CRTC ignores calls for shared television subscription revenues

    OTTAWA, Oct. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - CBC/Radio-Canada is disappointed in the
CRTC's decision today not to grant conventional broadcasters access to
subscription revenues, a move that is certain to result in the continued
erosion of quality original Canadian television programming available on
Canadian airwaves.
    "The CRTC missed this opportunity to correct a failing model for
television broadcasting in Canada," said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO
of CBC/Radio-Canada. "All conventional broadcasters - public and private -
need ad revenues to survive. They now make up over one third of
CBC/Radio-Canada's total funding. But those revenues are quickly declining, a
situation that is being exacerbated by the current economic climate. Access to
subscriber fees - already available to specialty services - would have
addressed that decline. Now the very broadcasters who serve the most Canadians
and produce the most original Canadian programming have the fewest options for
financing those programs."
    The Corporation notes the creation of a new Local Programming Improvement
Fund (LPIF), established to ensure that viewers in smaller Canadian markets
continue to receive a diversity of local programming, particularly in the news
and current affairs genres. The fund, which will be financed by the Broadcast
Distribution Undertakings (BDUs), is estimated to amount to $60M in its
first year.
    The CRTC's decision follows a lengthy review of the regulatory frameworks
for broadcasting distribution undertakings and discretionary programming
services. During the review, CBC/Radio-Canada called for a level playing field
that would give conventional broadcasters access to subscription revenues, and
a basic low-priced, all-Canadian service that would grant Canadians more
choice with respect to specialty channels.
    While the Commission chose to ignore those recommendations, the decision
rendered today is complex and will require more detailed analysis.

    About CBC/Radio-Canada

    CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its
largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television,
the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record
and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services,
CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
    Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse
regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in
English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its
international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight
languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and
aspiring immigrants to Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Angus McKinnon, CBC/Radio-Canada (Ottawa),
(613) 288-6234,

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