?
9092 MR. DAVIDSON: Yes. We would encourage a broad definition of what would be eligible, so across genres and acknowledging the importance of drama, documentary, children's, cross‑platform programming, the important role of the local broadcasters versus the larger ones.
9093 So we would favour a broad ecumenical approach.
9094 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
9095 Subscriber fees. As you know, it is one of the major subjects of these proceedings.
9096 In your written submission you thought it should be restricted. Today, in your oral presentation, you said perhaps for the provision of HD programming.
9097 Do you think it should be exclusively given to broadcasters who transmit HD programming?
9098 MR. DAVIDSON: Our interest in the Commission's consideration of a fee for carriage is to support and expedite the transition of our content‑creating industries to these new platforms, HD specifically.
9099 So we have proposed a couple of tools that would be available for the Commission's consideration to move that process along more quickly. So our interest in a fee for carriage is within that context, so we have, in our submission, suggested it as one way where a fee could be applied for HD services and the cost borne only by those receiving those services as one source of revenue, amongst others, that could help fund that process.
9100 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: There are varying points of view as to which broadcasters should be eligible for a fee for carriage. Some think it should only be over‑the‑air broadcasters privately held; others think that it should exclude religious and ethnic broadcasters; others believe the publicly‑funded broadcasters should be there and others think that they shouldn't.
9101 What is your opinion? In particular, TVOntario of course.
9102 MR. DAVIDSON: Well, our view is that all broadcasters, private, public, educational play an important role in the entertainment and creative cluster that, as have said, we define quite broadly as all those engaged in the creative content industries in Ontario.
9103 So we would not discriminate against public or educational broadcasters, including TVO, as eligible candidates for funding for the transition to HD.
9104 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: You would include CBC in that?
9105 MR. DAVIDSON: Yes.
9106 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
9107 During these proceedings the distributors, the cable companies, commissioned a report wherein they wanted to get from average Canadians their points of view on a fee for carriage and, in summary, they say that there is very strong opposition from Canadians to a fee for carriage. And in almost all of the indicators the strongest opposition came from Ontario no matter what the reason was for applying a fee for carriage.
9108 And for HD programming they say:
"... two‑thirds of subscribers, 67 percent, continue to impose the imposition of a fee if some of the fee is intended to cover the cost of providing channels in a high definition format. Opposition is again notably strong, one in two, so 49 percent of subscribers strongly oppose even with this rationale. The most intense opposition came from Ontario at 70 percent." (As read)
9109 Would you care to comment on these findings?
9110 MR. DAVIDSON: Again, I would say that we have, in our submission, suggested a number of tools that could be available for the Commission and the fee for carriage for HD services is only one, incentives for HD programming is another. Perhaps introduction of greater flexibility in advertising regulation could be another and then even the, you know, revenues drawn from auctioning off of analog channels through the transition to digital process could be another. So certainly those findings are of interest.
9111 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So they are one of a number of options ‑‑
9112 MR. DAVIDSON: That is right.
9113 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: ‑‑ that would be satisfactory? Okay.
9114 Now, both the OMDC's submission and the Ministry's submissions supported maintaining the 75 per cent requirement of priority programming be produced by independent producers. Again, through these proceedings one of the things that the broadcasters have said about that 75 per cent requirement is that this is a legacy requirement imposed at a time when major broadcasters owned production companies and it was a way of ensuring that the independent production community would continue to thrive and that broadcasters wouldn't have all of their priority programming produced or a majority of their priority programming produced by these productions companies that they owned.
9115 That is no longer the case and therefore broadcasters feel that this 75 per cent requirement is therefore no longer necessary, that it shouldn't matter who produces the shows, as long as the shows are shows that Canadians want to watch. They also say that there are certain genres of programming, probably the higher budget programs, will never be produced in‑house and that they will always rely on independent producers.
9116 So I don't know if you had an opportunity to hear this point of view from the broadcasters, but this is it in a nutshell, if I did it any justice, and I would just like to ask you to comment.
9117 MR. STOHN: Sure. Well, there is no question that the aim in the end is high quality programming that engages Canadian audiences. As you pointed out, there are genres of programming that it is absolutely appropriate that broadcasters produce in‑house, it is by far the most efficient way of going.
9118 There are areas of programming and it is particularly the high‑cost areas of programming, it is drama, children's and youth, high‑end documentaries that I think we all want to encourage and incent and, partly, that is what this hearing is all about. Those areas of programming, typically because the costs are high, it would be very difficult except in extraordinary circumstances for the broadcaster to cover, you know, more than a portion of the production costs.
9119 So, you know, consistent with the cluster strategy which says let us go with the core strengths of the individual partners. The producers, one of their core strengths is in finding those sources of financing through international distribution arrangements perhaps and working with the funding agencies like Canadian Television Fund and others to help fund those projects.
9120 You know, if we couple a requirement for independent production along with a meaningful expenditure requirement, the two have a very interesting synergy and in that case it may be that the requirement almost becomes moot. Because if there is a meaningful expenditure requirement there is only so many broadcast hours in a day, I think we are going to see more of that high‑cost programming and therefore we are going to see a lot of that programming automatically be produced by independent production companies and not just at the 75 per cent level, probably at much higher levels. So in that sense, the market itself would drive us to even higher levels.
9121 So if there is a meaningful expenditure requirement it may be that as a matter of course the 75 per cent isn't necessary in some sense because in fact the market drives it up. But we still think that the current policy ‑‑ it is not just a legacy policy ‑‑ it really reflects the value that the independent production community brings.
9122 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: You know I am going to ask you what, in your opinion, is a meaningful spending requirement.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9123 MR. STOHN: Well, you know, our approach ‑‑ and I will answer the question ‑‑ but our approach has been to come with some frameworks for suggestion and to open a dialogue and to, you know, introduce ourselves to you and hopefully to carryon, not to come in with the specific figures.
9124 Clearly, we would think that an expenditure requirement that was lower than the current levels that are being spent would probably not be meaningful. Something that is higher than the current levels that are being spent would be meaningful.
9125 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Just one more detail question about that. Do you think it should apply to Canadian programming or do you think a spending requirement should be required of particular genres of Canadian programming?
9126 MR. STOHN: We know that some submissions have been made that would target, for example, drama. We have take a very broad approach. If the expenditure requirement is significant and meaningful, we believe that as a matter of course that the high‑cost programming, which will include the drama and the children's and youth and the high‑end documentaries, will as a matter of course end up being a focus in the priority programming. But really, we have talked generally about Canadian programming.
9127 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, thank you very much, Minister Di Cocco, Deputy Minister.
9128 Did you want to add something before..?
9129 MR. DAVIDSON: If you don't mind, Commissioner.
9130 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Please.
9131 MR. DAVIDSON: If we could just go back to the fee for carriage question. There is one other point I would like to make just because I think it illustrates what we mean when I talked earlier about the entertainment and creative cluster strategy and working with market forces.
9132 So in terms of our thinking in arriving that as one of the options that we would propose, our thinking on that is based on the acknowledgement that consumers have identified a value for high definition content or the market has identified a value for that, but the revenues generated by that higher value aren't flowing through to the creators of that higher value content.
9133 So our thinking in proposing this as one of the options is simply to acknowledge that fact and to look at a way that the market's recognition of that value and associated revenues can then move through to support the quicker transition of the content producers to those higher value formats. So that is just by way of illustrating our thinking behind this.
9134 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you. I think you did make that point in your written submission. Certainly, the OMDC talked about producers who had responded to the survey saying that they have to produce in high definition if they have any hope of selling their programming internationally. So I thank you very much for being here this morning.
9135 Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman.
9136 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Cugini.
9137 Mr. Stohn, just for me to better understand the role of OMDC, is it similar to SODEC somehow?
9138 MS MURPHY: Thank you, I will answer.
9139 The OMDC is an agency of the Government of Ontario, specifically the Ministry of Culture, so in that regard I believe we are similar to SODEC because they are an agency of the Government of Quebec.
9140 We have a similar mandate, in that our breadth is across a number of industries as we talked about. I can't comment specifically on SODEC, so I can't ‑‑
9141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Their mandate also covers books ‑‑
9142 MS MURPHY: That is right.
9143 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ music and film as well.
9144 MS MURPHY: Right, so we are similar.
9145 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are, both organizations have similar mandate.
9146 MS MURPHY: That is correct.
9147 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you working in cooperation sometimes?
9148 MS MURPHY: We actually do cooperate with a number of our fellow funding agencies across the country and SODEC is one of those, yes.
9149 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
9150 Minister, Thank you. Gentlemen, madam, thank you very much.
9151 Madame Secrétaire.
9152 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
9153 I would now call on the next participant, the Canadian Television Fund, if they would come forward for their presentation.
9154 Mr. Douglas Barrett is appearing for the CTF. Mr. Barrett, once you've introduced your panel, you will have ten minutes for your presentation. Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
9155 MR. BARRETT: Monsieur Arpin, Commissioners. My name is Douglas Barrett et avant de commencer notre présentation, je veux introduire mes collègues de C.T.F.
9156 À ma droite, j'ai Valerie Creighton, présidente de F.C.T. À sa droite, madame Michèle Fortin, membre du conseil d'administration de F.C.T. et aussi membre du Comité de finances. Elle est aussi la présidente de Téléquébec. À sa droite, j'ai monsieur Stéphane Cardin, le vice‑président Politique stratégique et relations avec l'industrie de F.C.T.
9157 I thank the Commission for presenting the Canadian Television Fund with the opportunity to participate in this important public policy hearing.
9158 The Commission does outline specific goals regarding the continued success of high quality Canadian programming in its P.M. In 1994, the Commission created a precursor to the C.T.F., the Cable Production Fund specifically to support under‑represented genres in prime time on Canadian television screens.
9159 Cet appui au F.C.T. s'est avéré d'une importance capitale et a favorisé son avancement et son succès ainsi que ceux de la production et de la diffusion d'émissions de télévision canadiennes.
9160 Notre mandat de portée pan‑canadien est de soutenir et de nourrir une programmation de grande qualité et distinctement canadienne au profit de l'auditoire télévisuel canadien, tout en assurant à la télévision un rôle d'influence en tant que moyen d'expression culturelle.
9161 In Canada today, the C.T.F. is one of the only forms that brings together all members of the television industry with the sole purpose of bringing great distinctively Canadian television to Canadians.
9162 The C.T.F. is a non‑profit profitable corporation that unites public, private and educational broadcasters in both official languages as well as producers, government and other stakeholders to deliberate the issues affecting Canadian programming and production.
9163 The industry leaders and experts who make up the C.T.F.'s Board of Directors ensure that the fund operates efficiently and transparently. Policies and decisions are made at the board by a double majority consisting of stakeholder representatives on the one hand and independent directors on the other, to ensure that all C.T.F. programs are equitable, professionally administered with rules and guidelines.
9164 This significant rules based funding environment has professionalised and improved the development and inventory of high quality Canadian dramatic productions in both English and French, such as "DaVinci's Inquest" and *Annie et ses hommes+. It has also been an important leaver to assist broadcasters to maintain their condition of licence.
9165 MS. CREIGHTON: The Canadian Television Fund is marking its tenth anniversary as a public private partnership between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Broadcasting Cable Satellite and direct‑to‑home industries.
9166 The partnership has exercised the representation on the board and the policy direction that's provided through the Contribution Agreement between the C.T.F. and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
9167 This partnership has been an outstanding success, having supported more than 23,000 hours of original high quality Canadian programming delivered in prime time to hundreds of millions of viewers. After tax credits, the Canadian Television Fund is the largest funder of television production in Canada supporting those programs that cannot always find sufficient financing in the marketplace.
9168 In 2005‑2006, the C.T.F. invested more than $264 million in Canadian production, creating 2,300 hours of quality new programming.
9169 The C.T.F. supports the production of broadcasted programming that speaks to Canadians about our culture, our issues, our stories. All C.T.F. funded projects, therefore, must meet four essential requirements to verify their authenticity as Canadian content.
9170 To meet these essential requirements a project must receive ten out of ten Canadian audiovisual certification points, speak and reflect Canadian themes and subject matter, be shot and set primarily in Canada, and Canadians must own and significantly develop the underlying rights.
9171 The Canadian Television Fund supports the under‑represented genres of drama, documentary, children and youth and variety in performing arts on Canadian television in both official languages in prime time.
9172 C.T.F. funding is delivered through an objective ruled based broadcaster performance envelope stream and special initiatives programs. Broadcaster envelopes are financial allocations accorded to broadcasters by the C.T.F. and are calculated on the four performance factors of historic access, above average licences, regional production licences and a growing audience success component.
9173 Production companies apply at the C.T.F. and receive financial support for projects. These projects are required to have a financial commitment from the broadcaster allocated from their envelope in order to be eligible for C.T.F. financing.
In 2005‑06, 65 broadcasters were allocated envelopes which supported 435 new productions.
9174 Mme FORTIN: Le Fonds canadien de télévision finance également les initiatives spéciales pour le développement, le doublage et le sous‑titrage des productions de langue française à l'extérieur du Québec et les productions en langues autochtones.
9175 L'aide financière de ces deux derniers programmes est accordée sur une base sélective afin d'encourager la production d'émissions en milieux linguistiques minoritaires et en région et d'assurer le succès et l'accès à ces productions.
9176 Depuis 1996, le Fonds canadien de télévision a accordé son appui à plus de 133 projets en langues autochtones, ce qui représente plus de 445 heures d'émissions originales. Avant la création du Fonds canadien de télévision, ce type d'émission n'existait pratiquement pas.
9177 Investir dans des émissions de télévisions peut être risqué, spécialement pour les télédiffuseurs puisque rien ne peut garantir le rendement du capital investi. Le Fonds canadien de télévision est important catalyseur qui favorise le développement de projets.
9178 En 2005‑2006, le Fonds canadien de télévision a versé un montant total de $27 millions de dollars pour assurer le développement de productions de langues française, anglaise et autochtones.
9179 De plus, en 2004‑2005 seulement, le Fonds canadien de télévision a distribué plus de $251 millions de dollars pour appuyer des productions totalisant $841 millions de dollars qui ont généré 22,400 emplois à temps plein.
9180 Ces productions télévisuelles sont réalisées dans toute les régions du Canada, assurant le développement de compétences sur les plans créatifs et techniques d'un bout à l'autre du pays.
9181 MR. CARDIN: Canadian programming is growing in audience appeal. This is extremely important to the C.T.F. as it is our objective to fund high quality Canadian programming watched by Canadians.
9182 In 2003‑04, the C.T.F. began tracking television audiences of C.T.F. funded programs, specifically during peak viewing hours or prime time. C.T.F. financed productions make up a significant percentage of viewing to Canadian programming and C.T.F. genres in both the English and French markets.
9183 In 2005‑06 more than 41 per cent of viewing to Canadian drama series in English during prime time was the C.T.F. financed productions. In French markets, more than 68 per cent of viewing to Canadian drama was the C.T.F. financed productions.
9184 The success of quality program has also been acknowledged by Canadian broadcasting industry. C.T.F. funded productions have consistently received more awards than non‑C.T.F. productions.
9185 In 2005, almost half, that is 38 out of 75 Gemini Awards in eligible categories were given to C.T.F. funded productions, including "The 11th Hour", "Beethoven Air" and "This is Wonderland".
9186 Les productions de langue française financées par le F.C.T. ont même rapporté davantage de prix. En 2005, près des deux‑tiers des Prix Gémeaux attribuables aux catégories soutenues par le F.C.T., soit 48 sur 74, ont été attribués à des productions ayant bénéficié du soutien financier du F.C.T. dont *Annie et ses hommes+, *Rumeurs+ et *Ramdam+.
9187 Au Canada, le Fonds canadien de télévision est le principal outil permettant de diffuser les histoires canadiennes partout dans le monde et de définir la place du Canada sur la scène internationale.
9188 Certaines émissions ont fait le tour du monde. Selon le New York Time, l'émission distinctement canadienne *Degrassi, the next generation+ serait l'émission pour les jeunes la plus populaire aux États‑Unis et des émissions de langue française à succès comme la comédie de situation *Un gars, une fille+ et la série documentaire *Les Artisans du rebut global+ ont été vendues sous différents formats dans plusieurs des principaux marchés de télévision à l'échelle internationale.
9189 MR. BARRETT: Commissioners, I am now in my third year as Chair of the fund and it has been a challenging complex and interesting experience to say the least. I tell you this because I continue to be struck by the incredible importance of the fund in the context of the overall Canadian Broadcasting System.
9190 Simply put, this is a great success story and a genuinely and uniquely Canadian one at that.
9191 The C.T.F. puts thousands of hours of high quality visibly and unabashedly Canadian programming into the prime time schedules of some 65 Canadian broadcasters.
9192 Il s'agit d'une programmation que le diffuseur élabore, commande, diffuse et promeut avec fierté. C'est une programmation que le public espère et que des millions et des millions de canadiennes et canadiens regardent.
9193 And its programming that's produced, written, directed and performed by thousands and thousands of creative professionals in every province and corner of Canada in English, in French and in numerous aboriginal languages.
9194 And the industry expertise present on the board along with the extensive stakeholder consultations we do every year, ensure that the C.T.F. is in a position to monitor the production environment constantly and to assess the challenges the industry is facing not only now, but in the future.
9195 I would remind you that the original creator of the funds forbearer was the Commission itself. With your initial push in 1994 and design work by the way, and the ongoing support of Canada's distribution undertakings on the Government of Canada, this project has delivered everything that has been expected of it.
9196 And needless to say in order to continue this work, to continue to provide the supply side leaver to the demand side regulatory framework of the Commission, the Canadian Television Fund needs your continued support and encouragement.
9197 We appreciate the opportunity to speak to you this morning and we are obviously available for any questions you might have.
9198 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Barrett. I am asking Vice‑Chair French to ask the first questions.
9199 COMMISSIONER FRENCH: Thank you for being here, Mr. Barrett and colleagues. Do you have specific policy recommendations you would like to comment to our attention today?
9200 MR. BARRETT: No. We see ourselves as an instrument of the process. The job to make the policy determinations that affect the fund's future belongs to the Government of Canada through whom we operate under a Contribution Agreement and yourselves, using your regulatory framework.
9201 Our job is to operate the fund under the policy guidelines that we are provided and to make sure that the Rules and Regulations are transparent and fair and equitable and that we deliver the services to our customer and client base in a user friendly fashion at modest costs. So, we are an operation agency not a policy‑maker.
9202 COMMISSIONER FRENCH: You've indicated in your brief today that audiences for Canadian programming are growing. And yet, probably the most important issue before the Commission in this proceeding is the result of declining audiences for Canadian conventional broadcasters, those same broadcasters who tell us, and I have no reason to think they're wrong, as they are primary vehicle for Canadian content.
9203 How would you reconcile your assertion that audiences for Canadian programming are growing with the consistent story that we've heard from all the general broadcasters that their audiences are diminishing?
9204 MR. BARRETT: Well, I guess I'll make a couple of opening comments and ask Valerie and perhaps Stéphane to add a comment.
9205 The first thing, I think, is that we focus on the audience performance of individual shows that we support and we look at those shows in a competitive environment against their peers on ‑‑ broadcast on both conventional and specialty and across a variety of genres and those genres naturally draw different levels of audience in different circumstances.
9206 One of the things I've had an association with the fund for a very long time and the tradition in Canada has been to use what's known as a selective system for selecting programs for funding.
9207 So that essentially, in that environment programs were assessed, there were competing programs assessed prior to production without any audience data before them in terms of how those programs would do. So, it was very hard to bring an audience measurement factor to determining what programs would be funded.
9208 When we switched to the envelope system two years ago, we are now focusing on measuring the performance of broadcasters as a whole in a competitive environment against their peers and we reward their success in promoting and scheduling and achieving audience success with their programs.
