Specialty pay, cable & satellite services owe it to Canadians to support Canadian drama



    CRTC must keep strong Canadian programming rules in place

    TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - The CRTC must maintain spending requirements for
Canadian pay and specialty services, the Coalition of Canadian Audio-Visual
Unions (CCAU) asserts in its detailed submission today. The CCAU also firmly
contends that a strong Canadian cable and satellite industry should directly
contribute to creating a strong television production industry for Canada.
    The CRTC is holding public hearings in February on the regulation of
cable and satellite services, in addition to specialty and pay channels. The
CCAU maintains that strong rules must remain in place in order to achieve the
cultural objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
    "Market forces are not enough to ensure that scripted, Canadian drama
gets on our television screens - it's not a level playing field," says Monique
Lafontaine, General Counsel and Director of Regulatory Affairs, Directors
Guild of Canada.
    Stephen Waddell, National Executive Director, ACTRA, says, "Licensees
will not spend on drama unless they are regulated to do so. We know this from
the fallout of the CRTC's disastrous 1999 Television Policy that caused
Canadian English drama to virtually disappear from primetime conventional TV."

    The CCAU is calling for the CRTC to:

    
    -   Maintain current Canadian programming spending requirements on pay
        and specialty TV services.
    -   Remove the ability of specialty and pay television licensees to use
        Canadian Television Fund licence fee top-up monies to reach their
        Canadian programming expenditure targets.
    -   Increase cable industry contributions to Canadian programming to 6%
        of their revenues from the current 5%, with a portion of the
        additional 1% directed to new media production.
    

    "Canada's robust, multi-billion-dollar cable industry can afford to
increase the amount it puts into Canadian programming - they made more than
$6 billion in 2006," says David Hardy, Business Agent, NABET 700. "The
Broadcasting Act requires cable companies to contribute to the creation of
Canadian programming," adds Hardy.
    "Television reflects and shapes national identity," says Maureen Parker,
Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada. "If the cable companies have
their way, broadcast schedules will be filled with foreign content. Canadian
audiences must have the opportunity to choose Canadian. The regulatory
framework is in place to ensure that choice, and we should be careful not to
disassemble it in the interest of higher corporate profits."
    Participating in this CCAU submission and the public hearings in February
relating to this matter are ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and
Radio Artists), the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), the Writers Guild of
Canada (WGC) and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and
Technicians, Local 700 CEP (NABET). Other members of the CCAU are: the
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) the American
Federation of Musicians - Canada (AFM Canada), Union des artistes (UdA),
Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec (ARRQ), Association
Québécoise des techniciens de l'image et du son (AQTIS), and Société des
auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTeC).





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS: Susan Ponting, ACTRA, (416)
644-1519 or (416) 897-7028, sponting@actra.ca; David Kinahan, Writers Guild of
Canada, (416) 979-7909 ext 5234, d.kinahan@wgc.ca; Lisa Mahal, Directors Guild
of Canada, (416) 482-6640 ext. 251, lmahal@dgc.ca; David Hardy, NABET 700 CEP,
(416) 536-4827, dhardy@nabet700.com

Organization Profile

ALLIANCE OF CANADIAN CINEMA, TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS (ACTRA)

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ACTRA TORONTO PERFORMERS

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