MONTRÉAL, Jan. 27, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Cogeco Connexion, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cogeco Communications Inc. (TSX:CCA), appeared today at the public hearing held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ("CRTC") to review the policy framework for local and community television programming. The proceeding, announced in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2015-421 on September 14, 2015, is being held in the National Capital Region.
This review was initiated by the CRTC and builds on certain conclusions made during the "Let's Talk TV" proceeding. Cogeco Connexion's community television service, CogecoTV, is proposing to provide professional local news and information services in markets where there is no local television news service.
"We are pleased to see that the Commission has decided to put forward for discussion an initiative that dovetails on a proposal that we made at the time of the previous review of community television policy, with a view to having terrestrial BDUs step up to the plate for local news and information in those communities where broadcasters don't have any local studio presence," said Johanne Hinse, Vice President, Residential Market, CogecoTV and Community Relations of Cogeco Connexion.
Since the proceeding was announced in September, nearly 1,000 interveners filed interventions in support of CogecoTV, demonstrating its importance and relevance and highlighting its sterling reputation in ensuring this type of service is available in the local communities it serves in both Québec and Ontario. "The Commission should recognize that CogecoTV provides an essential outlet to support the activities of over thirteen hundred community groups, for which there is simply no alternative available in the public and private sectors of the Canadian broadcasting system," stated Mrs. Hinse. "Our position upholds the importance we have always placed on being involved and present in the heart of communities, ensuring their voices can continue to be heard."
Below is an overview of Cogeco's submission and position:
- CogecoTV proposed to provide local news and information programming service on CogecoTV to seven small markets in Québec and seven small markets in Ontario, where no local over-the-air (OTA) television service is available, including North Bay, where CogecoTV has already been providing local news and information service since 2002, following the shutdown of CTV's local television station.
- The local news and information programming would be a mix of news, analysis, interpretation, reporting and actualities, adapted to the needs of each market served.
- CogecoTV's funding model is premised on the following sources:
- Reinstate the full 2% of terrestrial Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings' (BDU) revenues from broadcasting activities from the mandated contribution of licensed cable systems to community television.
- Allow terrestrial BDUs that choose to offer professional news and information on their community television to re-allocate their video-on-demand contribution and the 0.6% of their broadcasting revenues from all systems, which can currently be provided to independent funds, to their professional news and information programming. This is commensurate with the importance of local news and information to the communities CogecoTV serves, the fact that it is 100% Canadian programming and the fact that neither independent funds nor the Canada Media Fund have the means to fund local news and information programs.
- Similar to pay, specialty and OTA licensees, establish a flexible envelope regime where contributions from all systems owned by the same BDU ownership group can be distributed within the BDU's systems, according to the specific needs of each of the markets served.
CogecoTV's proposal is an alternative to a second initiative proposed for discussion by the CRTC which could see its mandatory Canadian program funding contribution diverted away from its community channels. "We don't believe this is a sound public policy option, particularly in the face of a growing unregulated segment of the Canadian broadcasting system over the Internet that is not required to invest anything in supporting production and exhibition of Canadian programs, including local news and information," added Mrs. Hinse. "It is critical for the community television sector to retain its available funding and to continue offering local television to communities ignored or abandoned by Canadian broadcasters."
ABOUT COGECO CONNEXION
Cogeco Connexion (www.cogeco.ca) regroups the Canadian cable operations of Cogeco Communications Inc. Cogeco Connexion is the second largest cable operator in Ontario and Québec in terms of the number of basic cable service customers served. It provides its residential and small business customers with video, Internet and telephony services through its two-way broadband fiber rich network. Cogeco Communications Inc. is a communications corporation and is the 11th largest hybrid fibre coaxial cable operator in North America operating in Canada under the Cogeco Connexion brand name in Québec and Ontario, and in the United States through its subsidiary Atlantic Broadband in western Pennsylvania, south Florida, Maryland/Delaware, South Carolina and eastern Connecticut. Through Cogeco Peer 1, Cogeco Communications Inc. provides its business customers with a suite of information technology services (colocation, network connectivity, managed hosting, cloud services and managed IT services), through its 21 data centres, extensive FastFiber NetworkTM and more than 50 points-of-presence in North America and Europe. Cogeco Communications Inc.'s subordinate voting shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: CCA).
CogecoTV, a division of Cogeco Connexion owned by communications company Cogeco Communications Inc. (TSX: CCA), is a community television network operating in 32 zones in Québec and Ontario. CogecoTV's programming, available exclusively to Cogeco Connexion customers, offers a broad and varied range of content that is created, produced and broadcast by a team of employees and volunteers in collaboration with various local organizations. This programming reflects the concerns and interests of the communities served by CogecoTV.
SOURCE Cogeco Connexion
For further information: Information and interview requests: Katherine Chartrand, Director, Public Relations, Cogeco Connexion, 514 764-4674, [email protected]