bowles Transcription, Audience du 30 avril 2018

Transcription, Audience du 30 avril 2018

Volume : 1
Endroit : Gatineau (Québec)
Date : 30 avril 2018
© Droits réservés

Offrir un contenu dans les deux langues officielles

Prière de noter que la Loi sur les langues officielles exige que toutes publications gouvernementales soient disponibles dans les deux langues officielles.

Afin de rencontrer certaines des exigences de cette loi, les procès-verbaux du Conseil seront dorénavant bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience et la table des matières.

Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le participant à l'audience.

Les participants et l'endroit

Tenue à :

Salon Outaouais  
Centre des conférences
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau (Québec)

Participants :


Transcription

Gatineau (Québec)

--- L’audience débute lundi, le 30 avril 2018 à 9h00

1 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bonjour et bienvenue à cette audience publique. Good morning and welcome to this public hearing.

2 Tout d’abord, je tiens à souligner que nous sommes réunis sur le territoire traditionnel des Premières-Nations. Je remercie le peuple Algonquin et rends hommage à ses Aînés.

3 Au cours de cette audience, nous nous pencherons sur les demandes de renouvellement de licences de plusieurs services bénéficiant d’une distribution obligatoire au service de base en vertu de l’article 9(1)h) de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.

4 We are examining whether these services whose licences expire on August 31st, 2018, should continue to benefit from this distribution, and if so, under what conditions.

5 Je voudrais souligner que certains demandeurs ne seront pas comparants à cette audience puisque leurs dossiers sont considérés complets et nous n’avons pas de questions supplémentaires. Les trois demandeurs non-comparants sont la Chaîne d’affaires publiques par câble, CPAC; les services AMI, audio, télé et TV; et le service des Assemblées législatives de Nunavut et les Territoires du Nord-Ouest.

6 Les autres services en question, soit MétéoMédia/The Weather Network, TV5/Unis, APTN et Canal M seront présents à cette audience afin de répondre aux questions du comité.

7 La distribution obligatoire au service de base est un privilège réservé pour les services qui répondent à un besoin exceptionnel dans le système de radiodiffusion.

8 Over the next few days, we will study the requests to see if the channels are still of exceptional importance in achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. More specifically, we want to know if their inclusion in the basic service helps protect, enrich and sustain our Canadian culture by using local, regional, national and international sources.

9 De plus, il est essential que les services continuent de refléter et renforcer la dualité linguistique ainsi que la diversité ethnoculturelle du Canada, incluant l’importance des peuples autochtones dans la société canadienne.

10 Nous poserons aux demandeurs des questions au sujet de leur programmation et de leur conformité aux conditions de licence qui leur est accordée. Nous discuterons également des changements proposés par les demandeurs à leurs exigences de programmation et, dans certains cas, de l’augmentation de leur tarif de gros.

11 We’ll review these requests to ensure that the rates continue to be reasonable and allow the services to fulfill their mandate. The Commission will then be able to decide whether the services should retain the privilege of mandatory distribution on the basic service.

12 Avant de commencer, j’aimerais faire quelques présentations. Le Comité d’audience se compose des personnes suivantes, Yves Dupras, conseiller régional du Québec; madame Linda Vennard, Conseillère régionale de l’Alberta et les Territoires du Nord-Ouest; et moi-même, Ian Scott, président du CRTC. Je présiderai cette audience.

13 L’équipe du conseil qui nous assiste comprend Tracy Speigel et Guillaume Castonguay, co-gestionnaires de l’audience; Eric Bowles et Barbara Cuber, conseillers juridiques; Peter Keriakos, analyste économique; et Jade Roy, secrétaire de l’audience.

14 J’invite maintenant Madame Roy à expliquer la procédure que nous suivrons.

15 Merci. Madame.

16 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci et bon matin.

17 I would like to go over a few housekeeping matters to ensure the proper conduct of the hearing. When you are at the presentation table, we would ask that you please turn off your smart phones, as they are -- as they cause interference on the internal communication systems used by our translators.

18 We expect the hearing to last three days. Please note that we intend to start at 9:30 for the next two days.

19 Le Service d’interprétation simultanée est disponible durant cette audience. Nous désirons rappeler aux participants d’allouer un délai raisonnable pour la traduction lors de leurs présentations à vive-voix, tout en respectant le temps alloué pour leurs présentations.

20 Veuillez noter que les documents seront disponibles sur Twitter sur le compte du Conseil à @CRTCaudiences en utilisant le mot clic #CRTC.

21 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by the Court reporter sitting at the table to my right. Please note that a transcript of each day will be posted on the Commission’s Website the following business day.

22 Just a reminder that pursuant to Section 41 of the Rules of Practice and Procedures, you must not submit evidence at the hearing unless it supports statements already on the public record. If you wish to introduce new evidence as an exception to this Rule, you must ask permission of the Panel of the hearing before you do so.

23 The Commission announces that it is introducing additional process in regard to the applications being considered in the context of the proceeding initiated by Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2017-365.

24 Parties appearing at the oral phase of the proceeding may be asked to provide written responses to Commission questions at the hearing. The deadline for the filing of such undertakings is 9 May 2018. The Commission will accept final submissions from parties who have intervened in this proceeding, provided that a copy of the submission relating to a particular application is also sent to the applicant. Final submissions must be received by the Commission by no later than 17 May 2018.

25 Applicants who wish to file final replies with the Commission must do so by no later than 24 May 2018. The Notice of Consultation announcing this additional process will be published at 11:00 a.m. today.

26 Finally, please note that if parties undertake to file information with the Commission in response to questioning by the Panel, these undertakings can be confirmed on the record through the transcript of the hearing. If necessary, parties may speak with Commission legal counsel at a break following their presentation to confirm the undertakings.

27 And now we will begin Phase 1 of this hearing and Item 1 on the Agenda, which is an application by Pelmorex Weather Networks Television Inc. to renew the broadcasting licence for the National English and French language specialty category A service, the Weather Network, MetéoMédia, which expires 31st August 2018.

28 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.

PRÉSENTATION

29 MR. MORRISSETTE: Thank you Madame Roy. Mr. Chair, Commissioners and staff, I am Pierre Morrissette, Executive Chair of Pelmorex Corp. We are pleased to appear today for the renewal of the broadcasting licence of The Weather Network and MétéoMédia for a seven-year term, including mandatory distribution on the digital basic television service.

30 I wish to introduce the members of our panel before we begin our presentation. Starting on my right, Sam Sebastian, President & CEO, Pelmorex Corp.; Maureen Rogers, CEO of the licensee, Pelmorex Weather Networks (Television) Inc.; Paul Temple, Senior Vice President, Regulatory & Strategic Affairs ---

31 (ALARME)

32 MR. MORRISSETTE: Paul did that.

33 THE CHAIRPERSON: Note that happened after you introduced Mr. Temple.

34 (LAUGHTER)

35 (ALARME)

36 MR. MORRISSETTE: I noticed, I noticed. We didn’t rehearse for this, Mr. Chair.

37 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was about to ask if that was part of the Alerting System, that’s right.

38 Just give us a moment to enquire as to what's happening, please.

--- La séance est suspendue à 09h09

--- L’audience est reprise à 9h10

39 THE SECRETARY: You can continue.

40 MR. MORRISSETTE: Thank you. So I was talking about Paul Temple ---

41 (RIRES)

42 MR. MORRISSETTE: --- our Senior Vice-President, Regulatory and Strategic Affairs, and -- and next to Paul, Tawnie McNabb, Vice-President, Finance.

43 THE CHAIRPERSON: You said Paul Temple.

44 MR. MORRISSETTE: I know.

45 (LAUGHTER)

46 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think it may continue until they investigate the -- the issue. So why don't I suggest that you hold your remarks for 15 minutes, Mr. Morrissette, and we'll resume at 9:30 and try again. And I'll ask you not to say Paul Temple's name.

47 (RIRES)

--- L’audience est suspendue à 9h12

--- L’audience est reprise à 10h03

48 THE CHAIRPERSON: My mother always said, things come in three's. I think she's wrong.

49 I'll ask you to resume. As I will, I was making reference to Panelist No. 4, although counsel informed me that he does have middle names Joseph Paul, another possibility.

50 Please, Monsieur Morrissette, go ahead.

51 MR. MORRISSETTE: Thank you, again, Mr. Chair.

52 So I think I got through to the end of this row but starting with the end of the row on my right is Tawnie McNabb, our Vice-President, Finance; and behind Tawnie in the second row, from right -- my right, your left, Kurt Eby, Director, Regulatory and Government Relations; Luc Perreault, Vice-President, Distribution; Alex Leslie, Chief Technology Officer and Mitch Charron, Vice-President, Video Services.

53 3. MétéoMédia et The Weather Network ont toujours été différents des autres services de programmation. Ils ont été conçus dès le départ pour rencontrer les besoins de tous les canadiens au niveau de leur sécurité et de leurs exigences en information météo locale. Ils ont toujours été disponibles dans les marchés urbains et ruraux, en anglais et en français.

54 The Weather Network and MétéoMédia uniquely serve the public interest and contribute to the Canadian Broadcasting System in three distinct ways:

55 First, comprehensive planning and public safety services. Canadians rely on The Weather Network and MétéoMédia forecasts, road reports and environmental information to plan their days, especially during active weather. Canadians also count on our National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System, or NAAD System, to deliver life-saving alerts over TV, radio, and now wireless devices.

56 Second, The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are local. We have delivered custom local forecasts to more than 1,000 communities for nearly three decades. No other broadcaster has ever made or maintained such a commitment to delivering locally relevant content to so many Canadians.

57 And third, as part of the digital basic service, The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are equally accessible to all Canadians in the manner they prefer, regardless of age, location or personal circumstances.

58 These contributions in the public interest were recognized by more than 13,000 Canadians who publicly supported our application. I want to thank them for letting us know that we continue to deliver on our mandate.

59 Notre statut 9(1)(h) nous motive à en faire plus et je suis fier de notre feuille de route éloquente qui démontre que nous avons non seulement rencontré mais dépassé tous nos engagements. Je suis heureux que nous puissions encore nous engager à faire plus lors du terme de notre prochaine licence. Même si nous œuvrons dans une industrie en constante évolution, le Conseil peut être rassuré du fait que les canadiens pourront se fier sur les services que fournissent MétéoMédia et The Weather Network pour les sept prochaines années. Notre historique à livrer la marchandise en fait foi.

60 Our team will now provide more detail on our challenges, commitments and why we remain an essential public interest service requiring distribution on digital basic. Sam.

61 MR. SEBASTIAN: Thank you Pierre.

62 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Staff, I'm also very pleased to be here. I am in the interesting position of being the relative newcomer to the team. Before I joined Pelmorex last September, I already had a strong sense of what The Weather Network and MétéoMédia delivered as a public interest broadcaster, and what that meant to Canadians. But since coming on board I have really been struck by two things:

63 The first is the sheer amount of effort and complexity involved in delivering our programming 24 hours a day in both official languages. My desk is currently in the broadcasting centre, and I am constantly amazed by everything that's happening. Round-the‑clock forecasting analysis; preparing on‑air hosts; reviewing and incorporating user-generated content from our viewers; and delivering custom Canadian content across seven unique programming feeds.

64 But then, whenever active weather hits, we scrap all those plans and pivot all of our focus and attention to the latest storm, in order to keep our viewers safe and informed. It's really remarkable to witness how we make all of this work day in and day out.

65 The second is just how fundamentally important our services are to Canadians. We filed an independent survey showing 83 percent of Canadians want The Weather Network and MétéoMédia renewed as part of their basic television package. But reading the individual comments from thousands of viewers really validated my belief that we provide an essential service that Canadians rely on. That was eye-opening.

66 Making that connection with viewers and having that level of support is rare, but also increasingly important in today's challenging media landscape. BDU subscriptions and television viewing are declining annually as audiences become increasingly fractured, challenging the broadcast business model.

67 While viewership among Canadians over 50 is strong, advertisers remain focused on the 25-54 demographic. Because of that, many programming services will increasingly focus on only those audiences that are valued most by advertisers, leaving many Canadians underserved. Only by maintaining mandatory basic distribution in our next licence term can The Weather Network and MétéoMédia continue to deliver local information and be accessible to all Canadians. Maureen.

68 MS. ROGERS: Thank you, Sam.

69 Our current licence term has been extremely productive as we were able to deliver even more to Canadians. We completed the upgrade to high definition formats for both of our networks, and we launched new regional feeds in British Columbia, Alberta and Atlantic Canada.

70 We also enhanced and expanded our localization by launching a new HD localization solution in major markets across Canada. And we are proud to have connected 23 more cable systems across Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to our local forecast network. These Northern communities, each with an average population of less than 1,400, now receive a custom, local forecast.

71 Chaque année du terme de notre licence courante, MétéoMédia et The Weather Network ont rencontré et dépassé leurs conditions de licence au niveau des dépenses en contenu canadien. Nous continuons à offrir 100% de contenu canadien et nous sommes en tête de l’industrie avec plus de 125 heures de contenu original, de première diffusion, par semaine.

72 Finally, over the current licence term, our NAAD System has taken a major step forward by enabling the distribution of life-saving alerts to Canadians through all TV and radio broadcasters, and now through wireless devices. Alerts now include improved text-to‑speech audio messaging, and multiple national awareness campaigns have broadly promoted the Alert Ready system. Canadians are being effectively alerted to threat-to‑life events and the NAAD System has become a critical public safety tool. It is a model private-public partnership.

73 Notre prochaine période de licence sera tout aussi productive avec des améliorations continues visant à mieux servir les canadiens. Nous proposons de nouvelles initiatives de programmation et de localisation ainsi que des améliorations au système ADNA pour en nommer quelques-uns.

74 Indigenous and Northern communities have always had a unique and profound relationship with our weather and climate. Unfortunately, climate change will have an increasingly pronounced impact on life in Canada's North.

75 We plan to help address underreporting of these important issues and of this area of the country by hiring a fully-equipped video journalist from a Northern community to provide regular reporting and programming. We also plan to add a weekly climate change segment to our programming schedule, as well as produce a special climate change programming series that will include in‑depth stories about this growing issue in the North and across Canada.

76 Finally, over the coming licence term, we are proposing to replace our remaining Standard Definition boxes with a new localized High Definition solution. Replacing the equipment on which we originally built our services will represent a major transition for The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, and more importantly, for consumers. On‑screen local forecasts will bring the same signal quality to small and remote communities as is received in the major metropolitan areas.

77 Nous avons préparé un vidéo illustrant comment MétéoMédia et The Weather Network contribuent de manière exceptionnelle au système de radiodiffusion canadien et comment ils continueront d’exceller dans ce domaine lors du prochain terme de licence.

78 (PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)

79 MR. TEMPLE: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, staff, the distribution of the Weather Network and MétéoMédia as part of the digital basic service makes an exceptional contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system and serves the public interest. Our supplementary brief speaks in detail to our compliance with each of the Commission’s 9(1)(h) criteria, so we do not propose to repeat that in detail now. Submissions by 13,000 Canadians, as well as numerous political leaders, government officials, organizations, associations, and businesses spoke to The Weather Network and MétéoMédia’s role as exceptional Canadian programming services that they rely on to keep them safe, provide them with local content, and that are accessible in a manner and format that meets their personal needs. It is these three policy concepts that we wish to explore further with you today.

80 Let’s start with personal safety. Our role in kick-starting and maintaining public alerting in Canada through our NAAD System is well known to the Commission. But keeping Canadians safe is not limited to threat-to-life events. Our programming helps keep viewers prepared, warned and informed. With air quality reports, road condition updates, the probability of hail, or a high UV index, as forecast and reported by The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, Canadians can keep informed and take appropriate measures to deal with weather conditions. Our services will be increasingly important going forward as extreme weather events become more common due to climate change. We believe it is in the public interest that The Weather Network and MétéoMédia continue their role, keeping Canadians safe, regardless of weather conditions.

81 Second, our ability to localize our television content makes us unique within the Canadian broadcasting system. Whether it’s Milk River, Alberta, Birch River, Manitoba, Rivière-à-Pierre, Quebec, or Trout River, Newfoundland, the weather information we provide to residents on their television screens is local, relevant, and timely, and often the only weather information available in their community. We believe it is in the public interest to continue providing local weather information to all Canadian communities, large or small.

82 Third, ensuring The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are universally accessible as part of the digital basic service ensures all subscribers, regardless of location, size of community, or personal circumstances can receive weather and weather-related information that is relevant to them. Not everyone has, prefers, can afford, or is comfortable using the internet or mobile devices, to access information. Many Canadians cannot afford to pay more to receive additional cable or satellite channels. We heard this loud and clear from many of the comments filed with the Commission by seniors, Canadians with accessibility challenges, and those without affordable access to broadband services. Why should they be disadvantaged from easily accessing The Weather Network and MétéoMédia’s local weather and public safety programming through the platform that they feel is best suited for them? Broad distribution on the basic service is surely in the public interest.

83 Finally, the national survey undertaken by Earnscliffe and filed by Pelmorex as part of our supplementary brief underscores the public’s view of The Weather Network and MétéoMédia as services in the public interest. Specifically slides 22 and 23, appended to our oral remarks, shows that Canadians recognize others will be disadvantaged should our services be removed from the digital basic service. A strong majority, 71 percent, agree or strongly agree that seniors, low income Canadians, those living in remote and rural areas, and those who are uncomfortable using the internet, will be negatively affected if our services are removed from the digital basic service. Not surprising, slide 23 shows that 81 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are more of a public service than a normal TV channel. These are strong indicators of the broad recognition that it is in the public interest that The Weather Network and MétéoMédia television services are included on the digital basic service.

84 Maureen.

85 MS. ROGERS: Thank you, Paul.

86 Our current mandate goes well beyond just being a weather broadcaster. We provide critical weather and safety services to all Canadians through our programming content and our public alerting infrastructure.

87 Revenue earned in large markets allow us to cross-subsidize services to small, rural, and remote communities. And distribution on the basic service ensures the Weather Network and MétéoMédia are broadly accessible to all Canadians at the same rate.

88 Nous sommes fiers des services que nous avons offerts aux Canadiens depuis bientôt 30 ans. Nous espérerons accomplir davantage durant le prochain terme de notre licence. Merci pour votre attention, nous sommes prêts à répondre à vos questions.

89 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci beaucoup; thank you very much.

90 Perhaps I’ll begin and then my colleagues may have some other questions.

91 So in addition to staff’s comprehensive briefing material, I spent some time on the weekend re-reading the transcripts from your last appearance, and certainly M. Morrissette and Mr. Temple were present and had a rather long dialogue with the Chairman Conrad at that time. And while it might seem like Groundhog Day, I can’t help but returning to a couple of the questions or how Conrad characterized that -- began that conversation and characterized the issue.

92 It is absolutely clear that you have fulfilled the commitments that you made to the Commission and to the public, and there’s no doubt that you operate an important system for Canadians. But the fundamental question still resonates; when will it be able to operate on its own? When will the NAAD system be able to operate on its own without 9(1)h status?

93 MR. TEMPLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That’s, I guess, a good way to start off.

94 We have, through the course, I guess, of -- hard to believe, the last seven or eight years operated the NAAD system. We’re very proud of the enhancements and changes we’ve made. And to date no -- there’s been really no appetite by any of our partners; we’ve never been approached to really take it off from our licence service.

95 I think that the success of the service and our undertakings to improve it, on our expense, our alerting partners are quite comfortable with it as part of our service. It’s become engrained into our service, and it’s working well.

96 So we’re back here before you with an improved application over and above the wonderful things we do and were recognized by the Commission by more services like the Northern programming. But we will believe the NAAD system is a powerful contribution to our application to the benefit of the Canadian broadcasting system.

97 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. But if the Commission should -- were to deny Pelmorex’s application of request for mandatory distribution, what steps have been taken to ensure that public alerting systems wouldn’t be interrupted or negatively impacted?

98 MR. TEMPLE: You know, we’re -- we would always act responsibly. It’s not -- you know, we’re not going to turn off public alerting if the Commission were to deny the application. We would hope that there is some kind of transition and we would work with government authorities to see if they were prepared to pay for that service.

99 But to me, that’s kind of -- you know, why go there when what is working now works so well and really is a positive? There’s really no pushback on the fact that we operate the system. I think there’s a big benefit that we offer the system through our licence, it gives the Commission oversight. We have to make sure you are happy, and that our alerting partners, government authorities at the federal, provincial, and territorial levels are happy.

100 I think the situation as it operates now is ideal and you know, there’s a saying, you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and I think we’re basically in that situation.

101 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, understood. But just to be clear, so there hasn’t -- there are no specific plans or preparations in the event that ---

102 MR. TEMPLE: In the discussions I’ve had, I’ve met with -- prior to our licence renewal, I’ve met with government officials and, you know, the idea of -- there just -- I don’t want to put words in people’s mouth that aren’t here but there’s no -- there’s never been an appetite to pay for the service directly and we made it clear to them that we rely on our distribution on the basic service and that in the absence of that, we would need separate funding. And as I said, I think people are very comfortable with the way it’s operating now.

103 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood. Thank you.

104 So you raised the issue of, you know, no charge to government. Can you clarify for me exactly what you mean? Obviously there are costs for broadcasters, for example. So the no charge is -- brings what service to what point of their network?

105 MR. TEMPLE: Well, the service we provide -- when we say no charge, we’re not charging anyone for the activities we undertake. So we provide a platform that allows authorized government agencies, the provinces, territories, and the federal government to access our system and create their message, and then we also provide different security and authentication services and distribution services to make those -- that -- those alerts available to broadcasters. And we do that without charging government authorities or without charging broadcasters.

106 Now, you know, a broadcaster may have to buy a device to be able to insert alerts into their particular signal so they may incur a cost but there's no fee or charge to us.

107 When we undertook to operate the NAAD system, we did so without any rate increase, so all the incremental costs we had to deal with internally.

108 THE CHAIRPERSON: But as the administrator of the NAAD system and a beneficiary of 9(1)h status, what -- how do you propose to ensure that, in particular, some of the smaller systems are able to carry emergency alert?

109 MR. TEMPLE: Well, the feed -- the manner in which we distribute alerts currently, we make available a number of different communication channels, so the most common one used and I would say 99 percent of broadcasters would access it through a data feed that we provide on the internet.

110 And equipment to capture that data feed is readily available. It’s the same kind of equipment, basically, that’s used in the United States. So in the case of a radio station it might be a couple of thousand dollars at most to take that feed.

111 So it’s readily available to them but we also deliver the signal by satellite, we deliver the alerting information by two different satellites, KU and C-Band to make sure that we have broad coverage across Canada, and we also have an RSS feed that’s available.

112 So the information is readily available to anyone anywhere in Canada. It’s an open system, so there’s no secret proprietary things that they have to buy from us or anything. We have manuals and information to support anyone from -- to support anyone to access the alerts as easily as possible.

113 THE CHAIRPERSON: And yet, you know, between -- since I’ve been at the Commission and I think on a number of occasions over the last couple of years the Commission’s received a number of applications predominately from small radio stations, sometimes in the more remote parts of Canada, requesting exemption or extensions to regulatory requirements predominately because of the costs that they do have to incur.

114 And I understand that the equipment is commercially available, the standardized equipment, but it nevertheless seems to be a problem, and I just wonder if there is anything that can be done to assist them. How often, for example, does that equipment have to be changed, or upgraded, or updated?

115 MR. TEMPLE: Well, there are -- the equipment itself, as I understand it, doesn’t have to be changed necessarily. There are software upgrades. As we make changes to the NAAD system and the formatting of the message there are changes to the software. So -- but I don’t think that -- now, I don’t think that’s particularly expensive.

116 Now, if you’re a small community radio station, or a small station in a remote location, it could be expensive. There is -- he goes by the name Radio Bob, but I don’t know what his -- there’s a group -- or a gentleman in the Yukon who has actually a fairly low cost set-up to allow smaller stations to access the NAAD feed. I’m not sure -- I can certainly find out what the cost is. But he’s been active in trying to promote his service.

117 We try and be agnostic in terms of the solution. I don’t think it’s our role to say buy from this supplier and not that supplier. But we do post the suppliers who have equipment available on our alerting website and if we’re ever contacted we pass that information on.

118 I can get more information about this particular gentleman who has a more low cost option for radio if that would be helpful.

119 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, that would be helpful if you’d provide that.

120 So changing subjects a little bit; some intervenors have expressed concerns related to I guess the accountability and transparency of the Governance Council. So I wonder if you’d like to comment on that.

121 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. We have undertaken a little bit of a road trip to go and meet with as many of the council participants in advance of the hearing and have had some excellent discussions. I think -- and some of them will be appearing after so I’m not going to -- I’ll let them speak for themselves.

122 But I think our takeaway was that it really boils down to improving communications, and that’s something that I think both ourselves and the other participants on council have recognized. We’ve got to do a better job of explaining things to them and communicating information. And I think they recognize generally that when they have questions they should be approaching us not -- you know, we just need to talk better. So I think most of those issues are really well on their way to be addressed.

123 We have -- we’ve already undertaken changes to the information we provide at council meetings. We’ve had a couple of council meetings since the deadline for comments on this proceeding.

124 THE CHAIRPERSON: How often does the council meet?

125 MR. TEMPLE: Well, at least three or four times a year. We try wherever possible to have in-person meetings, but if we need to do it by phone -- recently in I think it was March we had one by conference call. But two, or three, four a year as required.

126 THE CHAIRPERSON: And can ---

127 MR. MORRISSETTE: If I can ---

128 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- members of the -- oh, pardon me, Mr. Morrissette.

129 MR. MORRISSETTE: Well -- no, I’d just like to add, you know, when we look back to the very outset of the launching of NAADs and we reflect on where we are today, Pelmorex, together in partnership with every province and territory and, you know, departments of the federal government, have accomplished a very extraordinary thing together.

130 I -- personal opinion -- truly believe that Canada now operates the best emergency alerting system in the world, and it’s across all platforms, and recently the addition of wireless devices.

131 And, you know, this has been through this group coming together regularly, setting goals, objectives, standards, procedures, security protocols, you know, redundancy, the entire system, English and French, identifying major problems and issues.

132 Text to speech, the Commission knows full well, was an extraordinary problem in the overall system. Actually, it was somewhat threatening to the future of NAADs if not resolved. It was the subject of so many complaints.

133 And here we -- you know, we at Pelmorex, as the operator of NAADs, witnessed a very large issue where all the various players in the system, you know, were thinking about a solution but there was no common solution. And at the end of the day it’s all about the users, the Canadian public, to have a system, a service, especially the voice to speech or -- text to voice -- sorry -- system that would make the emergency in question crystal clear, but that was not the case.

134 We undertook on our own to -- at our own cost by the way -- to come up with a solution that would work for everybody, and within about six months we solved the problem, and we worked with everybody -- all the various players, including the broadcasters and so on, to implement that solution.

135 So, you know, yes, there might have been a number of times during the course of the many years that we’ve been developing this system where communication could have been enhanced, but let’s just think about the number of players and stakeholders involved and the scope of this. And the bottom line is that there’s always room for improvement, and we’re committed -- we’re totally committed to always taking it to the next level. But what we’ve accomplished as a group is extraordinary and probably one of the proudest achievements that I and we at Pelmorex have been associated with.

136 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.

137 But as you mentioned, even extraordinary systems aren’t -- can be improved and there’s always the possibility for improved communications and representation.

138 So back to the council for a second; so who’s represented on the council?

139 MR. TEMPLE: We have representatives from each province and territory as well as from the federal government, and then we have broadcasters. We have currently the CBC, Bell, Cogeco -- I'm sure I'm forgetting someone now -- the CCFA, oh, Shaw. Can't forget Shaw. So we have that representation, and we also have added two representatives from the wireless sector now that we've added wireless. So we have someone from Rogers and Videotron on the council as well.

140 THE CHAIRPERSON: And does the council have any decision-making powers?

141 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, the council, we agreed at the very first meetings that we would operate on a consensus basis. This is Canada, so that's always a challenge.

142 But we have terms of reference and the terms of reference indicate that there are certain things that the council can direct us to do in terms of standards and whatnot. So if we're required -- not to get into the alphabet soup of alerting -- but there's a cap CPs, Canadian profile and different standards. So as things change, we are directed or update our system to reflect changes in those standards that the council has adopted. So that would be an example.

143 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I mean the council passes on instructions, but does it have independent decision-making authority?

144 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we're ---

145 THE CHAIRPERSON: By consensus or otherwise?

146 MR. TEMPLE: Well, if we're directed -- if we have a discussion -- I mean, because it's a consensus base, if we have a discussion that there is something that has to be done or updated, then if the consensus is we're going to do something then we go and do it.

147 It's not a -- we try and keep it as a collegial environment. We're not having, you know, role calls and votes, it's a discussion, and usually there is a clear path on what has to -- has to be done. So ---

148 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who chairs it?

149 MR. TEMPLE: Pelmorex chairs it.

150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

151 MR. TEMPLE: We underwrite the cost of the council, so we pay for the council members to attend, similar to what you might for a board.

152 MR. MORRISSETTE: You know, if I could just add. It's a very consultative approach, and you know, with all the stakeholders present what we attempt to do is develop a list of priorities and initiatives. But at some point in time, given the fact that there are, you know, finite resources, you know, available to allocate to the project, we have to make -- we have to prioritize choices and then move towards implementation in the most efficient manner.

153 But all of this process is very much a consultative approach, as Paul explained.

154 MR. TEMPLE: That's not to suggest there aren't disagreements, but it -- it's ---

155 THE CHAIRPERSON: You did list a number of parties. I'm not surprised.

156 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, but again, you -- I'll give you an example. And I'm not going to name names, but there -- one of the first decisions we made was to require that alerts include a distinct expiry date and time so that an alert, when it goes out, it says this message is over at this time. And that was kind of a recognition of broadcaster concerns that they didn't want an alert just kind of hanging out there.

157 Some of the 30 alerting authorities said, well, you know, we're professional, we know what we're doing, don't worry about it, but we agreed to alleviate those concerns, we'd require that. But not all the alerting authorities really like that, so that issue kept bubbling up. But we had agreed as a group that it would be a requirement.

158 So was everyone happy with it? No. But did every agree to live with it? Yes. And today, every alert has to have an expiry date and time.

159 And I'm sure if you got any one province up here, they'd say, well, you know, I'd like this instead of that, but you know, when you step back, this is a really great system. I mean, we've made such changes, such as the text-to‑speech and we just moved to a Cloud-based platform so that we have better security and more scalability. We've just launched the wireless. We had our first live wireless actual alert yesterday in Alberta. So it's working great now.

160 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not suggesting or not challenging the success of the service, just trying to explore a few points that have been raised by parties.

161 So an understanding of their consensus meetings, are there formal minutes, records of the decisions or output from the committee meetings?

162 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. There are minutes, and I would say that we are sometimes a little tardy in getting them out, which I'm sure is one of the things that is on our list to improve, but there are minutes that are circulated.

163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Made public?

164 MR. TEMPLE: No, they're not public.

165 THE CHAIRPERSON: To whom are they provided?

166 MR. TEMPLE: To the council. So all the council get the minutes.

167 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there a reason why they wouldn't be publicly available?

168 MR. TEMPLE: Well, it -- as I said, it's similar to -- we've always approached it similar to a board meeting. So it -- it's -- it gives people the opportunity to have very frank discussions, and in some cases, we're talking about security issues or costs that are either confidential or you just don't want out in the public. So this way, we can ensure we have those frank discussions.

169 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is one of the subjects discussed at the governance council, or I guess another way of putting it, is there an accounting of how much -- you know, for example, an upgrade to the NAAD system costs when there's a demand for a change?

170 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. That's one of the things we've stepped up and -- based on the feedback we're getting. So now what we are doing is we're making a point to cost every project.

171 Because we often get -- we get a list of things which we haven't prioritized yet, but we'll try and cost those out so that the council knows that if we go ahead with Enhancement A, it's going to cost so much and take so long. So we're just starting to do that religiously now as part of our council meetings.

172 We've done it in the past, I don't want to suggest we've never done it, but we want to make sure we do that. We've sent our -- all our financial information on NAADs to council so they know exactly what we've spent in the past and what we're proposing to spend as part of our application.

173 So they have all those numbers now in front of them, and our process is to update that at each council meeting so that they can see, not only what a project costs, but what we've spent so far, how much more is there in terms of capital and operating costs.

174 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

175 MR. MORRISSETTE: Another item that's worked very well is let's just assume a very specific problem or issue or change that has to be addressed. And usually what happens is that committees of the council with a cross-section of representatives will go off and review, you know, that particular matter and come back with input to the council to enable moving things forward.

176 So it's not just things happening at the council meeting. In between council meetings, there's a lot of activity that lead towards resolving, you know, matters to just carry on with the whole evolution of the system.

177 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.

178 So Mr. Temple, at the beginning you said you were sort of in the midst of something of a travelling -- a road trip, talking to the various participants. Am I to understand that this will eventually form a report on the Governance Council and its activities, operations?

179 MR. TEMPLE: What we have been doing is we haven’t -- I guess we hadn’t really thought of it as a formal report. We kind of briefed council on our discussions and -- because we’re -- we had a meeting not too long ago and we had had some of our one-on-ones already. We’ve still got a few more to do just because of scheduling issues. And we were hoping actually to have them all done by the hearing but people are busy. And talk -- raise kind of our findings at the council. I don’t think we had really thought of anything terribly formal in terms of a report, but that’s maybe something we could -- we can consider.

180 MR. SEBASTIAN: Just one thing to add. I’m new, so I went to my first council meeting in March, and we got some of this feedback just within the last six to eight months about transparency, et cetera, and made a significant number of improvements to the report -- or to the committee that I attended.

181 I made the point, because we went out to dinner the night before, and then it was a full day to talk to every council member, and to a person. They appreciated all the additional levels of transparency, that we’re communicating, et cetera. And my commitment to them was just you’ve got to let us know if you don’t feel like you have all the information that you need and we will pivot immediately.

182 And that’s what Paul I think opened up with on the communication front. If folks let us know where they feel they’re in the dark, that’s not purposeful, we’ll just try to move pretty fast.

183 We’ll continue to talk to the committee members, we can survey them if they have ideas and suggestions on what more to do to improve, but I’m extremely confident in the moves we’ve already made in just the last six months, and we got really good feedback from that council meeting just a few months ago and the road show that we’ve been on as well.

184 So again we’re always going to improve but -- or pledge to improve, but we also want feedback in the moment from the council so that we can activate it.

185 THE CHAIRPERSON: And as you complete that work and get back to the council, would you be prepared to share that report or summary with the Commission?

186 MR. TEMPLE: Yes, that’s not a problem.

187 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would that be, in your view, for the Commission’s review, or would you intend to seek the Commission’s approval?

188 MR. TEMPLE: That’s an interesting question. I’ll have to ---

189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good.

190 MR. TEMPLE: --- think about that one a little bit.

191 I know -- actually, when we first proposed to council we invited the Commission to include a representative, which the Commission declined, and I think for valid reason, because you do have to be able to review our application, whatnot, independently.

192 But we’ll certainly make our report available to the Commission.

193 We do have terms of reference existing that we can review with council and those were submitted to the Commission earlier. So if there are changes that we’re proposing to the terms of reference we would definitely send that to the Commission for its review.

194 I don’t think the Commission approved -- this is going back a little way so there’s a lot of cobwebs, but I think we had to file terms of reference but I don’t think the Commission had to approve it. But if -- but we would definitely file with the Commission any changes to the terms of reference.

195 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.

196 So changing gears somewhat; if I look at the scenario where The Weather Network/ MétéoMédia is renewed with mandatory distribution at the current wholesale rates, the financial projections show the services accumulating a very healthy profit over the proposed licence term, a pretty high PBIT, and I just wonder given the criteria E of the 9(1)(h) -- well, criteria for 9(1)(h) if you can provide me with your rationale on why it considers that projected level of PBIT is appropriate.

197 I’m sure that question’s in your -- answer to that question is in your book.

198 MR. TEMPLE: I’m trying to remember what E says, but ---

199 THE CHAIRPERSON: E says that it’s a business plan and implementation so that specific commitments are dependent on ---

200 MR. TEMPLE: Yes.

201 THE CHAIRPERSON: Dependent on receipt of broad national distribution on the digital basic service and that that service would not be able to fulfil its programming commitments without mandatory distribution.

202 MR. TEMPLE: Well, let me perhaps address that first, because a healthy -- a healthy PBIT is in the eye of the beholder, and we can drill into the actual how much -- how profitable or healthy that PBIT is in a minute with perhaps Tawnie.

203 But to go to whether the benefits to Canadians that we provide are dependent on distribution on the basic service that is absolutely a yes, and I’ll give you some examples.

204 We’re proposing to extend the local HD service to all of our affiliates, and that’s going to cost us in a combination of capital and operating expenses an additional $2 million plus over the term -- you correct me if I’m wrong here, but an additional $2 million plus, so just that one benefit. The revenue that we get from the small systems, the PBIT that we get from those systems, is less than $1 million.

205 So that one benefit that we’re proposing in terms of improved localization and what I refer to as the talking PMX, our ability to now provide an audio component to the video so that people who are visually impaired or blind can also get local weather information, we need that broad basic distribution because there is inherent in our service a cross subsidy.

206 The large systems are enabling us to be able to provide localization and the programming that we provide to the smaller communities. The Weather Network is implicitly subsidizing MétéoMédia because both services are at the same rate but clearly market size and costs are -- if it was a free market service it would be quite different.

207 Another example is that if ---

208 MS. ROGERS: Before he moves to his other example, I just wanted to mention of the 1,000 HD localization boxes that are out there there’s probably about 800 ---

209 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, I was just going to get to that.

210 MS. ROGERS: --- that are in the more rural or more remote areas. So it’s significant.

211 MR. TEMPLE: So if we just -- in the absence of basic carriage, there’s no business model really for satellite distribution of our service at all. We don’t use satellite to feed Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Cogeco, Vidéotron, Telus. They’re all fiber fed. But we’re spending 600,000 a year on the satellite costs now which we're going to increase to continue to serve small remote services. But if we're not on basic, there's no business rationale to be on satellite, which means small remote services are either not going to get us at all or they're going to get a generic national service with no localization.

212 The Prairie farmer isn't going to get local weather information anymore about a hailstorm. The Northern Ontario community isn't going to get information about a severe snowstorm that's coming because they'll just get -- if any local weather, they'll just get our generic national feed.

213 So unless we're on everywhere we can't maintain that cross-subsidization and those benefits will just largely disappear.

214 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand, but those are all -- all of those factors are contemplated in your -- in the numbers you put before the Commission. How do you justify, for example, the significant difference between -- you said PBIT's in the eyes of the beholder, but there's a significant difference between Pelmorex's PBIT and those projected, for example, by the other 9(1)(H) applicants in this proceeding?

215 MR. TEMPLE: Well, it is relative to the challenges we face. I don't think -- I mean, the PBIT -- you can take the PBIT over seven years and add it all up, and it might sound like a big number, but on an annual basis, in terms of the relative size of the undertaking, that's not an awful lot of money.

216 There is still risk there that we assume if those projections aren't -- that we made, if they're not correct, if there's greater risk in the ad market, if there's greater risk in people leaving the system, that's something that we bear.

217 THE CHAIRPERSON: The opposite is also true. If there's less risk and you do better, the same is true.

218 MR. TEMPLE: But looking at the last ---

219 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, the point is that -- is that section 8 does contemplate that you are dependent on 9(1)(H) status. In order to deliver the service, the service wouldn't be able to fulfill its obligations without mandatory distribution.

