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TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
La radiodiffusion canadienne par les nouveaux médias
Centre de conférences
140, Promenade du Portage
Le 23 février 2009
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.
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
La radiodiffusion canadienne par les nouveaux médias
Konrad von Finckenstein Président
Michel Arpin Conseiller
Len Katz Conseiller
Rita Cugini Conseillère
Michel Morin Conseiller
Timothy Denton Conseiller
Louise Poirier Conseillère
Stephen Simpson Conseiller
Cindy Ventura Secretaire
Chris Seidl Gérants de l'audience
Regan Morris Conseiller juridique
Centre de conférences
140, Promenade du Portage
Le 23 février 2009
- iv -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA
GlassBOX Television Inc. 486 / 2622
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting 536 / 2902
Union des consommateurs 560 / 3033
Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants 598 / 3197
S-Vox 623 / 3314
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Inc. 629 / 3346
--- L'audience reprend le lundi 23 février 2009 à 0901
2612 THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.
2613 Madame la Secrétaire, who do we have this morning?
2614 THE SECRETARY: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
2615 Bonjour à tous.
2616 My name is Cindy Ventura, and I will be the Hearing Secretary for today.
2617 For the record, Media Awareness Network has advised the Commission that they will not be appearing at the hearing. They had been scheduled to appear on Thursday Februray 26.
2618 And now, Mr. Chairman, we will proceed with Item 12 on the agenda, which is a presentation by GlassBOX TV.
2619 Appearing for GlassBOX TV is Jeffrey Elliott.
2620 Please introduce your colleague, after which you will have 15 minutes for your presentation.
2621 Mr. Elliott?
2622 MR. ELLIOTT: Thank you.
2623 Good morning Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and staff.
2624 My name is Jeffrey Elliott, and I am the Co-CEO and founder of GlassBOX Television and Bite TV.
2625 Beside me is Raja Khanna, also Co-CEO of GlassBOX Television and founder of AUX.
2626 First off we would like to thank you for the opportunity to express our thoughts on these important issues in person.
2627 Before we begin, we felt a brief backgrounder on who we are and what we bring to the discussion would be helpful.
2628 Mr. Chairman, I am a second generation broadcaster who has had the benefit of broad experience on both sides of the media fence, old and new.
2629 As Director of Programming at TSN, Managing Director of Netstar Interactive and Senior Vice President of Alliance Atlantis Interactive, I have had the opportunity to spearhead many early forays of traditional media into the digital media realm, seeing both successes and challenges along the way.
2630 In 2001 I left my position at Alliance Atlantis to start GlassBOX Television and its first channel BITE with the belief that the dynamics of media creation and distribution were about to change dramatically.
2631 GlassBOX was founded with a view toward media fragmentation, and in particular with a specific focus on younger demographics whose attention is split between traditional and new media platforms.
2632 The core mandate at GlassBOX was and is to provide 18 to 34 year olds with relevant content on all platforms from which they consume video -- a clubhouse, as it were, in which to consume, comment on, share and even participate in the creation of content regardless of the device used to view it.
2633 GlassBOX's original content brand BITE Television launched in 2005 as a Category 2 specialty television service, website, and mobile channel.
2634 In 2006, BITE was awarded the Canadian New Media Award for best cross-platform service and, in 2007, won an International Interactive Emmy for Best Interactive Channel.
2635 In late 2008, we launched our emerging music television service AUX, initially as a broadband-focused video portal at AUX.tv.
2636 Our goal is to launch AUX on mobile, cable, VOD and linear television service (an application, as you know, is being put before the CRTC).
2637 And our plan is to eventually own and operate several cross-media channels targeted to the digitally-savvy 18-to-34-year-old market.
2638 We are building GlassBOX on the principle that audiences on any one platform may diminish over time, but that the audiences in aggregate (across all platforms) for professionally-produced media content will increase.
2639 In fact, more video content is being viewed than ever before, but it is being watched in a fragmented way across many devices.
2640 A successful digital media broadcaster then would have to effectively aggregate an audience across all platforms following and engaging their core audiences as they ventured from screen to screen and from website to website.
2641 The reality is that many new screen-based devices operate using internet protocols and are, effectively, new media platforms.
2642 I founded GlassBOX on this principle and I hope, through the remainder of this presentation, that we may shed some light on how one small broadcaster is trying to ride the tidal wave of new media content consumption and how our lessons-learned may be applied to the industry at large.
2643 I would now like to turn to my business partner, Raja Khanna, to introduce himself, his background, and to continue his presentation.
2644 MR. KHANNA: Good morning.
2645 In 1995, I launched my first company, Snap Media, where we conceived of and developed social media websites and web content, including online video programs.
2646 One of our early successes was Degrassi.tv, in some ways was a bellwether site for what was to come with MySpace, and later, Facebook.
2647 By 2003 the original Degrassi site, which included original web-only content, boasted over 800,000 users, still today an amazing feat in the realm of original Canadian television content extended to the web.
2648 Following Snap Media, I co-founded QuickPlay Media, a mobile video platform company that today lists every major mobile operator in Canada as a client.
2649 If you watch video on your phone in this country, it is more likely than not that that video was delivered from the QuickPlay platform.
2650 At QuickPlay, we launched Canada's first mobile video service in 2004 and completed content licensing deals for over 120 channels of mobile video content from major studios and broadcasters across North America and Europe.
2651 Over the years, my companies have raised over 40 million dollars of venture financing.
2652 But more critically, Snap Media in particular was able to grow to the point of being able to raise our first venture financing due to the support it was afforded from various new media funds.
2653 I can say without hesitation that, without subsidies for new media content development, I would not be sitting before you today.
2654 All of this is to say that at our core, both Jeffrey and myself are born out of, and are players in, what we might call the existing Canadian new media broadcasting industry in Canada.
2655 It is obvious to us that audiences are moving.
2656 We can see this in the phenomenal usage and growth of services like MySpace Video, YouTube, Hulu and even illegal services like BitTorrent.
2657 Audiences, especially younger ones, are more than happy to consume video content on the internet.
2658 Though the economy surely played a role, last quarter Comcast posted a reduction in TV subscribers -- over 200,000 fewer people subscribed to their cable service by the end of last quarter.
2659 Is this a sign of things to come?
2660 If the content is on the internet at no cost and available in high definition, it is not hard to imagine people questioning the need for a cable or satellite subscription.
2661 One thing underlying these shifts is abundantly clear and, we think, very important to note.
2662 The content that is driving the audiovisual programming industry on the internet and internet-based devices is television content, period.
2663 The cases of economic success being found by web-only content are few and far between.
2664 By a large margin, ad dollars, the primary revenue stream for online video, are directed towards TV content on the internet.
2665 Not to user generated or semi-professional content, but simply to repurposed content produced primarily for television.
2666 According to The Diffusion Group, only four per cent of online video ad dollars go toward user-generated content, while over 90 per cent is allocated to professionally-produced content.
2667 This is significant when you consider professionally-produced content accounts for only 20 per cent of the content being viewed.
2668 To underline this point we could look at YouTube, a predominantly user-generated content portal estimated to have made 200 million dollars in 2008, while Hulu, a television content portal barely one year old and available only in the U.S., made close to one 100 million dollars.
2669 Now compare their traffic.
2670 YouTube at over four billion streams per month and Hulu at less than 100 million, a small fraction of YouTube's.
2671 You can see that in time a site like Hulu will surpass the revenue a much larger site like YouTube.
2672 It is TV content, like that found on Hulu (a site owned by traditional TV broadcasters), that is driving the new media broadcast industry.
2673 I think it is accurate, therefore, to look at the internet as simply a new pipe for television programming, rather than as a platform for new media-specific content, particularly when we are talking about the Broadcasting Act and the CRTC's role.
2674 With this as the premise, what becomes obvious to us is the immediate need to re-examine how the current TV production funds are allocated.
2675 If, for example, we say that broadcasters now are counting their TV-viewing audience across all platforms, then so should the funding bodies.
2676 In particular, we would suggest that the CTF envelope calculation rules, the BPEs, be adjusted to take the online activity of a broadcaster into account on some level.
2677 Today, companies like GlassBOX, who sometimes enjoy larger audiences online than we do on our TV channel, have no access to these funds.
2678 The CTF simply does not take our online audiences, online revenue, or our relative investments in new media into account despite the fact that TV audiences are moving to this platform.
2679 I believe that, even without new money, we must find ways to start re-allocating funds taking these factors into account and that those broadcasters "punching-above-their weight" in terms of online audiences, revenues or expenditures (or some combination thereof) should be afforded priority access to funds as a way to help stimulate the new media content industry in Canada.
2680 This leads to another point.
2681 When we talk about the goal of creating a vibrant online ecosystem that would support the ongoing production, distribution and consumption of Canadian content on new media platforms, there is one key ingredient that is mandatory for a broadcaster to have an impact; namely, a commitment to new media.
2682 I would like to suggest that the absence of certain broadcasters at these hearings should not go unnoticed.
2683 In fact, we would go so far as to say that it is digital specialty broadcasters that can thrive on the internet and that will ultimately need a cross-platform ecosystem to effectively reach their diverse audiences and build profitable businesses in the years ahead.
2684 As such, we would recommend that the CTF adjust, not only its BPE allocation rules as mentioned, but insofar as it wants to help develop new media content that funds earmarked for such use be directed primarily toward digital specialty services.
2685 One question that follows then: if there is new money, does it go to the CTF or to some other entity to administer?
2686 This question, we feel, is closely linked to the question of how we define broadcast content in new media.
2687 On this second question we have a clear answer: it is too soon to answer.
2688 While most of the content is simply TV content, how it is presented on new media platforms is evolving too fast, with too many game-changing technologies, hardware components, widgets, social networks and app stores popping up to effectively define what broadcast programming might encompass in the coming years.
2689 This is why we would suggest, if there are new monies earmarked for new media broadcasting, that they be administered by a body that possesses deep knowledge of new media and an infrastructure that is able to evolve alongside the new media industries.
2690 Respectfully that is not currently the CTF, without adding significant additional complexity, something I think we would all like to avoid.
2691 In fact, we believe this road leads directly to Telefilm and its existing expertise within the Telefilm New Media Fund.
2692 Directing funds to Telefilm would ensure the question of measurement is dealt with in lock-step alongside industry developments as the Telefilm New Media Fund must already deal with measurement and evolving technology issues on the internet.
2693 Directing the funds here would also avoid the potentially awkward situation of, for example, a video-only new media fund of 100 million dollars existing alongside the Telefilm New Media Fund, which includes support for video, audio, website development and all the things needed to create a complete new media content service with only 15 million dollars allocated toward it.
2694 As a potential further bonus, such funds directed toward Telefilm could supply its new media program the much-needed long-term stable funding it requires.
2695 Finally, with Telefilm as the recipient of significant new funds, we would not have to adjust the CTF rules as discussed previously, providing an even simpler solution.
2696 Moving on to the prospect of regulation we would like to comment on the issue of shelf space for Canadian content on new media portals.
2697 One way we believe the role of the BDUs will unfold is through the introduction of conditional access web and mobile portals tethered to a user's cable or satellite subscription.
2698 In other words, as long as I am a subscriber to a cable package I am also granted access to a web portal that contains high quality video content available for streaming (similar to a cable VOD service).
2699 These portals could prove to be an exclusive legal and simple way to access all the content you want online from all the broadcasters you want and ultimately the one way to compel people to subscribe to or to stay subscribed to cable and satellite TV services. At the same time, this would create a compelling ecosystem and platform for the promotion and distribution of the Canadian content online.
2700 Because we believe that tethered, conditional access portals are likely to play a part in the online video landscape in Canada, and because we see them as distinct from other internet services by their nature of being tied to existing television service offerings, we believe regulation in these limited cases is appropriate to ensure appropriate allocation of high-quality shelf space to Canadian content.
2701 To be clear, we are not suggesting a similar shelf space regulatory framework for any other internet sites, whether or not operated by existing BDUs, only to those that are tethered to existing TV services.
2702 Further, as stated in our earlier filings, mobile platforms, as well as streaming and on-demand services delivered over the internet to and only to technologically locked access end-user devices likewise have limited incentive to include Canadian content in favour of, for example, U.S. content. This poses a serious challenge to the successful development of a homegrown new media broadcasting industry.
2703 GlassBOX asks that the Commission consider imposing shelf space and other video-on-demand requirements on hardware tethered content services like mobile phones. This will become more and more important as the introduction of internet-enabled devices spreads.
2704 Soon, we believe, driven by the proliferation of WiMAX and 4G networks we will see the introduction of connected VOD services built into your television or DVD player, or even the backseat of your car. We believe all these services should have the same Canadian content regulations tied to them.
2705 MR. ELLIOTT: GlassBOX has taken the unique entrepreneurial approach to Canadian broadcasting. We have raised venture capital from Bay Street and from key players in the media industry. We have also developed a viable model of producing professional content at low cost and distributing that content widely over TV, the web and mobile. The model works.
2706 What is missing are three things we have asked the Commission to consider today:
2707 increased access to television funds so that digital specialty broadcasters that focus on new media may produce even higher quality niche programs across platforms;
2708 that new funds, if any, be directed to Telefilm for administration; and the front-of-aisle shelf space regulations be applied to a distinct set of tethered services, thereby helping to ensure Canadian content receives appropriate placement on the numerous web and hardware-based content services that will undoubtedly be introduced to the Canadian market in the months and years ahead.
2709 Through these steps we believe the CRTC can remain in lockstep with the industry's development while helping create a viable online content industry in Canada. Ultimately these steps, in our view, will help maintain the relevance of Canadian content to Canadian audiences.
2710 Thank you.
2711 We would welcome your questions.
2712 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
2713 I am somewhat puzzled, you started out basically in the web environment and yet you say in paragraph 21:
"I think it is accurate, therefore, to look at the internet as simply a new pipe for television programming..."
2714 When you produce something, do you always produce it was television in mind?
2715 I visited you and you gave me a presentation of what you are doing, et cetera, I was probably under the mistaken view that actually your primary medium is the web and then you repurpose for TV. You actually do it the other way around, do you?
2716 MR. ELLIOTT: You know, what we really do is we produce content at the nucleus and then we distribute it on all platforms. So the way you might want to look at it is we are platform agnostic as to where the content is actually viewed, we believe it is our job as a broadcaster to make the content available where our audience is. So our business model is create the content, distributed on television, web, mobile and any other platform that becomes available.
2717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but 30-second clips lend themselves to mobile devices. They lend themselves to -- they don't lend themselves so much to linear TV. That's why I was...
2718 MR. KHANNA: I think it's important to note, you know, we believe if you are going to produce a five minute clip or even a half hour show, which most of our content is one or the other, and you are producing it in a professional fashion, why wouldn't you put it on television? Of course you would. That's the best way to reach your audiences. It's not too choose one platform over the other, it's to be ubiquitous.
2719 Certainly we have seen this on the internet today. If you look at the industry online and where the money is flowing, it's content that is on all platforms that is the most successful. There are of course limited exceptions to that rule, but by and large it is TV content and content that's available on multiple platforms that's driving this industry on the internet.
2720 MR. ELLIOTT: I think it's important to make the distinction here between broadcasting content as we are talking about today which might be a video clip versus new media content, which in the case of a lot of work we have done in the past with Degrassi and other things, is not just a video clip, it's an entire web service. You know, certainly that can't exist on television as well.
2721 That's why in the last sentence of that paragraph we say in respect to, you know, the CRTC's role and the definition of broadcasting programming. That's what we are talking about here. When you are producing a piece of video content you are much more likely to get an audience online if that content is also on television. That's been proven with the stats today. But when you are talking about making a new media service, of course there is much more to it than just video content.
2722 THE CHAIRPERSON: In paragraph 26 you say there is too much happening that it is difficult:
"... to define what broadcasting program might encompass in the coming years"
2723 Yet, as you appreciate, we are restricted by the Broadcasting Act, we can only deal with what falls under the definition of "broadcasting".
2724 Does it even make sense to try to do anything here when there are so many other things coming up, other means of producing and delivering content?
2725 You make three very specific recommendations to us, but in light the multitude of things involved in the new media aren't we going to likely to be behind the times even if we implement what you suggest?
2726 MR. KHANNA: We have tried to suggest, Mr. Chairman, a solution that was timely, in that it wasn't let's take a large amount of money and put it towards new media only content, because we don't know what that is. We are saying this is a good first step.
2727 What we do know today is that television content is not viewed just on television, therefore we should adjust the current framework to take that into account. That's step one.
2728 Step two is, okay, well, maybe if there is more funding we want to support the Canadian online ecosystem, let's direct that funding to where it would have the most impact with the simplest administrative overhead. To us that was put some more money into Telefilm, if there is more money. Really that's it.
2729 The third point of tethered portals is one of just maintaining the current framework. If the cable operator has Cancon restrictions and they reproduce that same content lineup on the internet and it's tied to your cable subscription, we feel that they Cancon regulations should follow it and the shelf space regulation should follow it.
2730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but that first submission point of yours, that is make funding available so it can be used in whatever forum, it may be actually used for something that is not considered broadcasting under present legislation.
2731 MR. ELLIOTT: But that's the challenge that we face, because there isn't a clear delineation now between just video content and new media content.
2732 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2733 MR. ELLIOTT: It's getting very blurred and getting difficult to start to pull them where does one end and where does one begin. If you have a television show that has some interactive feature embedded in it, then is that television or is that new media content? This is really the challenge we all face.
2734 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Your pragmatic solution is to fund it all and it will sort itself out basically.
2735 MR. KHANNA: Yes. Well, I think the best people to sort it out, we are saying, is a body that already has to deal with these constant changes like Telefilm. So even if they were to create a new category of funding that was specifically focused today at broadcast programming, they have the ability for example to supplement the funding that you might direct there with other monies for the building of the website and the technology parts that don't fall under the definition of broadcast programming.
2736 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len, you have some questions?
2737 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2738 Thank you for coming here. I think we owe you the thanks because you are living and breathing this new environment and we are hoping to glean from you how we can best help support the industry as well. So thank you.
2739 I'm going to start with a question I asked last week, I think it was to the Directors Guild.
2740 It appears as though we are in the middle of a transition -- it's basically an incubator at this point in time, we are in the middle of a transition. The question is: Are we transitioning from a traditional broadcasting environment to a new media broadcasting environment where one sort of falls off the end of the world and the other one comes on?
2741 I guess you have addressed it slightly here by saying that Comcast has lost a number of customers in the last year or so. We don't see that in Canada, but I guess in the States the BDU business may in fact be shifting. Maybe economics, maybe new media, we are not sure.
2742 But is it a transition from A to B or are we evolving into a multiplatform environment where everybody is going to be on multiple platforms and that begs the question: Can consumers adequately continue to support the two platforms?
2743 MR. ELLIOTT: I do believe we are heading to multiple platforms. I do believe that the consumer is now empowered like they have never had before. As we mentioned in our brief, it is a broadcaster's position to aggregate audiences that are consuming content in multiple places.
2744 Traditionally we have had all of our audience in one place and we know how to deal with them, we can advertise the market to them, but now, because of technology that has moved into all of these different places, it becomes much more challenging for a broadcaster to look at all these different places and be able to effectively harness the monetization of that audience. This is a transition that we are in right now.
2745 That's how GlassBOX was built. The idea that consumers are -- to use your analogy we were talking about earlier -- untethered from that box that's in the living room and that they are free to consume content wherever.
2746 So a broadcaster, to remain relevant as we move forward, it's their job to make sure that the content is where their audience is.
2747 The paradigm shift around, the audience is in the driver's seat now, it's not me telling -- when I was Director of Programming, the show started at 8 o'clock and you watched it at 8 o'clock because that's when it went on the air. Well, that's not the case any more.
2748 The case now is that the audience is completely empowered to consume content whenever they want, wherever they want, and it's mainstream television that is really driving this and we are starting to see, if you use Hulu as the example, where you are seeing prime time network television that's being made available online in high definition, that when I go home I didn't miss anything, I can watch it at 9 o'clock.
2749 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So as a broadcaster they have to be prepared to serve multiple platforms.
2750 MR. ELLIOTT: Yes.
2751 COMMISSIONER KATZ: As the consumer at the other end, do I have to buy into that or will I be able to get whatever I want on the platform that I choose?
2752 MR. ELLIOTT: Well, I think that that's really what it comes down to and that each customer is going to have a different set of consumables that they want.
2753 It used to be that if you wanted to watch television you had two choices, you stuck up rabbit ears or you plugged cable into the back of your television, that's how you got your TV.
2754 Now, if I want to, I don't have to have cable television any more, I can consume it on my computer or I can consume it on my phone. What we are seeing certainly is a generational shift in broadcasting.
2755 I consume media completely different than a lot of my staff and that's just because I'm more comfortable with the technology that I have around me, whereas this new generation that is coming through are looking at it in a completely different way, moving into apartments and, by way of example, not getting traditional phone service, using a cell phone, not getting cable because they have internet, and they can get everything they want in different ways. They are still consuming the same kind of content.
2756 MR. KHANNA: I think it's important to note that all these changes we are talking about are in fact driven by the consumer. It's not necessarily looking at it the other way around, they are the ones who are driving this boat. We are following them. We are desperately trying to stay close to them.