9209 What we found when we moved into the envelopment environment was that the audience measurement tools that were available to track both Canadian programs and also specifically C.T.F. funded programs were quite primitive and so, we have been on a catch‑up game to work with the various rating agencies to introduce measure that accurately track the success of our programs. We are now two years into the program.
9210 So, we are beginning, only beginning with the switch in a kind of phases of how the decisions, the funding decisions are made. We are only two years into building the kind of audience measuring base of what to allow us to actually specifically answer your program.
9211 And the only other comment I would say before I pass of to Valerie is that I think there is a difference between raw audience to an individual program and success or failure in that context and share of market vis‑à‑vis specialty and conventional and I think we have heard a lot of information over a period of time about the relative shift in an audience share between the conventionals and the specialties as a group.
9212 MS. CREIGHTON: I would just add that in terms of the system, audience success is one of the mandates we are directly compelled to respond to in terms of the Contribution Agreement and this was an initiative of the Federal Government towards us, which we appreciated.
9213 And in the first year of the envelopes, we used the measurement for audience at 30 per cent. As we go into the 07‑08 year, that factor will be increased to 40 per cent, so it's clearly the focus of what the fund is all about in terms of ensuring those audiences are growing and developing and building through our programs.
9214 MR. BARRETT: Stéphane, tu veux ajouter quelque chose?
9215 COMMISSIONER FRENCH: So, while the C.T.F. is paying attention to the audiences for the programs that it sponsors, it doesn't have any evidence to offer us that Canadian programming is growing in audience appeal?
9216 MR. BARRETT: We can only track the aggregate audiences on a year‑over‑year basis to the pool of programs we support and as I say, we're two years into that, to the ability to do that exercise.
9217 COMMISSIONER FRENCH: Yes. I guess I can only note that if indeed it were true across the board as you assert that Canadian program we were growing in audience appeal we would be unlikely to be here with the kinds of problems that the conventional television broadcasters are bringing us, unless I'm missing something in the equation.
9218 Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
9219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Barrett, I don't know if you feel comfortable to comment, but some of the interveners that we've heard over the last couple of days have suggested to us that the Commission contemplate increasing the genre categories, particularly including category 11 as eligible category for access to the qualifier priority programming.
9220 If the Commission was to go into that direction, will that impact on C.T.F.?
9221 MR. BARRETT: We have ‑‑ the genres of programming that we fund is established in the contract that we have with the Department of Canadian Heritage. So, we are given a pool of money that applies to the specific genres.
9222 So, I think what would happen is if the Commission changed its approach to priority programming, there would be a reconsideration presumably at that level as to what could be funded or not.
9223 But unless I'm missing something, I don't think that all genres which the Commission currently treats as priority programming are in fact eligible for us.
9224 So, I think there are certain priority programming genres that you have that we do not support and I'm going to get ‑‑ I don't want to get caught out on details.
9225 But the other thing that I would say is ‑‑
9226 THE CHAIRPERSON: Surely we could have our staff to investigate that.
9227 MR. BARRETT: Yes. But I think we look to the Contribution Agreement to set the broad framework for us and while the Contribution Agreement doesn't directly apply to the revenues received from the Broadcasting Distribution Industries, as a practical matter, we administer the monies as a pool and we make no distinction in terms of the rules and regulations that apply to the BDU revenues, as opposed to the Department of Canadian Heritage revenues.
9228 The other point I was going to make to you and it's a point that may come up in other questions, is this:
9229 We have had a period of growing revenues in the late nineties with the introduction of various new table services, but the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage has remained stable for ten years and as a result, the overall pool of funds available to the Canadian Television Fund really doesn't change very much from year to year.
9230 And in that context, and in the same time period, that same ten year time period, something in the order of 40 odd new television channels that are technically eligible to receive, to have an envelope from the C.T.F. have come on stream.
9231 So, we feel we find ourselves under growing pressure to manage these different appetites in the context of our current rules and one of the things that comes up whenever we're asked to consider a new opportunity or a shift in eligibility or an addition of another program category or whatever, is we tell our stakeholder community because we work very very closely with them, that all of these things require, have a cost, because it is an income shift or a resort shift debate that we have, so, if we take on something new, it has to be paid for out of the resources we are currently applying in some other area.
9232 And so, currently, for instance, we have genre allocations among the various genres, we often hear a view, for instance, that a particular genre is under greater distress than another and we should increase our resources applicable to that genre.
9233 Well, that's a fine debate to have until you ask which other genres will we take it from in order to satisfy that appetite.
9234 So, we look at any new challenge as a ‑‑ in a somewhat stressed environment because we won't have and there is no immediate prospect for significantly resources to be able to manage those challenges.
9235 LE PRÉSIDENT: Comment expliquez‑vous que les deux principaux diffuseurs généralistes francophones se soient retirés de la diffusion de séries lourdes et qu'en est l'impact pour le Fonds canadien?
9236 Est‑ce que ça libère des crédits qui peuvent être utilisés de manière différente ou si ces crédits‑là vont servir? Enfin, parce que c'était des sommes importantes quand même qui étaient allouées aux séries lourdes, probablement davantage... c'est toujours en fonction des coûts de production?
9237 M. BARRETT: Tu veux répondre à ça?
9238 Mme FORTIN: Je pense que, globalement, le genre c'est dramatique et ce qu'ils ont choisi de faire, c'est de faire moins de séries lourdes et davantage de séries mi‑lourdes avec le même argent.
9239 Dans le cas de Radio‑Canada, l'enveloppe est fermée, ça ne change rien. Au lieu de faire une série 800 000,00 $, ils en font deux à 400 000,00 $.
9240 Je veux dire, par rapport au Fonds, comme c'est leur choix, je veux dire c'est une stratégie des diffuseurs, qui ne change rien par rapport à la réallocation par genre.
9241 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien, écoutez, ce sont l'ensemble de nos questions.
9242 Mr. Barrette, madame Fortin, Mrs Creighton et monsieur Cardin, je ne vous demanderai pas si la SODEC c'est la même chose que l'OMDC.
9243 Mme FORTIN: Est‑ce que je peux...
9244 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, madame.
9245 Mme FORTIN: J'aimerais conclure sur quelque chose. Je veux dire, quelles que soient les orientations de l'avenir de la télévision, il y a des choses que nous savons, c'est que la compétition va être de plus en plus grande, je veux dire par rapport à l'international, les plate‑formes, les chaînes, et caetera.
9246 Mais, je veux dire, la diversité culturelle pour laquelle nos gouvernements se battent sur le plan international et qu'ils supportent par des fonds publics, je veux dire, va devenir l'élément essentiel si on veut que les Canadiens aient des histoires canadiennes à se mettre sous la dent et ce qu'on voudrait témoigner ici, c'est quels que soient les arrangements, il faut tenir compte que le contenu canadien, surtout dans les genres que nous finançons, je veux dire, n'est pas nécessairement quelque chose qui peut être financé par le marché uniquement.
9247 Il est important que le contenu canadien soit support, je veux dire, dans un contexte de diversité culturelle et de compétition internationale.
9248 LE PRÉSIDENT: Évidemment, j'apprécie votre témoignage, madame Fortin. Évidemment, je pose... on pose nos questions en fonction de votre présence comme représentants du Fonds canadien de la télévision et non pour des rôles principaux que vous jouez...
9249 Mme FORTIN: Bien sûr.
9250 LE PRÉSIDENT: ... dans d'autres milieux.
9251 Il y a aussi des questions qui sont... dont la réponse est d'une certaine évidence. Il y a des intervenants qui nous ont suggéré de ne pas autoriser de redevances, mais d'accroître les contributions des distributeurs au Fonds canadien de la télévision.
9252 Je ne vous pose pas la question parce que tout le monde...
9253 Mme FORTIN: Je n'ai pas d'opinion là‑dessus.
9254 LE PRÉSIDENT: Un, vous n'avez pas d'opinion... vous n'avez pas d'opinion mais si vous en aviez une, de toute façon...
9255 Mme FORTIN: Vous avez raison; je n'en aurai pas.
9256 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et on n'a pas besoin de poser la question pour connaître la réponse.
9257 Mme FORTIN: Non, non, mais je pense que ça veut juste illustrer l'importance du contenu...
9258 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui. Non, non, mais...
9259 Mme FORTIN:.. dans tout cette... dans tout ce débat‑là.
9260 LE PRÉSIDENT: ... on apprécie votre témoignage.
9261 M. BARRETT: Nous sommes non‑partisans ici ce matin.
9262 LE PRÉSIDENT: C'est ça. Merci beaucoup.
9263 M. BARRETT: Merci beaucoup.
9264 LE PRÉSIDENT: Nous prendrons dix minutes d'interruption, donc de retour à 0950.
‑‑‑ Suspension à 0938 / Upon recessing at 0938
‑‑‑ Reprise à 0955 / Upon resuming at 0955
9265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
9266 Madame la Secrétaire.
9267 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
9268 I would now call on the next group, Media Access Canada to come forward for their presentation.
9269 Ms Beverly Milligan will be speaking on behalf of Media Access Canada.
9270 Ms Milligan, you have ten minutes for your presentation, whenever you are ready. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
9271 MS MILLIGAN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.
9272 Thank you for the opportunity to speak today.
9273 My name is Beverly Milligan, and I have a certain expertise in broadcast technology, the Canadian disability community, policy and standards and a hands‑on historical understanding of the evolution of accessible media in Canada in the work that I did in closed captioning for Canadian broadcasting.
9274 I'm here today to represent a body of thinking, not of a specific membership base. This body of thinking, primarily representative of the senior citizen community and the disability community and substantiated in market research done over the last two quarters of fiscal 2006, are the footings of what we know today as Media Access Canada, a non‑membership based research and information sharing organization that specializes in the disability and seniors demographics as they relate to media and its accessibility.
9275 In the CRTC's review of certain aspects of the regulatory framework for the over‑the‑air television, the Commission, in paragraph 57, asked for ideas around the exploration of ways to improve the accessibility of television programming for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
9276 In a written response we addressed the specific questions posed by the Commission and today would like to further detail the Commission's request for concrete and specific proposals to address the ongoing concerns about captioning quality.
9277 At this point it is important to note that accessible media is more than just captioning, closed captioning, but that captioning has traditionally set precedent for other media. It is critical therefore to all accessible media that we understand what is happening right now with captioning.
9278 In 1998 Canada Captioning, then a charitable organization, donated the Association of Broadcasters its captioning quality standards that were later published on the CAB website. The CAB Closed Captioning Manual ‑‑ and I quote:
"...was approved in principle by both the CAB's television and specialty and pay boards at their last meeting in October 2002 and is designed to establish English language closed captioning standards acceptable to all stakeholders, the captioning consumers, the captioning creators and private broadcasters."
9279 The CAB and its membership approved it but today, while we do not have the empirical evidence of the existence of poor quality captioning, we have received enough negative feedback to write paragraph 57 in the CRTC review of the regulatory framework for over‑the‑air television.
9280 If the CAB and its members cannot self‑regulate, then what needs to happen?
9281 The opportunity to remedy the spirit of Public Notice 1995‑48, where the Commission mandated as a condition of licence 90 percent caption broadcast day, does not happen often. Today I will provide tangible and achievable activities that would improve the quality of captioning and set the baseline precedent for future accessible technologies.
9282 First, require all revenue gained from the social marketing advertisement "closed captioning brought to you by" be directed to accessible media spending and not become part of general revenues. Currently this airtime is considered non‑advertising. Common sense tells us that if there is accountable revenue, then there is accountability.
9283 Second, existing CAB conditioning caption guidelines become an industry standard for the purposes of research.
9284 Third, regular and ongoing monitoring of accessible media‑based on the industry standard. This monitoring would occur on a rotational basis across all CRTC‑licensed media. We propose that this data become compiled and circulated to all stakeholders, including the CRTC, government, service, business and community organizations so that they might better understand the state of accessible media content delivery services in an industry sector.
9285 A sample of this type of monitoring is the Monitor Project, a comprehensive study undertaken by the Canadian Captioning Development Agency in 1992. This study did not identify any one broadcaster. Instead, it randomly measured quality and quantity of captioning to create a baseline of captioning activity that could be measured through future studies.
9286 The monitor project will form part of this presentation today.
9287 Lastly, any over‑the‑air broadcaster who may in the future receive new revenues from BDUs contribute to a fund that underwrites industry‑wide accessible media monitoring of their content. The Commission has demonstrated through its ongoing published monitoring reports the importance of such work. We hope you agree that ongoing monitoring for accessible media is also important.
9288 We believe measurement and accountability is the beginning of improved quality. We have presented just a few ways in which monitoring could be underwritten, and MAC, this body of thinking and research from over 450 stakeholders in the Canadian disability and senior sector, has many more practical ideas for win‑win solutions to accessible media inclusion.
9289 Thank you.
9290 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Milligan.
9291 I will have Commissioner Williams ask you the first question.
9292 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Good morning, Ms Milligan. Welcome to our process.
9293 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you.
9294 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In reading through your written submission that you submitted electronically, in the area of background you talk about ‑‑ just to quote you:
"However, with the establishment of a baseline standard for captioning 10 minutes of a 30 or 60‑minute program could be captioned would qualify the entire 30 to 60 minutes as captioned falling within the 90 percent rule. Illegible captioning falls within the 90 percent rule. Further, there has never been any actual monitoring to ensure consistency for what has been reported captioned and what is actually captioned."
9295 Is there more that you wish to add to that to help give us a better understanding of how captioning that doesn't sound to be that effective has actually been coded to and qualifies as captioning?
9296 MS MILLIGAN: Certainly. You will see it in the Monitor Project. One of the things that was measured and one of the greater complaints is that, first of all, captioning that can't be understood for a number of reasons, or inappropriate, or some kind of quality of captioning that makes a program illegible, for example; or that for whatever reason ten minutes of a program is captioned in a 30‑minute program, so parts of it. Again, this is considered quality of captioning; that is, that the whole program isn't captioned. And these types of things do occur.
9297 Falling under the rule, because it is captioned, it is reported captioned regardless of the quality of the captioning, first of all. And also if only a portion of that programming is captioned, it still would be reported as captioned and fall within the 90 percent rule.
9298 We will see this in news. We will see this in live events and in many other areas where they are using a certain style of captioning in an inappropriate programming venue.
9299 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you.
9300 Are you proposing that your group become the independent adjudicator of captioning complaints? And if so, could you elaborate. How would you do that?
9301 MS MILLIGAN: I think what our group is looking for ‑‑ it certainly could become an independent adjudicator because it's a collaboration of all of the stakeholders, inclusive of the producers of closed captioning, consumers of closed captioning, service organizations and virtually anybody else that wants to participate in the process. It's an open process of ongoing dialogue and information sharing.
9302 So this organization certainly could do that and has the qualifications for that.
9303 The primary goal of this organization, however, is to see a continuation of the type of research done and the underlying monitoring of accessible media and captioning in particular so that we have an idea of where we are on an ongoing basis.
9304 This has traditionally not happened, and in fact it has been since 1993 that the last research undertaking in this particular area has happened.
9305 Again, the Monitor Project was a random activity; that is to say, it monitored broadcasters across the country quite randomly. It did it over the course of eight weeks and then dissected what was going on and gave the full report.
9306 It needs to happen a little bit more often than every 15 years, we believe.
9307 If we have some kind of baseline 15 years later for accessible media, then we can, first of all, see where we are and start going forward, not only in English but English captioning and English accessibility is far further ahead than French, for example. So there needs to be a lot of work in that area as well.
9308 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Can you tell us what you would do about the monitoring of French programming, and how would you go about the monitoring of quality programming in both French or English?
9309 MS MILLIGAN: As you will see in the Monitor Project, what we would do is we would randomly select taped programming and then we would dissect it based on CRTC programming categories and based on a standard.
9310 This standard that we used 15 years ago is in fact the same standard more or less in the current voluntary code that the CAB has published on its website, because we in fact donated that standard to them and they worked it for their purposes.
9311 First of all, in the area of French language, there isn't any published standard. So we need to get a baseline going, a baseline standard that all organizations and stakeholders would collaborate on. This is really important because what we have out there right now is, for example, we have captioning businesses, producers that in order to keep competing with each other, are really pushing down the quality of the captioning because the cost to caption is a very real cost, and to do it cheaper and cheaper is really compromising captioning quality.
9312 That doesn't need to happen. The revenues are there through on‑air sponsorship in other ways. There's all kinds of win‑win solutions to get revenue. So there is no need for that quality compromise if in fact there is a baseline standard that everybody can follow.
9313 So that is where you begin, and then you just monitor randomly on a rotational basis and report back.
9314 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: In your written presentation again, you stated that it is important to note that all American programming arrives at a broadcast facility already fully captioned. Telefilm underwrites 100 percent of the time all closed captioning of any program it invests in, and most broadcasters put in their co‑production broadcast licence agreements that a captioned master is delivered.
9315 The only programming a Canadian television broadcaster will underwrite is their original programming, like news and live sporting events.
9316 Are you saying that that is the portion that has to be monitored or would you monitor all?
9317 MS MILLIGAN: No. I would monitor right across the board, absolutely.
9318 There are certain styles and there are certain levels of quality that you can introduce into captioning due to the time that you have to caption. So you would use a differing technology, allowing you to produce better quality captioning, more literate, more attached to depending on ‑‑ for example, a drama ‑‑ and I guess this is true too just with production in general. In a drama you have a far better quality of captioning than you would get in news, and that is accepted and that is understood.
9319 But it's not happening. What is happening is they are using the style and the way in which they capture news for drama, and this really affects the quality.
9320 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You have also stated in your written remarks that there are profit opportunities for the broadcasters in captioning. Can you elaborate on that and give us a few examples?
9321 MS MILLIGAN: Certainly. Canada Caption Inc., for example, a lot of what it did was that it brought closed captioning ‑‑ brought to you by that sponsorship ‑‑ to the market and created an awareness, and eventually introduced a sunset clause and gave back to the broadcast industry the idea and the proven business model to generate revenue through the model.
9322 For example, our 10‑second piece in the Super Bowl, which we were working on with one of the broadcasters, we sold for $10,000.
9323 This was way back. This was 15 years ago.
9324 Did it cost $10,000 to close caption the program? Of course not. It cost $400 then.
9325 The rest of the revenue, because we were a charity, went to caption other programming for that particular broadcaster, and that $10,000 went a long way.
9326 We see closed captioning brought to you across all channels, and throughout the broadcast day.
9327 Typically, again, this is empirical, because there have not been a lot of studies, but certainly, through anecdotal research and discussions, what we are finding is that, in fact, it is now being thrown in to close a bigger deal.
9328 We will just throw in that sponsorship and close the bigger deal. Where is the revenue for that? There is nothing there. It goes into general revenues, and that is that.
9329 When it was done outside, or separate from ‑‑ through CCI ‑‑ and I am not suggesting that that happen again, I am just saying that if, in fact, it goes into a different pot, then we all know it is there.
9330 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: CCI was the non‑profit ‑‑
9331 MS MILLIGAN: Charitable organization.
9332 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Canada Caption Incorporated.
9333 MS MILLIGAN: Yes.
9334 I am not suggesting that that be started again, but I am saying that the idea of a separate line, or a separate pot that this would go into ‑‑ one, it would generate new revenues for the broadcasters, because, suddenly, the power to throw it in to close a deal isn't there any more. They need to actually show revenue. So it wouldn't be treated in the way it is currently being treated.
9335 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You suggest that, since this change has happened, the quality of captioning has progressively worsened.
9336 MS MILLIGAN: It certainly has. Absolutely. It has progressively worsened.
9337 In fact, when we implemented the sunset clause for CCI in 1998, and finally closed up around 1999, we were working with Heritage Canada and the CRTC and Industry Canada to figure out who was going to take care of the quality of captioning issue, which had not been resolved.
9338 Nobody, at that time, was able to ‑‑ everybody was sort of finger pointing at each other, saying: No, it is Industry, because it is technology. It is Heritage, because it is culture.
