CRTC consultation on new media - ADISQ calls for regulatory intervention that is moderate, constructive - but resolute



    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - In the context of the CRTC's consultation
on broadcasting in new media, the Association québécoise de l'industrie du
disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) today defended the necessity of
CRTC regulation in the area of new media.
    Remarking that the music industry's structure and business model have
been more profoundly changed than those of any other cultural industry by the
deployment of new media platforms, ADISQ vice-president and executive director
Solange Drouin spoke in favour of regulation that is moderate and
constructive, but resolute.
    "We have learned from the past," said Ms. Drouin. "We know that the
regulatory guidelines implemented for traditional radio were a crucial factor
in the career development of Quebec artists. They helped these artists win
more than 40% of the market for album sales in Quebec, while allowing the
broadcasters themselves to post solid financial results. At the moment, this
reality is simply not reflected in digital music sales. So we believe that the
implementation of regulatory guidelines for broadcasting in new media will
promote the harmonious development of our culture and the new media companies,
for the greater benefit of the general public."

    Analytical chart

    Solange Drouin presented an analytical chart of new media, specifying
that "it is important to develop this kind of chart to break through the
confusion that often characterizes the debate around new platforms - confusion
that just leads to inaction."
    The chart developed by ADISQ shows that the new broadcasting platforms
can be broken down into four main groups: those with user-generated content
(e.g., YouTube); those that are interactive (e.g., iTunes or zik.ca); those
that are semi-interactive (e.g., last.fm); and those that are non-interactive
(e.g., online music services offered by commercial radio stations). (The chart
is available at www.adisq.com.)

    Regulating non-interactive platforms

    ADISQ suggests that certain companies providing music programming on
non-interactive platforms should now be subject to the same regulatory
provisions as traditional commercial radio stations. Companies covered by the
regulations would be those meeting certain usage and revenue criteria.
    According to Solange Drouin, "the companies that currently operate this
type of non-interactive service are offering something so similar to
commercial radio that they should fall into the same legislative and
regulatory context." Mrs. Drouin went on to say that this would be a first
step for the CRTC in the area of new media, and could pave the way for more
detailed study and action.
    Canada's existing broadcast policy contains two main types of provisions
for commercial radio: minimum programming quotas for Canadian content and
French-language vocal music; and financial contributions towards the
development of Canadian content.

    Force a dialogue with companies providing an Internet access service

    In addition to this recommendation, ADISQ asked the CRTC to establish a
formal framework for discussion to encourage dialogue between companies that
provide an Internet access service and the community producing Canadian
cultural content.
    This dialogue should lead to an agreement between the two communities
about the obligations that the companies providing an Internet access service
would agree to undertake. To make the success of this dialogue more likely,
ADISQ suggests making it subject to a 60-day deadline. If no agreement were
reached within that time, it would be up to the CRTC to use its powers to
implement the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

    Towards a common knowledge base

    ADISQ also suggested that the CRTC, in cooperation with the various
stakeholders, set up a mechanism for continuous monitoring of the new
platforms with a view to creating an objective knowledge base that could be
used by all stakeholders: the cultural sector, companies providing an Internet
access service, new media service developers, and others.

    Exemption order: new schedule

    Finally, ADISQ stated its hope that the CRTC will put its new media
exemption order - issued in 1999 - on a schedule that will not force the
stakeholders to wait another 10 years just to debate this same problem again.
    "The new media platforms are not standing still," said ADISQ
vice-president and executive director, Solange Drouin. "They are developing at
an ever-increasing pace. The CRTC really has to adapt its procedures and speed
up its own processes."




For further information:

For further information: Elisabeth Roy, Roy Turner, (514) 844-9678;
Julie Gariépy, ADISQ, (514) 842-5147; Sources:  Solange Drouin, vice-president
and executive director, ADISQ

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