2757 You know, they started consuming content on BitTorrent on the web and now, you know, the broadcasters are struggling to find a way to monetize that internet consumption of content, and hence the introduction of Hulu and other services.
2758 So I think we are going to see the same thing in Canada. I think from a consumer point of view they want the content to be everywhere, I think if I fast forward two years into the future I would be happy to pay one subscription for television content and be able to get all that content on my mobile phone, on the web and on TV, depending on where I happen to be.
2759 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So if we take that to the next step -- and I will use the comment you made here about Comcast having lost a bunch of customers last year -- the likelihood is that as people get more comfortable with multiple platforms, and as the availability of content becomes ubiquitous on each platform presumably -- although it's harder to do it on traditional broadcasting without the VOD, but the VOD is there as well -- there will be a transition taking place, consumers will become more savvy and will look to optimize their dollars, their wallet as well, and as a result move to one platform over another.
2760 MR. ELLIOTT: And you are going to see dollars shift from place to place and from business-to-business because of that.
2761 MR. KHANNA: I think what we have said in the second part of our submission about conditional access portals speaks directly to that question.
2762 We believe that for television services to remain, you know, relevant and for people not to migrate away from their television subscription, you know, tethered services like we have described are one way to do that, are one way to keep relevant.
2763 It's difficult for a consumer -- and we talk about an online ecosystem in Canada for Canadian content. It doesn't exist. We don't actually have a Hulu here. I mean Hulu is not even the greatest example because it doesn't have content from every broadcaster, but we don't even have that here.
2764 If a cable company were to create a conditional access portal where I could go online and get content from every broadcaster in one place legally, without worrying about quality or getting arrested or having hiccups or anything, like where there is a quality of service that's tied to my monthly subscription, I would absolutely do that.
2765 So I think it's highly likely that you are going to see the cable and satellite operators in Canada move in this direction, where you have now one place to go on the internet to your cable company's website where you can get the equivalent of a Hulu-type experience where all the broadcast content was there and the only way you are going to get into that website is if you are paying your monthly TV bill.
2766 To me that makes perfect sense and I think not only would it be a great thing from a user point of view, it would actually be excellent for industry. So we now have one centralized portal, or several across the country, to promote and display Canadian content, whereas right now it's fragmented, you have to go to the broadcaster website here, over there, if you can't find it there you have to go to try to steal it somewhere, I mean it's not a cohesive place.
2767 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but to the extent that there will be a transition taking place in terms of migration of access to multiplatforms, and to the extent that currently the BDU industry is supporting some degree of Canadian content production through the CTF or whatever, are you then suggesting -- because it's not in here anywhere -- that the ISP community should be filling the gap where the BDU community starts to erode its revenue base, should it be picked up through the ISP community in the transition?
2768 MR. KHANNA: So I think there is a couple of things to talk about there. I mean it's left out of our submission on purpose because obviously there are two sides to this and we see both sides.
2769 First, I think it is important to say -- I mean, one of the facts that's interesting is in 2007 the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada reported just $9 million of online revenue related to advertising on video content. Just $9 million. It's a tiny, tiny industry. The bulk of that was probably links to American content on Canadian portals.
2770 MR. ELLIOTT: And that's out of a pie of $1.2 billion.
2771 MR. KHANNA: So first of all, I think the most important question for us is one of timing, when is the right time to start regulating this or start imposing levies.
2772 I think the Commission would be wise to take a cautious and perhaps conservative approach in terms of industry development.
2773 The second, and I think critical, point is we do not recommend and we would not like to see a lot of new money being created today for a new media-only type fund. It's been said before at this hearing and we will say it again, frankly, it's not reflective of what's happening on the internet. It's television content that is driving this industry. If we create a fund that's for new media only content, we are creating a false economy that we might look back at in three years and regret.
2774 The third point, again, if there is new money who is administered by? I think again we have talked about it being a Telefilm New Media Fund.
2775 So I guess what we are saying, to answer your question specifically, if you did everything we suggested and put all the money towards a Telefilm New Media Fund and did all those things, well then yes -- and maybe looked at the size, maybe 100 million is not the right number, maybe whatever, you know, looked at it as an appropriate level commensurate with the current state of the industry, then yes, we would support something like that.
2776 It makes sense to us that you would follow the audience to the ISPs, because that's where they have gone. As long as you follow your own mandate of imposing a levy on BDU's -- the logic is flawless -- that you would do the same thing on the ISP role because the audience is there, they are watching the same content. But really it's a question of when and how you do it.
2777 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Is one component of that the replacement of the money that's lost from traditional broadcasting versus what I will call new money?
2778 Like are you seeing the need for the pot to get bigger or the pot to not get smaller?
2779 MR. KHANNA: If you went with the logic of replacing money I think you might find in very short order you were putting more money towards new media then you are in the BDU side of the business.
2780 I mean the industry still has to find itself on a new media platform. Certainly the audiences are there and they are watching all this content, but again, $9 million, there is no industry there. So you would put yourself, if you use that as one of your guiding principles, in a position of funding a very large gap and an uncertain gap. We don't know how many years it's going to take for that $9 million to turn into a real industry in Canada. What we need to do now is just take a step in the right direction, rather than solve the entire problem, because we can't.
2781 COMMISSIONER KATZ: There is no question that we have heard an awful lot about repurposing traditional broadcasting into new media and also the promotion of traditional broadcasting through new media, we haven't heard the creation of new media for new media.
2782 MR. ELLIOTT: But I think that that's where the way of looking at it is a little bit different.
2783 When you are creating content you are creating television content and, as we said earlier, it really should not matter where the content is being viewed or how it's getting to the audience, if it's rabbit ears, if it's cable, if it's through your internet, it's still the same kind of show.
2784 And so when you are talking about creating new media content I'm not quite sure I know what that means, if that means creating something that broadcasts first on the internet and then it goes to television so the windows are just reversed?
2785 To me it's just a pipe that gets the content into your house and it really shouldn't have any bearing on the creation of the content itself, unless you are talking about creating a whole community of television that just resides on the internet and I don't think that broadcasters in Canada right now are looking at that at all. I know we are not.
2786 We look at it as -- as I said earlier and to repeat it, I think it's important that it is the responsibility of the broadcaster to put the content where your audience is and not create content for just one specific medium. That's just talking about video content, that's not talking about interactive, new media content or content that has something else that happens around it on a website.
2787 If you look at even cable television for example, you have a PVR, the audience is now in control of when it comes into the house, it stays in a box and then it's played back when you want to play it back. So because it's sitting in another box or a computer, is that new media content?
2788 Really you are talking about distribution of content, which is completely different than the creation of content in our minds and the two are somewhat separated.
2789 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So then help me, because in paragraph 32 of your submission this morning you talk about the fact that you have:
"... taken a unique entrepreneurial approach"
2790 And then you go on and say:
"We have also developed a viable model of producing professional content at low cost..."
2791 MR. ELLIOTT: Yes.
2792 COMMISSIONER KATZ:
"... and distributing that content widely over TV, the web and mobile. The model works."
2793 So does that mean the economics of new media production is less than the economics of traditional broadcasting?
2794 MR. ELLIOTT: No, it's the same. You know, by way of example, we couldn't produce scripted drama. That would be unaffordable for us. That is not in the kind of content that we produce.
2795 So the content we produce is for a very specific demographic and our secret sauce, if you want to call it, is the fact that, again, as we talked about earlier, we have a generational shift that's going through. I'm now seeing 21-year-olds that can produce content and have been producing content for four, five, six years in their basement, that are better than some of -- certainly not prime time network television, but certainly a lot of the television that you see that is produced out there, these kids are producing content that is better.
2796 So for us, what we do, and the reason why our model works, is we have a studio and a facility and we allow our audience to come in and make content at our place. So we have fixed overheads, we have very young staff and they work -- the producers work to create content because it's the passion and love of what they do.
2797 What we like to say is there is a big gap between YouTube and network television and this is the gap that I think certainly we are talking about filling right in the middle place.
2798 So in addition to that what is making content more and more affordable, certainly for our company, is that technology costs have come down and down and down. So we have an audience that can produce content on a laptop as opposed to $100,000 edit suite.
2799 MR. KHANNA: I think in addition what we are saying by saying, you know, the model works, is trying to make our point clear. We are not here actually looking for money in the sense that if you didn't do it we were going to go out of business or something like that. I think we believe that this new economy, this new digital media business requires an entrepreneurial approach, requires innovation, requires, as we have said earlier, a commitment to new media, which is why we are here, to demonstrate that, you know, some broadcasters in this country are committed to making this work and finding ways to do it and if there was no new money we would be fine.
2800 But with the new money we are going to be able to do things that we can't do today, scripted drama, you know, other genres of programming, things that will ultimately serve your purposes and your mandate under the Act that will help get more Canadian content on the internet.
2801 So of course it would be beneficial and I think that's the key point of that message.
2802 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. I'm going to try to transition this to another topic.
2803 You have talked about tethering and you have talked about closed platforms.
2804 Are those interchangeable in your mind, the notion of --
2805 MR. KHANNA: Yes. I think we have distinguish between two types of tethering. One is sort of a hardware locked tethering where it's a mobile phone or a new type of box, set-top box or something like that, and the other is more of a software tethering that's on the internet, which would be the conditional access portals I spoke of earlier, where if you are a subscriber to cable company "X" you can get access to their website, to password protected area on their website that would show you all the content.
2806 COMMISSIONER KATZ: The same would go for wireless or mobile as well, to the extent that they are prepared to allow their customers, their end-users, to access your portals, it's available through a proprietary access as opposed to through an open portal?
2807 MR. KHANNA: That's right.
2808 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Or are the wireless guys allowing everybody access to everything?
2809 MR. ELLIOTT: Yes. We appreciate there is going to be the whole open side of the internet, but when service providers create content areas, we think it's important that Canadian content be at least at the front of the line or visible when you walk in the front door, fully appreciating -- again, this is what we talk about, lots of changes over the years to come and the last time there were hearings we weren't talking about mobile video at all and here we have we can go and pick up our phone and get content from anywhere in the world.
2810 So for us think it's important that Canadian producers, broadcasters, have the opportunity to have their content up front in these tethered services.
2811 COMMISSIONER KATZ: What are the dynamics of your relationship when you want one with the wireless carriers?
2812 I mean if you take it to the TV industry, the traditional broadcasting, the Cat 2s have to knock on the door of the cable company, make a deal to broadcast.
2813 What are the dynamics of you taking BiteTV or whatever to the wireless carriers and asking them to provide preference and access to their customers to a closed environment?
2814 MR. KHANNA: I think it's similar if not in some ways more difficult.
2815 They don't have the infrastructure on those sites to deal with the number of content players out there. The natural sort of motivation would be to do fewer deals with higher profile content, which ultimately means American content.
2816 That's what we are concerned about here. We have been lucky enough that BiteTV is available on every mobile platform across Canada. Our new service OX is also having similar attraction but, you know, it's difficult and I think we are actually the exception in this case to where you will find a lot of Canadian content creators and smaller broadcasters that can't get access to these portals.
2817 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So is that what you are talking about when you talk about closed platforms or lack of shelf space on closed platforms, the fact that these distributors, if I can call them that, wireless distributors, are limiting what their customers can have access to and to the extent that there is better opportunity, I guess, in foreign websites and foreign access, they are preferring them over Canadian?
2818 MR. KHANNA: Yes. I think it's not just shelf space. I think, as you have said in the sort of materials for this hearing, that ultimately shelf space in sort of this type of platform is unlimited.
2819 That hasn't turned out to be exactly true in the mobile space yet, but I can see that coming.
2820 What really comes at you, for example in your phone, if you subscribe to a TV service on your phone, I mean this is a very small device, it's limited in that quality -- front-of-aisle shelf space is limited.
2821 You might be able to search and find anything in the catolgue -- in fact, there might be 80 percent Canadian content in that database and only 20 percent American, yet that 20 percent foreign content might be what is driving 100 percent of the usage, if that is all that is promoted on that front page -- on the front little screen.
2822 I think that is what we are getting at.
2823 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Do you see a need for the Commission to look at the access, the availability of ".ca" websites, if I can call them that, over "." any other universe website as a priority or a proprietary need?
2824 MR. KHANNA: We are trying to make a very clear distinction between the open internet and these tethered services.
2825 We are not, in any way, advocating that the open internet is regulated in any way, so any ".ca" domain, any website, even if operated by a BDU --
2826 If it is just a website and it has video or audio on it, that's great. I hope that everyone here can appreciate the overwhelming challenge in trying to even think about regulating that space. We certainly don't think it is possible.
2827 However, in the specific, limited instances of tethered services where you are, for example, paying for a subscription for a TV service on your mobile phone, or as mentioned, where you are getting access to a web portal from your satellite provider as part of your subscription to television services, the same shelf space and Cancon rules and BOD rules that we apply to one property should apply to the other, because to the user, again, it makes no difference.
2828 COMMISSIONER KATZ: When you refer to the notion of ecosystems, you are talking about the access component and you are talking about the funding component, or are there other aspects of the ecosystem that are lacking that are not making this thing jell properly?
2829 MR. KHANNA: The ecosystem is all of those things. It is, really, creating a sustainable industry. That is what we mean by the word "ecosystem".
2830 A sustainable industry, again, is not possible today with, you know, $9 million of ad revenue for video, and X amount of dollars for more video production on the internet, and only $14 million in telephone for building websites.
2831 With all of these fragmented pieces and a young industry, we don't have a viable industry.
2832 The other key component that is missing, really, is an industrial problem. We don't have a website in Canada where we can go and watch everything for free, and in a legal way. It's just not there.
2833 That's a problem. You have to search and scrape and go to different websites and find different pieces, and it's not all there. That is partially a rights problem that is evolving and changing, and it is also, partially -- frankly, a little bit of lack of innovation. I am a little bit distressed at the gap between the Canadian market and the U.S. market at this point, in terms of broadband video. That is part of the reason why we started this company and why we are focused on this company.
2834 Those are the components of ecosystem.
2835 COMMISSIONER KATZ: When you use the word "free" I shutter, because somewhere someone has to pay the freight. You say that there is nowhere where you can go to get something for free. At the end of the day, the user pays for it, does he not?
2836 MR. KHANNA: I think, again, with tethered services, that's why we think the most likely scenario to unfold is one where they are tethered to an existing television subscription. So the user is paying.
2837 That is what we think will drive this industry, in addition to, of course, advertising support.
2838 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I have one last question. In your initial submission on December 5th, in paragraph 5 you say toward the end:
"Audiences are measured in people, not dollars. Canadian youth are watching video online, but access to quality content options is severely limited."
2839 We are talking about the same thing. This is what you are talking about, having access to those that are closed platforms.
2840 MR. KHANNA: Yes, I think that's exactly right.
2841 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
2842 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2843 Michel, you had a question?
2844 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes.
2845 Good morning. It's possible that, in the future, the networks will be more and more congested, so my question is: What do you think of the technique of deep packet inspection as a means to prioritize Canadian content?
2846 MR. KHANNA: This is not a question we have contemplated, so my instinct on that question would be that it is too early to impose that type of technological restriction, or technological regulatory framework.
2847 We don't know how this is all going to unfold. We don't know what the mix will be, in terms of -- we don't even know, in the future, how clearly we will be able to distinguish between content as delivered over the internet or closed internet, protocol-based networks.
2848 We use the example in here of WiMAX technologies. That spectrum is being allocated. Those things are going to happen. We have seen the introduction of WiMAX video services already in Europe and in the U.S. In your car, your kids can have a VOD system in the back of the car seat that is downloading movies, on demand, over the air. There will be an interesting argument to say: Is that the internet, or is that not the internet?
2849 They can browse the internet on the same device.
2850 What you are suggesting, in terms of that type of bandwidth shaping, I think, is far too complex to find a workable solution today that would apply to all of the new things that are coming.
2851 I don't know how you would do that.
2852 COMMISSIONER MORIN: But as far as the content is concerned right now, with this technique we can identify P2P file sharing, we can identify eDonkey, FastTrack, BitTorrent, et cetera.
2853 MR. KHANNA: But if I was a cable company, when I created my conditional access portal, why wouldn't I employ P2P technologies to do that?
2854 I probably would. That's a very effective way of distributing content.
2855 Again, distinguishing between the two types of traffic, I think, will become very, very difficult; not to mention -- I don't know how you would ever tell the difference between a piece of foreign content and a piece of Canadian content.
2856 It just sounds like an overwhelming challenge to me.
2857 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thank you.
2858 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tim?
2859 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Good morning, gentlemen.
2860 First of all, I liked everything you said, but, Raja, at a certain point you were talking, and you had a throw-away line that wasn't in relation to your principal point. I believe it had something to do with the taxation of the internet for raising funds, and I quote you, you said that you proposed "a cautious and conservative approach."
2861 Do you recall what you were addressing, and could you expand upon that just a bit, please?
2862 MR. KHANNA: Absolutely. I think what we don't want to happen is, I don't want to be back in this room in three years or five years, looking back and saying: We introduced this $100 million fund, and we put it all toward new media content, and, wait a minute, what do we have to show for it?
2863 The measurement wasn't figured out. All of these technological issues weren't figured out. There were all of these new services that came that didn't get deployed, and, boy, wasn't that a waste of money.
2864 I am terrified of that, because that actually hurts us all, rather than helping us.
2865 In the short term, it might help some production to happen, but it really doesn't help to build a viable, long-term industry, which is what our goal is here. Our goal is to build a profitable business, period, it is not anything else. Let's be clear about that.
2866 With that long-term view in mind, and the fact that the measurement is impossible today, and the type of technological solutions are impossible to predict today, we really do believe -- and the fact that the industry is so small today. Again, I will quote the $9 million figure from the IAB.
2867 It would be prudent for the CRTC to really be very cautious, with that view in mind.
2868 Also, that comment was in the context of -- if you are not able, for jurisdiction or other reasons, to direct the funds toward an entity like Telefilm, and you were just creating a "new media fund" and putting it toward some existing television thing, where maybe there is not the right -- deep level of expertise to manage those funds, and effectively understand new media and challenges specific to new media, then I think that more caution is warranted.
2869 COMMISSIONER DENTON: So you see certain institutional barriers to making effective use of that money, at the moment, in the various of the fund grantors.
2870 MR. KHANNA: I have been lucky enough to have played a role in the development and been part of funding from the Telefilm New Media Fund and the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, and other funds like those, since their inception, and it's been a long time. They would probably sit here before you and tell you that they still haven't quite figured out new media measurement and new media -- all of these things. It changes every year.
2871 There is a deep level of expertise that is required to keep up with these issues. I think we have seen that across industries, in government, as well as in the broadcast industry.
2872 Talent and expertise and knowledge are really the key ingredients to making this all work. It is not just writing a cheque to Entity X and everything will be okay, this is a brand new space that nobody has the answers to.
2873 So, yes, I do think that that is a fundamental issue that needs to be kept top of mind.
2874 COMMISSIONER DENTON: When I hear you speak, you certainly indicate that it's generational. It sounds to me like no one over 25 need apply, something of that nature.
2875 MR. KHANNA: As you can probably tell, we are definitely over 25 sitting here. I don't believe that is true. I think that is true in the statistical, broader sense, but it is certainly not exclusive of anyone else. There are a lot of very smart, very talented new media professionals in this country. In fact, there is probably a higher ratio in this country than in most other countries, and we are very proud of that in Canada.
2876 Again, I think that we have to put the money in the right place.
2877 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay. Thank you very much.
2878 THE CHAIRPERSON: Rita?
2879 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
2880 Good morning. In your exchange with Commissioner Katz, when you were talking about BDUs acting as portals, you said: The shelf space rules that apply to one should apply to the other.
2881 But, as you know, there are different shelf space rules for BDUs, in terms of what they distribute, and then you, as licensees, have different shelf space rules, in terms of how much Canadian content.
2882 So which set of rules would apply?
2883 MR. KHANNA: Commissioner, I wish we had the budget to have hired the team of lawyers we would have needed to effectively answer that question.
2884 MR. KHANNA: We don't have a specific answer to that question. I think what we are saying is, it is definitely something that should be investigated, and we believe that some level of rule should apply.
2885 For us, shelf space is less important than front-of-aisle shelf space. We have heard that before at this hearing, as well.
2886 I think that on the internet -- and, again, it is clear in your documentation that shelf space is ultimately not the issue. The issue is what gets the front-of-aisle shelf space.
2887 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Based on that last statement, why do you think that regulatory intervention is required in order for this to become a reality?
2888 In other words, do you think that this is something the broadcasting industry could negotiate with the BDU industry? In your entrepreneurial spirit, could this be accomplished?
2889 MR. ELLIOTT: It could, but I think that there are a lot of good Canadian, smaller companies that aren't getting the kind of visibility that perhaps they could.
2890 I will tell you, unequivocally, that it is a very, very long row to hoe for a small company such as ours to get to where we are today.
2891 This started back in 2001, and there were a lot of dark days in my basement as we got this thing up to speed.
2892 It would be nice if there was an opportunity to, at least, be in the visible range when customers are coming in the door to look at your content.
2893 MR. KHANNA: I think, if you were to say that -- my temptation as an entrepreneur is to say: Yeah, let the market figure it out. We'll be okay.