220 And there's a bit of a tension there between that and that PBIT level. That's what I'm gtting at.

221 MR. TEMPLE: Okay.

222 MR. MORRISSETTE: If I -- let -- if I can jump in here. Stepping back for a moment. Our business model of the past 30 years has been to operate a national network distributing hyper local content. A bit of a contradiction, but that's what we do. And technology has been an enabler for us to do that. And since the beginning, we regionalize by adding several regional networks.

223 And the bottomline is we strive to serve every nook and cranny of this country, not just the big markets. We don't cherrypick. We go and serve all of the small and the underserved and remote communities of this country in both languages. And that is really a part of the cross-subsidization that's at play that Paul was referring to.

224 But the other important element here is the essence of our content. It really focuses on planning and safety needs of our users, and it's all about them. It's all about giving them the information that keeps them safe. And you know, the vision has been all along to make this available to all Canadians.

225 I was trained well during my six years as CEO of Cancom, whose mandate was to meet the needs of remote and underserved Canada. And in this instance, it's the same thing, except the content not only keeps people safe, but it saves lives.

226 So once we start stepping back and say, well, let's start looking at maybe exploring, you know, that business model, first of all, the PBIT level has been in decline for a number of years now, and that's been one of our realities. In fact, the entire television industry is experiencing that kind of tension. And -- so it's -- but in the meantime, our subscriber rate has been fixed since Day 1.

227 And you know, I remember when, you know, 25 years ago, actually, when the CRTC, you know, assigned to us the responsibility of owning and operating The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, you know, the rate was set at 23 cents, and it's been the same ever since. We all know that with inflation that today's 23 cents is a heck of a lot less than it was 23 cents ago -- or 25 years ago. But what's happened along the way is that we have significantly been enhancing the service. Now, it's been a constant evolution relative to that mandate.

228 And -- so in the world of where television is challenged, has been stressed and in decline, where there are fewer local and regional services today than there were seven years ago, people are cutting back on that, but we're not. In fact, we're taking it to the next level. And we're going way up North to serve those people because they're particularly impacted by climate change today too, and they're -- you know, it's -- the information is even more relevant today going forward than it has been it has been in the past.

229 So that -- it's -- in terms -- we fully expect our PBIT margins during the course of the next seven years to carry on in a declining manner, and that's -- you know -- but notwithstanding that, you know, we maintain this commitment of serving every single Canadian who has got access to satellite TV or small community cable systems right across Canada to keep them safe.

230 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so assuming you're right and you do record a lower than projected PBIT in the coming years, what risk does that -- what risks are associated with that?

231 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we always have, and we will meet all our commitments. We've met every commitment, promise to the Commission and we'll -- it'll be on our dime. We will do what we said and what we promised to do, and if -- you know, I think that's basically what Pierre is saying. We always have.

232 And I just -- I think there's two -- maybe we're mixing things a little bit. The comment does our business plan rely on distribution on the basic, because that is a criteria. That is an absolute yes. Regardless of what our PBIT is, if we're not on basic, we cannot do those things.

233 The risk is so high that we cannot promise to do regional feeds, extended coverage of the North, service to remote service, we just cannot take that risk. Our -- without a doubt, our business plan relies on basic carriage.

234 Now, I'll give you an example. I looked up -- I looked at the carriage of the Cottage Channel, which is an independent service, and there's two BDUs. BDU A has Cottage Life in 64 percent of the homes. These are Media Stat's numbers. BDU B has Cottage Life in 29 percent of the homes. Same markets, same service, but the decisions by a BDU can mean the difference between 29 percent and 64 percent penetration; that’s the environment we would be in and the risk there is obviously far greater than the risk we face if we’re on basic and we’re dealing with, you know, general decline in subscribership.

235 So the first question; do we rely on basic to meet the benefits we propose? Most definitely.

236 Then there's the issue of profitability which really is -- I mean, are we talking profitability or are we talking affordability? Whether we make 20 million or 18 million or 22 million, is the service affordable to the consumer? You can’t buy a Timbit for the cost of the Weather Network and MétéoMédia on a monthly basis. It’s affordable, it hasn’t changed; we’re not proposing it to change. And if the suggestion is that maybe you should decrease the rate, who benefits if that happens? The Commission isn’t going to reduce the rate of basic service by a penny so the money just flows to the BDU.

237 So I think this issue of whether you’re making 20 million and PBIT over seven years and someone else is making, I don’t know, 12 is perhaps misleading in the sense that the criteria the Commission has set out, that really isn’t one of the criteria. It’s the affordability and whether our service requires basic service.

238 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, your last response is a perfect segue, I think, to my next question because you said who would benefit if the Commission reduced your rate by a penny, so perhaps you can discuss the possible implications of a rate reduction, what impacts a rate reduction might have. Specially to start, would it have an impact on Pelmorex’s program commitments?

239 MR. TEMPLE: Well, Tawnie is all ready with the numbers but before she does that, I’ll just mention that -- well, I don’t want to repeat our discussion about, you know, the one cent but I would mention no-one, as far as I am aware, as part of this proceeding, has called or questioned the rate. No-one has said the 23 cent is -- no BDU that I -- I don’t think anyone has said the 23 cents is too much or there’s too much in PBIT.

240 But in terms of the actual impact, Tawnie, if you want to provide the financial?

241 MS. McNABB: I’ll quantify what that one cent would do and then Maureen can speak to some of the implications of that.

242 A one-cent reduction in our rate would equate to a $10 million loss in our PBIT over a seven-year licence term, and that would eliminate our PBIT in year six so that we would no longer be profitable.

243 Obviously in order to continue to operate at a profitable level, we would need to make changes to many of the cost structures. So I’ll let Maureen elaborate on what those changes could possibly be.

244 MS. ROGERS: So as Tawnie was mentioning, obviously the revenue stability of the business would be impacted. To look at that we would have to look at our cost structure, and as Paul had just mentioned, a lot of what we do do, Northern programming, localization in the rural communities which does represent a lot of our costs because, as I mentioned, the thousand, there are 800 that are in the rural communities. We would have to take a look at that and claw back, basically. We most probably would not be able to do the Northern programming, most probably would not be able to do localization in the remote areas, at least the HD right away, and as the standard definition localization boxes are becoming not working anymore, we most probably would not be able to replace it.

245 We would have to look, basically, the benefit versus the outcome to the consumer.

246 And I do want to mention that there is 10 million Canadians that come to us every month for safety and public service information, and a lot of them are in rural and remote areas and they -- we’re important to them, so that would be, obviously, impacted.

247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you referring to the NAAD system when you say that?

248 MS. ROGERS: No.

249 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, just in terms of ---

250 MS. ROGERS: The service the Weather Network, ---

251 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- the service.

252 MS. ROGERS: --- MétéoMédia, yeah, sure.

253 And just to re-mention what Pierre was mentioning, we have not asked for a rate increase in 25 years, and at the end of the seven-year term it will be 32 years, so that brought in the value of today as something like 13 cents. So I think that’s a considerable ---

254 MR. TEMPLE: I measure it in Timbits, Mr. Chairman.

255 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, for a little more than a Timbit, I think, based on publically available information it would appear that it’s sort of one and a half Timbits per subscriber to -- for the operations of the NAAD system. So I guess an obvious question is -- one and a half cents -- is would a rate reduction have any influence on the NAAD system?

256 MR. TEMPLE: That would be one of the things that we’d have to look at. I mean, that is ---

257 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even though it only represents roughly one and a half cents out of the current 23?

258 MR. TEMPLE: Well, I guess it depends on the -- what the rate reduction is and why -- I guess I keep coming back to why would -- what’s the benefit of a rate reduction? No-one benefits. Whether it’s NAADs or Northern programming or regional feeds to Alberta to British Columbia and the Atlantic Provinces, or the talking PMX to better serve the visually impaired subscribers, something’s going to go and what was accomplished? People aren’t going to pay less so no-one’s saved any money. No consumer has got that extra penny in their pocket. So I don’t think we’ve accomplished anything. It’s just a lose/lose.

259 So, you know, we’d have to look -- you know, if the Commission came and said, “You have to reduce the rate, it’s only 22 cents,” something would have to be -- something would have to be cut.

260 MS. ROGERS: And I’d like to add; the cost of the NAAD system is really incremental cost that is in the documents.

261 Tawnie, if you could correct me if I’m wrong.

262 There are other costs that are inherent to Pelmorex that is a NAAD’s cost, they’re just not incremental therefore we don’t count them. So it’s more than that.

263 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, you gave one scenario. I mean, I have a number of more detailed financial questions and scenarios that are probably not best addressed here as some of the responses, I’m sure, would contain confidential information. So at the break what I propose to do is provide you with an exhibit that will set out a number of scenarios for which the -- which the Commission would like you to respond to. But we’ll do that at the break and we’ll provide copies, at the back, of the exhibit when we do.

264 All right. Moving on a little bit.

265 So we’ll stop talking about a reduced rate for a second and bring up an equally cheery subject, sort of similar questions in the case of denial of mandatory distribution. What would be -- if that were the case, what would be the impact on the CP requirements and commitments you propose? What would be the proper CP requirement in the case of a denial of 9(1)h status?

266 MR. TEMPLE: Well, in the event that we are not a 9(1)h service, I think we would -- the expectation is that we would have the same requirements as services that aren’t 9(1)h, so if the going CP requirement is, you know, 30 percent or 32 percent, we’d expect to be treated just like everyone else. If we’re not making -- if the Commission views us not making an exceptional contribution then, you know, we should be treated as just another -- have the obligations of just another programming service.

267 You know, we would have to revisit -- you know, obviously seek more flexibility in terms of our Canadian content obligations and our programing expenditures, because over the years we’ve made all these commitments and so if you kind of change the deal then we have to kind of walk those back.

268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Understood.

269 But if we change the deal do you have a percentage for CPE that you believe would be appropriate?

270 MR. TEMPLE: I’ll say 30 percent, but if you don’t mind we’ll get back to you with a specific number, but I -- because I think that’s generally what competitive discretionary services would have as their CPE, but it would certainly be in that ballpark.

271 MR. MORRISSETTE: If I can just add. Changing the business model from mandatory basic carriage to a tiered service basically would have a beyond material impact on the viability of the service as it’s currently structured and operating on the business model, and that material change in revenues -- because it’s not just distribution revenues, it’s also advertising revenues because there’d be fewer viewers to our service. So it would be a very, very material impact with the current cost structure immediately going to negative PBIT, and the only way to address it in terms of survival, because it is a survival issue, is to apply equally material approaches to the cost structure of the service, English and French.

272 This whole cross-subsidization model of treating every single community in Canada the same in terms of price and essence of -- quality of service, that’s off the table. Cross-subsidizing English and French services, who today enjoy the same basic -- same rate, that would also be off the table. And, you know, every other commitment that we’ve made would be off -- you know, would have to be reconsidered and likely off the table because it’s survival.

273 We’re talking about a material -- beyond material change to the business model of a service that has performed as a success story for -- in terms of contributing to the system.

274 You know, in December the Ipsos Reid annual survey on most influential brands in Canada named The Weather Network as the twelfth top brand in Canada, and of Canadian companies for the first time we ranked number one. Why did we accomplish that? That’s because of our obsessive caring of meeting our user/viewer needs coast-to-coast. And we’re in every home and everybody uses it, and rely on it, and trust us, because their safety depends on it. That’s been our business model.

275 But a review of the essence of it would require, you know, a corresponding review of how we operate to survive.

276 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

277 All right; changing gears again, talking about some of the commitments that you have proposed to put in place going forward. So with respect to the new service or commitment regarding the introduction of new programming I should say, not new service, from and about Canada’s north, including the hiring of a new producer and a significant amount, I think it was 26 hours of new original first run programming, will this program be available in both official languages, or in Aboriginal languages, and if so do you know what proportions?

278 MR. TEMPLE: Our plan is to provide that programming so that we can provide it to both The Weather Network and MétéoMédia. So it will definitely be in both English and French. Aboriginal languages I -- we hadn’t grappled with that one yet. But definitely we’re looking at having the content on both English and French.

279 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would it be available on all of The Weather Network/ MétéoMédia media feeds?

280 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. That’s one of the benefits that we see is that we’re not just providing residents in the north with better service but we want to be able to take that programming and put it on our other feeds so that people in the -- because we have a number of regional feeds. So people in British Columbia, or Alberta, or Atlantic Canada, or Toronto, or Montreal, will be able to see some of that programming and better understand some of the challenges that Canadians in the north have.

281 So it’s very much -- it’s just not reporting what the weather’s going to be like in the north but also reporting some of their story and their situation.

282 I can get -- if you’re happy that’s fine. If you want more detail I’m sure Mitch is very passionate about it and he’d love to talk more.

283 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I’ll have a -- maybe -- I’m not sure who the question is for. Let’s -- but I don’t think we need a further description of it.

284 In the event of an approval of your application for mandatory distribution, are you prepared to accept a condition of licence regarding the commitment on a northern service, including the 26 hours of original first run programming?

285 MR. TEMPLE: Yes, we are.

286 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. That’s fine. We’ll -- perhaps we’ll do that in an undertaking in terms of language surrounding such a COL.

287 ENGAGEMENT

288 Moving on to the question -- you mentioned the availability of the programming in French and English language. Several members of the public have mentioned the lack of local coverage in their area, presumably where there’s a minority population, and this has arisen I think primarily in western Canada and some parts of the Maritimes. Have you had discussions with relevant stakeholders before the hearing regarding the distribution of both linguistic signals across the country or in specific regions?

289 MR. TEMPLE: Well, as part of the public comment period I know Luc had talked to a number of francophone associations and groups outside of Quebec. I don’t know if he wants to -- and I think some of them filed comments of support.

290 THE CHAIRPERSON: And can give us an idea of with whom you’ve communicated.

291 MR. PERRAULT: Mr. Chair, we have endeavoured to talk to some intervenors personally one-on-one who filed comments as to the lack of a position for the French service and to some associations. The issue being that in small remote communities a lot of our operators have moved into receiving their services by SRDU distributors and they’re only receiving the national feed. We would make available to these operators a localized signal if they would receive our signal from C Band and use our interface. So it’s a reception issue more than a content issue.

292 THE CHAIRPERSON: And have you had discussion with BDUs?

293 MR. PERRAULT: The associations, yes, they made that clear to the BDUs too, but in smaller systems, there are costs relative to maintaining a C-band antenna and so on, and some operators are not moving in this direction, finding it more affordable to receive bundles of signals from SRDU providers.

294 THE CHAIRPERSON: But as I understand it, some BDUs say they haven’t got the capacity to provide signals, both signals on basic service.

295 MR. TEMPLE: So is the concern -- I just want to make sure we understand your question. Is the issue the carriage of both services or just being able to access the service in order to carry it?

296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Both, but in this case the issue of them having the capacity to distribute both.

297 MR. TEMPLE: I don’t -- and you’re focusing only on small remote or are we talking just in general?

298 THE CHAIRPERSON: In general.

299 MR. TEMPLE: Well, in general, I don’t -- most BDUs, certainly all the large ones, I think, carry both services. The issue that we outlined in our application was that in bilingual markets, they tend to -- not all of them -- there’s confusion in the marketplace. Some of them actually carry both MétéoMédia and the Weather Network on basic, and some are of the view that they’re only allowed to carry one.

300 So what we’re hoping to do is remove that confusion so that the Commission would make clear in its order that both services would be required to be on the basic service in bilingual markets.

301 When we first filed, we kind of broadly said we’ll carry them both, and I think in our response to some of the questions from the Commission and I think further in our reply we proposed to narrow that to just bilingual markets. And we identified bilingual markets based on, I think, the Official Languages Act, identify specific markets where the federal government considers them bilingual, and there we would request that BDUs serving those communities carry both on basic.

302 But if you’re outside of those designated markets, we would love them to carry both, but the obligation would only be to carry the service in the majority language.

303 THE CHAIRPERSON: And have there been specific discussions with the BDUs to form an agreement in principle around that approach?

304 MR. TEMPLE: We’ve talked to several, and I think -- I don’t -- again, I don’t want to get into naming names, but the ones that we’ve talked to, which have a lot of subscribers, don’t seem to have a problem with what we’re proposing based on the fact that we’re focusing it on bilingual markets. So we’re not asking for every single town and village across Canada, but those bilingual markets.

305 So I think we’re good. I know some of the distributors are up later, and I’m sure you’ll ask them.

306 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m sure they can add if they so desire.

307 So switching then perhaps to the issue of mandatory distribution in both high definition and standard definition, to what extent is mandatory distribution in high def and SD essential to meeting the commitments?

308 MR. TEMPLE: I think it’s very important. I mean, part of our service is reliant on advertising revenues. I mean, we want people -- the whole idea is we want people to watch. In today’s world, I don’t even know if you can buy an SD set, but everyone -- the expectation is that you can get programming in HD. One of the benefits that we want to put forward is that remote and rural communities can get the same level of service that you’re getting in Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal.

309 So if we’re going to put all this effort into improving the signal and then it gets stopped by the BDU, it just seems that we’re not accomplishing the public good that we’re trying to get across.

310 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand, but we both know it’s not the Commission’s policy to require the distribution of a service in HD format.

311 How do we justify the Commission making an exception for you?

312 MR. TEMPLE: Well, the Commission can issue an order that includes the requirement.

313 THE CHAIRPERSON: It can, but it typically has not. So I guess I’m asking what’s the basis for the exception?

314 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we’re kind of a -- well, I think the basis -- I think it’s simply a policy basis. If you -- if the Commission decides that a service is making an exceptional contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system, then surely the high definition format should be made available to those Canadians. And that’s basically what it boils down to. If these services -- and we’re only applying on behalf of ourselves, but the policy rationale is this is supposed to be an important service and you should be getting it in a way that most people watch their TV. It would be like saying, “Well, you can be on basic but they don’t have to do it in colour.” I mean, it just -- that’s not how people watch TV anymore. So if everyone is watching HD and you’re a basic service, you should be in HD.

315 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is the weather better in black and white?

316 MR. TEMPLE: It’s very overcast. It’s very dull.

317 THE CHAIRPERSON: But aren’t there -- and you may have to enlighten me a little on this -- my understanding is there are still some differences between the HD and SD formats and foreign content in certain places.

318 Can you explain that for me?

319 MR. TEMPLE: Different content on our service?

320 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, they don’t cover the same -- they’re not as localized in HD, if I have this right, as they are in SD. Am I correct?

321 MR. TEMPLE: In some ---

322 THE CHAIRPERSON: Luc is nodding yes behind you.

323 MR. TEMPLE: No, no, it’s true. Well, first of all, on satellite, because of the nature of the service, you’re getting a national feed. So whether it’s in SD or HD, you’re going to get the national feed. We have HD regional feeds because some of the BDUs have their networks set up in a regional way.

324 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in those cases you don’t get the localized ---

325 MR. TEMPLE: You don’t get as much localized. We do customize it to that region. So you’re not -- if you’re in PEI, you’re going to get Charlottetown and Summerside weather. You’re not going to get Kelowna, but you’re also probably going to get Moncton or ---

326 THE CHAIRPERSON: They would prefer that at parts of the year. They might want Kelowna, given the amount of snow they got this year.

327 MS. ROGERS: But also our proposal in our application is over the seven years, we will go to HD localization in the markets.

328 THE CHAIRPERSON: So what progress has been made on that to date?

329 MS. ROGERS: We have about 34 in the major markets that are done, but that’s a significant cost to that technology to implement in the other markets. So we’re working -- and probably Alex could give more detail on that -- we’re working on finding a more cost-efficient system.

330 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that the only obstacle? Is it cost? What are the obstacles to ---

331 MS. ROGERS: To implementing it?

332 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- implementing it?

333 MS. ROGERS: So it’s cost for sure. It’s time with regard to the teams, as well as the BDUs. They have to be able to implement it as well.

334 MR. TEMPLE: If I can direct your attention in our supplementary brief, paragraph 61, we put a little diagram or picture there showing the carriage that we have. So our best estimates, we’ve got 5 million and change on local HD now, but in DTH we still have an issue with high definition carriage. And as you can see, there’s at least 400,000 predominant small rural service systems. That's, you know, 400,000 households, so you're talking two‑and‑a‑half times that in terms of the number of people who don't have access to a local HD and are dependent on this application being approved.

335 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is this work, is the localization of HD one of those issues that might be affected for there to be a change, or is it affected, I guess, by an approval or a denial of --

336 MR. TEMPLE: Absolutely.

337 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- HD status?

338 MR. TEMPLE: Absolutely. That -- and I just would like to also mention that it's not -- the same box, the same technology we're going to be using will also support the -- our ability to provide the audio localization to viewers who are visually impaired. If those new boxes don't go out, then they don't get HD, but they don't get the audio either because the existing boxes do not support audio.

339 So the descriptive that we showed in the video, where the voice was being able to describe what was being seen on the screen in terms of the local weather conditions, that has to go hand in hand with the new box. So no 9(1)(H), no new box, no HD, no audio.

340 And I don't -- and we don't mean this -- you know, we didn't prepare our application to kind of say, well, if you don't -- you know, all these things are, you know, off the table. We're excited about these things, we want them to be there. So it's just that's it's the reality of the marketplace that if we're not on basic then we're hamstrung.

341 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, we're just -- and obviously, we're trying to explore all possibilities as is -- as we should.

342 It seems to me, though, that these are -- although it's very important and very innovative, isn't this just part of your normal progress in modernization in upgrading your system? Is it really exceptional?

343 MR. TEMPLE: It's ---

344 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not in terms of quality, but in terms of its regulatory treatment.

345 MR. TEMPLE: It's -- the things that we're proposing to add are not normal course. If we didn't have 9(1)(H) we wouldn't do it. As I mentioned, we already serve Rogers, Bell, Videotron, Cogeco, Telus, Shaw, we already have all those subscribers. We are all -- we're already able to deliver a local HD signal to all of them, and in most cases, already are.

346 What we're here saying, we'll do even more to serve all Canadians, but that is dependent on basic carriage. If you were to say no 9(1)(H), Rogers' subscribers, you know, unless they take us off or put us in a packet or something, but we'll still make available a local HD signal to Rogers and Cogeco and Bell and Videotron, so they're not going to be affected.

347 But you know, independent, the remote systems, the systems in the North, we went to a lot of -- Luc did a great job, we got 23 new systems in the North. Well, they're not going to get any benefit if we're not on 9(1)(H). They're not going to get an HD signal. That's the concern.

348 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So I guess, finally, can you confirm that you would like to attain mandatory distribution for the HD and SD formats for both Weather Network and MétéoMédia?

349 MR. TEMPLE: Yes, that's correct. In -- with the caveats ---

350 THE CHAIRPERSON: Across Canada?

351 MR. TEMPLE: No. Well, in the --

352 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.

353 MR. TEMPLE: -- both services in HD -- where we can make it available we would expect SD and HD to be carried for both services. I mean, if we're not making it available, then we can't -- you know, people shouldn't be required to carry it. And the English and French both on basic on the -- in the designated bilingual markets.

354 And we understand, if there is a -- particularly in the case of HD, if there is a capacity issue, I mean, you can't get blood from a stone. If there really isn't a capacity to carry both formats, then that's fine, but increasingly that's not the case. It's a market decision made by the BDU, and that's a, I think, a problem.

355 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You mentioned a couple of times now the audio description plans. Can you give me a better understanding of those plans?

356 MR. TEMPLE: I think this is just a wonderful enhancement to our service. So traditionally, when you see the local weather, so you're in Red Deer and you're watching The Weather Network, and it goes to the local weather at -- on the 10s, and you'll see maps and whatnot, and then there's kind of generic background music. And that's because we're simultaneously broadcasting in a thousand different locations a thousand different channels. So Red Deer is seeing Red Deer weather, Dartmouth is seeing Dartmouth, but everyone is hearing the same music.

357 What we've done, in a nutshell ,is put a lot of effort into creating algorithms that, in a sense, read that information and turn it into an audio explanation so that for people who can't see those maps, can't see the little suns and the clouds, we can give an audio rendition of the critical components of that message. So someone who's visually impaired in Red Deer or Dartmouth, would now be able to get weather information as frequently as the rest of the viewers to our channel.

358 And a lot of work went into that. No one else does that. That's being done simultaneously. We're simultaneously creating a thousand audio channels and distributing them to the right location so that people with issues in terms of seeing those maps and graphics will be able to get their local weather, they'll get their warnings, they'll get critical information, just like everyone else does.

359 MS. ROGERS: And updated.

360 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, and it's updated every 10 minutes. This is a continuous process.

361 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your view, would that ensure full accessibility for -- of the programming for visually impaired Canadians?

362 MR. TEMPLE: I think so. I mean, we take great care in trying -- when we have live programming and there's someone on‑air talking about weather conditions, so not the text and graphics, we take great care in trying to be as descriptive as possible, and this is just adding. Because we do about three minutes of local six times an hour, so there's 18 minutes of music that's going to be replaced by important weather information for people who rely on audio.

363 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. In your application, you requested to maintain an exception, though, to the Standard Definition of audio description as it relates to local forecasts. Can you explain what the concern is with the Standard Def?

364 MR. TEMPLE: It's going to -- well, first of all, the audio that will be generated by, I call it the talking PMax will be on the SAT channel. So we're going to, in a sense, replace the SAT channel content, which is now just a generic regional audio forecast that's updated a couple of times a day, we would be providing that on the SAT channel, and then I guess over time, I don't know, we hadn't really discussed whether we needed those separate regional SAT channels at all, we'd probably continue to make them available.

365 But it's not ---

366 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I guess I'm trying to understand what would be the implications if the Commission denies your request and only imposes Standard Def?

367 MR. TEMPLE: Oh, if the Commission --

368 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- for (inaudible).

369 MR. TEMPLE: -- if the Commission denied our request for 9(1)(H), then we would expect to be ---

370 MS. ROGERS: No, HD.

371 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, for --

372 MR. TEMPLE: Oh.

373 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- denied your request for mandatory HD carriage.

374 MR. TEMPLE: Then there is no way to get them the audio.

375 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's simply not available on Standard Definition and won't be?

376 MR. TEMPLE: No, those boxes are ---

377 MS. ROGERS: Fifteen (15) years old.

378 MR. TEMPLE: Well, they're older than 15 years. They're ---

379 THE CHAIRPERSON: Careful now.

380 (RIRES)

381 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's move on a little bit to some of the financial issues. So in the last few years, your advertising revenues declined at almost, I'd say, well, close to three times the rate of an average category A service. And then 2016 revenues, drawn from advertising sales, were almost half what they were in 2013.

382 Can you explain? Can you discuss the circumstances that led to such a steep decline in the advertising revenues in recent years?

383 MR. TEMPLE: It's tough sledding out there. It's ---

384 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it's tough for everyone.

385 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. I haven't seen those numbers. It's always -- I guess, when you take averages, I'd be curious to see if -- what the averages are of independent services versus vertically integrated in terms of those declines. I mean, they're -- there are a lot of benefits to being cross-promoted and carried in -- if you're part of a vertically-integrated undertaking, but I don't know if -- in terms of why our ad revenues have declined more than anyone else's I'm ---

386 MS. ROGERS: I'll just add that our -- the way the ad buying happens is based on AMA, so average minute audience. Our AMA has declined more significantly, I would say. Mainly one of the reasons is our AMA is very different than other broadcasters.

387 People come -- there's 10 million people that come a month, unique visitors, but they come for one minute or two, and then they come back for one minute or two. So that has declined significantly and hence the advertising dollar.

388 THE CHAIRPERSON: But that's always been the case. That's not a change. The nature of how attractive you are or --

389 MS. ROGERS: There's been more of a decline.

390 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- to an advertiser, but ---

391 MS. ROGERS: I would say for our AMA there has been more of a decline.

392 MR. TEMPLE: And we've had some issues with --

393 MS. ROGERS: The measurement system.

394 MR. TEMPLE: -- the measurement system. There being -- we definitely believe that we are being underreported. There were changes to their formula, what, about a year ago?

395 MS. ROGERS: Yeah.

396 MR. TEMPLE: And that caused -- like all of a sudden our viewership numbers went down just because of a formula change. So we're kind of at their mercy. I think some other services had the same impact and -- we're just -- if Numeris isn't counting it we can't sell it.

397 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, in this -- so roughly the same timeframe, 2012 – 2015, your programming expenses remained relatively stable, but in 2016, the programming expenses decreased markedly by like 25 percent from the previous year.

398 Can you just give me a sense again of what -- why such a major change?

399 MS. ROGERS: So basically -- so the -- we did a backend consolidation with regard to MétéoMédia and the Weather Network, and -- so due to that, we are able to be more efficient in our spending and still offer to the consumers, all Canadian consumers, including French and English, I would say a better product, but definitely an equal product to them. So it's efficient spending.

400 MR. TEMPLE: It -- we consolidated some of the -- as Maureen said, some of the backroom operations. So rather than having operations -- some of the operations in Montréal and Québec, or -- and Oakville, we were able to consolidate them in Oakville. So there were certain savings there that we were able to capture. But the studio and the programming is unaffected by that change, but we were able to get some savings.

401 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I guess one more of a similar nature. In your expense reports, administration and general represents 23 percent of total operating expenses in the current term. And again, it's very different than the average Category A service, and I'm wondering if you can give me some insight into that?

402 MR. TEMPLE: I guess the average Category A service, again, if it's part of a vertically-integrated undertaking, can spread those costs across. But Tawnie, if you want to maybe address in a little more detail.

403 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Perhaps, we'll pick up that in our more detailed exhibit.

404 Now, there's no denying that weather, being as near and dear to the hearts of all Canadians, that you're one of the most popular specialty services out there. They have indicated that as one of the few remaining independents that you're not in a very strong position absent mandatory carriage.

405 So can you comment a little more, Mr. Temple, on your view that, or Mr. Morrissette, or others, that you lack bargaining power?

406 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we ---

407 THE CHAIRPERSON: In relation, obviously, to rates and packaging.

408 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. I mean, we don't -- we simply don't have market power. I mean, it's -- the -- I'm trying to think of a good example, but ---

409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, bargaining power doesn't only come from market power. It comes from popularity.

410 MR. TEMPLE: Popularity and ---

411 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's very difficult to remove --

412 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah.

413 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- a service that everyone wants --

414 MR. TEMPLE: M'hm.

415 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- without consequence.

416 MR. TEMPLE: But people can -- well, first of all, I'd comment that a number of the people who did write to the Commission made clear that they didn't want to have to pay more, and that for some is an affordability issue. So there is that.

417 If we are -- we are in an interesting situation in that in the past, when the Commission first decided that services, as we used to say, had the hammer, where you had to carry us on basic, they changed that rule and they allowed the BDUs to decide what was on basic. And so if someone wanted to keep, say Vision on basic, they could keep Vision on basic, and if they didn't want to I guess they would have a negotiation. But there was some evolution.

418 If we're removed from basic, we're removed instantly everywhere. So there is really quite a shock to the system. It's not -- that option of well the Commission said you don't have to carry The Weather Network, but I'll keep it on basic, because it’s a great service, is gone. We have to sit down and negotiate with every service.

419 We have no affiliation agreement that extends beyond this August because no-one will commit to carrying us beyond our -- now, that’s not to say they won’t but no-one’s going to do a deal beyond it. So we’ll have to sit down and try and do those deals with ---

420 THE CHAIRPERSON: And have you done any of that? Has there been any preliminary negotiations were that situation to arise?

421 MR. TEMPLE: I don’t think, of substance. We think we have a compelling case for basic distribution. And no-one’s really interested in sitting down and kind of negotiating a hypothetical.

422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.

423 MR. TEMPLE: So -- but at some point if the Commission were to decide that and -- you know, are we going to go from 100 percent penetration to, you know, 20 percent? No. But if you look at the average distribution of discretionary services it’s no -- it’s not near 100 percent. So a 20 percent reduction -- just to pick a number, a 20 percent reduction in basic carriage is a material impact. If it’s 30 percent -- and, you know, we talked about having to cut back but it becomes almost a death spiral because you cut back to try and preserve and, you know, that affects the attractiveness of your service. And then we get into the story we’ve already talked about, about cutting back service to other areas. We’ll just end up trying to super-serve, you know, kind of Rogers, Bell, and Shaw and Videotron because that’s who we’ll be totally reliant on.

424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, let’s not talk about death spirals. Let’s talk about a more positive subject.

425 I’d like to get a little better understanding of your digital media initiatives, currently and prospectively. As we’ve said, you’re a very popular service and certainly you’re also a digital content leader. So can you discuss a little more about some of the initiatives that you’ve undertaken to expand your digital media presence?

426 MR. TEMPLE: I think Sam can speak to that.

427 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah, I mean, like any cross-platform business, especially with content as relevant as weather, we’re going to -- of course we’re going to be in digital properties; though, I would say, the TV platform is still our largest-reach platform. So we reach 10 million Canadians on a monthly basis through the TV platform.

428 Now, we still have significant mobile web penetration and PC web penetration and app experience. We spent a lot of focus on building out that as well, but TV and that platform continues to be a big part of our business.

429 But that said, we’ve-- you know, Pierre before me, and the entire team, continue to make sure we are relevant in meeting our mission. The mission is to keep Canadians safe and informed all over the country on almost any platform that we can deliver against. And so -- so that’s our goal. So we certainly will be on digital platforms.

430 And in addition, on the TV side, it’s kind of a linear experience right now but the next five years that will be quite different; the next 10 years that will be quite different. They’ll be over the top. There’ll be IP TV; there’ll be different ways to deliver content on the large screen. I still think the large screen is going to be very relevant but the technology underlying it and how we deliver that will be quite different. And so we have a lot of initiatives going on that front as well. We don’t know where it’s going to lead but we have to be in the middle of the discovery.

431 So we’re cross-platform, we’ve very proud of it but, you know, I do want to reiterate the TV continues to be the largest-reach platform right now for us.

432 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you describe any of the current initiatives?

433 MR. SEBASTIAN: On ---

434 THE CHAIRPERSON: On the digital side?

435 MR. SEBASTIAN: On which?

436 THE CHAIRPERSON: On the digital side.

437 MR. SEBASTIAN: Sure. I mean, it’s our business so, you know, we -- every two weeks -- we have a technology department where every two weeks we’re releasing new features to all of our products, especially on the digital side. So whether it’s features, whether it’s new apps -- we just built a new app, probably a year and a half ago, just to test what an entirely new experience would be. We make sure that we’re constantly updated and upgraded on the IOS system versus the Android system, the two main operating systems for mobile. We make sure that we have a responsive Web site for mobile so that when you pull up our site, whether you’re on a mobile device or a desktop, it performs in the same way. So those are -- I mean, that’s just constant keeping up with the Joneses to make sure we’re relevant against the likes of, you know, Google and Facebook, and all the other major players that, you know, could very well disintermediate us tomorrow.

438 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you describe for me some of the synergies that exist between the two platforms?

439 MR. SEBASTIAN: For sure. So the -- where I sit in the broadcasting room it really is the -- where we create a lot of the content. We have a system where we’ll build content for television and if that is relevant content, we’ll shoot that over to our digital properties, and vice versa. So if we get some really good, interesting, user-generated content when we’re asking consumers around the country for their content, it works very well in digital but we’ve very quickly beginning to put more and more of that on television. So it very much is back and forth. We have our on-camera personalities and presenters who build content for television when they’re in front of the big screen, but also will go on Twitter or Facebook Live feed and do a 20-second forecast versus a longer one that you might see on television.

440 So the broadcast centre and that kind of video capability is still the engine room, the centre engine of everything that we do but we now have the ability to take that content, maybe cut it down a little bit, make it a bit more relevant for digital channels and put those on whatever platform we think a consumer will engage with it.

441 THE CHAIRPERSON: So they support one another.

442 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah.

443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Each of the services ---

444 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah, they’re kind of ---

445 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- support the other.

446 MR. SEBASTIAN: It’s kind of tied together.

447 MS. ROGERS: And I would add that what digital does do as well, because they do have a team that creates video, is also on the other way, is put on the TV platform if it’s relevant to consumers.

448 And the other important point that digital does bring to the TV platform is user-generated content. It’s all through the mobile app that consumers send in their pictures from across Canada, on active weather, on different parts of Canada, of how it snowed, all that, that we succeed in getting through the download on the app that helps tell the story to all Canadians about Canada, basically.

449 MR. SEBASTIAN: The last comment I’ll make on this -- sorry; I love talking about this stuff so you’ll have to shut me up. But with digital you have a lot of capabilities, what we call programmatic, which is the ability to, almost through an algorithm, deliver the right content and the right advertising to various different folks.

450 In television you just don’t have that capability. The BDUs actually have more information on our viewers than we do on our own viewers. And so over time I suspect that will change. And so much of the experience and the capabilities we’ve built up and continue to build up on the digital side, the aim and the hope is we’ll be able to apply those to a new television experience and set of technologies over the next, you know, five, 10 years.

451 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not to go back to a doom and gloom scenario, but just -- I will. Just what would the impact be for, I guess both with and without mandatory carriage, on the digital side of your business? So what is -- well, I guess you’ve described, in effect, what is the impact of having mandatory carriage. What would be the impact, were you not to have mandatory carriage, on your digital business?

452 MR. TEMPLE: I’m not sure there’d be an awful lot. I mean ---

453 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we just talked there were a lot of synergies.

454 MR. TEMPLE: Well, there’s synergies in the sense of we’re able to share video. So if we have video that is on both digital and television, that is -- the cost of that is shared between the two services.

455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think it would grow less quickly, for example?

456 MR. TEMPLE: No, I think it -- no. I think the synergy of having them -- of being able to cross-promote and things of that nature are valuable. So it would have an impact on our digital platform, I’m sure, just because the resources available on the TV side would be less.

457 MR. SEBASTIAN: This is a differentiator for us, the sight, sound, and motion associated with the video that we do in our -- like I mentioned, in our engine room. If we had to cut back significantly on everything that we do on the television side we just wouldn’t bring those stories to life nearly as well as we could on the digital channel and would just be a bunch of local forecasts and numbers and things like that.

458 The fastest growing part of our business on the digital side is the video side, much of which we leveraged the video content and the video material that we develop in the studio. And so it would -- have we quantified what the impact would be on the digital business, I don’t think so, but I don’t want to go there.

459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.

460 Change of subject again -- and I don’t have too much longer -- too many more things -- licence term. So earlier we had a discussion and I asked you why you should be different than everyone else. I guess I’ll ask you the same question again. Why seven years? You’re aware that the Commission has typically been providing five year licence terms. Why seven?

461 MR. TEMPLE: Why not.

462 THE CHAIRPERSON: Come on.

463 (RIRES)

464 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because you want to come back every seven years, is that ---

465 MR. TEMPLE: As much as I enjoy it.

466 Well, I’ll let others talk about the inherent business risk that we face in terms of five versus seven.

467 But some ---

468 THE CHAIRPERSON: But again, you need -- that makes it different than everyone else. I mean, everyone is confronted by similar challenges.

469 MR. TEMPLE: And, as I was going to say, that from the perspective of the consumer, I think that a shorter term impairs our ability to provide the benefits that we’re -- the new benefits that we’re proposing.

470 And I think I mentioned earlier on we’re going to be rolling out -- we have to complete the final development and then the roll out of the new technology to allow for HD boxes.

471 So I think we were a little optimistic in our initial assumptions, but given that, you know, we may have a decision before the end of this term, we have to do some groundwork and then get boxes made and shipped out to small operators across the country in an orderly fashion, and that’s going to be -- it’ll be hard-pressed for us to do that and get any reasonable return.

472 We’re actually getting no return, but if we’re going to be spending several million dollars to get those boxes out to small systems, and we’re getting basically no incremental -- we’re getting no incremental revenue -- and we, you know, have no assurance of getting the ability to cross-subsidize into year six and seven it’s a problem.

473 Remember we’re cross-subsidizing those small systems with revenues from the large ones. We’re not getting more revenue. We’ve got to increase the subsidy. But kind of truncating that into a shorter period of time impairs our ability to cross-subsidize it.