9339 Then, of course, the CRTC can only do what it can do in terms of its mandate.
9340 So it never ever actually got resolved.
9341 I think that, certainly, the quality issue has affected the industry of closed captioning ‑‑ the production industry that we call the accessible media production industry. It has really been affected.
9342 We are going to see the same things happen as we see more and more descriptive video.
9343 Is descriptive video today overpriced? Absolutely.
9344 Should it come down? Is there room for it to come down? Absolutely.
9345 But do we want to set the precedent, like we already have with captioning, where it is virtually, in some programs, illegible?
9346 We are beginning to see that development as the descriptive video production industry grows, as well.
9347 It is hurting the production industry. It is virtually useless, if you are depending on it to understand the program. It is completely frustrating. And it is just not necessary.
9348 There are really simple, tangible, win‑win solutions to fixing the problem.
9349 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Ms Milligan, what do you think of the Monitoring Committee established by Radio Canada?
9350 Would such committees be a satisfactory way to monitor the quality of captioning by individual broadcasters?
9351 MS MILLIGAN: I'm sorry, I am not familiar with that.
9352 Radio Canada is self‑monitoring?
9353 Are you suggesting self‑monitoring?
9354 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes.
9355 Not as the total monitoring, but just to help the organization itself.
9356 MS MILLIGAN: I think, in that particular case, absolutely.
9357 First of all, I think that any monitoring is good. One has to assume that if you are monitoring, whether or not you are self‑monitoring ‑‑ albeit, there is an implied bias ‑‑ it is, nonetheless, better than nothing; so, yes.
9358 In a perfect world would that be my first choice? No.
9359 I think that it doesn't have to be that way. I think there is some precedent, in terms of voluntary codes that haven't been adhered to in any way, that are strong indicators that maybe what we want to do, if we are looking at this, is third party it out to some independent research organization.
9360 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: If broadcasters were to work together to develop and implement universal standards, which organization, in your view, should be responsible for coordinating such a working group?
9361 Should it be, say, an individual broadcaster, or the CAB?
9362 Who do you think would be best to coordinate ‑‑
9363 MS MILLIGAN: To coordinate ‑‑
9364 I'm sorry, could you ask me that again?
9365 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Sure.
9366 MS MILLIGAN: Are you suggesting that, if the broadcast community, the industry itself, wanted to get together and look at this ‑‑
9367 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes, and implement some universal standards.
9368 Which organization, in your view, would be the best to pull it all together?
9369 MS MILLIGAN: The Canadian Standards Association, as suggested in 57, would be perfectly fine.
9370 It could boil down to a different set of numbers, and a different set of criteria, and be part of a reporting process.
9371 That is to say: Okay, we have captioned it and in this program ‑‑
9372 You know, valuing ‑‑ assigning a number to the different styles and correlating them to programming categories.
9373 It could be quite streamlined and quite simple, so that, ultimately, it wouldn't have to become huge.
9374 But it is getting there. Do I think that we should let the broadcast communities and the CAB do this? I think they have tried, and I think it is great what they have done, the initiatives they have taken, and I believe, sincerely, that the CAB and a number of broadcasters and employees of broadcasters out there have a tremendous sensitivity to accessible media, but I am not convinced that that is going to be the solution to the issue of quality.
9375 I think that there are many ways that are not ‑‑ let's put this group of people together in the same room as this group of people and let's spend the next year and a half hammering something out that, then, goes on a shelf or goes on a website, and we get a little bit of publicity from it, and then we move on.
9376 I certainly hope that isn't what the opportunity is here, because I think this is an extraordinary opportunity to fix a little problem, which seems really, really big.
9377 It is like coming up with a whole broadcast standard, like MPEG‑10. You plan now, and you put accessibility into it, and when it comes to fruition in 15 years, it is there.
9378 That is what I see the opportunity being, and that is what we would like to see in our world. We would like it to go a little bit beyond the CAB.
9379 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Ms Milligan.
9380 Thank you, Mr. Chair, that concludes my questioning.
9381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Williams.
9382 Ms Milligan, thank you very much for your presentation.
9383 We will now move to the next item.
9384 MS MILLIGAN: Thank you.
9385 LA SECRÉTAIRE : J'appellerais maintenant le prochain groupe, l'Union des Artistes et la SARTEC, à se présenter à la table en avant.
9386 LE PRÉSIDENT : Monsieur Curzi, à votre convenance. Nous vous écoutons.
PRÉSENTATION / PRESENTATION
9387 M. CURZI : Merci, Monsieur le Président. Bonjour, mesdames les commissaires, messieurs les commissaires.
9388 Donc, je me présente, Pierre Curzi, président de l'Union des Artistes.
9389 Je suis accompagné de Marc Grégoire, le président de la SARTEC; accompagné par Anne‑Marie des Roches, notre directrice des affaires publiques de l'Union des Artistes; et par monsieur Yves Légaré, directeur‑général de la SARTEC.
9390 Vous avez reçu notre mémoire. Il est axé surtout sur les télévisions généralistes privées. Je ne reviendrai par sur ce mémoire‑là. Je voudrais juste insister sur deux points.
9391 Le premier, c'est, quelque soit le résultat de l'examen du cadre réglementaire de la télévision en direct, pour nous, cet examen doit atteindre un objectif très précis, qui est l'augmentation du contenu des émissions prioritaires, et non seulement l'augmentation du contenu des émissions prioritaires, mais plus spécifiquement du contenu des émissions prioritaires dramatiques.
9392 On pense que cet objectif‑là, de la création du contenu, doit être l'objectif premier de quelque mesure que ce soit.
9393 Nous ne sommes pas défavorables, par exemple, à l'augmentation des redevances, mais nous croyons que les redevances doivent être en lien direct avec la production de contenu canadien spécifique, et en ce sens‑là, ce que le Fonds canadien de télévision déploie comme investissements dans des émissions prioritaires nous apparaît être un cadre beaucoup plus conforme à nos attentes que les conséquences des décisions qui ont été prises en '99.
9394 Donc, dans un sens, nous souhaitons qu'il n'y ait pas d'élargissement du contenu des émissions prioritaires, mais, au contraire, un resserrement, parce que notre but clair et net, et ça touche l'ensemble des membres que nous représentons, c'est qu'il y ait plus de contenu canadien, plus de dramatiques et plus d'émissions prioritaires canadiennes.
9395 L'autre aspect sur lequel je voudrais... Ceci dit, il y a plusieurs des affirmations qui ont été faites la semaine dernière, avec lesquelles nous sommes plus ou moins d'accord.
9396 La première, et la plus importante, à mon sens, c'est qu'il faut cesser de considérer que TVA ou TQS sont des organismes détachés de l'ensemble des autres parties des groupes à l'intérieur desquels ils existent, et qu'il y a un mensonge profond à dire que les auditoires diminuent et que les revenus publicitaires diminuent, alors que, par ailleurs, les sources de revenus de différentes formes proviennent de l'ensemble du secteur.
9397 Alors, on croit qu'il y a là une inadéquation dont il faudrait commencer à parler sérieusement.
9398 L'autre aspect sur lequel je veux insister, c'est l'introduction du placement de produits et des commandites.
9399 Là, évidemment, on a été obligé de vivre avec le développement du placement de produits à l'intérieur des émissions, mais, très franchement, si on avait eu le choix ou si on avait été conscient de ce vers quoi nous allions, on aurait refusé qu'il y ait du placement de produits, et on pense qu'il faut, au contraire, éviter soigneusement d'ouvrir encore plus la possibilité d'avoir du placement de produits dans les émissions, parce que c'est une menace directe à l'intégrité des oeuvres.
9400 Et s'il y a des phénomènes qui ont amené des baisses d'auditoire, on peut se dire que peut‑être que l'abus publicitaire a été une des raisons, mais chose certaine, aller dans le sens d'une augmentation, à la fois de la quantité ou de la façon d'introduire de la publicité, aurait pour résultat de contrer tout effort pour produire du contenu canadien.
9401 Donc, si on augmente le contenu canadien, mais que ce contenu‑là est en quelque sorte gangrené par la publicité, je pense qu'on n'atteint pas l'objectif fondamentale de toutes les politiques culturelles du gouvernement du Canada, qui est de permettre aux Canadiens d'avoir accès à une culture diversifiée et de qualité. Voilà.
9402 M. GRÉGOIRE : Dans le même ordre d'idées, la multiplication des émissions de téléréalité américaines, avec surimpression vocale francophone, les émissions qu'on appelle comme * Les drôles de vidéos +, * Les bloopers +, ça, ça nous fait craindre le pire.
9403 Il ne faut pas oublier que les deux télédiffuseurs privés vont mettre fin à sept ans d'avantages liés aux transactions en 2008. Les dépenses consacrées aux émissions canadiennes, et ça inclut les émissions prioritaires, sont en bonne partie attribuables à ces avantages.
9404 Nous le constatons tous, la politique de '99 constituait un début de flexibilité en ce qui concerne la réglementation, et elle a mené à une réduction des émissions de fiction.
9405 Vous avez lu notre mémoire. J'aimerais terminer en vous rappelant les faits saillants de celui‑ci :
9406 ‑ d'abord, que l'usage des radio fréquences canadiennes constitue non pas un droit, mais un privilège;
9407 ‑ que c'est la télévision généraliste qui, en grande majorité, déclenche le financement des émissions prioritaires originales;
9408 ‑ que seules des licences de diffusion plus élevées, un nouveau financement gouvernemental et des exigences précises du CRTC pourra assurer la pérennité d'émissions prioritaires;
9409 ‑ qu'il faut exiger un traitement équitable de l'ensemble des grands groupes, dont TQS, avec un minimum de huit heures d'émissions prioritaires originales par semaine, et que, sur ces huit heures, il y ait un minimum de cinq heures de dramatiques originales par semaine de toutes les chaînes généralistes francophones, par condition de licence;
9410 ‑ et finalement, d'accepter un tarif d'abonnement à la condition que les exigences en matière de contenu soient accrues.
9411 Un dernier point. Pour ce qui est des demandes nombreuses qui concernent la déréglementation, l'augmentation ou l'ouverture au placement de produits, comme parlait Pierre, nous tenons à réitérer notre ferme opposition et à souligner l'importance des oeuvres des créateurs et de leur public.
9412 Les créateurs et les artistes sont au cour de notre secteur audiovisuel, ce sont eux qui définissent le caractère original des oeuvres, et puisqu'ils sont les premiers titulaires du droit d'auteur, ils doivent être associés à la vie économique des oeuvres de façon équitable.
9413 Voilà. Merci.
9414 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci, messieurs Curzi et Grégoire.
9415 Je vais peut‑être commencer par le biais de la production indépendante par rapport à la production faite à l'interne pour la production des émissions prioritaires.
9416 Il s'est fait toute sorte de représentations au cours des derniers jours quant à la politique actuelle qui favorise de manière notable la remise de la production des émissions au secteur de la production indépendante. Certains, notamment les télédiffuseurs, ont demandé au Conseil une relaxation de cette règle‑là, qui exige, notamment, que 75 pour cent des émissions dites prioritaires soit dévolu à la production indépendante et qu'on révise ce quota‑là à la baisse, de façon à permettre aux télédiffuseurs qui voudraient eux‑mêmes le faire, de produire des émissions de plus grande envergure, ou encore, de favoriser l'intégration entre le secteur de la production indépendante et le secteur de la télédiffusion, comme ça s'est fait aux États‑Unis, où on a vu les Viacom devenir les partenaires de CBS, puis les Disney les partenaires de ABC, donc, de faire en sorte que peut‑être qu'on pourrait permettre au secteur de la télévision d'être mieux intégré avec les producteurs indépendants.
9417 Est‑ce que vous avez des commentaires, des observations à faire par rapport à ce secteur?
9418 M. CURZI : Bien, le premier commentaire, c'est qu'on reviendrait sur un historique qu'on a mis beaucoup d'énergie à créer, c'est‑à‑dire la création d'un secteur indépendant de production. On sait bien que c'est ce qui existait auparavant, c'est les télédiffuseurs étaient les principaux producteurs, et on a souhaité... pour augmenter la qualité, la compétitivité, la diversité surtout, on a souhaité créer un secteur indépendant.
9419 Alors, maintenant, revenir sur cet état de fait nous apparaît comme étrange, et d'autant plus que le système ne fonctionne pas mal. Ce qui fonctionne moins bien, c'est la façon dont les revenus sont générés et répartis. Il y a là une espèce de déséquilibre actuellement, très, très évident, puisqu'on multiplie les moyens de diffusion qui génèrent des revenus importants et qu'il n'y a pas suffisamment de revenus qui retournent au niveau de la production.
9420 Donc, le système est un petit peu débalancé, mais je ne vois pas trop quels seraient les intérêts ‑‑ ou si je les vois, je ne suis pas sûr que je les souhaite ‑‑ à ce qu'il y est une fusion plus intime entre les deux.
9421 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bien, un des motifs, et probablement le motif central de cette réflexion de la part de ceux qui nous invitent à considérer cette possibilité, c'est le fait qu'on veut être capable d'utiliser les produits pour les diffuser sur des multi plates‑formes, alors que, présentement, les droits sont limités uniquement à la diffusion sur l'antenne hertzienne, et ils ne peuvent, donc, être réutilisés à d'autres fins, et les télédiffuseurs, évidemment, qui font cet argument là disent : Bien, nous, on veut amortir sur des multi plates‑formes ces coûts de production, pour être capables, effectivement, de continuer à générer d'autres activités. Donc, c'est le sens de leur démarche.
9422 Et vous, je sais très bien que vous avez... La raison pour laquelle je vous pose la question, je sais que vous avez un intérêt au dossier des multi plates‑formes.
9423 M. CURZI : Oui. En fait, ce qu'on cherche... puis là, vous entrez directement dans certaines remarques qui sont dans certains des rapports où semble‑t‑il qu'on n'empêche l'utilisation des multi plates‑formes ou qu'on complique les choses.
9424 Effectivement, on les complique, puis on va continuer à les compliquer. C'est l'objet d'une négociation, ce que les syndicats... que nous représentons ce que nous sommes. On cherche à trouver un nouveau modèle d'affaires qui tienne compte de la réalité.
9425 La réalité, quelle est‑elle? Il y a une diminution de l'importance de la télévision généraliste, puis une multiplication des autres plates‑formes de diffusion.
9426 Nous, ce qu'on dit, c'est qu'il faut associer intimement les créateurs ‑‑ c'est vrai pour les auteurs, c'est vrai pour les interprètes ‑‑ à la vie économique de l'ouvre. Donc, dans un sens, le modèle d'affaires qu'on cherche serait de favoriser la création en n'augmentant pas nos demandes exagérément au moment où il y a production des oeuvres, du contenu, mais en s'assurant que lorsqu'il y a revenus ou succès, les créateurs touchent une part équitable des oeuvres qui fonctionnent bien, et on travaille fortement sur ce modèle là.
9427 Et ce modèle‑là est très souple. On peut envisager des pourcentages de revenus de ventes de location. On peut envisager différents modèles économiques pour tenir compte de la réalité.
9428 Ce qui est vrai, c'est que le modèle qui préexistait ‑‑ en tout cas, je parle pour l'Union des Artistes ‑‑ était un peu archaïque, et actuellement, tout l'effort de notre négociation avec les producteurs indépendants et avec les télédiffuseurs, dont TVA et TQS, cherche à créer de nouveau modèle là, qui va être adapté à la réalité de l'utilisation des oeuvres.
9429 Mais le principe fondamental, c'est que lorsqu'il y a succès ou vie économique heureuse du contenu, on veut y être associé. On prendra des parts de risque qu'il faut pour maintenir la qualité de la production, mais on va s'assurer qu'il y a un juste retour lorsqu'il y a bénéfices.
9430 Et en ce sens‑là, il faut s'interroger sur ce dont on parlait tantôt : quand une émission est produite par TVA, il est sûr que l'empire qui l'entoure, qui entoure TVA, va utiliser toutes les façons possibles de générer des profits. Et on l'a vu dans leur démonstration, ils sont les premiers au niveau des revues, les premiers au niveau de l'exploitation de la musique, les premiers partout.
9431 On n'a rien contre, mais il est clair maintenant qu'un contenu, il est multiplié et que les sources de revenus qui en sont tirées sont multipliées.
9432 M. LÉGARÉ : Et le débat va devoir se faire, qu'on parle de production à l'interne des diffuseurs ou de productions indépendantes, donc, que les plates‑formes sont utilisées, de toute façon, peu importe le secteur, et les enjeux sont les mêmes.
9433 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, c'est évident que... d'ailleurs, on a eu les représentations de l'APFTQ, vendredi dernier, qui nous ont aussi fait part de leur ouverture à la négociation avec les télédiffuseurs, un peu sur le même modèle que celui que vous proposez, qui est l'objet de négociations bipartites et multipartites, finalement.
9434 Vous avez fait état dans votre présentation orale que plutôt de penser à élargir les catégories ou les genres d'émissions prioritaires, qu'on devrait plutôt les restreindre.
9435 Si je vous demandais quelle catégorie d'émissions vous voudriez qui ne soient plus considérées comme des émissions prioritaires, qu'est‑ce que vous nous suggérez?
9436 MME des ROCHES : Bien, je pense le premier principe qui devrait prévaloir, c'est de ‑‑ pour les fins de cohésion en termes de politiques culturelles ‑‑ probablement lier davantage la définition des émissions prioritaires aux émissions qui sont finançables sous le Fonds canadien de télévision.
9437 Alors, au départ, les dramatiques, on inclurait maintenant la jeunesse, et nous, ça surtout dans le documentaire. Il y a deux choses, le documentaire de longue durée... des émissions comme les quotidiennes de * Star Académie +, on n'a jamais compris que ça soit un documentaire de longue durée. Pour nous, ça ne va pas avec l'esprit même de ce qui était une émission qui était, oui, vitale, mais aussi peu représentée.
9438 L'autre chose, il y avait les émissions de priorité. Il y avait les émissions... dans le côté francophone, il y a des émissions d'entertainment, de divertissement, des trucs comme * Flash +. On n'essaie pas de faire un jugement de valeur sur ces émissions‑là, elles sont très bonnes, elles sont écoutées et tout, mais je pense, dans le marché francophone particulièrement, ce n'est peut‑être pas de ça qu'on a besoin, parce qu'on l'a le Star system, et on en parle, et il y a peut‑être lieu de mettre l'accent sur davantage d'émissions des heures de la scène et de la chanson, des vrais documentaires et des dramatiques.
9439 LE PRÉSIDENT : Dans votre mémoire, à la page 5, vous nous présentez deux options face aux émissions prioritaires, une option sans redevance, puis une option avec redevance. Dans votre option avec redevance, vous nous dites d'accroître les heures d'émissions prioritaires de huit à 10 et d'accroître les heures dédiées à la dramatique de cinq à heures de dramatiques originales par semaine.
9440 Quand on parle de ladite redevance, je vois que vous l'appuyez un peu du bout des lèvres, mais le Conseil allait dans cette direction‑là. Vous nous dites, donc, d'accroître les heures d'émissions dramatiques, tout en continuant à maintenir qu'on doit resserrer la définition des émissions prioritaires. Malgré le fait qu'on accroîtrait les heures de diffusion prioritaires, il faudrait, simultanément, en réduire les catégories d'accès?
9441 M. GRÉGOIRE : Écoutez, en fait, l'idée de base dans ça, c'est s'il y a plus d'argent qui vient dans le système par un tarif d'abonnement, par des redevances, c'est évident qu'on exigerait, à ce moment‑là, qu'une partie importante de cet argent‑là revienne en production, puisque l'idée pour nous, pour nos membres, tant auteurs que comédiens, c'est d'arriver à faire en sorte qu'il y ait plus de productions et que ce succès qu'est nos émissions dramatiques continue à avoir droit de cité.
