Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2013-19 Applications for Mandatory Distribution
Feb 22, 2013
Dear Mr. Traversy:
of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent media watchdog supported by 180,000
Canadian households. 1 FRIENDS does
not seek to appear at the forthcoming public hearing.
noted in our CRTC 2009-732 intervention, FRIENDS supports mandatory carriage
for services that the Commission determines to be in the public interest. We
also support the Commission's policy that Broadcasting Act Section 9(1)(h)
mandated services should be licensed only "in exceptional circumstances where
the channels fulfill important policy objectives under the Act".
policy is well-suited to guide the Commission's determinations regarding the
continuation of existing mandated services, and also the current new
our March 1, 2010 submission, FRIENDS proposed that "the Commission should
exercise enhanced selectivity when asked to license new 9(1)(h) services, and
that the Commission should also be prepared to review existing 9(1)(h) services
periodically to determine whether the criteria which originally led to their
licensing still apply."
additional 9(1)(h) service adds to the cost of every subscriber's basic monthly
invoice. The cable monopolies and satellite distributors have routinely doubled
the wholesale fees of 9(1)(h) services. 9(1)(h) services should be carried without
mark-up because of their 'exceptional' status under the Act, and the Commission
should require this change to BDU pricing practices.
wishes to offer specific comments on two applications, Starlight and Sun TV News:
- Starlight: The Canadian Movie Channel
meets all the criteria for 9(1)(h)
designation. It undertakes to provide 100% Canadian content in the form of
feature films intended for theatrical release, documentaries, made for
television movies and programs about Canadian filmmakers, expend 70% of its
gross revenues on Canadian programming, and finance at least eight new feature
films annually. This content falls within the definition of Programs of
National Interest (PNI), but fewer and fewer Canadian movies actually appear on
television. FRIENDS supports Starlight's request for 9(1)(h) status during its
initial licence period.
her February 7th intervention, Kealy Wilkinson has quoted from a
speech by the Commission's founding Chair, Pierre Juneau to the Canadian Club
of Toronto in 1972: "to obliterate real works of the Canadian imagination is to
obliterate ourselves". Licensing Starlight
will be a fitting memorial to the late Pierre Juneau and address a profound
failure in our audio-visual system.
Group Inc. and Sun Media Corporation's application for mandatory carriage of Sun TV News for five years should be
rejected. Given the number of news choices, the Commission no longer provides
genre protection for news (Category 1). This means that the Commission has
determined that there is no lack of diversity of voices with respect to news.
There was much less diversity of news sources in the 20th century,
1987 and 1997 when CBC Newsworld and CTV NewsNet were launched.
- We also
note that Sun TV News is currently
available in 5.1 million Canadian homes - a number much larger than that
achieved by most Canadian specialty services. From this extensive distribution
it generates an average minute audience of 16,500, which means that Sun TV News gathers an average audience
of less than one in every three hundred viewers, a rather modest demonstration
of audience up-take.
Inc. financial data for the nine months ending September 30, 2012 show total
revenues of $3.2 billion, EBIT of $365M and net income of $258M. 2
- On September
3, 2010, Kory Teneycke, then and now Vice-President of Sun News, wrote a piece
in various Sun Media publications entitled: "Margaret Atwood's U.S. sellout:
Icon's ignorant attack confirms just why Canada needs Sun TV News": 3
- "The final lie most of the media stories,
petitions and general ankle-biting from our competitors promote is about money.
Sun TV News is not, nor has it ever, asked for "mandatory carriage" by cable or
- "As the critics correctly point out, this
would be tantamount to a tax on everyone with cable or satellite service. It is
what CBC News Network has, but not what we are asking for.
- "We are simply asking for the channel to be
"offered" by the distributors. This is meant to allow any Canadian who wants to
get the channel to be able to call their cable or satellite company and
subscribe to it. It does not mean it is a part of the basic cable or satellite
package, nor does it dictate what (if any) package it would be a part of. We
believe those should be private negotiations between Sun TV News and each
individual cable and satellite provider.
- "If the so-called journalists and
commentators writing on this issue had read our application they would have
seen we project 17% market penetration in year one, growing to 45% in year
five. If we were assuming mandatory carriage, instead of mandatory access it
would start (and stay) at 100%.
Commission should take Mr. Teneycke at his word.
For information: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592