474 THE CHAIRPERSON: But just on the HD issue, are you suggesting that conversion won’t be complete in five years ---

475 MR. TEMPLE: No.

476 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- or just that -- it will not be?

477 MR. TEMPLE: It will not.

478 The logistics of doing it are somewhat complicated because you’re dealing with small operators who -- and Luc has the scars to show for this. You’ve got to ship boxes; you’ve got to coordinate the changeover; they’ve got to send the old box back; they’re not paying attention. I mean, we’re talking about 600, 700, 800 different operations. That’s going to take us a number of years to roll out. This is a complete overhaul of the boxes that we have in the field. And so that, to me, is the biggest concern.

479 The other thing is that, you know, if you have five years, you know, is that really like three or four, because in the final years what -- you know, it does have a chill in terms of expenditures because we’re approaching, you know, an unknown. You know, and if I fast forward four years from now we’re going to be sitting around saying “Gee, I don’t know if we’re going to get basic anymore” you know “Let’s spend a whole bunch of money on HD.” “Well, I don’t think that’s going to go anywhere so let’s spend a -- you know, we want to do a big project on NAADs.” Well ---

480 MR. MORRISSETTE: If I can just add from a macro perspective of the company overall.

481 A licence renewal for MétéoMédia and The Weather Network is not an ordinary licence renewal. We’re not talking about tweaking, you know, various conditions of licence and so on and so forth. The recurring theme is that it puts mandatory basic carriage on the table each time. And for our two television networks it’s such a material alternative. It has a dramatic impact on our viability.

482 Now, it’s not just us internally, you know, basically saying “Oh, what will we do” it’s every external partner that we are negotiating with, and especially the banks, will say “Well, what happens if they don’t approve, you know, mandatory carriage” and what that does is it puts a whole cloud, a big chill, on our ability to negotiate a whole bunch of things, not just banking, a whole bunch of other agreements too.

483 So it’s not like every other service that says “Well, okay, we’re talking about tweaks or effects on the carriage of the service” this is about a fundamental business model we have.

484 So that’s a huge factor for us and, you know, it’s something -- now, the other reality is that it’s a very expensive process and the more we can amortize the cost of these renewals over a longer term, but that’s very secondary to, you know, the fundamental effects of the cloud that it puts over our service every seven years, and if it’s every five years, man, that’s -- sorry. That is -- you know, puts us in a very difficult position ---

485 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand, but ---

486 MR. MORRISSETTE: --- as a going concern.

487 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you have to appreciate that, from the Commission’s perspective, while you may find it burdensome to come and justify our -- from the public interest perspective, we have to ensure that it requires mandatory carriage and completely fulfils any obligations required.

488 MR. MORRISSETTE: But that -- and that’s why we’d prefer seven over five. In fact, we’d prefer 10 over seven but we’ll settle for seven.

489 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.

490 A couple of last areas. So just quickly the Convergence Research Group report, in that context, just -- Pelmorex’s forecasts are, let’s say, more conservative than what was forecast in the Convergence report. So I’m just wondering how you determine that an average subscriber decline of one and a half percent per year over the prospective licence period is appropriate.

491 MR. EBY: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

492 We were asked this question in -- as a deficiency question in September and we filed -- we had three -- we used three sources and they ranged, I think, from 1 and 1 percent -- I think one said a possibility as high as 3 percent decline beginning in 2019, and we basically took it right in the middle. And, you know, we knew everyone’s looking at this and trying to figure out what’s going to happen. And we went with 1.5 and we thought it was -- based on available data, an estimate that -- I mean, it’s had to say if it’s conservative or aggressive, we kind of thought it was right in the middle and something that was reasonable.

493 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. And does Pelmorex still hold to that projected subscriber decline?

494 MR. SEBASTIAN: It’s what we’re seeing right now, about one and a half this year. So hopefully it sticks right there. Frankly, I’m a little concerned that it could be a little bit more than that but for now ---

495 THE CHAIRPERSON: Hopefully it slows down.

496 MR. SEBASTIAN: I think the other problem is on the television advertising side, that, again, has been a significant decline, the largest decline in our business, by line item, and that declined much further than our projections as well. But those are all risks that we take on. We just -- the certainty of 9(1)h and mandatory carriage gives us -- gives us a reliable revenue stream that we can actually work with but there are some major inherent risks in those other line items.

497 THE CHAIRPERSON: So on that still, you know that giganomics’ subscriber forecasts were quite different. Do you have any comments on the giganomics’ report?

498 MR. TEMPLE: We didn’t look at it. To what -- on what ---

499 THE CHAIRPERSON: On subscribers lost.

500 MR. TEMPLE: On subscribers. What was their comment?

501 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, if you ---

502 MR. TEMPLE: No.

503 THE CHAIRPERSON: We won’t go into ---

504 MR. TEMPLE: Okay.

505 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- providing -- it’s on the record so we’ll leave that there.

506 Complete change of subject. You may be aware that the Commission is -- has recently announced that it was -- it is using its convening powers to examine the issue of women in production, and I just wonder if for a second we can explore what Pelmorex is doing and what commitments you might make to ensure fair representation of women at your company.

507 We’ll be asking everyone that question.

508 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we’ll let Mitch talk about our programming activities and address your question.

509 MR. CHARRON: Sure. Thank you, Paul.

510 I’ve been with this company over 28 years, almost 29 years now, and diversity has been in the DNA of Pelmorex and that’s one of the reasons it’s kept me here for so long; it’s something I truly believe in. And we, as a management group, especially under television which I oversee, is constantly reviewing diversity across the board all the time. So we work with our on-air people, our producers, we work with our camera people, our editors, to make sure that diversity is shown and is in the forefront of everything that we do.

511 So we’re constantly aware of this. We work with the CNIB, with work with the AMI, we work with the March of Dimes; we’re all about diversity. It’s what we believe in and it’s part of the -- getting the word out that weather is important, and it’s important to address all Canadians and meet all Canadians’ needs. So we’re always aware of it.

512 So as far as women in particular, I think our numbers are very good and we continue to get better at them. And it’s just something that we’re very committed to. It’s something that we really believe in.

513 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.

514 I’ll ask my colleagues if they have any other questions, and then I believe also Commission legal counsel may have a few follow-up questions, but that does it for me for the moment.

515 M. Dupras.

516 MEMBER DUPRAS: Merci.

517 While we were talking about your digital strategy, I went on Android Play Store to see how many downloads you have, just on the Android platform, and I saw that you have more than 5 million downloads. Can you tell me on IOS also, or total downloads of mobile apps, how many do you have?

518 MR. SEBASTIAN: It’s pretty comparable between Android and IOS. The distinction -- two things are important, one is who’s downloaded it. But almost more important is then are they using it and are they coming back to the app on a daily or monthly basis, so we track both numbers.

519 MEMBER DUPRAS: Okay. So you would have, what, over 10 million downloads overall, on your mobile app?

520 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah, yeah. Correct.

521 MEMBER DUPRAS: So it would be -- it would have a reach similar to your television service.

522 MR. SEBASTIAN: Correct. On app.

523 MEMBER DUPRAS: And ---

524 MR. SEBASTIAN: Just south of it, yeah.

525 MEMBER DUPRAS: And what impact does this mobile service has on the viewing of your television service? You have numbers on that? Because, I mean, personally, I watch less of MétéoMédia on television since the -- I mean, what the app provides. And, I mean, today with changing habits, people are on their iPad at the same time they’re looking at television. I mean, surely the viewing of MétéoMédia Weather Network has declined as a result of the mobile app.

526 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah, I think it’s declined not necessarily just because of the mobile app but for the other platforms where you can get weather content. I think there's a couple of comments in here, though. One, what we find is when there’s active weather that’s when we get more and more folks coming back to television than ever before. So our ratings spike significantly any time there’s a weather event. And so it really is -- they all play together. So we will have folks maybe checking an app on, you know, the Friday before they head up to the cottage, but then when there’s a major weather event in southern Ontario, folks will spend 30 minutes on the television network to get all of the latest because it’s a -- just because it’s a much bigger event.

527 So we’ve seen the usage and -- around our platforms change but they still work pretty well together. And I don’t necessarily think our app has cannibalized television viewership. I think that’s just, in general, changing consumer habits overall.

528 MEMBER DUPRAS: It doesn’t have any relationship with your advertising decline on television?

529 MR. SEBASTIAN: No. I mean, are we -- we don’t have advertisers who will say, “Well, I’m going to spend...” -- we don’t have McDonald’s saying, “Well, I just want to spend now in app and not in television.” We try to connect them together, and a lot of our advertisers are cross-platform for sure, so ---

530 MEMBER DUPRAS: But just the fact that people might be using more and more the app ---

531 MR. SEBASTIAN: I suspect ---

532 MEMBER DUPRAS: --- that may affect the viewing ---

533 MR. SEBASTIAN: I fully expect the decrease ---

534 MEMBER DUPRAS: --- I guess that may have some consequence on the advertising?

535 MR. SEBASTIAN: I fully expect the decrease in our advertising and television over the last three or four years is directly related to the changing consumer habits, whether it’s folks going to our app or many other apps on the Internet.

536 MEMBER DUPRAS: Okay. So you’re not a victim of your own success?

537 MR. SEBASTIAN: I don’t think so. No, no. They play together. It’s an integrated offering.

538 MS. ROGERS: If I can add ---

539 MR. MORRISSETTE: I was just going to add a historical perspective.

540 Before Web and mobile arose, we were in every home in Canada on basic television, and in those years, back to the nineties, was probably about 10 million homes, maybe -- well, it took a while for satellite to get up there but we launched our first Web service in the nineties. And, gradually, people use Web when they don’t have access to TV, oftentimes. And then -- so in-office use became quite prevalent and when people went online. When mobile came along, and again, you know, the phone device gave all kinds of new capabilities when you don’t have access to the TV set.

541 So over time what’s happened is that our television viewing has maintained itself as our flagship. But Web consumption increased with the market and then when mobile came along, mobile consumption increased with the market. So today on a duplicated basis, we serve 30-million Canadians, you know, coast-to-coast in both languages, but that’s duplicated, because some people -- many people use multiple platforms.

542 On a non-duplicated basis I don’t have the most recent numbers but it’s around 20, 22-million Canadians on a non-duplicated basis use our services. But, as you can see, of the non-duplicated number, the 10-million in TV is still the biggest category.

543 So it’s been a growing pattern over time and it’s just evolving with the market to meet the needs of consumers in the best way possible, because at the end of the day it’s all about them.

544 And if we’re not there, if we had just stayed with TV, then, you know, obviously a lot of that consumption would have gone on other devices to competitors, but by being innovative and moving quickly to where the market’s going all the time -- that’s our philosophy. We want to go to where the market’s going to be, be there early, even before there’s a business case, and to position there and to win that market segment, and we’ve been very successful at that. And that will continue to be our mantra going forward, you know, during -- in the next 10 years.

545 And as a matter of interest, we’ve -- you know, we’re a Canadian company, very proud of that, who’s got the potential to basically scale internationally, and we’ve been attempting to do that, and quite successfully, so that globally now we’re one of the leading players in weather in the world. We’re not number one, we’re number two, but we’re a major player globally, and that’s just -- again, it’s dealing with market trends and opportunities.

546 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: What percentage does the TV business in Canada now represent on your total business?

547 MR. SEBASTIAN: I think we provided in confidence all of the company wide numbers, so we’re happy to do that in a non-public setting I think, right.

548 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay.

549 MS. ROGERS: And I just wanted to add, digital and mobile has actually helped TV in many ways. They are the eye -- a lot of people have them, and there are some people who don’t, and therefore the service of TV is there to help them and people should watch weather and active weather and we should keep them safe on whatever platform they choose.

550 But for those who have the mobile app, they are the eyes and ears of weather happening in all sorts of parts of Canada and they download it and help TV producers tell the story to all Canadians about what is happening around Canada.

551 So the user generated content that comes from our apps is significant from a TV perspective to help tell the story of all parts of Canada.

552 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Well, I was just interested in trying to understand the impact on the viewing of your television service because of the popularity of the mobile app, and any data that you can provide us on this would be appreciated if you could file that with us.

553 MR. SEBASTIAN: Okay.

554 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Thanks.

555 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe Commissioner Vennard has a question.

556 Before I go to her, I just -- Mr. Morrissette, you just said something that prompted -- reminded me that I had one other question that I didn’t ask.

557 You mentioned your competitors and competitive alternatives. I think, just for the record, you have I think made the statement on the record that your interpretation of the Commission’s regulatory framework is that you have genre protection, and I just wondered if you could address that on the record please.

558 MR. TEMPLE: I’m happy to respond to that. We -- I’ll get my crib notes here. The total recall is not as fast as it used to be.

559 But we just -- you know, going back to the Commission’s overall policy that the purpose of designating a service for basic carriage is to provide the means for them to be able to afford to implement the benefits. I mean, that’s the whole idea so that we can provide benefits. And I think part of that benefit was to have genre protection.

560 Recently a major BDU -- vertically integrated BDU -- has made an agreement with a competitive -- probably the world’s biggest competitive weather service provider to provide weather information to their media products.

561 So it’s not a purely theoretical concern and, you know, we just -- in our reading of it, it says as an exception to the general elimination of genre protection the Commission will retain conditions of licence relating to nature of service for those services that benefit from mandatory distribution. We still have to have, you know, very specific conditions of licence and a nature of description -- or a nature of service description. And so we read that that that is -- that genre protection is available to us and we think it would be helpful to have genre protection.

562 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

563 Commissioner Vennard?

564 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you for your presentation. I have -- it’s more of a request of you rather than a question, and it has to do with accessibility. And although it’s come up many times through your presentation and your questioning, I’d like you to just make it really clear to us how you are serving the needs of the accessibility community in our country. And I know -- as I say, you could restate if you want, but I’d like that to be a separate request.

565 MR. TEMPLE: Would you like that as a separate undertaking or ---

566 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: No.

567 MR. TEMPLE: --- would you like us to speak it now?

568 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’d like you to just speak to it now.

569 MR. TEMPLE: Okay. Well, I’m going to let Mitch talk about our captioning in a second and briefly talk about some of our initiatives for people who are visually impaired or blind.

570 So currently we have five SAP channels where we try and provide an audio -- sorry, a SAP channel is a second audio programming channel where we will update regional weather forecasts. So in our Alberta regional feed we can provide a general audio update that people who tune to the SAP channel can hear the weather when we go to the local forecasts, the graphics, and whatnot.

571 So we’ve been doing that. That was recognized by the Commission just because we are doing 1,000 channels at once. So we have five of those channels and we propose to add another one so that we can provide better service.

572 And then as part of our application, if it’s improved (sic), then, as I mentioned, we want to go that next step and actually be able to provide -- you know, take those six audio feeds and turn it into 1,000 so that if you’re in Timmins you’re going to get an audio rendition summary of the local weather, and in Dartmouth, and Red Deer, and everywhere across Canada. So that’s something we’re hoping with your approval of our application that we can move forward on the audio.

573 We’ve had meetings with -- we have -- maybe I’ll let Mitch talk about this. But we have -- we’ve worked with CNIB and AMI to make sure that we’re doing the best job we can when our people are on air to be descriptive and meet the needs of people who may have vision issues.

574 But, Mitch, maybe why don’t you -- I’ve probably taken your thunder.

575 MR. CHARRON: Yeah, you pretty much stole my thunder there.

576 But, yeah, with the CNIB we bring them in on a yearly basis and -- I‘m sorry, I’ll just get where you can see me. Bringing them in on the early basis and they worked on with our team, our producers, our directors, and they really kind of help us to become more descriptive in our storytelling to make sure that everybody can actually understand what we’re saying. So instead of saying, “the storm over here,” we actually get to do a better job by actually explaining where “here” is. So that’s what we’ve been working very close with AMI on, sorry, with CNIB.

577 AMI has also helped us from that regard as well as with our, the audio descriptive, the localized automated audio descriptive. We worked very closely with descriptive video specials from AMI to kind of help us how should we structure it so people that are visually impaired would actually be able to actually hear. Sorry, hearing impaired would actually be able to, so visually impaired be able to actually hear the actual forecast on our local products.

578 So those are the two big areas that we’re kind of working with, with outside sources. We have our internal team of closed-captionists that we actually work with, re-speakers that will actually produce the contents, captioning on the Weather Network site and on MétéoMédia we actually have a third-party, which pretty much is the same set-up, but we outsource it to a third-party that does this captioning for us. A 100% of our programing is captioned.

579 MR. TEMPLE: And I’d just like to add, though, that yes, everyone has to do captioning, but we have one licence but we have seven channels to caption. So the challenges we have are much greater than the average broadcaster. You know, History Channel or whoever, yes, they have to caption and most of their system is live.

580 We’re talking about a lot of live programming across multiple channels, but we only have one rate. We don’t have, we’re not getting 23 sentence times seven, we’re getting 23 sentence period. But we’re providing these regional channels and we’ve got to caption them all, and that, I just, I think that’s a significant task. We’re happy to do it, it’s important to do, but I think it has to be recognized.

581 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you for that. My next comment was going to be to ask you to describe some of the challenges, and I believe you’ve done that. Are there any other challenges with respect to the accessibility community that we should be aware of?

582 MR. TEMPLE: No, I think the, you know... we want to make sure that the service we’re providing is meaningful to all Canadians, and again, kind of the nature of the service. We feel it’s important that they get it and it’s a challenge for us, because of the multiple challenges in both languages and whatnot, but we accept that.

583 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you.

584 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe Commission Counsel has a few follow-up questions for you. Counsel?

585 MR. BOWLES: Thank you, Mr. Chair. To start off, I’m mindful of the time, so I will try to keep this as brief as possible, but I have a few follow-up and clarification questions.

586 And let me start off with those that pertain to the national alert aggregation and dissemination service. There was discussion held with the panel earlier about the provision of a report detailing, I guess, the outcomes of discussions with relevant stakeholders and members of the counsel.

587 Can you -- a dash was issued this morning with an undertaking date, but I’m going to gather that report will not be provided by the undertaking dates set out in the dash. Can you confirm by when you would be in a position to provide that?

588 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we don’t… we don’t expect to have a counsel meeting until sometime in the fall. I mean, if we’re looking at, if we’re looking at, we still have several provinces, big provinces, to talk to and catch up with some of the territories.

589 I mean, that hopefully will happen by the end of May, but if we’re going to be, if part of the Commission’s request this for us to look at the actual terms of reference, I think that’s a much bigger undertaking, kind of having a chat with someone to say, “How can I better, you know, how can we better work together?”, is quite different than getting that document out and getting a consensus as to how it should be changed.

590 So the Commission is just looking for some of our findings in terms of our discussions with the provinces and territories, we can try and get that to the Commission by the, I mean, depending on our ability to schedule meetings with them, by the end of the month or May. But if it’s something more formal, I think, it’s going to take a longer period of time.

591 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think it would be helpful if you would give us what you have by the undertaking date.

592 MR. TEMPLE: Certainly.

593 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then we can consider the more fulsome version at a later point.

594 MR. BOWLES: So still in the topic of the national aggregation and dissemination service, can you speak a little bit to the impact which a five-year licence renewal and a five-year mandatory distribution order would have with regards to commitments relating to that system?

595 MR. TEMPLE: There’s no specific project that we’re looking at at the moment that would be put in jeopardy. So unlike on the broadcasting side, where we’ve talked about if for a shorter period of time it puts the role out of high-definition in jeopardy, there’s no specific project on the alerting site.

596 In general, though, as I think we mentioned, it does put a chill. You know, whatever comes up in the year three or four, there’s going to be, you know, a lot of discussion about whether to go forward with enhancements, because the licence is coming up and there’s no guaranty that it would be continued.

597 Now, if we don’t, if we had, we did say that if we have five years, we’d have to go back and look at the impact and what we wouldn’t be able to do. And I just want to caucus for a minute, and I’ll hopefully have a more fulsome answer for you.

598 (COURTE PAUSE)

599 MR. TEMPLE: I think our view now is that we would, if the Commission gave us a five-year renewal on basic, and more or less the terms that we’ve proposed but only five years, I think we would try to maintain the NADS system but there would be consequences in some of the other things that we’ve proposed to undertake. So, but I think we’d be, we’d continue the NADS for five years, we wouldn’t come back and say, “Oh, we can’t do NADS for a shorter terms.”

600 MS. ROGERS: Can I just add also to Paul’s comment is so as he said we would? I do want to go back to the last seven years that we have had NADS, and Text and Speech as Pierre mentioned is we think a huge success of the NADS system and the leadership that we took that happened to happen to arrive at year four and a half. So if that would have happened in a five-year term, most probably the Text and Speech would not have been something that we would have undergone at that time. So I just want to put that as an example of the past, so.

601 MR. BOWLES: Thank you. In the answer provided, I heard “try” and “there would be consequences.” Would it be possible to clarify a little bit what those consequences could be, might be, as part of an undertaking?

602 MR. TEMPLE: Certainly, we’ll do that.

603 ENGAGEMENT

604 MR. BOWLES: Still on the topic of the National Alert Aggregation and Dissemination System. How frequently are software updates required?

605 MR. TEMPLE: As frequently as they're needed, it’s really ---

606 MR. BOWLES: Can you quantify ---

607 MR. TEMPLE: --- if there's no -- there's no formula, it’s if there are changes in terms of we see an improvement to make in security, then we put that on the list. If there's requests from government agencies to add a feature, then we do an update. So I think we’re -- we tend to bundle them together, but I think we’re on the 10th release of the software, so ---

608 MR. BOWLES: Of what timeline?

609 MR. TEMPLE: Over the seven years.

610 MR. BOWLES: Over the seven years, 10th ---

611 MR. TEMPLE: So -- and -- but within those releases are multiple things being -- being changed.

612 MR. SEBASTIAN: Yeah, it is a combination of features, scalability, security, but then we try to have a very structured release process that we do a few times a year.

613 MR. BOWLES: There was a discussion held earlier and I might be mistaken in the name that was provided, but I believe it was called “Radio Ball”?

614 MR. TEMPLE: Bob.

615 MR. BOWLES: Radio Bob, sorry. Would it be possible to -- as part of an undertaking to better describe I guess the nature of that equipment technology and its costs? There was sort of an undertaking given on that front ---

616 MR. TEMPLE: M'hm.

617 MR. BOWLES: --- but I’m not sure it was ---

618 MR. TEMPLE: We will contact him and try and get him -- I mean it’s his service and -- but we’ll try and get detailed information from him that we can pass on to the -- to the Commission. Oh! And he did -- yes, he didn’t intervene actually, he did file comments in support of our application, but I don’t think he went on at length in terms of his technology, but ---

619 MR. BOWLES: If some kind of description could be provided ---

620 MR. TEMPLE: M'hm.

621 MR. BOWLES: --- of what precisely this is and the cost ---

622 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah.

623 MR. BOWLES: --- involved, it would be appreciated.

624 MR. TEMPLE: We will do -- we will do that.

625 ENGAGEMENT
MR. BOWLES: Not that you were attempting to provide an exhaustive list of council membership -- of the governance council -- membership of the Governance Council, but I don’t think I heard the name of a small radio operator mentioned.

626 MR. TEMPLE: Golden West.

627 MR. BOWLES: Golden West. Over and above Golden West, what outreach efforts are done by the Council to seek the views of small radio operators as to, you know, what their concerns are and whatnot?

628 MR. TEMPLE: We -- after each test message that -- and these are test messages meant for distribution to the public, so there's five scheduled -- five times during the year we canvass -- we have a process -- I’ll back up a little bit. We have a process which allows -- and we encourage what we call “last mile distributors” to register with us so that we can send them important notices. We can't compel people to, but we try to make it easily available to them, so that if there's some change coming up or a test message is scheduled next week or whatever the case may be, we can send out a blanket message to all those people.

629 We always canvas everyone after a test message asking them if there was problems, did the test message play properly on your service, were you connected to the satellite, were you connected to the data feed. And I think we -- I know we report that annually to the Commission, as well our findings in response from people. So if they tell us about a problem, we can put it in that -- in that report.

630 We try and keep in touch, we’re a member of the CABs technical -- the committee -- anyway, I can't remember the letters, I probably call it the TCC, but that may or may not be correct, but they have a technical committee and we’re involved in that and that includes TV and radio, but there are a number of radio services represented in the committee. And we’re a participant in the Common Look and Feel Forum. So we -- and we have a website where people can go and get information. If they call us, we’re more than happy to work with them, direct them to a vendor or answer questions, whatever we can do to make it easier for them to connect to the system.

631 And we also -- through -- with Public Safety Canada we’ve participated in -- we’re now -- in the last two years, you know, we’ve had a forum, a public forum, where we’ve tried to make people aware of that in terms of -- the last one was in Montreal where, you know, we had speakers and whatnot. And generally when we -- when we have updates or anything of a substantive nature, we send the emails out to some of the provincial broadcasting associations. There's -- I know there's a BC Association of Broadcasters and it’s the Ontario Association of Broadcasters, so we try and reach those groups if there's a material change being contemplated on the system.

632 MR. BOWLES: Thank you for that response. I will have a few other questions on other matters, but one last one pertaining to the NAAD System. If I understood correctly, you were stating that the financial information provided on the record at this proceeding with respect to the cost to operate the NAAD only included incremental cost, but that there were other costs. Would it be possible for you to describe and quantify those other costs?

633 MR. TEMPLE: By other costs what we want to -- what we want people to understand is that -- and this is right from our first -- when we first applied, we identified the incremental cost and we said that we would report the incremental cost of operating the NAAD System. There are other cost, what we don't want is people to think, “Oh, well, it’s just a couple of million dollars”, because payroll, accounting, you know, all those types of -- it’s not a standalone operation, so there are costs.

634 If it were to be a standalone operation, you know, properly -- properly accounted, there’d be a lot more cost. We don't -- we don't cost it that way, but I think it’s important for people to understand that there's more. If it were a standalone operation -- if we were to go to the Federal Government and say, “Hey, do you want a NAAD System?”, it wouldn’t be for the price that we send in that's the incremental cost, it would be a properly costed, fully costed service. So it’s ---

635 MR. BOWLES: And you're not referring to sunk cost? These other costs are not sunk cost, they remain ---

636 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, the ---

637 MR. BOWLES: --- incremental in a sense ---

638 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, I mean ---

639 MR. BOWLES: --- but not ---

640 MR. TEMPLE: --- someone’s doing the payroll for the people on the NAAD System, but the people doing the payroll for the people on the NAAD System are not included in the NAAD cost. I’m not included in the NAAD cost, Tawnie isn’t included in the NAAD cost.

641 MS. ROGERS: Leslie Alex is in.

642 MR. TEMPLE: Alex -- so we’re not allocating common costs to the cost that we've reported. They are purely incremental. If there were no NAADs, then those costs would be -- would be eliminated.

643 MR. BOWLES: Would you -- and I understand that you -- you haven’t, you know, costed this out in a rigorous manner, but would you be able to provide some sense of the costs associated with these activities and their proper allocation to the -- to this system?

644 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, we can -- we can provide it, but it’s going to be -- I mean it’s -- it’s a little hypothetical. I mean is it -- is it to operate as a standalone -- do you just want an allocation or do you want it as if we were doing it as a standalone completely separate company?

645 MR. BOWLES: No, I think it would be within the current reality.

646 MR. TEMPLE: Sure, we will ---

647 MR. BOWLES: So that would include some kind of description of how ---

648 MR. TEMPLE: Yeah, of how ---

649 MR. BOWLES: --- you know, you would allocate?

650 MR. TEMPLE: --- how we -- yes, we will do that.

651 ENGAGEMENT
MR. BOWLES: Now, turning away from the NAAD System, with respect to the programming for and produced in the North, you provided an undertaking to the Commission with respect to proposing wording for a potential condition of licence on this front. Would this at all be affected if the licensing was five years?

652 MR. TEMPLE: That would ---

653 MR. BOWLES: If you ask how ---

654 MR. TEMPLE: That could possibly be one of the things that we would have to look at, yes.

655 MR. BOWLES: Could you speak to that as part of an undertaking, if it would be affected and if yes, how so and why?

656 MR. TEMPLE: That --- yes, we can do that.

657 ENGAGEMENT

658 MR. TEMPLE: What’s the date for all these undertakings?

659 MR. BOWLES: The dates, I have it here, May 9th.

660 MR. TEMPLE: May 9th?

661 MR. BOWLES: With respect to your suggestion that -- with the provision of both SD and HD signals, have you thought at all, because I don’t think this was discussed, or if it was, maybe not much, about the impact that would have on small operators, and in particular but not exclusively on operators of analog systems?

662 MR. TEMPLE: I don’t think there’s a requirement for services -- or systems in analog to carry us period, if I’m -- if I recall correctly, but we would request that where there is capacity, we would ask that -- and the signals both are made available, we would ask that they be carried.

663 On the satellite, we would only be making one or the other available. Initially, right now, only SD is available on satellite. As we implement the new regime, it will be HD available and SD won’t, unless they decide they want to down-convert, but we wouldn’t be requiring them to do it because we’re not making an SD signal available to them.

664 But the real thing is -- the real issue is there are large BDUs who don’t carry both services or both formats, and they have a lot of people in their subscriber base who can make use of either or both and they’re not getting it. So we’re not trying to cause grief for the smaller services. It’s the bigger ones.

665 MR. BOWLES: Okay. Moving on to the topic of the request to require carriage of both the Weather Network and MétéoMédia, part of the concern that you articulated -- it wasn’t the whole concern, but part of the concern was your understanding that some BDUs were interpreting, I guess, the rules to the effect that they could only distribute one as part of basic.

666 MR. TEMPLE: Correct.

667 MR. BOWLES: What could you say or what would you want to say in response to a proposal where the flexibility to provide both would be provided, but not the obligation?

668 MR. TEMPLE: Well, that’s better than what is there now. It clarifies the issue. So that’s a step in the right direction. If you want to look at it from a policy perspective, though, it’s still -- you know, if it’s an exceptional service and you are -- there are significant portions of both major language groups, why wouldn’t they be required to? So I think we would still stand by the argument that the right thing is that they carry both services, but at least clarifying the issue is a step in the right direction.

669 MR. BOWLES: I just have two more questions, and it’s still on this topic. In your reply comments you suggested that perhaps the obligation to distribute both the Weather Network and MétéoMédia need not be nationwide, but it could be done on the basis of certain designated markets. And you point to subsection 35(2) of the Official Languages Act which deals with language of work requirements.

670 I’m curious why you pointed to that provision and not section 22 which deals with communications with and services to the public?

671 MR. TEMPLE: I’ll have a look at section 22 and see if that was -- the section that we referred to was suggested to us, so that’s what we looked at. I have to say I’m not that familiar with the Official Languages Act. So we saw that and said, “Hey, maybe this is a reasonable way.” We struggled with how to -- you know, there is no Commission policy that we could find or anything that kind of defined bilingual markets. So we had to kind of search elsewhere, and that’s what we stumbled on. But if there’s a section 22 of the same Act ---

672 MR. BOWLES: Section 22 deals with communications with and services to the public.

673 MR. TEMPLE: Okay.

674 MR. BOWLES: So if as part of an undertaking you can sort of speak to why you’re pointing to 35(2) and not 22 ---

675 ENGAGEMENT

676 MR. TEMPLE: We would be happy to.

677 MR. BOWLES: Okay. My last question has to do with -- and this is just a question of clarification. There was discussion of you guys proposing a COL requirement for CPE in the eventuality that you did not get mandatory carriage. Can I just confirm that you will provide that as part of an undertaking?

678 ENGAGEMENT

679 MR. TEMPLE: Yes.

680 MR. BOWLES: That is all. Thank you very much.

681 Thank you, Mr. Chair.

682 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, counsel.

683 Madame secrétaire.

684 MS. ROY: Thank you. We will now break for lunch.

685 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, the exhibit?

686 MS. ROY: Yes, I will give it to them as soon as the break is done.

687 THE CHAIRPERSON: And we will break for lunch. I thank you for your participation. And we will resume at 2:00 p.m.

688 Thank you.

--- L’audience est suspendue à 13h09

--- L’audience est reprise à 14h00

689 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bon après-midi.

690 Madame la secrétaire ?

691 MME ROY: Merci. Nous allons maintenant procéder avec l’article 2 à l’ordre du jour, qui est une demande présentée par TV5 Québec Canada en vue de renouveler la licence de radiodiffusion du service national de catégorie A spécialisé de langue française, TV5 Unis, qui expire le 31 août 2018. Veuillez s’il vous plait vous présenter et présenter vos collègues. Après quoi, vous aurez 20 minutes pour votre présentation. Merci.

PRÉSENTATION

692 MME BOUCHARD : Monsieur le Président, Madame et Monsieur les Conseillers, Membres du personnel. Je suis Marie-Philippe Bouchard, présidente-directrice générale de TV5 Québec Canada.

693 M'accompagnent aujourd'hui et composent l'équipe de TVS Québec Canada : à ma droite, David Cantin, conseiller juridique principal, Anne Sérode, directrice principale, Stratégies et Marques, et Regis Harrisson, directeur, Operations et Développement technologique.

694 À ma gauche, Jérôme Hellio, directeur, Contenus, Annie Allard, directrice, Finances et Administration, Benoit Beaudoin, directeur, Innovation et Lab numérique, ainsi que Pierre Rivard, qui est membre du Comite consultatif des programmes d'Unis TV et directeur général du Centre culturel francophone de Vancouver.

695 Monsieur le président, c’est avec fierté que nous nous présentons devant vous aujourd’hui pour dresser le bilan de du chemin parcouru au cours de la première période de licence de TV5/Unis TV.

696 Le défi à relever pour mettre en œuvre ce nouveau service à deux volets était considérable, compte tenu notamment des obligations nombreuses, variées et très exigeantes qui accompagnaient l’autorisation de ce nouveau service à distribution obligatoire. Mais c’était également un défi stimulant, que nous avons abordé avec enthousiasme et passion, car il répond parfaitement bien à la mission de notre organisation : cultiver la curiosité, les connaissances et l’ouverture des auditoires, connecter les communautés francophones et faire rayonner le talent des créateurs francophones, tant ici qu’à l’étranger.

697 Nous sommes donc fiers de pouvoir affirmer que, depuis l’entrée en opération d’Unis TV, le 1er septembre 2014, TV5 Québec Canada a respecté toutes les conditions inscrites dans sa licence ainsi que dans l’ordonnance de radiodiffusion qui l’accompagnait.

698 Qu’il s’agisse de nos obligations de diffusion de contenu canadien et de contenu canadien de langue originale française ou de nos obligations de dépenses d’émissions canadiennes avec leurs diverses déclinaisons, toutes ont été non seulement respectées intégralement, mais aussi souvent assez largement dépassées.

699 Et nous anticipons qu’il en sera ainsi au terme de cette première période de licence qui se terminera le 31 août prochain.

700 Lors du dépôt de notre demande de renouvellement, le 28 juillet 2017, les données que nous avons soumises étaient bien sûr prévisionnelles pour l’année de radiodiffusion 2016-2017. Depuis, nous avons soumis au Conseil, le 30 novembre 2017, des données finales vérifiées. Nous joignons donc, en Annexe A de cette présentation orale, un tableau mis à jour qui inclut les résultats réels vérifiés pour l’année 2016 et 2017, ainsi que des données prévisionnelles pour l’année en cours.

701 Comme vous pourrez le constater, nous avons dépassé toutes et chacune de nos obligations et sous-obligations de dépenses d’Émissions canadiennes, tant en ce qui a trait aux quatre années complétées à ce jour qu’aux données prévisionnelles sur cinq ans.

702 Puis ces prévisions postulent qu’au cours de la première année de cette période de licence, le signal de TV5 continuait d’être assujetti aux conditions de sa période de licence précédente. En effet, pendant cette année de radiodiffusion 2013-2014, l'ordonnance de radiodiffusion n'était pas encore en vigueur. Unis TV n'étant alors pas en opération, cela rendait difficile, voire impossible, l'application de plusieurs des conditions conçues pour deux services distincts opérant sous une même licence.

703 C'est là une approche qui nous semble parfaitement raisonnable et justifiée, pour toutes les raisons évoquées dans notre demande, qui n'a été contestée par aucun des plus de 35 000 intervenants à notre dossier, et que nous prions le Conseil d'entériner.

704 Nous avons également respecté les obligations inscrites dans l'ordonnance de radiodiffusion en ce qui a trait à l'ouverture de trois bureaux régionaux, à Moncton, Toronto et Vancouver, ainsi qu'en regard de la création du comité consultatif sur la programmation d'Unis TV. Monsieur Pierre Rivard pourra témoigner de la façon dont nous avons abordé le travail avec ce comité consultatif, lui qui s'est joint au comité dès sa formation en 2013, avant même l'entrée en ondes d'Unis TV.

705 Ces deux initiatives ont été hautement profitables, tant pour nous que pour le milieu de la production indépendante de langue française ainsi que pour les communautés que nous desservons. Nous proposons d'ailleurs de les reconduire pour toute la durée de la prochaine licence.

706 Nous avons aussi respecté les divers engagements que nous avions formulés dans notre demande. Qu'il s'agisse de la place importante allouée aux émissions jeunesse dans la programmation d'Unis TV, de l'engagement à diffuser au moins une série dramatique originale canadienne en première diffusion issue des CLOSM, ce que nous avons réalisé dès la deuxième année de programmation d'Unis TV avec la fiction St­ Nickel, produite à Sudbury par Carte Blanche. Ces engagements reflètent notre volonté d'encourager la relève tout en offrant aux maisons de production établies des occasions d'accroitre et de diversifier leur production.

707 À cet égard, nous tenons à souligner que plus d'une centaine d'entreprises canadiennes de production indépendante différentes ont contribué à alimenter la programmation de TV5/Unis TV au cours des quatre premières années de la licence écoulée, dont une majorité était basée hors Montréal. Et parmi ces dernières, plus des deux tiers étaient basées hors Québec. Ce sont des résultats inégalés pour ce qui est du reflet de la diversité régionale de production télévisuelle en français au pays.

708 Nous estimons qu'au terme de notre première période de licence, l'ensemble de ces maisons de production indépendante se seront partagé près de 70 millions de dollars en licence, représentant pour nous des dépenses d'émissions originales canadiennes en première diffusion. Voilà une contribution substantielle à la vitalité de l'écosystème de production indépendante de langue française.

709 Afin de mesurer l'incidence positive qu'a eue TV5/Unis TV en termes d'accroissement et de diversification de l'activité du milieu de la production de langue française au Canada, mentionnons que 75 des 104 entreprises qui ont produit les émissions pour nous étaient des entreprises avec lesquelles TV5 Québec Canada n'avait pas fait affaire précédemment, dont 20 étaient des entreprises que nous avons accompagnées en démarrage de leur première production télévisuelle de langue française : 15 étaient basées hors Québec, 3 au Québec hors Montréal, et 2 à Montréal.

710 Permettez-moi de citer quelques exemples de productions originales de ces 15 entreprises issues des CLOSM qui ont profité de l'accompagnement offert par notre équipe pour se lancer :

711 De l'Ontario: Couleurs locales, notre magazine hebdomadaire d'affaires publiques, produit à Toronto par Machine Gum et qui en est à sa quatrième saison;

712 De L'Acadie, Hors circuit, une série documentaire produite à Pouch Cove, Terre-Neuve, par Sibelle Productions qui nous fait découvrir des lieux isolés et mystérieux du « Rocher »;

713 De l'Ouest, Les cordes de la victoire, un documentaire produit à Edmonton par les Productions Loft, qui suit trois jeunes passionnés du violon qui s'apprêtent à participer au grand championnat des Grands Maitres violoneux du Canada. Et la série Sel et diésel, produite à Edmonton par Far West Productions, qui nous entraine dans dix villes du pays à la découverte de la bouffe de rue.