9442 C'est bien évident que s'il y a un tarif d'abonnement et que cet argent‑là va pour augmenter d'autres catégories dites prioritaires actuellement, comme du divertissement et tout, c'est bien sûr qu'on se tirerait nous‑mêmes une balle dans le pied. Ça augmenterait les profits des compagnies, et ça diminuerait, ça scléroserait, éventuellement, le travail créateur dont on est les gardiens.
9443 LE PRÉSIDENT : Cependant, les télédiffuseurs nous suggèrent que si on leur autorisait la redevance qu'ils seraient prêts à accepter un minimum de dépenses au soutien de la production canadienne, comme c'était le système antérieur à '99.
9444 Pour vous, est‑ce qu'il y a une adéquation entres ces...
9445 M. CURZI : Bien, '99, on le voit, puis je pense qu'on le démontre assez clairement dans notre mémoire, que les effets ont été une baisse de la production. Alors, non, on ne souhaite pas que ça soit comme ça. Le minimum n'est pas acceptable. Il faut que ça soit un maximum.
9446 C'est clair qu'on est victime d'un certain succès dans le milieu francophone. On a mis en place une structure qui génère actuellement énormément de créativité, de compagnies, de talents, et on est aux prises avec un développement. On ne peut pas imaginer qu'on va arrêter ce développement‑là, mais la politique du CRTC en '99 a eu des effets qui n'ont pas été positifs pour ce qui est de la création des dramatiques, en tout cas.
9447 LE PRÉSIDENT : Mais celle qui a prévalu avant '99, où le financement était basé sur un pourcentage des revenus des années précédentes, est‑ce que cette formule‑là était mieux adaptée à la télévision francophone que celle qui est présentement en cours?
9448 MME des ROCHES : En fait, en '99, je ne suis pas certaine qu'on avait des dépenses de revenus bruts chez les télédiffuseurs francophones. Il y en avait seulement dans le secteur anglophone... j'attends. Non, ils ne le savent pas, mais...
9449 LE PRÉSIDENT : Je pense que vous avez raison. Effectivement, il n'y en avait pas parce que, effectivement, les minima que le Conseil avait mis en place pour la télévision anglophone étaient nettement dépassés par la télévision francophone. Donc, il n'y avait pas eu nécessité de...
9450 MME des ROCHES : Mais nous autres, on recommande les bretelles puis la ceinture, peut‑être vous allez me dire, Monsieur le Président, mais, dans le fond, on recommande également qu'il y ait un pourcentage des revenus qui soient attribués aux dépenses d'émissions canadiennes. Outre ça là, la réponse était positive à la question à cet égard.
9451 M. LÉGARÉ : En 1997‑1998, TVA, par exemple, atteignait facilement le cinq heures de dramatiques, et il y a eu un déclin depuis la politique de '99.
9452 LE PRÉSIDENT : Maintenant est‑ce que vous avez analysé les motifs qui font que, effectivement, l'écoute des dramatiques a diminué, parce que, évidemment, vous faites état vous même que, bon, il y a eu le succès... les services dits spécialisés ont contribué en partie à la désaffection des auditoires face aux généralistes, mais est‑ce que ce n'est pas le droit des téléspectateurs de consommer les produits qu'ils veulent? S'ils ont choisi de moins écouter de dramatiques qu'autrefois, est‑ce que ce n'est pas un choix libre de la part des téléspectateurs?
9453 M. CURZI : Oui, mais l'effet clair des canaux spécialisés, c'est que, en... je me souviens bien, l'esprit de cette politique‑là était il y a une spécialisation aux États‑Unis, une offre de marchés spécialisés, nous adoptons des résolutions pour permettre qu'il y ait une offre canadienne équivalente. C'était ça.
9454 L'effet concret dans le marché francophone, ça été de faire diminuer considérablement l'auditoire chez les généralistes et d'augmenter celui de tous les canaux spécialisés agglomérés. Le problème, c'est qu'on a exactement le même problème que l'Hydro Québec, tout d'un coup, il y a une section de production qui ne fait pas d'argent, puis il y a une section de distribution qui fait des milliards. L'avantage avec l'Hydro‑Québec, c'est que ce milliard‑là est retourné au gouvernement, puis qu'il nous revient sous forme de services.
9455 Dans le cas des télévisions spécialisées, elles ont augmenté la production d'ouvres, mais chacune d'entre elles n'est jamais capable de déclencher des productions majeures. Or, ce qui nous touche, nous autres, directement, et ce qui touche directement le contenu canadien, ce sont les dramatiques pour une grande part. Que les gens aient le choix, oui, mais qu'on n'oublie pas que le fondement de ce que c'est que la culture et l'identité canadienne, ça demeurera, qu'on le veuille ou pas, encore maintenant, des histoires qui seront racontées par des professionnels de ce conte‑là.
9456 Alors, un moment donné, et sans faire de jugement moral ou d'empêcher des gens d'avoir accès, il faut quand même s'assurer qu'ils ont des denrées saines à se mettre sous la dent et qu'on ne détériore pas nous‑mêmes la qualité de ce qui leur est offert.
9457 MME des ROCHES : J'aimerais rajouter aussi que c'est sûr que, il y a 10 ans, on parlait de 2,5 millions d'auditeurs, c'est sûr que la fragmentation est là. Mais là, on parle quand même de 1,5 million d'auditeurs dans les dramatiques lourdes ou moins lourdes. Ce n'est pas des pinottes, ça. C'est beaucoup de personnes qui l'écoutent.
9458 On est là en train de dire que les gens ne l'écoutent plus, mais ils l'écoutent encore en grand nombre. Ça reste encore. La télévision généraliste reste encore pour encore un bon moment, je pense, dans le milieu francophone, la place des grands rendez‑vous, pas l'unique rendez‑vous, puis pas des gros, gros, gros party de famille, les familles sont rapetissés un peu, mais ça reste quand même significatif l'auditoire des dramatiques.
9459 Et on en parle, oui, il y a une baisse, mais en même temps, il y a du donnant‑donnant, finalement. Il y a des émissions qui vont coûter plus chères, qui vont aller chercher 1 million d'auditeurs. Il y a des émissions qui vont coûter vraiment presque rien à produire, qui vont aller chercher 2 millions d'auditeurs, et comme télédiffuseurs, bien, il y a un équilibre à faire.
9460 Le problème avec ça, c'est que les télédiffuseurs, quand ils regardent les dramatiques, regardent juste la dramatique comme telle. Ils vont regarder * Vice caché +, ils ne regarderont pas * Kilomètre heure +, puis * Histoires de filles +, qui est beaucoup plus rentable. Il faut regarder l'ensemble de l'offre des dramatiques dans une grille.
9461 M. GRÉGOIRE : Si je pourrais juste terminer sur quelque chose. Si on pensait que la désaffection des dramatiques était du fait qu'il y a une lassitude du public, on aurait un problème. Nous, ce qu'on pense, c'est que la désaffection est une question souvent beaucoup plus économique que culturelle. C'est que ça coûte plus cher, et pour le même montant d'argent, certains diffuseurs ou producteurs sont capables de faire plus d'argent. Alors, il y a une question d'offre et de demande.
9462 C'est comme n'importe quoi. Si vous mettez énormément de publicité sur un produit qui est un produit X en fast food, par exemple, vous risquez d'avoir plus de gens qui vont aller là que sur un produit différent.
9463 Alors, nous sommes persuadés que les dramatiques... si on met des dramatiques à l'écran francophone, oui, le public est là, il va continuer à les écouter. Bien sûr, il peut y avoir des vagues, ou, par certains moments, il y a eu, comme dans n'importe quoi, des peak, mais lorsqu'on est au sommet de quelque chose, on ne peut pas nécessairement rester complètement au sommet. Mais la moyenne générale de l'écoute des dramatiques demeure extrêmement positive en français au Canada.
9464 M. LÉGARÉl Il y a aussi 30 pour cent de l'écoute qui a migré vers les canaux spécialisés. Or, les canaux spécialisés offrent très peu de dramatique nationale. Donc, lorsqu'on pense justement au calcul de l'écoute, il faut voir que l'offre en dramatique n'est pas toujours aussi présente partout.
9465 LE PRÉSIDENT : Mais est‑ce que ce 30 pour cent d'auditeurs fait un choix délibéré de ne pas écouter de la dramatique, d'aller consommer d'autres produits?
9466 M. LÉGARÉ : Lorsqu'on lui offre de la dramatique, il y a quand même quelques dramatiques qui ont été offertes, les cotes d'écoute ne sont pas mauvaises. De même façon que lorsqu'on offre des documentaires nationaux sur des chaînes comme Canal D, l'écoute est très bonne également. C'est simplement que l'offre n'est pas toujours présente.
9467 M. CURZI : Monsieur Dion de TVA vous a sûrement dit que, oui, il y a une baisse de la télévision généraliste, mais, grosso modo ‑‑ enfin, c'est le discours qu'il nous tient ‑‑ c'est qu'il y a le même public qui a d'autres habitudes de consommation. Grosso modo, ça baisse à TVA, mais ça augmente sur je ne sais pas quoi là, ilico ou à d'autres façons. On voit le marché des DVD, par exemple, qui augmente énormément. Puis c'est en ce sens‑là qu'on essaie de faire des efforts pour adapter notre structure de droits, donc, nos revenus sur la différence, mais c'est toujours le même bassin.
9468 Leur affirmation, c'est que ça n'augmente pas, que c'est la même tarte. Moi, je ne suis pas certain de ça. Je pense que, dans certains cas, il y a une augmentation mais qui est difficile à calculer, à aller chercher, mais on est là dans l'impression.
9469 LE PRÉSIDENT : Évidemment, il n'y a rien qui nous dit que... c'est parce que c'est toujours une question de thématique aussi au niveau des dramatiques. Il n'y a rien qui nous dit que l'année prochaine, une thématique n'attirera pas encore un 3 millions de téléspectateurs? Trois millions, je mets la barre haute là.
9470 M. CURZI : Oui. Peut‑être que ce temps‑là est fini, effectivement, parce que...
9471 LE PRÉSIDENT : Et peut‑être que non.
9472 M. CURZI : Et peut‑être que non. Mais chose certaine, il faut essayer, et ça devrait être le but de la télévision généraliste.
9473 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bien ça, je pense que c'est... tous les responsables de programmation dans les entreprises rêvent au jour où ils ont un succès de cette nature‑là, puis ces succès‑là sont généralement non‑anticipés. On les découvre au fur et à mesure. Le pense à * La petite vie +. Je ne suis pas persuadé que les concepteurs de * La petite vie +, puis le diffuseur de * La petite vie + avaient en tête le succès que ça eu. Ils s'en sont bien réjouis, cependant.
9474 M. CURZI : Mais ce qu'on sait, c'est qu'en culture, il y a peut‑être une production au cinéma. La règle est bien connue.
9475 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, oui.
9476 M. CURZI : Alors, il faut maintenir un volume. Puis le problème qu'on commence à avoir, c'est que si on prend une gang d'individus, qu'on les met dans une maison, puis qu'on les film là, on peut appeler ça une oeuvre, mais au niveau du contenu, on commence à s'effriter le contenu.
9477 Il faut maintenir un minimum de contenu de qualité si on veut espérer obtenir des succès puis on voit que cette formule‑là fonctionne, en tout cas, au niveau du cinéma francophone, le nombre de films génère, a généré depuis plusieurs années une augmentation de l'auditoire.
9478 Il n'y a pas de raison que le modèle soit si différent dans la télévision.
9479 LE PRÉSIDENT: Dans votre Mémoire, vous écrivez que le développement des nouvelles plate‑formes technologiques favoriseraient certains types de programmation telle la télé‑réalité. Or, ça m'a un peu étonné de voir cette affirmation‑là, je me suis posé la question.
9480 Est‑ce que vous avez des évidences que la télé‑réalité a du succès sur d'autres plate‑formes que la télévision?
9481 Mme DesROCHES: Bien, en fait, ça a été le cas pour Star Académie. On disait, par exemple, l'internet, Star Académie où les gens avaient la caméra 24 heures sur 24, si tu achetais pour 10,00 $ ton bouquet de votes et puis, là, tu avais...
9482 Et donc, tes possibilités non seulement de faire du marketing, mais de faire de l'argent et sur d'autres plate‑formes d'aller recueillir... de nourrir ça, permet... la télé‑réalité se prête très bien à un marketing multi plate‑formes et des sources de revenus multi plate‑formes parce que tu n'as pas autant de... tu n'as pas de droit à payer.
9483 Mais, c'est dans ce sens‑là, ce genre de chose‑là va beaucoup plus, comme les Nouvelles TVA a décidé d'avoir toutes ses nouvelles, sa production comme ça qui est faite à l'interne, c'est dès lors que tu as des droits à payer, mais c'est plus ça qu'on a voulu dire par les plate‑formes.
9484 Et Pierre parlait tout à l'heure du marketing; bien, effectivement, ça donne beaucoup plus de possibilités de placements de produits, d'occasions d'affaires là‑dessus.
9485 LE PRÉSIDENT: Alors, du placement de produits, mais si vous voulez en parler du placement de produits, je suis bien prêt à vous écouter parce que, effectivement, tous les télédiffuseurs qui ont comparu devant nous nous ont tous dit relaxer les règles quant au placement de produits, n'en faites plus le décompte dans les 12 minutes de temps alloué à la publicité formelle.
9486 Parce qu'en ce qui a regard à la publicité formelle, ça, il y a clairement deux camps : il y en a qui disent, maintenez le 12 minutes, il y en a qui nous disent, laissez tomber les règles de temps associé à la publicité, faites comme les Américains qui n'ont pas de règle et on ne trouve pas... de règle absolue.
9487 On entendra demain l'Association canadienne des annonceurs qui nous dira, maintenez le 12 minutes, mais libérez le placement de produits. Nos membres les annonceurs cherchent des nouveaux moyens pour se positionner quant au placement... par le biais du placement de produits et je sais qu'à l'UDA à tout le moins vous avez aussi des ententes avec l'Association canadienne des annonceurs. Donc, c'est un sujet pour lequel je suis sûr que vous avez... vous pouvez partager une réflexion.
9488 Mais je vois que monsieur Légaré est prêt déjà à sauter.
9489 M. LÉGARÉ: Bien déjà, pour les 12 minutes de publicités, je pense que, effectivement, unanimement, on considère que c'est amplement suffisant. Au‑delà de ça, on va tomber dans le télé‑achat. Il y a des canaux qui se spécialisent dans la vente de produits à la journée longue.
9490 Lorsqu'on parle de dramatique ou d'émission que nous représentons, il est sûr que déjà le 12 minutes est une contrainte très grande et qu'il ne faudrait pas déborder plus, on n'aura même pas le temps d'argumenter nos histoires que déjà la publicité va arriver.
9491 Pour ce qui est des placements de produits, là où il en existe aux États‑Unis, entre autres, c'est à peu près le seul pays qui le fait de façon régulière, c'est de plus en plus décrié tant par les auteurs que par les comédiens parce que, justement, on tombe dans des utilisations carrément irrespectueuses de l'intégrité des oeuvres et du public.
9492 Une question d'ailleurs qu'il faut se poser, c'est : est‑ce que les consommateurs ne devraient pas être consultés lorsqu'on parle de placement de produits puisque, justement, on serait en train de les abreuver sans nécessairement les aviser de différentes publicités camouflées.
9493 Mais ce qu'on a vu aux États‑Unis, par exemple, c'est que, d'une part, le placement de produits favorise certains genres d'émissions, la télé‑réalité puisque, par exemple, on peut plus facilement intégrer ces produits‑là ou ces placements‑là aux oeuvres.
9494 Je vous donne l'exemple de "Survivor". Après avoir empêché les gens de se laver pendant deux semaines, on leur apporte comme paquet de cadeaux, du dentifrice, du rince‑bouche et du savon, mais pendant 15 minutes les gens se sont extasiés sur le goût du rince‑bouche davantage que si ça avait été une bière belge.
9495 Donc, il y a quand même un placement très facile avec la télé‑réalité qui passe beaucoup mieux au niveau du public et ça favorise, donc, la télé‑réalité.
9496 Ce qu'on a vu aussi dans les dramatiques, c'est qu'on a commencé à intégrer des scènes où, là, effectivement, on introduit un produit.
9497 Il y avait une émission qui s'appelait *Septième ciel+ commandité par *Oréo+ où un des personnages demandait sa compagne en mariage. Ce personnage‑là est un amateur de biscuits Oréo et lui a remis pour la demande en mariage un biscuit Oréo, il avait camouflé l'anneau dans la crème du biscuit Oréo.
9498 Je pense que pour le public ça déborde un petit peu ce qu'on s'attend d'une dramatique sérieuse et on ne voudrait pas que vous initiez des politiques qui pourraient nous amener dans quelques années à amener les membres que je représente à écrire de pareilles inepties.
9499 On veut hausser la qualité de la télévision. Je ne pense pas que le placement de produits contribuerait à cette qualité.
9500 M. CURZI: En fait, il y a le problème contraire. C'est qu'il y a des films qui sont en train de se spécialiser à transformer tous les produits utilisés courant, ce avec quoi on est pleinement d'accord, parce qu'ils craignent d'être poursuivis si jamais le dépositaire de ce copyright‑là s'aperçoit qu'il y a une mauvaise utilisation du nom de son produit.
9501 On boit une bière, on meure l'instant d'après parce que... et là, alors, évidemment, on change le nom de la bière, mais pas parce qu'on s'y oppose, nous, parce que les propriétaires de copyright craignent une mauvaise utilisation. Ça amène des situations aberrantes.
9502 M. GRÉGOIRE: Regardez, je voulais... par exemple, comme auteur si, par exemple, il y a une très jolie femme qui va dans un bar et puis qui est un personnage important dans une émission et qui commande de la Vodka, on dit, bien, c'est parfait, tiens, on va lui donner, tiens. Finlandia, Vodka Finlandia, une belle fille, beau programme et tout et tout, et caetera, mais si deux épisodes plus tard la fille se retrouve complètement saoule à vomir sur la Vodka, Finlandia, je ne suis pas certain que Finlandia ne dira pas, écoutez, on ne veut plus être associé à ça, vous nous avez mis dans un piège.
9503 Et ce que ça veut dire par l'absurde, c'est que, à ce moment‑là, ça obligerait les auteurs à définir leurs histoires en fonction des bons, des méchants, de ce qu'on peut faire, de ce qu'on ne peut pas faire pour que Finlandia puisse ou non vendre son produit.
9504 Et, ça, bien sûr, là, on n'est plus dans la création là. Là, on est dans l'auteur sandwich‑là. On devient des porteurs de publicité et je ne crois pas que ça soit ça l'idée de raconter des histoires au public.
9505 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais vous n'êtes pas confronté déjà à ça avec le cinéma où il y a du placement de produits dans les longs métrages.
9506 M. CURZI: Oui, mais vous n'êtes pas écoeuré de voir l'annonce de Budweiser dans les films américains, vous, quand ils rentrent dans un bar?
9507 Je veux dire, on est confronté à ça parce qu'on a laissé s'installer. Même l'UDA a négocié...
9508 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais dans le cinéma québécois, là, je me réfère...
9509 M. CURZI: Le cinéma québécois... bien, ce n'est pas encore un problème majeur.
9510 LE PRÉSIDENT: Avec des véhicules auto... avec des véhicules?
9511 M. CURZI: Oui, tout... par exemple, c'est toute la même sorte de... c'est tout des GM ou des choses comme ça.
9512 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, oui.
9513 M. CURZI: Oui, on y est déjà puis on le constate déjà. Alors, on dit, n'allons pas plus loin parce que c'est difficile de revenir vraiment en arrière.
