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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 96-617

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Decision

Ottawa, 4 September 1996
Decision CRTC 96-617
South Asian Television Canada Limited
Ontario - 199600685
New South Asian and English-language regional specialty service - Approved
Following a Public Hearing held in the National Capital Region beginning on 6 May 1996, the Commission approves the application by South Asian Television Canada Limited (the applicant) for a broadcasting licence to carry on a regional (Ontario) ethnic programming undertaking (Specialty Television Service). The new service will be known as SATV.
As explained in Public Notice CRTC 1996-120 which introduces this and other decisions issued today, and in accordance with the provisions set out in the distribution and linkage notice also issued today (Public Notice CRTC 1996-121), the service will be provided exclusively as a discretionary service, and will be distributed in Ontario at the discretion of broadcasting distribution undertakings. In the case of those distribution undertakings that are subject to the Commission's distribution and linkage requirements, such distribution shall be in accordance with those requirements. The Commission notes that, since there is no distribution market in which 10% or more of the total population is of South Asian origin, SATV will not have any guaranteed access to distribution undertakings under the Commission's Access Rules.
The applicant intends to deliver the service to head ends via fibre optic cable. Although the applicant does not rule out the use of satellite facilities to deliver the service to distribution undertakings, it does not expect that this method of delivery will be used extensively. The signal will also be available for distribution to Ontario residents by licensed direct-to-home (DTH) distribution undertakings.
The Commission will issue a licence expiring 31 August 2003, subject to the conditions specified in the appendix to this decision and in the licence to be issued.
As agreed to by the applicant at the hearing, the service of the programming undertaking must, by condition of licence, be in operation within 36 months of the date of this decision, unless the service provider, prior to the expiry of this period, applies and receives an extension of time within which to commence operations.
Ownership
The applicant is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asian Television Network International Limited, which is in turn effectively controlled by Mr. Shan Chandrasekar. Mr. Chandrasekar has, for 25 years, provided television programming and live entertainment of interest to South Asian Canadians living in the Toronto area.
Programming
Nature of service
As noted above, the applicant will offer a regional specialty television programming service available for carriage on a discretionary basis by distribution undertakings solely in Ontario. The service will have the South Asian communities of Ontario as its target audience.
The Commission notes the licensee's plans to provide programming in 15 South Asian languages, principally Hindi, supplemented by programming in English. The applicant emphasized in its application that, while there are organizations that make a limited amount of programming available to Ontario residents of South Asian origin, there is currently no specialized service dedicated to this audience. It added that there is no prime time South Asian-language programming on weekdays, no regularly-scheduled South Asian-language children's programming, no daily program in Hindi, Urdu or Punjabi, and little or no television programming available in such regional languages as Bengali, Gujarati and Tamil. The applicant indicated that, in addition to filling these voids, it will offer instructional programming, such as English as a Second Language, to assist new Canadians in adjusting to Canadian life.
Of the broadcast day, a minimum of 75% shall be devoted to Type A programs and a maximum of 25% to Type C programs, as defined in Schedule II to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990. A condition of licence requiring the applicant to preserve the nature of the service, as described above, is set out in the appendix to this decision.
The applicant committed to establish a program advisory committee, consisting of as many as 50 members, to assist the company's Board of Directors in achieving balance in programming and to heighten the Board's awareness of the sensitivities of the various target audiences to be served by SATV. The Commission expects the applicant to adhere to its commitment to establish a broad-based program advisory committee.
Canadian content
At the public hearing, the Commission questioned the applicant about the levels it proposed for the exhibition of Canadian programs and is satisfied that the commitments are appropriate for the nature of the service proposed.
SATV has committed to devote not less than 17% of the broadcast year, and not less than 8% of the evening broadcast period, to the distribution of Canadian programs. The applicant shall adhere to these commitments by condition of licence, as set out in the appendix to this decision.
The Commission notes the undertaking by the applicant to distribute a minimum of four hours of Canadian programs each week provided by the independent production sector. The Commission also notes the applicant's commitment at the public hearing to increase its exhibition of
Canadian programs to 17.5 hours per week in the first year from the 11 hours proposed in the application.
Canadian programming expenditures
Consistent with the approach outlined by the Commission in Public Notice CRTC 1996-120 with respect to requirements for Canadian programming expenditures, and as discussed with the applicant at the hearing, it is a condition of licence that the applicant expend on Canadian programs, in the broadcast year following the first year of operation, and in each subsequent broadcast year, a minimum of 15% of the gross revenues derived from the operation of the service in the previous year. Some flexibility in the accounting of these expenditures is provided for in the conditions of licence attached to this decision.