714 C'est d'ailleurs avec beaucoup de fierté que nous soulignons que le documentaire Les cordes de la victoire et la série Sel et diésel ont tous deux été mis en nomination aux prix Rosies, qui récompensent les meilleures productions audiovisuelles originales de l'Alberta. Avec la websérie Abigaëlle et le date coaching de Far West Productions et la série télé Histoires de chars de Joe Media Group, les productions originales financées par TV5 Québec Canada pour la chaine Unis TV ou via le Fonds TV5 reçoivent cette année neuf nominations aux Rosies. Elles sont les seules productions francophones à être nommées.

715 Nous nous réjouissons par ailleurs de constater que plus de 35 000 téléspectateurs de nos chaines, provenant des dix provinces et des trois territoires du Canada, ont pris la peine de signifier leur appui à notre demande de renouvellement de licence et de reconduction de l'ordonnance de radiodiffusion.

716 Nous avons été touchés par cette démonstration sincère et enthousiaste de leur attachement et nous les remercions chaleureusement.

717 Cela nous a donné le sentiment d'avoir nous aussi touché leur coeur; d'avoir répondu adéquatement aux besoins manifestes qu'expriment les collectivités que nous desservons; d'avoir trouvé le bon équilibre entre l'information et le divertissement, entre les publics jeunesse et adulte, entre les émissions internationales et nationales, et dans le reflet des diverses régions du Canada. Et cela nous encourage à poursuivre sur notre lancée avec la même passion et avec la même détermination.

718 Nous croyons que pour toutes ces raisons, ainsi que pour toutes celles évoquées dans notre demande, il appert que TV5 Québec Canada a satisfait à tous les critères qui justifient la distribution de TV5/Unis TV au service numérique de base en vertu de l'article 9(1)h de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion. Ce constat semble faire consensus chez les plus de 35 000 intervenants au dossier.

719 Pour notre prochaine période de licence, nous proposons pour l'essentiel de reconduire les cibles fixées pour la dernière année de notre licence actuelle, ainsi que les conditions inscrites dans l'ordonnance de radiodiffusion.

720 Le seul changement significatif proposé à nos conditions de licence est d'appliquer aux dépenses minimales requises, plutôt qu'aux dépenses réelles, les pourcentages prescrits de dépenses d'émissions originales canadiennes en première diffusion et leurs déclinaisons, prévues aux conditions de licence 4, 4a) ou b) et 5).

721 Nous avons longuement expliqué dans notre demande, ainsi qu’en réplique aux interventions, les raisons qui motivent cette demande de modification.

722 À commencer par les difficultés de planification financière que soulève le libellé actuel de nos conditions de licence, qui fait en sorte que chaque dollar additionnel dépensé pour l’acquisition d'émissions canadiennes se répercute en cascade sur toutes les conditions de licence subséquentes, et vient modifier les obligations en dollars qui s'y rattachent.

723 Un tel système a pour effet de décourager les dépassements de dépenses pour des émissions canadiennes, car ceux-ci risquent alors de nous placer en contravention des conditions de licence subséquentes.

724 Ce que nous demandons n'a par ailleurs rien d'insolite ou d'inusité. Dans le cas des groupes désignés de radiodiffusion, les obligations de dépenses d'émissions canadiennes et de dépenses d'émissions d'intérêt national·sont chacune exprimées en pourcentages distincts, appliqués directement et séparément aux revenus de l'année précédente. Ce qui fait que les dépenses d'émissions canadiennes excédentaires – c'est-à-dire au-delà du seuil fixé – n'entrainent pas une augmentation des obligations de dépenses pour les émissions d'intérêt national. Chaque obligation en dollars est connue du titulaire en début d'année et ne fluctue pas constamment tout au long de l'année. Ce qui favorise grandement la planification, tout en assurant le respect des seuils fixés par le Conseil.

725 Les autres modifications mineures à nos conditions de licence visent à harmoniser celles-ci aux décisions récentes du Conseil en matière de politiques, de cadres réglementaires et d'incitatifs développés pour les entreprises de radiodiffusion francophones.

726 À cet égard, nous demandons notamment d'avoir accès au crédit de dépenses d'émissions canadiennes de 50 % accordé aux grands groupes francophones pour la diffusion de productions autochtones. Nous proposons par ailleurs que le crédit de dépenses d'émissions canadiennes de 25 % pour les productions de langue française produites hors Québec s'applique partiellement, c'est-à-dire uniquement pour les dépenses excédentairesà nos obligations seuil pour la production originale hors Québec.

727 Nous avons par ailleurs proposé une modification au libellé d'une disposition de l'ordonnance de radiodiffusion, qui vise à la rendre technologiquement neutre et reflète l'évolution des modes d'acheminement des signaux des services de programmation vers les entreprises de distribution de radiodiffusion.

728 Nous notons qu'aucune des grandes entreprises de distribution (les EDR) ne s'est opposée à notre proposition, sauf la Canadian Cable Systems Alliance qui a reconnu, après avoir pris connaissance de notre réplique, que son objection résultait d'une mauvaise compréhension de notre demande. Elle nous a autorisés à déclarer qu’elle ne s’y opposait plus.

729 Dans ce contexte, nous soumettons respectueusement que l’approbation de notre demande de modification, telle que libellée dans notre réplique, profiterait à tous et contribuerait à la réalisation de l'objectif inscrit à la Loi qui indique que le système canadien de radiodiffusion doit « demeurer aisément adaptable aux progrès scientifiques et techniques ».

730 Monsieur le président, je voudrais souligner que TV5 Québec Canada ne ménage pas ses efforts pour assurer que TV5/Unis TV contribue de multiples façons au reflet de la dualité linguistique de la société canadienne et au dynamisme des communautés francophones de toutes les régions du pays.

731 D'abord, TV5/Unis mise sur une programmation originale, diversifiée, de grande qualité et pertinente pour les publics visés. Jérôme Hellio, notre directeur des Contenus, pourra vous la décrire plus longuement si vous le souhaitez.

732 Les contenus de cette programmation, de langue originale française à plus de 90 pour cent, sont imaginés par des auteurs, réalisateurs, producteurs, artistes et artisans francophones et toute leur déclinaison féminine et tournés dans pas moins de 377 villes différentes de toutes les régions du Canada. Ils sont développés en complicité avec les producteurs indépendants de langue française de toutes les régions.

733 Grâce au grand partenariat de la francophonie internationale, TV5/Unis TV offre aussi un accès privilégié aux meilleures émissions produites par nos partenaires de service public en France, Suisse et

734 Belgique francophone et ce, depuis 30 ans cette année.

735 Ensuite... et Anne Sérode, directrice principale Stratégie et marques pourra en témoigner... TV5/Unis TV soigne la qualité des services qu'elle rend à ses auditoires. TV5/Unis TV s'implique de façon soutenue dans l'animation des milieux francophones partout au Canada, notamment à travers le soutien, financier ou promotionnel, accordé à une foule d'organismes et d'événements qui stimulent la vie sociale et culturelle des francophones du pays.

736 TV5/Unis TV soutient la création numérique et accompagne ses auditoires dans leurs nouvelles habitudes de consommation, ce dont Benoît Beaudoin, directeur Innovation et lab numérique, pourra vous entretenir si vous le souhaitez.

737 Je rappelle que TV5 Québec Canada fait figure de pionnière en ce qui a trait à la création numérique. Nous avons créé le Fonds TV5 il y a déjà près de 10 ans. Nous avons ainsi accompagné des dizaines de jeunes auteurs et réalisateurs de webséries de fiction et documentaire, dont la production originale a été régulièrement primée et reconnue au Canada et à l'étranger.

738 Il Y a tout juste trois semaines, la websérie Dominos de la réalisatrice Zoé Pelchat, accompagnée sur les plans financier et créatif par le Fonds TV5, a remporté les plus grands honneurs au Festival Cannes Séries, dans la catégorie consacrée aux formats courts.

739 Enfin, TV5/Unis TV permet à de nombreuses productions francophones de rayonner à l'étranger. En effet, plus de 70 productions originales canadiennes de langue française produites pour TV5/Unis TV ont été diffusées sur les réseaux de TV5 Monde, qui couvrent près de 200 pays.

740 Pour cela aussi, nous sommes fiers du chemin parcouru et fortement déterminés à poursuivre le voyage.

741 En conclusion, nous avons été et continuerons d'être sur le terrain, au plus près des communautés francophones que nous avons le mandat et le privilège de servir.

742 En terminant, Monsieur le Président, nous souhaitons vous présenter une courte vidéo qui fournit un bref aperçu de la programmation de nos chaînes, et qui témoigne de l'intérêt, voire de l'enthousiasme, qu'elle suscite.

743 (PRÉSENTATION VIDÉO)

744 Mme BOUCHARD: Nous vous remercions de votre attention et nous serons heureux de répondre à vos questions.

745 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.

746 Monsieur Dupras?

747 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci, Monsieur le président.

748 Bon après-midi, Madame Bouchard, messieurs/dames. J'aimerais d'abord commencer avec des questions concernant la distribution obligatoire des deux signaux.

749 Pour ce qui est du service TV5 comme tel, c'est un service qui n’a pas vraiment à faire ses preuves-là. Ça fait 30 ans qu’il existe et il offre une programmation vraiment de qualité. Par contre, c'est un service qui contient beaucoup de programmation étrangère et certain diront que c'est pas un service qui devrait obligatoirement être distribué.

750 Lors de votre dernier renouvellement, y a eu la proposition du service UNIS qui était pour offrir une dimension interrégionale et j'aimerais d'abord obtenir plus de détails sur l'utilité et la popularité d’UNIS pour les citoyens des CLOSM.

751 En 2012, vous avez soumis un sondage et une étude qualitative démontrant le besoin de nature exceptionnelle pour le projet UNIS mais cette fois-ci, vous avez pas jugé bon de faire d'autres études et ce qu’on aimerait savoir là c'est comment maintenant le service UNIS a satisfait le besoin.

752 Vous allez nous dire là, bon, on a une pétition de 35,000 supporteurs. Toutefois, ça ç'a été fait par des campagnes en ligne, « TV5 j’y tiens » et « UNIS j’y tiens », mais vous n'avez pas spécifié le nombre d’appuis qui ont été reçus via chacune de ces campagnes. Je pense que tout ce qu'on a eu c'est le total.

753 Alors dans un premier temps, j'aimerais ça si vous pouviez nous dire si vous êtes en mesure de préciser combien d’appuis ont été obtenus via la campagne de TV5 et via la campagne de UNIS.

754 MME BOUCHARD : Nous avons fait effectivement une campagne via les réseaux sociaux qui a donné, donc, ces 35 000 interventions que nous avons soumises dans un seul dépôt. Nous avons eu aussi des manifestations, je dirais, plus spontanées, directement sur le site de consultation du CRTC, en nombre quand même assez substantiel.

755 En ce qui a trait à la répartition entre Unis et TV5, comme on a fait nos campagnes simultanément, il est possible que les mêmes téléspectateurs aient vu les deux campagnes et aient choisi de s’inscrire à l’une ou à l’autre. Donc, je ne peux pas exclure que les gens qui ont appuyé sous la campagne TV5 souhaitaient appuyer les deux.

756 Cela dit, le nombre d’appuis que nous avons reçus via le site de TV5 est substantiellement plus grand et ce n’est pas étonnant, puisque TV5 est l’une des marques les plus connues au monde.

757 M. DUPRAS : C’est ça.

758 MME BOUCHARD : Donc, on peut comprendre que ça puisse avoir eu un effet très important et aussi un signal que les francophones de partout au pays tiennent à TV5.

759 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je comprends.

760 MME BOUCHARD : Donc oui, nous avons ces chiffres-là, mais je voulais juste en donner le caractère relatif. Cela dit, je ne les ai pas avec moi, donc si vous voulez avoir cette information-là, on peut prendre l’engagement de vous la fournir.

761 ENGAGEMENT

762 M. DUPRAS : Donc, de nous fournir les appuis pour Unis en particulier par engagement. Vous avez jusqu’au 9 mai, comme vous le savez, pour déposer ça. Avez-vous fait une étude sur la satisfaction des citoyens, des téléspectateurs, des closmes envers la programmation d’Unis ?

763 MME BOUCHARD : On fait, en fait… on fait beaucoup de… on a beaucoup de mesures de la satisfaction des closmes à travers nos activités courantes, comme vous pouvez l’imaginer. Donc, on n’a pas fait une étude de la même nature que celle qui avait été déposée en 2012, vous le soulignez, ou en 2013, vous le souligniez tout à l’heure, tout simplement parce qu’à l’époque, il n’y avait pas de service et là, aujourd’hui, on a un service qui est en activité. On est très très présent sur le terrain ; d’abord, on a des chefs dans plusieurs des régions qui sont en contact non seulement avec le milieu de la production, mais aussi avec la société civile.

764 On est aussi présents dans ces régions-là à travers de multiples activités que je pourrais demander à Anne Sérode de vous donner quelques exemples. Mais on va dans des festivals de toutes sortes et on est en contact avec les citoyens, on a du feed-back d’eux. On fait aussi des visionnements publics de certaines de nos émissions originales dans les régions d’où elles sont issues. Donc, on a énormément de contacts directs.

765 Cela dit, vous savez, comme moi, que les données Numéris ne nous permettent pas de rendre compte de l’écoute de la chaine en dehors des marchés majoritaires francophones. Donc, on n’a pas de données continues sur l’écoute de notre chaine pour ce qui est spécifiquement des closmes, mais nous avons aussi notre comité consultatif des programmes, composé de gens de toutes les régions et qui nous donnent aussi un feedback continu sur l’écho qu’ont nos chaînes et qu’a Unis TV en particulier auprès de ces milieux-là.

766 M. DUPRAS : Mais autrement, comme tel, vous n’avez pas d’autre preuve pour notre dossier qui montre la satisfaction des téléspectateurs dans les closmes envers le service Unis ?

767 MME BOUCHARD : Pas d’autre preuve au dossier, non, mais je demanderais peut-être à Anne de compléter ma réponse en ce qui a trait à du feedback ou à d’autres données qui pourraient être pertinentes.

768 MME SÉRODE : On entretient une relation extrêmement étroite avec notre public ; que ce soit, comme l’a dit Marie-Philippe, par différents évènements, soit des évènements qu’on organise, où l’on va à la rencontre des gens, des communautés.

769 Et on est en dialogue permanent aussi dans les partenariats ; on a beaucoup de partenaires. Et aussi, on est en lien énormément avec les associations francophones de partout qui nous donnent, effectivement, du feedback, des retours sur la programmation.

770 On a aussi un service à l’auditoire très actif, très réactif aussi, puisqu’on a, au quotidien, des messages de nos auditoires, où qu’ils soient au Canada, qui nous témoignent, donc, de leur appréciation, qui nous font des suggestions. Donc, on a cette relation-là constante. Vous savez maintenant qu’avec les réseaux sociaux, c’est extrêmement rapide.

771 Et puis, on a plein de façons aussi de mesurer un peu les attentes des auditoires, parce que vous parlez de la réaction, mais il y a aussi les attentes et nous, on est très attentifs à tous ces outils-là qui ne sont pas nécessairement des données quantitatives avec des chiffres, mais des données qualitatives, qui nous permettent de voir un peu quelles sont les attentes et de pouvoir y répondre.

772 On a aussi, à travers quand même l’outil Google Analytics, sur toutes nos plates-formes numériques qui nous permettent de voir d’où viennent les gens qui visionnent nos émissions et là, on sait qu’on a une bonne proportion de gens, aussi, hors Québec.

773 M. DUPRAS : Et parmi les commentaires et suggestions qu’on vous fait, qu’est-ce que vous pouvez nous dire ?

774 MME SÉRODE : Il y a énormément de choses. En fait, je pense que les gens apprécient beaucoup quand ils découvrent. Il y a plusieurs types de commentaires, mais je dirais d’abord qu’il y a des gens qui sont étonnés des découvertes qu’ils font à travers les émissions. Parce que bien sûr, quand on fait découvrir, par exemple, on citait l’émission Hors Circuit, mais on fait découvrir des paysages méconnus du Canada. Donc, il y a beaucoup de gens qui ont des commentaires d’étonnement, de ravissement, même, de découvrir des endroits qu’ils ne connaissent pas.

775 On a aussi des commentaires sur des émissions, par exemple, comme Comment devenir adulte, qui s’est intéressée à des jeunes du secondaire à Saint-Boniface… donc, on a eu des réactions… C’est une émission qui a été faite au Manitoba, mais qui a eu aussi beaucoup de succès ailleurs dans les autres provinces parce que les gens ont eu l’impression de voir des jeunes qui leur ressemblaient, qu’ils ne connaissaient pas, qu’ils avaient l’impression de n’avoir jamais vus et pourtant, ils vivent des choses qui leur ressemblent.

776 Après, les gens apprécient beaucoup toutes les émissions où on va à la rencontre : je pense Au goût du pays, par exemple, où on va à la rencontre de gens, de restaurateurs, de gens qui ont une passion pour la cuisine, pour la gastronomie. Il y a aussi l’émission De par chez nous, qui a beaucoup d’échos dans notre auditoire, qui va à la rencontre des gens qui ont choisi de s’installer en région, donc qui font le choix de ne pas vivre en milieu urbain… et voilà. Donc, je pourrais vous en citer beaucoup, mais…

777 M. DUPRAS : Vous avez mentionné le mot « suggestion », aussi…

778 MME SÉRODE : Oui.

779 M. DUPRAS : Je serais curieux de savoir quelle sorte de suggestions on vous fait ?

780 MME SÉRODE : Les gens vont nous suggérer, par exemple, de venir dans leur coin. Ça, c’est l’une des suggestions les plus fréquentes : quand ils voient, par exemple… je pense que quand ils voient l’étendue… on parlait de 377 villes, quand ils voient l’étendue du chemin qu’on parcourt pour aller les rencontrer, ils nous suggèrent de venir dans leur coin, par exemple, c’est l’une des suggestions qui arrive souvent.

781 Après, il y a toutes sortes de suggestions d’émissions. Ça peut être vraiment de tout ordre : des séries documentaires, des émissions jeunesse, il y a des gens qui vont nous parler d’un phénomène qui se passe dans leur coin, qui vont nous suggérer de venir en parler. Donc…

782 M. DUPRAS : Les gens, donc, vous pouvez dire que les gens en veulent plus ?

783 MME SÉRODE : Je dirais que les gens en veulent plus. Bien, qu’ils en veulent plus, en fait, c’est que je pense que la programmation qu’on propose, elle intéresse, elle interpelle et elle amène quelque chose qui n’existe pas en ce moment, qui n’existait pas, en tout cas, dans le paysage, on peut dire, télévisuel, précédemment, puisqu’il n’y a pas énormément de modèles. Et moi, j’ai eu la chance de travailler à l’étranger et je peux dire que même dans le monde, il n’y a pas beaucoup de modèles ; en tout cas, dans le monde de la francophonie, où la production locale, qui est faite à Moncton, ne s’adresse pas juste à Moncton, mais elle s’adresse à l’ensemble du pays.

784 Et je crois que cette façon qu’on a de pouvoir montrer ce qui se passe un peu partout au pays, dans des régions que les gens ne connaissent pas nécessairement et qu’ils découvrent et, en même temps, se reconnaissent, oui, je pense que les gens en veulent plus, ça fait du bien. On a l’ambition, en fait, de vouloir créer des liens entre les gens, entre les francophones du pays et de faire en sorte qu’ils se découvrent et qu’ils se rencontrent. Et ça, on le voit très bien dans les commentaires qu’on a : ça plait.

785 M. DUPRAS : J’ai lu, certains intervenants ont dit que c’était intéressant, sauf que beaucoup de programmation était de nature généraliste et ne s’adressait pas nécessairement à la spécificité des régions. Quel commentaire avez-vous à cet égard ?

786 MME BOUCHARD : Je crois détecter l’intervention de la Fédération culturelle canadienne-française dans cette citation et je pense que cette préoccupation à eux, c’était particulièrement le reflet des arts et des artistes, entre autres, la contribution des arts et des artistes. Nous avons répondu dans notre réplique à cette question que, d’abord, nous travaillons évidemment à mettre en valeur les arts et les artistes partout au pays. Nous avons une foule d’émissions qui traitent de ces questions et qui les présentent et les mettent en valeur, en particulier le talent émergeant francophone, qui n’a pas beaucoup de vitrines. Alors, on est très contents de pouvoir y contribuer.

787 Cela dit, nous avons bien des mandats et bien des attentes à rencontrer, y compris celui d’offrir, par exemple, de la programmation pour le public jeunesse, le public jeunesse francophone hors Québec, qui est en forte demande pour des contenus qui s’adressent spécifiquement à eux. Donc, il y a un équilibre, il y a des équilibres à trouver dans notre programmation et, par ailleurs, on tient compte aussi du fait que y’a d’autres titulaires de licences, notamment je pense à ARTV qui a cette mission de traiter des arts et de la culture de façon pancanadienne. Donc, pour pas faire double-emploi non plus, il faudrait pas qu’on bascule complètement dans cette… dans ce type de programmation là.

788 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais quand même une dimension culturelle importante à vos yeux…

789 Mme BOUCHARD: La langue étant une question culturelle fondamentale et la place des arts et de la culture, des artistes, de l’identité culturelle de chacune de ces communautés-là est au cœur de notre mission.

790 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et de vos émissions?

791 Mme BOUCHARD: Et de nos émissions.

792 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je vais revenir à ça un peu plus tard là, j’étais dans les questions de distribution de vos deux signaux, je m’excuse. On parlait de sondage, donc j’essayais d’avoir une idée de l’intérêt des gens, de ce qui peut y avoir peut-être comme bonne chose et moins bonne chose, mais c’est un peu difficile ici compte tenu de ce qu’on a comme preuve au dossier-là, mais je veux dire la discussion permet d’approfondir.

793 Donc, y’a d’autres intervenants aussi qui nous ont dit, comme C-MAC, que le renouvellement de l’ordonnance de distribution pour Unis, ça irait, selon eux, mais pas pour TV5, et que Unis, ça va, mais pas TV5. Vous nous dites que si vous êtes pas en mesure d’opérer… que vous êtes pas en mesure d’opérer les deux signaux si vous avez pas la distribution obligatoire pour les deux signaux. Ma question est : seriez-vous quand même en mesure d’opérer les deux signaux si TV5 était facultatif comme les autres et Unis un service à distribution obligatoire?

794 Mme BOUCHARD: Alors, je vais commencer par revenir sur C-MAC et sa proposition parce que je souligne que c'est le seul intervenant des 35… plus de 35 000 intervenants au dossier qui a fait cette proposition. Tous les autres, y compris les EDR ont convenu de la justification de la distribution obligatoire des deux signaux du service composé de deux signaux, et dans le cas de C-MAC je pense que c'est une organisation qui a un but extrêmement louable que je salue, mais je constate aussi que ils avaient des informations extrêmement obsolètes sur la nature du service de TV5et sa façon d’opérer. Donc, faudrait quand même qu’on relativise quelque peu cette question-là.

795 Cela dit, ça ne répond pas à votre question principale qui est : est-ce que nous pourrions continuer à opérer TV5 et Unis TV avec seulement Unis TV à la distribution obligatoire au service de base à travers le Canada. La réponse c’est ça serait vraisemblablement impossible à faire. Pourquoi? Parce que TV5 se retrouverait du jour au lendemain en dehors… en fait devrait négocier sa distribution partout, y compris au Québec, avec pas de tarifs réglementés. Donc, autrement dit, on peut pas rétablir la situation prédistribution obligatoire en ce qui a trait à TV5.

796 TV5 est un service historique, donc qui est là depuis 30 ans, qui a bénéficié de toutes les politiques du conseil pour ce qui était de la pénétration de ce service-là, non seulement au Québec, mais dans les marchés hors Québec, avec des tarifs et une distribution en fait au service de base par défaut, comme c’était le cas dans ces services qui sont nés il y a 30 ans, et donc, TV5 a toujours été disponible pour les abonnés au service de base. Du jour au lendemain, les politiques actuelles du Conseil font en sorte que ça deviendrait un service facultatif qui devrait négocier sa distribution de zéro avec chacune des entreprises de télédistribution au Canada.

797 Alors ça, ça arrive là, cette échéance-là dans trois semaines… dans quelques mois en fait, puisque le 31 août notre licence actuelle prend fin, donc on pourrait voir une situation où TV5 disparaitrait carrément. Nous avons des obligations de diffusion liées à TV5, des programmes qui sont engagés. Nous avons aussi une mission qui nous est confiée par les gouvernements, par le gouvernement du Canada et le gouvernement du Québec, qui sont partenaires de la francophonie et qui ont désigné TV5 Québec Canada de même que TV5 Monde comme leurs opérateurs de l’audiovisuel, et c’est gouvernements-là se sont engagés lors du dernier sommet francophone à faire en sorte que les services de TV5 soient distribués et disponibles le plus largement possible dans leurs juridictions respectives.

798 Donc ça, c'est le mandat qu’on a, nous. Ça serait d’essayer de distribuer le plus largement possible, mais avec un énorme handicap, c'est que là il faudrait aller frapper chez chaque télédistributeur pour négocier notre… comme si on arrivait sur le marché, et là on n’est pas rendus encore à être sélectionnés par les abonnés.

799 Donc, il y aurait une perte nette liée à ça, d’abord du service et du service à l’auditoire, ensuite il y aurait une perte financière directe puisque la distribution serait certainement largement perturbée et pour une période assez longue, ce qui fait que les revenus publicitaires qui sont associés à ce signal-là disparaitraient littéralement.

800 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, ce que vous nous dites, c’est que la distribution des deux est requise parce que c'est TV5 qui souffrirait le plus. Ce que j’avais cru lire dans votre demande, c’est que vous ne seriez plus en mesure d’offrir Unis, mais si Unis, lui, était obligatoire de lui-même, est-ce que ça serait toujours possible de le faire?

801 Mme BOUCHARD: Je précise que votre question était : si Unis est distribué obligatoirement, qu’est-ce qui arrive à TV5. Je vous ai décrit.

802 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, d’accord.

803 Mme BOUCHARD: Mais, si évidemment nous perdions complètement la distribution, c'est Unis qui souffrirait le plus.

804 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous voulez dire… non, moi, je parlais juste de la distribution obligatoire perdue pour TV5, pas pour Unis, en ce sens que si vous continuez d’avoir la distribution obligatoire pour Unis, êtes-vous toujours en mesure d’offrir ce service?

805 Mme BOUCHARD: D’offrir le service Unis TV?

806 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

807 Mme BOUCHARD: Seul.

808 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Seul.

809 Mme BOUCHARD: Donc, TV5 disparait?

810 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Euh… disons que la distribution obligatoire là, pour les fins de la discussion là, n’aurait plus cette distribution…

811 Mme BOUCHARD: Alors…

812 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …mais deviendrait facultatif, mais qu’Unis demeurerait obligatoire de lui-même, à ce moment-là, est-ce que vous êtes toujours en mesure d’offrir le service d’Unis?

813 Mme BOUCHARD: Alors, faudrait que j’en réfère aux membres de TV5 Québec Canada. TV5 Québec Canada est une société à but non lucratif qui a été créée dans le but de servir… de servir d’opérateur de la francophonie, donc d’offrir le service TV5. Le service Unis a été autorisé et développé en accord avec les mandants de l’entreprise, des gouvernements qui sont les membres, mais il n’a jamais été considéré que TV Québec Canada comme société à but non lucratif pourrait opérer exclusivement le service Unis. On serait comme en dehors de notre mandat. Unis et TV5 ensemble font partie de notre mandat; Unis seul, si TV5 n’était plus là, la raison d’être de l’organisation serait à revoir très certainement, et sa gouvernance.

814 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mm-mm. Et toujours pour explorer ces questions, est-ce que vous… si Unis, disons, était le seul service distribué obligatoirement, est-ce que vous croyez que vous seriez toujours en mesure de respecter vos engagements envers les CLOSM?

815 Mme BOUCHARD: J’ai de la difficul… c’est très hypothétique…

816 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

817 Mme BOUCHARD: …parce que je ne sais pas quel mandat j’aurais pour opérer Unis seul. Alors, je reviens un petit peu – je m’excuse – à cette proposition-là, mais ça serait assez étrange qu’on se retrouve dans la situation où TV5 disparait au Canada et puis Unis reste seul. Les conditions de licence devraient être revues au complet parce que les conditions de licence de notre service, la licence que nous détenons tient compte de deux signaux.

818 Alors, s’il fallait séparer les deux services, et, comme je vous dis, dans ce cas-là TV5 risquerait d’en souffrir de façon très importante, il n’est pas évident que la structure financière de l’entreprise pourrait permettre de soutenir le service sans la distribution obligatoire et il faudrait revoir complètement les conditions de licence de toute façon dans les deux cas.

819 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors, ce que vous me dites, c’est : on a la mission, l’obligation en vertu de nos statuts d’assurer le plus largement la distribution de TV5 au Canada; Unis, c'est la façon qu’on a trouvé de l’obtenir, c'est-à-dire de garder TV5 en distribution obligatoire à travers le Canada; que là, si on perd la distribution obligatoire de TV5, Unis étant accessoire en quelque sorte, ce ne serait peut-être pas un service que vous désireriez continuer à opérer.

820 Mme BOUCHARD: J’appellerais pas ça un accessoire parce que c’est… et puis moi, j’ai pris la direction de cette entreprise-là il y a deux ans, et pour moi ce sont deux parties d’un tout. C’est… vraiment, les deux services sont extrêmement imbriqués de toutes sortes de façons : opérationnellement, de façon évidente, mais aussi sur le plan culturel et sur le plan de ce qu’elles apportent… ce qu’ils apportent, autant en termes de la communauté de production que des auditoires, on le voit vraiment comme un ensemble. Donc, je ne dirais pas que c'est un accessoire, mais c'est vrai que sur le plan de la structure juridique de l’organisation il… ça poserait des questions. Ça veut pas dire que les membres choisiraient de laisser tomber Unis pour autant, je veux juste dire que j'ai pas l’autorité…

821 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, oui.

822 Mme BOUCHARD: …juridique pour m’engager par rapport à un changement de mission aussi fondamental.

823 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et avec la réputation de TV5 à travers le Canada, comme vous nous en avez parlé au début dans votre présentation, vous croyez que cela serait quand même insuffisant pour faire en sorte que les distributeurs dans le Canada anglais distribuent TV5?

824 Mme BOUCHARD: Je suis incapable de vous dire si oui ou non ils le distribueraient. Je sais qu'on a gagné des abonnés avec la distribution obligatoire, donc manifestement y en a qui le distribuait pas avant. Donc on a fait… on a fini de compléter dans le fond la base d’abonnés grâce à la distribution obligatoire, donc clairement on perdrait du terrain.

825 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

826 Mme BOUCHARD: Ensuite, une fois qu'on est distribué, encore faut-il qu'on soit choisi par les téléspectateurs, parce qu'on serait sur une base facultative, donc soit dans un bouquet, soit individuellement. Et ça, j'ai aucunes données qui me permettent de déterminer véritablement quel serait le taux d’adhésion, mais chose certaine, comme il faudrait les gagner un par un, y aurait une longue marche vers le moindre équilibre…

827 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

828 Mme BOUCHARD: …pour dire qu'on est présent dans les marchés en situation minoritaire.

829 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais vous avez été facultatif avant 2012 pendant une certaine période, sauf que j’imagine au Québec avec… avant qu'on ait le petit service de base, vous vous retrouviez dans tous les cas dans le service de base des grandes entreprises. Alors, pour ce qui est du Québec, vous avez pas réellement souffert, mais à l’extérieur du Canada?

830 Mme BOUCHARD: On était…

831 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: À l’extérieur du Québec je veux dire, excusez.

832 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, alors on… au Québec, nous étions effectivement parmi ces chaînes historiques qui sont entrées aux services de base avec leurs créations y a 30 ans, et nous avons jamais perdu cette place-là, sauf que là aujourd'hui on la perdrait. Si on devait être à distribution facultative, nous ne pourrions pas être offert aux services de base, donc tous ceux… tous les abonnés du Québec…

833 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

834 Mme BOUCHARD: …qui choisissent d’avoir que le petit service de base perdrait TV5, ça c'est une première donnée, donc on perdrait au Québec.

835 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

836 Mme BOUCHARD: Et à ma connaissance, dans le reste du Canada, on a profité aussi de la distribution d’être un des seuls services francophones avec les règles d’assemblages du CRTC, un des seuls services francophones historiques, et donc on a été historiquement pour un très petit tarif disponible au service de base de bien des entreprises hors Québec, ça aussi ça disparaitrait évidemment.

837 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm. Bon, alors je continue avec d’autres questions, cette fois-là sur les modifications que vous voulez à vos conditions de licence, les pourcentages. Vous voulez fixer les pourcentages des conditions qui s’adressent aux productions hors Montréal, tandis que l’APFC… qui elle au contraire dit, « Bien, ça devrait pas être fixé et même on devrait en faire plus pour les téléspectateurs hors Québec en fixant une nouvelle condition de licence exigeant 50 pour cent des dépenses originales. »

838 Alors… d’abord, pourquoi êtes-vous contre cette augmentation-là qui est suggérée par l’APFC?

839 Mme BOUCHARD: Alors, notre objection à cette proposition de l’APFC elle est… elle est axée sur trois points en fait. Le premier point, c'est que on pense qu'on a atteint - avec la proportion qui est à l’heure actuelle dans notre condition de licence numéro 5 - un très bel équilibre. Et que si on devait modifier la condition de licence comme le propose l’APFC, on aurait alors un impact sur les auditoires en fait, pas sur le volume d’auditoires mais sur le service qu’on rend aux auditoires. Parce que pour opérer deux chaînes qui ont des mandats généralistes assez vastes qui s’adressent autant aux enfants - comme vous avez pu le voir dans le vidéo pour ce qui est d’Unis TV, puis c'est une partie importante de notre mandat - qu’aux adultes avec des émissions de type documentaire, avec des fictions comédies ou dramatiques, avec des magazines, avec des affaires publiques, pour pouvoir remplir ces mandats-là aussi diversifiés, on a besoin d’avoir accès à un vaste bassin de producteurs, un vaste bassin d’expertises. Donc, la diversité de notre offre de programmation sur ces deux chaînes-là commande de pouvoir traiter avec une grande variété de producteurs, une grande diversité d’expériences et d’expertises.

840 On vous l’a souligné dans notre présentation, on est très conscient du rôle que nous jouons auprès du milieu de la production francophone, particulièrement hors Montréal, j’inclus les régions hors Montréal du Québec qui sont pas particulièrement bien représentées dans le système de radiodiffusion, mais évidemment au premier chef, les producteurs hors Québec. Et on a travaillé très fort dans les quatre dernières années et demie à développer des nouvelles capacités de production. On vous a parlé de 20 maisons de productions qui sont nées et qui ont fait leurs premières productions télévisuelles en français avec nous grâce à notre apport, grâce à notre soutien et on veut continuer à augmenter ce bassin-là.

841 Mais c'est vrai que quand une entreprise démarre, elle n’est pas capable… elle n’a pas les reins suffisamment solides pour prendre en charge tous les types de production. Y a des productions plus complexes ou plus coûteuses qui nécessitent des maisons de production avec un petit peu plus d’expérience ou avec un petit peu plus d’actifs.

842 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Comme ça vous avez eu…

843 Mme BOUCHARD: Donc on a besoin de diversité.

844 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Donc vous avez eu des pourcentages qui sont allés de façon graduelle…

845 Mme BOUCHARD: M'hm.

846 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …on a développé cette capacité de production de plus, mais vous semblez dire que là c'est à peu près le maximum qu'on est capable de faire, l’industrie de la production hors Québec, selon vous, elle sera pas en mesure de prendre plus de productions?

847 Mme BOUCHARD: L’industrie de la production hors Québec va continuer à grandir, on va y voir, mais il faut y aller graduellement. Y a aussi la question de la disponibilité des sources de financement, parce que nous ne sommes pas les seuls apports au financement d’une production. Alors le fonds… le Fonds des médias a un programme pour la production en situation minoritaire. Ce fonds-là qui est un fonds électif, donc c'est un fonds qui est pas premier arrivé, premier servi là, c'est un fonds qui dépend d’un certain nombre de systèmes de pointage. Y a des… y a trop de demandes pour la taille de ce fonds-là, donc on a régulièrement des projets qui ont été soumis par des producteurs qui veulent travailler avec nous qui ne passent pas une première fois au Fonds, des fois on les resoumet, là finalement on peut avoir le complément de financement. Donc la capacité de production… de financement doit aussi être prise en considération pour être capable de lever le nombre suffisant de productions dont on a besoin.

848 Je vous donne un exemple, quand je vous disais qu'on a besoin de diversité, je vous l'ai dit tout à l'heure, l’entreprise ici a fait affaire avec 104 maisons de production différentes.

849 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

850 Mme BOUCHARD: Moi je trouve ça assez impressionnant, je pense pas qui ait beaucoup de titulaires de licence qui peuvent en dire autant, surtout en français. Et 75 de ces 104 maisons-là, on n’avait jamais travaillé avec eux avant. Alors on a fait vraiment un travail colossal de développement de relations avec une grande quantité de maisons de production, mais on doit grandir à la vitesse du milieu avec lequel on travaille.

851 J'ai lu dans l’intervention de l’APFC en ce qui a trait aux questions de disponibilité des sources de financement, une remarque qui m’a fait un petit peu sauter, parce que l’APFC dit que si un projet ne passe pas au Fonds pour la francophonie minoritaire, ben TV5/Unis TV n’a juste qu’à remplacer cet argent-là et à mettre plus de licences.

852 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

853 Mme BOUCHARD: C'est possible pour cette production-là, mais ça veut dire que cet argent-là est pas disponible pour une autre production. Ça veut dire qu'on réduirait… si on grandit pas à la vitesse des sources de financement, on va nécessairement mettre l’argent qu'on doit mettre sur un nombre plus restreint de productions.

854 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors c'est…

855 Mme BOUCHARD: Donc qui en souffre? C'est les auditeurs, c'est les téléspectateurs qui payent pour le service, moins de diversité pour eux.

856 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Donc, essentiellement c'est ce que vous dites, c'est que le nombre de productions qu'on peut faire hors Québec est limité par le financement, et c'est pour ça que vous demandez des conditions de licence fixes?

857 Mme BOUCHARD: On demande des conditions de licence fixes parce qu'on pense qu’on a atteint... parce que c'est normal dans un service qui démarre d’avoir une certaine progression. Alors c'est ce qui a été proposé au moment de la présentation de la demande de TV5/UNIS TV en 2013. C'était une forme d'escalier et on pense que maintenant notre rôle est bien assis. On est confortable mais c'est la première qu'on atteint les seuils qu'on a fixés donc pour la prochaine période de licence et on pense que c'est un équilibre qui est juste et raisonnable.

858 Cela dit, on a toujours tenté et tout fait ce qui était en notre pouvoir pour dépasser les seuils de conditions de licence. On travaille de cette façon-là. On planifie pour dépasser un petit peu. C'est d'ailleurs pourquoi on a demandé que nos conditions de licence soient définies sur la base de seuils minimums. C'est parce qu'on aime planifier et que c'est à peu près impossible de planifier quand tout bouge constamment avec l’ajout d’une dépense ou d'un projet et là tous les seuils doivent être révisés par la suite.

859 Donc on veut pouvoir planifier pour continuer à développer le milieu de la production francophone hors Montréal et hors Québec, continuer à apporter de la diversité de production, de production de de grande qualité, diversité de point de vue et d'expertise. Et donc pour ça on pense que ce qu'on a proposé constitue un équilibre adéquat.