9514 Puis, vous savez, l'argument de... des nouvelles formes de publicité, moi, je serais prêt à... il faut examiner ça sérieusement parce que ce qu'on voit, c'est que, par exemple, il va y avoir un déplacement de la publicité vers l'internet et la tendance, c'est que, là, il n'y a plus de limite au niveau du temps, il n'y a plus de limite au niveau du contenu et les publicitaires sont en train d'inventer des formes de publicités extrêmement adaptées qui font devenir, en fait, probablement une sorte de fiction en elles‑mêmes.
9515 Qu'on fasse de la fiction liée à la vente de quelque chose et qu'elle s'affiche comme telle, on n'est pas opposé à ça. Ça s'est fait dans le cas de certaines voitures, mais qu'on gangrène un contenu avec la publicité, là on pense qu'il ne faut vraiment pas aller plus loin.
9516 On est déjà aux prises avec ce problème‑là, mais il n'est pas majeur. Il ne faudrait pas ouvrir plus.
9517 LE PRÉSIDENT: Les télédiffuseurs nous disent: on est en péril et on a besoin de... on a besoin de solutions et on nous propose une série de résolutions réglementaires ainsi qu'une redevance.
Vous, ce matin, vous nous dites: touchez à aucune des solutions réglementaires, même fermez davantage le robinet.
9518 Qu'est‑ce que c'est que vous... qu'est‑ce que vous avez à nous suggérer comme modèle pour la télévision du futur?
9519 M. CURZI: Il y a les redevances. On se dit, oui, on est d'accord avec les redevances.
9520 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, vous le dites du bout des lèvres.
9521 M. CURZI: Non, non, on ne le dit pas du bout des lèvres. On fait... si la redevance... là, on parle des télévisions privées, on pense que, oui, ça a une certaine logique qu'ils puissent bénéficier de cette redevance‑là.
9522 Mais on dit, ça ne sera pas une excuse pour échapper à ce qui est déjà menacé, au contraire. L'afflux supérieur d'argent nous assure qu'on va avoir sur les ondes publiques une offre de qualité maintenue.
9523 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et aux télédiffuseurs publics, vous...
9524 M. CURZI: Ah!
9525 LE PRÉSIDENT: ... qui nous demandent aussi la redevance?
9526 M. CURZI: Ça, j'avoue qu'on n'en a pas parlé puis, personnellement, je trouve qu'il y a des... je suis plus prudent en tout cas.
9527 C'est clair que ça dépend... par exemple, Téléquébec bénéficierait grandement d'avoir une redevance et des revenus supplémentaires.
9528 Pour Radio‑Canada, c'est... la réflexion est plus délicate puisqu'il y a déjà un financement public important et, moi, je me dis que ce principe‑là de devoir en plus payer un autre accès, en tout cas, s'ils avaient accès à la redevance, je pense qu'il faudrait être assez parcimonieux et avoir une gradation.
9529 Personnellement, j'ai de la difficulté à considérer que c'est exactement la même chose.
9530 M. GRÉGOIRE: Par contre, je voudrais dire, même sur Radio‑Canada, si globalement il y avait redevance même à Radio‑Canada et si une portion importante est remise en productions dramatiques, ça pourrait être une façon de voir les choses puisque, encore là, fondamentalement, s'il y a plus d'argent qui rentre dans le système, ce qu'on souhaite, c'est qu'une bonne portion de cet argent‑là revienne aux dramatiques et aux documentaires de qualité.
9531 Et notre assertion est que s'il y a ça sur... de présenté aux gens, les gens, oui, vont continuer à écouter ça parce qu'il y a une volonté du public, il y a un désir du public et il y a un goût du public pour ce genre d'émission‑là, mais il faut toujours bien être capable de leur en présenter.
9532 M. GRÉGOIRE: Donc, l'appui n'est pas du bout des lèvres, mais il est conditionnel, il est au mérite, eu égard au contenu canadien et à la contribution des diffuseurs à ce contenu.
9533 LE PRÉSIDENT: Si on parle maintenant de diffusion comme telle, je vous en... vous avez peu écrit sur cette question mais un des... il y a plusieurs scénarios qui nous sont présentés pour le passage au numérique dont un modèle que je qualifierais de *hybride+, c'est‑à‑dire que la desserte des grands marchés en mode hertzien et des entreprises de distribution pour le reste des citoyens.
9534 Dans l'autre cas c'est uniquement l'utilisation des entreprises de distribution pour l'offre de service aux citoyens, or, forcer tout le monde à s'abonner à une entreprise de distribution pour avoir accès à des services de programmation.
9535 D'autres disent, on pourrait peut‑être maintenir nos antennes analogiques tant et aussi longtemps qu'elles seront capables de maintenir... tant que l'existence, effectivement, des équipements ne sera pas terminée et donc, un jour, théoriquement, ces équipements‑là arrêteraient de fonctionner par elles‑mêmes, là, mais en espérant que d'ici ce temps‑là tout le monde se soit abonné par eux‑mêmes à des entreprises.
9536 Je vois que dans votre Mémoire, vous avez écrit qu'au Royaume‑Uni, la télévision par satellite sans frais est disponible à tous les foyers et que c'est probablement ce que vous voyez comme opportunité.
9537 Mais il n'y a pas, à ma connaissance, sur l'Amérique du nord de satellites qui sont suffisamment puissants pour offrir la télévision satellitaire en direct?
9538 Mme DesROCHES: La raison pour laquelle on a si peu parlé de ça, je pense que ce n,est pas... peut‑être pas notre core business, d'une part, et...
9539 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c'est votre...
9540 Mme DesROCHES: Mais on est ouvert. En fait, je pense qu'il faut être sensible. Le message qu'on fait là‑dedans, c'est qu'il faut être sensible aux consommateurs,
9541 Au Québec, c'est peut‑être ceux qui sont les moins câblés, qui sont moins abonnés à la câblodistribution et que si jamais le gouvernement ou le Conseil décidait d'aller vers le numérique pour tous, il faudrait essayer de prévoir une forme d'aide.
9542 Je pense qu'on a davantage voulu être sensible aux plus démunis là‑dedans et de voir à faire en sorte qu'ils aient de l'aide et qu'ils puissent avoir accès parce qu'on pense que l'accès de la télévision généraliste par tous est essentielle.
9543 LE PRÉSIDENT: Écoutez, je pense qu'on a couvert des points formels de votre Mémoire. Votre Mémoire est bien complet par lui‑même, là, et vos recommandations étaient claires. Votre exposé de ce matin était succinct et clair et, personnellement, je n'ai plus d'autres questions.
9544 Je vais voir si mes collègues en auraient. Non?
9545 Messieurs, madame, nous vous remercions.
9546 M. CURZI: Merci, monsieur le président.
9547 LE PRÉSIDENT: Alors, merci.
Madame la secrétaire.
9548 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur le président.
9549 We will now proceed with the next participant, the Coalition of Canadian Audio‑visual Unions. If you would come forward, please.
9550 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Peter Murdoch will be introducing the panel. After which, you will have ten minutes for your presentation.
9551 Please, go ahead when you are ready.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
9552 MR. MURDOCH : Thank you.
9553 Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.
9554 My name is Peter Murdoch and I am Co‑Chair of the Coalition of Canadian Audio‑Visual Unions. I am also the Vice President, Media, of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.
9555 The CCAU is a coalition of ten Canadian audio‑visual unions.
9556 However, the CCAU's submission to you in this proceeding focuses only on English‑language television. So it was prepared by the English‑language guilds and unions within the CCAU.
9557 Let me now introduce our panel.
9558 In the front row, to my far right is David Hardy, Business Agent, NABET Local 700‑CEP.
9559 Next to him is Pamela Brand, National Executive Director and CEO, Directors Guild of Canada.
9560 On my far left is Steve Waddell, National Executive Director, ACTRA.
9561 Next to Steve is Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada.
9562 Behind us, and from left to right, is Ken Thompson, Director, Public Policy & Communications, ACTRA, Monique Twigg, National Research and Policy Manager, Directors Guild of Canada, Kelly Lynne Ashton, Director of Industrial Policy and Research, Writers Guild of Canada, and finally, Peter Grant, our outside counsel from McCarthy Tétrault.
9563 Commissioners, we appreciate the opportunity to appear as part of your proceeding and I would now ask Steve Waddell of ACTRA to begin our group's formal presentation.
9564 MR. WADDELL: Thank you, Peter.
9565 Good morning.
9566 Our focus today is on the continuing crisis of Canadian English‑language drama and comedy on our television.
9567 We want to tell you what caused the crisis and what we think will solve it.
9568 Canadian dramatic programs, including comedy, are the corner stone of our broadcasting system.
9569 Programs written, directed and performed by Canadians ‑ original ten‑point dramas ‑ strengthen and enrich our broadcasting system.
9570 They resonate with Canadians, and they allow us to see ourselves and serve to strengthen our national identity.
9571 Of the 30 top‑rated programs in Canada measured by BBM, 21 were drama programs. All you have to do is look at a TV guide to see how many dramas there are on TV these days.
9572 The problem is that they are mostly not Canadian. In fact, Canadian dramas, I am sad to say, are few and far between.
9573 When it comes to Canadian drama, the record is clear. The private broadcasters have tried to do as little as they could get away with.
9574 The past seven years since 1999 paint a pathetic picture that demonstrates graphically that Canadian drama is in crisis.
9575 Just before the CRTC hearings on what we call the 1999 TV policy, private broadcasters in English Canada spent 73 million on Canadian drama, a new high.
9576 But their Canadian drama spending has deteriorated ever since the 1999 policy. Private broadcasters' financial support for Canadian drama dropped to only 54 million last year. The lowest it has been for eight years.
9577 More appalling is that the broadcasters' low spending actually included spending on Canadian drama required by transfers of ownership and new licence benefits.
9578 In 2005, their spending on Canadian drama had declined to only 3.2 per cent of revenues, again the lowest level in eight years and a drop a 37 per cent since 1998.
9579 The 1999 TV Policy is and was a failure. It let the private broadcasters off the hook for Canadian drama program. It is time to change that policy.
9580 MR. HARDY: There are a couple of constants whenever the Commission holds hearings such as this.
9581 One of them is that Canadian English‑language over‑the‑air broadcasters always seem to have sufficient funds to bid up the prices on U.S. drama.
9582 Another is that the future always looks gloomy, no matter how good or bad the last licence term has been.
9583 This round is no different.
9584 Much has been made of the threat of the Internet and whether or not it will cannibalize the viewing of television. You should take those arguments with a large grain of salt.
9585 Contrary to what you may have heard from some broadcasters last week, viewing by Canadians has remained remarkably constant over the past five years, despite significant growth in broadband access to the Internet.
9586 In fact, overall viewing numbers have risen from 23.7 hours to 25.1 hours a week.
9587 Moreover, TV viewing by children and teens, two demographics that might have been expected to drop because of increases in video games and cell phone use, rose in the same period.
9588 At this stage, it does not appear that the new platforms will cannibalize existing television. Instead, they will complement and promote the over‑the‑air services.
9589 According to a Stats Can report released last August, TV viewing habits are no different for heavy Internet users than they are for non‑Internet users.
9590 Cross‑platform projects are increasingly anchored around major television properties, and are used to promote traditional viewing.
9591 In addition, to the extent that Canadian content created for traditional media reappears on the new platforms, there may be a favourable multiplier effect in terms of the accessibility of Canadian programming.
9592 In order to prepare for this proceeding, CCAU retained Nordicity to validate projections for the advertising revenue likely to be generated by CBC and the private broadcasting sector in the period up to 2010.
9593 Nordicity concluded that ad revenue for conventional TV in Canada will increase over the next five years. In dollar terms, the ad revenue for conventional private TV stations in English Canada is forecast to increase from 1.68 billion in 2005 to between 1.85 an 1.91 billion in 2010.
9594 The over‑the‑air licensees are the foundation for the financing of Canadian drama. Thus, it is all the more important that they be subject to meaningful drama requirements, given that the content may then appear on multiple platforms.
9595 MS BRAND: It is clear that more money needs to be invested by the private OTA broadcasters in Canadian drama.
9596 The experience around the world is that broadcasters in other countries pay far more for local drama, either in terms of proportion of their own overall programming budget or in terms of the licence fee as a percentage of the production cost of the program, than is the case in English Canada.
9597 In 2003, the Commission stated that it agrees that the lack of funding is a key contributor to the difficulties facing Canadian drama. Now is the time to do something about it.
9598 We are not surprised to hear the OTA broadcasters seek a lighter hand of regulation. Of course they don't want to be forced to spend money on Canadian drama.
9599 But you never hear the other side of the coin, the extensive benefits and protections that they get from the Broadcasting Act and from the CRTC.
9600 We have listed those benefits in our written submission.
9601 They include :
9602 Limits to the licensing of competing over‑the‑air TV broadcasters, must‑carry and priority provisions for local Canadian signals on BDUs;
9603 The simultaneous substitution policy;
9604 Section 19.1 of the Income Tax Act;
9605 Prohibition against competing U.S. pay and specialty services; and
9606 Financial support for priority programming from the Canadian Television Fund, tax incentives and other sources.
9607 And at this hearing, the OTA broadcasters have come to you asking for still more.
9608 They want loosening of Cancon rules, loosening of the advertising rules and a fee for carriage.
9609 Our view is very simple. It is time that the CRTC require the OTA broadcasters to give a quid pro quo.
9610 It is time for a new regulatory bargain.
9611 It is clear that the Canadian broadcasting system needs more original hours of Canadian drama and fewer repeats.
9612 It needs more distinctive Canadian series, not fewer.
9613 It needs more support for script and concept development.
9614 But mostly, and this is a simple corollary of the first three requirements, it needs more money from OTA broadcasters.
9615 The CTF cannot be expected to make up the difference in cost, given the pressures on its funding. Nor can foreign pre‑sales or export sales make up the difference.
9616 It's time that the private OTA broadcasters be required to step up to the plate.
9617 MS PARKER: Over the past week broadcasters have told you about the great Canadian programs they have produced or are producing.
9618 CTV attributes some of these shows' success to the use of transfer benefits.
9619 While that may be true ‑ we cannot build an industry that is dependent on mergers and acquisitions.
9620 The benefits program is inherently unpredictable. There are no guidelines for how benefit packages are allocated. It also only affects that specific broadcaster.
9621 Drama funding needs to be reliable, consistent, and accessible.
9622 You have already recognized the need for higher levels of drama spending by introducing the incentive plan. When the plan was introduced, the Commission hoped that broadcasters would voluntarily increase spending from four per cent of ad revenues to an eventual high of six per cent.
9623 Instead, it has dropped to 3.2 per cent ‑ and that even includes benefits. So how are these incentives working?
9624 Private broadcasters are owned by shareholders who focus on profit. Canadian drama will always cost more ‑ and generate less ad revenue ‑ than buying already‑made and paid for American drama.
9625 Broadcasters need to be compelled by the CRTC to spend money where the return is lower. Simply put, this is a cost of doing business in Canada.
9626 That is why it is crucial that the CRTC put a long‑term regulatory safety net in place to ensure Canadian drama doesn't fall below an acceptable level.
9627 A key component is to require private conventional TV broadcasters to spend at least seven per cent of their gross ad revenue on Canadian drama.
9628 This must be part of a revised policy that applies equally to all over‑the‑air broadcasters.
9629 It is a very manageable formula. Spending will go up as revenues go up ‑ and go down if revenues go down.
9630 And it would still only result in one‑third of what the broadcasters have spent on foreign drama last year.
9631 According to the Commission, regulation is needed when the goals of the Broadcasting Act cannot be met by any other means.
9632 The Act provides broadcasters with regulatory protections. We are now asking the Canadian public be given the same consideration.
9633 We need firm drama expenditure requirements so Canadians have the choice to watch Canadian drama programs on television.
9634 MR. MURDOCH: As you can see, Mr. Chairman, we have focused our oral presentation entirely on the key point, the need for an expenditures rule on Canadian drama, although we have addressed many other points in our written submission.
9635 That concludes our presentation and we welcome your questions.
9636 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Murdoch.
9637 I am asking Commissioner Cugini to ask the first questions.
9638 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9639 Mr. Murdoch, and to the rest of your panel, welcome.
9640 Should I direct my questions to you, Mr. Murdoch, and then you will .
9641 MR. MURDOCH: Deal it off.
9642 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: OK.
9643 I do have some questions that are specific to your written submission, and we will go through those. And then perhaps we can have a bit more of a general discussion after we have gone through these details.
9644 My first question is, of course ‑ you were suggesting that conventional broadcasters should be required to spend seven per cent of their advertising revenue on Canadian drama. Is there a formula by which you calculated seven per cent, and not five or ten per cent, for example? Why seven?
9645 MS PARKER: Yes, that is a good question. No, there is not some inherent formula.
9646 What we looked at was: A) we tried to be reasonable; B) we looked at the Commission's ruling, where the Commission itself targeted six per cent as an acceptable spend; and ‑ we basically went after a gross figure where, you know, there can be no manipulation.
9647 It is relatively simple to administer. If revenue goes up, it goes up. If revenue goes down, it goes down.
9648 We are saying that it is a minimum spent, however, of seven per cent.
9649 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Did you look at, for example, the advertising revenues of any of the OTA broadcasters or perhaps all of them for the last year and figure out how much this seven per cent would translate into in terms of dollars, and then in you opinion how many hours of drama that might translate into?
9650 MS. PARKER: Yes, we did, actually, look at that figure. I am sorry, I don't recall the figure off the top of my head. Yes. And we did calculate that it would be approximately, and we will go back and check this, a hundred hours of drama production.
9651 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: That would be incremental to what is already there.
9652 MS PARKER: Incremental. On top of. Yes.
9653 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Do you think that, if we were to impose the 7 per cent spending requirement, would this be in lieu of the drama incentives or coupled with the drama incentives already in place?
9654 MS PARKER: We would actually not object to having the incentives run at the same time. You know, we figure they can work, they can be complimentary to one another. And if someone is putting on enough drama, that will qualify them for the additional ad incentives, we would not have a problem with that.
9655 However, we think the incentives alone will not work, as demonstrated by the drop in spending from 4 per cent of ad to 3.2.
9656 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thanks.
9657 MR. WADDELL: Can I supplement please? Just to ‑‑
9658 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Sure.
9659 MR. WADDELL: ‑‑ just to add that in our initial brief to the CRTC way back in March 2003 we actually promoted and suggested an ad incentive program, but we said it would only work if coupled with spending and content requirements, so it is consistent that we would come back with this position now. Thanks.
9660 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you. I should have added that, given that you do represent a number of guilds, if any of you have anything else to add just jump on the microphone and between myself and my colleagues I am sure they will draw my attention the fact that one of you wants to speak.
9661 What are you including in your definition of drama? I know in your oral presentation you said drama and comedy. But in drama, is that 10 out of 10 only, 6 out of 10, MOW, series, etc.?
9662 MS PARKER: We are leaving that up to the broadcasters. But drama, of course, we mean scripted programming.
9663 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Right.
9664 MS PARKER: We are not looking at sketch comedies. What we are including is some sitcoms, feature length documentaries, dramatic programs of any length, MOWs half‑hours, one‑hours. And yes, we are here as a coalition for 10 point production. We believe that we make better programs that appeal to the Canadian audience when we all work together and pool our talents.
9665 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you. Again in your written submission you say that script and concept development is a crucial area that needs attention.
9666 Should we allocate a percentage of the 7 per cent to script and concept development?
9667 MS BRAND: I would just like to say that we would like to allocate a good percentage to script and concept development because, as you know, it is the key, that is what everything starts from.
9668 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Right.
9669 MS BRAND: We also would like to see some go towards feature films, but we haven't actually worked out a percentage. We would be very pleased if some broadcasters did some work in feature film because feature films, when they get on television, reach the largest audience, much larger than they can in theatres, and script and concept development is fundamental.
9670 If the Commission would like us to come back to you with some numbers, we can certainly workout a percentage for both and get back to you.
