ARCHIVED -  Public Notice CRTC 1986-177

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Public Notice

Ottawa, 23 July 1986
Public Notice CRTC 1986-177
In Public Notice CRTC 1985-58 of 20 March 1985, entitled "Introducing Flexibility into the Concept of Local Television Programming", the Commission announced it would consider as "local" any television program that is produced on a co-operative basis by several broadcasters provided the program responds to the needs and interests of the audiences in the communities or regions served by the co-operating licensees.
As indicated in the Public Notice, the identification of "local" as distinct from "Canadian" programs is necessary because television licensees are required to outline their commitments to local programming in their Promises of Performance. A local program is broadly defined in the Public Notice as a program produced by the stations themselves and generally intended for local audiences. Pursuant to this definition, the concept of a local program is limited to those programs produced by the stations themselves or their affiliated companies.
The objective of introducing flexibility into the concept of local programming is summarized in Public Notice CRTC 1985-58 as follows:
Individual stations generally have difficulty financing and assembling the necessary components of a drama, variety feature or other program requiring more expensive production, on more than an occasional basis. Co-operative productions by several broadcasters, however, involving a sharing of costs and production personnel, could result in a greater number of programs of higher quality which are attractive enough to compete for viewers' attention and which could be rescheduled in more appropriate viewing periods.
The Commission has recently been approached by a consortium of television broadcasters wishing to involve Telefilm Canada in the financing of a drama project intended for consideration as local programming.
In a Memorandum of Understanding of 15 March 1985 between the Minister of Communications and Telefilm Canada with respect to the administration of the Canadian Program Development Fund, the criteria for eligible productions were amended to exclude productions by television broadcasters (Article 3.3). Effective 1 April 1985, Telefilm Canada has interpreted this article so as to reject applications for production funding from broadcasters, including the CBC and provincial educational services. As a result, local television programs as defined by the Commission in Public Notice CRTC 1985-58 are ineligible for Telefilm funding. At the same time, should the production of a program be organized so as to become eligible for Telefilm funding (for example, by handing responsibility to an independent producer), the resulting program or series might no longer be considered as "local" by the Commission.
The Commission recognizes that there are benefits for local programming which may result from the availability of Telefilm funding in addition to the benefits made possible through the sharing of resources in cooperative productions, as identified in Public Notice CRTC 1985-58. Accordingly, the Commission announces that, effective immediately, the definition of a local television program is enlarged so as to encompass independent productions provided both of the following conditions are fulfilled:
1. such programs are commissioned by a broadcaster or broadcasters rather than acquired as shelf product or through a pre-sale; and
2. broadcasters are the only equity investors in such programs, aside from government funding agencies such as Telefilm Canada.
If these requirements are satisfied, then the program(s) would be considered as "local" in respect of participating broadcasters' Promises of Performance (i.e. those who have provided an equity investment in the program).
The purpose of enlarging the definition of a "local" program in this way is to make it possible for television broadcasters to obtain Telefilm Canada or other government funding for programs while maintaining the "local" status of such programs.
The Commission wishes to emphasize that independent productions may only qualify as local programs if the above criteria are met.
The Commission encourages licensees to explore the funding possibilities which may now be available to them as a result of this enlarged "local" program definition.
The Commission intends to explore with licensees at licence renewal time the effects of this enlarged definition on the production of high quality entertainment programming.
Fernand Bélisle Secretary General

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