2894 But, then, if I said that, that would apply to everything, including television.
2895 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
2896 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We appreciate your submissions.
2897 Let's move to the next intervenor before we take a break, Madam Secretary.
2898 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2899 I would now invite Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to make its presentation.
2900 Appearing for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is Mr. Ian Morrison.
2901 Mr. Morrison, you have 15 minutes for your presentation.
2902 M. MORRISON : Monsieur le Président et Conseillers, merci de nous accueillir à cette importante audience. Comme vous le savez, les Amis de la radiodiffusion canadienne constituent un chien de garde indépendant pour la programmation canadienne au sein du système de radiodiffusion de langue anglaise. Nous jouissons de l'appui de plus de 100 000 Canadiens.
2903 In order to learn more about our supporters' use of new media, as well as their opinions, we recently invited a randomized sample to respond to a series of questions. As a result, we learned that 93 percent use high-speed internet, 47 percent regularly, and a further 21 percent occasionally read newspapers on the web. Among these web newspaper readers, 37 percent read exclusively Canadian newspapers, 46 percent read mostly Canadian newspapers, and 17 percent read mostly foreign newspapers.
2904 Three percent regularly watch TV shows or movies on the web, 19 percent do so occasionally, and 78 percent not at all.
2905 Among these web viewers, 11 percent view Canadian shows only, 18 percent predominantly Canadian shows, 24 percent predominantly non-Canadian shows, and 47 percent watch only non-Canadian shows.
2906 We also received some articulate advice from our supporters, some of which I wish to convey to you today.
2907 Catharine Ambrose, from Mississauga, Ontario, told us that a strong Canadian broadcasting presence on the web is a necessity to inform, educate and project positive attitudes that enhance life in Canada.
2908 Arlington Mair, from Riverview, New Brunswick, wrote:"Being so close to the U.S. influence, it is essential that we confirm our Canadian identity both on the Web and in the news media."
2909 Brian Richards, from Kelowna, British Columbia, asked us to pass along the following comment:
"The CRTC should be strong advocates of Canadian content. The arts industry in Canada is a vital employer and financial supporter to our country."
2910 Just last week, Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable, said:
"The reality is that we are starting to see the beginnings of core cutting, where people, typically young people, are saying, `All I need is broadband. I don't need video.' And obviously they are already saying they don't need wire-line phone."
2911 As the Commission has made clear in the Public Notice, this hearing is not concerned with user-generated broadcasting content, and Friends suggests that the Commission should focus primarily on commercial content.
2912 A Canadian presence should be an integral, positive and creative part of new media. Otherwise, we risk a more costly retroactive system refit, one that might more readily be opposed as a tax if Canadian content rules were to be imposed after the fact.
2913 Ninety-six percent of our supporters believe that the principle of public ownership applies equally to the internet and the public airwaves.
2914 We consider it critical that commercial internet broadcasters of audio and visual content maintain a level of Canadian programming consistent with the expectations of the Broadcasting Act.
2915 During the Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking hearings, Friends made several submissions supporting the notion of eliminating obsolete regulations which no longer are fair or needed, but we also continue to support strongly the value of regulation designed to ensure that the Canadian public interest is not subordinated to the interests of geographical monopoly BDUs or programming undertakings.
2916 Through reasonable and responsive regulation over four decades, this Commission has crafted one of the best broadcasting systems in the world, especially with respect to the widespread availability of domestically produced content.
2917 While the concept of market forces may seem seductive, fair commercial practices depend on a balance of strength between content providers and content distributors in order to ensure successful outcomes. One need only look at the result of deregulation in American financial markets to see the potential for unintended negative consequences.
2918 As Betty Young, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, wrote:
"We need to ensure that the Canadian view and reporting on national and international issues is supported. The market has just proven to us all that it cannot function without regulation. Look at the banks in the U.S."
2919 We contend that market forces alone will not ensure a predominant Canadian presence in new media programming emanating from Canadian websites, and the recent survey of our supporters indicated that 96 percent of them agree with us on this point.
2920 Bruce Barrett, from Whitehorse, Yukon, told us that the CRTC should consider the web to be as important to Canada's cultural sovereignty as any broadcast media, and to be prepared to regulate it in a similar fashion.
2921 According to Dave Collacutt, from Innisfil, Ontario:
"The market will be shaped. The question is, who will influence the shaping. Government regulation must be used to shape the development of the Internet market to benefit all, rather than only the powerful."
2922 The public is becoming used to an intermingling of traditional and new media. Their choices to tune in or to use online content are driven largely by convenience or by economic factors, and also by the relevance of the content to their interests and passions.
2923 Barb Massey, from Salmon Arm, British Columbia, asked us to tell you that the web is gradually replacing many of the programs we watch on TV or listen to on the radio. As such, the same regulations ought to apply to the web.
2924 In light of the increasing presence of all forms of media on an equal footing in public consumption habits, we believe that it is reasonable to extend the same public policy and Broadcasting Act support for Canadian content to all media, including new media.
2925 Accordingly, Friends recommends that the existing exemption rules be terminated and be replaced with rules which ensure a predominant use of Canadian programming in new media.
2926 In many instances, as the Commission's own research confirms, a strong Canadian programming presence already exists. These rules should ensure that new media, in common with existing radio and television stations, continue to make a valuable contribution to Canadian programming going forward.
2927 The ability to listen or view programming online provides enormous flexibility. Aware that internet-based delivery of television services to both television sets and computers will eventually become the norm, BDUs are already trying to replicate this flexibility and convenience.
2928 The Commission should envision a distribution policy for the internet which shares the goals and objectives of the recently concluded BDU review.
2929 Internet service providers, many of which are also BDUs, clearly understand future trends and have introduced additional bandwidth fees to take advantage of increased downloading of high bandwidth content, such as video. As the quality of internet video improves, ISPs will generate increasing profits from these additional bandwidth charges.
2930 Barb Goertzen, from Brooks, Alberta, expressed it well:
"There needs to be more regulation which will actually protect the public interest. When there are so few ISPs in the game, we cannot depend on ISPs to better anything other than the bottom line."
2931 Friends also supports Peter Grant's recommendation that ISPs pay a percentage of their internet revenues into a Canadian New Media Fund, to help finance Canadian new media projects. Such a new revenue stream would increase the supply of resources for Canadian programming in new media.
2932 When we asked our supporters whether they supported or opposed a required 3 percent contribution by ISPs to a Canadian New Media Fund to help finance new media projects, 78 percent expressed support, 4 percent were opposed, and 17 percent had no opinion.
2933 Blair Neufeld, from Victoria, British Columbia, writes:
"Put great Canadian content online. People will come....A contribution from ISPs makes sense since they will profit from increased Internet usage."
2934 And Patrick Cherneski, from Regina, Saskatchewan, suggests:
"Offer annual competitions with prize money and/or broadcasting contracts to encourage Canadian stories and Web/new media innovation. Market the best ones internationally to increase visibility, brand and potentially revenues that can be turned back into more development."
2935 Commission and securities data demonstrate that BDUs are enormously profitable. Some have suggested that they would pass on any contribution to their customers, which seems inappropriate in view of the fact that the backbone of the existing internet and home telephone business was financed by funds which this Commission allowed them, over many years, to collect from Canadian subscribers in order to cover the necessary capital expenditures.
2936 Regarding the hearing's focus on measurement, impact, contribution, support, visibility and promotion, as well as exemption orders, a few comments.
2937 Measurement is not central to Friends' submission. We have referenced evidence and anecdotes that younger viewers are moving to the web. One implication is that the value of programming rights to top U.S. shows will diminish in Canada as a result of multiple viewing options, which will have an impact on Canadian broadcasters. We have seen no business models to monetize visibility and promotion internationally.
2938 In summary, the 1999 New Media Exemption Order was appropriate to both the technology of the time and the fact that geo-filtering providing any level of addressability did not then exist. Ten years later, the web competes for audience with over-the-air and BDU-delivered radio and television broadcasters.
2939 Online programming content that meets the definition of broadcasting should be subject to the same Canadian content requirements as today's conventional and specialty broadcasters. Friends supports fully the Commission's view that Canada's broadcasting policy should be technology neutral.
2940 With respect to the mobile exemption, Friends did not support the Commission's decision, primarily because we believe that Canadian programming should be an inherent part of any programming content offered, and not be imposed after the fact.
2941 For these reasons, we ask the Commission to ensure that commercial broadcasting by Canadians on the internet contain an appropriate level of Canadian content consistent with the existing rules for both radio and television.
2942 Encore une fois, Monsieur le Président et Conseillers, merci de l'honneur que vous nous faites en nous recevant aujourd'hui.
2943 I would be pleased to respond to any questions you might care to pose.
2944 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Morrison.
2945 It seems to me that there is a fundamental flaw in what you are suggesting. You say on page 5:
"In light of the increasing presence of all forms of media on an equal footing in public consumption habits, we believe that it is reasonable to extend the same public policy and Broadcasting Act support for Canadian content to all media, including new media."
2946 Then you basically advocate a policy of taking our existing policies and transferring them over to new media.
2947 But as we point out in our documentation, one of the problems is that our existing media is all based on the control of access, which doesn't exist on the internet.
2948 Also, our existing policies are, basically, designed to ensure a certain amount of Canadian content, because we can measure what is there. But we have no idea of what is available in new media, and yet you are telling me that measurement is not important.
2949 To use your exact words, "Measurement is not central to Friends' submission," yet you advocate that we impose the same rule.
2950 I can't reconcile this. If you can't measure it, how can you impose a rule that suggests a predominance of Canadian content?
2951 MR. MORRISON: Mr. Chair, the reason we are here is that we have great concern, although we have no expertise regarding measurement, that the new media needs to have as strong as possible Canadian content. The thrust of our submission is that, going forward, your Commission should be addressing the questions of Canadian content in new media in parallel to your concern for other media under your Broadcasting Act responsibilities.
2952 That does not seem to me to be a fundamental flaw.
2953 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand your concern, absolutely; I am talking about how to implement that concern, because the methodology that you seem to suggest, as I understood it, is taking the existing rules and applying them to new media does face some very fundamental problems.
2954 MR. MORRISON: Nothing that's worth doing is easy. It's a huge challenge in front of you. I don't mean to -- if anything in our remarks suggested we thought you should take a rubber stamp from where you are today and other media and apply it to new media, please understand that is not our intent.
2955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
2956 Rita, you have some questions?
2957 MS CUGINI: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Morrison.
2958 You referred quite often to this randomized sample survey that you conducted and, yet, in your written submission there is no reference to this randomized survey. So can you tell me over what period of time this was conducted?
2959 MR. MORRISON: In our written submission in the second paragraph, we said that we are currently soliciting the views of our supporters and we would suggest it would be beneficial to the process if we were to share these with the Commission in the course of the forthcoming hearings.
2960 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And what was your sample size?
2961 MR. MORRISON: We have approximately 100,000 supporters. We can reach approximately 40 percent of those people via the internet. We chose a sample of 2,000 of those people and we received responses from 175.
2962 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And what are the demographics of that sample?
2963 MR. MORRISON: Don't know.
2964 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. So you don't know male, female, age?
2965 MR. MORRISON: I can tell you generally speaking what our support base is, is if you like, but we did not impose on those people a long survey. It was a simple survey, and I will be pleased to flip it to you if you would like to see it.
2966 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
2967 MR. MORRISON: We wanted to get the flavour of the views of our supporters. We imagined that those statistics could be out by something in the range of 5 or 10 percent but they are suggestive of where our support base is, and we're not suggesting for a moment that that reflects the Canadian population.
2968 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No, I understand.
2969 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
2970 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: But it does reflect your membership?
2971 MR. MORRISON: We think so to a degree.
2972 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Thank you.
2973 In your oral presentation:
"...online programming content that meets the definition of broadcasting should be subject to the same Canadian content requirements as today's conventional and specialty broadcasters."(As read)
2974 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So are you suggesting that if -- and we know Bite TV who were just up here, for example, they have a website and they stream their programming online, that Bite TV should be subject to a separate licence for that online content?
2975 MR. MORRISON: I would have to reflect on the situation of Bite TV or --
2976 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Or any -- I just used Bite as an example because they were just here.
2977 MR. MORRISON: Yeah. Going forward, we believe that professional commercial for profit business activity on the internet should be subject to the same form of regulation as exists on traditional platforms.
2978 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: When ACTRA was here, Mr. Morrison, Colin Mockery presented and I asked him the question that if he were to start some kind of show on his own website should he be subject to licensing and his answer was "yes". Would you agree with that?
2979 MR. MORRISON: Well, I really -- I suppose I might say I do but to me it is not important to agree or disagree with Mr. Mockery. I understand where he is coming from.
2980 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No, but it's important for me to understand what you mean by an online broadcaster.
2981 MR. MORRISON: We were drawing our definitions from some of the Commission's own statements in the public notice. We think that the key thing here is commercial for profit intent and that is really the definition of what would be online broadcasting.
2982 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So it could be a traditional broadcaster or it could be an independent producer starting a channel online based on your definition.
2983 MR. MORRISON: M'hmm.
2984 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay.
2985 MR. MORRISON: And it would be more important to regulate to having conceded that we have problems of measurement. It would be more important to regulate those who are achieving substantial audiences than those that are in a very, very niche environment.
2986 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And would you have a definition of substantial?
2987 MR. MORRISON: No.
2988 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. At the bottom of page 3 of your written submission -- and this is a question of clarification -- you say:
"Web initiatives have become standalone products within most broadcast companies."(As read)
2989 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: What do you mean by standalone products? Do you mean as a profit centre?
2990 MR. MORRISON: We mean that most broadcasters have decided to use the internet as a platform for distributing some of their content and, as such, it's distinct. It's a distinct means of reaching the public and as such we call it standalone. Maybe you could help me improve the word if you understand the concepts.
2991 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: It's your submission.
2992 You know, those are all my questions, Mr. Morrison. Thank you very much.
2993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2995 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes, good morning.
2996 I'm surprised by one of the statistics you put forward this morning -- it's on page 2 -- when you wrote that among these web viewers 47 percent watch only non-Canadian shows.
2997 So do you think that there is a demand for Canadian content throughout the world?
2998 MR. MORRISON: Yes, and I suspect that what we are seeing as a result of that statistic and just reporting what the people told us is that there is a lot more supply of non-Canadian video content available to them, taking your previous discussions about the metaphor of shelf space, you know, at a level where they can find it then there is Canadian content. We weren't -- in this little survey we did not seek to measure the supply/demand aspect of the question, Commissioner Morin.
2999 COMMISSIONER MORIN: But do you think that our producers should differentiate themselves from American producers and get a real edge on them being specific focusing and developing niche markets. And do you have some ideas about those niche markets if there are some?
3000 MR. MORRISON: Our point of view, our point of departure is the interest of the viewers and listeners. We don't give advice to producers nor do we claim to in any way speak for them. What we hear over and over again from the people with whom we are in touch is that they want accessible Canadian choices and they are very concerned that in this new media environment those choices may be limited and they have a strong expectation and actually respect for what your Commission has achieved. It's very -- I'm now speaking to other research that we have commissioned from professional sources.
3001 About a year ago I think we submitted to you a public opinion poll from Pollara and that and other research we have commissioned suggest that there is a very high expectation from the public that it is the responsibility of your Commission to be the leader on this subject. Canadians have quite substantial confidence in your Commission to look after this issue on their behalf.
3002 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thank you very much.
3003 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3005 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning, Mr. Morrison.
3006 You had said earlier in your submission that you believed that because the Canadian public has put money into infrastructure through their user fees that they essentially have subsidized the building of internet infrastructure. Is that correct?
3007 MR. MORRISON: Yes.
3008 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And would it flow out of that thinking that this is why you believe that the principal of public ownership should apply equally to the internet?
3009 MR. MORRISON: Our purpose in making the comment about flow through of CapX funds which applies both to the telephone and to the development of cable in this country, going back 10-15 years, is to indicate that at a time you are -- at that time your Commission decided under its authority that it was in the public interest to develop this kind of infrastructure and you authorized these major -- in the case of cable -- territorial monopolies to be able to pass on quite a bit of their capital costs to their users.
3010 And we just wanted to make the point that that generosity by the Canadian public through the decisions of your Commission enabled the pipes to get to where they are today. And therefore, that should be taken into account when one thinks about whether -- the number 3 percent has been used by many people -- whether a contribution of that nature to encourage and stimulate more Canadian content, audio and video content -- I'm not going to call it necessarily television -- should be paid for by those companies out of their very substantial profits or by the users. That's just our advice.
3011 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The last time I looked Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Telus are all publicly-traded companies and there is public ownership. The Canadian public does have the opportunity to participate just as they do with General Motors, God forbid, at this point and others.
3012 But is that mechanism not enough for you that the Canadian public can invest in these companies in that way?
3013 MR. MORRISON: No, I don't see a connection between the capacity of the Canadian public to invest and the point we were making but I -- and I have no advice to the Canadian public or to your Commission about which companies to invest in.
3014 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you.
3015 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tim?
3016 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Good morning, Mr. Morrison.
3017 I have been looking through your excellent website and I note that in your presentation you propose online programming content that meets the definition of broadcasting. Now, putting it simply, broadcasting according to the legal rule means basically full motion video or sound and it would be open to interpretation whether if by some criterion which we haven't figured out yet, whether if there is enough video on a site it becomes broadcasting.
3018 So looking at your site we see this clip of the Minister of Heritage and other things. A site with enough video on it might become subject to licensing by the CRTC under your definition.
3019 How would you feel if your website were subject to regulation under the Broadcasting Act? How would you consider that? Would that be a useful expenditure of our time?
3020 MR. MORRISON: You probably would find a way to exempt something that was just a net -- there is no revenue to that site. There is an expenditure of a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year of our supporters' money to keep it going and you probably would come to the conclusion that it wasn't a good use of your Commission's time or resources to licence it.
3021 But should you come to the other view we would step in line. And you know I accept that there is video and audio content on that website, some of it actually professionally produced at a loss, and it is there.
3022 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Do you believe that your ability to campaign for funds for the cause of Friends of Canadian broadcasting should be subject to the permission of the CRTC?
3023 MR. MORRISON: No, I guess I don't.
3024 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Thank you.
3025 MR. MORRISON: Yeah.
3026 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
3027 I think those are our questions for you, Mr. Morrison.
3028 We will take a 10-minute break. Thank you.
--- Suspension à 1029
--- Reprise à 1046
3029 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire, nous sommes prêts.
3030 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur le président.
3031 J'inviterais maintenant l'Union des consommateurs à faire sa présentation. Monsieur Anthony Émond comparaît pour l'Union des consommateurs et il présentera son collègue, après quoi vous aurez 15 minutes pour votre présentation.
3032 Monsieur Émond.
3033 M. ÉMOND: Monsieur le président, mesdames et messieurs les conseillers, laissez-moi tout d'abord vous remercier pour nous avoir permis de participer aux audiences publiques.
3034 Notre participation vise à tenter de vous aider à prendre la meilleure décision possible dans la future réglementation des nouveaux médias. Il nous semble, en effet, qu'il n'est plus ici question de savoir s'il faut réglementer ou non, mais plutôt de décider comment le faire.
3035 Les raisons pour lesquelles le Conseil se doit d'agir sont multiples, mais reposent sur deux facteurs essentiels, à savoir, d'une part, que nous faisons actuellement face à une convergence accrue entre radiodiffusion et télécommunication et, d'autre part, que le Conseil semble s'être détourné du principe de neutralité technologique quant à l'application de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
3036 Monsieur le président, permettez-nous, avant de continuer, de vous citer. Le 13 mai dernier, vous déclariez devant le Comité permanent du patrimoine canadien : « Contrairement à ce qui s'est passé avec plusieurs autres instances dans le monde, l'élaboration de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion a tenu compte de l'évolution technologique à venir. Elle ne réfère à aucune technologie en particulier. Ce faisant, le mandat du Conseil couvre tous les types de radiodiffusion. » Nous abondons dans ce sens: le Conseil doit, par conséquent, traiter également tous les types de radiodiffusion.
3037 Concernant une éventuelle réglementation des nouveaux médias, vous précisiez : « Une chose est certaine: nous ne voulons absolument pas transférer notre réglementation de l'ancien système de radiodiffusion au nouveau. Si nous faisons quelque chose -- et je dis bien si -- ce sera complètement différent. » Nous sommes également d'avis que le Conseil doit faire preuve d'innovation dans la réglementation.
3038 Concernant la présence de contenus canadiens, vous disiez: « L'expérience nous a montré jusqu'ici que si l'on propose du contenu canadien, du contenu de qualité, les gens le regardent et se transforment en auditoire fidèle. » Nous le croyons aussi, mais estimons, comme l'a fait précédemment le CRTC, que, sans contrainte en ce sens, les diffuseurs risquent de l'oublier.