9671 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Because a lot of your submission hinges on an actual spending requirement, then perhaps it would be useful if you can undertake that exercise.
9672 MS PARKER: Just answering your question a little bit more about the script and concept development, Rita. We have done a lot of research at the Writers Guild about how a program can, you know, be a much better program with additional development, additional volume in terms of ideas, in pitches at the outset, also how there is a winnowing process that will take place throughout production.
9673 We have learned a lot from our American colleagues where there is, you know, a large number of projects put into development and that keeps getting winnowed down as you look for best, additional drafts, there are presentation models, there are pilots and that all speaks to producing and, finally, what you have on air are high quality programs that have been tested every stage along the market.
9674 Now, we are reasonable people, we know that we are not able to do what the U.S. can do. But we need to do more and, as part of our verbal presentation, we cited the figure that only 3.2 per cent of CTF is allocated to script and concept development, which I think is a very very low number. And what writers will tell me is that there is simply not enough time to get a script ready for production that will work. You know, often times you need unlimited drafts, you might have to go back to outline. The way our system is set up and the deadlines and the funding processes, it is just not adding to creating better product.
9675 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Now, your position is, of course, the same as that of the UDA and SARTEC who were just here and their recommendation is that five of the eight hours of priority programming be devoted to drama. Do you have a number in mind?
9676 MR. WADDELL: Yes certainly ACTRA does.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9677 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Do you want to wait until ACTRA comes on?
9678 MR. WADDELL: Well, we will be telling you later that we are looking for two hours ‑‑
9679 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Two hours.
9680 MR. WADDELL: ‑‑ two hours out of the eight specifically for drama.
9681 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay.
9682 MS BRAND: And we would be, the Directors Guild, would be looking for more than the two hours.
9683 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay, so we will wait for your independent presentations since they are ‑‑
9684 MS BRAND: Yes.
9685 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay, that is great.
9686 Priority programming, there has been quite a bit of discussion so far. You, in your submission, expressed criticism of the broad definition of priority programming. You have heard the broadcasters last week say we need more flexibility with the definition of priority. Some have asked that everything be included, except news, sports and public affairs. Others have been more specific where they have said category 11, we would like that to be included in the definition of priority programming.
9687 What are your suggestions to us in our deliberations on how we can reconcile these two seemingly opposing views?
9688 MR. WADDELL: Sure, that is the problem, is that the definition of priority programming was expanded in 1999 to include Entertainment Tonight type programs and cheap reality‑based programming, which has watered down the requirements, specifically with respect to drama, which is the most expensive genre. Without a specific requirement for drama what we have seen is that production has just plummeted in terms of production of dramatic programs. So quite the opposite to what the broadcasters are telling you, we are saying that we must have a requirement reinstated with respect to drama that is specifically, and ACTRA is asking for at least two hours out of the eight hours of priority programming, to be dedicated specifically to drama. Because if you leave the broadcasters to their own devices they are going to produce the cheapest programming they can get away with and that is what they are doing.
9689 So, you know, we are here to say that is not the way that Canadians want to watch TV. Canadians want to watch scripted drama and this Commission should be telling the broadcasters that they must at least licence and broadcast at least two hours of drama per week. We are only looking for two hours out of 20 of real primetime, it is only 10 per cent, not a big deal.
9690 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Your position is clear.
9691 MS PARKER: Rita, and I think just adding to that, what we saw happen in 1999 ‑‑ priority programming just means less expensive programming. If you look at the schedules right now, certainly the conventional broadcasters love American drama, they wouldn't be thinking of taking those off the air and putting on a cooking show or more Entertainment Tonight.
9692 You know, when this occurred in 1999 we were hopeful that the advent of these entertainment magazine shows would help us in English‑Canada build a star system and it has not done that. We think very much that the spirit and intent of that policy has been twisted and misapplied by the broadcasters. All of you can watch these shows. I can say, at the Writers Guild of Canada we took this on as a particular project, we have taped many episodes, we filed a complaint with the CRTC because the shows themselves did not meet the level of Canadian content required by the Commission.
9693 Now, we are still going back and forth on that and some of these shows did not meet Canadian content requirements as defined by the Commission. The Commission has decided to give them another year to make up those numbers. Some of the programs on air did meet the definition, but the definition itself I don't think goes towards building an industry.
9694 In my opinion, having Canadians who are no longer resident in this country come up and talk about their American shows goes against the intent of the entertainment magazine show. It is in no way helping to build a star system in Canada and that was the purpose of allowing that in and expanding the definition of priority programming.
9695 So you can see that we have antsy feet whenever we hear that broadcasters want more flexibility, because what it really means is cheaper programming, cheaper Canadian programming, but they won't touch their very precious American drama.
9696 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Ms Parker, you said something that triggered this next question. And just to quote Mr. Rogers, I am going to soar at about 35,000 feet here and I hope you can appreciate the context in which I would like to have this conversation with all of you.
9697 You said broadcasters love U.S. drama and no doubt they do, we all know that it is a healthy business for them. But I would venture to say that so does the Canadian viewer love U.S. drama. So if we were to summarize the position of the broadcasters, they need flexibility, especially in the area of priority programming, to allow them to respond to viewers' needs and tastes that, you know, of course imposing spending and exhibition requirements and certain program categories will result in viewers going to other platforms for their entertainment, some are regulated, some aren't, perhaps even at the risk of Canadians totally abandoning the Canadian broadcasting system altogether.
9698 We have examples and you have examples of great Canadian drama, well‑scripted, well‑directed, well‑acted, well‑promoted, critically‑acclaimed, unfortunately didn't find a Canadian audience. You mentioned the U.S. pilot system. We don't have one in Canada, whereby if something fails in the U.S. it is quickly replaced by something else.
9699 Canadian broadcasters are committed to 13 parts of a Canadian drama series as per the CTF. So even if something doesn't work, they have to keep it on. Viewers' tastes, it is cyclical in nature. Up until a couple of years ago sitcoms were in crisis, reality shows were the rage at the expense of U.S. drama as well, there were a fewer number of hours of U.S. drama.
9700 So I guess the question is, is it enough to say build it and Canadian viewers will watch Canadian drama, given all that we know, all that we see, all of the different platforms that are available for the viewing pleasure of Canadians not only, you know, what is available on the U.S.? There is the black market, there is the internet, DVDs, they can go out and get DVD of just about any show they want. We have the distributors telling us the future is on‑demand programming. Is it enough.
9701 MS PARKER: We all want to take a crack at answering this.
9702 MR. WADDELL: Yes, let us start over here, all right.
9703 So yes, I guess the statement I want to talk about ‑‑ thanks for the question ‑‑ is that Canadians love U.S. drama.
9704 Well yes, and it is because U.S. drama has the money behind it to produce excellent programming, there is no question about it. What does an episode of 24 cost or Lost, you know, $3 million to $4 million, $5 million U.S. What do we have to produce one hour of Canadian programming $1 million Canadian? You just can't compete. The money available is five times the amount in the U.S. as it is in Canada.
9705 In Canada our beloved private broadcasters are paying the lowest licence fees of any broadcasters in the English‑speaking world, about maximum of 30 per cent of the production budget is paid by the licence of a private broadcaster, maximum 30 per cent. Whereas in the U.S., it is upwards of 80 per cent, 100 per cent is covered by the licence fee paid by the network.
9706 I mean, you can't compete because broadcasters are not putting enough money into licence fees, not enough money into production. Then when they do air the shows, they will air them in shoulder periods on Saturday or Friday evening, you know, and then move the schedule around because of figure skating or some event. We haven't got a chance in this country and the reason we haven't got a chance is because the rules aren't strong enough and aren't requiring the broadcasters to put enough dough into the licence fees.
9707 That is what we are here today to talk to you about and we will be here as well to talk about the need for scheduling and requiring those programs be put into the schedules and, you know, fixed into those schedules.
9708 MS PARKER: Okay, my quick crack at this.
9709 I get your point and we welcome the question, because nothing drives us crazier than the conception or that misconception that there is no demand for Canadian drama. I think that is absolutely wrong.
9710 What there is a demand for is good programming and it doesn't matter whether it is Canadian or British or American. Yes, we love American drama, we also love British drama, we like people who can tell a good story. We can tell a good story as well. I refuse to believe that Canadians are not as talented as other talent groups around the world. But we have the cards stacked against us, as Steve was saying. And this isn't whining, this is reality.
9711 Please don't misunderstand what we are asking for. We are asking for choice, we are asking that Canadians have a choice to watch Canadian programming. We are not mandating 24 hours a day Canadian programming. What we are saying is we live in this country, it is our country and we deserve a share of our primetime in order to earn and get decent numbers in that primetime, because no one feels it more than an artist who has worked for a year on a show and the numbers are dismal.
9712 But there are a couple of recipes, a couple of ingredients that have to go into the recipe to make a good programming. I want to start with, first of all, broadcasters pick what goes on the air, they are the gatekeeper. So I want to start with that very important premise. We don't pick what goes on the air, they have a volume selection of projects, they go with them. So once they have made that choice as to what project they want to back, then you have to get into the money, time in development, time in production.
9713 The time slot is so absolutely crucial. I mean, we have specific examples of shows for all networks, Global, CTV, where the show has been run in the summer, one show in particular was a ski show, started in July, ran until August, the last two episodes of the one‑hour drama were run back to back on a Friday night at the end of August. I don't think that that is going to draw an audience. I just don't think that that is doing a wholehearted gung‑ho effort on promoting a Canadian show or scheduling it.
9714 I mean, there has to be fair rules applied for all of us. Primetime spot, a regular spot, not pre‑empted, consecutive from September to May, and we also need promotion and we need the money to do the product well.
9715 MS BRAND: I just want to add to that very briefly, because a lot has already been said.
9716 In Europe, the situation was very similar a few years ago, the U.S. shows were among the top 10. But what happened in Europe and in Britain in particular, but also in other countries such as Italy and Spain and France and Germany, they put a lot more money into their own programming for television, they tightened up the rules. And three or four years later, guess what, almost all of them have their own indigenous programs in the top 10.
9717 Also, the DGC is going to be dealing with this issue in its own brief, so I won't go into a lot of detail. But if you look at the track record of Canadian programs, when they are good quality they engage the audience, they engage the imagination and they attract the viewers. That is what it takes to attract viewers. And I mentioned Corner Gas and Degrassi and Trailer Park Boys and, going back a few years, Avonlea. You make good, well‑produced drama with money in it, it engages the imagination and draws the viewers in and we have done it, our track record is there.
9718 MR. HARDY: Everything has been said, but I will just add my two cents. The members that I represent are the technical crew, they are the people on the set who are lighting, who are dressing the actors, who are creating the sets and painting and building them.
9719 The number of occasions in the last number of years where we have had a series that goes more than two years you can count on one hand. In our particular realm Degrassi is that series and we now just about concluded the sixth year, the sixth year of a Canadian series and they are coming back for a seventh year as far as I can tell, knock on wood.
9720 The reason for that is that the proper promotion, the proper timeslot and the fact that the broadcaster has stuck with this throughout, has allowed this show to find its audience, and that is what it is all about. We don't give our productions the opportunity to find an audience, they are bounced around the schedule as the other events or sporting events or what have you would dictate. That is a fundamental reason that networks, whether they are American, Canadian, British, whatever, that they create successful shows that find an audience is that they put the promotion in and they put the consistent timeslot in and they do it in a good time slot in primetime, not on a shoulder season or in the summertime.
9721 Finally, I would just like to say that.. Actually, I think I will leave it there, thanks.
9722 MR. MURDOCH: Maybe I will just add one, why not. I would just say in a general kind of way is that while there is some affection for Americana by Canadians, Canadians are fiercely proud of their country and their culture and the diversity within that. And if we give them an opportunity by resources, by timeslots, but quality programming, they will respond.
9723 MR. HARDY: If I may, I have remembered my final point.
9724 These two programs in particular, Corner Gas and Degrassi, have really found and integrated delivery. They are now producing websites, they have online internet access and internet persona if you will and they are being able to capitalize on that and that will contribute to their revenues that they generate for the broadcasters.
9725 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, thank you all very much for that answer. But we are going to come in for a landing now and get back to just a couple of the detail questions and then my colleagues may have more questions for you.
9726 In your written submission you didn't take a position on a subscriber fee regime. Based on what you have heard over the last few days, do you have a position now on whether or not you agree that OTA broadcasters should receive a fee for carriage?
9727 MS BRAND: After listening to the interveners and over the past week, we feel that it would really make sense for the Commission to use its judgment on subscriber fees. But again, our position is the same as UDA and SARTEC. If in your wisdom you decide that subscriber fees are the way to go, we would like money going into Canadian programming and Canadian drama.
9728 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And so would your recommendation change to say 7 per cent of gross revenues as opposed to just 7 per cent of advertising as is currently written in your submission?
9729 MS BRAND: Well, I had never thought about that, gross would be better.
9730 MR. WADDELL: Gross is always better.
9731 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Product placement, we have again heard quite a bit about the relaxation of the rules on advertising and that we should allow for more produce placement.
9732 What impact would that have on the programs that you represent?
9733 MS PARKER: It is an interesting one, particularly for writers, because they are writing in the product placement. And I just saw a reel put together by the Writers Guild of America, we were at an international conference, and my colleagues, Yves LeGaré from SARTEC, mentioned it as well. Basically, it was a reel of programs in which writers had written in various products. One of them was an Oreo cookie. The cookie became the focus of the show, how the cookie was dunked, do you like it in milk, out of milk, you know, memories about the cookie. So I have to say I found it shocking and funny at the same time because it really was an extended ad.
9734 I can tell you that, having worked with very very talented writers for a while now, there is no way you are going to ask a talented driven writer who wants to tell a story, to write a commercial about an Oreo cookie. So they really are nothing but ads and I think we are going to have to be very careful how we tread along those lines.
9735 I would like very much to be able to send a copy of that reel to the Commission, it was put together by the Writers Guild of America. I think it was just the Writers Guild of America, but it was very interesting and a number of different American shows and the slippery slide towards integrating products and writing commercials.
9736 MR. WADDELL: Just to add if I may, performers, and we represent performers as you know, appear in and work in commercials for radio, television commercials, commercials for digital media and so on. Product placement is obviously another and newer form of advertising. It tends to compromise performers who, when they are associated with a product, become exclusive to that product. It takes away from the production of commercial advertising, it introduces advertising into the body of the program therefore, as Maureen says, having an impact on the integrity of that program and obviously could in fact jeopardize the integrity of a program, because it becomes all about the product and the story is amended to reflect the product in some ways.
9737 It further dilutes advertising but, you know, in the final analysis if this Commission decides that produce placement is okay, then the 7 per cent of revenue should incorporate product placement as well.
9738 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well thank you all very much. I look forward to your individual presentations in just a few moments.
9739 Mr. Chairman, thank you, those are my questions.
9740 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Cugini.
9741 Mr. Murdoch, and maybe one of your contributors will answer to the question, but we heard CTV suggesting that the Commission introduce a 200 per cent credit applicable to the largest multi‑station owners group in order to implement any additional episodes over 13 episodes for series.
9742 Do you have any comments to make on that suggestion? They were making that comment in order to reduce the program repeats and to create more episodes than the standard 13 on any given year. But they were requesting that the Commission granted 200 per cent credit for the episodes above 13.
9743 MR. WADDELL: Thanks for the questions. We are opposed to time credits, period. All they have the effect of is reducing the presence, in our view, of drama on the schedule and what we need to do is go the opposite way and reinstate a two‑hour drama rule in primetime in the eight‑hour priority rule and a 7 per cent expenditure rule, not go the other way because a broadcaster, you know, does something, does a 10 point drama, they get a bonus. You know, we need more drama, not less.
9744 THE CHAIRPERSON: They were arguing that we need more episodes.
9745 MS PARKER: We do need more episodes, but the purpose of the time bonus is that you actually do less content and we are not in favour of that. You know, they already have bonuses on place, we don't agree with them, but the thought of extending those is an abhorrence to us because it just means less Canadian programming in primetime.
9746 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much.
9747 I want acknowledge on behalf of the Commission that today is the last time Peter is making a contribution, at least as a legal counsel, for the furtherance of Canadian broadcasting in this country.
9748 I am sure that all my colleagues will share with me that we will miss his passion for Canadian broadcasting. But I am quite sure that he will remain close to us and will keep producing while he is moved to senior counsel at the firm, that he will still be involved in putting together the annual books on one end and also the programs with the Upper Canada Law Society that he bi‑annually has been working on and we are looking for further contribution, sir.
9749 MR. GRANT: Thank you so much for those generous comments, Mr. Chairman and members of the panel.
9750 This is I guess my last appearance before the Commission at a public hearing on behalf of a client, because my firm has asked me to move into a counsel position where I won't be billing any hours to clients and I will have some more time to write and perhaps sit on a few boards and take people to lunch.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
9751 MR. GRANT: I have committed however, you will be happy to know, to edit at least one more edition of the three handbooks, which I guess will be in 2008. After that, I don't know what may happen, but I am certainly going to be a bemused observer of the broadcast scene. Thank you.
9752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen and ladies.
9753 MR. MURDOCH: Thank you for your time.
9754 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for you're the contribution.
9755 We will take an eight‑minute break, so we will be back at noon sharp for the next item.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1153 / Suspension à 1153
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1204 / Reprise à 1204
9756 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
9757 Madame la secrétaire.
9758 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur le président.
9759 We will now proceed with the next participant, the Writers Guild of Canada and Ms Maureen Parker will be introducing her panel, after which you will have ten minutes for your presentation.
9760 MS SCHECHTER: Ms Maureen Parker is just, I think, giving an interview to the press out there and she will be here momentarily.
9761 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you...
9762 MS. SCHECHTER: I can begin.
9763 THE SECRETARY: If you would just, please, identify yourself for the record and introduce the panel and you may go ahead.
9764 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
9765 MS. SCHECHTER: Good morning, members of the Commission. I am Rebecca Schechter. I am the President of the Writers Guild of Canada. The Writers Guild represents more than 1,800 professional screen writers across Canada who create the Canadian entertain that we enjoy on our television, movie screens, radios and computers.
9766 To my right is James Hurst who is the Executive Producer and head writer of one of Canada's most enduring and popular television shows "Degrassi, the next generation". And to my left is Maureen Parker who is the Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Canada.
9767 And on her left, Suzette Couture, an award screen writer who has worked both in the U.S. and Canada. Suzette is one of the very prestigious humanist award for her mini‑series "Haven" and her CTV movie "The Man Who Lost Himself" which was last year's most watched Canadian television movie.
9768 Also joining us to the left of Suzette is Kelly Lynne Ashton, WGC's Director of Industrial Policy and Research.
9769 I'll now turn things over to Maureen.
9770 MS. PARKER: I remember well appearing in front of this Commission in 1999 to comment on Regulatory Provisions as they stood at that time. We were concerned about the effects of reality programming, the limitations of the export market, consequences of media consolidation and market fragmentation.
9771 In response to those challenges, the CRTC revised its television policy and decided, among other things, to remove expenditure requirements for priority programming, including drama.
9772 While this was well‑intentioned, the outcome has been disastrous. Over the last week, broadcasters have been saying that the sky is falling and conventional television is dying. But the CRTC's own statistics show that the average Canadian is watching more TV.
9773 While it is true that conventional broadcasters' share of the add pie is declining, the actual dollar amount of revenue is increasing. If only the rest of the industry was so lucky.
9774 Here is the story our stats tell us. In 1998, 61 per cent of the W.G.C. members earning came from writing adult drama series. By 2005, that figure dropped to 47 per cent. That's because work shifted from high quality one‑hour dramas to lower budget animation and kid shows and writers overall earnings dropped.
9775 In 1999, CTV and Global produced three one‑hour adult drama series each, totalling over 100 episodes. By 2005, they were producing only three one‑hour series between them, for a total of 39 episodes. That's 60 episodes less of one‑hour drama.
