Industry group will ask CRTC to require conventional broadcasters to
support Canadian films as a condition of licence
TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Film Distributors and
Exporters (CAFDE) has urged the CRTC to uphold a condition of Citytv's licence
renewal application to require the broadcaster to continue to program at least
100 hours of Canadian films in prime time each year. The CRTC earlier this
month concluded hearings to consider licence renewals for private conventional
television stations. During the hearings, Rogers Communications, which
acquired Citytv in 2007, asked the CRTC to relieve Citytv of its obligation to
meet this licence condition.
Citytv is currently the only Canadian broadcaster with this condition in
its licence, but CAFDE plans to intervene at all conventional broadcaster
license renewal hearings to ask the CRTC to impose the same Canadian film
content requirement on all Canadian broadcasters.
For more than 20 years Citytv has been one of most important broadcast
supporters of Canadian films, and Rogers' pledge to continue this support was
a key part of its strategy to win CRTC approval for its purchase of Citytv.
CAFDE believes Rogers deliberately misled the CRTC during the 2007 hearings on
the Citytv purchase.
During those hearings, Rogers acknowledged that "Citytv stations played
an important role in the creation and promotion of Canadian film" and assured
the regulator that under Rogers' ownership "Citytv will broadcast just about
every available, suitable Canadian film produced."
According to CAFDE President Ted East, "It is outrageous for Rogers to
seek to relieve Citytv of its commitment to air Canadian films a scant 18
months after pledging to use its market position to support every suitable
Canadian film possible. As the country's largest cable provider, Rogers has a
responsibility to be a leader in supporting Canadian content with its
broadcast assets. CAFDE requests that the CRTC hold Rogers accountable for its
In his appearance before the CRTC this month, East pointed to the
importance of Citytv's long-standing support for the Canadian film industry
and questioned Rogers' commitment to continuing this.
"Citytv has, for many years, been the only over-the-air broadcaster that
consistently supported Canadian feature films," East told the CRTC. "Since the
approval of the acquisition by Rogers, City has all but ceased to purchase new
Canadian films. In fact, a number of CAFDE members report that they were
informed by Rogers' executives prior to the approval of the purchase or
immediately after that Citytv would not continue to support Canadian films. It
seems possible that Rogers never had any intention of living up to this
condition of license."
Citytv has been a critical Canadian film industry partner for decades,
and its role in helping Canadian filmmakers reach broad audiences has played a
key role in ensuring Canadian films continue to be adequately financed. CAFDE
calls on the CRTC to compel Rogers to live up to its commitment to ensure
Citytv continues to support the Canadian film industry.
CAFDE also plans to ask the CBC to live up to its mandate by being a more
active champion of Canadian content, including Canadian Feature Films.
CAFDE is a non-profit trade association that represents the interests of
Canadian owned and controlled feature film distributors and exporters. Its
members include Alliance Films, Equinoxe Films, Maple Pictures, Mongrel Media,
E 1 Films/Seville Pictures, and TVA Films. CAFDE members distribute over 90%
of the non-studio and Canadian films released theatrically in Canada each
year. CAFDE members distribute films in Canada from all over the world and in
the widest range of genres and budgets.
For further information:
For further information: For CAFDE: Ted East, (416) 415-7217,