3039 Comment s'assurer que ce contenu soit présent sur les nouvelles plate-formes de diffusion que sont Internet et les téléphones sans-fil? Vous répondiez justement, monsieur le président : « C'est en partie grâce à la réglementation que nous y parvenons, et en partie aussi grâce à des mesures incitatives. »
3040 Nous ne pouvons de même que souscrire à votre analyse quant à la convergence: « Nous assistons à une convergence sur le plan technologique. Les technologies de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications ont été fusionnées et l'industrie a fait de même. Ainsi, Rogers est-elle un radiodiffuseur ou une entreprise de télécommunications? On peut y avoir les deux. Quand vous regardez un film sur un dispositif portable, est-on en situation de radiodiffusion ou de télécommunications? Qui sait? Nous sommes en pleine convergence. »
3041 Nous assistons en effet à une convergence technologique, mais pas seulement. La convergence a lieu également au niveau des entreprises. Mais cette convergence n'est pas nécessairement problématique, dans le cadre d'une réglementation, tant et aussi longtemps que le principe de neutralité technologique de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion est scrupuleusement appliqué.
3042 Le Conseil se doit, par conséquent, de replacer le principe de neutralité technologique au centre de sa réglementation en matière de radiodiffusion.
3043 Le Conseil, dans son avis public 1999-84, insistant sur cette neutralité qu'impose la Loi sur la radiodiffusion: « Le Conseil fait remarquer que la définition de « radiodiffusion » inclut la transmission d'émissions, encodées ou non, par tout autre moyen de télécommunication. Cette définition est, à dessein, neutre sur le plan technologique. Par conséquent, le simple fait qu'une émission soit transmise par internet plutôt qu'à l'aide d'ondes radioélectriques ou par un câblodistributeur ne l'exclut pas de la définition de « radiodiffusion ».
3044 Le Conseil réitère à raison ce principe, précisant dans l'Avis d'audience publique de radiodiffusion CRTC 2008-11, au paragraphe 22: « Selon l'avis préliminaire du Conseil, le type précis de transmission ne devrait pas entrer en ligne de compte pour déterminer si le contenu répond ou non à la définition de radiodiffusion. Au contraire, cette définition devrait être tout à fait neutre en ce qui concerne les moyens de transmission et devrait ainsi s'appliquer dans l'environnement des nouveaux médias au contenu téléchargé, diffusé en continu, transmis poste-à-poste, etc. »
3045 La chose est entendue: le contenu, soit « l'émission et sa transmission sont au coeur de la définition de radiodiffusion et le moyen par lequel est transmis « l'émission » ne doit avoir aucune incidence: « Radiodiffusion: Transmission, à l'aide d'ondes radioélectriques ou de tout autre moyen de télécommunication, d'émissions encodées ou non et destinées à être reçues par le public à l'aide d'un récepteur. » L'internet étant un « moyen de télécommunications », les émissions qui sont transmises par internet sont elles aussi visées par la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
3046 Depuis l'Ordonnance d'exemption, on a pu noter sur internet un développement fulgurant des services proposant des contenus qui relèvent de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion. Afin de répondre adéquatement à ces nouveaux développements, nous sommes d'avis que le Conseil devrait appliquer de façon stricte la Loi sur la radiodiffusion à une certaine catégorie de contenus dits de nouveaux médias, soit ceux qui répondent à la définition d'« émission ».
3047 Le Conseil se doit de maintenir et de renforcer le principe de neutralité technologique et de s'assurer de son respect intégral dans toutes les sphères qui relèvent de sa compétence. Le manque de rigueur dans l'application de ce principe a ouvert la voie à une réglementation éparse, à la logique par moment incompréhensible puisque la réglementation s'appliquerait différemment, soit selon le mode de transmission, soit selon le type d'entreprise. Aujourd'hui, le câble, réglementé par la Loi sur la radiodiffusion permet à l'utilisateur de capter des émissions transmises en direct ou en différé, d'avoir accès à du contenu par le biais de la vidéo sur demande, mais aussi d'avoir accès à internet et au contenu qui y est rendu disponible et qui peut fréquemment être identique à celui qui est offert par les autres modes de diffusion. Les entreprises de télécommunication, de leur côté, par le biais de leurs réseaux, diffusent ou proposent de la vidéo sur demande par le biais d'internet.
3048 À titre d'exemple du déséquilibre injustifié que nous constatons, nous soumettons le cas du service de vidéo sur demande pour lequel les entreprises doivent obtenir une licence, service que nous comparerons à des services équivalents, qui, parce qu'ils sont offerts sur internet, sont visés par l'exemption.
3049 En 1998, le Conseil a accordé cinq licences à des services de vidéo sur demande.
3050 La vidéo sur demande, selon le Conseil, se définit par trois éléments de base: « une bibliothèque ou une installation de base comme un ou plusieurs serveurs vidéo, un service de navigation interactif et un système de distribution mis à niveau pour permettre la transmission de signaux numériques ».
3051 Les dites licences ont été attribuées sous conditions : les services de vidéo sur demande devaient, selon le Conseil, « contribuer aux émissions canadiennes ». Les services vidéo sur demande se sont vu imposer des quotas pour la diffusion des longs métrages.
3052 Les licences comprenaient également l'exigence d'une contribution d'au moins cinq pour cent des recettes annuelles brutes réalisées par l'entreprise de programmation de vidéo sur demande à un fonds de production d'émissions canadiennes, ainsi qu'une exigence de promotion des émissions canadiennes.
3053 Aujourd'hui, nous voyons apparaître sur internet un service de vidéo sur demande, la Boutique vidéo Bell, initié par Bell. Ce service permet d'acheter ou de louer des films. Or, parce qu'il est proposé par le biais d'internet, ce service n'est pas soumis aux conditions de licence des autres services de vidéo sur demande, alors qu'il semble répondre en tous points à la définition de vidéo sur demande donnée par le CRTC dans l'Avis public 1997-83. La Boutique vidéo Bell possède, en effet, « une installation de base comme un ou plusieurs serveurs vidéo, un service de navigation interactif et un système de distribution mis à niveau pour permettre la transmission de signaux numériques. »
3054 Ce n'est pas tout; nous pouvons également mentionner le service Bell TV qui propose du contenu en ligne disponible pour les abonnés de Bell TV, anciennement Bell Express Vu; Telus propose de son côté un portail appelé « Globetrotter », qui diffuse des matchs de hockey junior et des archives de clips vidéo. Rogers a annoncé qu'il allait lancer aussi un service de vidéo pour son service internet large bande.
3055 Ainsi, si le Conseil décide d'une nouvelle réglementation, d'une nouvelle approche, pourquoi ne pas revoir l'intégralité de la réglementation de la radiodiffusion, et instaurer des règles similaires pour toutes les activités qui relèvent de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, indépendamment du médium de diffusion. Cela serait certes une réglementation innovante.
3056 Nous tenons à préciser que l'approche pour la réglementation de la radiodiffusion que nous proposons s'attache à la personne physique ou morale qui exerce un contrôle effectif tant sur la sélection des programmes ou des contenus que sur leur organisation. Ainsi, des licences devraient être données par le Conseil et certaines modalités imposées pour l'octroi de ces licences. Cette réglementation ne toucherait évidemment que les entreprises qui fournissent ces services.
3057 Nous sommes d'avis que le Conseil ne devrait pas non plus exempter, s'il relève du champ d'application de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, le contenu reçu sur des appareils mobiles grâce à la technologie point à point, et ce d'autant plus que, à la différence de l'internet, les abonnés de ces services n'ont accès qu'au seul contenu offert et sélectionné par leur propre fournisseur de service.
3058 La télévision ou la radio peuvent être diffusées sur les appareils mobiles. L'absence de réglementation sur ce mode de diffusion du contenu a pour effet que bon nombre d'entreprises ne proposent que, majoritairement, des contenus en anglais, les émissions de langues française étant dramatiquement sous-représentées. Par exemple, sur les 25 ou 30 chaînes que les trois grandes compagnies que son Bell, Rogers et Telus proposent sur leurs services sans-fil, on ne compte au mieux que trois chaînes en français, dont une chaîne de météo.
3059 Or, La Loi sur la radiodiffusion prévoit en son Article 3 (1)k) que: « Une gamme de services de radiodiffusion en français et en anglais doit être progressivement offerte à tous les Canadiens, au fur et à mesure de la disponibilité des moyens. » Il est donc nécessaire de mettre fin à l'Ordonnance d'exemption pour permettre que soit respecté cet objectif de la Loi et que les Canadiens puissent se voir offrir l'accès à ce type de contenu.
3060 Parce qu'elle entraîne l'application pour les contenus identiques ou raisonnablement assimilables, de régimes de réglementation différents selon le médium. L'Ordonnance d'exemption pour les nouveaux médias ne doit plus être maintenue.
3061 La convergence des médias et l'adoption du protocole internet nécessitent que soient repensés les schémas classiques autrefois adoptés. Ainsi, la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et la Loi sur les télécommunications doivent se compléter et être interprétées de façon à ce que chacune de ces Lois puisse permettre d'atteindre les objectifs de l'autre. Si des barrières existent pour l'accès au contenu canadien sur les nouveaux médias, ces barrières doivent tomber. Or, il existe des barrières qui sont mises en place sciemment par les fournisseurs d'accès, comme les limites d'usage et le ralentissement d'internet.
3062 La convergence des entreprises dans le domaine des télécommunications et de la radiodiffusion est le catalyseur de l'apparition de ces barrières.
3063 Nous rappellerons l'Article 3 de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion qui précise que : « Le système canadien de radiodiffusion devrait: servir à sauvegarder, enrichir et renforcer la structure culturelle, politique, sociale et économique du Canada; demeurer aisément adaptable aux progrès scientifiques et techniques; tous les éléments du système doivent contribuer de la manière qui convient, à la création et la présentation d'une programmation canadienne. »
3064 À la lumière de ces objectifs, nous constatons que la radiodiffusion canadienne a à jouer un rôle économique, culturel et social. Le CRTC a pour mission de veiller à l'atteinte de ces objectifs. En outre, la radiodiffusion doit pouvoir s'adapter aux progrès scientifiques et techniques, c'est-à-dire que la radiodiffusion doit suivre les évolutions technologiques et s'adapter à ce que recherchent les Canadiens. Par ailleurs, l'ensemble doit contribuer à la création et à la présentation d'une programmation canadienne.
3065 Actuellement, cinq entreprises de télécommunication perçoivent 77 pour cent des revenus d'accès internet. Ces cinq entreprises détiennent plus de 80 pour cent des abonnés canadiens à l'internet. Sur ces cinq entreprises, quatre sont soit verticalement intégrées, c'est-à-dire qu'elles produisent et diffusent du contenu à la fois sur internet et sur le câble ou via le satellite, soit horizontalement intégrée, c'est-à-dire qu'elles possèdent plusieurs moyens de diffusion du contenu.
3066 Or, du fait de ces intégrations verticale et horizontale des entreprises, les objectifs de la Loi sont menacés dès qu'il est question des nouveaux médias. En effet, comme le souligne le Professeur Noam dans le document intitulé : « De la télévision ou non? Trois types d'écran, une seule réglementation », l'accès large bande a permis aux consommateurs d'avoir accès à une programmation diversifiée. Notamment, il est possible d'avoir accès par internet à la télévision traditionnelle, selon un horaire différent, de regarder des émissions de télévision traditionnelle en provenance de son pays d'origine, de télécharger des films à la demande, de regarder du contenu généré par les utilisateurs ou bien de regarder du contenu spécialisé.
3067 Toutefois, toutes ces possibilités d'accès sont limitées pour le consommateur canadien, pour ce qui est du contenu canadien.
3068 Pourquoi? Parce que plusieurs des cinq grandes entreprises qui fournissent l'accès internet ont instauré des mesures qui empêchent les Canadiens d'avoir accès au contenu.
3069 Vous pouvez avoir beaucoup de contenu canadien sur internet; si vous ne pouvez y accéder librement, vous avez un problème. Il revient au CRTC de résoudre ce problème.
3070 En premier lieu, examinons les limites de bande passante instaurées par les compagnies qui fournissent internet. Si l'on raisonne par analogie avec le câble et le satellite, une pratique semblable reviendrait à limiter le nombre d'heures de programmes que pourraient visionner les consommateurs. Vous auriez droit à tant d'heures d'émissions par mois ensuite vous devriez payer les câblodistributeurs ou les entreprises de satellite pour en voir plus. Si je décide de regarder le câble ou le satellite 24 heures sur 24, rien ne m'en empêche; sur internet ce n'est plus le cas.
3071 Ces limitations influent sur la capacité d'utilisation d'internet et, par conséquent, sur la capacité de consommation des émissions et empêchent le développement de ce mode de diffusion et du contenu, nuisant par le fait même à la présence du contenu canadien sur internet et à son accessibilité.
3072 La suppression des limites d'usage permettrait aux consommateurs canadiens de visionner un plus grande nombre de contenu de nouveaux médias ou, à tout le moins, leur laisserait le choix de le faire ou de choisir le médium sur lequel ils désirent regarder les dites émissions, sans que des limites à ce choix ne soient imposées par les entreprises de télécommunication qui fournissent la bande passante et qui, du fait de leur intégration verticale et horizontale, se trouvent en situation de conflits d'intérêt.
3073 En second lieu, le ralentissement délibéré d'internet par certaines entreprises ralentissement qui vise un type d'application internet en particulier sois le peer-to-peer, pourrait fort bien être contraire à l'un des objectifs de la politique en matière de radiodiffusion.
3074 En effet, nous rappellerons à nouveau l'Article 3 de la Loi qui précise que: « le système canadien de radiodiffusion devrait: demeurer aisément adaptable aux progrès scientifiques et techniques; tous les éléments du système doivent contribuer de la manière qui convient à la création et la présentation d'une programmation canadienne. »
3075 Or, ralentir une application qui est utilisée notamment pour la transmission de programmes ou émissions canadiennes contrevient à cet objectif. Certaines entreprises ont malgré tout décidé de ralentir l'accès jusqu'à des vitesses qui étaient la norme des débuts de l'internet, soit au temps des accès à internet par ligne commutée, interdisant en pratique au système canadien de radiodiffusion de s'adapter aux progrès scientifiques et techniques, soit les nouveaux modes de diffusion que permet internet.
3076 Nous nous retrouvons dans la situation paradoxale où le Conseil autorise en vertu de la Loi sur les télécommunications une entreprise à ralentir une application qui permet la radiodiffusion d'émissions canadiennes alors même que cette pratique pourrait contrevenir aux objectifs de la politique de radiodiffusion.
3077 Tout comme la limitation de l'usage, le ralentissement d'application nuit à la disponibilité de contenus et contrevient ainsi aux objectifs de la politique de radiodiffusion. C'est la conclusion à laquelle en arrivait la FCC dans l'affaire Comcast:
3078 « We predict that prohibiting network operators from blocking or degrading consumer access to desirable content and applications on-line will result in increased consumer demand for hi-speed internet access and, therefore, increased deployment to meet that demand. In particular, we agree with Free Press that the unimpeded availability of high-definition content on-line will lead to increased adoption of broadband internet access, as well as consumer demand for network upgrades that would result in higher speeds that would allow such content to be accessed more quickly. Similarly, ensuring that consumers have unimpeded access to such content and applications will promote the availability of such content and applications. Put another way, the expenditure of both creative and financial capital on such content and applications is much less likely if large numbers of internet users will be unable to access them in an unfettered manner. »
3079 Nous encourageons le Conseil a adopter une position similaire: libérez l'accès au contenu canadien par le biais d'internet et celui-ci sera présent sur internet.
3080 En conclusion; l'Union des consommateurs suggère la fin des ordonnances d'exemption et l'application de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion à tous nouveaux médias, en application du principe de neutralité technologique; L'Union des consommateurs préconise une nouvelle approche pour la réglementation de la radiodiffusion, qui s'attache à la personne physique ou morale qui exerce un contrôle effectif tant sur la sélection des programmes ou des contenus que sur leur organisation; L'Union des consommateurs demande que soit mis un terme à toutes les pratiques qui pourraient nuire à l'atteinte des objectifs de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et qui empêchent le consommateur d'avoir accès aux contenus canadiens sur internet et sur les plate-formes mobiles;
3081 L'Union des consommateurs demande que soient appliqués les objectifs de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion aux plate-formes mobiles, notamment quant à la diffusion d'émission en français.
3082 Sur ce, nous vous remercions et sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.
3083 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci de votre présentation. Vous dites que nous avons une grande impression des compagnies de câble et compagnies qui approvisionnent l'internet. Pour cette raison on peut établir un règlement, on peut réglementer et qu'on peut demander une limite qui transmette des contenus canadiens.
3084 Mais nous parlons ici de l'internet et des nouveaux médias. Les usagers sont en contrôle par la compagnie qui fait la transmission. Si nous adoptons vos recommandations, est-ce que le récent cas ne va pas être que les consommateurs vont aller au site web où on n'a pas de restriction et que...
3085 Je suis d'accord avec vous, nous pouvons implanter des réglementations pour les entreprises canadiennes, mais est-ce que vous croyez que ça va fonctionner, ça ne va pas avoir un effet contraire que les usagers, s'ils n'aiment pas ces contenus, vont aller à un autre site ou à une autre source d'information?
3086 M. ÉMOND: Les Canadiens demandent du contenu canadien. Si on propose du contenu canadien, ils vont s'orienter vers ce contenu canadien et ils en veulent, ils en demandent. Donc, si on multiplie et si on arrive à augmenter la présence du contenu canadien, à ce moment-là, ça laisse le choix aux Canadiens d'aller là où ils décident d'aller regarder sur internet.
3087 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bon, mais...
3088 M. ÉMOND: En fait, il s'agit de s'assurer d'une présence minimale de contenu canadien par les entreprises canadiennes à ce moment-là.
3089 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais est-ce qu'un autre intervenant donc suggérait qu'au lieu de réglementer, que nous faisions un système de subventions, c'est un frais pour les distributeurs qui va avoir un fonds qui va fournir la programmation canadienne soit pour les nouveaux médias, soit pour les médias traditionnels?
3090 Est-ce que vous ne pensez pas que ce serait un système plus facile? On va produire le contenu canadien et s'il y a... on va assurer que ça existe sur les nouveaux médias et sur l'usager qui va décider s'il veut le voir, au lieu que nous établissions des règles qui exigent qu'ils soient produits?
3091 M. ÉMOND: Ce qu'il faut éviter, c'est que des plate-forme canadiennes diffusent exclusivement du contenu, par exemple, américains de l'étranger. Donc, que ce soit subventionné pour avoir des émissions et plus de contenu canadien, à ce moment-là c'est une voie peut-être à suivre, mais il faut également s'assurer que les entreprises canadiennes ne fournissent pas que du contenu étranger.
3092 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pouvez-vous mettre le micro plus près de vous parce que j'ai des problèmes à vous comprendre. Voulez-vous répéter cette réponse, s'il vous plaît?
3093 M. ÉMOND: Il faut s'assurer, effectivement, d'une part, d'avoir du contenu canadien et si, à ce moment-là, on veut éviter que les entreprises canadiennes ne reprennent que du contenu américain ou étranger et diffusent sur leur portail, internet, à ce moment-là on voit la disparition du contenu canadien. Et dans le cas de subvention, pourquoi, effectivement, leur avancer des subventions et, ça, ces modalités, le Conseil pourra les établir, pour financer du contenu également canadien.
3094 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Et dans la page 12, vous parlez sur le ralentissement de libérer d'internet, votre dernière phrase, vous dites : « Nous encourageons le Conseil à adopter une provision similaire, libérez l'accès au contenu canadien par le biais d'internet, et celui-ci sera présent sur internet. »
3095 Qu'est-ce que vous voulez dire par « le biais d'internet »?
3096 M. ÉMOND: Je vais vous donner un exemple qui a été souvent repris. La CBC a utilisé Bit-to-rent pour diffuser sur internet une série télévisée. Si vous ralentissez le mode de transmission, vous empêchez, à ce moment-là, les usagers, les consommateurs à pouvoir accéder à ce type de contenu.
3097 Donc, il faut mettre un terme à ces limites qui restreignent les possibilités d'accéder pour les Canadiens.
3098 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Louise, je crois que tu as des questions?
3099 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Oui, monsieur le président. Bonjour, monsieur.
3100 M. ÉMOND: Bonjour.
3101 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Dans un premier temps, peut-être pour mettre une toile de fond, j'aimerais savoir, quand vous dites que, bon, vous reflétez les préoccupations des consommateurs canadiens, de quelle façon vous procédez pour faire cette affirmation-là parce que ce matin, entre autres, on a eu les Friends of Canadian Broadcasting qui nous ont dit avoir fait un sondage auprès de leurs membres pour pouvoir ainsi refléter, en tout cas, ce que leurs membres pensent.
3102 Alors, de quelle façon vous procédez dans l'Union des consommateurs du Québec pour refléter l'idée des québécois et, donc, des Canadiens?
3103 M. BOUCHER: Bonjour. Marcel Boucher de l'Union des consommateurs aussi. Les connaissances des préoccupations des consommateurs à l'Union des consommateurs, on les a par le biais de nos membres, nos membres qui sont des membres corporatifs, qui sont des associations qui travaillent sur le terrain dans plusieurs régions au Québec, qui nous rapportent les préoccupations des consommateurs.
3104 À l'Union des consommateurs, on a aussi, bien sûr, des appels directement des consommateurs, des communications des consommateurs. On a aussi une liste d'abonnés d'à peu près 15 000 membres que l'on consulte à l'occasion. Pour cette question-là, ils n'ont pas été consultés sur ce sujet précis.