Advertising
Consistent with the applicant's plans, SATV may distribute a maximum of eight minutes of advertising material, plus a maximum of 30 seconds of unpaid public service announcements, in each clock hour of the broadcast day, with some flexibility for the placement of advertising material in longer programs. Conditions of licence to this effect are set out in the appendix to this decision.
Other Matters
In Public Notice CRTC 1992-59 dated 1 September 1992 and entitled "Implementation of an Employment Equity Policy", the Commission announced that the
employment equity practices of broadcasters would be subject to examination by the Commission. In this regard, the Commission encourages the licensee to consider employment equity issues in its hiring practices and in all other aspects of its management of human resources.
The Commission notes the applicant's plans to install a TDD system in the first year of operation to serve the needs of persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The applicant also confirmed that the majority of its foreign-language programming will have English-language subtitles, and that it plans to acquire its own closed captioning equipment in the fourth year of operation to provide this service in house.
Conclusion
The Commission is satisfied that SATV will bring added diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system through its service that will be targeted to the currently underserved South Asian communities in Ontario. The Commission is further satisfied that approval of this application is consistent with its ethnic broadcasting policy.
The Commission acknowledges and has considered the interventions submitted with respect to this application, including the strong support expressed in submissions filed by a variety of individuals, associations and other representatives of the South Asian community.
>This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Allan J. Darling
Secretary General
APPENDIX/ANNEXE
Conditions of licence for SATV
1. The licensee shall provide a regional (Ontario) specialty service having as its target audience the South Asian communities of Ontario. The licensee shall draw not less than 75% of its programs from TYPE A programming and not more than 25% of its programs from TYPE C programming, as set out in Schedule II of the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990.
2. The licensee shall devote to the distribution of Canadian programs not less than 17% of the broadcast year, and not less than 8% of the evening broadcast period.
3. In accordance with the Commission's position on Canadian programming expenditures as set out in Public Notices CRTC 1992-28, 1993-93 and 1993-174:
(a) In the broadcast year following the first year of operation, and in each subsequent broadcast year, the licensee shall expend on Canadian programs a minimum of 15% of the gross revenues derived from the operation of the service in the previous year.
(b) In the broadcast year following the first year of operation, and in each subsequent broadcast year, excluding the final year, the licensee may expend an amount on Canadian programs that is up to five percent (5%) less than the minimum required expenditure for that year calculated in accordance with this condition; in such case, the licensee shall expend in the next year of the licence term, in addition to the minimum required expenditure for that year, the full amount of the previous year's underexpenditure.
(c) In the broadcast year following the first year of operation, and in each subsequent broadcast year, where the licensee expends an amount on Canadian programs that is greater than the minimum required expenditure for that year calculated in accordance with this condition, the licensee may deduct:
(i) from the minimum required expenditure for the next broadcast year of the licence term, an amount not exceeding the amount of the previous year's overexpenditure; and
(ii) from the minimum required expenditure for any subsequent broadcast year of the licence term, an amount not exceeding the difference between the overexpenditure and any amount deducted under (i) above.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (b) and (c) above, during the licence term, the licensee shall expend on Canadian programs, at a minimum, the total of the minimum required expenditures calculated in accordance with this condition of licence.
4. (a) Subject to subsections (b) and (c), the licensee shall not distribute more than eight (8) minutes of advertising material during each clock hour.
(b) In addition to the eight minutes of advertising material referred to in subsection (a), the licensee may distribute, during each clock hour, a maximum of 30 seconds of additional advertising material that consists of unpaid public service announcements.
(c) Where a program occupies time in two or more consecutive clock hours, the licensee may exceed the maximum number of minutes of advertising material allowed in those clock hours if the average number of minutes of advertising material in the clock hours occupied by the program does not exceed the maximum number of minutes that would otherwise be allowed per clock hour.
5. This undertaking shall be in operation within 36 months of the date of this decision, or, where the licensee applies to the Commission within this period and satisfies the Commission that it cannot complete implementation before the expiry of this period and that an extension is in the public interest, within such further period of time as is approved in writing by the Commission.
6. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on gender portrayal set out in the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) "Sex-Role Portrayal Code for Television and Radio Programming", as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
7. The licensee shall adhere to the guidelines on the depiction of violence in television programming set out in the CAB's "Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming", as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
8. The licensee shall adhere to the provisions of the CAB's "Broadcast Code for Advertising to Children", as amended from time to time and approved by the Commission.
For the purpose of these conditions, the terms "broadcast day", "broadcast month", "broadcast year", "clock hour" and "evening broadcast period" shall have the same meanings as those set out in the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987; and "first year of operation" shall mean the first broadcast year in which the applicant is in operation for a period exceeding ninety (90) days, excluding any free preview period.