Canwest disappointed with new CRTC policy framework



    
    Will encourage CRTC to more fully understand regulatory impediments for
    conventional television
    

    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - While there were positive elements in the policy
review of Broadcast Distribution Undertakings (BDUs) issued today, Canwest
Global Communications Corp. (Canwest) does not believe it goes far enough to
address the structural challenges faced by the Canadian conventional
television sector.
    "We are disappointed the regulator did not address structural issues -
specifically fee-for-carriage - that we clearly said were required to address
the challenges facing conventional television," Leonard Asper, President and
CEO of Canwest said in response to the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) decision.
    "Canwest will continue to aggressively pursue change as we enter into the
licence renewal process in the coming months, providing a business case for
reducing licence obligations that better reflects the competitive environment
that we are in today."
    Mr. Asper said the decision provides some potential for Canwest by
granting conventional broadcasters the right to negotiate the retransmission
of their signals to other provinces (known as distant signals). He added that
the Company is also interested in learning more about a new $60 million Local
Programming Fund.
    He indicated the ruling paves the way for continued growth for Canwest's
strong stable of specialty television assets - which currently account for
about 70% of the Company's total Canadian television operating profit. The
ruling maintained core carriage rules for Canadian specialty services in order
to ensure that Canadian cable and satellite services continue to offer a wide
array of quality homegrown services such as HGTV, Showcase and History
Television to Canadians from coast to coast. It also maintained genre
protection and upheld existing rules that protect directly competitive U.S.
signals carried in Canada.
    Mr. Asper said that by maintaining these rules, the CRTC has demonstrated
that it recognizes the important contribution specialty television services
make to the Canadian broadcasting system.
    The Commission has issued further calls for comment relating to Video On
Demand and local avails (the two minutes of time per hour that American
signals provide for cable companies to sell advertising in the U.S. that are
not available for sale in Canada). Canwest will continue to fully participate
in all future policy discussions and revisions and will carefully assess the
direction the Commission has taken and its impact on critical areas of its
business. "We are encouraged the Commission is reviewing the rules governing
Video On Demand - a new potential revenue stream for Canwest," Mr. Asper said.
    In an unprecedented show of industry solidarity during review hearings
earlier this year, CTVglobemedia and Canwest argued for fair access and fair
compensation for conventional television stations, calling on the CRTC to
introduce "fee for carriage" and institute long-awaited compensation for BDU
use of local television station signals similar to what specialty channels
receive. In conjunction, Canwest demonstrated critical problems with the
current conventional television model, emphasizing that the CRTC and the
industry together must find solutions to address the structural imbalances
that exist between broadcasters and distributors.

    Forward Looking Statements:

    This news release contains certain forward-looking statements about the
objectives, strategies, financial conditions, results of operations and
businesses of Canwest Global Communications Corp. Statements that are not
historical facts are forward-looking and are subject to important risks,
uncertainties and assumptions. These statements are based on our current
expectations about our business and the markets in which we operate, and upon
various estimates and assumptions. The results or events predicted in these
forward-looking statements may differ materially from actual results or events
if known or unknown risks, trends or uncertainties affect our business, or if
our estimates or assumptions turn out to be inaccurate. As a result, there is
no assurance that the circumstances described in any forward-looking statement
will materialize. Significant and reasonably foreseeable factors that could
cause our results to differ materially from our current expectations are
discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" contained in our Annual
Information Form for the year ended August 31, 2007 dated November 20, 2007
filed by Canwest Global Communications Corp. with the Canadian securities
commissions (available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com ), as updated in our most
recent Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three and nine months
ended May 31, 2008. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update any
forward-looking statement even if new information becomes available, as a
result of future events or for any other reason.

    About Canwest Broadcasting:

    Canwest Broadcasting operates two conventional television networks,
Global Television and E!, and eighteen of the country's most popular specialty
channels, including HGTV, Mystery TV, National Geographic Channel, Showcase,
Slice(TM) and TVtropolis. Canwest Broadcasting is a division of Canwest Media
Inc.

    About Canwest Media Inc.

    Canwest Media Inc is a subsidiary of Canwest Global Communications Corp.
(www.canwest.com; TSX: CGS and CGS.A). An international media company, Canwest
is Canada's largest publisher of paid English language daily newspapers and
owns, operates and/or holds substantial interests in conventional television,
out-of-home advertising, specialty cable channels, web sites and radio
stations in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore,
United Kingdom, and the United States.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: John Douglas, Vice President,
Public Affairs, Tel: (204) 953-7737, jdouglas@canwest.com; Investor Contact:
Hugh Harley, Director, Investor Relations, Tel: (204) 953-7731,
hharley@canwest.com

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