860 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Alors vous voulez vous limiter pour la durée de votre prochain mandat à des pourcentages fixes.

861 Mme BOUCHARD: C'est pas complètement inusité parce qu'y a beaucoup de titulaires de licence qui ont ça.

862 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Non, mais je veux dire quand même les deux tiers de vos revenus d’abonnement qui viennent du Canada anglais, qui vous permettent la distribution obligatoire de TV5 à travers le Canada.

863 Mme BOUCHARD: M’hm.

864 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et je veux dire le... l'industrie de la production indépendante dans le Canada anglais récolte quoi? Un quart de vos... quelle proportion de vos dépenses en programmation?

865 Mme BOUCHARD: En production originale en première diffusion c'est 36 pour cent.

866 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Trente-six (36) pour cent. Non, mais pas des dépenses en émissions canadiennes là, des dépenses en émissions originales.

867 Mme BOUCHARD: Des dépenses en émissions...

868 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: C'est 27 pour cent je crois.

869 Mme BOUCHARD: Attendez minute-là, je me suis retournée là. Peux-tu le calculer puis on va... je veux pas vous dire un chiffre hors propos parce que c'est les poupées russes là. C'est 75 pour cent de nos dépenses de DÉC qui sont des dépenses d'émissions originales canadiennes. Si on part de là, 60 pour cent doit être en reflet hors Montréal.

870 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, oui.

871 Mme BOUCHARD: Dont 60 pour cent doit être produit hors Québec. Ça ça fait 36 pour cent de nos dépenses originales d'émissions canadiennes sont produites hors Québec. Ça c'est le seuil qu’on propose et on vous propose aussi de nous considérer et de considérer d’accorder le crédit pour toutes dépenses excédentaires.

872 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et quel serait l’impact si le Conseil augmentait l’exigence, par exemple, en passant d’un pourcentage de 27 pour cent de vos DÉC là qui est le 60 pour cent du 60 pour cent du 75 pour cent là, à 40 pour cent de vos DÉC par exemple?

873 Mme BOUCHARD: De nos DÉC, ça irait au-delà de la demande de l’APFC. L’APFC demande 50 pour cent des DÉOC. Alors 40 pour cent de nos DÉC c'est énorme parce que nos DÉC sont à 55 pour cent. Attendez minute-là, je suis mêlée. C'est ça. Ça irait au-delà...

874 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vos DÉC sont à 55 pour cent.

875 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, c'est ça... de nos dépenses... de nos revenus de l’année précédente. Et si vous nous proposez 40 pour cent des DÉC...

876 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je veux 40... oui.

877 Mme BOUCHARD: ...je crois que c'est au-delà de ce que demande l’APFC.

878 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Disons là si vous avez comme nouvelle condition le pourcentage que demande l'APFC, quel serait l’impact sur votre service?

879 Mme BOUCHARD: Exactement celui que j’étais en train de vous décrire, c'est-à-dire un appauvrissement de la diversité des programmes canadiens originaux disponible pour l'ensemble des téléspectateurs qui payent pour ce service.

880 Les francophones du Québec et hors Québec recevraient moins de service parce que, devant nous concentrer sur un volume plus restreint de producteurs et moins d’effet de levier par un fonds qui est déjà saturé, on devrait alors, puisque c'est des obligations en dépenses, mettre plus d'argent individuellement par production pour atteindre les seuils de dépenses. Nous aurions moins de diversité de programmes parce que certains types de programmation sera moins facilement réalisable systématiquement et donc on devrait remplir notre service avec plus de reprises.

881 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon, je vais vous poser quelques questions sur la... justement là sur le contenu de votre service, la programmation. Vous dites y aurait un appauvrissement. C'est que vous faites des choix qui peuvent être dans certaines catégories peut-être des émissions plus dispendieuses que dans d'autres. Vous essayez de... et quand vous parlez d'un service diversifié, vous... là vous parlez toujours de TV5 et de UNIS en même temps. Si on se limitait à UNIS là?

882 Mme BOUCHARD: Je parle beaucoup de UNIS parce qu’y a une condition qui est très importante et qui définit en fait la nature de la programmation comme on la conçoit. C'est celle de refléter les réalités des Francophones vivants hors Montréal et hors Québec les uns aux autres, donc d'être une chaîne véritablement interrégionale. Et pour ça, ben ça nous prend l’apport de producteurs et de points de vue différents, y compris des producteurs du Québec qu’on a fait voyager à travers le Canada pour s'intéresser aux réalités des Francophones hors Québec.

883 Des productions par exemple comme « Le goût du pays » ou « Fou des oiseaux », ce sont des maisons du Québec qui ont été tourner un peu partout au Canada et qui ont fait en sorte que des animateurs qui ont une certaine notoriété au Québec, je pense par exemple à Vincent Graton, il a découvert le Canada en faisait cette émission-là un peu et il en a parlé de façon absolument admirative et très enthousiaste dans... non seulement dans le cadre strict de la promotion d'émissions mais dans toutes sortes d’autres circonstances.

884 Donc on sert vraiment de passerelle dans le fond entre des artisans de production du Québec vers la découverte et la connaissance et l’appréciation des Francophones hors Québec. Et inversement, nos producteurs hors Québec tournent partout au Canada y compris au Québec. Donc on sert beaucoup ces échanges interculturels là et ça c'est vraiment la marque spécifique d’UNIS TV.

885 Et pour revenir à la proposition de l’APFC, c'est certain que, étant donné l'importance du reflet interrégional, si on devait augmenter de façon significative les pourcentages qu'on doit réserver aux seuls producteurs hors Québec, bien serait tenter fortement de les limiter à ce rôle-là de reflet.

886 Or les producteurs hors Québec, ils veulent pas nécessairement faire juste des émissions de reflet, ils veulent aussi pouvoir produire des émissions qui vont sur TV5 et qui a une mission plus de le regard canadien sur le monde. Ils veulent faire d'autres choses que simplement se parler entres eux.

887 Et donc l’augmentation des dépenses sur un volume plus restreint de producteurs aurait pour effet de transformer un peu l'esprit dans lequel on a lancé ce service-là et l’appréciation qu’on en a des auditoires.

888 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Les producteurs de CLOSM, est-ce qu'ils sont cantonnés dans certaines catégories ou ils peuvent participer à la création de n'importe quelle catégorie? Parce que tantôt au début vous disiez là ça prend des ressources quand on a des émissions à plus gros budget, ça prend de l'expertise.

889 Est-ce qu’on a ça dans le secteur de la production indépendante hors Québec?

890 Mme BOUCHARD: Absolument, absolument.

891 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et est-ce que vous l’utilisez parce qu'on voyait entre autres l’APFC dans ses commentaires dire que les droits de licence payés aux producteurs hors Québec sont parmi les plus basses pour des émissions francophones?

892 Mme BOUCHARD: Je vais prendre vos questions une par une parce qu'elles sont toutes très importantes.

893 Alors je vais commencer par la question de savoir quel genre de production on développe avec les producteurs hors Québec puis je demanderais peut-être à Jérôme Hellio qui vient de se joindre à nous y a moins de six mois... ah, ça fait quatre... come directeur de Contenus mais qui a eu le bénéfice de faire déjà une bonne... une assez grande tournée du pays, donc qui a rencontré énormément de producteurs, qui pourrait vous dire davantage comment ils envisagent l'équipe de programmation originale, le développement des émissions.

894 Mais y a pas de chasse gardée pis y a pas de type de production ou de genre de production qui est réservé aux uns et qui est exclu aux autres. Ça on fonctionne pas comme ça et on n'a jamais fonctionné comme ça.

895 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais en termes de budget-là, vous sembliez dire avec le Fonds de médias, où les enveloppes peuvent être limitées…

896 Mme BOUCHARD: Ça, c’est le Fonds de médias qui en décide.

897 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …qui peut peut-être être plus restreint dans le choix ou dans des projets, peut-être?

898 Mme BOUCHARD: Je faisais référence spécifiquement au programme du Fonds de médias qui vise le financement des productions hors Québec.

899 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Exact.

900 Mme BOUCHARD: C’est une enveloppe fermée qui, depuis quelques années, ne répond plus au volume de demandes, donc y’a systématiquement des projets qui sont refusés, et donc, ça affecte notre capacité de financement. Ç’a rien à voir avec les licences qu’on verse, nous on verse des licences qui sont en lien avec les pratiques de l’industrie et on ne fait pas de distinction entre les producteurs Québec et hors Québec en ce qui a trait au montant de licences qu’on verse. Mais je vais demander à Jérôme, donc, de vous donner un aperçu de comment il travaille avec les producteurs hors Québec.

901 PERSONNE NON IDENTIFIÉE: Et les producteurs.

902 Mme BOUCHARD: Et les producteurs en général.

903 M. HELLIO: Bonjour. Peut-être pour répondre sur le type de production, on sait que c'est les fictions qui coutent le plus cher, et pour ce fait… et par ce fait-là, on reçoit des projets de partout au pays, que ce soit du Québec ou de Vancouver ou… là, on a une production en cours en ce moment qui est notre plus gros projet, qui est un projet de fiction en Acadie, et donc, pour répondre à votre question, c’est pas parce que c’est un petit… une petite émission qui coute pas cher, qu’on la fait en Acadie; au contraire, c’est probablement notre plus grosse émission de fiction.

904 Pour ce qui est du travail avec nos… les producteurs et nos partenaires à travers le pays, les trois chefs qui sont installés à Moncton, Vancouver puis Toronto travaillent directement avec les producteurs et la manière dont on fonctionne, c’est qu’on les rencontre systématiquement pour recevoir leurs projets. Donc, on fonctionne de la même manière à Montréal que partout au pays, c'est-à-dire que les chefs sont pas consultatifs, ils sont décisionnels, ils reçoivent les projets, un « pitch » en bonne et due forme avec un type de projet, une structure financière, des épisodes, un déroulé d’émission. On évalue ces projets-là en comité éditorial, donc on met tous les projets ensemble, on regarde ce qu’on a besoin et ce qu’on recherche, et à partir de là on accompagne les producteurs dans le développement du projet. Soit on est en développement, soit on est en production, et auquel cas, ben, une fois que les lettres d’entente sont conclues, on accompagne les producteurs dans le développement, donc on approuve les montages, les castings, et cetera. Bon, je vous apprendrai pas le… comment ça marche, mais du début à la fin on travaille avec eux, donc y’a toujours une voix, y’a toujours quelqu’un au téléphone qui est là pour accompagner le producteur ou les partenaires qui ont besoin d’être investis dans le programme.

905 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Excellent.

906 M. HELLIO: Voici en gros comment on travaille. Ce qui fait qu’on ratisse très, très large sur le type de projets qu’on reçoit, c’est pas un petit centre… un centre à Montréal qui fait le… tout le monde reçoit les projets. En plus, ça nous permet, nous, de les rencontrer de manière plus directe parce que, pour moi, y’a une différence fondamentale entre recevoir un deux-pages d’un projet à Montréal puis de dire « Ah, oui, non, peut-être », versus « vous me donnez le projet puis vous me l’expliquez puis, hey! j’avais pas compris ça comme ça, c’est intéressant », et cetera, et cetera. Donc, le contact pour nous est super important. En tout cas, pour moi, c’est une des… un des piliers de ce qu’on a mis en place dernièrement.

907 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et qu’est-ce qui explique que les droits de licence peuvent être plus bas selon ce que l’APFC nous dit?

908 Mme BOUCHARD: On n’a aucun moyen de savoir si ils sont plus bas ou pas puisqu’on n’est pas… c'est de l’information en principe que chaque diffuseur garde confidentielle, les licences qu’il verse, donc moi, j’ai pas d’informations à cet effet-là qu’ils seraient plus bas.

909 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais vous avez des informations par rapport aux droits de licence que vous payez pour des programmes…

910 Mme BOUCHARD: Moi, je sais quelle licence je paye…

911 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …du Québec.

912 Mme BOUCHARD: …pour l’ensemble des producteurs et il n’y a pas de différence.

913 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pas de discrimination.

914 Mme BOUCHARD: Non.

915 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et en nombre d’heures de votre grille horaire, qu’est-ce que ça représente la programmation produite par les producteurs hors Québec?

916 Mme BOUCHARD: Je ne le sais pas comme ça, on peut vérifier puis vous répondre. Qu’est-ce… mais pour être précis, est-ce que vous voulez dire en heures originales ou en volume de diffusion…

917 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: En volume…

918 Mme BOUCHARD: …parce que dans une chaine, vous savez, y’a quand même des rediff.

919 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Le pourcentage de programmation diffusée qui reflète les CLOSM.

920 Mme BOUCHARD: Reflète les CLOSM…

921 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Qui reflète les…

922 Mme BOUCHARD: …ou produite par les CLOSM?

923 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Qui reflète les CLOSM et également… en pourcentage, la programmation qui reflète les CLOSM qui est produite par des producteurs des CLOSM.

924 Mme BOUCHARD: OK. Et là, vous parlez de la grille d’Unis TV?

925 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: S’il vous plait, oui.

926 Mme BOUCHARD: OK. Et ça inclut toutes les heures…

927 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

928 Mme BOUCHARD: …de diffusion?

929 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui. Et… oui, et tant qu’à faire, ce serait pour les producteurs des CLOSM, pour les producteurs hors Montréal et pour les producteurs de Montréal.

930 Mme BOUCHARD: OK. Donc, traduire le volume d’heures en pourcentage de la grille.

931 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: En pourcentage de la grille.

932 Mme BOUCHARD: Dans une période de « x »? Ça varie d’une saison à l’autre.

933 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Comme je dirais, dans… je le sais pas.

934 Mme BOUCHARD: Sur une base annuelle?

935 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Sur une base annuelle, oui.

936 Mme BOUCHARD: OK. Alors, si on vous donnait les résultats de la… ben, l’année en cours, c'est problématique parce que la grille d’été est pas faite encore.

937 La grille d’Unis est faite?

938 Mme SÉRODE: Elle est… elle est presque ter… oui, elle est…

939 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: À moyen…

940 Mme SÉRODE: Elle est terminée.

941 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: À moyen…

942 Mme SÉRODE: On pourrait le faire sur la saison 2017-2018.

943 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: À moyen…

944 Mme BOUCHARD: J’aimerais la faire sur la saison… la dernière saison puisque c’est celle qui reflète les investissements plus élevés, donc on va essayer de vous la faire sur la saison… sur l’année 2017-2018 en faisant une projection pour ce qui est de la fin d’année.

945 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: D’accord. Bon. Alors, voilà pour ces questions. Maintenant, vous avez dépassé vos conditions de licence dans la dernière année, ça vous a permis de… ben, vous avez été obligés de faire plus de productions hors Québec. Vous avez quand… qu’est-ce que ça vous a causé comme problème?

946 Mme BOUCHARD: Ben, faire de la production, c’est pas causer un problème là, mais…

947 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Non mais, vous semblez dire que c’est difficile de faire des choix en fin d’année parce qu’avec les pourcentages en effet domino, ça vous oblige à faire des dépenses additionnelles pour les productions hors Québec par exemple.

948 Mme BOUCHARD: Ben, je pourrais vous donner l’exemple justement de la production dont Jérôme parlait, qui est une production dont on a annoncé le tournage, donc je peux vous la nommer là, ça s’appelle Les Newbies. Alors, c’est une production dramatique, en fait c’est une comédie qui s’est… qui est produite en Acadie. Alors, cette production-là, on l’avait déposée au Fonds francophone minoritaire le printemps dernier, et malheureusement elle n’est pas passée au premier dépôt, donc pas à ce dépôt-ci, mais celui de 2017. Elle n’est pas passée au premier dépôt pour des raisons de pointage, et donc là, ça, c’était une production dont évidemment la licence était importante. Alors, on s’est retrouvés à l’aube de la nouvelle année avec un montant qu’on avait prévu non seulement de dépenser mais de diffuser, et qui là, puisque, bon, on tenait à cette production-là, on tenait à ce projet-là, on a décidé de… avec… de concert avec le producteur, que ce soit déposé à nouveau à l’automne pour tenter de la faire réaliser, mais ça voulait dire que le calendrier de production nous amenait au-delà de l’année qui se termine au mois d’août. Donc, le montant de licence qu’on avait prévu accorder à cette production-là tout à coup redevenait disponible et devait être alloué à une production qui devait être diffusée cette année. Ça faisait un assez gros montant à mettre en branle.

949 On a fait, entre autres, un appel à projets auprès des producteurs indépendants en leur proposant toutes sortes de pistes, mais surtout en ouvrant à toutes sortes de choses, et on a reçu un certain nombre de propositions. Dans certains cas, c’était des propositions qui nous convenaient; dans d’autres, c’était des propositions qui n’avaient tout simplement rien à voir avec notre chaine. Alors, il faut aussi respecter l’identité et l’esprit d’une chaine et toutes les productions ne vont pas nécessairement convenir à notre positionnement. Donc déjà, y’a une sélection naturelle qui se fait comme ça.

950 Et on n’est pas les seuls diffuseurs à être preneurs de productions hors Québec, bien sûr. Y’a des incitatifs dans le marché pour des producteurs… des diffuseurs francophones de développer des productions originales avec les producteurs hors Québec, donc on n’est pas le seul… la seule porte d’entrée dans le marché. Et donc, ces productions-là vraisemblablement vont être proposées à d’autres.

951 Bref, tout ça pour dire que parmi le lot de productions, y’en a une, entre autres, qui avait été acceptée et dont le producteur s’est désisté parce que, étant donné qu’on avait besoin de la diffuser à l’intérieur de l’année de radiodiffusion, donc avant le 31 août, les équipes de production étaient juste pas disponibles dans sa région pour pouvoir livrer dans ces délais-là. Ça c'est les réalités avec lesquelles on fait… on transige avec ça constamment, les producteurs transigent avec cette situation-là constamment.

952 En Acadie en ce moment c'est plein emploi, parce que Radio-Canada a une grosse production dramatique en cours, nous on a « Les Newbies », et y a une foule de projets de documentaires et ça travaille à pleine capacité. On peut pas ajouter une production dans cette région-là en ce moment, parce que y a pas les équipes pour la tourner. Et donc, nous on doit prévoir que… il faut que la production soit diffusée pour qu'on puisse la comptabiliser. Alors, les délais dans lesquels elles peuvent nous être livrées dépendent de la disponibilité des équipes, et dépendent de la capacité des producteurs donc de nous livrer à temps.

953 Alors, ça fait en sorte que c'est un… c'est un écosystème qui est en croissance, et comme tout écosystème en croissance, ben des fois y a des poussées de croissance puis à un moment donné on arrive à saturation. Les enjeux de financement sont une préoccupation, la capacité de prendre une croissance rapide de demandes dans des délais courts est une grave préoccupation, donc c'est des choses qui peuvent arriver sur le temps.

954 Et nous, ce qu'on espère et ce qu'on croit, c'est que en établissant des seuils comme ceux qu'on vous a proposés - qui sont des seuils quand même qui surpondèrent largement la taille de l’industrie de la production hors Québec dans l’ensemble de l’écosystème francophone au Canada - en établissant ces seuils-là on va par nature - puis parce que c'est la destination de notre chaîne - probablement les dépasser. Mais on veut pas être placé dans une situation coupe-gorge où on doit dépenser de l’argent en sus de ce qu’une production normalement devrait avoir besoin, juste pour atteindre un seuil de dépenses.

955 On veut du volume aussi, on veut du volume de qualité, puis on veut du volume diversifié, parce que notre premier devoir… bien qu'on a des devoirs et des responsabilités par rapport à nos collègues de producteurs indépendants, notre premier devoir y est au téléspectateur, c'est celui qui paie, c'est lui qui est en situation sous desservie. Et nous, on veut le servir le mieux possible avec un peu de flexibilité pour nous permettre, un, de pas être en défaut; et deux, de faire comme on a toujours fait comme organisme à but non-lucratif, vous aurez pas de problème de bayat enflé là, on utilise notre argent pour produire. Donc, si on peut faire mieux, on va faire mieux.

956 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et la flexibilité de 5 pour cent là que vous pouvez reporter, c'est pas suffisant?

957 Mme BOUCHARD: Pas suffisant par rapport à la question des seuils mobiles, parce que c'est un peu de…

958 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Non, mais à votre… à votre désir là de pouvoir signer des projets en fin d’année?

959 Mme BOUCHARD: Non, non, c'est pas suffisant parce que… en fait, c'est compliqué parce que les… la façon dont les pourcentages de pourcentage… le pourcentage joue. Alors, je vous donne un exemple. On a bien planifié notre affaire et on atteint tous nos seuils dans toutes les catégories et sous-catégories…

960 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

961 Mme BOUCHARD: …et là on a une proposition de TFO qui nous propose d’embarquer comme deuxième diffuseur, en deuxième fenêtre, sur une production qui est peut-être même réalisée par un producteur hors Québec, mais comme on est deuxième fenêtre, ce n'est pas une dépense d’émission originale canadienne en première diffusion pour nous, donc elle tombe dans nos DÉC génériques, elle vient augmenter notre dépense en DÉC.

962 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

963 Mme BOUCHARD: Et donc là, on se retrouverait dans la situation où… puis là ça dépend de la taille des produits, mais multipliez ça par le nombre de propositions qu'on peut recevoir… parce que les diffuseurs qui produisent en français ou qui soutiennent la production francophone, et particulièrement la production francophone hors Québec, sont de plus en plus à la recherche d’un deuxième diffuseur. Nous on le fait, Télé-Québec le fait, TFO le fait, Radio-Canada aussi. En fait, on essaie tous de s’aider à monter des montages financiers pour permettre à de la nouvelle production d’exister.

964 Donc, si on a atteint toutes nos cibles, on est désincité à accepter - alors qu'on aurait les fonds - de s’embarquer dans une production comme deuxième fenêtre parce que ça nous déclencherait l’obligation, puis là après ça qu’est-ce qu'on va trouver comme projet moi qui va rencontrer tous les pourcentages qu'on a en-dessous? On trouvera pas ça, soit c'est un projet hors Québec, soit s’en est pas un, soit c'est un projet de reflet, soit s’en est pas un, et cetera. Donc, c'est honnêtement à l’usage - et on est… on est plusieurs là à s’être coltaillés avec cette condition de licence telle qu’elle est rédigée, et j’admets qu’elle a été proposée par TV5 Québec Canada…

965 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

966 Mme BOUCHARD: …donc… mais à l’usage, on s’est rendu compte que elle nous causait énormément de difficultés d’interprétation, de planification, et à la limite telle qu’elle est là dans les conditions financières plus serrées auxquelles on fait face pour la prochaine période de licence - parce que vous avez vu dans nos projections financières qu'on prévoit quand même un déclin de nos revenus - on sera fortement incité à s’en tenir au seuil.

967 Et ça, on le souhaite pas parce que c'est pas notre nature, c'est pour ça qu'on vous propose les modifications qu'on a définies. Donc, d'abord de les définir comme des minimums à atteindre et on le souhaite à dépasser, et également de nous faire… de nous permettre de participer en faisant les adaptations nécessaires à notre mission au crédit que le Conseil a mis en place pour les grands groupes de langue française. Ces deux mesures-là nous semblent - dans le contexte de notre profil financier futur - les meilleures façons de continuer nos bonnes pratiques de développer le maximum de productions qu'on est capable de financer.

968 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais là en augmentant… en vous octroyant un crédit de 25 pour cent, cela a l’effet de réduire vos DÉC?

969 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, mais dans une mesure quand même que vous avez dans votre grande sagesse limités, hein, parce que c'est un pourcentage spécifique là au-delà duquel ça compte plus là.

970 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: M'hm.

971 Mme BOUCHARD: Et dans notre cas, évidemment il faudrait que ça soit appliqué seulement aux dépenses excédentaires, hein, y est pas question que ça réduise nos dépenses originales canadiennes. Ça ne pourrait que nous permettre de comptabiliser davantage de DÉC, mais ça ne réduirait pas nos dépenses originales canadiennes, au contraire, ça nous favoriserait l’incitatif à les dépasser. Et je pense que le nerf de la guerre ici, c'est principalement les dépenses originales d’émissions canadiennes en première diffusion.

972 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: « Originales », vous avez dit?

973 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, le DEOC.

974 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. C'est ça. O.k.

975 Ensuite, donc vous auriez toujours le même montant de dépenses même avec ces crédits-là au bout de la ligne?

976 Mme BOUCHARD: Qu’est-ce que vous voulez dire?

977 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Votre… vos dépenses en DÉC de 55 pour cent… ou vos dépenses, excusez-moi, en émissions originales de 75 pour cent seraient toujours respectées fondées sur 55 pour cent en DÉC?

978 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui.

979 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Donc, ce que vous avez proposé… d’abord un, pour ce qui est des pourcentages fixes, n’auraient d’incidence que sur les pourcentages de productions hors Québec, hors Montréal?

980 Mme BOUCHARD: En fait, c'est toute la cascade qui doit être considérée comme étant… parce que comme on l’interprète…

981 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais si les DÉC diminuent, le reste diminue pas, le reste… le reste est fixe?

982 Mme BOUCHARD: Ah, ben oui.

983 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Y a pas de…

984 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui.

985 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Et avec le…

986 Mme BOUCHARD: Vous voulez dire si les DÉC diminuent à cause du crédit?

987 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, c'est ça.

988 Mme BOUCHARD: Les DÉC en dollars en fait.

989 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Y a juste les DÉC qui diminuent?

990 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui.

991 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais y a toujours autant de dépenses en émissions originales canadiennes et aux producteurs hors Québec et hors Montréal?

992 Mme BOUCHARD: Ben, les crédits s’appliqueraient aux productions autochtones et aux productions…

993 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je comprends.

994 Mme BOUCHARD: …hors Québec excédentaires…

995 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

996 Mme BOUCHARD: …au seuil qui est établi dans notre condition de licence.

997 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: C'est ça, mais les pourcentages seraient pas affectés… les dollars dépensés, y en aurait autant que si les DÉC à 55 pour cent étaient rencontrés?

998 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, oui, parce que… oui, forcément, parce que pour que je puisse avoir accès au crédit il faut que j’aie répondu à toutes mes conditions existantes.

999 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Correct, okay. On s’entend. Alors, le comité consultatif… encore ici, la FCFA a demandé d’ajouter en condition de licence une obligation de mieux communiquer le rôle du comité consultatif et de rendre des comptes. Qu’est-ce que vous pensez de cette demande ?

1000 MME BOUCHARD : Mieux communiquer, on est tous pour. Et puis on a pris bonne note du fait que la Fédération, qui regroupe différentes associations, aimerait être plus consciente du cadre de référence du comité consultatif.

1001 En ce qui a trait à rendre des comptes, je vais inviter Pierre Rivard à vous parler un petit peu de la dynamique du comité, lui qui en fait partie depuis le début. Mais je dirais, de la part du diffuseur, il est très important, il a toujours été très important pour moi et pour mon équipe que ce comité-là soit, en fait, assez complice. Donc, c’est un comité avec lequel on veut avoir la liberté de partager nos stratégies en amont.

1002 Donc, ça devient très contre-productif l’idée d’ajouter une forme de reporting public aux travaux du comité, parce que ça transformerait fondamentalement de rapport que les membres du comité ont avec les gens de programmes chez nous. Si on doit faire un compte-rendu de nos travaux dans lequel le verbatim de nos échanges est publié et disponible sur notre site, par exemple ou ailleurs, vous pouvez être certains que Mme Sérone ne partagera pas ses stratégies de marketing. Vous pouvez être certain qu’on ne consultera pas les membres du comité consultatif en amont sur les questions de positionnement de la chaîne et qu’on ne fera pas état de nos questionnements par rapport à tel genre de programme, est-ce qu’on devrait en faire plus, est-ce qu’on devrait en faire moins ? Ce sont des informations de nature concurrentielle, confidentielle.

1003 Donc, on veut pouvoir conserver ce rapport de complicité avec le comité consultatif, mais j’inviterais Pierre à faire part de son expérience.

1004 M. RIVARD : Merci. Ecoutez, je vais essayer de répondre à votre question du mieux que je le peux, parce que ce comité a fait beaucoup de choses. C’est un comité… il faut comprendre dès le départ qu’on n’est pas un comité qui prend des décisions opérationnelles. Donc, on est vraiment là pour appuyer la chaîne dans une démarche, dans plusieurs démarches.

1005 Si on se reporte en arrière, le comité a été créé à un moment (inaudible) Et donc, et nous, les membres du comité, nous sommes neuf personnes : il y a cinq femmes et quatre hommes, mais on est deux de la Colombie-Britannique, on est deux des Prairies, deux de l’Ontario, deux de l’Acadie et une personne du Québec. Notre objectif, c’était de faire un acte citoyen et d’aider la chaîne Unis.

1006 Alors, au départ, on s’est donné des indicateurs de rendement, parce que vous savez, pour revenir un petit peu à des remarques que vous avez faites au début, Monsieur le conseiller, sur l’impact d’Unis dans nos communautés, je suis le seul autour de la table qui vit dans une communauté hors Québec et je peux vous dire que l’impact a été énorme et bien au-delà de nos attentes.

1007 Mais quand même, lorsque le comité s’est créé, on s’est donné des indicateurs de rendement. D’abord, nous, il fallait apprendre un petit peu ce que c’est, une chaîne de télévision et comment ça fonctionne. Et on voulait se donner des indicateurs de rendement pour savoir si Unis serait un succès après quatre ans d’expérience.

1008 Et on avait défini quatre indicateurs de rendement : le premier, c’était le nombre de projets réalisés et produits par des producteurs francophones dans nos communautés. Et là-dessus, je peux vous donner juste l’exemple de ma province, où il y avait une seule maison de production francophone, il y a quatre ans. Et aujourd’hui, on en est à quatre ; on a quadruplé. Ça peut sembler ne pas être très signifiant, mais dans des communautés comme les nôtres, chaque gain vaut beaucoup. Et donc, on a vu plusieurs émissions être produites en Colombie britannique par quatre maisons de production pendant ces quatre années-là.

1009 Un deuxième indicateur de rendement qu’on avait, bon, c’était évidemment le nombre de téléspectateurs d’Unis, l’évolution de la consommation. Et ce sont des sujets dont on discute à chaque réunion du comité. Notre rôle, comme membres du comité, à ce moment-là, c’était d’aider Unis à établir sa notoriété, c’est-à-dire faire en sorte que les gens dans nos communautés sachent qu’il y a une nouvelle chaîne de télévision de langue française, qui, en plus, est là pour refléter la réalité de ces communautés-là et faire parler d’elles, non seulement à l’extérieur du Québec, mais au Québec et à travers le monde.

1010 Alors, notre rôle, comme membres du comité, a été beaucoup de donner d’appuis, TV5 et Unis, dans les stratégies pour qu’ils puissent identifier des partenaires, des évènements qui sont rassembleurs dans nos communautés et, à travers ça, faire connaître la programmation, la grille, le rôle, le mandat d’Unis.

1011 Un autre indicateur de rendement qu’on s’était donné, c’était la représentativité de nos régions. Et ça, Marie-Philippe en a parlé : 377 villes canadiennes où il y a eu des tournages d’émissions d’Unis, pour nous, c’était vraiment un indicateur de succès.

1012 Je dirais qu’il y a un autre indicateur de rendement qu’on s’est donné, aussi, à travers le temps, parce que c’est revenu beaucoup dans les discussions du comité : c’était la manière de parler de nos communautés, aussi. Vous savez, il y a beaucoup encore [RIRES/LAUGHS] de préjugés dans certaines régions du Canada que les francophones hors Québec, bon, ce sont des communautés qui sont en voie d’assimilation. Donc, pour nous, Unis, c’était une occasion unique et qu’on n’avait peut-être pas eue auparavant de démontrer, en fait, par des moyens qui ne sont pas pédagogiques, mais par des façons, par des émissions très ludiques, de démontrer que les francophones, dans nos communautés, sont… en fait, que nos communautés ont beaucoup de vitalité.

1013 Et quand le comité regarde ces indicateurs de rendement-là à chaque réunion – on a eu huit réunions jusqu’à maintenant –le bilan qu’on fait, et ça, ce n’est pas un sales pitch, c’est vraiment quelque chose qu’on s’est dit, c’est que nos attentes, en quatre ans, ont été largement dépassées par rapport à ce qu’on pensait que ferait Unis, en termes d’impact dans nos communautés et tout ça.

1014 Donc, vous voyez, nos discussions sont, en fait, très franches, très… il y a beaucoup de générosité dans les échanges entre les membres du comité et l’équipe de TV5 Unis. Ce sont des experts de la télé ; nous sommes des experts dans nos communautés. Il était nécessaire, au départ, d’établir ce dialogue-là, parce que TV5 avait l’expertise et une marque de commerce qui était prête pour faire ce travail-là, mais pas nécessairement une connaissance du terrain de nos communautés comme nous l’avons. Alors, le comité consultatif permet de faire cette jonction-là, si on veut, ce dialogue et de donner, toujours, une rétroaction aussi de manière continue aux gens qui travaillent à produire les émissions. On est en contact, bien sûr, avec nos bureaux régionaux, dans chacune de nos régions : nous, il y a un bureau à Vancouver, il y en a un à Toronto, il y en a un en Acadie.

1015 Notre rôle, aussi, c’est un rôle d’être des ambassadeurs de la chaîne et quand, dans nos communautés, on entend des gens qui ont… qui semblent avoir des beaux projets d’émissions de télévision, on les dirige vers nos bureaux régionaux, on leur dit : « Allez-y, frappez à la porte. Une chaine a été créée justement pour qu’on voie plus de productions venant de nos communautés. » Et un autre effet positif qu’on a vu, c’est qu’on a vu beaucoup plus d’émissions du Québec ou de producteurs du Québec hors Montréal ou Montréal venir dans nos communautés et présenter un portrait de nos communautés qui est intéressant pour tout le monde.

1016 Donc moi, je n’aurais absolument aucune réserve, comme membre du comité, à ce que certaines des discussions que nous avons soient partagées avec les instances représentatives de la francophonie à travers le Canada, mais je pense qu’il y a plusieurs façons de faire ça. Ce n’est pas nécessairement de faire un compte-rendu de nos discussions et de le mettre sur un site web. Je pense qu’on peut trouver des façons d’expliquer notre rôle et de démontrer quel travail on a fait dans les quatre premières années de la licence et comment on pense que la chaine a atteint, voire même dépassé, les attentes qu’on avait. Parce que moi, tous les chiffres qui ont été communiqués, il y a quatre ans, je n’aurais pas misé beaucoup sur le fait qu’on arriverait à autant de résultats que maintenant.

1017 Alors, je ne sais pas si la question de la FCFA, c’est de clarifier le rôle du comité ; le rôle, c’est qu’il fallait le définir nous-mêmes, il fallait s’entendre…

1018 M. DUPRAS : (Inaudible) le fonctionnement et les mesures que vous êtes prêts à prendre pour améliorer la communication et la transparence de ce comité-là.

1019 M. RIVARD: Ben moi, je pense que c'est un… d’abord, c’est un sujet qu’on a abordé déjà. Nous, les membres du comité, une réserve qu’on avait au départ par rapport à publier énormément d’informations sur le comité, c’est qu’on voulait pas que les gens pensent qu’on était tout à coup un deuxième conseil d’administration d’Unis/TV5 et qu’on prenait des décisions opérationnelles parce qu’au départ ça arrivait que des gens venaient me voir pour me dire « j’ai appelé telle personne à Unis, on m’a pas rappelé, ça fait trois semaines ». C'est pas vraiment ça, notre rôle. On n’est pas dans… on peut relayer certains messages, mais on n’est pas là pour prendre des décisions opérationnelles. On est vraiment là pour conseiller, aviser, appuyer par rapport à différents aspects de la mise au monde de cette chaine et de sa continuité.

1020 Alors, moi, je pense que c’est un élément qu’on peut rapporter au comité. Si y’a des organismes de nos communautés qui souhaitent plus de transparence ou mieux connaitre le travail que nous faisons, je pense qu’on peut ensemble, en tant que comité, déterminer quelle est la meilleure manière de le faire, tout en s’assurant que nous, on est à l’aise avec l’explication qui est donnée du rôle du comité.

1021 Alors…

1022 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, oui. Non…

1023 M. RIVARD: …je sais pas si ça répond à votre question.

1024 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Ça va. Ça va.

1025 M. RIVARD: Y’a matière à réflexion.

1026 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui. Bon, merci.

1027 Pour ce qui est des productions autochtones, pouvez-vous nous parler un peu des efforts que vous faites pour refléter les peuples autochtones et les francophones issus des minori… les communautés ethniques à l’écran dans les CLOSM, comme au Québec?

1028 Mme BOUCHARD: Alors, nous avons déposé, je crois avec notre mémoire, une liste assez exhaustive des productions autochtones que nous avons diffusées qui incluent, donc, des cas de productions autochtones existantes là, donc pour lesquelles on a ajouté simplement une licence, et d’autres qui ont été des productions originales pour nos services.

1029 Donc, cette liste-là, je peux vous en citer quelques exemples là, je pense entre autres à Canot Cocasse, qui est une série en partie d’animation qui est devenue 100 % animation maintenant, qu’on a démarrée au départ avec APTN comme deuxième diffuseur, et là on est à la troisième saison, si je ne m’abuse, et cette troisième saison-là, APTN a choisi d’autres projets et on sera en partenariat cette fois-ci avec Radio-Canada. Donc, c’est une production originale sur le service d’Unis TV qui est une production autochtone, mais qui est aussi une production de Reflets des légendes autochtones destinée aux enfants avec de l’animation, donc une technologie ou une approche de récit qu’on ne voit pas nécessairement beaucoup en format original, certainement pas dans les productions francophones hors Québec, donc on est très fiers de cette production-là. Y’en a, y’en a, y’en a, je pourrais vous en nommer plusieurs.

1030 En ce qui a trait au reflet de la diversité…

1031 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais pour que vous demandiez un crédit de…

1032 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui…?

1033 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …50 % là, c’est que y’a un problème de capacité de production?

1034 Mme BOUCHARD: Ah, c’est pas la nature de notre démarche. Vous avez accordé ces crédits aux grands groupes de langue française, et donc, on a simplement fait une proposition d’étendre à TV5 Québec Canada les mêmes types d’incitatifs que vous aviez mis en place pour les autres diffuseurs. Ça ne reflète pas en soi un problème d’intérêt de notre part; au contraire, nous avons et nous avons toujours eu un intérêt pour travailler avec des producteurs autochtones, mais simplement, comme c’était une mesure réglementaire que vous mettiez en place pour notre secteur, on a jugé qu’il était utile de signaler qu’on pourrait en bénéficier également au bénéfice aux premiers chefs des producteurs autochtones.

1035 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: OK. Et si, disons un producteur autochtone est également dans un CLOSM, à ce moment-là est-ce que ça fait…

1036 Mme BOUCHARD: On n’additionnera pas.

1037 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …un double crédit?

1038 Mme BOUCHARD: Non.

1039 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon.

1040 Mme BOUCHARD: Et c’est souvent le cas, vous le savez.

1041 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: OK.

1042 Mme BOUCHARD: On choisira.

1043 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon. Plateforme numérique, on a l’AQPM là qui nous a exprimé son inquiétude quant à des difficultés de négociation entre plusieurs producteurs et vous là concernant le partage des revenus en ce qui a trait à la diffusion sur différentes plateformes numériques, avez-vous des commentaires à cet…

1044 Mme BOUCHARD: Em… mon souvenir, c'est que l’AQPM faisait référence pas tellement à des négociations liées à des diffusions sur plateforme numérique autant que, si je ne m’abuse, à une pratique contractuelle qu’on avait mise en place et qu’on a dû cesser à cause de changements aux règles du Fonds des médias. Donc, ç’avait trait plus à une question de partage de profits sur la durée de vie de la production une fois que la production est née, a été diffusée chez nous. Après ça, le producteur, nous a cédé un certain nombre de droits et retient… et détient un certain nombre de droits, et ce qu’on proposait, c’est de partager les profits, particulièrement on pensait au marché international. C’est une pratique contractuelle qui a été largement rendue obsolète par des changements aux règles du Fonds des médias, et donc, ce n’est plus dans nos contrats à l’heure actuelle.