9776 Global, in particular, shifted to half‑hour low‑budget productions such as "Train 48" to meet its drama commitment.
9777 After 1999, writers were increasingly forced to look for work south of the border and today 25 per cent of our membership resides in the U.S. and works in both markets.
9778 So, in a nutshell, here is how the 1999 policy affected us. By 2005, less than half of Canadian writers' earnings came from series drama. The volume of one‑hour drama dropped by over 60 per cent and was partially replaced by lower quality half‑hour affair. And now, over one quarter of our members live and work the U.S.
9779 The CRTC is obligated to protect the public's interest, so why should you care about the writing community? Well, we'll tell you why. Because writers are the canaries in the coal mine. Their earnings are a clear indicator of the level of domestic production.
9780 When we look at CRTC stats we see that the English language broadcasters spent $54 on Canadian drama in 2005, down from $73 million in 1998.
9781 In addition, that percentage of ad revenue spent on Canadian drama dropped from five per cent to 3.2, the lowest level in eight years and that even includes CTV's transfer benefits. That's atrocious.
9782 MS. SCHECHTER: Canada is in a unique position. We live next door to the largest exporter of film and television programming in the world. I personally love television and as a kind of serve good TV, I can say that Americans make some of the best entertainment programming in the world, and they should because it is their number one export.
9783 Americans are very smart. They use their shows to sell their way of life to the rest of the world, including Canadians.
9784 We need to offer Canadians the ability to see our way of life on TV. We have our own sense of humour, our own values, our own history, our own daily experiences and the best way to showcase our differences is on television.
9785 Over 90 per cent of Canadians have access to over‑the‑air television, which makes it the most popular and accessible form of entertainment we have.
9786 Broadcasters are saying that we should let the market rule, but if you go this route, due to our smaller size and our proximity to the U.S., we would have no Canadian content in TV, in music or in publishing. But given the opportunity, if it's well done, Canadians watch, read or listen to Canadian products.
9787 Broadcasters are also saying drama is too expensive to produce, yet their spending on foreign drama continues to grow. Why are they buying foreign drama? Because drama, in particular one‑hour series drama, remains the most popular form of entertainment programming the world over.
9788 When Canadians watch television, one‑hour dramas are what they want to watch. In fact, eight of the top ten rated programs in Canada are one‑hour U.S. dramas. One‑hour dramas give writers a huge canvass, sometimes a hundred hours to tell a story.
9789 In the hour form, we can tackle weighty themes that we can't touch in a half hour show. We have the room to create the perfect blend of plot and character that makes for satisfying addictive drama that gets deep inside the viewer. That's why audiences love it.
9790 Some are saying there is no demand for Canadian one‑hour drama, but CTV's audience numbers show that Canadians are watching television movies and half hour dramas like "Degrassi" and "Corner Gas".
9791 Surely, Canadians would watch a one‑hour drama if it was done well. If this country doesn't produce a quality one‑hour drama of its own, Canadians will just watch someone else's.
9792 MS COUTURE: But if you want to see some really great Canadian TV shows, you should tune in to the American networks because that's where many of our Canadian writers are working now. Writers like David Shore who wrote for "Due South" and "Traders" is the creator of the U.S. hit "House". Hart Hanson who was the show‑runner on "Traders" is the creator of "Bones" for Fox and I am just listing two people there.
9793 We are losing many of our most talented writers and we are in danger of losing our next generation as well. I now work in the U.S., but I still continue to work in Canada because I believe that your best work comes from writing about what you know.
9794 Since the late nineties, writers in Canada face many challenges. There are few opportunities, there is rarely enough money for development or production and both of these monies are equally important.
9795 U.S. broadcast executives know development makes a huge difference in determining the quality of a script.
9796 In U.S. ten scripts are developed for everyone that's produced and then only the very best are broadcast.
9797 In Canada, development money is in short supply; only 3.2 per cent of the CTF is attributed to English script development. This affects the quality of our productions because more development equals better television.
9798 The lack of money also plagues the production phase. According to CTF statistics broadcasters contribute on average a licence fee of at most 25 per cent of the total budget for a one‑hour drama. These are among the lowest licence fees paid in the world for domestic drama.
9799 The fact is drama is the most expensive type of program to make. On average, one‑hour Canadian drama costs approximately 1.2 million dollars whereas a half‑hour magazine show like "eTalk" costs around $120,000 to make.
9800 Broadcasters have to up their licence fees if we want to see more shows like "Corner Gas", "Degrassi" or "Slings and Arrows".
9801 Another challenge to Canadian writers, the chances of getting reliable to slot in prime time during months of October to May are pretty slim and that's because there are few prime time slots available for Canadian programs. Most of the schedule is filled with simulcasts of American programs.
9802 And speaking of American programs everyone at this table was surprised to hear Global say last week that they are committed to drama. Global even complained about not getting a fair share of CTF. The irony is that their envelope is calculated on how much Canadian programming they have produced in the past. Currently, there is only one Canadian drama series on air in Global's prime time schedule.
9803 And overall, this is all discouraging for professional writers, it's even more discouraging for emerging writers who would like a career in this country. But, ultimately, this means less Canadian television drama for Canadian audiences and, in my opinion, that's a loss to our country that's unacceptable.
9804 Now, beside me is one of the few screen writers in Canada, good new story here, who has a show on the air in a regular time slot, the show runner from one of Canada's most successful series "Degrassi: The Next Generation", James Hurst.
9805 MR. HURST: Thanks, Suzette.
9806 I started at "Degrassi" in 2001 as a story editor, it was its first season. Since that time, I've worked on 100 episodes of our show which allowed me to learn what works with an audience.
9807 Some broadcasters have made the pitch for quality over quantity, but granting time bonuses for Canadian content productions actually means airing fewer Canadian shows. As a professional writer I can tell you that's a wrong way to go.
9808 You can't make quality programs that Canadians want to watch by producing only one series a year. You can't build an audience on limited runs and repeats.
9809 Part of the reason why "Degrassi" has been such a hit both here and in the U.S. is because it has a regular spot on CTV's prime time line‑up and has been promoted well. It also is different from other teen shows.
9810 We developed a loyal following because we tackled topics like abortion, homosexuality, drug use that the U.S. networks are hesitant to touch, I dare say wouldn't go near it.
9811 But for the most part, our American broadcaster has accepted our stories because of the manner in which our experienced writers handle these topics. Our Canadian audience loves the show because they see real teenagers living in a recognizably Canadian society.
9812 As a guardian for the Canadian audio‑visual industry the CRTC can't underestimate how important this is. We are a vast country filled with different languages and traditions, but television binds us together, shows that the traits and values that make us Canadian no matter where we live.
9813 We want to have our national identity reflected back to us in our television programs.
9814 Throughout these proceedings, you have heard that it is impossible to regulate content because of the internet, that no one is watching traditional television any more. Well, that is just not true.
9815 The CRTC's 2004‑2005 monitoring report tells us that overall per capita television viewing numbers increased from 23.7 hours per week to 25.1 hours. This is further supported by a StatsCan Study which found that there was no difference in TV consumption between heavy internet users and non‑users. My experience tells me that the internet will not detract from traditional broadcast either.
9816 CTV is airing "Degrassi" and other Canadian‑American shows on‑line. CTV decided to do this because watching the show in your computer is quite different from watching with your friends.
9817 We think the internet broadcast is going to drive traffic to the show and generate excitement about the upcoming season.
9818 The same goes for the webisodes for the show. They are intended to complement the half‑hour program and reward our faithful viewers.
9819 I am now in my sixth year of "Degrassi" and if it wasn't for the chance to write for this show, my colleagues and I, we wouldn't have the chance to be able to go on and create other shows such as Global's new dramas, "The Best Years" and "Da Kink in My Hair" which are both run and created by former "Degrassi" writers.
9820 The ability to work on a long‑running show in a competitive ratings‑driven industry provided all of us with the opportunity to learn our skills and apply them to new experiences.
9821 When I look at the market place I see that my options are pretty limited. Despite having worked on an award‑winning show that is sold all over the world, when this cake is over it's possible I won't have a show in production for several years.
9822 But in the U.S., I wouldn't have to start from scratch again. I would probably be given a development deal to come up with another show, and that's a difference between staying here and moving to the U.S. for everyone in this industry.
9823 MS PARKER: There is no denying that there is less Canadian drama on air. There is less in development and less in production. According to the Commission, regulation is needed when the goals of the Broadcasting Act can only be met with other means. We are here to tell you that regulation is needed now.
9824 Two years ago, you introduced incentives because you realized that drama was in trouble, but despite those incentives and required benefit spending as well, drama expenditure has continued to plummet. We've waited seven years for the TV Policy to be reviewed. This is a watershed moment for the CRTC.
9825 We need a revised policy with expenditure requirements that will apply equally to all over‑the‑air broadcasters. We are asking that these broadcasters spend seven per cent of their ad revenue on Canadian drama. This is a very fair and very reasonable requirement when revenues are up, they will spend more, revenue is down, they will spend less.
9826 Please ensure that Canadians have the chance to see Canadian drama on TV and that there is a Canadian talent pool left here to work on those shows.
9827 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs. Parker. I am asking Commissioner Duncan to ask the first questions.
9828 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Good morning, and thank you for ‑‑ this is good afternoon now. Thank you all for appearing. And we have heard, of course, some of your comments in the previous presentation, so I'll try not to be repetitive, but I do want to do justice and you're all here and we appreciate that.
9829 You have indicated that you support the CCAU's recommendation that the private broadcaster spend seven per cent of the gross revenue on drama and that a reasonable portion of that amount should be allocated to script and concept development. And on the previous panel you undertook to tell us what that percentage would be.
9830 But what I am curious to know is that reasonable to expected it would be a percentage. Wouldn't it not depend on the show?
9831 MS. PARKER: I think what we're looking at is a commitment from each broadcaster to spend a percentage of their ad revenue on development and then, from that, that pool of money the broadcaster would be able to allocate development individual shows.
9832 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you. That's helpful. Thank you.
9833 With respect to repeats because I notice in your written submission that you mentioned, of course, that that was a concern. Should there be a Canadian content requirement that specifies the minimum or the maximum amount or maximum ratio for repeats the original programming?
9834 MS. PARKER: Well, I'm only going to leave you with this thought. On Saturday mornings, on the Saturday morning schedule, "The Littlest Hobo" is still on the air. "The littlest Hobo" is older than I am.
9835 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: It's well‑said. Thank you. But do you have a ‑‑ but you don't have a specific guideline because if we're going to come up with rules ‑‑
9836 MS. PARKER: No, I don't. I don't at this time have a specific guideline, but we could certainly think about that and get back to you.
9837 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Yes. And we've had a lengthy discussion about the need to show new shows during prime time and I read with interest your comment again this morning about the series that was ended before it was completed and shown at inappropriate times and winter show in the middle of the summer and, you know, we can't reach the prime audience, but I am wondering the prime audience being when Canadians are watching TV.
9838 But specifically, what regulatory mechanisms do you see need to be modified to address this situation? What exactly type of rule do you want put in place or do you envision being put in place?
9839 MS. PARKER: Well, we're a hopeful group. What we would like to see is an expenditure requirement, which is here what we're talking about today, but we think it has to go hand in hand with the scheduling requirement and promotion.
9840 And it is our opinion that writers and all of the rest of our colleagues in our industry deserve a shot at prime time, regular prime time, and that's from September to May.
9841 I am not saying that there aren't programs that will not work in the summer, absolutely, you know, the broadcasters should have some flexibility in terms of programming, but just as we should have some input into our own prime time, in our country.
9842 But we would be looking at a prime time requirement for drama.
9843 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, you're leaving the specifics of that up to us then, the more specific up to us?
9844 MS. PARKER: Well, more specifics; we have talked about two hours.
9845 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Uh‑huh!
9846 MS. PARKER: And, you know, I think that you will hear from my other colleagues that we are talking about two hours a week for drama.
9847 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thank you. I noticed in your brief, you mentioned that significant improvements in the regulatory frame work are needed to attract more viewers to the over‑the‑air Broadcasting system, which of course is consistent with what you've said here today, but are there other specific recommendations you would like to see added, other than what you've talked about today?
9848 MS. PARKER: You know, no. I think it's our recipe, you know, scheduling, promotion, money, help with the star system in that entertainment shows that might actually focus on Canadians living in this country and making Canadian shows.
9849 There is not one component, you know. It's a punch of ingredients that are required in order to build the successful industry.
9850 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, am I correct in assuming that the seven per cent that you're looking for would be allocated in those various areas, including promotion?
9851 MS. PARKER: No. The seven per cent we are purely targeting for content to actually make the production and that's development and production.
9852 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So, are you suggesting rules over and above then with respect to a certain percentage of ad revenues being spent on promotion ‑‑
9853 MS. PARKER: We haven't fully developed that. Yes. I guess what we're looking at is in terms of a concept that if you're going to put a Canadian show on air it has to be promoted. And certainly we can say that our colleagues at CTV have done a fine job with that, you know, on their American shows, you'll often see lead‑ins for "Corner Gas". So, we think that that's a good idea.
9854 But, it's you know on‑air promotion, it's bill boards, it's a comprehensive advertising commitment to the Canadian schedule.
9855 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Do you get to work with ‑‑ sorry, go ahead, sure.
9856 MS COUTURE: I just wanted to make a ‑‑ to add a comment, but if you would like to continue with your question which is related to this.
9857 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: No, no, you go ahead. Go ahead, sure.
9858 MS COUTURE: Okay. Rebecca and James and I were talking about how our perception today has been all about, you know, crisis, and our Canadian audiences watching and if you do it, will they watch. And the perception is seemingly quite negative.
9859 And in my experience, for instance, with "The Man Who Lost Himself", I mean that to me is just such a simple model. It was a terrific Canadian story, it had 100 per cent backing from CTV, which gave us ample time and money to develop the project, came on board 100 per cent and production. We had an American pre‑sail and then, the promotion went into gear it came on air and at its peak it attracted 1,800,000 viewers.
9860 I mean, that's not an unusual story and it's a good story to tell you because I think we feel we need to temper this sense that the shows aren't great, the audiences are not watching. I think that the more of this kind of formula of a great story and terrific support from the network, the more of these projects get to air, the more audiences will tune in and that's my simple message for the day.
9861 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Did you come to the CTV with the American sale?
9862 MS COUTURE: We developed ‑‑ my company developed the project with CTV and once the script had been written, we went to lifetime, at which time they signed on with a licence fee that actually gave us a much higher level of production.
9863 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: So by that, you mean it did influence the amount that CTV invested in it or was that already pre‑determined?
9864 MS COUTURE: That was pre‑determined as far as I know.
9865 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Was it? Surely.
9866 MS COUTURE: Yes, it was.
9867 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Okay. Thank you. Thanks. That's helpful.
9868 I was going to ask you if you get to it as writers when you see the networks are buying your programs, do you get to have input in the type or amount or promotion or do you just take what you're given? Do you have a dialogue?
9869 MS. SCHECHTER: There is sometimes a dialogue with the producers and sometimes producers will amplify out of their own pocket the promotion that the networks will put into a show. So, if you are a writer producer, you may have some sale for that.
9870 But, for example, with "Corner Gas" I believe a lot of the promotional gimmicks they used before the show went on air where they gave out free gas and things like that, those were ideas generated from the producer who was working with Brand, but you know is the show.
9871 So, there is a dialogue, yes.
9872 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: I'm also interested because I know that, I believe at least that you're directing a comment on the seven per cent towards drama. But are there other genres of programming that you feel also warrant safeguards?
9873 MS. PARKER: Not in terms of expenditure requirements, you know. Other forms of programming and we do cover them, our members work on other forms, but they are relatively inexpensive to produce and they don't need a safeguard. They will always be made if there is a demand because they're cost effective.
9874 So, no, we are not looking for any other expenditure requirements.
9875 COMMISSIONER DUNCAN: Thanks for that explanation and thank you all. Those were my questions, Mr. Chairman.
9876 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Ladies, thank you.
9877 We will now break for lunch and be back at 1330.
9878 Nous reprendrons à 1330.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1230 / Suspension at 1230
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1336 / Reprise à 1336
9879 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire.
9880 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur le président.
9881 We'll now proceed with the next presentation of the Directors Guild of Canada, Mr. Alan Goluboff will be introducing his panel, after which you will have ten minutes for your presentation, when you're ready.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
9882 MR. GOLUBOFF. Thank you very much. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission and Commission staff.
9883 My name is Alan Goluboff, I am President of the Directors Guild of Canada, a national labour organization representing more than 3,800 key creative and logistical personnel in the film and television industry.
9884 Joining me today are Pamela Brand, the D.G.C. National Executive Director and C.E.O. On the far right, Monique Twigg, National Research and Policy Manager for the Guild and Tim Southam, an award winning director of Canadian film such as "The Bay of Love and Sorrows" and television dramas such as "One Dead Indian, the Tale of Teeka" and the comedy series "Moose TV" and a distinguished member of the DDC.
9885 We thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and we are pleased to contribute to this important proceeding, the results of which have a significant impact not only on Canada's Broadcasting System, but also on the livelihoods of DGC members.
9886 The DGC is a founding and active member of the coalition of Canadian audio‑visual unions, the CCAU which made its presentation to you earlier. We would like to take the opportunity to underline our strong support for the recommendations put forward by the CCAU and urge you to implement its recommendations for a drama expenditure requirement for the over‑the‑air OTA private English language broadcasters set in a minimum of seven per cent of their advertising revenues.
9887 It cannot be stressed often enough that the broadcasters receive lucrative benefits along with their licence to exploit the public airwaves. In exchange for those benefits, the Broadcasting Act requires that their activities support public policy objectives, contributing to the creation of broadcast of Canadian programming, making maximum use of Canadian creative and other resources as key amongst these objectives.
9888 Drama is the most popular genre of programming and the one that can contribute most powerfully to the cultural objectives enshrined in the Broadcast Act.
9889 More than any other kind of programming that unites Canadians from coast to coast by creating a shared methodology that resonates with Canadians. Telling stories from unique and diverse perspectives that engage the imagination and allow all Canadians to share in that experience, creating a common culture and identity.
9890 The production of Canadian drama is essential to our sovereignty, therefore the decline in broadcaster support for Canadian drama is no minor matter.
9891 Because of the realities of our market Canadian programming is always a matter of societal choice, a matter of political will. Decades ago, Canada as a nation made the decision to nurture and create Canadian programming by mandating it in the Broadcasting Act. The amount of television drama on Canadian screens has followed well below the critical mass needed to meet our cultural and social objectives.
9892 Today we are once again faced by a choice: we either get behind drama or we don't. A drama expenditure requirement is essential because it is clear from the numbers that the private English language broadcasters will not voluntarily fulfil their responsibility to provide Canadians with an adequate supply of high quality, home growing drama on the OTA stations.
9893 If they are allowed to continue neglecting their responsibilities in this respect, the production sector will be substantially weakened, with consequences for all Canadians.
9894 MS BRAND: Thank you, Alan. The DGC's submission briefly discussed the negative effect that decline in drama production is having on the lives and livelihoods of Canadian creators including DGC members.
9895 Over the years, Canadian policy‑makers have rightly decided to nurture the conditions to ensure that Canadian voices and stories are heard and seen on the most powerful media in the world, film and television.
9896 The Broadcasting Act and Broadcast Regulations are just two of the policy tools that have helped Canada develop an indigenous production sector, including the human resources the sector needs to thrive.
9897 The fact is making high quality television drama requires considerable skill, talent and creativity. Many Canadians want to work in this industry to create and express themselves in audio‑visual media and they have worked hard to learn their crafts.
9898 Canada has built an enviable production sector that includes a highly skill of talent pool, technological expertise and production infrastructure.