3105 Par contre, sur les questions de, par exemple, de ralentissement d'internet dont Denis parlait tantôt, les ralentissements, les limites imposées aux bandes passantes, de mémoire, auprès de 5 000 consommateurs qui se sont inscrits à nos listes d'envoi lorsqu'on a intenté des recours collectifs contre les compagnies qui procédaient à ces choses-là, pour des motifs contractuels et non pas pour des motifs qui intéresseraient le CRTC.
3106 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: O.k. Alors, vous n'avez pas procédé à une consultation particulière pour ce dossier-ci?
3107 M. BOUCHER: Strictement sur cette question-là, non.
3108 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, quand vous affirmez, par exemple, aussi et vous l'avez répété à monsieur le président, que les Canadiens veulent du contenu canadien, vous le faites sur quelle base? Est-ce que c'est suite à l'ensemble des plaintes justement que vous avez reçues au fil des ans ou comment vous pouvez faire une telle affirmation?
3109 M. ÉMOND: Monsieur le président du CRTC l'a dit devant le Conseil du Patrimoine. Des études dans les documents qui ont été fournis au CRTC viennent le confirmer également. Dans le Rapport du professeur Noam, il me semble également ça figure. Donc, c'est à partir de ces éléments que nous nous basons pour affirmer cela.
3110 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Parfait. On va passer en revue quelques-uns des points que vous avez donnés aujourd'hui dans votre présentation, qui sont assez similaires au document que vous nous avez fait parvenir.
3111 À la page 4, vous dites en plein milieu de cette page-là que « Le Conseil devrait appliquer de façon stricte la Loi sur la radiodiffusion à une certaine catégorie de contenus dits de nouveaux médias, soit ceux qui répondent à la définition d'émission ».
3112 On a entendu toutes sortes de points de vue depuis le début des audiences. Est-ce que vous voulez parler aussi des producteurs qui ne font de la production que pour internet ou uniquement pour les grands diffuseurs qui, déjà, font de la programmation sur internet?
3113 M. ÉMOND: Ça s'appliquerait à tout le monde, là. Il n'y aura pas de distinction, le principe de neutralité technologique est ce principe qui soit être replacé. On l'a tous à ce moment-là. C'est... justement le but, c'est d'être le plus neutre possible, de ne plus faire de distinction par rapport aux modes de diffusion, que ce soit de l'internet, du câble ou de la télévision, c'est là où ça devient problématique.
3114 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Parfait. Dans une de vos recommandations, la deuxième, je pense, vous préconisez une nouvelle approche pour la réglementation de la radiodiffusion et dans le texte aussi vous en parlez à un moment donné qu'il faut instaurer des règles similaires, mais pas les mêmes règles.
3115 Est-ce que vous allez jusqu'à dire qu'il faudrait une nouvelle loi qui serait différente de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion et de la Loi sur les télécommunications?
3116 M. ÉMOND: Ce qui serait intéressant c'est peut-être effectivement de réexaminer le cadre global et de s'interroger sur le fait... dans une période de convergence technologique et les entreprises de voir si maintenant une loi globale sur les communications qui englobe les deux ne seraient pas plus utile à ce moment-là.
3117 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Vous savez que ça serait un processus qui serait beaucoup plus fastidieux, celui-là, hein! On entreprendrait des démarches qui seraient beaucoup plus poussées, c'est le gouvernement canadien qui devrait le faire.
3118 M. ÉMOND: Exactement.
3119 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: J'aimerais maintenant savoir si à l'Union des consommateurs du Québec, en supposant qu'on voudrait réglementer et qu'on voudrait créer un fonds qui permettrait de favoriser le développement du contenu canadien, pour éviter justement qu'on se retrouve aussi avec du contenu américain, avec une trop grande prédominance un peu partout sur le net et en radiodiffusion, est-ce que vous pensez que les consommateurs sont prêts à payer plus cher? Parce que, veut, veut pas, si on chargeait à quelqu'un, par exemple, au fournisseur de service internet ou à d'autres distributeurs de service internet, il y a de grandes chances que la facture soit refilée aux consommateurs?
3120 M. ÉMOND: Ce qu'il faut voir... il y a plusieurs questions que vous abordez. C'est, d'une part, qui va contribuer à un fonds, par exemple. À ce moment-là, si je suis un fournisseur de service internet, mais qui n'offre pas de contenu ou de portail à ce moment-là directement qui fait une sélection de contenu, je ne vois pas pourquoi il irait subventionner à ce moment-là. Il fait juste son travail de fournisseur d'accès internet.
3121 Pour le consommateur, actuellement nous voyons, par exemple, aux États-Unis, que certaines personnes, certains consommateurs arrêtent leur abonnement au câble parce qu'ils trouvent sur internet tout le contenu dont ils ont besoin ou qu'ils désirent.
3122 Donc, ils passent à un autre mode de diffusion, celui de l'internet et abandonnent le câble à ce moment-là, il n'y aurait plus qu'un abonnement pour le consommateur au lieu d'avoir une charge sur deux abonnements internet.
3123 Moi, je vois plutôt une économie, à ce moment-là.
3124 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, j'aimerais approfondir un petit peu plus ça. Bon. Si jamais on voulait créer un fonds, il faudrait que quelqu'un paie. Alors, revenons à la base. Qui, selon vous, devraient payer pour contribuer à ce fonds-là?
3125 M. ÉMOND: Les entreprises qui, à ce moment-là, ont un contrôle sur ce qu'on appelle un catalogue, un portail, qui mette le contenu directement en ligne à ce moment-là, celles qui proposent un portail spécifique de contenu.
3126 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, ça ne serait pas automatiquement les fournisseurs de service internet. Ça pourrait être qui?
3127 M. ÉMOND: Toute entreprise qui fournit, à ce moment-là, un portail dédié avec du contenu, qui soit dans la définition de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion avec les émissions.
3128 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Est-ce qu'un propriétaire de site web pourrait aussi être mis à contribution, dans le sens où vous venez de le définir?
3129 M. ÉMOND: Ce n'est pas le site web que nous cherchons à réglementer, c'est l'entreprise, à ce moment-là. Il y a quand même une différence. Ce n'est pas l'internet qu'on cherche à réglementer ou le site internet. C'est l'entreprise qui effectue cette sélection à ce moment-là du contenu.
3130 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Donc, ce serait les grands services de câblodistribution, ceux qui sont présents actuellement.
3131 M. ÉMOND: S'ils effectuent, effectivement, du contenu. S'ils le mettent en place. Si l'agence, d'une façon particulière en proposant un portail dédié avec du contenu. Après, si elles ne le font pas, si elles ne proposent pas un contenu particulier avec un portait dédié à ce moment-là, elles jouent le rôle de fournisseur de service internet uniquement, peu importe le contenu puisque le consommateur peut aller regarder du contenu comme il peut envoyer du courriel, comme il peut le regarder des sites internet.
3132 Il peut faire énormément de choses et, à ce moment-là, c'est qu'est-ce qu'on place et quel est le contrôle de l'entreprise sur ce qu'elle place.
3133 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Le réseau qui est offert actuellement aux Canadiens ne permettrait pas, je pense, à tout le monde de pouvoir regarder en même temps la finale de la Coupe Stanley sur internet.
3134 Alors, est-ce que... je pense que le système pourrait planter, comme on dit en bon français. Est-ce que, à ce moment-là, si on n'est pas à même de permettre à tous les Canadiens de profiter de la radiodiffusion sur internet, est-ce qu'on ne devrait pas s'assurer, d'abord et avant tout, que les Canadiens ont un accès à un service de large bande qui est à la... qui correspond aux espoirs et à la fierté des Canadiens.
3135 M. ÉMOND: C'est ce qu'il faudrait, ce serait merveilleux que les Canadiens puissent avoir un système d'accès à Internet à haute vitesse qui soit comparable à ce qui se fait de mieux dans d'autres pays. Nous souhaitons cela ardemment.
3136 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, une autre question. Puisque vous êtes en faveur de la réglementation, êtes-vous en faveur de la création d'un fonds pour supporter le contenu canadien?
3137 M. ÉMOND: Ça peut être une idée que le Conseil doivent envisager, oui, effectivement. Mais il appartient au Conseil de décider à ce moment-là.
3138 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Est-ce que l'un peut exister sans l'autre?
3139 M. ÉMOND: C'est-à-dire?
3140 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: C'est-à-dire, est-ce qu'il peut y avoir de la réglementation sans la création d'un fonds ou vice versa?
3141 M. ÉMOND: C'est possible.
3142 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Vos réponses sont courtes, nettes et précises. Je l'apprécie énormément.
3143 Dans vos documents, vous nous précisez aussi que le téléchargement au Canada se met en quinzième place au niveau de la vitesse. C'est très loin, O.k. De plus, vous nous dites aussi au niveau des coûts, pour l'accessibilité internet, que le Canada occupe le dix-huitième rang sur 30.
3144 Est-ce que le fait d'ajouter de la réglementation et possiblement de demander une contribution à un fonds ne pourrait pas faire en sorte que ces deux éléments-là, entre autres, celui du coût, pourraient être augmentés en bout de piste, malgré les choix que vous nous avez dits tantôt, qu'il y aurait une possibilité que les gens, au lieu de continuer à s'abonner à la télé, délaissent la télé pour venir simplement sur internet?
3145 M. ÉMOND: Il y a des questions qui relèvent des entreprises et puis du gouvernement également de favoriser une politique pour justement avoir un accès large bande pour toute la population canadienne et du niveau de ce qui se fait à l'étranger, dans d'autres grands pays qui ont des accès beaucoup plus rapides.
3146 Des mesures ont été prises dans ces pays pour que les entreprises investissent et acceptent de financer pour qu'elles puissent permettre que les Canadiens ou dans les autres pays, que les gens aient accès à de l'internet haute vitesse. Ce sont des mesures que le gouvernement pourrait envisager.
3147 Mais il y a aussi des décisions d'entreprises; ce n'est pas nous qui prenons cette décision. Donc, elles doivent investir dans le réseau. Ça s'est fait à l'étranger, il y a des entreprises qui ont réussi à monter un réseau et à proposer un accès internet à très haute vitesse avec, notamment, de la télévision sur internet, avec des télécommunications pour des pays de façon illimitée, c'est possible.
3148 Donc, là, il y a des questions qui relèvent des entreprises qui ne relèvent pas des consommateurs.
3149 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: À la page 10 de votre présentation d'aujourd'hui, en bas de page, on peut lire que vous dites que les entreprises de télécommunications qui fournissent la bande passante et qui du fait de leur intégration verticale et horizontale se retrouvent en situation de conflit d'intérêt.
3150 J'aimerais que vous élaboriez un petit peu plus là-dessus.
3151 M. ÉMOND: Quand vous êtes une entreprise qui possédez à la fois du satellite, du câble et de l'internet, si vos clients décident de mettre un terme à son abonnement, par exemple, de câble ou de satellite parce que le contenu qu'il recherche est disponible sur internet, vous avez manifestement une perte de revenu à ce moment-là.
3152 Donc, qu'est-ce que vous essayez de faire, vous essayez de réduire, à ce moment-là, la fuite de vos clients vers les services internet si le contenu est possible. Donc, les entreprises qui sont intégrées verticalement ou horizontalement, elles n'ont pas intérêt à ce que les gens quittent tous les services pour se diriger que vers un seul service.
3153 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, êtes-vous à même de dire qu'il y a une certaine forme de contrôle pour peut-être ne pas rendre la bande passante large haute vitesse plus disponible pour faire en sorte que les abonnements de câble restent là et maintiennent le modèle économique tel qu'il est actuellement?
3154 Est-ce que c'est ce que vous dites?
3155 M. ÉMOND: Vous le dites très bien à ma place, c'est ça.
3156 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Je voulais tenter de résumer votre position parce que je l'ai lue à deux occasions: dans votre document de base et ici et j'ai toujours cherché à comprendre exactement ce que vous vouliez dire. Alors, c'est bien ça?
3157 M. ÉMOND: Vous avez bien compris.
3158 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER: Alors, je n'ai pas d'autres questions, monsieur le président.
3159 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Michel?
3160 CONSEILLER MORIN: Oui, bonjour. J'ai évoqué un peu plus tôt ce matin le DPI, le Deep Inspection Packet qu'on traduit, je pense, par l'ordonnancement par paquet.
3161 Vous dites en page 11, le ralentissement délibéré d'internet par certaines entreprises, ralentissement qui vise un type d'application internet en particulier, soit le peer-to-peer, pourrait fort bien être contraire à l'un des objectifs de la politique en matière de radiodiffusion.
3162 Est-ce que je dois comprendre dans votre position que vous êtes contre l'ordonnancement par paquet même si ça devait favoriser l'accès à plus de contenu canadien en priorité?
3163 M. ÉMOND: On peut favoriser l'accès du contenu canadien d'une autre façon. Le Deep Packet Inspection est employé à des fins autres que cela.
3164 Donc, le Deep Packet Inspection n'est pas nécessaire pour ordonnancer et pour permettre d'avoir accès à du contenu canadien.
3165 CONSEILLER MORIN: Bien, si on sait que les réseaux vont être de plus en plus congestionnés et un des intervenants dans cette audience a proposé justement qu'on utilise de plus en plus cette technique pour favoriser le contenu canadien.
3166 Alors, disons que les opinions sont partagées. Ce monsieur Osgoode Law de Toronto propose cette façon pour prioriser le contenu canadien. Ce que je comprends, c'est que, vous, pour vous, on ne devrait pas utiliser cette technique-là parce que...
3167 M. ÉMOND: Non.
3168 CONSEILLER MORIN: ... il y a d'autres techniques?
3169 M. ÉMOND: Oui. Le consommateur canadien qui désire avoir accès à du contenu canadien, il peut y avoir accès sans qu'on utilise du Deep Packet Inspection. Ce n'est pas nécessaire. On peut gérer le trafic de façon très neutre et les entreprises de télécommunications n'ont pas à choisir les applications qu'elles veulent ralentir ou autres. Ce n'est pas de leur ressort.
3170 CONSEILLER MORIN: Mais, est-ce que ça ne serait pas une façon plus douce de réglementer parce qu'on sait que, de toute façon, les entreprises, de plus en plus, vont avoir... utilisent cette technique. Et dans la mesure où elles l'utilisent, est-ce qu'on ne doit pas leur indiquer en fonction justement des Lois de la radiodiffusion certaines priorités, certaines prioritarisation des contenus?
3171 M. ÉMOND: À ce moment-là, regardons ce qui se fait à l'étranger, par exemple dans les grands pays comme la Corée ou le Japon qui ont des services d'accès internet extrêmement...
3172 CONSEILLER MORIN: Mais qui ont des vitesses pas mal supérieures à celles d'ici.
3173 M. ÉMOND: Exactement, oui, oui, mais ils n'ont pas de problème de trafic et de ralentissement.
3174 CONSEILLER MORIN: Oui.
3175 M. ÉMOND: Peut-être doit-on y voir une relation de cause à effet.
3176 CONSEILLER MORIN: Mais on n'est pas rendu là, nous, avec... On a ici comme vitesse...
3177 M. ÉMOND: Oui. Peut-être qu'il faudrait innover pour permettre d'avoir des vitesses plus rapides et, à ce moment-là, on ne se poserait plus la question de ralentir des applications.
3178 CONSEILLER MORIN: Je suis d'accord, mais pour le moment... Bien, justement, parlant de l'accès des limites à la bande passante, le Bit Cap comme on appelle, est-ce que vous pourriez envisager deux Bit Cap différents, deux limites différentes en ce qui concerne le contenu canadien et le contenu étranger, disons?
3179 M. ÉMOND: Ce que je préférerais, ça serait aucune limite.
3180 CONSEILLER MORIN: Je le sais. Mais supposons que les limites, on reste avec les limites qu'on a actuellement, les vitesses qu'on a actuellement?
3181 M. ÉMOND: Mais imposer une limite, c'est restreindre la possibilité d'avoir accès à du contenu canadien. Donc, vous contrevenez, à ce moment-là, aux objectifs de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion, si vous restreignez la possibilité d'avoir accès à du contenu canadien. Donc, c'est un peu contradictoire à ce moment-là, je pense.
3182 CONSEILLER MORIN: Merci.
3183 LE PRÉSIDENT: Monsieur Denton.
3184 CONSEILLER DENTON: Bonjour, messieurs. La question que je vous pose, c'est: quel est l'intérêt des consommateurs dans cette vaste expansion de pouvoir de réglementation que vous proposez?
3185 M. ÉMOND: Des règles plus neutres et qui favorisent le contenu, d'une part, canadien sur internet et l'accès de ce contenu aux Canadiens. C'est ça qui nous préoccupe. C'est que les Canadiens veulent du contenu canadien et, actuellement, il existe des limitations qui les empêchent d'avoir accès à ce contenu sur internet.
3186 CONSEILLER DENTON: Quels sont ces empêchements?
3187 M. ÉMOND: Je vous les ai mentionnés notamment; les Bit Cap ou les limites d'usage et le ralentissement de l'internet sont des limites qui, actuellement, empêchent les Canadiens d'avoir accès à ce contenu.
3188 CONSEILLER DENTON: Oui, mais ça dépend d'abord si le contenu produit un document si ses... si ces moyens techniques diffèrent pour le contenu canadien vis-à-vis des autres.
3189 Mais ce que vous proposez, je me demande quand l'internet a produit des prix plus bas partout dans le... disons, si on commande un livre ou des disques, vous proposez un système qui implique une sorte d'ajout de coûts parce que la réglementation coûte cher et je vois beaucoup de raisons pour réglementer l'internet, mais j'ai de la misère à croire que les consommateurs vont bénéficier de ces limites, de ces réglementations?
3190 M. ÉMOND: On ne parle pas de réglementation de l'internet; on parle d'une réglementation juste ponctuée pour aider la présence du contenu canadien et favoriser la présence et l'accès à ce contenu canadien sur internet.
3191 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Ce sont nos questions pour vous. Merci beaucoup.
3192 M. ÉMOND: Merci beaucoup.
3193 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire, on est un peu tôt. Est-ce que le prochain intervenant Independent Media Arts Alliance est ici? Est-ce que vous êtes prêts à faire votre présentation? Bon, venez.
3194 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, allons-y.
3195 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, monsieur le président.
3196 J'inviterais maintenant Independent Media Arts Alliance, Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants à faire sa présentation. Monsieur François-Xavier Tremblay comparaît pour l'Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants et il présentera sa collègue, après quoi vous aurez 15 minutes pour votre présentation.
3197 M. TREMBLAY: Merci, madame la secrétaire. Bonjour, monsieur le président, mesdames et messieurs les conseillers.
3198 Mon nom est François-Xavier Tremblay et je suis un peu enroué, donc je m'excuse à l'avance si j'ai des problèmes pendant le cours de la présentation.
3199 Je suis ici pour représenter l'Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants. Je suis accompagné aujourd'hui par la directrice nationale de l'AAMI, madame Jennifer Dorner, qui interviendra au besoin lors de la période des questions.
3200 Nous tenons d'abord à remercier le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes de nous donner l'opportunité de venir présenter le point de vue des créateurs indépendants dans le cadre de cette consultation essentielle au maintien de la valorisation de l'identité nationale et de la souveraineté culturelle canadienne dans l'environnement non médiatique.
3201 L'Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants est un organisme national à but non lucratif, dirigé par ses membres, et qui travaille à l'avancement et au renforcement de la communauté des arts médiatiques indépendants au Canada.
3202 Représentant plus de 80 organisations indépendantes de production, distribution et diffusion en cinéma, vidéo, arts audio et nouveaux médias partout au pays, l'AAMI sert ainsi plus de 12 000 artistes indépendants et travailleurs culturels.
3203 D'entrée de jeu, il importe de préciser certains éléments qui informent notre position et nos attentes vis-à-vis la présente consultation.
3204 Tout d'abord, une distinction s'impose quant à la définition du terme « indépendant », tel que nos membres et les différents intervenants du secteur l'entendent.
3205 Est considéré comme indépendant un projet conçu par un ou une artiste qui en est l'élément moteur et qui en assure le plein contrôle éditorial et créatif. Cette précision est cruciale car la plupart des intervenants de la présente consultation mettent de l'avant un concept d'indépendance beaucoup plus large et parfois flou.
3206 Il est aussi capital de comprendre que ces artistes indépendants dont nous parlons ici sont les artistes professionnels tel que défini par le Conseil des arts du Canada.
3207 Il n'est pas rare de voir employer de manière interchangeable les termes « professionnel » et « commercial. » Or, ces termes ne sont pas nécessairement synonymes, et il est important de reconnaître l'énorme contribution au système canadien de radiodiffusion du secteur professionnel à but non lucratif.
3208 Finalement, le rappel de nos principes directeurs met en lumière la convergence entre nos valeurs et celles qui sous-tendent la politique canadienne de radiodiffusion.
3209 Les groupes membres de l'AAMI sont distincts et différents les uns des autres, ce qui est à la fois enrichissant et appréciable. Nos membres ne se limitent pas à un seul genre, une seule idéologie ou une seule conception esthétique, mais mettent plutôt de l'avant une diversité de visions artistiques et sociales.