1045 Mais je ne crois que y’a eu d’enjeux avec l’AQPM ou des membres de l’AQPM sur les licences que nous acquérons pour la production originale en ce qui a trait à la déclinaison des droits sur les plateformes numériques, certainement nos plateformes numériques, je n’ai pas conscience que y’a une problématique de cette nature.

1046 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: OK. Donc, vous estimez que y’a pas de problème au niveau des négociations avec les producteurs.

1047 Mme BOUCHARD: Pas à l’heure actuelle, non.

1048 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: OK. Bon, j’arrive vers la fin de mes questions. Les prévisions d’abonnement, bien que vos prévisions étaient basées sur le rapport de Convergence, les vôtres semblent plus optimistes que celles prévues par Convergence. Pouvez-vous nous expliquer vous avez choisi de fournir des prévisions plus prudentes?

1049 Mme BOUCHARD: Quand vous dites « optimistes » et « prudentes », je voudrais comprendre qu’est-ce que vous voulez dire exactement. C'est-à-dire est-ce que vous voulez dire qu’on a prévu moins de baisses…

1050 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: C'est ça.

1051 Mme BOUCHARD: …que les…

1052 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.

1053 Mme BOUCHARD: …que le rapport de Convergence Group. Je vais laisser ma collègue Annie Allard vous expliquer comment est arrivée à la recette de Caramilk parce que vous savez que c’est prévisions-là sont pas faciles à faire cinq ans en avance.

1054 Mme ALLARD: Donc, bonjour. En fait, évidemment on a regardé toutes les prévisions, les hypothèses qui étaient émises par Convergence Group, entre autres, et nous, on s’est situés au niveau de la baisse d’abonnements pour la prochaine année de licence entre 2,5 et 2,7 % en nombre d’abonnés qui allaient diminuer, évidemment pas tous le jour 1, mais graduellement au cours d’une année. Donc, ça représente environ 250 000 abonnés par mois qui seraient perdus. En termes de revenus d’abonnements, ça représente 1,4 % de baisse de revenus d’abonnements annuels, donc c’est ce qu’on a prévu.

1055 Je crois pas qu’on soit très loin du Convergence Group au niveau de leurs hypothèses puisqu’ils étaient entre 2 et 3 %, donc à 2,5 et 2,7 là, on se situe quand même assez proche des hypothèses qu’ils avaient émises.

1056 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: OK, mais vous avez pas…

1057 Mme ALLARD: Je… je…

1058 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous avez pas trouvé de problème dans les prévisions de Convergence?

1059 Mme ALLARD: Non, et actuellement…

1060 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Dans leurs hypothèses?

1061 Mme ALARD: Non, c’est ça, et actuellement, je dirais que pour l’année financière en cours, leurs prévisions étaient à peu près de l’ordre de 2 %, et nous actuellement on est à… en diminution, et nous, on est à peu près à 1,1 %. Donc, on est plutôt… on était plutôt optimistes cette année, mais l’année prochaine, on est à 2,5 %, donc clairement, on sait pas encore où est la recette de la Caramilk là, mais on essaie vraiment de s’y rapprocher. On pense que nos prévisions sont… sont…

1062 Mme BOUCHARD: J’ajouterais une petite particularité dans notre cas, c’est qu’on a deux tarifs, et donc, l’évolution de notre profil financier dépend de la répartition des pertes entre les marchés francophones et anglophones. Alors, ils ont pas évolué dans les dernières années au même rythme, le marché anglophone a commencé à baisser bien avant le marché francophone, et cette année, ce qu’on peut constater, c’est que le marché francophone tend à rattraper un peu son retard, et donc à décrocher un petit peu plus rapidement que le marché anglophone qui, lui, s’est plus stabilisé que ce qu’on avait anticipé.

1063 Alors, on est tout le temps en train d’ajuster nos voyants parce que on reçoit évidemment nos revenus directement des câblodistributeurs, ça nous permet de dériver des raisonnements sur l’évolution de la base d’abonnements au fur et à mesure et de les comparer avec les prévisions qui avaient été faites pour la période en question.

1064 M. DUPRAS : Okay. Il y a également des prévisions d’abonnés de Giganomics qui indiquent que le taux de déclin au cours de la nouvelle période de licence sera moins sévère que prévu par TV5 et diminuera au fil du temps. Entre autres, l’introduction de décodeurs technologiquement avancés, une augmentation du nombre total de ménages, l’introduction d’un petit service de base d’entrée de gamme à prix maximum. Pouvez-vous commenter cette étude-là ?

1065 MME BOUCHARD : J’ai lu cette étude-là. Pour la raison que je viens de vous expliquer, comme on a deux tarifs, on suit de très près l’évolution du marché francophone et anglophone. Je ne crois pas qu’il y ait eu de grandes distinctions dans les études que vous citez entre les deux marchés, mais nous, on les voit, parce qu’on n’est pas payés le même tarif, donc on sait très bien discriminer les deux. Et les facteurs que vous citez, donc l’augmentation des ménages, l’introduction de plates-formes IP, etc., sont déjà largement… en fait, il n’y a pas une augmentation spectaculaire des ménages au Québec. Et les systèmes en place sont déjà largement à capacité.

1066 Donc, on ne voit pas les facteurs qui ralentiraient le taux de décrochage au Québec et, au contraire, comme je vous le dis, depuis cet automne, on a constaté que les marchés francophones semblaient rattraper leur retard en termes de changement d’habitudes, par rapport au marché anglophone. Donc, je pense que toutes les réponses sont bonnes et à peu près au milieu, on va se retrouver avec la réalité.

1067 M. DUPRAS : Okay. Et le Conseil devrait-il donner plus de poids aux hypothèses, aux prévisions qui sous-tendent le rapport de Conversions plutôt qu’à celles qui ont servi à l’étude de Giganomics ?

1068 MME BOUCHARD : J’ai envie de vous dire : « It’s beyond my paygrade. » (RIRES/LAUGHS)

1069 M. DUPRAS : Bon. Les femmes en production, quelles mesures votre entreprise prend-t-elle pour assurer une représentation équitable des femmes, tant dans les rôles de leadership dans l’entreprise que dans les rôles créatifs clés ?

1070 MME BOUCHARD : Je suis tellement contente que vous me posiez cette question-là ! (RIRES/LAUGHS) Parce que j’ai la grande fierté de diriger une organisation dans laquelle les femmes sont en zone paritaire à peu près à tous les niveaux. De notre conseil d’administration au comité consultatif des programmes à l’équipe de direction, à l’équipe de cadres…

1071 M. DUPRAS : Dans les rôles de production ?

1072 MME BOUCHARD : Alors, nous ne produisons pas, nous, mais nous sommes essentiels à la production qui se retrouve à nos écrans. Vous savez et nous savons aussi que les organismes de financement ont tous déployé des processus qui font en sorte que les enveloppes de financement qu’on reçoit doivent répondre à des quotas de volume de production qui répondent aux critères de parité. Donc, nous respectons évidemment ces nouvelles mesures et nous travaillons… et je pourrais peut-être inviter Jérôme à expliquer comment on approche les producteurs par rapport à la place des femmes dans leurs équipes.

1073 M. HELLIO : Tout d’abord, à partir du moment où le Fonds des médias impose la parité sur un pourcentage, on encourage tous les producteurs et on les challenge vraiment beaucoup sur le fait que les équipes atteignent ce pourcentage-là, parce que plus on l’atteint, plus on marque de points et c’est bon pour le calcul des enveloppes, etc., et des attributions.

1074 D’autre part, on est obligés aussi, dans une autre mesure… eux le voient par projet ; moi je le regarde de manière plus globale, c’est-à-dire qu’il y a certains producteurs – je pense à des producteurs, disons, d’Ontario, qui sont trois, ce sont trois hommes et quand ils font un projet, forcément, je vais demander aux autres équipes d’avoir un taux de parité plus élevé, puisque l’entité qui produit, qui réalise, est déjà construite comme étant une seule et même équipe.

1075 Donc, pour moi, il y a vraiment une nécessité. Puis à chaque fois, je pose la question et je posais la question avant même que le Fonds ait incité les producteurs à le mettre dans leur projet : on a besoin de cette diversité-là. Et moi, j’en ai fait beaucoup auparavant et pour moi, c’est un critère extrêmement important, qui va au-delà des obligations des marques.

1076 MME BOUCHARD : Je demanderais peut-être à Benoit Beaudoin de nous parler un peu de l’historique du Fonds TV5, qui est un fonds pour la création numérique et de la place des femmes dans les projets qui ont été retenus par le Fonds.

1077 M. BEAUDOIN : Merci, bonjour. Le Fonds, en fait, s’est toujours penché sur la relève en création numérique avec, comme objectif, de développer des compétences de conception en webséries, autant pour la fiction que le documentaire que l’animation. Et tout au long des années du fonds, on a toujours été chercher autant de créateurs que de créatrices ; même qu’il y a deux ans… on accepte six projets par année, on s’est retrouvés avec six créatrices pour un créateur. Donc, on a toujours soutenu la plus grande diversité possible en ce qui a trait à la relève, les projets numériques, les projets tél.

1078 MME BOUCHARD : C’est d’ailleurs une créatrice qui a gagné le Grand Prix à Canneseries, Zoé Pelchat, qui a été appuyée par le Fonds TV5.

1079 M. DUPRAS : Je vous remercie, ce sont toutes mes questions. Merci, Monsieur le Président.

1080 LE PRÉSIDENT : Mme Vennard, avez-vous des questions ? Non ? Counsel ?

1081 M. BOWLES : Merci, Monsieur le Président. J’ai quelques questions pour vous. Premièrement, juste une question procédurale : l’annexe A que vous avez jointe à la version imprimée de vos propos oraux, est-ce que ça constitue de la nouvelle preuve ou est-ce une nouvelle manière de colliger de l’information qui a déjà été produite au dossier ?

1082 MME BOUCHARD : C’est une nouvelle façon de présenter de l’information qui était déjà présente au dossier, si ce n’est, donc, d’abord, les résultats actuels de 2016-2017, qui correspondent au rapport annuel qu’on vous a déposé en novembre, et la projection pour la dernière année. Mais cette annexe-là était dans notre mémoire.

1083 M. BOWLES : Okay, parfait. Donc, pour mes questions plus substantives, si on veut : il y a eu discussion avec M. Dupras d’un scénario où Unis TV se voyait octroyer une nouvelle ordonnance de distribution obligatoire et non TV5. Vous avez mentionné que si ce scénario-là devenait la réalité, il faudrait revoir les conditions de la licence applicable. Seriez-vous en mesure, par la date de dépôt des engagements, de nous produire quelle serait votre vision des conditions de la licence pour Unis TV avec, dans un scénario où ce service-là aurait la distribution obligatoire et TV5, qui ne bénéficierait pas d’une distribution obligatoire ?

1084 MME BOUCHARD : Je pense que tout est possible. On peut faire un scénario, mais mon objection d’origine était que je ne suis pas sûre que TV5 survive dans ce scénario-là. Alors, théoriquement, on poserait probablement des conditions de licence standardisée pour TV5, pour faire plus rapide ; si elle n’a pas de distribution obligatoire, on irait vers une solution standardisée. Mais je crains un petit peu que ça ne soit un scénario assez théorique. Mais je comprends ce que vous voulez ; donc, vous voudriez savoir, si on regarderait Unis TV uniquement, quel type de conditions de licence pourrait s’appliquer à Unis TV seule ?

1085 M. BOWLES : Ainsi que le tarif proposé pour la distribution ?

1086 MME BOUCHARD : C’est essentiellement une question de tarif ?

1087 M. BOWLES : Non.

1088 MME BOUCHARD : Non ?

1089 M. BOWLES : Ce sont les deux : les conditions de licence qui seraient applicables au service…

1090 MME BOUCHARD : D’accord.

1091 M. BOWLES : … pris individuellement ainsi que le tarif que vous proposez pour ce service-là.

1092 MME BOUCHARD : Je réitère, puis on le mettra dans notre réponse, que ça ne constitue pas un engagement de notre part d’opérer un tel service dans ces conditions-là. Vous comprenez ce que je veux dire ?

1093 M. BOWLES : Parfait, oui.

1094 MME BOUCHARD : Parfait.

1095 M. BOWLES : Est-ce que vous prenez quand même l’engagement de fournir l’information nécessaire ?

1096 ENGAGEMENT

1097 MME BOUCHARD : Oui, bien sûr.

1098 M. BOWLES : Merci bien. Également, il y a eu, si je ne m’abuse, discussion de la possibilité, dans un scénario où les deux services continueraient de bénéficier d’une distribution obligatoire, mais de séparer les conditions de licence. Est-ce que ça serait possible que vous articuliez… la façon dont vous concevez que ces conditions de licence là seraient articulées si chaque service avait ses propres conditions de licence ?

1099 MME BOUCHARD : Il y a déjà une partie des conditions de licence qui est propre à chacun des services, pour ce qui est de la diffusion.

1100 M. BOWLES : Oui.

1101 MME BOUCHRD : Alors, il s’agirait simplement de diviser les obligations de dépenses, si je comprends bien ?

1102 M. BOWLES : Oui.

1103 MME BOUCHARD : C’est ça ?

1104 M. BOWLES : Oui.

1105 MME BOUCHARD : D’accord.

1106 M. BOWLES : Est-ce que vous êtes en mesure de déposer ceci par la date des engagements ?

1107 ENGAGEMENT

1108 MME BOUCHARD : Oui.

1109 M. BOWLES : Revenons un peu sur le scénario où Unis TV continuerait de bénéficier d’une ordonnance de distribution obligatoire, mais non TV5. Est-ce que vous pouvez également déposer des projections financières qui seraient basées aussi sur le taux… pardon, le tarif que vous proposeriez pour Unis TV ?

1110 ENGAGEMENT

1111 MME BOUCHARD : Probablement. Oui.

1112 M. BOWLES : Bon.

1113 MME BOUCHARD : C’est un dérivé… c’est un dérivé de nos projections d’abonnement, alors ça ne devrait pas être un problème.

1114 M. BOWLES : J’ai juste deux autres petites questions, je crois. Vous avez demandé pour des modifications au libellé des conditions de licences 4 et 5, et vous avez expliqué pourquoi vous cherchez ces modifications-là, advenant que le Conseil vous accordait la modification que vous recherchez pour la condition de licence 4, auriez-vous tout de même besoin de la modification recherchée pour la condition de licence 5 afin de répondre à vos préoccupations? Et si oui, pouvez-vous expliquer?

1115 Mme BOUCHARD: Oui, pour un peu la même raison que les productions sont une chose ou l’autre, hein. C'est soit une production hors Québec ou s’en est pas une, c'est soit une production de reflet ou s’en est pas une. Donc à chaque fois qu'on augmente notre performance au-delà du seuil quelque part, ça bouge en bas. Alors, si par exemple une année donnée je reçois un projet d’un producteur du Québec hors Montréal, donc qui se qualifie pour la condition de licence 4, si je l’accepte au-delà du seuil qui est déjà atteint, là je me trouve à être obligée de me trouver une production hors Québec pour aller matcher mon dépassement dans la condition de licence 4. Je vous assure c'est compliqué.

1116 M. BOWLES: Oui, oui, vous êtes pas obligée de me convaincre.

1117 (RIRES)

1118 M. BOWLES: Dernière petite question, advenant que le Conseil n’accepte pas votre demande de modifier le libellé des conditions de licences 4 et 5, est-ce que les crédits demandés - et plus particulièrement, mais non… même celui pour les CLOSM - est-ce que ça serait de quelconque bénéfice à vous?

1119 Mme BOUCHARD: J’ai un souvenir très net d’avoir fait un grand, grand, grand dessin avec ma directrice finance, on est arrivées à la conclusion que oui, on les souhaitait quand même.

1120 M. BOWLES: Oui.

1121 Mme BOUCHARD: Mais je pourrais pas vous l’expliquer là, ça me prend beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup d’hypothèses financières pour vous l’expliquer.

1122 M. BOWLES: O.k. Merci bien, ce sont toutes mes questions. Merci.

1123 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.

1124 Mme BOUCHARD: Merci.

1125 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’ll take a 10-minute break while we do the changeover. So returning at five after, please.

--- La séance est suspendue à 15h55

--- La séance est reprise à 16h05

1126 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. Madam Secretary.

1127 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

1128 We’d just like to announce that we will hear the presentation and we will ask questions to APTN and then we will adjourn for the day, and we will be back tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with Vues et Voix presentation and the questions of Vues et Voix. So tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. with Vues et Voix.

1129 So now we will hear Item 3 on the Agenda, which is an application by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Incorporated to renew the broadcasting licence for the National English and French Language Specialty Category A Service APTN, which expires 31st August 2018.

1130 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you will then have 20 minutes for your presentation.

PRÉSENTATION

1131 MR. LA ROSE: (Native language is spoken). Jean La Rose. (Native language is spoken). Good afternoon, Mr. Chairperson, Commissioners.

1132 Before we begin, I would like to acknowledge that we are on unceded Algonquin territory and to thank the Algonquin nation for having welcomed us on their traditional territory.

1133 Let me introduce the team with me today. My name is Jean La Rose, as I said in my traditional language earlier, I’m the Chief Executive Officer of APTN. On my left is Sky Bridges, APTN's Chief Operating Officer; and to Sky's left is Jocelyn Formsma, the Chair of APTN's Board of Directors. To my right is Darcy Smith, our CFO; and to his right is Monika Ille, Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling. To Monika's right is Karyn Pugliese, Executive Director of News and Current Affairs.

1134 In the second row, starting from my right, we have Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., who assisted us with all the market research for our application; Lea Todd, APTN's Director of Scheduling; then Joel Fortune, our Legal Counsel; and Vera Houle, Director of Community Relations. APTN has no parity -- gender parity issue.

1135 Nous sommes ravis de cette occasion qui nous est offerte de présenter notre demande de renouvellement. Cela fait maintenant presque 19 ans qu'APTN a lancé le premier réseau de télévision autochtone indépendant au monde. À l’époque, les Autochtones étaient pratiquement invisibles à la télévision canadienne. On ne peut plus en dire autant aujourd’hui.

1136 Grâce à APTN, les Autochtones créent et diffusent des centaines d’heures de contenu télévisé canadien original de tous genres – du drame au sport – et ont accès à des émissions de nouvelles nationales primées et à du contenu en langue autochtone.

1137 Nous travaillons d’arrache-pied pour étendre notre portée sur les nouvelles plateformes numériques - avec par exemple plus de 72 millions de publications d’APTN vues sur Facebook - et pour joindre la jeunesse autochtone par l’entremise de « Digital Drum », notre plateforme numérique axée sur les jeunes et la musique.

1138 Tout ce contenu sert à présenter nos gens et nos histoires de notre point de vue, ce qui n’était pratiquement jamais fait avant APTN.

1139 Mme HOULE: Bonjour. (Greeting in Ojibway)

1140 APTN is having a real impact in our communities. APTN is a national service, but we are also in many ways a local service for Indigenous Communities. Through my work with APTN, I keep in touch with hundreds of communities throughout Canada and I have the privilege of visiting about 10 of them a year.

1141 Many community members are delighted to meet a representative from APTN and are proud to share their thoughts about our network. I’ve heard feedback that many of our programs are not only near and dear to their hearts, but also very true to their living conditions and experiences.

1142 Recently I attended a Young Entrepreneurs Symposium (YES), in Vancouver. YES brings young Indigenous entrepreneurs together with business leaders and role models in an intense three-day program. I sat quietly in the audience as the young participants spoke about what inspired them. A majority referred to APTN and how seeing our programs -- and the actors, musicians and others we feature -- inspired them in their path. They said it gave them courage to see others who looked like them and came from similar backgrounds and had succeeded. It was very powerful and moving for me to hear, first hand, of the impact we have in our communities especially with Indigenous youth.

1143 MR. BRIDGES: APTN is also having an impact on how Canadians as a whole perceive and understand Indigenous Peoples. According to research filed with our application, over half of Canadians have watched APTN in the past, and just over a third said they had watched APTN in the past year. This is significant because for many Canadians, APTN is the only place they will see content by and about Indigenous Peoples.

1144 Two separate studies commissioned by the CRTC in 2016 found that, apart from APTN, Indigenous Peoples were "severely underrepresented" on English television and "non-existent" on French-language television. Our own research, some of which is included with the application, confirms these findings.

1145 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called directly on APTN to support Reconciliation. The TRC called on us to continue to provide leadership in our programming and organizational culture, and to connect Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians through the information and educational role we play for the Canadian public. These are important calls to action.

1146 There are still huge challenges to ensure adequate reflection of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian television. However, because of APTN, we are no longer invisible, at least not on our television. We have a solid, accurate, national presence, widely available throughout Canada.

1147 M. LA ROSE: Nous aimerions maintenant aborder des aspects plus précis de notre demande. Nous avons soumis un argumentaire solide pour la distribution continue d’APTN comme service de base.

1148 Mme ILLE: APTN contribue de manière exceptionnelle à l’expression canadienne. APTN fournit le niveau de service principal aux Autochtones du Canada.

1149 D’après nos recherches, près de la moitié des Autochtones du Canada écoutent APTN chaque semaine. Ce niveau de participation est demeuré stable depuis 2014, malgré la popularité toujours croissante des médias numériques.

1150 Nous maintenons le lien avec notre auditoire principal grâce à notre contenu hautement actuel, pertinent et divertissant. Voici à ce sujet quelques-unes de nos réalisations en matière de programmation de l’an dernier.

1151 APTN a été le diffuseur hôte des Jeux mondiaux des peuples autochtones tenus à Edmonton en 2012… euh, 17, pardon. À l’occasion de l’édition 2017 de la Journée nationale des Autochtones, APTN a diffusé une émission de sept heures en direct à partir de huit scènes montées dans huit villes canadiennes, une réalisation d’envergure nationale sans précédent. APTN a commandé les diffusions de la scène 5 de Mohawk Girls, la série encensée par la critique, filmée à Kahnawake, aux environs, et nous avons pris des engagements pour 35 autres productions télévisées autochtones canadiennes. APTN diffuse en moyenne 55 heures de programmation en langue autochtone par semaine sur les signaux régionaux les plus pertinents, ce qui équivaut à plus de 2 800 heures de ces contenus au cours de l’année.

1152 Il y eu la diffusion en première de 1491 : The Untold Story of the Americas before Columbus sur les ondes d’APTN, une série. Cette série explore des histoires et des points de vue qui ne reçoivent que maintenant l’attention qui leur est due à l’extérieur des communautés autochtones.

1153 Ce ne sont là que quelques exemples de réalisations récentes en matière de programmation. APTN est au centre de la culture et de l’expression audiovisuelle autochtone du Canada.

1154 MS. PUGLIESE: APTN makes the maximum possible use of original Canadian programming on the network. APTN typically broadcast 500 or more hours of original programming each year. APTN constantly refreshes content to maintain vital and interesting to viewers.

1155 APTN National News is an important part of our original content. We create approximately 220 hours of original news and information programming each year.

1156 Our news content has a big impact. Finding and reporting the news is a team effort, from gathering the story, to producing the segment, to presenting it, and getting it to air. The Canadian Association of Journalists has recognized APTN's ability to "punch above our weight". In other words, we do a lot with limited resources.

1157 Some of the key events and stories we covered recently have included:

1158 Sustained coverage of the events in Standing Rock, North Dakota. Through sharing arrangements with other networks, our footage was seen around the world;

1159 Ongoing coverage of issues and stories about Kids in Care, an urgent matter for Indigenous Peoples, focusing specifically on Manitoba and Ontario;

1160 We provided full-election coverage in 2015 including virtual town halls with 3 of the party leaders, and a French-language election special focused on Indigenous issues in Quebec;

1161 After the election, we became the first Indigenous media to interview a sitting Canadian Prime Minister. It's incredible to think that had never happened before.

1162 Through our news and other programming, we make a substantial contribution to original Canadian content.

1163 MR. BRIDGES: APTN makes direct and substantial contributions to many of the broadcasting policy objectives in the Act, especially the objective to serve and reflect the special place of Indigenous Peoples within Canadian society.

1164 APTN is not just a screen on which Indigenous stories are told. We are also a key employer for Indigenous workers in media and an incubator of Indigenous talent. Close to 70% of APTN’s entire workforce is Indigenous and the percentage is growing as our mentorship and training initiatives continue to take hold.

1165 Through our contribution to Canadian expression, our original Canadian programming and the opportunities we create for Indigenous Peoples to participate in the broadcasting system, we make an exceptional contribution to the achievement of Canadian broadcasting policy objectives.

1166 M. LA ROSE: APTN a proposé un tarif mensuel de gros de 36 sous pour la prochaine période d’application de la licence. Ce tarif de gros est ce dont APTN a besoin pour satisfaire aux conditions de la licence et pour offrir un niveau de service raisonnable. Ce tarif nous permettra aussi d’apporter des améliorations essentielles à nos capacités de programmation, notamment :

1167 - l’accroissement de la capacité de collecte de nouvelles dans certaines régions à forte population autochtone, mais où la couverture journalistique est minimale, comme au Labrador, dans le nord de la Colombie‑Britannique et à Regina;

1168 - l’ajout d’un journal télévisé hebdomadaire en français;

1169 - le maintien de nos niveaux de dépenses actuels pour les productions à budget plus élevé, comme les drames, et la possibilité d’accroître la production (encore là, tout dépendant de la continuité du financement assuré par le Fonds canadien des médias); et,

1170 - le lancement de deux talk-shows, un dans l’Ouest et l’autre en français en provenance de Montréal.

1171 De telles améliorations sont importantes et essentielles pour permettre à APTN de continuer d’offrir les services nécessaires, surtout en français.

1172 MR. SMITH: In developing the proposed wholesale fee, we balanced multiple demands across the organization: from programming, news, marketing and technical perspectives.

1173 A key factor affecting our plans for the next licence term is the projected gradual decline in BDU subscriber levels - at the rate of approximately 1.8% per year. While no one knows for sure, we believe that this projected rate is reasonable and prudent. It is consistent with the average rate of decline for the past two years of 1.75%, according to recent data compiled by The Wire Report.

1174 There are other factors affecting APTN’s revenue as well. Large, non-Canadian digital services are placing pressure on the broadcast advertising market and APTN is no exception.

1175 In addition, APTN’s primary audience of Indigenous People is still not measured by Numeris for advertising purposes. This understates our audiences and makes it difficult to generate revenue. It also has an impact on our access to CMF funding, which is primarily based on cumulative audience measurement.

1176 Our proposed wholesale fee takes these factors into account.

1177 As a part of our market research, APTN tested the perceived value of APTN’s service at an even higher fee of $0.50 a month, or $6.00 a year. One in two respondents in the general population ranked APTN as representing good value at that level, and two out of three Indigenous respondents thought the same.

1178 There is a clear need for APTN’s proposed wholesale fee. It will enable APTN to maintain a reasonable level of service and to make certain key improvements. This level of funding is appropriate for APTN and is supported by our market research.

1179 MS. TODD: APTN has proposed to continue to meet, and to exceed, our existing licence conditions, with some increased flexibility in the exhibition level of Canadian programming and programming from the independent production sector.

1180 APTN’s current Canadian exhibition level is set at 75%. We have proposed to change this minimum level to 70%.

1181 Since APTN usually over-performs in scheduling Canadian content, why is it necessary to reduce the required minimum threshold?

1182 APTN’s primary objective is to provide for greater flexibility to broadcast international Indigenous programming on the network. The experiences of Indigenous Peoples in other countries directly parallel Canadian experiences with colonization. Sharing these experiences has a powerful impact for our audiences – and this programming is highly popular. This type of content is not otherwise available in Canada.

1183 A small increase in non-Canadian programming will also reduce our reliance on repeated Canadian programming.

1184 Similarly, with respect to independent production, APTN has proposed some additional flexibility going forward. The primary impact of the proposed flexibility will be a decreased reliance on repeats on APTN’s programming schedule.

1185 Under our existing licence condition, no less than 80% of APTN’s Canadian programming schedule – other than news, information and sports programming – must be made up of independent productions. We have proposed meeting a minimum level of 70%.

1186 As is the case with Canadian programming, APTN over-performs in broadcasting independent productions. APTN does not set out to do the minimum that is required.

1187 The increased flexibility that APTN has proposed will enable APTN to explore new programming formats – including the two talk shows we mentioned earlier. It is more efficient for this type of regular production to be produced in-house.

1188 Apart from the additional flexibility we have proposed in these areas, APTN will continue to meet, or exceed, our other licence conditions. For the first time, we have proposed to abide by a minimum Canadian programming expenditure requirement of 55% of previous year’s gross revenue.

1189 M. LA ROSE: Les conditions de licence proposées établissent un cadre solide et des niveaux de rendement minimal très élevés. À APTN, nous nous efforcerons toujours de faire de notre mieux pour remplir notre mandat, comme nous l’avons fait dans le passé.

1190 Avant de conclure, nous aimerions vous présenter un court montage audiovisuel pour vous donner une meilleure idée de notre programmation et de nos récentes réalisations.

1191 (PRÉSENTATION AUDIOVISUELLE)

1192 MR. LAROSE: Thank you for this opportunity to present some of the elements of our application.

1193 APTN is a success story and one which is shared by all Canadian. In this presentation we have given you an indication of some of our past achievements and plans for the future.

1194 We now welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have.

1195 Thank you.

1196 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci beaucoup. Thank you for your presentation. Dr. Vennard has some questions for you.

1197 MEMBER VENNARD: Thank you for your presentation and for appearing before us today to discuss your application.

1198 The first thing I’d like to do is recognize the important role APTN plays in the enhancement and reflection of Aboriginal cultures and Aboriginal languages in Canada. I believe that the recognition of your leadership by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a testament to the important work you do.

1199 MR. LAROSE: Thank you.

1200 MEMBER VENNARD: I think your application is fairly complete in terms of mandate that you fulfil and the role that you play; however, there are questions that remain regarding certain requests that you propose for your next licence term, and of course one of the significant ones among them is the price of the wholesale rate increase.

1201 MR. LAROSE: Right.

1202 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay? So if you will bear with me for just a moment. I see four potential outcomes of this proceeding which correspond to four scenarios that APTN will find itself in with respect to the wholesale rate increase. These are -- and I’ve numbered them for you just because we’ll be referring to them at different points.

1203 Scenario 1 is -- would be approval of APTN’s mandatory distribution with the entire wholesale increase of five cents that you have proposed.

1204 There's also a Scenario 2 where there’s approval of APTN’s mandatory distribution with a lesser amount; in other words, one, two, three, or four cents, not the entire five cents that you’ve asked for. And it’s that Scenario 2, that sort of middle ground, that we’ll be exploring in part today.

1205 And Scenario 3, of course, would be approval of APTN’s mandatory distribution at the current rate, so without the rate increase.

1206 And then, of course, we have to acknowledge that there would be a Scenario 4 which would be denial of APTN’s mandatory distribution. We can discuss that last or not at all.

1207 We believe that we have a very fulsome record and that it doesn’t require much discussion; however, we would be happy to put anything else on our record that you feel would be important. But from our point of view we think the record is quite complete on that. So we’re simply acknowledging that that’s a possible outcome, just for the sake of completion.

1208 Now, before we start our discussion I do want to point out that several of my questions are complex and might require that you provide written responses, particularly with respect to Scenario 2, that middle one. So what we have done is we have -- we’ve prepared an exhibit, for your convenience and mine, okay? And I would ask Madam Secretary to distribute that to you now. That way, as we’re going along and talking, then you know what it is that I’m asking for exactly.

1209 So copies, I believe, are now available in the examination room for the people that want them as well. And it will also be posted on the Commission’s Web site at some point during the day, possibly up by now, even. And we will require answers to these questions, as well as to any other undertakings as we go along, by May 9th as well. Okay?

1210 MR. LAROSE: Very well. Thank you.

1211 MEMBER VENNARD: So let’s start with Scenario, the renewal with the requested increase.

1212 In your application you state that the proposed rate would allow APTN to maintain its existing service and that it also intends to improve certain key areas. Now, you’ve mentioned that those key areas are and you responded to that in writing as well. So we have -- that, I believe, was in your reply of ---

1213 MR. LAROSE: Correct.

1214 MEMBER VENNARD: --- September 15th. So that, of course, is enhancing your news-gathering capacity, adding a weekly newscast in French with coverage of national and regional issues affecting Aboriginal peoples in French-speaking communities; increasing your spending on higher production -- or higher budget productions; and launching two new talk shows.

1215 So my question to you is; how will these improvements enable you to better meet your mandate?

1216 MR. LA ROSE: Well, the -- I guess in many ways what we're looking to do is to meet the expectations of our audience. Aboriginal people in Canada basically have APTN to see themselves reflected in what they view as probably the fairest way that they can see themselves represented.

1217 When we're looking at news coverage, a lot of our remote areas right now are underserved. It is very expensive for APTN to send reporters to travel across the North, as anyone who has travelled the North knows what those costs are, as well as to provide for -- what we're looking to do is establish regional bureaus that would cover various regions like the Labrador and Newfoundland, where right now we don't have anyone to report on the issues related to Indigenous people.

1218 So when it comes to news in that regard, I might ask Karyn to maybe speak a bit on what we're trying to do on the news side, and then I'll turn to Monika to speak about some of the other programming initiatives and why these are so key to our audience.

1219 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you.

1220 MR. LA ROSE: Thank you.

1221 MS. PUGLIESE: So the three bureaus that we'd like to add would be Labrador and Newfoundland, Regina and B.C. As Jean said, we do not currently have a bureau in Labrador and Newfoundland. That has to be covered out of Halifax. So it's too big a region to really serve with the one reporter that we have out there.

1222 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Where in B.C. are you thinking of?

1223 MS. PUGLIESE: Sorry, B.C.?

1224 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: B.C. You said B.C.

1225 MS. PUGLIESE: B.C., we're looking at Northern B.C. Right now, in British Columbia, we do have two reporters, one for investigates and one for news. They're out of Vancouver, but they barely get out of Vancouver. As you can imagine, there's a lot of issues there between Missing and Murdered Women, pipelines, so we feel -- felt that the Northern Region was underserved.

1226 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Prince George, Prince Rupert?

1227 MS. PUGLIESE: We're looking at either one of those. What we decided to do is that we'd post it and we would go with where the talent was, because sometimes just finding the person to fit can be difficult, so we thought we'd make it easy on ourselves.

1228 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Mm-hmm.

1229 MS. PUGLIESE: Then Regina, because we only currently have one bureau in Saskatchewan. It's actually empty right now because our VJ went off to be a lawyer. So it's great for the legal -- it's going to be great for the legal system, but unfortunately, it's left us empty. So that will give us two. We will be replacing that.

1230 And then the French newscast we felt was very important to add because right now we have two reporters that work out of Montréal that do travel the province, but when they come back they file the reports in English. So the communities that they serve cannot hear the news reported about them in a language that they can understand.

1231 We also felt that it was very important to do it in French because it's a language that those communities can understand. The language groups that are in -- like the Indigenous language groups, they're not mutually intelligible, so you can't like report in Inuktitut and have somebody who is Anishinaabe understand. It would also be very important in terms of truth and reconciliation so that non‑Native, French-speaking Canadians can learn about our issues.

1232 MS. ILLE: Hello.

1233 And concerning programming, we would like -- we were talking about high drama projects. Like you know we had – Blackstone, who was a great success for us and then Mohawk Girls. However, those budgets was under the median of drama production in Canada, English Canada, which is 1.3 million per hour, and ours were way under. So we want to bring that up to the Canadian median.

1234 I think our producers are ready to do that and to step higher and do higher drama. So quite a bit of the money would go towards higher drama production as well in Aboriginal language. Unfortunately not for French because our French CMF performance envelope is very low and we cannot do that, but we'll try to find other ways if possible.

1235 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1236 MS. ILLE: And a side of doing the CMF type of programming, so would it be drama, documentary, variety or children and youth, I mean, our audience would like to also have talk shows, lifestyle programming, cooking, exercise show. So the increase will help us to be able to do those type of programming, an offer that we can't do right now because we're really attached to do our CMF type of programming.

1237 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And can you tell us a bit about your two new talk shows that you're proposing to launch?

1238 MS. ILLE: Yeah, two talk shows. Actually, we are doing one in Montréal. Actually, we just shot one to try it out. It's going to be broadcast May 7th, very excited. It's called Sans Réserve.

1239 And it's a very, very small talk show, very intimate, you've got a host, you've got a guest who's an Aboriginal or non‑Aboriginal, but someone that is active in the Aboriginal realm. So it could be politics, social, arts, culture, whatever.

1240 So we're trying it out. Hopefully, it will be -- it will resonate with our audience. We know they had an appetite for it, so we're trying it out in French. We're trying to increase more -- French programming is really good, but because of our CMF envelope is so low, we're trying to look into doing lower cost programming that we could do on our own, and talk shows is one of them, is one type of it.

1241 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1242 MS. ILLE: And also, with the increase -- sorry, I wanted to mention -- we'll also increase our Aboriginal language programming. That's something that's very important for us.

1243 And we've noticed that we are having some shows that are doing very well in French and English and looking into versioning it in different Aboriginal languages specific to different regions, really targeting those languages.

1244 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I did notice that you have not provided a cost breakdown of any of those initiatives, and of course, Question 1 on that exhibit asked you to do that. Could you speak in a general sense of the costs of these new initiatives?

1245 MS. ILLE: Sure. For the cost, what -- for the cost, I'll leave the numbers for specific numbers from Darcy, but I could speak in demand of hours.

1246 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1247 MS. ILLE: So that will represent about 60 hours of new programming per year over five years, so about 300 or so. So we're talking about the talk shows, we're talking about the drama, we're talking about the versioning of Aboriginal language programming.

1248 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So that would be a total?

1249 MS. ILLE: Total, yeah.

1250 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Total ---

1251 MS. ILLE: About 300, give or take. I mean, these are guesstimates, for sure.

1252 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1253 MS. ILLE: But yeah, depending on the -- because it's hard sometimes to estimate budgets of types of shows you've never done in the past.

1254 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1255 MS. ILLE: So you know, we work with our producers to find out and with -- to find out how much it would cost about. Yeah.

1256 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Could you break those down into -- in your written undertaking into the four different categories, or other ones if there --

1257 MS. ILLE: Sure.

1258 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: -- are other ones as well?

1259 Can somebody attach a dollar amount to that in a sort of a general sense at this time?

1260 MS. ILLE: I could attach a general dollar amount --

1261 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.

1262 MS. ILLE: -- for everything I've spoken of, yes.

1263 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.

1264 MS. ILLE: Yes. No problem.

1265 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Could you do that for us now, too, just so we get sense of the ---

1266 MS. ILLE: I have some now which are guesstimates. Like you want ---?

1267 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Oh, yeah. Please.

1268 MS. ILLE: Okay. Sure.

1269 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1270 MS. ILLE: So what I have for English drama -- so this is over five years.

1271 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1272 MS. ILLE: So English drama for -- we would do eight 1‑hour episodes, that would be over four years, because the first year we'd need to develop it. So that would be an increase investment of five million; 1.1 million for Indigenous language drama, high budget for 13‑half hour episodes; 1.6 million for original -- a regional talk show magazine; 1.4 for a lifestyle program, such as cooking or exercise show; 1.4 for hosting movie and documentary blocks.