9899 The decline in Canadian English language drama production is taking a toll on Canada's talent pool, arguably, the most important element of the production sector. Most people working in the film and television sector are striving to stay in the industry and in the country, but some are facing significant hardship as production levels suffer.
9900 Any industry sees people come and go, but the DGC has seen a disturbing increase in its annual drop‑out rates since 2000. Directors have traditionally been our most stable category of members, but I am said to say that in the last couple of years we have seen a marked drop in the number of director members in the Guild.
9901 Another indicator can be found in the activity of the Actors' Funds, the major guilds, unions and professional associations from film and television and theatre all contribute to the Actors' Fund. Their members can apply to the fund in emergency situations or if they are in serious financial need.
9902 It is telling that the fund has been demand double over the last five years, a dramatic indication of the effects that weakened production levels are having on the people working in the sector.
9903 Talented Canadian creators have made the choice to work in this industry and to remain in Canada, but they won't be able to if they don't have the opportunity to make an adequate living and support their families. This is serious for the individuals involved, of course, but it is even more serious for the industry that we have worked so hard to build here in Canada.
9904 Creators are the heart and soul of Canadian programming. It is their talent, vision and insight that draws viewers to Canadian television. If we don't support and nurture them, they will leave and Canadian programming will be greatly diminished.
9905 We are in danger of undoing all that we have accomplished. The goals and objectives of the Broadcasting Act continue to be essential and relevant. Canadian drama makes a critical contribution to achieving those objectives.
9906 The private English language OTA broadcasters continue to rip lucrative benefits from the protection afforded them by the Broadcasting Regulation and they can well afford to invest more in drama production. Therefore, imposing an expenditure requirement for drama is both and reasonable.
9907 MR. SOUTHAM: Thank you, Pamela. My fellow directors and I would like to emphasize several issues before you today.
9908 First, we would like to assert that Canadian viewers have shown a strong appetite for Canadian drama. In the last 18 or so months, we have seen programs like "Degrassi: The Next Generation", "Corner Gas", "Canada‑Russia '72", "Prairie Giant", "Terry", "One Dead Indian", "The Man Who Lost Himself", capturing between 800,000 and two million viewers.
9909 To put it in perspective, ratings of 1.5 million viewers represent better than five per cent of the Canadian‑English language market. In the U.S. five per cent of the market is 15 millions viewers; 15 millions viewers is a huge hit.
9910 In the United States, it's also a number that pays for the show. In our small market, an hour of Canadian drama made to competitive standards is too expensive. Any shareholder would reject the idea of committing to the required resources.
9911 So, though Canadians have expressed an undeniable appetite for Canadian drama, we believe Canadian drama must be mandated by the CRTC so that the cost of making it becomes part of the operating reality of all publicly protected broadcasters, not an excruciating quarterly choice on their part.
9912 J'aimerais aussi parler rapidement des conditions de travail auxquelles les réalisateurs canadiens se trouvent actuellement confrontés. Dans une majorité de cas les budgets de tournage sont maintenant si bas que mes collègues trouvent la tâche de plus en plus insurmontable.
9913 C'est tout simplement une question de nombre de jours de tournage devenu très très bas et de nombre d'heures de tournage devenu de plus en plus élevé.
9914 Afin de livrer une émission, les équipes doivent tourner très vite et longtemps tous les jours. Souvent pour des raisons de sécurité nos coéquipiers ne peuvent pas prendre la route le soir pour entrer chez eux, souvent nos comédiens manquent de temps pour maîtriser leur texte et leur prestation.
9915 Souvent nos scénaristes se voient obligés de livrer des premiers jets tellement la période de développement et les échéanciers de tournage sont comprimés. Souvent le producteur doit renoncer à son forfait afin de mener à bonne fin son émission.
9916 Pour le réalisateur, c'est une question de santé et de qualité du rendu. Poser la question à tout réalisateur, c'est la meilleure profession qui soit, sauf qu'elle est devenue exténuante. La question est pertinente devant cette Commission car de notre point de vue c'est principalement une question de financement.
9917 Finally, many members of the DGC, particularly director members have grown up professionally working on Canadian productions. The fact that so many of us seem less into directing the very top U.S. shows and the wonderful Canadian work they continue to direct at home are testimony to the quality of apprenticeship in the Canadian system.
9918 We came of age directing Canadian drama, yet we know that the current levels of Canadian drama production, there is little prospect of a younger generation of directors following in our footsteps and pushing the bar higher.
9919 There is no question in our view that Canadian drama has now dropped far below this threshold of sustainability. It's a shame.
9920 You know, as professionals, we've only ever existed because of the laws and regulations of the land. Someone at some time expressed the collective will for us and for our work to exist. We believe the issues that impelled this collective choice still prevail.
9921 The CRTC is the custodian entrusted with the survival of our profession and our work so we are laying our case before you.
9922 MR. GOLUBOFF: Thank you, Pamela and Tim. Mr. Chairman, we have concluded our presentation and would be pleased to respond to any questions from the panel.
9923 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Goluboff. I'm asking Commissioner Williams to ask the first questions.
9924 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Welcome members of the Directors Guild, Mr. Goluboff and Ms Brand and Mr Southam and Ms Twigg.
9925 Ms Brand, in your portion of the presentation you talked about the Actors' Fund and that members can apply to the fund in emergency situations, if they're in serious financial aid and that demand has doubled.
9926 What is a typical fund request? What is the size of the Fund and how is this Fund helped?
9927 MS BRAND: It's the size of the request is confidential information to the Fund, but we do know that in the past the Fund has helped our members who have not been able to pay their rent, doctor's bills for their children, dental bills and just to get them through a situation where they can survive till they find a next job.
9928 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Do you know how much the Funds spends on an annual basis?
9929 MS BRAND: It spends not just on Directors Guild members, it spends on the industry as a whole. I don't know exactly how much it spends because that's information ‑‑
9930 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: It's only when you say "demand has doubled", so how do you measure that then?
9931 MS BRAND: We measure it because the Actors' Fund has informed us that the demand from DGC members has increased, has doubled over the past five years, that they have been helping more DGC members in the past five years than they have in the previous years.
9932 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, but it's not just demand and it's demand is being met by the Fund then?
9933 MS BRAND: It is being met by the Fund on a temporary basis, at some point they have to go out and find the work in the industry or leave it.
9934 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Mr. Southam, you said in your remarks that's the best job in the world only it kills you and you have been quite successful at it from your résumé.
9935 How do you mean like "it kills you", like it finishes you off financially and you decide to not ‑‑
9936 MR. SOUTHAM: No, not at all financially. I think that working directors are adequately compensated in Canada. It's a hard job physically and we all know it going in. It's not as hard as nursing is what I tell myself every time when I feel tired.
9937 However, at a certain budget level the demands placed on the director become impossible to meet, especially if the director and the production team have any ambition to produce a quality show.
9938 The thing I am discovering right now is that far from feeling victimized by the producer in this respect, I feel that we're all collectively just swatting blood to get the thing across the finish line and this has happened a couple of shows in a row where the budget has been uncommonly low, the scripts have been good, the cast has been great, now we feel our production team is very good, but then we found ourselves shooting impossible hours and big overtime, to such an extent in one case where the crew had to be housed because the rules about whether they can drive themselves home or not after a certain number of hours.
9939 I think in the long run this is bad for me, I can only assume that's true for my colleagues. I think of it as the Tour de France of occupations, in the sense that you really have to train for it, you do it, you know you have to do it, but it has gotten ‑‑ either I have gotten too old or it has gotten silly.
9940 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: How long have you been in this business?
9941 MR. SOUTHAM: I made my first short film in 1990.
9942 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Has it been a steady decrease in the size of budgets compared to projects or is it a more recent phenomenon or what's the trend then?
9943 MR. SOUTHAM: I have noticed that in 2004, I directed two long foreign projects which were clearly developed and financed in the early part of the start of the 2000 years. One mini series and one television movie. I also directed a couple of documentaries, it was a busy year.
9944 What I noticed immediately after that was that I was being offered half‑hour drama consistently, which is fine because it was comedy and it was a genre I wanted to try and one of the privileges in Canada for any director is we really can try anything and you hope you're good at it.
9945 But the half‑hour budget is I think a response to a clear compression of overall budgets available to create drama in our country and I would refute any argument that it's more appropriately tailored to our country because there are a whole types of stories, you simply can't tell in a half‑hour and a half hour, as you know, is 22 minutes and 30 seconds; it's not a half hour.
9946 I am noticing now that I had three in a row, so from my point of view which is purely anecdotal, that's different from what I was going, what I was experiencing before when I was shooting long form.
9947 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: And you made the comment that maybe you're getting older or maybe you're not, so you're down to half hour now and then you described in your presentation a bunch of other conditions like impossible shooting hours and ‑‑
9948 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, I think it's a particular quality of series in any case that it's a demanding occupation. I don't think anyone is surprised by that.
9949 What I am finding difficult now is the number of days is decreased per episode and half hour in particular, we are now shooting on average three days per half hour. That's a specific challenge, it's one that I honestly believe is not good for the show and I believe it's simply a result in good faith on part of all concerned to deal with lower budgets.
9950 It trickles down from an overall diminishment from all the stakeholders, all the investors are simply able to put less in and it's our way of coping with it.
9951 So, the result is that cruising casts are physically very challenged by this and I believe the overall quality is not what it could be, although they are wonderful successful stories mixed into that, I want to highlight as a director the sacrifice is being made by crew and cast together.
9952 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Southam and Ms Brand.
9953 Mr Goluboff, I'm going to work through before five questions just to try and add a bit more depth to our file on your presentation. Can you elaborate on the European policies that require television broadcasters to invest in feature film presentation? What are some of the successes, what are some of the challenges and how might such a policy figure in the Cain context especially with respect to the cultural and regional diversity?
9954 MR. GOLUBOFF: For a start I'll ask Monique here to comment on that because she's better versed in that subject than I, so ‑‑
9955 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Absolutely. I am just directing the question to you.
9956 MR. GOLUBOFF: Yes, that's fine. So, Monique.
9957 MS TWIGG: Hi! We haven't done a whole lot of research into this. There is 23 countries in Europe that require broadcasters to put some money into feature films and they are different ones.
9958 I guess the success of it is that broadcasters contribute more to the feature films that are made in their country.
9959 In terms of our suggestion here, we are hoping that ‑‑ we wanted to offer the CRTC examples and we would be happy to do a little bit more depth on it, but the information is not that easily available to us. A lot of the studies, for example, cost money and so we more wanted to point in the direction this is something that has been done successfully in many european countries, in different ways, you know, for example, in Italy I think is requiring four per cent of their expenditures to go to feature film, other countries have more.
9960 Just that there is an array of options for the CRTC to look at if they find that putting part of the drama expenditure towards to feature films is inappropriate.
9961 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Do you have any examples of some successes from ‑‑ your easier example Italy where they allocate four per cent?
9962 MS TWIGG: Of specific films?
9963 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes.
9964 MS TWIGG: No. Sorry, I don't.
9965 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. How do you think this would help Canadians in this industry?
9966 MR. GOLUBOFF: Well, I mean as far as directing some of the resources towards feature film production.
9967 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Yes, yes.
9968 MR. GOLUBOFF: Well, I think as Canadians, Canadians benefit in and I think one of the things that ‑‑ the position that we have continued to put forward along with our other colleagues for this expenditure and expenditure rule to be reimplemented is that the level and quality of programming is going to improve.
9969 If there is more money in the system, higher quality programming is going to be delivered to Canadians and our view, and it's paramount to us, it's not just about working conditions. It's not just about my ability to pay my mortgage. That is not the issue here, as far as I think we are concerned in general. The issue is Canadians deserve and have the right as Canadians to see high quality programming on the airwaves and not only high quality programming which we get at infin item delivered to us from south of the border primarily.
9970 So, if there is more money in the system, which is the point that we are trying to make, if there is more money in the system, higher quality programming will be delivered to Canadians. Canadians will be the beneficiary of a decision from the Commission to go down this road and take a recommendation that many of us are putting forward.
9971 So, if a percentage of that money is being directed towards supporting feature film production, that is only again a benefit to us as Canadians and to all of us as Canadians, to be able to see ourselves on screen and on television and participate in stories that reflect who we are, who we are as Canadians. And that is what is ‑‑ that's paramount and that is the foundation of everything that, you know, we are trying to push here.
9972 It's not about jobs, though jobs ‑‑ my membership, my 3,800 members across the country are the immediate beneficiaries. If more money starts to flow in the next couple of years, no question, Tim and I and 3,800 other members as well as other actors and writers are all going to be working more and that's only ‑‑ that's good for us personally.
9973 But I can't reiterate more strongly the benefit or more money in the system is a benefit to us as Canadians and without that money in the system we are weakened as Canadians and I think that that's not a road I hope that we continue to travel on.
9974 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: If we had to focus on quantity and quality, which should be our more dominant focus?
9975 MR. SOUTHAM: We believe that there is a clear synergy between then, you know, quality and the number of shows which get made and the reason for that is none of us are rocket scientists. We don't know what shows are going to be good. We need a critical mass of shows to generate hits and the audience knows that. They are waiting for us to come across with something that is worth watching.
9976 To sort of treat each separate show is a sacred thing that's going to generate that hit is a real danger. I think we need to get the law of averages back on our side and, therefore, we believe that quantity is the road to quality.
9977 Both in development where some of the shows do not see the light of day and then, of course, in production where we simply don't know what shows are going to hit. It's a model which is obviously practised in huge volume in the U.S. We believe there is a volume, an appropriate volume which will deliver better programming and more of it to Canadians and our position to reiterate is that Canadians have shown through the ratings.
9978 And I have just finished a movie called "One Dead Indian" which, you know, has a cast which most, you know, ten years ago we would have said, this is a marginal film, this is a mandated film. We had 1.2 million viewers, I was second only to CSI that evening. We are competitive with all the other U.S. shows, we beat them. It's a political show is turned from headline CTV did a masterful job in marketing it, they should be credited with that.
9979 And by the way, I should say most of us feel that production executives care about what they're putting on the air. The perverse situation we find ourselves in is that perhaps the owners are less motivated to put expensive material on the air because shareholders really have to at some point question among this, but we believe the production executives want to make good shows for Canadians and CTV did do a good job with "One Dead Indian" as they did with "The Man Who Lost Himself" as Suzette Couture talked about that.
9980 These ratings are encouraging They tell us Canadians are responding. However, to use each of those films as solo test balloons in the market is really ill‑fated. We need to get volume out there, test the market through that volume, find the hits and make more of those.
9981 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. Southam. Mr Goluboff, last week CTV proposed a fee for carriage regime for the over‑the‑air television stations in which 50 per cent of the money would be allocated for the production and acquisition of incremental Canadian priority programming and the other 50 per cent would be used for initiatives such as upgrading for high definition, as approved by the licensed ‑‑ as proposed by the licensee and approved by the Commission.
9982 What are your comments on CTV's fee for carriage proposal?
9983 MR. GOLUBOFF: Well, Pamela Brant will speak to it because I know she commented on it in the CCAU brief just before lunch.
9985 MS BRANT: We feel that, yes, it is important for high definition and conversion to digital and all of those things, but we don't agree that the fee for carriage should be used for that kind of cost of business. It is a cost of business and it would be in any other industry, you know, to get a new model of a car, that is a cost of business. Broadcasters have been through many new forms in the past, like converting from black and white television to colour television.
9986 We believe that they have the resources and they have the revenues to do both without diverting from Canadian programming, you know, the fee for carriage, 50 per cent, yes.
9987 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: If I understand you then, the focus should be on Canadian programming ‑‑
9988 MS BRANT: Yes, that is right.
9989 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: ‑‑ or other initiatives and that capital stuff is a cost of doing business.
9990 MS BRANT: That is right.
9991 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: A number of parties opposed CTV's proposal for a variety of reasons, including the contention that it would be impossible to ensure that the programming would be incremental to that which is already being produced or acquired.
9992 How would your panel respond to these concerns?
9993 MS BRANT: I am not sure the question was very clear.
9994 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay, I will run it through again, no problem.
9995 A number of parties opposed the CTV proposal. They say it would be impossible to ensure that the programming would be incremental to what is already currently being produced or acquired, that there be no new programming as a result of this.
9996 How does your panel respond?
9997 MS BRANT: I can respond by saying I am not sure why anyone would say that, because broadcasters are required to report to the Commission, you know, under CTV, under the current benefits policy, is required to report, so anything additional would also be reported. I don't see why it would be difficult.
9998 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Well maybe they are thinking there is only so much shelf space and the need is being met and it is filled?
9999 MS BRANT: Well yes, there is always a limited amount of shelf space, but the need is not being met. If you take just one specific broadcaster, maybe in certain periods the need is being met by CTV, but over the broadcast year there are large gaps when there is not a lot of Canadian programming on CTV. And certainly other broadcasters, such as Global, you know, there are examples where we need more shelf space for Canadian programming, they are not fulfilling the requirements.
10000 Do you want to add to that?
10001 MS TWIGG: I think it was Ted Rogers that said you would need forensic accountants to make sure that it didn't drop to the bottom line, I assume that is what you are talking about.
10002 One of the reasons why we go for a percentage of revenue requirement is for exactly that reason. To say something is incremental, when I listened to that proposal I was wondering incremental to what, to what you were intending or to what you are saying you are intending? I think Commission Duncan mentioned this morning possibly changing ‑‑ our proposal has been a percentage of advertising revenue, it becomes a percentage of all revenue. Perhaps if there is fee for carriage that is simpler to police.
10003 As you know, we are not saying that there is any particular number of hours or kind of programming that has to be produced out of that amount of money, it is merely an expenditure requirement.
10004 MR. SOUTHAM: If I may as well, yes, to complete that thought, the beauty of the percentage is that it also demonstrates clearly that none of the stakeholders in this proposal are indicating their desire to micromanage or tell broadcasters how to build their slates. They are very good at building their slates, we see it on the whole range of their programming, it is just that very little of it is Canadian.
10005 We also know that the market shifts constantly. As I indicated clearly, I am moving from one genre to a next, adapting as a director, I believe that is what the networks are doing too. So the 7 per cent is lovely in the sense that it says we may believe this is a managed industry, but we are not trying to tell you how to run your business. We just believe it is a protected business, that you have a right to broadcast here and that Canadians have a right to see Canadian programming.
10006 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay thank you, Mr. Southam.
10007 In your written submission you expressed concern that the current benefits policy effectively opens the door to multistage transfer of ownership and control of broadcasting undertakings as well as major ownership restructurings that allow parties to avoid payment on substantial benefits as is intended by the policy.
10008 In the Bell Globemedia Decision 2006‑309 we approved the change of control in Bell Globemedia and stated that the Commission would reserve the right to review the entire sequence of transactions to determine the appropriateness of any proposed benefits package.
10009 In addition to reviewing multi‑step transactions on a case by case basis, what specific measures would you propose to prevent parties from avoiding payment of benefits in multistage transfer of ownership and control as well as in major ownership restructurings?
10010 MS BRANT: I am not sure that we are able to propose to you today specific measures, we just do feel that ‑‑
10011 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: You are just expressing a concern?
10012 MS BRANT: Yes, we are expressing a concern with the way, particularly the example you used, that in the multi‑staging, in the end the transfer of benefits were on a much smaller amount then if it had been a full transaction counted as one. But to be able to propose today specifics, I am not certainly able to.
10013 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Is there further comment, Ms Twigg?
10014 MS TWIGG: Just a comment that in our submission on that particular proceeding we had argued that there was in fact a change of ownership control and dissenting opinion by Commissioner Langford also said that and so we just wanted to be on the record as saying we are a little concerned. Obviously the majority of the Commission didn't agree on that particular transaction, but we wanted to highlight it, that is all.
10015 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay thank you, Ms Twigg and fellow panelists from the Directors Guild.
10016 That concludes my area of questioning, Mr. Chair.
10017 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Williams.