CRTC to issue short-term licences to private conventional television broadcasters

    OTTAWA and GATINEAU, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced its preliminary
decisions on matters resulting from the public hearing to renew the licences
of most of Canada's private conventional television broadcasters.
    "We are making our initial determinations public to provide a measure of
guidance to conventional broadcasters as they prepare for the upcoming
broadcast year and embark on program purchases," said Konrad von Finckenstein,
Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "In the case of the large networks, we have opted
for shorter licence terms to give these broadcasters some flexibility during
the current period of economic uncertainty."

    Licence renewal terms

    The Commission will grant:

    - a 1-year licence renewal term for the television stations operated by
      CTV Television Inc., Canwest Television GP Inc. and SUN-TV Company, as
      well as the CITY-TV stations operated by Rogers Broadcasting Limited.
      This will allow the Commission to consider these stations in the
      context of group-based licence renewals in spring 2010
    - a 2-year licence renewal term for the television stations and
      discretionary services operated by TVA Group Inc. This will allow the
      Commission to consider a group-based licence renewal for TVA at the
      same time as it reviews the licence obligations of TQS Inc., and for
      the French-language television stations operated by the Canadian
      Broadcasting Corporation
    - a 6-year licence renewal term for the OMNI television stations operated
      by Rogers, and
    - 7-year licence renewal terms for the RNC MEDIA Inc. and Télé Inter-
      Rives ltée television stations.

    The new licence terms will take effect on September 1, 2009. The specific
licence terms and conditions will be made public in the coming weeks.

    Canadian programming expenditures

    The Commission has decided that it will not impose a condition on
English-language broadcasters requiring a 1-to-1 ratio between Canadian and
non-Canadian programming expenditures. Such a condition would not be practical
for the upcoming broadcast year, given the sector's production timelines and
the programming commitments that are already in place.
    However, the Commission will continue to explore various regulatory
measures to ensure that English-language television broadcasters devote an
appropriate proportion of their expenditures to Canadian programming.

    Follow-up process

    The Commission will work with the industry to find a systemic and
structural solution to the challenges facing conventional broadcasters. A
follow-up proceeding will be launched this summer, culminating in a public
hearing in the fall, to address certain unresolved policy questions. The scope
of the proceeding will include, among others, the following issues:

    - determining the modalities and conditions for group-based licensing to
      be employed in 2010
    - providing revenue support for conventional television stations by:
      investigating alternative support mechanisms for local programming;
      protecting the integrity of Canadian broadcaster signals; and exploring
      a mechanism for establishing, through negotiation, the fair market
      value for the signals of conventional television stations distributed
      by cable and satellite companies
    - elaborating further details regarding possible models for the digital
      transition, and
    - establishing the appropriate minimum levels of spending on Canadian
      programming by English-language television broadcasters and the
      regulatory mechanism to ensure these levels.

    A notice of consultation will published shortly to provide further details
on a public hearing that will be held in fall 2009.

    Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2009-279

    The CRTC

    The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises
broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

    Reference document: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-113

For further information:

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