3210 Ils adoptent une position antisexiste, antiraciste et antihomophobe dans le cadre de toutes leurs activités. De plus, ils respectent et appuient l'autonomie de la représentation culturelle autochtone.
3211 L'AAMI défend, d'une part, les droits des artistes et des organismes en art médiatique de présenter librement des oeuvres au public, et, de l'autre, le droit du public d'avoir libre accès à ces mêmes oeuvres.
3212 Maintenant que cette introduction est faite, je me propose de plonger au coeur du débat.
3213 Dix ans après l'ordonnance d'exemption des nouveaux médias de 1999 et à la suite des exemptions complémentaires au fil des années, nous nous retrouvons aujourd'hui à devoir réévaluer collectivement la pertinence ou non de maintenir le secteur de la radiodiffusion via les plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles hors du champ d'une intervention réglementaire de la part du CRTC.
3214 L'AAMI est d'avis que l'ordonnance d'exemption de 1999 ne peut plus tenir dans sa forme et son esprit initial.
3215 Que ce soit par la levée de l'exemption et l'instauration de nouvelles règles spécifiques au secteur de la radiodiffusion néomédiatique et mobile ou que ce soit par le maintien de l'exemption dans une forme amendée, nous recommandons que le CRTC intervienne de manière à favoriser la production et la diffusion de contenu canadien sur ces dites plateformes.
3216 Nous recommandons que cela soit fait en instaurant des mesures afin :
3217 - un, d'assurer le financement adéquat du secteur des nouveaux médias indépendants via une participation financière des fournisseurs de services Internet;
3218 - deux, de garantir aux citoyens canadiens l'accès libre et égal au contenu canadien de leur choix; et
3219 - trois, de supporter la composante communautaire du système.
3220 Les différents documents rendus publics par le CRTC dans le cadre de la présente consultation, ainsi que l'ensemble des intervenants qui se sont exprimés à ce jour, s'entendent tous pour exprimer le changement radical de paradigme depuis la fin du siècle dernier en ce qui a trait aux nouveaux médias et aux plateformes mobiles.
3221 Même les statistiques faisant état d'une croissance impressionnante ne laissent entrevoir que la pointe de l'iceberg. Mesurer la pénétration des nouveaux médias en terme d'heures hebdomadaires d'écoute ou de consommation d'Internet trahi une analyse approximative des réseaux de communication contemporains.
3222 Pour tout un segment de la population, notamment celui des moins de 30 ans, Internet n'est pas un flux sur lequel on se connecte périodiquement pour consommer une programmation en mode linéaire, mais bien un réseau auquel les technologies modernes nous permettent d'être connecté en permanence.
3223 En plus d'être un outil de communication précieux, ce réseau, indépendamment du point d'entrée, terminal informatique ou téléphone mobile, est surtout une interface dynamique entre l'utilisateur et le contenu. Certes, l'utilisateur peut aller consulter des émissions en mode linéaire, mais il peut aussi accéder sur demande aux contenus de son choix, et, plus encore, recevoir en tout temps les propositions via différents aggrégateurs de contenus.
3224 Depuis 1999, donc, l'augmentation de la puissance des ordinateurs, la croissance de la connectivité large bande à l'échelle nationale, ainsi que l'explosion de l'offre de contenu audio et vidéo disponible par radiodiffusion néomédiatique ont fondamentalement changé les paramètres de l'équation.
3225 Ce qui est offert actuellement n'a rien à voir avec les contenus alphanumériques statiques de la fin du 20e siècle, et une conséquence directe de cette évolution est que la radiodiffusion néomédiatique concurrence maintenant la radiodiffusion traditionnelle.
3226 Au fil d'arrivée, en 2009, la radiodiffusion dans les nouveaux médias, les nouvelles plateformes et les plateformes mobiles n'est donc plus un élément complémentaire du système de radiodiffusion canadien, mais bien l'une des composantes centrales de sa vitalité actuelle et future.
3227 Cet argumentaire, ébauché ici schématiquement, porte l'Alliance des arts médiatiques indépendants à considérer que plusieurs des raisons qui motivaient l'ordonnance d'exemption de 1999 ne sont plus valides dans ce nouvel environnement.
3228 Nous laissons à CRTC la liberté de juger la manière de traduire légalement nos propositions. Nouvelle réglementation ou exemption amendée, vous êtes les experts.
3229 Là où nous sommes les spécialistes, c'est dans l'évaluation de la situation et des besoins sur le terrain. À ce niveau, nos idées sont très claires.
3230 Dans le contexte actuel, un système de réglementation du contenu canadien diffusé sur les plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles nous apparaît à la fois extrêmement difficile à gérer techniquement et contraire à la nature même d'un environnement caractérisé par l'abolition des frontières et le libre accès aux contenus de son choix, qu'ils soient canadiens ou non, le tout dans les limites prescrites par le Code criminel, bien entendu.
3231 À cet égard, le rapport d'Industrie Canada intitulé « Réglementer le contenu Internet : une nouvelle perspective technologique », publié en mars 2008, offre une analyse claire des limites technologiques et des embûches liées à des différentes méthodes de blocage et de priorisation des contenus.
3232 Bien que nous reconnaissons le rôle important que les systèmes de quotas ont joué dans le développement de certains segments de l'industrie culturelle canadienne, ils ne nous semblent pas être les outils à privilégier dans le cas présent.
3233 Si l'argent est le nerf de la guerre, c'est aussi l'élément qui permettra de fracasser le plafond de verre qui limite la croissance de la production et de la diffusion d'oeuvres indépendantes sur les plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles.
3234 Les fonds actuellement disponibles pour le support de tels projets sont nettement insuffisants. En fait, la quasi-totalité de nos membres, que nous qualifierions de résolument indépendants, n'ont pas accès aux fonds existants, qui comprennent souvent des règles demandant une composante télévisuelle aux projets soumis.
3235 Il est primordial que nos distributeurs indépendants puissent avoir les ressources afin de rendre disponibles en ligne leurs imposants catalogues d'oeuvres canadiennes.
3236 Il est primordial que nos centres de productions autogérés puissent servir d'incubateur où l'innovation ouvrira les portes aux pratiques de radiodiffusion du futur.
3237 Il est primordial que nos artistes néomédiatiques puissent enfin avoir accès aux ressources afin de produire des oeuvres exploitant et mettant directement a l'épreuve les nouveaux protocoles réseau et les fonctionnalités mobiles de pointe.
3238 Je me permettrai ici de citer Robin Jackson, directrice générale du tristement bientôt défunt Fonds canadien du film et de la vidéo indépendants, qui écrivait dans sa soumission au présent processus de consultation :
« While there is no guarantee that Canadians will access Canadian new media products, if such content is not created and made available there is no possibility of Canadians having that opportunity. »(Tel que lu)
3239 Ceci est, à notre avis, l'enjeu principal du débat. Le système canadien de radiodiffusion doit, selon la Politique canadienne de radiodiffusion, « favoriser l'épanouissement de l'expression canadienne en proposant une très large programmation qui traduise des attitudes, des opinions, des idées, des valeurs et une créativité artistique canadiennes. »
3240 Cette programmation elle-même doit « être variée et aussi large que possible, en offrant à l'intention des hommes, femmes et enfants de tout âge, intérêts et goûts une programmation équilibrée qui renseigne, éclaire et divertit. »
3241 Actuellement, le manque de ressources affectées directement à la production et à la diffusion d'oeuvres indépendantes sur les plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles compromet la capacité du système canadien de radiodiffusion à pleinement atteindre les objectifs fixés par la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
3242 Conséquemment, l'AAMI recommande la création d'un fonds dédié spécifiquement à supporter des projets sur plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles et que, impérativement, celui-ci soit libre de contraintes liées à des composantes de radiodiffusion traditionnelles et qu'une portion significative, administrée séparément ou non, soit réservée aux projets indépendants, tel que définis en ouverture.
3243 Évidemment, la question qui suit est : Où aller chercher l'argent pour garnir ce fonds?
3244 Étant donné que nous avons établi que la radiodiffusion néomédiatique est maintenant une composante principale du système de radiodiffusion canadien, étant donné que l'offre néomédiatique existante est diffusée et accédée via les fournisseurs de services Internet, et étant donné que la radiodiffusion représente pour ces mêmes fournisseurs une portion majoritaire de leur trafic, et donc de leurs profits, il nous apparaît raisonnable que ces derniers contribuent financièrement à la production et à la diffusion d'une programmation canadienne, en accord avec l'alinéa 3(1)e) de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
3245 Au niveau des modalités et du niveau de contribution exigé des fournisseurs de services Internet, la proposition reprise par divers intervenants et se chiffrant à 3 pour cent des revenus des FSI nous semble raisonnable dans l'immédiat.
3246 À moyen terme, tout particulièrement suite au passage à la diffusion numérique en août 2011, il serait cependant fort possible que l'écosystème de radiodiffusion canadien ait évolué au point où, dans la lignée de ce qu'Eli M. Noam proposait dans un rapport récent, les redevances imposées aux FSI puissent être harmonisées avec celles déjà payées par les fournisseurs de services de télévision par câble et par satellite.
3247 Nous avons confiance que le CRTC saura orienter toute décision par rapport au niveau de redevance et à l'échéance d'un réexamen de sa politique, en respectant à la fois la notion de flexibilité et l'objectif d'assurer la stabilité économique du développement de la radiodiffusion néomédiatique.
3248 Un autre point où le CRTC devrait se prononcer, selon l'AAMI, est celui de la problématique de la gestion du trafic par les fournisseurs de services Internet. Bien que ce sujet soit l'objet d'une consultation distincte qui est à venir, nous sommes d'avis que la question est bel et bien pertinente dans le cadre d'une instance sur la radiodiffusion néomédiatique.
3249 L'avis de consultation et d'audience pour la présente instance posait la question, à savoir s'il existe des problèmes d'accès au contenu de radiodiffusion dans les nouveaux médias.
3250 La gestion du trafic, telle qu'elle serait aujourd'hui pratiquée par les FSI canadiens, est basée sur une reconnaissance et un blocage des protocoles associés au transfert de fichiers de poste à poste. Or, ces protocoles ne sont pas seulement populaires à cause du piratage. Ils sont aussi une manière efficace et peu coûteuse de partager du contenu parfaitement légal.
3251 L'étude d'Industrie Canada mentionnée précédemment illustre bien comment de telles pratiques peuvent entrer en conflit direct avec l'application de la Politique canadienne de radiodiffusion. Le passage suivant est éloquent.
« Le blocage des protocoles de poste à poste perturberait le trafic des fichiers de poste à poste utilisé par des organisations telles que la Société Radio-Canada et la Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, qui utilisent BitTorrent pour transmettre des contenus à leur auditoire, ainsi que par des artistes indépendants qui utilisent le poste à poste comme moyen d'atteindre leur public. »(Tel que lu)
3252 L'Internet est devenu une extension du domaine public, et les FSI ne doivent en aucun cas compromettre, de par leurs pratiques, la liberté de choix des Canadiens et des Canadiennes relativement à leur consommation de contenus en ligne, tout autant qu'i1s ne doivent pas brimer les producteurs et les distributeurs indépendants canadiens dans la manière dont ils partagent légitimement leurs créations.
3253 Si les FSI gèrent de simples tuyaux et ne peuvent donc pas savoir ce que nous téléchargeons, comme l'affirmait récemment Kenneth Engelhart, vice-président chez Rogers, nous espérons que le CRTC saura leur rappeler leurs obligations vis-à-vis de la Loi.
3254 Finalement, l'AAMI considère que l'intervention du CRTC dans la sphère des nouveaux médias et des plateformes mobiles doit aussi servir à renforcer l'un des trois piliers du système canadien, soit la radiodiffusion communautaire.
3255 La radiodiffusion sur les plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles peut rapidement devenir très onéreuse lorsque la quantité de données transférées à partir d'un site Internet ou d'un serveur est suffisamment importante sur une période donnée. Plus un type de contenu est populaire, plus il est consulté en ligne, plus les coûts de transfert augmentent, au point où ceux-ci peuvent rapidement devenir prohibitifs pour de petits organismes.
3256 Nous suggérons donc que, de la même manière que les câblodistributeurs sont impliqués au niveau de la télévision communautaire, les fournisseurs de services Internet soient invités à offrir une quantité forfaitaire mensuelle de transfert de données afin de supporter des projets néomédiatiques communautaires.
3257 Sur cette dernière suggestion, je vous remercie de votre attention et je me mets à votre entière disposition afin de répondre à vos questions.
3258 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci de votre présentation.
3259 Je crois que le coeur de votre présentation est au paragraphe 19. Vous dites :
« ...l'AAMI recommande la création d'un nouveau fonds dédié spécifiquement à supporter des projets sur plateformes néomédiatiques et mobiles... »(Tel que lu)
3260 Vous étiez ici ce matin quand nous avons écouté les représentants de GlassBOX. Ils disaient exactement le contraire. Ils ont dit que la majorité des contenus est vraiment des contenus pour la radiodiffusion. On peut les -- comme on dit en anglais -- repurpose pour les nouveaux médias, et caetera, mais ce sont toutes les mêmes choses, et ne faites pas un fonds séparé. Sinon, on n'a plus le moyen de subventionner les deux, soit des films, soit des contenus des nouveaux médias.
3261 Pourquoi vous ne partagez pas cette opinion?
3262 M. TREMBLAY : Premièrement, parce que, au niveau des gens et des organismes que nous représentons, soit les créateurs indépendants tels que définis en ouverture, c'est des organismes, des créateurs qui n'ont, dans la situation actuelle, que très peu accès au système de radiodiffusion traditionnelle tel qu'il existe.
3263 Il y a eu certaines initiatives qui ont donné accès à ce segment là de la production canadienne, comme ZTV, il y a quelques années, à CBC, mais les producteurs indépendants tels que nous les définissons ont très peu accès à la radiodiffusion traditionnelle.
3264 Donc, pour nous, il va de soi que juste transférer ce système-là aux nouveaux médias ne répondrait pas aux besoins de nos membres. C'est la première chose.
3265 La deuxième chose. J'ai été, effectivement, très surpris d'entendre la position de GlassBOX TV ce matin. Pour avoir un peu... m'être renseigné sur leur entreprise, étant donné qu'ils ont commencé sur le web, je m'attendais à ce qu'ils soient, effectivement, en faveur d'un décloisonnement du moins de la réglementation pour qu'ils puissent avoir une manière de favoriser la production basée sur le web, parce que je sais qu'au niveau de nos membres et de gens qui ont été consultés dans le cadre de la préparation de notre présentation, il y a un besoin actuellement.
3266 Il y a beaucoup de gens, et on parle tout particulièrement des gens en bas de 30 ans au niveau des entrepreneurs et des artistes indépendants, mais il y a beaucoup de gens qui veulent aller directement sur le web. Pour toute une génération, la télévision, c'est juste... ce n'est pas un élément... ce n'est pas une plateforme sur laquelle les gens veulent aller.
3267 On parle, bien sûr... quand on parle des indépendants, on parle aussi de gens qui ont quand même des niches au niveau des intérêts, qui ne sont pas nécessairement tout le temps le grand public. Donc, l'attrait de la télévision est moins grand pour les gens qui ont des projets qui ont un public plus restreint, plus ciblé. L'Internet permet de rejoindre ces gens-là. Donc, l'Internet est la plateforme qui est favorisée par ces gens-là, et ces gens-là n'ont pas les ressources pour développer... pour aller plus loin dans leur...
3268 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci.
3269 Tim, tu as des questions?
3270 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Yes.
3271 Je vais vous poser les questions en anglais pour accélérer le processus, mais répondez dans votre langue préférée.
3272 When I look at your presentation I see that basically you are saying that we should not regulate the internet because (a) it would be highly technically complex and contrary to its real nature -- this is in paragraph 13:
"...contraire à la nature même d'un environnement caractérisé par l'abolition des frontières et le libre accès aux contenus..."(As read)
3273 So we have: Don't regulate it.
3274 Then we have "access to funds for independent producers" in section 14; "Tax ISPs for carrying new media" in paragraph 20; and don't allow them to engage in traffic management in relation to the burden that would be placed on their systems by peer-to-peer file sharing.
3275 Do I have that right?
3276 MR. TREMBLAY: Yes.
3277 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay. So what would you do if the ISPs simply decided not to carry Canadian content to escape their obligations under this new taxation fund?
3278 MR. TREMBLAY: I don't see how they could do this, how they could not carry Canadian content. I just don't see how technically they would do this, unless you are talking about ISPs that are also broadcasters, that are also producing content.
3279 COMMISSIONER DENTON: No, I'm just talking about pure internet play here, not as a cable delivering services over internet.
3280 MR. TREMBLAY: I don't know how this could work.
3281 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Okay, nor do I, but I'm assuming they could do it if they wanted to evade the taxation.
3282 In any case, it is basically tax the ISPs so we would declare regulatory jurisdiction over them for the purposes of the Broadcasting Act.
3283 Then for the purposes of the Telecom Act, don't allow them to manage the traffic so ensuing.
3284 MR. TREMBLAY: That's a good -- I mean, it's interesting to raise the point and it was mentioned, I think, earlier.
3285 I think that we are seeing convergence between telecommunications technologies and broadcasting technologies. So we are in this position where these two Acts are separate right now, but eventually in the future I think we will have to think about how these two Acts have to come together.
3286 So these are questions in the current situation. True, we have questions like this that are a bit cumbersome but I think maybe these questions are a way to start thinking about how in the future we can rethink the system because right now there are --
3287 I mean if I want to watch the news, sometimes I'm working, I'm staying late at the office, I'm watching CBC on my computer; sometimes I'm back home, I'm opening the TV; sometimes I could be on my way and I would take my iPhone and watch it.
3288 So it's content and the platforms. The way things are moving, it's going to change the way we are interacting with that content. So it's a good question. You are raising a point where it is unclear but I think we have to start to think about that and not sustain the past.
3289 COMMISSIONER DENTON: Just very briefly, the Telecom Act is all about nondiscrimination and non-preference and the Broadcasting Act is, of course, all about preference for Canadian broadcasting. If you can square that circle, there is a job for you in government.
3290 MR. TREMBLAY: Thank you very much.
3291 THE CHAIRPERSON: I will hire you on the spot.
3292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Steve...?
3293 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Mr. Tremblay, I don't mean for this to be a loaded question, but following up on Tim's point, there are obviously many more questions than there are answers at this point.
3294 But why is it so abundantly clear with the arts and with the content creation community that if they don't know, by your own admission, where this is all going to wind up, it is so abundantly clear to those same groups that a funding formula for production is so apparent?
3295 MR. TREMBLAY: Maybe -- well, we are talking about -- we are representing the independents, so we are people that are not wealthy producers. So it is pretty clear for us that we need more money to produce what we want to do. So that's the first thing, because we are a segment of this whole group that is at the bottom of the food chain in terms of resources for producing.
3296 The other element is for us, I guess, it just makes sense because we see ISPs as a participant in that system and the system says that you have to be involved in the appropriate way. Since they are making their profit on the circulation of content on their platforms, we think that they should participate. It's just -- in French we would say -- le gros bon sens.
3297 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: One more question, Mr. Chair.
3298 I have seen some submissions that have indicated that the type of content that is being produced right now for television is not necessarily going to be in the future the same kind of content, not just repurposed but an entirely different kind of content for the web.
3299 Could you speak very briefly about what you see there in terms of how a new media fund might be used?
3300 MS DORNER: Sure. I will talk a little bit about that too.
3301 I think the kinds of works that we are talking about are really reflecting the individual, which is very different than television or radio. We want to give voice to independent artists.
3302 I could give you an example of the kind of artwork that we might see. It might be site-specific. For example, if you are sitting in a café, you open your iPhone, maybe an artwork is a story being told about that very specific café or maybe a history on that café, something very local, very regional and at the same time being completely international.
3303 So it's a completely different kind of artwork that we are talking about, but the similarity in terms of the funding situation, which is comparable to the models that we have already in terms of our art galleries and physical spaces, artwork needs to be funded by the government in order for it to grow. There has to be a minimum number of dollars being invested into the art in order for Canada to be competitive internationally.
3304 That is where I see the comparison to the new media. It is a similar model, but we are talking about artwork, so it is nothing -- it is not commercial, it can't be compared to a commercial enterprise in that way.
3305 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But it is not broadcast?
3306 MS DORNER: Yes.
3307 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3308 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. I think we will break for lunch and we will resume at 1:15.
3309 Thank you.
--- Suspension à 1152
--- Reprise à 1331
3310 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3311 I would now invite S-VOX and Aboriginal People's Television Network Incorporated, APTN, to appear as a panel. We will first hear each presentation followed by questions from the Commissioners.
3312 We will start with S-VOX. Appearing for S-VOX is Monique Lafontaine.
3313 Please introduce your colleague and then you will have 10 minutes for your presentation.
3314 MS LAFONTAINE: Thank you.
3315 Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, members of the Commission and Commission staff. My name is Monique Lafontaine and I am the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at S-VOX Group of Companies.
3316 With me today is Mark Prasuhn, Chief Content Officer for the S-VOX services and we want to thank you for adjourning to 1:30 this afternoon.