1273 We're looking into increasing our Indigenous strand movies and -- I'm sure we'll get to that later, but -- for our Indigenous content. So we need to put those shows into context, so we're looking to hosting those blocks.

1274 We're looking at a late-night talk show, that's about 2.5 million. A regional daily talk show, for the moment we're looking at three days a week. This is still quite expensive to do, hopefully bring it up to five, maybe we could have extra revenues. That's about 2.1 million. One million to expand our Indigenous language programming, and we would add an extra 500,000 in increasing investment in digital media components that accompany our television components.

1275 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. That's helpful, thank you. And of course, we've asked for that in the written undertaking as well.

1276 MS. ILLE: Sure. Definitely.

1277 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. What about the news? Where does the news fit into that amount for news?

1278 MS. PUGLIESE: The bureaus that we open would be home bureaus. We started doing this a few years ago. It's the most cost-effective way to open a new bureau. So we have people working out of their home. We supply them with a camera and an editing suite.

1279 The start up cost of that is about $100,000, and then it costs about $100,000 a year on average to keep a bureau operating. That's salary, it's travel, like mileage. We supply the Internet, because that's how they feed, and it -- I guess that's pretty much the cost of it.

1280 And then we thought we could do ---

1281 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Is that what you refer to as virtual news bureaus in your brief?

1282 MS. PUGLIESE: Yeah. I believe, so yeah.

1283 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. How many of them are you thinking of?

1284 MS. PUGLIESE: Pardon me?

1285 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: How many of them?

1286 MS. PUGLIESE: Do we have now?

1287 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Do you have now and do you plan on having?

1288 MS. PUGLIESE: We have -- let me see. We have Thunder Bay, Toronto are virtual, and we have two in Alberta. So we have four virtual ones now, and the new ones, the three that we're proposing would all be home bureaus as well.

1289 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Oh, the new ones would be as well?

1290 MS. PUGLIESE: Yeah.

1291 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1292 MS. PUGLIESE: It made sense to invest in the people rather than into bricks and mortar.

1293 And for the French show, we believed that about $220,000 -- Darcy could give you maybe some more specifics, but about $220,000 would be the cost of that per year.

1294 MR. SMITH: Yeah, I’m just going to add to both what Monika said and what Karyn said.

1295 So for Monika, I believe the overall total is about $16.5 million over the five-year period, but what that represents is the increase of programing expenditures over the no rate increase scenario. So if we don’t get that increase then we don’t have the ability to do those shows.

1296 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1297 MR. SMITH: For Karyn, or for news, over the five-year term it’s about a $900,000 investment in new news programming.

1298 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I believe that one of the questions on the exhibit is for you to do a calculation of how that would change with each of the increments and going down. In other words, how -- if we end up at scenario two where you don’t get the full five cents what would you -- what would go first, or what would ---

1299 MR. SMITH: Well, of our request about 3.9 cents goes towards maintaining what our current production levels are in both programming and news.

1300 As far as ---

1301 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So 3.9 cents would keep you ---

1302 MR. SMITH: Where we are today.

1303 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1304 MR. SMITH: As far as the other increments and how it would impact news and programming, that’s something that we would have to undertake to get back to you on.

1305 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And I believe I’ve asked for your undertaking already.

1306 MR. SMITH: Yeah.

1307 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And that’s why we thought it would be a good idea to give it to you in an exhibit so that you can think about it. It’s not the kind of question that you can answer right off the top of your head.

1308 So about -- that’s kind of useful to know that 3.9 cents would keep you where you are today.

1309 What about if you didn’t get any increase?

1310 MR. SMITH: If we didn’t get any increase?

1311 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. And that would be what we’ve referred to as scenario three.

1312 MR. SMITH: So what we had presented or filed was that a no rate increase would result in a cumulative loss of about $7 million over the proposed licence term.

1313 COMMISSIOENR VENNARD: M’hm.

1314 MR. SMITH: Investment in non-used programming would decrease by about 15 percent or $12 million. As a result, independent production would drop from about 308 hours to less than 200 hours per year by the end of the term.

1315 Indigenous Day, formerly known as AB Day, would be scaled back to one stage and eventually possibly be cut.

1316 Our refresh rate that we had talked about increasing under the rate increase scenario would be reduced therefore impacting our ability to attract viewers and hurting us as far as being able to generate advertising revenue.

1317 We would be challenged to meet the bare minimum for Indigenous language programming. Twenty-two (22) jobs would be cut, eight of them in news and then another three in programming.

1318 So it would have a significant impact on the way that the network would look. And we could take an undertaking to get back to you in more detail on that as well.

1319 ENGAGEMENT

1320 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I’d like to talk a little bit about that, but before we start talking about that, according to your financial projections for scenario one, which would be your approval with the -- the approval of the five cent rate increase, your total programming expenses in the prospective term would increase by 20 percent when compared to the total programming expenses of the past. Can you please comment on the appropriateness of an increase in programming expenditures in today’s environment where operators are generally reducing their service programming expenditures?

1321 So you’re going up 20 percent. See this -- a lot of these lines of thinking and discussion ---

1322 MR. SMITH: That’s on an increase scenario?

1323 COMMISISONER VENNARD: Yeah. So you would go up 20 percent.

1324 MR. SMITH: Is that from -- just to make sure that I understand what you’re referencing, is that from Appendix 5?

1325 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure. That’s your average programming expenses in a prospective term divided by your average programming expenses in the current term minus one. That ends up being 20 percent. So basically a 20 percent increase.

1326 MR. SMITH: So you’re looking at -- just to clarify again, you’re looking at 2022-2023 versus the 2016-2017 base year?

1327 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1328 MR. SMITH: Well, that number is -- a large percentage of it is related to amortization. So amortization on increase film and program rights makes up the bulk of the change in that category.

1329 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Yeah, we’ll get to that. I just wanted to get your initial comments on that one.

1330 Okay. So let’s move on with a scenario where you get the mandatory distribution but no fee increase. You’ve outlined a number of things that would end up happening there, cutting the 22 staff positions, closing two bricks and mortar bureaus, and freezing salaries across the organization. I believe that was in your submission to us.

1331 So can you please comment on the specific cost reductions and give us some associated dollar amounts that you believe would be necessary for that scenario, for scenario three, where you get mandatory distribution but not a wholesale rate increase?

1332 MR. SMITH: So we can comment on some of it ---

1333 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.

1334 MR. SMITH: --- and then we’d like to get back to you in more detail.

1335 So the cost of the 22 positions over the five years would be about $6.4 million.

1336 As discussed, the cost of the program and filming rights would be decreased by about $12 million.

1337 As far as quantifying the cost on the two bureaus, that’s something that I would have to -- we would have to determine which ones those would be, as they do have different costs, and we haven’t looked at that in great detail as of yet.

1338 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1339 MR. SMITH: So those are the numbers that I can give you for today, but we will provide additional detail for you.

1340 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you.

1341 And of course I’ve asked for your specific undertaking on that already, but I just wanted to offer you the opportunity to give a -- you know, to give more general type comments on how not getting that wholesale increase would impact your operations. So do you have any further comments that you would like to make on that?

1342 MS. PUGLIESE: I’d also just like to say that we run some internship programs right now in news. We work with JHR and we take on four interns a year. We have a fellowship for mid-career journalists to launch into -- from reporting into investigative. And we have other internships that we take during the year. Those would be cancelled as well.

1343 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1344 MS. ILLE: And programming wise, for sure, since drama is the most expensive genre programming and you have less hour of content, we will not be able to invest in high production drama, and I mean just our -- we’ll have to see. I mean, one, two, three, four cents how it’s going to happen, but for one or two penny I’m not sure we’ll be able to do high end drama. We’ll be doing maybe six half hours.

1345 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1346 MS. ILLE: And we will not be able to do a late night talk show or a daily talk show. We’ll really have to focus more on low cost regional programming aside from our CMF. Like documentary variety. I’m talking about the new initiatives, those ones. And even -- we’ll try to keep our Aboriginal language, because that’s what’s really important, that’s who we are, so we’ll keep the Aboriginal language programming. That is something that we’ll continue doing.

1347 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. You also mention necessary capital upgrades. Can you tell us something about that? That you wouldn’t be able to do that as well.

1348 MS. ILLE: I’m sorry?

1349 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: You also mentioned necessary capital upgrades, that you would not be able to do that.

1350 MR. SMITH: So I’m going to just mention, I touched on it briefly about Indigenous Day being scaled back or cancelled completely under the no rate increase scenario. I think that’s a very key point that -- and it’s one of the major risks if we do not get the rate increase. It’s a large celebration that last year was staged across Canada in eight different cities. I think it’s a very important event that's held by APTN and it's something that it would be very terrible to see it disappear.

1351 So -- but as far as the capital investments, one of the system -- one thing that we're looking at currently that would not be replaced is our traffic system. So the traffic system is about a $2 million investment, which would allow us to, if we don't make it, we have an older legacy system that requires a lot of manual intervention in order for us -- for both CRTC reporting, maintaining our schedule. And I could let Lea touch on that a little bit more as far as the broad view versus our upgraded system.

1352 MS. TODD: Sure. Our current traffic system is also our rates management system, and right now with -- it only deals with linear rights. So all of our non‑linear rights are kept manually on spreadsheets, and it's a very tedious process and every department has their own manual spreadsheet.

1353 And we're just looking to improve efficiencies and we're looking to replace this traffic system, which has served us well, but we're sort of outgrowing it, and we're looking to get something that's a little bit more efficient, I guess you could say.

1354 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1355 MR. SMITH: There's also capital investment in the area of OTT that wouldn't happen. That's -- you know, I could let Sky touch on that a little bit more.

1356 MR. BRIDGES: So as many broadcasters have made the switch from analog to full digital and digital -- really transitioning into an IT/IP-based technology, we have been investing in going in that direction. A lot of that investment has taken place. There is still a remainder that needs to be done.

1357 As mentioned earlier, of them integrating, if you will Lea's comments made on our scheduling system. So if we weren't able to achieve the scenario or the presented scenario as we're talking about, none of that would take place.

1358 And of course, the other side of this as well is the audience. I know that you're asking questions about dollars and cents, which is very important, but I don't want to miss the fact that from our audience perspective the impressions of APTN in our surveys, 92 percent agree that we're reflective of Indigenous cultures and traditions, and 95 percent agree that APTN National News is best reflecting Indigenous perspectives, as well as 85 percent agree that language programming helped me to preserve my language.

1359 I can say that under this scenario, I don't think that we would continue to achieve those high results from our core audience that looks to APTN to provide this service that they can go nowhere else to.

1360 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.

1361 And again, on the exhibit, we asked for your undertaking to outline what these would be and to attach some dollar amounts to them as well.

1362 Okay. Does anyone have any final comments they would like to make before I move on to the next set of questions? Okay.

1363 MR. LA ROSE: No. I think we're good.

1364 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So we've covered those three scenarios, and we've asked you for some specific statements and calculations on the potential outcome and your estimate of how that would impact your plans, and what you're planning on doing.

1365 So now, we'll just move on a bit and talk about the allocation of profits. We have to still stay with some dollar figures here, and -- very important.

1366 Now, in Question No. 4 on that exhibit is what I'm asking you about here:

1367 "The Giganomics report predicts that incremental subscriber revenues resulting from the $0.06 wholesale rate increase granted to APTN in the current…term will total $36.1M by the end of the term."

1368 So we've asked you to:

1369 "Please provide a detailed breakdown with dollar amounts included on how these incremental revenues were allocated in the current term."

1370 Would you like to comment on that now at the hearing, or would you prefer to just do that in an undertaking?

1371 MS. JARVIS: Well, I think given the -- basically, my understanding of the question, and I'd like really to let Darcy speak to it a bit more, but it does require a fair level of detail.

1372 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes.

1373 MR. LA ROSE: But I think if we were just to try to sort of wing an answer to you here, we might not do the issue justice. So if you're comfortable with us taking it to the level of a -- we're fine too.

1374 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: We're just fine with that. That's why we asked for the written undertaking on that.

1375 MR. LA ROSE: Yeah.

1376 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay?

1377 MR. LA ROSE: Will do. Thank you.

1378 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. But still staying with you're -- with the financial part of things, we have to stay with that for a while:

1379 "Based on [your] annual returns and publically-available financial statements, as of August 31, 2017 [which is] (the most recent period for which information is available) the service is in a favorable financial position and has generated significant profits over the current licence term. Pre-tax profits over this five year period equal $16.8M."

1380 Okay:

1381 "In addition, [you have] generated levels of cash which allowed prepayments of $1.4M, $3M and 0.6M to be made towards [your] mortgage in November 2016, August and November 2017 respectively."

1382 Okay. And then you stated in your reply to the Giganomics Report, and that is on page 8 of your reply:

1383 "'At the end of 2016, APTN's commitments to producers and others to acquire film and TV rights totaled some $19.1 million. At the end of 2017, the amount increased to $21.1 million.' [So] while this shows that [you are]…investing significant amounts towards programming, it also shows that [you're] directing significant funds towards paying down an increased debt load."

1384 Okay. So I would ask that you please provide a more detailed description --

1385 MR. LA ROSE: Mm-hmm.

1386 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: -- okay:

1387 "Of the $21.1M, which has been committed to acquire film and TV rights, [and] specifically outlining the amount[s] spent on original and acquired Canadian film and TV rights, as well as the amounts dedicated to independent producers [from those amounts]."

1388 Would you like to make any comments, or would you prefer to take that one away in an undertaking?

1389 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I'll give a general comment as a response.

1390 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.

1391 MR. LA ROSE: APTN doesn't have profits, we're a charity. So any retained earnings are reinvested in what we do. So any amount you see here from year to year is carried forward and any excess revenue to expenditures is reinvested in what we do.

1392 We don't have shareholders, we don't have, you know, pension plans that demand a rate of return. Everything we do is directed to our mission and our mandate.

1393 So what you see as numbers here, quite often, and in part the cyclical nature of production, means that in the first two years that we -- after we received the increase, a lot of the program development and pre‑production, what have you, that happened, meant that revenues were coming in but that money wasn't coming out yet.

1394 Now, as we near the end of our term, that amount has been dropping fairly substantially. We're now down to about 7 million, and we expect it to by, you know, by the end of next term in the projections we've provided, which showed us as -- I'll wing it and Darcy will correct me -- but about 700,000 shortfall.

1395 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1396 MR. LA ROSE: So -- I mean, it's very fair to say that we've invested in paying down our mortgage, and what have you, and we've invested in upgrading our infrastructure, but that's the essence of what we do as a network. If we don't have an appropriate technical infrastructure, at some point in time it's just not going to be functional.

1397 We've had challenges with some of the infrastructure we had before. We had to upgrade it to an IP system as everyone else is doing in order to be able to meet the expectations of the audience. Our audience, like everyone else, is turning to, you know, online viewing of our programming, online viewing of our news, what have you. We have to be there, we have to provide them that content or else in many cases they'll turn somewhere else or we will lose that audience.

1398 I think the -- that's the gist of where we're at, and maybe Darcy wants to add something to it at this point.

1399 MR. SMITH: So I'll just add a comment about the mortgage pay down. It was done within mind of being able to in the future provide more dollars towards programming. You know, if we look at the rate that we had on our mortgage, it was at between 5 and 6 percent. The amount that we were able to earn on those funds sitting in our account was around 1 percent. So by being able to reduce our debt, it eventually frees up more money that we can reinvest in programming. So that was the thought behind doing that.

1400 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Could you please discuss the appropriateness of the requested rate increase given the amount of profit generated by the service?

1401 And perhaps you don’t want to call it profit, but can you talk about that as well as the use of the cash proceeds in order to pay down an increased debt load?

1402 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I think we’ve sort of addressed this at this point. I’m not sure that -- besides what I’ve mentioned now until we go more into depth in the response, I’m not sure that we can add anything to it, unless -- Jocelyn?

1403 MS. FORMSMA: Just to add to what Darcy was saying. I mean, the building was for news. The reason why we got it was to make sure -- our news staff was sitting on top of each other. So the reason we took on the debt was to increase our news programming.

1404 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.

1405 MS. FORMSMA: And further just to what Darcy was saying, that the decision was made to put those payments onto the mortgage so that we would have money for more programming in the future. And so the decision wasn’t just well we’ve got this extra money we’re going to put it here, it’s everything that we had -- the decisions that we made regarding those were for programming so that we could free up more money for programming.

1406 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So would it be -- what I’m understanding -- and I just want to check my understanding of this -- is that these amounts are part of the bigger picture. So some -- there’s money, there’s expenses, and it’s part of a much, much larger picture, so to just kind of cherry pick this number and that number is missing the whole picture of what you’re doing?

1407 MR. LA ROSE: Well -- and the picture that we’re facing too is no different than we’ve heard the two previous presentations today as to how the industry is evolving, how the nature of revenue right now is changing. I mean, the model that used to work for the industry up to maybe seven years ago is in major flux right now.

1408 When you look at how we’re trying to -- we’ve been trying since launch to generate advertising revenue to a level that we felt, you know, maybe $8 or $10 million a year would be, you know, sort of a good level of revenue. While we haven’t lost advertising revenue compared to others we haven’t gained. That $2.2 million a year or $2.3 million a year we’re not exactly breaking the bank.

1409 But the reality of it is is that -- and I mean Debra can speak to that more in-depth later -- is that our audience isn’t measured. Aboriginal people are not all living in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, and, you know, a couple of other selected markets, and they’re not part of the sample that Numeris uses. So, you know, it’s very difficult for us to generate any form of advertising revenue.

1410 When you go to agencies they look at one currency and that currency if your Numeris data. If you don’t have data well you don’t have an advertiser. It’s that simple.

1411 So the reality of it is is as we’re preparing for possible changes to CMF, the fact that up to now we don’t have a measured audience upon which we can rely to generate advertising revenue, and how the evolving situation of subscriber -- our subscriber fee is dwindling. We had to look at what’s the long-term picture for us, what would happen if all the worse-case scenarios came into play. What if the subscriber base -- as you know, two three years ago the industry was predicting a drop to 70 percent of the current subscriber base of 11 million then and possibly 60 million. They were looking at, you know, how everything was transitioning so fast to online that advertising would completely dry out.

1412 So we’re working in an environment where we’re trying to protect the organization as best we can for future generations and that means looking at all possible scenarios and planning for the worst.

1413 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.

1414 MR. LA ROSE: We’re not planning for the best we’re planning for the worst, and the worst is the CMF decides to use audience numbers as, you know, 80 percent of the calculation. We’re dead in the water if that happens.

1415 So what we’ve been doing through this is planning for what could be -- and, I mean, one of the scenarios you’re highlighting could very well be one of those doomsday scenarios. We have no increase so how do we meet our conditions of licence in the next five years? Well, if we don’t have a mortgage and if we don’t have, you know, other sources of revenue at least we have what we have now to slowly, you know, adapt the organization, but a lot of what we’re doing will have gone out the window. A lot of the programming that we do will not be affordable anymore. A lot of the news we’re doing will not be affordable any more. You know, we will not be the organization that you saw highlighted on TV a few minutes ago. That’s our reality.

1416 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of moving parts to the picture. No question about that.

1417 Another thing I wanted you to comment on is the First Peoples Radio and -- because that was included in your financial statements, $2 million towards that, and also the Aboriginal National Network. Can you comment on that? Do you think that’s appropriate to include that in the expenses of APTN when you’ve got mandatory carriage and it’s for something that’s different? Like that’s kind of -- that’s a little curious to me why that’s included in there. And can you justify that please?

1418 MR. LA ROSE: Yes. Well, first of all those were development costs. I mean, again as part of what we’re trying to do looking to the future is to see where is the audience going. One of the things that -- one of the tools that we looked to create was FPR, First Peoples Radio, and the reason for that is that in the two markets of Ottawa and Toronto -- initially if we’d had all five that was our goal but we ended up with two of the five. The goal was to allow an opportunity for us to cross-promote ourselves to the audience in those cities, to promote APTN on FPR and to promote FPR on APTN, which would allow us to hopefully generate, you know, higher audience numbers but certainly reach our community to a greater depth so that through either newscasts on the radio or TV they can keep track of what we’re doing, also follow some of the key issues on some of the programming we’re proposing for radio, and same for ANN.

1419 So obviously there are costs to develop concepts. There are costs to develop the -- you know, when we appear before you, when we prepared for FPR, what have you, these costs had to come from somewhere. They came from APTN. But they came from what, in our view, is our advertising revenue, not our subscriber base. It came from the advertising revenue and we were very careful not to use any subscriber revenues for any of these initiatives.

1420 And some of those are also on the cost recovery. When FPR launches it will carry a certain amount of IOU’s to APTN that it must pay back as it becomes profitable.

1421 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.

1422 MR. LA ROSE: So the goal here again is to really try to set the organization on a stage where in a few years with a changing environment we have given ourselves an opportunity to find rentabilité, to find -- to become profitable, even if the word doesn’t apply to us, but at least to be sustainable so that as an organization we can keep being in existence. Subscribers, we don’t know where that’s going to go. There may -- back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you know, everybody was saying radio was dead because TV was here, and then TV was dead because Netflix was here, but everything’s still here. But in what form will it be, and where will the revenues be, that’s what no one knows right now and we’re trying to plan for that future, that uncertain future, and be sure that we’re in a position one way or another to survive. We’re a key to our communities and we want to be sure we’re here.

1423 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. How is First Peoples Radio going to be financed in the future? Can you tell us a little bit about how it’s coming on?

1424 MR. LA ROSE: First Peoples Radio obtained financing from RBC. It will -- that financing is in place and it’s already slowly being tapped into as our studios are being set up.

1425 We have negotiated a very, very favourable arrangement from Corus Radio. Corus has provided us with offices in Toronto and Ottawa that they’re subleasing to us at a very favourable rate, which is their corporate rate, nowhere near what we could afford if we went on our own to lease office space.

1426 They’ve provided us -- basically in Toronto there’s nothing for us to do. It’s basically turn-key. We just have to drop our equipment on the console, plug it in, and we’re ready to go. Ottawa we’re going to have a maximum expenditure of, you know, maybe -- I think it’s about $100,000 to set up -- to redesign a bit the area we’re going in.

1427 All of that is being financed independently of APTN through a credit facility -- that’s the term I was looking for -- with RBC so that APTN is not the one financing these initiatives. And with ---

1428 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So that -- those initial development costs were just a one-off to get it going?

1429 MR. LA ROSE: They were one-offs.

1430 And like I said, part of that is -- you know, is part of an arrangement so -- that we propose to the Board and that the Board accepted that some of these costs, once the organization is profitable, have to be paid back.

1431 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.

1432 MR. SMITH: A further note on these statements. The statements are prepared on a consolidated basis according to accounting principles. So that’s one of the reasons why those expenses are included in those numbers.

1433 MR. LAROSE: I forgot that, yeah.

1434 MEMBER VENNARD: So consolidated with your other ---

1435 MR. LAROSE: Yeah.

1436 MEMBER VENNARD: --- interests.

1437 MR. SMITH: APTN is the share -- yeah, the shareholder.

1438 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay.

1439 Does anyone have any final comments they would like to make before we move onto the next set of questions about your allocation of profits? No?

1440 MR. LAROSE: Well, if I can just speak to the last point ---

1441 MEMBER VENNARD: Sure.

1442 MR. LAROSE: --- on your Question 5.

1443 Again, the excess revenue is not profit. This is money that’s already committed to programming.

1444 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay.

1445 MR. LAROSE: The 6 million that we have now is already committed; in fact, right now we have about 20 million of commitments in programming for, you know, the next two to three years. Obviously, programming is sort of a revolving expense, if you wish. First year usually is development. We may get a pilot out of it. The second year is production. By the third year we start getting a programming. Which means that, you know, the commitment we make today may not get paid until 2020. So we have to make sure that we have the cash reserves or we have some other guaranteed income, if you wish, to ensure that we can meet these commitments. And this is already pre-committed for the next licence term. Depending on the outcome of this -- you know, this process, the RFPs that we have out right now, we’re not making major commitments on them until we know where we’re going to be because we don’t want to undermine the organization in the next licence term so that we end up with no fee increase or just a penny, in which case that would have a huge impact. And as a charity we’re not supposed to have debt, so we can’t allow us to bill ourselves into debt.

1446 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.

1447 The next topic that I want to discuss is your digital media strategy. Okay? And basically we’d like to get an understanding of what your plans are and how you plan to monetize your digital media.

1448 MR. LAROSE: Well, I can tell you what our plans are. When it comes to monetizing I think we’re going to take a quarter and flip it in the air because we are in the same boat as everybody else is. You know, we’ve mentioned the 72 million views on Facebook. I don’t think we’ve made a single dollar out of that yet. Anything with social media unless we’re -- you know, if we became Google tomorrow it might be a different story but unfortunately we’re APTN, we’re at the other end of the letter spectrum.

1449 But certainly on that part, Sky here has been the most involved in our digital strategy, in the sense of working on the infrastructure changes and what have you. So I’ll let him speak to it and the challenges that we have on monetizing any of that.

1450 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay.

1451 MR. LAROSE: And Karen can speak to the fun of monetizing news as well.

1452 MR. BRIDGES: Thank you.

1453 Well, certainly on the side of monetization what we do do, which is not a lot of revenue, as the case for many of the other broadcasters, we do sell banner ads and some video advertising on our current Web properties but that accounts for a very minimal amount of revenue. Still in the broadcast world there is still much more money to be made per eyeball on television as there is to be on a digital property.

1454 Beyond that, APTN, as I mentioned earlier about us investing moving from analogue into a digitized IP-based operations infrastructure, that infrastructure that you invest in would be the same, to a certain extent, infrastructure you would rely on to move towards an OTT system.

1455 So while we haven’t made any decisions yet on monetizing and going onto an OTT, we have in mind, though, built an infrastructure that would allow us to move into that arena when we so choose to.

1456 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay.

1457 MR. SMITH: Can I add to that?

1458 MEMBER VENNARD: Can you tell us -- oh, sorry.

1459 MR. SMITH: Based on feedback that I received from our sales team, the revenue from digital media on the Web sales is about $36,000 a year so it is a very minimal number that we’ve been able to ---

1460 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay.

1461 MR. SMITH: --- to achieve.

1462 MEMBER VENNARD: What sort of initiatives have you taken now in the current term to expand your digital media presence?

1463 MR. BRIDGES: Well, right now in the current term we have expanded and allow -- all of our content is available to view online right now. So anyone is able to go on there and watch the vast majority of it.

1464 We also have specific digital media components that go along with the television component that Monika can speak to over, you know, what are the specific new initiatives around the television program side. But in terms of digital offering right now, a vast majority -- almost all of it -- is offered online on the entertainment side.

1465 As for news, there has been a lot of effort over the last five years to make more news programming available, and I’ll let Karen speak to that.

1466 MS. ILLE: Well, I could briefly talk about the digital media components that accompany our television components ---

1467 MEMBER VENNARD: Sure.

1468 MS. ILLE: --- and that’s a CMF requirement. And we invest as much as we can on this because, as you know, this is not regulated, so we do so invest money but we’re very conservative.

1469 But we -- since 2005, we’ve committed to 216 productions which included 313 digital media projects. And overall we committed 4.8 million at that time, and that triggered a good $20 million in production budgets. So pretty proud about that.

1470 So we, like I said, with the increase we’d invest more money in our digital media components.

1471 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay. So how do you plan on building on what you’ve done so far in the next term for the upcoming term?

1472 MS. ILLE: Building on what we’ve done so far?

1473 MEMBER VENNARD: Yeah.

1474 MS. ILLE: Well, I mean, it would -- actually, to continue to build upon and try to create new, different types of digital media components. We have a lot of enriched Web sites but going towards games, a second screen experience. Mohawk Girls was a great experience for us where we had a second screen experience, something that was new to us and that worked, actually, very well. But it was targeted to a specific audience as well. So you have to be sure that you meet the audience that will go with that digital media component, too.

1475 But for sure it gets another audience, and especially the youth audience that we’re having a hard time to reach with traditional television, it’s really going towards that to meet that audience.

1476 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay. And how do you plan on monetizing it? Do you have thoughts on that? Any ideas on that one?

1477 MS. ILLE: I was going to say Sky will answer that one.

1478 MEMBER VENNARD: It’s a million dollar question, isn’t it?

1479 MR. BRIDGES: Yes, absolutely.

1480 So we want to survey our audience and make them understand how they would like to access that. You know, are they interested in a pay-for-service or would they be more interested in commercial viewing? So that is something that we are looking into and we plan, based upon that, to launch a system that is based upon what our audience wants.

1481 The other thing I want to mention, though, that’s part of this conversation is the fact that for many Indigenous people in communities, they don’t have access to high-speed internet. And so you still have a lag-behind in this country of Indigenous people who don’t have access to the same benefits that many of us do in large urban centres. And so as much as it’s important to cater to that audience, them having access to APTN through television is still vitally important for those communities.

1482 MR. LAROSE: And if I can quickly mention, too; the monetization factor still depends on, you know, advertisers recognizing that currency to the extent that they might recognize the, you know, current currency, which is Numeris.

1483 So for us, as Darcy mentioned, as our sales team has found out, as much as we tried to demonstrate how much of a growing presence we have online while we’re congratulated on being there, congratulations don’t necessarily bring in the cash. And up to now, they haven’t.

1484 MEMBER VENNARD: Yeah, okay.

1485 In the financial information that you provided to us, did you aggregate the cost and the revenues between your digital -- your licence undertakings and your digital media undertakings? Did you put them altogether? And if so, can you take them apart for us?

1486 MR. SMITH: Sorry; I missed part of that. Was that advertising revenues?

1487 MEMBER VENNARD: Sure. No. In the financial information that you provided to us with your application ---

1488 MR. SMITH: Yeah.

1489 MEMBER VENNARD: --- and in the subsequent information that you sent in, in the context of this proceeding, did you aggregate the costs between your licence undertakings and your digital media undertakings?

1490 MR. SMITH: The numbers that were presented included costs related to our digital.

1491 MEMBER VENNARD: To the digital?

1492 MR. SMITH: Yeah.

1493 MEMBER VENNARD: Okay. Can you break that out?

1494 MR. SMITH: We have the ability to do so, yes.

1495 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I believe that would be Question 7 that we've asked you to do that.

1496 Would you like to comment on that or just take it away as an undertaking?

1497 MR. SMITH: Take it away as an undertaking --

1498 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1499 MR. SMITH: -- because I don't have the information with me.

1500 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.

1501 Okay. Just give me a moment.

1502 Okay. The next question has to do with the reduction of the amount of Canadian programming that must be produced by independent production companies from 80 percent to 70 percent. That request that you had.

1503 So if we were to deny your request, how would that impact your programming strategy?

1504 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I'll speak to it briefly, and then I'll turn it to Monika to respond.

1505 What we're trying to achieve here, again, speaks to the broader picture of what we're looking at in the future. The goal here is not to take any of the money that we have right now away from the current producers that we're supporting, but it's to look at ways to either create programming internally or to acquire other programming and, sort of on‑air, cut down the amount of repeats we have to our programming.

1506 The goal here is to make sure that we still support what's a very strong production sector. There's over 110 active Indigenous producers today, many of whom are working with us at this point in time doing productions. So we're not trying to take anything away from them, but we want to make sure that what we have -- we have a condition of license that gives us the flexibility should we have to either generate some other talk shows, or what have you, and we repeat those a bit more frequently that it doesn't -- we don't go in breach of our license of -- condition of license.

1507 And Monika can go a bit more in depth into that.

1508 MS. ILLE: Yeah. So it's a broadcast requirement, it's not expenditures or number of hours, so it's really like Jean mentioned, to have that flexibility.

1509 As I was mentioning earlier, our audience has an appetite for a different type of programming, would it be a lifestyle magazine, cooking show, whatnot, and to be able to offer those shows on our schedule. And those type of shows, which are low cost programming, would be done internally or through Animiki Production, which is our affiliate production company.

1510 So actually, it's just a broadcast, a requirement.

1511 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Many intervenors oppose that request. So can you comment on how your relationship with them would -- how would that be impacted (inaudible)?

1512 MS. ILLE: Sure. Well, I'm not sure they maybe understood it's a broadcast requirement and not on expenditures or hours. I mean, what we do presently, I mean, 95 hours of the hours we commission are produced by independent producers.

1513 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1514 MS. ILLE: So that's the vast majority, it's 95 percent. Only 5 percent is done in which Animiki Production is related.

1515 So -- you know, we work with them, we send RFPs, request for proposals, looking for the type of programming we want. They submit, we develop with them. I mean, if you look up -- if you look at our broadcast schedule, it's majorally independent productions. Other than using current affairs, which is done in‑house, the rest is -- we've got very few shows done by Animiki on our schedule.

1516 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1517 MR. LA ROSE: And if I may add, I had the conversations with some of the producers who initially reacted negatively to this request. I've also had a conversation with the CMPA about two weeks ago.

1518 Now that they understand what we're trying to do and why we're doing what we're doing, the reaction I got from the producers, certainly, and CMPA was --obviously their role is probably different than a producer in that, you know, they're looking at the entire issue from a different perspective. But certainly from expedited hearing producer point of view, a lot of them who end up working with us either in a different capacity or who are still involved in productions are not seeing now that it's a threat to them. What they're seeing is that it may in fact create new opportunities.

1519 For example, we're working with the -- for the talk show in Montréal, we're working with a producer, an independent Indigenous producer --

1520 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1521 MR. LA ROSE: -- but instead of paying a full production cost by giving them a full license and waiting for the product to come back, we're using our own facilities and they're hired as a contractor to do the program.

1522 So they still are provided opportunities to generate programming, they still work with the network, they still --

1523 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1524 MR. LA ROSE: -- generate revenue for themselves, but a lot of the infrastructure costs that they would have to go out and rent and tag onto a license aren't there right now because it's done internally.

1525 So a production that might have cost us, say, you know, a few hundred thousand, might end up costing us, you know, just 100,000 per episode. I'm just giving an example in numbers.

1526 So the goal here is certainly to -- not to -- we haven't spent 20 years building a production sector to kill them tomorrow. That's not our goal. That's far from our goal. Our goal is to help maintain and sustain that, but find innovative ways to do that so that we are not always under the gun of trying to find either new sources of revenue or be in the position of saying, well, we can't do this type of programming anymore, or we won't be doing this much, because then at that point that will hurt them more than it would if we're doing it in different manners as we are looking at doing now.

1527 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So would it be fair to say that you've reached out to at least some of the people that are concerned with that and had discussions with them and ---?

1528 MR. LA ROSE: And even some of the producers -- you know, I'm reluctant to name names, but if you look at some of the producers who wrote in, they said that after discussion with us, i.e., me --

1529 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.

1530 MR. LA ROSE: -- while they were still a bit uncomfortable with it, they understood why we were going there and they were supporting it.

1531 So I think the reality of it is, is that again, it's like everything else, it's sometimes difficult to put everything down in an application or in a scenario to explain what we're trying to achieve. But in talking to them, and I think, you know, we'll be hearing from a producer tomorrow, and I suspect that, you know, probably her perspective will be somewhat similar to what we're presenting here, because I think she has understood what we're trying to achieve with the production of community.

1532 So I don't think that there -- the concern is always that somehow maybe APTN is trying to take something away from them, and in fact, we're trying to make sure that nothing gets away from them, that we're still very much involved with the production community, that we still support them. They still have amazing stories to tell that, you know, we need them to be there to tell.

1533 So there is no end plan to undermine them or dispense with them. The goal here is to really find innovative ways to work with them and to -- for us to be able to do the programming that the audience wants that we need to do with the resources that we have available to do.

1534 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.

1535 Do you have any final comments on that before we move on? Just do you want make any ---?

1536 MS. PUGLIESE: The 5 percent producers are still majority.

1537 MS. ILLE: Oh, yes. Thank you.

1538 She was referring to when we were talking about Animiki-related projects, I was talking about the 5 percent in which Animiki involved, but Animiki is always a minor partner, so -- or 49 and sometime even 33 percent. So it's still the independent producer who owns 51 percent of ownership and control. So I think that's very important to underline that.

1539 So really, I mean, Animiki's only produced project is .5 percent --

1540 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1541 MS. ILLE: -- of the 5 percent.

1542 MR. LA ROSE: And the other thing I wanted to add too, is that since our last renewal the Commission had asked us to provide yearly a full spreadsheet of all the programming that we do, all the productions, the costs, the license, and what have you, I forget the exact details of the spreadsheet.

1543 And, you know, I'm sure that with the analysts and whoever who have gone through it, they will see that pretty well everything, except for, I think, two or three in the last five years that we have done only with Animiki, and that was in cooperation with the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network, it was a partnership, an international partnership, every other production has an independent producer as a majority owner. Even some productions that we have developed through Animiki we're then pitching to producers to take to assume ownership of the majority of the project and produce it with us.

1544 So in many cases, we're coming to producers with a finished product that they look at, they love, and they want to do. And they don't -- they just pick it up from there, they may adjust it a bit, as they wish, going forward, but we’ve developed a full concept for them that they now have the opportunity to produce, and that development was done in part by APTN but in part by the revenue that Animiki generates from being a partner in those productions.

1545 So it’s opening a whole range of new opportunities, we think, for the producers and certainly those that have understood the concept and have told us that they want to work with us. All of a sudden they have a whole range of new opportunities. It’s not a million and one projects, that’s for sure, I mean, every year we’re talking maybe four or five projects, but it’s new projects that weren’t on the table before and for which we probably wouldn’t have been able to generate the development for it.

1546 So, you know, all in all, as I said before, the goal is to involve our producers in what we do to the greatest extent possible and make sure that they have opportunities that right now no one else is giving them.

1547 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.

1548 The next questions that I have for you have to do with the Canadian content exhibition requirement, which you’re also seeking a reduction on it. You usually exceed your requirements, so maybe you could shed some light on this.

1549 MS. TODD: I can shed some light. So you’re wanting to know how we managed to exceed or why we want the decrease?

1550 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you?

1551 MS. TODD: You want me to explain how we exceed or why we exceed?

1552 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: How you exceed and why you’ve made a request to lower it.

1553 MS. TODD: Sure.

1554 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And what would be preventing you for like -- you know, why.

1555 MS. TODD: Okay.

1556 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Why the ask.

1557 MS. TODD: Well, the reason that we’re exceeding so much is when we’re laying out the broadcast schedule for -- or planning for the next broadcast year we’re forecasting how much foreign content we can allocate to the evening period as well as the day part, and it’s a manual process. So when we’re counting how many hours we can allow ourselves and when we have to take it off for the year we’re not factoring in the drama credits that we might get and the dubbing credits that we might get for the programming that’s dubbed into another language. That’s impossible to calculate manually, because in many blocks we might have multiple seasons airing and one season might be getting the credit but the second season may not. So it’s not until we actually start airing this content and generating the CRTC logs that we’re reporting to that all of a sudden we get this big influx of CanCon.

1558 So we’re just asking for the reduction just to give us greater flexibility. I’m sure we’ll probably continue to exceed it but we would like the reduction.

1559 And it’s also the evening period, so that’s -- the evening period is only 42 hours a week, so to drop it to 70 percent is just giving us a couple extra hours through the evening for Indigenous foreign content. Because right now we don’t really have a lot of room to air the Indigenous foreign content as well as the other things that we run.

1560 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1561 Yes?

1562 MR. LA ROSE: And I just want to add, one of the things that our audience has told us for a while is that they’re interested in the life experience of other Indigenous peoples around the world.

1563 So obviously, you know, something coming out of Australia would not be considered Canadian content by any stretch of the imagination, but then, you know, our borders don’t stop on the 49th parallel either. A lot of young Indigenous and not so young Indigenous producers in the U.S. are doing amazing work that right now, you know, we don’t have space in the schedule to put.

