The Task Force releases its report on the Canadian Television Fund

    OTTAWA and GATINEAU, June 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio-television
and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today published the report of the
Task Force on the Canadian Television Fund (CTF). The report highlights the
importance of the role played by the CTF and the Canadian independent
production sector in the creation of quality Canadian television programs, and
of the contributions paid to the CTF by the Canadian government. The Task
Force recommends certain measures to improve the funding of Canadian programs,
increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the CTF, and enhance the
participation of broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) in the CTF.
    "The Task Force's report recognizes the importance of the CTF for the
production of Canadian programs," said Michel Arpin, the CRTC's Vice-Chair of
Broadcasting and Chairman of the Task Force on the CTF. "The CTF's mandate
must be reviewed to include two components: one that will continue to conform
to the Contribution Agreement with the Department of Canadian Heritage and a
second with a more commercial outlook in order to reflect the important role
of the contributions of the distribution undertakings in the financing of
Canadian television productions."
    The Task Force recommends that the CRTC's Broadcasting Distribution
Regulations be amended to better reflect an orientation more focused on the
market. It also proposes amendments to the Regulations to clarify that BDU
contributions to the CTF are to be made on a monthly basis. In addition, the
Task Force proposes that the CTF allocate a portion of its funds to the
development of productions for new media platforms.

    Public process

    The Commission is starting today a process to solicit the views of
Canadians and stakeholders from the broadcasting industry on the
implementation of the Task Force's recommendations.
    "I congratulate the Task Force for its work," said Konrad von
Finckenstein, Q.C., Chairman of the CRTC. "The report it has prepared will
provide us with a detailed analysis and concrete recommendations that we will
use in the context of the public process that we are commencing today. The
measures instituted as a result of that process will hopefully address the
concerns raised with respect to the CTF."
    Parties wishing to participate in this consultation should send their
comments by no later than July 27, by mail to CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2,
or electronically to Broadcasting Intervention/Comments Form.


    The CRTC decided to create the Task Force on the CTF in response to
concerns raised by Shaw Communications and Quebecor with regard to the
operation and administration of the CTF, and their refusal to make their
monthly payments. The Task Force held meetings with 61 groups and 144
individuals from different sectors of the television industry between February
 22 and May 8, 2007. Its mandate consisted of examining the issues related to
the funding of Canadian programming and the governance of the CTF.

    The CRTC

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

    Reference documents:
    Report of the Task Force on the Canadian Television Fund
    Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-70
    News Release, "The CRTC Creates a Task Force on the Canadian Television
    Fund", February 20, 2007
    "Statement by Konrad von Finckenstein, Chairman of the CRTC (Canadian
    Television Fund)", February 13, 2007


        Report of the CRTC Task Force on the Canadian Television Fund

    Executive Summary

    Following extensive consultations with all sectors of the television
broadcasting industry, the CRTC Task Force on the Canadian Television Fund
affirms the important role played by the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) and
the independent production sector in producing quality Canadian television
programs. The Task Force also affirms the importance of the government's
contributions to the CTF and considers that the existing Contribution
Agreement between the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) and the CTF is an
appropriate mechanism to ensure that government funding is directed to support
culturally significant Canadian programs and other special initiatives.
    However, given the increasingly competitive environment facing Canadian
broadcasting, the Task Force considers that changes should be made in order
that the CTF direct the funds contributed by broadcasting distribution
undertakings (BDUs) to a more flexible and market-oriented funding stream
providing further support for Canadian hits. This new private sector funding
stream would fulfill the following objectives:

    - Qualifying Canadian programming would be broadcast in prime time, would
      meet a minimum of 8/10 Canadian content points on the Canadian
      Audio-Visual Certification Office of the Department of Canadian
      Heritage (CAVCO) scale, and would continue to fall within the CTF's
      traditional genres of drama, children's and youth, documentary and
      variety/performing arts programming;
    - Audience success would be the primary criteria for continued funding;
    - Actual and potential return on investment would be a factor in
      allocating funding and taking into account the different realities of
      English and French markets.

    In order to ensure early implementation, the Task Force proposes that the
CRTC amend the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the BDU Regulations) so
that BDU contributions are directed to this new private sector funding stream.
The amendment would also ensure that BDUs make their contributions on a
monthly basis.
    The CTF Guidelines governing the private sector funding stream would be
simplified by focusing on the following essential criteria:

    - Underlying rights are owned and significantly and meaningfully
      developed by Canadians;
    - Projects must reflect Canadian experiences;
    - Projects must be certified by CAVCO and attain a minimum of 8/10

    The Task Force has also made a number of recommendations to increase the
efficiency and effectiveness of the CTF itself. These include:

    - The creation of an envelope to support Canadian programs for new media
    - More flexibility for CRTC-certified independent funds to invest in
      Canadian programs for new media platforms;
    - Equal sharing between producers and broadcasters of net revenues from
      new media platforms - unless the parties agree to an alternative
    - The allocation by the CRTC of a portion of television benefits to the
    - CTF equity investments in programs supported through the new funding
    - Increased broadcaster licence fees; and
    - A reduction in the amount of federal tax credits to be included in the
      financing structure of productions.

    Finally, with respect to governance and conflict of interest issues, the
Task Force recognizes that while a smaller Board could be more efficient,
significant change to the structure of the CTF Board could take a substantial
amount of time to implement. It also recognizes the important contributions
that stakeholder representatives make to the Board. Accordingly, the Task
Force has made a number of recommendations designed to encourage greater
participation by BDU representatives and to clarify the roles of the Board and
the CTF staff. The Task Force also reviewed allegations of conflicts of
interest at the CTF and is satisfied that the steps taken by the Board in
recent years have been appropriate and effective. Nevertheless, the Task Force
recommends that, to avoid the perception of conflict, direct recipients of CTF
funds not sit on the CTF Board. Key recommendations dealing with governance
set out in the report include:

    - The addition of a second Board member to represent the DTH sector;
    - The removal of direct recipients from the CTF Board while ensuring that
      the perspectives of the independent production sector continue to form
      a part of CTF deliberations;
    - The creation of a nominating committee consisting of contributing
    - A clear policy identifying the respective roles of Board and staff;
    - The designation of the President as President and CEO of the
      Corporation; and
    - The reconsideration of the need for a paid Chair and the recommendation
      that the Chair be nominated from the independent members or members
      representing contributors on the Board.

For further information:

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