3317 We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this timely and important public proceeding.
3318 S-VOX is Canada's leading provider of multi-faith and multicultural programming. Our broadcast properties include VisionTV; ONE: the Body, Mind and Spirit Channel; the Christian Channel and the conventional services, Joytv Vancouver and Joytv Winnipeg. Our flagship property is VisionTV which launched in 1988.
3319 Much has changed since the Commission last reviewed new media a decade ago. From Facebook and YouTube to smart phones and Twitter, rapid-fire innovations in new media are indeed altering the way broadcasters do business.
3320 Our presentation today will address the following points; one, the need for strong licensed broadcasting services in the digital age; two, the need for regulatory flexibility and enhanced investment and; three, the types of Canadian programming that should be supported in the new media environment.
3321 I now turn the floor over to Mark Prasuhn, who will speak to the first of these issues; the need for strong licensed broadcasting services.
3322 MR. PRASUHN: Thank you, Monique.
3323 And good afternoon.
3324 New media is most definitely here. At S-VOX, we have enthusiastically embraced new media to the extent that our resources permit. The websites for our broadcast channels, and each one has one, offer a wealth of traditional Canadian and non-Canadian programming, and some specifically new media content as well.
3325 In 2007, we launched VisionTV on Demand, an online service that allows viewers to stream hours of program previews, exclusive clips and original content.
3326 This year we stepped into the world of online community gaming. We teamed up with a social media platform company to create an online multiplayer game and community for the TV show "I Prophesy", a documentary series that we are running now.
3327 We have also begun experimenting with advertising and promotion on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, and through the placement of video clips on YouTube.
3328 Our websites are updated on a monthly, weekly and often daily basis.
3329 The CRTC's 1999 New Media Exemption Order has been instrumental in allowing us to achieve this. The regulatory flexibility there allowed us to innovate and respond to the needs of existing and new audience members.
3330 That said, and as many have submitted within this proceeding, much of the content consumed online is being drawn from traditional television. There is currently very little original professional content made exclusively for the internet.
3331 In light of this, strong Canadian television services will be critical to ensure the presence of Canadian programming on the online, wireless and other digital platforms. This will also be essential to allow Canadian licensees to compete effectively with unlicensed Canadian and foreign competitors. The regulatory framework for traditional broadcasters should therefore allow Canadian broadcasters to thrive.
3332 MS LAFONTAINE: We also recommend that the Commission take the following steps for broadcasting and content creation in new media:
3333 One, adopt a flexible approach to Canadian program expenditure requirements, and permit a portion of CPE to be used for new media content. This would help to establish a stronger Canadian voice online, and would give broadcasters like S-VOX the ability to re-allocate their programming dollars in response to changes in the new media landscape.
3334 Two, examine the possibility of requiring Internet and wireless service providers to invest in new media content. Section 3(1)(e) of the Broadcasting Act says that each element of the Canadian broadcasting system shall contribute to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.
3335 Three, earmark a portion of transfer benefits to be dedicated to new media similar to the transfer policy for radio.
3336 Four, refrain from regulating licensed broadcaster websites. This will put Canadian broadcasters on an uneven playing field with other new media broadcasters in Canada and around the world. It would also limit their ability to quickly adjust to the fast changing communications landscape.
3337 Now, a more favourable approach might be to put in place an incentive for broadcasters to promote and present Canadian programming on new media platforms. For instance, if minimum Cancon benchmarks were achieved online a broadcaster could use a portion of its CPE for new media content.
3338 And finally, five, continue to monitor new media broadcasting to ensure that the Commission is able to act when necessary to help licensed broadcasters adjust to new challenges in the system.
3339 MR. PRASUHN: The Commission has asked what type of broadcasting content needs support. In our view any new fund should support innovative and leading edge professionally-produced content for television -- sorry -- professionally-produced content. It should also fund content for new media and traditional TV platforms, since a significant portion of the content viewed online originates from traditional media.
3340 In addition, we believe that 80 percent or more of the fund's resources should be setup in a way so as to mirror the CTF new media pilot project, requiring that the production be associated with a CTF-funded production, a broadcaster license fee or equity investment or a production funded by another CRTC-certified independent production fund.
3341 And to conclude, in closing, while new media is definitely here it is still in its infancy. No one knows exactly how all this is going to play out.
3342 What is certain, however, is that for Canadian programming to continue to exist in the new world of broadcasting, strong Canadian programming services are essential. Resources are also a crucial element to ensuring that engaging and leading edge Canadian content is made for linear and new media platforms.
3343 We thank you for the opportunity to appear at this hearing and we will be pleased to respond to questions.
3344 THE SECRETARY: We will now continue with Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Appearing for APTN is Mr. Jean Larose.
3345 Mr. Larose, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
3346 MR. LAROSE: Merci beaucoup.
3347 Mr. Chairman, President, Vice Presidents, Commissioners, staff, I am Jean LaRose, Chief Executive Officer of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, and thank you for this opportunity to appear.
3348 There are many issues in front of the Commission in this proceeding and I would like to focus on those points that are most significant for Aboriginal Peoples, and for APTN. I will group my comments under three of those categories the Commission has identified for discussion, measurement, impact and contribution.
3349 Many participants have highlighted the wide availability of internet access throughout Canada. We did as well. But we also noted that the availability of high speed internet access in remote communities, especially remote Aboriginal communities, remains a real concern.
3350 Good data about internet access in these communities is hard to come by. We included the highlights of a 2004 survey conducted by Aboriginal Portal Canada in our written submission. According to the study, in 2004 a majority, 51 percent of Aboriginal communities did not have access to high speed internet, defined as anything beyond dial up. The lack of access to high speed in remote Aboriginal communities was greater at 64 percent.
3351 We understand that the raw data exists to update these statistics at the community level, and a new report is being worked on by Aboriginal Portal Canada. We will provide that report to the Commission when it is available.
3352 At the same time, there is reason to believe that overall connectivity rates at the community level are improving. Among other things, the recent federal budget included additional funding to broadband initiatives, although it is not known how that funding will be allocated and if it will have a direct impact on our communities.
3353 Nonetheless, there are uncertainties. Most important of these is whether the level of service and the cost of that service to remote communities will support what the Internet has to offer.
3354 The internet environment represents an environment of abundance and essentially unlimited shelf space. This is true, but if you live in a community where the shelves are 500 km to the south or the cost to you is $400 per month to access, it doesn't do much good.
3355 I think that policy makers would be well served by more focused data on internet connectivity and the use of the internet amongst Aboriginal communities. Internet communications hold great promise for Aboriginal Peoples but it is difficult to see where policy attention is most urgently needed without good data.
3356 On the issue of impact new media broadcasting has not yet had an impact on APTN's ability as a network to fulfill our core mandate.
3357 We remain focused on providing high quality television programming reflecting Aboriginal peoples in Canada and in providing meaningful opportunities for expression and work.
3358 APTN's 10th anniversary is approaching. It is worthwhile to remember that before APTN there were almost no Aboriginal peoples seen on television outside of the north. Aboriginal peoples simply did not exist as far as mainstream private television was concerned, and that is no exaggeration.
3359 We do not take our position within the mainstream television broadcasting system for granted and we continue to focus most of our energy on our core broadcasting activities.
3360 At the same time, we have to be present in new media. We stream our proprietary programming, mostly news and public affairs online, and much of that programming is archived. We have created a space online, digitaldrum.ca, for emerging content producers. We promote our network and Aboriginal artists and build a community of interest through our web presence.
3361 Looking forward, new media will become increasingly important. Internet, other than in remote areas, now delivers near-to-TV quality and an abundance of audiovisual content. It is just a matter of time until full television offerings, much like what we receive now from cable or satellite BDUs, are delivered via the internet. Our content needs to be accessible in that environment absolutely if the advances we have made in building a presence for Aboriginal peoples are to be preserved, and even built up.
3362 The point is, though, that our main broadcasting service makes it possible for us to consider the future of new media and our role in it. Without the resources, skills, experience, and quality programming made possible by our television base, Aboriginal peoples' role in new media would be significantly diminished. Here I am talking about the presence of high quality, professionally produced Aboriginal content.
3363 Let me be as direct as possible, looking forward. We are concerned that too much policy attention to "new media" in its' own right has the potential to undermine the foothold APTN, and through APTN, Aboriginal peoples, have gained in the broadcasting landscape. We are concerned, for example, that initiatives that support new media production; for example, the diversion of funding from the Canadian Television Fund to new media activities independent of a broadcaster, will actually weaken our ability to meet the challenges of the new media environment.
3364 I don't think we do the broadcasting system much good if we divert resources from broadcasting activities and spend them instead on new media activities. Allocating incremental, new resources to new media is a different story.
3365 In my written submission, I said that it is appropriate for APTN to have the objective over the next five years to be the primary source for high-quality Aboriginal audiovisual content online, as well as in the traditional broadcasting environment. This is appropriate because the online world will increasingly become the natural extension of our broadcasting activities. It is those broadcasting activities that make the new media content possible in the first place. So it stands to reason by being a stronger broadcaster we will have a stronger presence online and will meet our objective.
3366 On the issue of contribution let me turn to my last topic, the contribution that should be made by stakeholders and broadcasting in the new media environment. It is entirely appropriate for the Commission to expect that Canadian broadcasters, who have benefited for so long from the very existence of a Canadian broadcasting system, should play a direct role to bring Canadian content to new media. But there needs to be a new regulatory bargain to support these activities.
3367 What do I mean by that? For us, new media is simply an extension of broadcasting. We think that the manner in which the broadcasting system is regulated should encourage that extension in as seamless a manner as possible.
3368 APTN does not have a regulated Canadian programming expenditure obligation, but for other broadcasters it would be reasonable for new media expenditures that are related to broadcast content to be counted towards their CPE obligations.
3369 Naturally new media revenue related to broadcast content would also need to be included in the equation.
3370 In our case, while we have no CPE obligation, we do have a regulated wholesale fee and, in any event, as a result of our public mandate, almost all of our programming costs are Canadian.
3371 So, looking down the road, it is appropriate that APTN's new media activities be reflected in and supported by our regulated wholesale fee.
3372 This stands to reason. Our new media content wouldn't exist without our broadcasting base.
3373 Also, new media funding that originates from within the regulated broadcasting system such as the production funds and benefits expenditures should be redirected back into the regulated broadcasting system, otherwise we would be flowing funding from expensive, subsidized, high quality production and those entities that have important regulatory obligations, to relatively inexpensive, unregulated and unlicensed new media activities and entities with no regulatory obligations.
3374 I think we need to give as much support as we can to the traditional regulated broadcasting system and the productions that system makes possible to ensure that the highest value content and those that support this content make it in the online world.
3375 I also think that the Commission needs to facilitate within its mandate the acquisition by broadcasters of ancillary broadcasting rights to programming in new media platforms.
3376 At APTN, as we said in our written brief, we are not as concerned as our profit-driven colleagues with making sure that the independent productions we license reside on our website or are associated with APTN's brand.
3377 But we want to make sure in the longer term that the productions are available in new media environments, that the exploitation of those environments is possible and that it provides reasonable economic returns to all participants in the value chain.
3378 If it is true, and it is difficult to dispute, that online distribution of broadcasting content erodes the value of broadcasting rights, then we have to see that those broadcasting rights will become less valuable.
3379 Broadcasters will need to be able to tap into the value of the production in new media broadcasting to support the value of licence fees producers will need.
3380 For our part, we welcome the CRTC's involvement in terms of trade discussions to make sure that the Canadian rights market develops in a way that supports broadcasting objectives and is sensitive to the different kinds and sizes of Canadian broadcasters.
3381 Lastly, the regulation of the open Internet would probably not even be a last resort for the CRTC to consider. The benefit to Canada, to all of us of the free flow of information, ideas and, yes, broadcasting content on the web is too great.
3382 On the other hand, it must be kept in mind that the Internet at its most fundamental level is merely a means of communication.
3383 Increasingly we will see Internet-based communication services that operate as aggregators of content, to which they will acquire Canadian rights and which they will offer to Canadians in a way that is undistinguishable from traditional BDU services.
3384 It seems to me that the closer these services get to operating as substitutes for broadcasting services, the more onus there should be on these services to make a contribution to Canadian broadcasting.
3385 It is early days yet and it is difficult to foresee how these services will develop, but I would suggest that there will be ways for the Commission to implement appropriate, well crafted regulatory oversight to the benefit of the broadcasting system.
3386 I do not suggest regulation of the Internet as such, rather I am speaking of a time down the road if the open experience we now enjoy surfing the web begins to close in and the aggregators of content become indistinguishable from the existing content distributors we now rely on to distribute Canadian content.
3387 Let me give you just one example of a possible kind of regulation.
3388 As you know at this point, for copyright reasons, Internet BDUs do not offer local over-the-air television services. Would improvements to geo-blocking and maybe even the transition of local services from being over-the-air signals to local cable and satellite signals, the possibility that these services will be distributed by Internet BDUs increases.
3389 When that happens, the CRTC could well, and I would say should require that these Internet BDUs to offer a basic Canadian service. I would also say that the CRTC should require APTN to be offered as part of that basic service.
3390 I believe my time is up. So, I thank you for this opportunity to present these remarks.
3391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your two-part presentation.
3392 Madam Lafontaine, you seem to support new funding and when you read your text on page 3 you went off script to suggest that there should be some sort of subsidization form, but you didn't at all suggest where the funds for this subsidization will come from.
3393 How do you suggest, if we do subsidize new media broadcasting, where it would come from?
3394 MS LAFONTAINE: Well, one option that's been put on the table within this proceeding is the ISP/WSP levy, so there's one potential source, I know that there's $100-million there.
3395 I mean, we'd be quite interested to hear what the ISPs would be prepared to put on the table.
3396 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am sure you will hear from them later on in this proceeding, I just wanted to know.
3397 So, that is the principle source of funds that you see, is a levy on the ISPs?
3398 MS LAFONTAINE: Yes, I mean, that's one source. I mean, another source, as I mention in the oral presentation, we could carve out some transfer benefits.
3399 And I understand that there's a concern by many, including our colleague Mr. Larose, in terms of using monies that are dedicated to traditional services to transfer it over to new media, but I think that, you know, to use the words of the greater community, to be bold and so on, I think it's important that at least a small portion be considered to fund new media content, a small portion of the funds that are used generally for traditional content.
3400 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3401 MS LAFONTAINE: And the Commission's considered this last fall in its review of the production funds and whether we could carve out a bit for that.
3402 THE CHAIRPERSON: Exactly.
3403 Mr. Larose, I didn't quite understand what you were getting at at the bottom of page 7 of your presentation where you say that:
"The Commission needs to facilitate within its mandate the acquisition by broadcasters of ancillary broadcasting rights to programming in new media platforms."(As read)
3404 THE CHAIRPERSON: Put some flesh on the bones for me. What would we do to facilitate within our mandate the acquisition of ancillary rights?
3405 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think what we're trying to establish here is a way that within the system any...
3406 All of these new platforms are indirectly -- are all related to content, the creation of content, the provision of content. Ancillary rights are nothing more than an extension of our current broadcasting licence if I were to go out and try to licence web, Mobiphone or what have you, all of these are rights related to my broadcasting system.
3407 I think what would be beneficial for the Commission would be to look at a framework whereas when we are, as a broadcaster, looking to licence productions, looking to licence the broader range of opportunities for the network, that the opportunity be also written in through the either regulation or some other means for some of those ancillary rights that are related to specific programming activities to be connected to the provision of rights.
3408 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am just thinking. I mean, we don't usually get involved in this.
3409 As you know, the obligation that we impose is basically to buy 75 percent of your production from independent producers and then you negotiate with those producers on the rights, et cetera.
3410 So, when you say facilitate within our mandate, I am just trying to figure out what you see that we would, in effect, say not only you have to acquire, but when you acquire this from independent producers you are entitled to acquire all ancillary rights or, I mean, how would we get involved in this?
3411 I'm sorry, I sound dense. I don't quite see the connection.
3412 MR. LAROSE: No, and it could very well be that from my perspective I'm looking at it probably down the road a bit further than we are right now.
3413 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3414 MR. LAROSE: In the sense that as we're looking to develop how the system will evolve to meet all of these platforms, I think that we will -- as an example to the point of the ISP providers, if I look at where we are at today, I see no reason that an ISP fee should be levied because the ISP at this point is nothing more than a conduit, it's a pipe just like the telecommunication system is just a pipe basically.
3415 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
3416 MR. LAROSE: But at some point if some of these become entities that start collecting various content, that start producing content, then at that point they will become an element of the broadcasting system which you regulate and that's where I say, if I look down the road to these rights of the various platforms, I think that you will have a role down the road to play to ensure that the broadcaster doesn't lose opportunities to these ancillary rights, because if they are the initial content provider, somebody else comes in offering a different platform to that same content to a producer, that somehow we don't end up having to split the pie so much that some of us cannot benefit from the overall system.
3417 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3418 Steve, I believe you have some questions.
3419 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
3420 Mr. Larose, you had indicated in page 5 of your verbal presentation that it is your view that too much policy attention to new media is going on right now. And I was wondering if you could elaborate on that.
3421 Are you saying that at this point in time we should be maintaining the status quo? You know, just flush that out a bit for me, please.
3422 MR. LAROSE: Sure. I think that the fact that we review new media is important, but I think the new media is still very much an evolution.
3423 What we are seeing is the development and, in many cases, attempts to understand where this technology will bring us, what the opportunities are, what the actual venues are for such content.
3424 When you -- you know, some of the presenters earlier today were discussing how, in many cases, they were starting to produce content that is really almost -- you know, they were mentioning some of the young producers who come in there, they're pretty well -- they're new to the business but they're still at the same time producing high quality content.
3425 Well, all of these various new venues are still in development, they're still in the infancy stage.
3426 I think if we try to establish policies now that look too much to the future without really understanding where that future is going to be, I think we risk either disrupting what could become very interesting initiatives, very great possibilities because we will have attempted to over regulate at a time where we're not sure where this is going.
3427 I think -- we have seen the tremendous change in the last 10 years. The next five years I suspect will be exponentially greater. We will see not only the maturity process start for some of these platforms, but we may see a whole new series of platforms develop as well.
3428 And all of these I think will need to be looked at as they mature, as they come online.
3429 If we try to anticipate, just as you couldn't anticipate 10 years ago where we would be today, I think we would again be making the same mistake to anticipate the future.
3430 What we need to look at is where are we today, how can we regulate what's there.
3431 As an example, if an ISP, as I said earlier, if an ISP provider becomes an ISP content creator as well as provider, well then I would propose to the Commission that the Broadcasting Act should then kick in because they have become part of the system.
3432 But until such time as they only take what's being fed to them and shoot it out, I think that they are not part of this equation and we should be careful not to mix the two.
3433 That's my own personal view.
3434 So, my concern in new policy development is to make sure that we don't go too far too early and undermine what could very well be increasingly interesting developments, but always being mindful that as these happen, there's currently a Broadcasting Act, broadcasting by definition is a broadcasting of the net -- I'm going to play with the word here -- but whether it's web casting, Mobiphone casting, any other form of casting, I think that once you start discussing content and putting it out there you fall under the Broadcasting Act.
3435 And I think the role of the Commission is to follow these steps and implement incrementally, not try to foresee what will happen, regulate and maybe over regulate.
3436 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I was taken aback. If I am hearing you correctly with respect to another point, which is that you were projecting that in the future IP operators would become BDUs and essentially aggregators of programming, that is quite a departure.
3437 First of all, is that what you said?
3438 MR. LAROSE: I'm saying that possibility exists.
3439 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.
3440 MR. LAROSE: I can't foresee the future, but what would stop them, in fact, from doing that in partnership -- they could be in partnership with someone like GlassBOX. They could set up a partnership to take the content they've created and put it out there. All of a sudden they're an aggregator of content and they're putting it out through their system. Nothing right now actually prevents them from doing that.
3441 So, I'm just saying, we don't know where that's going to go, so we have to be careful on --
3442 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, it is quite a departure from what we have been hearing so far. We have been hearing that there is a transitionary role going on for the broadcaster, if not in the medium term, in the long term and that broadcasters always will play a vital role as aggregators in the new Internet world.
3443 And I am wondering if you could tell me what you think the consequences would be if IPs became aggregators of programming, what kind of consequence that would play out for conventional broadcasters.
3444 MR. LAROSE: I think to a great extent the impact of that probably would be as great as the impact that the web has had on us up to this point.
3445 All of these new platforms have possibilities that we're only starting to fathom. I mean, I'm theorizing on where it could go. It may not go in that direction at all, there may be regulation that prevents at some point ISPs from being aggregators. That would be up to the Commission at that point to determine.
3446 But I'm saying right now, you know, that possibility is there. How would it impact us as broadcasters? It would certainly have a huge impact but, at the same time, many of us could then become -- look to become -- actually take advantage of that new technology and establish the relationships and the partnerships to take advantage of those opportunities as well, just as we take advantage of partnerships with whether it's other broadcasters, right now it's independent producers.
3447 We're also starting to work with some new media content developers to look at material that can support some of our programming, directing it to specific audiences.