1564 Now, the case or the question has been raised with us well why do you keep putting those movies and why don’t you take those off and put that programming in. The reason is that the $2 million a year we get in advertising revenue comes from the movies. If we take away the movies, you know, we’ll be here in five years to tell you that we have no advertising revenue possibly. I don’t think that would be very acceptable on our part.

1565 So the goal here is to really maintain, you know, sort of the revenue stream we have with those movies but also add content that is really relevant to our audience, and also I would argue would become very relevant to Canadians as well. Some of the productions that are done in Australia, and New Zealand, and elsewhere, I think, you know, are of amazing quality. We’ve seen examples here -- what was it -- Red Fern Now was an example.

1566 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes.

1567 MR. LA ROSE: And even in Australia it became sort of almost a hit with the general population, not only the Aborigines population but, you know, Australians in general.

1568 So when, you know, opportunities like that arise we want to have the flexibility to do that. And certainly our partnership, membership in the WITBN, the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network, they’re starting to push us to take more of their content because they’re taking some of ours, and we’re at a disadvantage right now, we cant. So we want to be good partners in that relationship as well so we’re looking at that flexibility for that.

1569 Monika?

1570 MS. ILLE: Yes, and also with WITBN we’re looking in co-productions as well. So we’re developing right now a culinary documentary type series, and APTN is involved, as with Maori TV from New Zealand, and ITV from Australia, and NRK Sápmi from Norway, and each of us are responsible to producing some specific clips to be put in that series. So that’s not going to be considered Canadian content but it’s going to be a great series. That’s definitely going to resonate with our audience. And it’s a great way to learn a nation through their food.

1571 And we’ve noticed that -- we had a research done. We have a -- through marketing, kind of a focus group that’s called APTN Insiders, and we use them several times a year to test demos, test some pilots we do, let’s say we have hosts -- test hosts and whatnot to have the reaction to see, you know, do they appreciate this or not.

1572 And recently in April there was a focus group on Indigenous foreign content. I just have to read what they had to say because it’s really interesting. They said that the majority, 70 percent of programs that feature Indigenous content from another country is appealing or very appealing, and foreign Indigenous experience was relatable or very relatable to their own experience in Canada. And those stories were sometimes similar to what they would experience in Canada and thought that the colonial perspective is very much the same. So they like to see themselves and they see themselves and say in other Indigenous population.

1573 So that kind of reaffirms that we have a role to play in that. It’s important for us to show and present the stories of other Indigenous people. I mean, -- and when you just think in Canada if it wasn’t for APTN, like we said earlier, you would not have these stories. We’re the one who built the bridges not among only our people but among Canadian as a whole. And I think we’re ready to the other step to build those bridges with other Indigenous communities across the world.

1574 And, I mean, it all goes through when you get to know somebody you get to communicate better with somebody, you get to appreciate one another, and I think that’s where we’re going for, and I think by having these type of programming -- we have a list of shows that are on the back burner right now in acquisition because we can’t get them right now because we have to no room to put.

1575 And because of our partnership with WITBN we have access to those stories and we know that they’re authentic. They are Aboriginal produced, or Indigenous produced, or Indigenous directed because our WITBN broadcasters are involved.

1576 So it’s to bring an authentic flavour, and if we don’t have those shows on APTN in Canada I don’t know where else you could see them.

1577 And I just want to go back to Red Fern, if you don’t know this show it’s done out of Australia and it’s the first television series commissioned, written, acted, and produced by Indigenous Australian. And it’s on Netflix since 2016 but we had it.

1578 So it’s to bring those stories to light, and they have a room on APTN and they should be shown.

1579 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So within your current exhibition requirements do you feel you have the flexibility to do that, if not, what’s getting in your way?

1580 MS. ILLE: I’ll let Lea respond to that because she’s in charge of the scheduling. We often have conversations about that.

1581 MS. TODD: Right. So right now we offer four movie blocks. As Jean mentioned, that’s what we do get the advertising revenue for. That is what gets the ratings with the Numeris numbers. And that pretty much takes up our entire foreign content allotment in the evening.

1582 So then that -- what happens then is we end up repeating more of our Canadian content simply because we have nothing else to put into those blocks.

1583 So we would like the flexibility just so that we can reduce the repeat factor and get our refresh rate up as well.

1584 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So if we were to approve that request can you describe the financial impact that would have on APTN’s expenses towards Canadian and non-Canadian content?

1585 MR. LA ROSE: We may not have specific numbers on that. We’re looking right now.

1586 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1587 MS. ILLE: No, I don’t have specific numbers on that; however, just to -- I’ve been looking. What we’ve done so far in our acquisition, because most of them is acquisition. There will be some coproduction but very minimal. They’ll be mostly acquisition. And right now, on our foreign indigenous content it’s very low. We acquire one year we’re -- 25 percent of the hours required were for indigenous content but usually it’s between around 10 percent. So it’s very low. I’d like to increase that but I don’t have the projected numbers, I’m sorry.

1588 ENGAGEMENT

1589 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Could you provide us with some projections?

1590 MS. ILLE: I could take a crack at it. It’ll be difficult but I could look in what we have in the back burner trying to come up with licence because it’s -- you know, it’s negotiation, right? When you acquire, you offer, they accept or they counteroffer, so I could come up with how much, yes, I could.

1591 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes.

1592 MS. ILLE: Thank you.

1593 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Because we’d like to get a sense of what -- you know, what that financial part ---

1594 MS. ILLE: Yes, definitely. Thank you.

1595 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Does anybody have any final comments on that section, the Canadian content?

1596 MR. LAROSE: The only thing I would add is that in pretty well every one of those cases, those are acquisitions, so we’re not talking about a licence fee that takes something away from, you know, a production company in Canada -- an Indigenous production company in Canada. It’s strictly part of the acquisition budget that, you know, we have set aside to obtain, you know, broader range of programming than only what we can afford to licence. So it would come out of our acquisitions’ budget. But we’ll -- Monika will be able to sort of extrapolate some possible -- some probable scenario for you.

1597 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. You also asked for an exception regarding sports programming. Can you explain why you’ve asked for that?

1598 MR. FORTUNE: Madam Commissioner, perhaps you could point to where you’re referring?

1599 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure. Let me just ---

1600 MR. FORTUNE: I mean, APTN’s current Condition of Licence provides that of the ---

1601 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Because you asked for an exception for -- I think it was Condition of Licence 6 that you asked for an exception for.

1602 MR. FORTUNE: Sorry, yes. Okay.

1603 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1604 MR. FORTUNE: The standard licence conditions.

1605 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1606 MR. FORTUNE: Okay, let me address that, then.

1607 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1608 MR. FORTUNE: So the standard licence condition, as I understand it, is that no more than 10 percent of the broadcast schedule for a discretionary service will consist of live sports programming from Category 6. Is that the licence condition, I think?

1609 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M’hm.

1610 MR. FORTUNE: Okay. APTN has never had any restrictions on its programming content.

1611 Now, correct me if I’m wrong, anybody on the panel, but I don’t imagine APTN’s every produced or broadcast more than 10 percent of its broadcasting schedule consisting of professional sports but the point is that it’s a general interest service for Aboriginal peoples, Indigenous peoples, it doesn’t have restrictions on the type of programming that it can offer. And that’s why it’s not appropriate, as a 9(1)h service of this nature, for it to have a restriction on that type of programming.

1612 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1613 MR. FORTUNE: So that’s why it was thought that conditional licence really doesn’t apply to ATPN.

1614 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, good. We were wondering if you were intending to broadcast more than 10 percent.

1615 MR. LAROSE: No, and I mean, in response to that point, a couple of years ago Rogers did approach us to see if we’d be interested in broadcasting some of the NHL games but in an Aboriginal language. And at the time, you know, we just didn’t have the capacity to do it. But, certainly, part of what we might consider in the future, if they’re still interested, is seeing if we can have a -- I don’t know, Vera, how do we say, “Hockey Night in Canada”?

1616 MS. HOULE: (NATIVE LANGUAGE SPOKEN).

1617 MR. LAROSE: There you go. Have one of those nights on APTN.

1618 THE CHAIRPERSON: There's your future play-by-play analyst.

1619 MR. LAROSE: Obviously it won’t be me. It’ll be Vera.

1620 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I want to move on to your Conditions of Licence specific to each of your specific feeds. First, can you describe your programing strategy regarding the broadcast of French language programming on your HD feed?

1621 MS. TODD: Our HND feed currently broadcasts across Canada, so we offer 18 hours a week of Aboriginal languages, we block them into regions to that they’re appropriate to all regions based on the time zones.

1622 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1623 MS. TODD: We offer, currently, about seventeen and a half hours of French content a week as well, and all other conditions we abide by as the same as on the other feeds.

1624 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. And I believe that we’ve asked you for an undertaking for a little clarity on what you propose. We found that somewhat confusing regarding the French language programming on the HD feed. So could you propose some language on that?

1625 MR. FORTUNE: Is there a question here?

1626 MS. TODD: I don’t know.

1627 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And of course you can do that as an undertaking.

1628 MR. FORTUNE: I’m sorry; I didn’t catch the undertaking.

1629 ENGAGEMENT

1630 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah. Please propose a condition of licence related to the broadcast of French language programming on APTN’s HD feed, and provide rationale on its appropriateness. And you can do that as an undertaking.

1631 MR. FORTUNE: Okay.

1632 MS. TODD: Okay.

1633 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay?

1634 MR. FORTUNE: Thank you.

1635 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you.

1636 Now, regarding the programming in the Aboriginal languages that is aired on all of your feeds, you propose specific conditions of licence that would be imposed on each of them. So APTN North, at least 35 hours per broadcast week; APTN East is at least 12 hours per broadcast week; APTN West, at least 12 hours per broadcast week; and ATPN HD, at least 18 hours in the broadcast week. Okay.

1637 Please explain why you have proposed this minimum threshold of 12 hours per week of programming in Aboriginal languages on its east and west feeds, and how you determined that that was an appropriate amount?

1638 MS. TODD: Most of our language programming we offer on our north feed because that is the feed that serves the most Aboriginal-speaking communities in Canada, and right now although it’s 35 hours a week that we’re required, we’re up around 54 or 55 hours a week during the day part.

1639 The east and the west feed we offered only 12 hours because we thought that that would condense it down to be the most relevant languages that serve those regions. So on the east feed the languages that we’re offering are particular to the eastern parts of Canada, whereas the western feed is the western dialects that we offer on there. We didn’t want to combine them and put more content on the schedules just for the sake of adding hours when they weren’t serving the audience that the feeds were serving.

1640 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1641 MR. LAROSE: And if I can quickly add, too? One of the challenges that we face often with some of the languages is that when we work with producers to provide us Aboriginal language programming we find that, you know, while we manage to sometimes to get up to 15 different languages a year on air, and sometimes a bit more, that seems to be sort of the ceiling we’re hitting right now.

1642 It has to be recognized, that many of our communities, many of our peoples have lost their language. So for a producer to find someone who is comfortable, fluent enough, and has the ability to either version programming or what have you in languages that we can’t -- we’re not serving right now has proven to be a challenge for many of our producers. Out west, they’ve gone to communities where there are so few speakers that they couldn’t even identify anyone who could do the versioning for them.

1643 And that's, unfortunately, the situation across the country. So when we’re looking at relevant programming on the various feeds in the south, you know, in the east we’ll be aiming for the Mi’gmaw language, Montagnais, Mohawk, a bit of Algonquin or Cree, Northern Cree, but those are the limits that we can find right now for those feeds. And to have programming done in all of those languages on a regular basis is proving to be something of a challenge, given also the resources that we have.

1644 What we end up doing sometimes with some of our major programming -- and Monika can speak to that a little more in depth -- we will sometimes find, you know, producers who will identify someone to do the language versioning. The challenge with that is, again, we’re limited in the number of languages, and putting out, say, Mohawk on the west feed is probably not going to reach much of an audience because that’s not where they are. Just as putting, you know, maybe the -- you know, a British Columbia language out East is again not going to reach any audience. So that's another challenge that we face.

1645 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Given that you're the only Aboriginal broadcaster and the recognition that you've received by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, why do you feel that 12 hours per week is appropriate for those two feeds? Do you think it should be more, and you're not able to because of the challenges?

1646 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I mean, the reality of it is, is that in the past when we would have some the languages that weren't relevant to the feed on‑air, there was no audience for it. People would say, well, instead of putting, I don't know -- I'm trying to think of a language -- Blackfoot or something on, you know, the East feed, I'd rather have another program version than Mohawk. We're just limited in how many we can do. And with the resources that we have -- what's the cost of versioning a language for half hour?

1647 MS. ILLE: It's per hour. It's between $12,000 and $15,000. It's way more expensive than maybe a version in English and French. It's -- you have to find the talent, you have to do the translation. So –- yeah, it's more expensive to do.

1648 So that's why with the license increase, as I mentioned earlier, we'd be able to really handpick some shows that we could version in specific Aboriginal languages to put in those specific regional feeds. Because right now, we're doing -- have a -- we're doing -- have some difficulties in getting shows in the -- after languages that we want.

1649 When we look for programs, we send a request for a proposal for Aboriginal language programming, and we detail the languages we'd want. So we look at our schedule, we try to create language blocks. So let's say a block of language from the East, blocks from the West, and whatnot, and we see where there's holes and what we need to fill. And sometimes, the producers are having some challenges in getting those languages to us.

1650 And we're trying not to always do the same languages too. I mean, we have lots of Cree, let's say we have lots of Innu, but we're getting and more Mi'kmaq, but if you want Atikamekw, oh, that's more difficult to get. So you know, we have to work together with them to be able to get those languages, but they're doing have -- they do have some challenges in getting them.

1651 And what's unique about us too is that when we do our Aboriginal language programming we ask at least 20 percent of the content be originally shot in that Aboriginal language. So it's not only voiceovers. So you know you want to use that talent, you want to hear the people speak on television, not just have voiceovers.

1652 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I want to move on now to the subscriber forecasts, and ---

1653 MS. TODD: Can I just add one more thing about our --

1654 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes, of course.

1655 MS. TODD: -- language programming?

1656 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Please do.

1657 MS. TODD: Sorry. The reason that we do offer so much on the North feed, we are only required to do 35, but we're upwards around 55‑ish, is because that's where the majority of the Aboriginal or Indigenous language people live. So we are really trying to program our feeds to serve the communities that it receives the feed from.

1658 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you.

1659 MR. LA ROSE: And it's also worth noting that we've been successful with Bell TV in having both the East and the Northern feed put on the service. What it means is that for our communities who often rely on satellite service only, it's giving them the opportunity of getting the language content across the country, because the APTN North feed will have languages from all over the country as well as the, you know, Eastern feed, which is the other one that, you know, often they -- with Bell, that's the one they're getting.

1660 We're still negotiating with Bell to get the West feed on, and we've also been talking to Shaw for many years and we haven't been successful yet, but maybe at some point in time we'll have a greater measure of success. Now, unless the Commission felt that they should mandatory carry all four, in which case we would not argue, but I don't think that's something we've asked and I don't think that's something that's going to happen.

1661 So we're still -- you know, we're looking at ways to make sure that we can reach our audience in the best way possible. And at the same time, on the East and West where we don't have language programming more than we have now, we also recognize that part of our mission is to talk to Canadians to connect with Canadians to share our stories with them and to get them to have a deeper appreciation of who we are.

1662 And you know, if you look at the Numeris numbers, the moment -- which tells us why there's no Indigenous measurement, the moment you have an Indigenous language program coming on, all of a sudden, we don't exist anymore, we have zero. So it really highlights the challenge we have in connecting with Canadians if they don't understand what we're talking about.

1663 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yes, you mentioned that. We've got documentation on that in your -- with your application, so -- and the issues with not being on the radar screen of Numeris. So -- yeah.

1664 I want to move on now and talk a bit about subscriber forecasts. As you know, you responded in your reply to the Giganomics Report. Would you like to just make a couple of comments on the -- what you take issue with and in your mind what the problem is and why there was such a discrepancy between your estimates and theirs?

1665 MR. LA ROSE: Which is the drop in subscriber --

1666 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1667 MR. LA ROSE: -- revenue per year?

1668 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.

1669 MR. LA ROSE: Of course. We've -- Darcy has alluded to it in his presentation, but we've looked at it and we've looked at our own trend over the past few years. So that's what we've based it on. Darcy.

1670 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1671 MR. SMITH: So -- sorry. From our perspective of their response, there were two components that we disagreed with. One, was the start date of when they had the rate taking effect. Based on historical experience from our last license renewal, the rate change didn't take effect until January of the following year --

1672 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Mm-hmm.

1673 MR. SMITH: -- whereas they're stating that it would occur in September of the year that the rate increase is granted. So there is a timing difference there, that's a substantial number.

1674 The other item is the percentage of subscriber decline that they have used in their model versus ours. We still strongly believe in the subscriber decline numbers that we're using.

1675 There have been a couple of reports over the last month or two that have, in some sense, supported those numbers. We mentioned the Wire Report that was about 1.8 percent. Boondogs' most recent quarterly report attributed the decrease in the year over year decline in subscriber drops due to a new platform that was introduced by one of the cable providers.

1676 And in that report, they're stating that there were gains in Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 by that subscriber, but the Quarter 4 losses were higher than the prior year.

1677 There's also trends in the U.S. that show the U.S. declines are accelerating, but Debra can also add some additional comments on our subscriber forecast. So I'll ask her to comment on it.

1678 MS. MacLAUGHLIN: I think that you foreshadowed this discussion by saying earlier there's a lot of moving parts, and there certainly is in any forecast, this isn't unique. If you look at the Wire Report that Darcy was referring to, you can see that there's a range of change, and this is from March 21st of this year.

1679 Rogers Communication, Inc., for example, was down 4.4 percent. The Cogeco or Québecor was down 2.98. So these certainly exceed the 2 percent average that has been used.

1680 Part of the problem with this situation is that in a normal environment, not a disruptive environment that we're looking at now, straight-line forecasts are relatively effective in predicting where at least the next months are going to go. But things like cable and satellite subscriptions are affected by bigger issues, like the rate of inflation.

1681 When these estimates were done, the rate of inflation was 1.4, it's now 2.2. The interest rates were at practically a historic low, just inching from it. Since then there's been three increases.

1682 So how does that affect subscriptions? Well, if you're holding one of the huge mortgages in Vancouver, or in Toronto, and in fact, all of those areas around, you're going to be looking at cost savings as those interest rates go up and the cost of inflation goes up.

1683 So there is a perfect substitute in economic terms for cable and satellite -- it's the Internet. And whether you're doing something as simple as just downloading from the broadcaster themselves, which make the programs available a day after, or you're doing something like an IPTV option, where you have 500 channels, you do have a more affordable substitute.

1684 When I heard the discussions this morning going on, I simply went online and Googled IPTV. I can get 500 channels for $20. I don't have to go through installation, et cetera.

1685 And that brings me to my other point, and that is the face of Canada has been changing, is going to continue to change. The Federal Government has put targets of about a million people coming in from other countries.

1686 The three areas that they come from are China, the Philippines, and South Asia. These groups are the most interested in IPTV.

1687 I have a client that I’m working with who’s reported revenues for their service -- it’s a paid service -- is about 2,000. The audience research that they provided to me, and not just one study but two separate studies, showed subscription or use levels of 68,000 people. Sixty-eight thousand (68,000) people don’t live in 2,000 homes, even if you factor in larger populations.

1688 So the reality is that new Canadians coming in, which the federal government is expecting to replace the aging population, the most likely to subscribe to cable, are not cable users. And if you talk to people under 35 years of age a large majority of those people are getting their television somewhere else.

1689 So if I was a publicly traded company I’d want the estimates to appear on the record to be around one percent. I’m not going to tell you that I know for sure it’s going to be two but I’m looking at this Wire Report that says Roger’s is 4.4 and I’m suggesting that the two percent if for anybody doing budgeting is the right number to use or at least in the ballpark. They’re average is, as Darcy said, was 1.8. So we’re very close.

1690 But all of those factors that I can’t quantify, and nobody else can really quantify, have to be considered when you’re looking to the future five years out and you’re basing your revenues on largely subscription.

1691 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for that.

1692 Are there any other comments that you’d like to make on your position on subscriber forecasts? No? Okay. Thank you.

1693 This is my second last questions here. We are approaching the end. This one is about the amendment to the distribution order regarding the transmission of the services signal. Have you had a chance to look and read the suggestions that Pelmorex put out? I think some of you were in the room when they were speaking this morning about the amendment to the distribution order.

1694 MR. FORTUNE: I’m quite familiar with it, and I think APTN would be fine with that, but we shall have to consult internally, and we can take that as an undertaking ---

1695 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1696 MR. FORTUNE: --- that we’ll respond to that.

1697 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.

1698 MR. FORTUNE: But on its face it seems quite acceptable.

1699 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you. So we’ll take that as an undertaking then.

1700 ENGAGEMENT

1701 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And we’ve reached the final question here, which is about women in production. I know who’s going to jump in on that one.

1702 MS. ILLE: We’re very proud.

1703 MR. LA ROSE: I think, you know, if the rest of the industry was where APTN is we wouldn’t be asking these questions.

1704 MS. ILLE: Yeah, no, actually I have to say we’re very proud about that. It’s not because we’re working at doing it, it just happens for us that it’s parity all the way.

1705 Just gender in directing, the industry standard is 16 percent female. We’re at 39 percent.

1706 And concerning the producers, executive producers 52 percent are women, producers 45 percent are women, and associated producers 45 percent.

1707 So for us it’s a given. We’ve got a very large female production industry. And one of our success stories is Mohawk Girls. I mean, I think there’s three female producers, a female writer, female director, four female lead actresses, and that’s done so well for us.

1708 And, you know, I know that CMF has these policies in place, as others, and for us, I mean, it’s a no brainer, we don’t even question. When we do it we just know it. And it seems to be just part of our production industry.

1709 MR. LA ROSE: And also I think within the Indigenous community women tend to be seen as the creators, which I think is natural for us. So, you know, going back to people like Alanis Obomsawin and others they were leaders.

1710 If you look at the board we’ve gone from 100 percent female to -- Madam Chair, where are we at now?

1711 MS. FORMSMA: So our board -- right now seven out of 12 of our board members are women, all Indigenous, and actually last year at this time 10 out of the 12 were Indigenous women. So when we did the call for applications for board members last year we actually had to make sure we found some qualified male ---

1712 (LAUGHTER/RIRES)

1713 MR. LA ROSE: They’re very hard to find.

1714 MS. FORMSMA: --- applicants.

1715 MR. LA ROSE: Very hard to find.

1716 MS. FORMSMA: And that seems to be standard. And right now 50 percent of our executive committee is female as well, myself and our secretary.

1717 And I know Sky has some numbers in terms of our staffing.

1718 MR. BRIDGES: And for APTN as a whole, 51 percent of our employees are female. Of senior management, 70 percent, and of middle management, 55 percent are female.

1719 MR. LA ROSE: So I hope we meet the threshold.

1720 (LAUGHTER/RIRES)

1721 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Well, that’s a really nice high note to end on. So those are all my questions. And I thank you for your patience in answering all of them so thoroughly and for taking away those undertakings. And I congratulate you on all the work that you’ve done. Thank you.

1722 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

1723 I believe counsel will have a few questions, but I have a couple of short follow-ups.

1724 Just to be clear, because we’re talking earlier in the area of subscriber forecasts your submissions said two percent estimate, then you were talking in your earlier remarks about 1.8. The 1.8 was an average of recent reports. Is that correct?

1725 MR. SMITH: That’s correct.

1726 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you’ve mentioned now several times the Wire Report. Is that -- I don’t recall that being part of the record. Is it on the record? And if it is not can you place it on the public record?

1727 MR. SMITH: It has not been submitted but we can.

1728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please do.

1729 And I guess just on one other minor point on that, on your description a moment ago you talked about recent U.S. reports. Was that part of the development of your subscribership numbers? Were you relying on the U.S reports? And if so have you identified which ones?

1730 MR. SMITH: Our original assumption was based on the Convergence Research Group report from April 2017. So that’s what was the main component of our estimate.

1731 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Understood. Thank you.

1732 One other from me, just in relation to your proposal to add a new weekly newscast in French, are you prepared to accept a condition of licence in relation to that?

1733 MR. LA ROSE: Conditional on a subscriber fee increase, yes.

1734 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough.

1735 Can you -- so absent an increase you’re not prepared to -- you would not be ---

1736 MS. PUGLIESE: Absent an increase I think Darcy explained there would in fact be layoffs. So the new bureaus would not open and the French show would not be possible.

1737 THE CHAIRPERSON: Fair enough. Thank you.

1738 Counsel, do you have some other questions?

1739 MR. BOWLES: I have a few follow-up questions.

1740 On the -- staying on the topic of the proposed weekly newscasts in French, would you be prepared to suggest language for a potential condition of licence on that front?

1741 MR. LA ROSE: We can, as an undertaking, propose language?

1742 MR. BOWLES: Yeah.

1743 MR. LA ROSE: Yeah, I’m sure we can swing that, yeah.

1744 ENGAGEMENT

1745 MR. BOWLES: When you were discussing with the chair on this question I believe there was two scenarios discussed. One was you obtained your requested rate increase, in which case it was clear that you are prepared to commit to these French language newscasts, and it was also clear that with no rate increase you were not prepared. At what point in that spectrum do you switch from being able to commit to no longer being able to commit?

1746 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I think it speaks a bit to the point that Darcy raised earlier, 3.9 cents of our increase right now is to maintain what we’re doing. So we’re not adding anything at -- and, I mean, no, I’m not sure that 3.9 cent increases are handed out so it probably means a four cent increase. Anything over four cents probably means that we can -- we would be able to manage it, but that basically means the full increase.

1747 MR. BOWLES: Anything over four cents ---

1748 MR. LA ROSE: Yeah.

1749 MR. BOWLES: --- which essentially -- yeah.

1750 On that topic, just looking at some of the other applications that are before the Commission as part of this proceeding, many applicants were -- all applicants are faced by the inflation costs and related costs. Many of the applicants appeared to be willing to eat those costs, to absorb those costs, either in whole or in part. Can you speak to why, specifically, why your situation is different from that of the other applicants that are participating in this proceeding?

1751 MR. LA ROSE: Well, I really can't speak to the financials of, you know, other applicants or their position. I mean, you know, some of them that we heard this morning are for profit entities, so they have, you know, different imperatives. Some of them seem to be, you know, very well measured, if you wish, to a point compared to us, which gives them advertising revenue that we don't have.

1752 So certainly -- and I mean, Darcy will probably want to add to this, but over the past three years what we have done in order to position ourselves to make sure that we were on a strong footing going forward, we haven't given our staff any increases at all. So there have been no salary increases for three years for anyone in the organization. So that has had, you know, sort of an impact on us. We are falling behind the industry, you know, where -- some of our staff is being tempted elsewhere.

1753 So for us to consider, you know, we have to correct that, we'll have to provide some salary increase to -- I mean, we're training staff, we're mentoring them, we're working hard to build to capacity, and just to see them walk out the door because, you know, a bigger organization can offer them more is very painful, but it's also very expensive for us.

1754 And secondly, I think the reality of it is, given the imperatives we have in production and programming and news and everything else, the -- you know, we can't eat every inflationary cost. Looking at our costs for -- you know, we'll be renegotiating our distribution agreements next year, what will that cost we don't know yet, but all of these things will have an impact.

1755 Some of the revenues that we have right now from one of the BDUs as a benefit expires next year, if that goes out the window, that's, you know, a million-and‑a‑half a year that's -- you know, we're losing in revenue. So we have to factor all of that in when we go forward.

1756 And you know, because we factored inflation in this part in this last five years by not providing salary increases, we are trying to at least have something of an increase to allow us to meet some of those challenges. But also, who knows what -- as we said earlier, who knows what's going to happen to CMF funding after next year. I mean, they were given a one‑year extension, a top‑up I should say by the Federal Government. That may not be there next year, I don't know. So all of these things are having an impact on us.

1757 If CMF goes to 75 percent instead of 55 in their Numeris data as one of their key factors in providing funding to an entity, we're going to do like we did about three years ago when they changed some of their factors and we dropped 55 percent in our English envelope, and what was it, 46 in the French, we took a severe beating anyways. I mean, all of a sudden that's why we only have Mohawk Girls, we couldn't keep two drama productions going because we just, you know, just didn't have the money.

1758 So -- yeah. We can absorb, we did absorb in the last five years. What I'm saying is we can't keep absorbing, given the fact that we're trying to make sure that we're here for the long run. And we have to be very, very diligent also and careful as a charity. The rules that we have to report under are very different than a for‑profit. CRA has very tight regulations on what we do, how we spend and what have you, so we also have to be very careful how we manage that.

1759 I don't if there's anything that you, Darcy, or Karyn, wants to add.

1760 MS. PUGLIESE: I just want to say we've also done some work in news in absorbing costs already. We did used to have a bricks and mortar building in Toronto. This is why we went to home bureaus. Because we were looking for the most affordable way to serve our audience, but we're there now.

1761 I squeeze every little bit I can out of the budget. So when you've got like one VJ working out of their home, you know, in a province and they're covering the whole province running around in their car, you know, with a cellphone and a camera and a laptop computer, you really can't, you really can't absorb, like there's nothing more that I can get out of that.

1762 So we've done responsibly what we could to reduce costs as much as we can see them, and we're -- we were barebones to begin with and we're so much bare to bones now.

1763 MR. LA ROSE: And we do -- I mean -- you know, when you look at our mandate, the mandate and the conditions of license that we have are fairly broad, fairly demanding on the organization, and we want to make sure we never not meet those conditions. So again, you know, these are all things that we factor in what we do to make sure that we're always, always on -- in your good books because we think that's critical for us going forward.

1764 So yeah, I think, you know, maybe that's a lot of verbiage around the question, but at this point, you know, I don't think we can adjust anymore than we have. Certainly in the next five years could be full of surprises, and we don't know what those will be, so we're really doing the best we can to protect against that.

1765 THE CHAIRPERSON: Like staying in the Commission's good books is always a laudable strategy.

1766 -- (LAUGHTER/RIRES)

1767 MR. BOWLES: Just to follow up on a matter that was discussed with the Chair earlier. In your application, you're forecasting an annual decline in subscribership of 2 percent, but as part of your presentation here you were referring to a 1.8 percent. Are you adopting the 1.8 percent now, or are you sticking to the 2 percent forecast, and why?

1768 MR. SMITH: Well, we're sticking to the 2 percent. As Debra mentioned, there has been higher percentages experienced by BDUs within Canada, and that 1.8 percent represented an average. So -- and she talked about the change in potential population makeup within Canada.

1769 So we believe that the 2 percent over the course of the five year proposed license term is a fair estimate and it's something that we still want to put forth. So Debra, do you have anything to add?

1770 MS. MacLAUGHLIN: Just that the research in support of this application also showed continued dissatisfaction. When people were asked why they didn't support either APTN being licensed at the current value or at an increase, their response, if they said no, we asked why, and it was the cable was too high, the cost of cable and satellite. So that -- even with the reduced price for the base -- skinny basic, it hasn't addressed that dissatisfaction as much as one might anticipate.

1771 Now, this was done last -- this survey was done in June of last year, so I don't have anything current. But at that point, I think it was 64 percent of the 14.9 percent who didn't support the station said it was because the costs were too high amongst Aboriginal, and I think it was 1 out of 2 said the reason they didn't support it is because cable costs were too high.

1772 So that vein of dissatisfaction is still there and it was factored into the -- this 2 percent in addition to what they were experiencing, and it hasn't been resolved.

1773 MR. BOWLES: I'll have a few additional questions after this, but one final financial-related question. In your application, you discuss that if you do not obtain the requested rate increase you'd have to cut back on certain expenditures and certain planned or anticipated capital upgrades, yet if I understand correctly, your projections still indicate an increase in depreciation expenses even under that scenario.

1774 Can you sort of explain why the depreciation increase -- explain this please?

1775 MR. SMITH: So our depreciation expense would increase as over the last couple of years we have made quite a few investments in a new master control system and some other broadcasted-related technology. It's only come online in the last short period of time. So those depreciation costs will still be incurred in future periods. It's not that we're spending new money, we've already spent the money and now we're just going to incur those costs over the next five years.

1776 MR. BOWLES: But correct me if I'm wrong, did I correctly state that under the projection where you didn't receive the requested rate increase your depreciated expenses would still increase?

1777 MR. SMITH: Yeah. They would increase because as I'm talking about equipment that we've already paid for is coming online and as that equipment is -- comes online, our depreciation will increase. So it’s already sunk costs that we’ve already purchased the equipment. It’s just that we haven’t started to amortize it, so...

1778 MR. BOWLES: Okay. Thanks for clarifying that.

1779 With respect to your request to modify your Conditions of Licence in order to allow for more -- to increase your ability to source in-house productions, part of the reason -- if I’ve understood correctly, part of the rationale that you’ve put forward in support of this proposition is that it would help reduce the repeat factor.

1780 So launching from that, could you comment on the possibility, the advisability of the Commission imposing a Condition of Licence targeted to expenditures on original first-run programming, but then also on exhibition of original first-run programming?

1781 (COURTE PAUSE)

1782 MS. ILLE: Sorry about that. I needed our regulatory lawyer just to give me a few -- we’ve been reporting on our Conditions of Licences for -- on our broadcast schedule, so we’ve been doing that since 1999 and it’s something that we master very well, that we’re comfortable with and we know exactly where we’re going. And it’s easier for us to future -- oh, I can’t find the word -- plan our broadcast schedules.

1783 Changing that to a Condition of Licence on expenditures, you said, on original? It would be -- on original.

1784 MR. BOWLES: On original first-run.

1785 MS. ILLE: First run.

1786 MR. BOWLES: Part of the reason ---

1787 MS. ILLE: It would be very limited for us and it would be very -- well, to be honest, I’d be very uncomfortable right now saying yes, it’s something I could do because we’re so -- that’s not the model, that’s not the standard that we’ve been doing so far. So I’d have to look into that. Like, I would find that -- I’d be very uncomfortable.

1788 ENGAGEMENT

1789 MR. BOWLES: If you could provide some comments on this matter as part of an undertaking, sort of address the rationale ---

1790 MS. ILLE: Yeah.

1791 MR. BOWLES: --- why that would not be appropriate in light of the rationale provided in support of the proposition.

1792 MS. ILLE: Okay.

1793 ENGAGEMENT

1794 MR. BOWLES: And also on that front if you could propose the minimum you would be prepared to accept on that front if the Commission wants to go down that pathway of imposing a original first-run expenditure-related requirement.

1795 MR. FORTUNE: Could I just interject on the -- sort of the underlying assumption in your question, it’s that to reduce the repeat factor one has to produce original first-run programming, and that’s not the case. Acquisitions can reduce the repeat factor, which is the case for the international Indigenous content, and the acquisition of other Canadian programs can reduce the repeat factor.

1796 So I guess the -- if you peel off the layers of the question of proposed Condition of Licence one of the issues is the focus on original first-run programming. I mean, that’s the most -- you know, limiting condition you could imagine for a service that’s been in operation since 1999 and has over-performed on practically every level of the Commission has ever set for it, and is reported every year you’ve asked it on its commitment for independent production.

1797 So we’ll certainly respond to the question but there are perhaps other ways to address it than going, you know, to original first-run programming. Which I don’t think APTN, on its record, has an issue with diverting funds from the production of original first-run programming. Its record shows it produces as much original first-run programming as it possibly can.

1798 So, you know, with that editorial comment, we’re happy to respond to the undertaking.

1799 ENGAGEMENT

1800 MR. BOWLES: Thank you. And if you have any other suggestion to make to the Commission with respect to how you could assuage any other concerns that the added flexibility would be used for something other than reducing repeat factors, feel free to provide that in writing.

1801 MR. LAROSE: Again -- sorry to interject. Again, if you look at what we’ve been filing with you for the past five years in programming that we commission on a regular basis every year, and how much we spend, I think that will give you a very good track record of what APTN’s been doing for the last five years. And it’s probably a very good basis to answer, in part, the concern that I think you’re raising here.

1802 MR. BOWLES: I’ll start off this question with just, I guess, a little bit of clarification for myself.

1803 Given the nature of service that you have, would I be right in understanding that your broadcasting of professional sporting events would be in Aboriginal languages?

1804 MR. LAROSE: Well, I mean, if I understand you correctly, I alluded earlier to, you know, an approach by Rogers that we might -- would we be interested in carrying some NHL games in an Aboriginal language. If it was something of that nature, well, yes, that would be the arrangement we would have with them. There have been other cases where we have gone to the -- let’s say a lacrosse championship and we broadcast a lacrosse championships amongst our communities. Those were done -- those were done in English.

1805 If you look at the Olympics, when we were one of the host broadcasters for the Olympics in 2010 in Vancouver, we broadcast in eight languages. That was a huge undertaking. It took us a year to put it together. We had to train people to do play by play in language, and these people had to go back to their communities to talk to Elders and others to create words or expressions to do the play by play of the event.

1806 In figure skating, is not a traditional Native sport. Unfortunately, there is no triple axel or quadruple axel, I think, in Ojibway. What it was was a flip, a twirl, and a flight in the air. I mean, it turned into a long expression to try to describe the event. But at the same time it had a huge impact in our communities. The dictionaries we created of that wording we sent to the communities that spoke those languages so they could add to their repertoire, if they so wish.

1807 So obviously, you know, in things like this we always try to see how it can -- how can we create the Indigenous connection and when Rogers approached us the idea was great, we just didn’t have the resource at that point. It would have required us to -- our infrastructure that we were in the midst of transitioning, just couldn’t do it then. And we also would have to identify the language speakers to do it.

1808 Now, you know, at this point in time, depending on how this process goes, I intend to go back to Rogers and have that conversation because I think our audience has said we’d love to hear the games in language. I mean, I can -- I think it’s in Punjabi right now that I can see hockey games on my satellite service. Not that I watch them because, unfortunately, it’s not another language that I speak, I’m stuck to English and French. But the reality of it is our community would love to see, you know, games in Ojibway or Cree or Mohawk or what have you so it will be that -- you know, if you’re asking me if that would be the goal for that specific initiative, I say yes.

1809 MR. BOWLES: So ---

1810 MR. LAROSE: If you’re asking me in general, it would depend on who the producer is and what the capacity is to do it in language.

1811 MR. BOWLES: So to the extent that you were granted the flexibility to go beyond the 10 percent that is currently the ceiling imposed by the standard COLs, you would endeavour to have that excess programming broadcast in Aboriginal languages?

1812 MR. LAROSE: I would add the caveat to the extent that we have the language capacity to do it, yes.

1813 ENGAGEMENT

1814 MR. BOWLES: I have one last question and this one is practically a -- you’ll have to answer this as part of an undertaking.

1815 In Question 1(b) of the exhibit, Exhibit number 2 that was handed to you earlier, there was a discussion of a number of various rate scenarios. Would it be possible to get you to provide your proposed COLs for each of those rate scenarios, and where they depart from those that you’re proposing right now with your five cent proposed rate increase, why you’re proposing those modifications.

1816 MR. LAROSE: Yeah. We will provide that, yes.

1817 COMMISSIONER BOYLES: Thank you very much. And that concludes my questions.

1818 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for your presentation.

1819 It’s been a long day. That concludes our proceedings for today, and we will resume at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

1820 Madam secrétaire, is there anything else? Then we’re adjourned for the day.

1821 Have a good evening.

1822 MR. LAROSE: Thank you.

--- L'audience est ajournée à 18h33


Sténographes

Sean Prouse

Nadia Rainville

Mathieu Philippe

Véronique Olivier

Janice Gingras

Jocelyne Lacroix

Marie Rainville

Suzanne Jobb

Lise Baril

Lyne Charbonneau

Patricia Cantle


Date de modification :