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Nanos survey finds Canadians skeptical about CRTC TV proposals

Sep 5, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto – On the eve of a CRTC hearing that could result in the gutting of Canada’s TV rules, a new Nanos survey released this morning finds the sweeping changes up for consideration next week are on shaky ground with Canadians.

The survey found more than half (54%) think it is unlikely that unbundling cable TV packages to allow consumers to pick and pay for only the channels they want will result in lower TV subscription costs.  Only one-in-four (24%) believe the federal government’s promise of lower prices while 62% believe cable and satellite companies who say prices won’t go down by unbundling TV packages.

Even with the prospect of lower subscription costs, 41% of Canadians say pick and pay and other changes should not occur because of potential damage to the economy and Canadian programming, while 43% believe the changes are acceptable. 

According to the survey, Canadians place a very high level of importance (84%) on local news, yet this kind of programming is threatened by the CRTC’s proposals.

“Local TV stations across the land, especially in smaller markets, will shut down and investment in Canadian programs will plummet if the CRTC adopts rule changes it has broached in its review of TV policy, says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting which commissioned the survey in collaboration with ACTRA and Unifor.

“This poll shows that regardless of the platform upon which content is being delivered to viewers, the CRTC is trusted to ensure support for Canadian programming, to strengthen diversity in the system, and to use its authority to affirm the cornerstone place of the CBC,” says Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director of ACTRA.

By a very strong margin (68% agree), Canadians want foreign Internet broadcasters like Netflix to abide by the same rules as Canadian companies.  They also want foreign companies to contribute financially to new Canadian programming.   More than half (52%) completely disagree with the notion that these companies should not be required to financially contribute to help support new Canadian programming.  Of note, if Netflix and Canal + contributed to new Canadian programming, the positive impressions of those organizations would increase for most people (69%).
 
Other findings from the survey include:

  • Canadians are satisfied (46% satisfied/25% somewhat satisfied) with the choice of US and other foreign programming that is available to them.
  • Canadians place most trust and confidence in CBC and the CRTC to protect Canadian culture and identity on TV  (report pages 13 to 18).
  • Canadians see the CRTC as responsible for protecting Canadian TV and radio content (page 5), strongly support the goals of the CRTC (report pages 19 to 23), and see a need for the CRTC today (report page 24).
  • The vast majority of Canadians would like to see funding for the CBC stay at the same level or increase while only 10 percent would like to see CBC funding decreased.  Among federal Conservative supporters 51 percent would like CBC funding to be maintained, 25 percent would like to see CBC funding increased and 21 percent would like to see funding decreased.
  • Canadians see the CBC playing an important role in strengthening Canadian culture and identity. The intensity of views on this opinion has increased over the past year.

"We have given evidence to the CRTC that the regulatory changes under consideration could cost the Canadian economy more than 31,000 jobs and almost $3 billion, a devastating consequence. Eliminating simultaneous substitution alone is a $300M revenue loss from Canadian media companies to American broadcast giants," says Randy Kitt, Media Chair at Unifor.

Nanos conducted a random telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians between August 16th and 25th, 2014. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists – www.actra.ca) is the national organization of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of 22,000 members across Canada – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is an independent watchdog for Canadian programming and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including 14,500 media sector workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

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For information:

ACTRA: Carol Taverner 416-644-1519 ctaverner@actra.ca

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592 jim@friends.ca

Unifor: Randy Kitt, Unifor Media Council Chairperson 416-529-5152 (cell)  rkitt@unifor79m.ca

The complete Nanos Report is available here.


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