3448 All of this is wide open right now and I think that the -- what I'm hopeful that we do in all this process is to ensure that we keep an eye on where it is going and how do we best regulate it, but without initially over regulating and maybe creating roadblocks to broadcasters such as us at the expense of others who can then fill in that gap because we have been caught with our hands tied behind our backs.
3449 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Do you think specialty broadcasters will fare well, fare better than conventional OTAs going down the road?
3450 MR. LAROSE: I think that we have the potential of faring better, if only for the fact that a lot of our programming in many ways is very specific to an individual mandate or sort of a specialized mandate.
3451 Certainly when I look at our mandate as directed to Aboriginal Peoples, we're pretty well -- you know, we are the only game in town for the time being. So, certainly we have an opportunity to be able to expand that.
3452 When you look at a lot of the presentations to speak to how young people are now consuming media in the broader sense of the term, they'll go to the Internet, they'll go to various websites, they will seek out what is of interest to them. They will not necessarily just sit in front of the box and consume what's given to them.
3453 So, I think where we have an opportunity as specialty networks is to really keep defining our content, ensuring that we meet the needs of our core and maybe a broader audience and keep focusing on that. And if that means ensuring that that content is available on different platforms, we will have to step up to that challenge, we will have to find ways to meet that challenge.
3454 But I think that's all part of an evolution that is now rapidly changing the landscape and we have to make sure that we look at all options and don't limit us to a business model that may have worked 20 years ago but will not work in five or 10 years any more.
3455 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: One more question for you, Mr. Larose, and then I have a question for both of you. My brain is really small, I can't bounce back and forth without getting myself into major trouble.
3456 Mr. Larose, you had indicated in your verbal presentation that conventional television broadcast productions, something has to give, either the cost of conventional produced television has to go down or the cost of getting that conventional television to the Internet has to go down, something has to give.
3457 Is that what you were saying?
3458 MR. LAROSE: Well, I'm saying that with this change in the industry the current costs certainly create a very difficult position for the conventional industry. I mean, to produce a show in the format that we are accustomed to produce for broadcasting certainly is a much costlier proposition than some of the material you see being created independently by smaller production houses, some of which has attracted a very wide and loyal fan base.
3459 So, obviously I think in some cases audience is not necessarily related to costs.
3460 Where I think there will need and there will be an adjustment is in how much is being spent, how is it being spent and maybe that will be part of that restructure that we will see down the road between broadcasters and other purveyors of content.
3461 As an example, last night on CBC, The National, there was a producer, Bruce MacDonald, who's actually selling shares to make his film, you know, for $250 you get a cameo and you get a small share, for a thousand dollar contribution you're the executive producer and blah, blah.
3462 They're producing films of that nature that they're going to put on the Internet. What would stop something like that from becoming the next breakaway hit that people will want to watch and turn away from conventional? That's how Trailer Park Boys, to a great extent, started.
3463 So, I think we have to get out of the conventional mould, we can't keep our mind moulded that we can take that model and squeeze and amend it to fit, I think we have to look at the broader picture, which is where is all of this going and how do we take that and adapt to fit in there, as opposed to try to make it fit us.
3464 And I think that's the biggest challenge we're facing.
3465 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: This is a question for both of you. With respect to the objectives, if there was a more robust new media fund, like where I am going with this is content creation beyond not just conventional broadcasting and re-purposed content for the net or even specialized content for the net, but I am thinking now of something the broadcasters are having to deal with which is mounting costs with respect to online presence and all the bells and whistles that go with that. Let's call it enriching the already rich media.
3466 Would it be your view that we look at, if we do go down that road, that some of the new media funds be actually eligible for beyond broadcast production but the bells and whistles that go around it?
3467 I am thinking of an environment where the additional material that really enriches that content that would not normally be classified as production in a broadcast term as it presently applies, would this be something that -- I think I know the answer to this -- but is this something that you would like to see?
3468 MS LAFONTAINE: Well, certainly I think what you're talking about, or what sounds like anyway, the bricks and mortar of the online or the new media presentation, as it were.
3469 And it certainly would be interesting to us -- and Mark chime in as well -- I know it would be interesting to us.
3470 Certainly I think a lion's share of funds in a new media production fund, whatever it's called, should go to audio/visual content, but if there were a portion of that that could be used for what it takes to get that stuff to the viewers, we would certainly be interested in that.
3471 MR. PRASUHN: Yes, to add to that. Absolutely. I mean, the incremental costs are above and beyond typically for, you know, what a traditional television series or production would be and certainly in, you know, a new media production budget I have occasion to review them from time to time in my role and, you know, there's a lot of categories, coding and, you know, different categories that don't exist in a television budget. So, there are incremental expenditures required.
3472 There's also importantly, you know, as the Commission well knows, there's a complex and synergistic ecosystem that supports television production costs in this country, CTF, TeleFilm, tax credits, you know, broadcaster licence fees and other pieces.
3473 In the new media space that's not so much the case. So, that's one of the reasons I think we've come forward saying, you know, in a sense trying to go in the middle a little bit and say, well, if some of the intervenors have suggested that there should be some money for kind of stand-alone projects and specialized web or net-driven projects.
3474 But, in the main, the bulk of the professional video content on the Internet today, as you've seen in submissions, is coming off of television sources.
3475 And so we think that support, you know, and that fund should be largely made available in that space to kind of line up with where the current resources and inventory is coming from.
3476 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Mr. Larose, same question. I will just try this a little differently.
3477 I notice what you are doing with Digital Drum, for example, it is conventional story telling, but you are also building a social network, putting that in place which enhances that kind of content, and that is exactly where I am going with this.
3478 Is this something that you see a new media fund being also used for?
3479 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think that the new media fund should allow for that to a broadcaster insofar as it's part of the overall broadcaster's mandate. Certainly from my perspective that's how I would look at it.
3480 You know, I think it would be hard for me to justify accessing funds to create something that's totally outside of what I've been licensed to do as a broadcaster because I think then, you know, I'm blurring the lines between what I'm being licensed from the CRTC and what maybe I have as a pet project to do on the side.
3481 But I certainly think that as long as -- in the case of Digital Drum where we have taken archival material from some of the older programming we have, a lot of language programming, trying to strengthen the languages and what have you, I think that anything of that nature that could be added to support initiatives of that way that meet our overall mandate would certainly be I think highly appropriate.
3482 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
3483 Ms Lafontaine or Mr. Prasuhn, either of you can answer this or both.
3484 It is your view that the position taken by the CAB, which is to refrain entirely from any attempt to move the broadcasting regulatory model into the online world, is something that you subscribe to, yet when you look at that model it is broken from all accounts as you talk to the conventional broadcaster.
3485 If that model breaks before the new financial model arrives in new media, what is your position on how -- what the role of the broadcaster would be trying to get from the boat to the dock, as it were, because there is obviously some kind of a transition period here and if the economic model of conventional programming of broadcasting is in greater trouble than the emerging realization of the new model, how are you going to deal with that?
3486 MS LAFONTAINE: I just want to be sure that I understand your question and is it that the conventional model is broken and, as a result of that, that model can't apply online, is that...
3487 Because that's not our position. I'm not sure -- if that's your question, we can answer that, but...
3488 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, I am just going by your written submission where you had indicated that you agreed with most of the points of the CAB, which is to do not get into a regulatory regime on the Internet.
3489 And my question is, if a regulatory regime isn't in place that might be such that it actually helps contribute to a new economic model, is this really what you want?
3490 MS LAFONTAINE: I mean, well our position is that it would be better for the Commission not to regulate the Internet in the same way that the CAB is proposing in terms of putting content quotas.
3491 We don't really think that that would be the best -- the most effective regulatory tool going forward.
3492 We feel that the flexibility that we've enjoyed from the 1999 new media exemption order, for example, has allowed us to develop and adjust to what is going on.
3493 And, so, we're advocating that in terms of content quotas, for example, that nothing be put in place per se, but that we'd be interested and open to an incentive regime.
3494 I'm not sure -- I don't...
3495 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I am just asking if you have really thought this through, because basically you are saying you are prepared to take your chances in the new media world, and the last thing in the world you would like to see is a regulatory regime.
3496 But I am reflecting on Mr. Larose's comment that left in a total free form environment there is the potential of an ISP becoming an aggregator and where does the broadcaster fit?
3497 And are you willing to take that chance?
3498 MS LAFONTAINE: Well, I think if the ISP does become the aggregator, then the Commission should be intervening and reviewing --
3499 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But how do we do that if we are not regulating ISPs?
3500 MS LAFONTAINE: Well, I don't know that we are at that point yet and it's difficult to regulate the unknown but, as we have also suggested, the Commission should keep monitoring what is happening in the broadcasting landscape, be it the traditional or the nontraditional platforms and let's just say in a years time that if they become aggregators or close to it than the Commission should intervene.
3501 We have seen the Commission get involved and establish regulatory frameworks and policies on an expedited basis when need be.
3502 We certainly have thought about it and one potential option for the Commission if the BDUs or the ISPs became aggregators would be to contemplate how Canadian services could be given priority within that kind of environment.
3503 But in terms of our websites per se, we don't see that regulation would be the best approach because there is no business model at this point, certainly not for us at S-VOX/VisionTV to monetize content on our websites, et cetera.
3504 So in terms of that component of the new media environment we would suggest hands-off and then in terms of the ISP as aggregators, then I think that is something that should be monitored closely.
3505 MR. PRASUHN: I would just add to that.
3506 I think just to be clear, two different things. So regulating Canadian broadcaster websites we, like the CAB, don't support and in fact I think we would submit that the Canadian broadcaster websites right now have stepped up. We can all and we will try to do better going forward and do more I'm sure, but as Jean said, there is a lot going on already.
3507 I think if you go to a typical -- pick any Canadian broadcaster website, you will find Canadian content there. That is not necessarily true of some of the other players in the system and their sites and portals. So I think that regulating the broadcaster websites a symmetrically from the rest of the system could cause some unintended damaging consequences.
3508 The other matter, though, that Monique referenced in terms of essentially over-the-top television providers or IPTV providers becoming effectively BDUs, which Pelmorex and CBC in their submissions referenced as significant concerns. We would share those concerns longer-term.
3509 I think our view is as we sit here today not that big a deal, but in two, three, four years down the road it could be a real problem. I think from our perspective if there was one thing that the Commission should focus on monitoring carefully in terms of future developments that would be it, because that has the potential to destabilize, in a way, the whole system.
3510 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Mr. LaRose, anything you want to say on that?
3511 MR. LAROSE: No.
3512 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You're fine.
3513 I just have one more question and it segues really nicely into the issue of monitoring.
3514 In an unregulated environment what are we monitoring? What are we looking for, in your mind and how do we do that?
3515 MS LAFONTAINE: I think there are a few things that the Commission should be monitoring, both on the traditional media side and then in the new media environment as it were.
3516 In terms of traditional media, I think that the Commission should be monitoring audience, what's happening with that, as the Commission has been over the past two years. There have been some terrific reviews and analysis, and so on, but certainly what is happening with audience trends, advertising trends.
3517 Then in the new media environment it's as we were just talking about, what the ISPs are doing in terms of bringing content to Canadians and what's happening in terms of on the broadcaster websites and what's being made available and the extent to which the platforms are moving from one area to the next.
3518 Those are the kind of things that the Commission should be looking at.
3519 MR. LAROSE: Well, as I mentioned earlier, the type of change that could happen because right now it is a fully emerging field, if ISP providers do become aggregate content providers they start changing roles.
3520 I think you already have a Broadcasting Act that deals with that and if you start seeing examples of such changes I think you are the entity that is placed to verify that and to then start applying to them the very same impositions that you apply on broadcasters and any other player within the system.
3521 The broadcasting system is meant to oversee anything that has to do with broadcasting and whatever you call it, it's still broadcasting, whether I put it on the web, I put it on the cell phone or I put it anywhere else, I am still broadcasting content.
3522 I think that is one area where you will be seeing change in the years and you will have to keep monitoring and the other one is from the point of view of a broadcaster.
3523 If a broadcaster, say, were to start using the website to put content that is beyond his conditions of licence, if I were to use my website to start putting all foreign content, I think I would then be using the web to subvert to a certain point the conditions of licence which you have imposed upon me. You have given me "X" percent of Canadian content, independent produced content or what have you, I have to follow these rules, so if I use the website to try to go around that I think that at that point you as the regulator would need to intervene.
3524 I think these are the type of things that we may start seeing, that you may start seeing more than we do, and you would need then to start defining regulation that applies to an emerging trend or emerging new opportunity out there or a totally new business model.
3525 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
3526 I'm finished, Mr. Chair.
3527 THE CHAIRPERSON: Michel...?
3528 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes, good afternoon.
3529 I ask my question to S-VOX, but if Mr. LaRose wants to jump in, be at ease.
3530 In your paragraph 22 you recommend that the Commission allow specialty and pay programming services to use a portion, for example up to 10 percent, of their required Canadian program expenditures, CPE, for the creation of the new media content. I look at the numbers in 2007, all specialty services had $886 million in total eligible Canadian programming expenditures so the 10 percent equals $88 million.
3531 My question is, it is a lot of money of course, but do you think that you and most of the other players would take advantage of such an amendment if it was incorporated into our decision?
3532 MS LAFONTAINE: I think for S-VOX we would absolutely take advantage of that incentive, as it were, if it were part of the CRTC's regulatory framework because for us it would amount to about $2 million for VisionTV for example.
3533 Perhaps Mark would like to speak to how $2 million could be useful in terms of the content acquisitions and what we are doing at S-VOX.
3534 MR. PRASUHN: Yes. Actually, if we just look at Vision separate -- I mean S-VOX has five services, but just Vision alone, it's CPE is in the $12 to $13 million range. That would be a sizable sum of money.
3535 We would probably be a little more free to use that 10 percent in the new media direction. I imagine you have taken all specialty services together, many of them will have imperatives, you know, if they are doing news or -- well, actually news is pretty web friendly, but there will be some genres where that service may say, you know, we couldn't justify spending 10 percent in this area given what we have to spend to support the core activity, particularly if it involves a lot of in-house infrastructure and so on.
3536 But in our case we are largely working with independent producers, that's where most of our CPE goes, and I think we and they, because we have heard it from many of them, would like to have this flexibility and would take advantage of that flexibility to build out programming and bells and whistles, as Commissioner Simpson said, that could help bring new audiences into programming.
3537 Our services, and Vision in particular, cater largely to an aging demographic and given where the population of Canada is going generally that is not a bad thing in our mind, but at the same time, you know, we are also mindful of the desire to try to deliver programming opportunities and deliver programming in ways that are going to be more appealing to a younger demo as well.
3538 COMMISSIONER MORIN: But, as you know, some cultural groups are already saying that they are underfunded as far as the conventional funding is concerned.
3539 What do you think of this argument?
3540 MS LAFONTAINE: Well, we appreciate their argument that there is not enough funding in the system, but what we also know is for example that their members also work on new media productions, as the testimony that was given last week. So they would still have opportunities, it would still be money used for the creation of audiovisual content and their members would still see work.
3541 So for us, we see it as an opportunity to create or to reflect what's really going on at our company in terms of creating and presenting content across the platforms. That type of regulatory amendment would reflect what we are doing, which is when Mark sits down with his programming team and decides what they are going to put on the schedule for the next year, they don't just think about what they are going to put on the linear services, they think about what the strategy is going to be for the internet.
3542 So this would just reflect what is going on in the business and to their argument -- and I understand their argument, I made it for years as well -- that it would still be money that would be in the system, it is just reflecting what is going on in the marketplace.
3543 M. LAROSE : Répondre comme ça à brûle-pourpoint, ce serait... je pense que ce serait un petit peu risqué parce qu'il faudrait que je m'assure que je ne me tire pas dans un pied afin de pouvoir danser avec l'autre, parce que j'ai quand même des conditions de licence assez respectables que je dois remplir, qui, essentiellement, prennent à peu près tous nos fonds. Alors, avant de pouvoir décider que je prendrais un pourcentage fixe à ce point-ci, que je pourrais me permettre de rediriger, je pense que ça me prendrait un petit peu plus d'analyse.
3544 Mais je peux dire qu'à la longue, si je regarde, comme j'ai mentionné plus tôt, que dans les cinq prochaines années, APTN graduellement a l'intention de se lancer de plus en plus dans la production de produits pour diverses plateformes, ce serait fort possible qu'à ce point-là, ce pourcentage-là nous soit très utile.
3545 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci beaucoup. C'est tout, Monsieur le Président.
3546 THE CHAIRPERSON: Rita, do you have a question?
3547 MEMBER CUGINI: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3548 A question for you, Ms Fontaine and Mr. Prasuhn.
3549 I'm on the VisionTV website, specifically on VisionTV On Demand and correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell for the most part its previews or longer promos for the shows on Vision; correct?
3550 What percentage of the shows previewed on VisionTV On Demand are Canadian?
3551 MR. PRASUHN: That would fluctuate from time to time as windows come and go and programs after they are off, you know, they may not be slated to repeat so then we would take it away.
3552 Generally as a ballpark I would say we are striving to get a third or more of the material as Canadian at least. I mean, I would like it to be higher. As I said earlier, we were all trying to do better in this area.
3553 But what your note points to in fact one of the issues that was in the exchange between the Chairman and Mr. LaRose earlier about rights. That is a big deal for a small broadcaster to secure the rights to run full-length programming, which we would like to do a lot more of.
3554 What we run into is certainly in Hollywood and the U.K. where we buy a lot of our shows, the suppliers, the content owners jealously guard those online rights because they intend to exploit them on a worldwide basis, not just in their territory so Canada actually means something to them.
3555 Than the Canadian producers, I guess we part company a little bit with CFTP and other players in what those rights might be worth in the future, but we certainly encounter some difficulty negotiating those rights from Canadian independent producers.
3556 I think, too, where Jean was going earlier with some of the discussion about rights, we certainly recognize a lot of that is in other jurisdictions, but to the extent that the Commission, for example, is encouraging terms of trade to come forward, we would hope that wouldn't be overly prescriptive or make it more difficult than it already is to secure online rights for Canadian broadcasters, because at the end of the day if the Canadian taxpayer has funded a good chunk of the costs of the production we think it is somewhat -- it's important that there be vehicles to get that production distributed and seen widely and made available to Canadians as widely as possible.
3557 Anyway, a slight tangent from your question, but certainly we would like to -- I certainly would personally like to see our sites at 50 percent or more. That would reflect our television schedule accurately and we strive for that, but in many instances we to attempt to secure rights and we are unable to do so.
3558 MEMBER CUGINI: Again, so you use it more as a promotional vehicle rather than an alternative viewing opportunity for the viewers?
3559 MR. PRASUHN: Correct, yes. It's not so much a catch-up kind of week of or anything like that. Again, where we can get the rights and make it available we will. There are costs and, I think as Monique said earlier, business models are not there yet so that is a bit of an issue for us. But certainly that is the direction we are going.
3560 MS LAFONTAINE: If I can just add one more point which you might have also noticed when you were on the website, is that we don't have banner ads, we don't have advertisements, and so on, so that is why it is difficult for us to get the wealth of programming that we might like to put on the website, we just don't have --
3561 MEMBER CUGINI: And have you attempted to do the cross buy with the advertisers, that is if there is an advertiser to the show, Letters to God -- I am just picking one at random -- that you would offer him a banner ad on your VisionTV On Demand?
3562 MR. PRASUHN: Yes. Our site, we have done a little bit of that and we have also gone out and taken the site to advertisers just as a pure play kind of scenario.
3563 Our site, the VisionTV site, which is the heaviest traffic of any of our sites, is running around between 40,000 and 60,000 unique visitors a month which is about half of the level you need to really monetize it in the Canadian context with the CPMs that currently prevail.
3564 So we are going in that direction and we see that someday soon we think we are going to get to the point where that is a real possibility, but it's not there yet.
3565 MEMBER CUGINI: Mr. LaRose, do you stream video on the APTN site?
3566 MR. LAROSE: The only video we stream is our newscasts because we are still trying to come to an agreement with producers and others as to what would be an acceptable fee to add to a licence given that we can't and we certainly aren't generating any interest from advertisers for it.
3567 It would entirely come out of our current envelope and at this point in time I don't think we can justify the added cost that is being asked of us.
3568 MEMBER CUGINI: All right. Thank you.
3569 Thank you very much, those are my questions.
3570 THE CHAIRPERSON: While you were talking I was trying to go to VisionTV On Demand and under Google it doesn't come up, only Vision comes up and then you have to go Vision On Demand. And then on your site you have VisionTV On Demand, but you should do something about that, shouldn't you?
3571 MEMBER CUGINI: I can teach him something. This is good.
3572 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but I put in VisionTV On Demand, I put it in Google and it didn't come up, which I found quite surprising. Anyway, just a little tidbit.
3573 Thank you very much for your presentation.
3574 I think that's all for today, Madam Secretary; right?
3575 THE SECRETARY: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
3576 THE CHAIRPERSON: What time do we resume tomorrow morning?
3577 THE SECRETARY: Nine a.m.
3578 THE CHAIRPERSON: Nine a.m., okay.
3579 Thank you.
3580 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
--- L'audience est ajournée à 1433 pour reprendre le mardi 24 février 2009 à 0900
Johanne Morin Monique Mahoney
Jean Desaulniers Madeleine Matte
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