OTTAWA, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - CBC/Radio-Canada is astonished by the
CRTC's decision to eliminate support for local television programming
by discontinuing the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF).
"Local television is a priority under the Broadcasting Act, yet this
decision suggests that it is not important to the Commission," said
Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. "The LPIF was
a great success. It was achieving its objective of strengthening local
television stations. This decision is sure to reverse many of the local
programming improvements that the Fund achieved, because the rationale
that led to the LPIF's creation still exists today: the financial model
for local television continues to be challenged. Two years from now,
when the Fund disappears, we'll be back to where we started when the
CRTC decided to create the Fund."
"Let's not pretend that this is good news for consumers," continued
Lacroix. "It's hard to see how this decision will lower cable rates.
Rates are not regulated by the CRTC. It only means that instead of some
of that money going to support local programming, it will go towards
the bottom line of cable and satellite companies."
CBC/Radio-Canada drew over $40 million annually from the LPIF to improve
service for viewers in 20 different markets. That's important funding
that the Corporation will not be able to replace from other sources
given that it comes on the heels of a $115 million reduction of its
parliamentary appropriation. This will mean a big blow to viewers in
the small markets that benefited from the Fund.
"There's no question that this will negatively impact local television
programming in smaller markets. For us, it will mean adjustments in
terms of level of service, how we deliver service and the territory
that our journalists can cover," continued Lacroix. "Improving local
service is one of the Corporation's top priorities. This decision
doesn't change that, but it does present a major challenge that could
limit our local television activities and our presence in those
The LPIF was established by the CRTC in 2008 to increase the quantity,
quality and diversity of local programming produced by conventional TV
stations in non-metropolitan markets. It was created in response to a
decade-long decline of the financial model for local TV production in
small markets, while cable and satellite companies that distribute the
programming continued to generate record profits.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its
largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching
Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio,
television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in
the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer
diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight
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