ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 97-371

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Ottawa, 7 August 1997
Decision CRTC 97-371
South Asian Television Canada Limited
Toronto, Ontario - 199702444
Licence amendment
1. Following Public Notice CRTC 1997-43 dated 24 April 1997, the Commission approves the application by South Asian Television Canada Limited (South Asian), licensee of the ethnic specialty programming undertaking known as SATV, to amend its broadcasting licence in order to authorize the distribution of its service across Canada.
2. In Decision CRTC 96-617 dated 4 September 1996, the Commission granted a licence to South Asian with a condition that SATV be targeted to the South Asian communities of Ontario.
3. In support of its application, South Asian stated that, since receiving approval to provide SATV in Ontario, it had had inquiries from Canadians of South Asian descent from across the country, about the possibility of receiving SATV in other regions. The licensee also stated that distribution of the SATV signal to cable head ends, and to subscribers across Canada in areas not served by cable, is now possible. In addition, South Asian noted that it owns the Canadian and American rights for all of SATV's programming. The licensee further noted that in addition to remaining committed to its original SATV program schedule and Canadian programming commitments, its encouragement of Canadian talent and content would be enhanced from a regional scope to a national outlook.
4. An intervention in opposition to this application was submitted by CTEQ Télévision inc. (CTEQ), licensee of CJNT-TV Montréal. CJNT-TV is a local Montréal television programming undertaking which is licensed to provide multilingual programming of interest to various local ethnic groups, including the South Asian community.
5. In its intervention, CTEQ expressed concern that the distribution of SATV in the Montréal market would have a severe impact on CTEQ's ability to launch the operation of CJNT-TV by 1 September 1997, as required by the Commission. CTEQ added that its projected loss of revenue to SATV would have serious consequences for the quality and quantity of CJNT-TV's local Canadian production, and expressed its concern that since SATV will have access to subscriber revenues and CJNT-TV will not, this would constitute unfair competition. Finally, the intervener argued that the fact that SATV and CJNT-TV would have to compete for programming would be a benefit to foreign third-language program producers, but would diminish the public's access to quality local Asian programming.
6. In reply to the concerns expressed by CTEQ, South Asian expressed its belief that, while CJNT-TV plans to provide a small amount of programming of interest to the South Asian community in Montréal, SATV's service is dedicated entirely to that community's needs, and that any overlaps in either service to the Montréal area or potential advertisers would be minimal. In this regard, CTEQ also noted that while the South Asian community in Canada is represented in the Montréal area, it is primarily concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia. The licensee also stated, in regard to foreign-produced programming, that while South Asian will use some satellite programming feeds, it produces much of its programming in Canada and also exports a great deal of Canadian programming. It reiterated that the basic differences between the programming focus of CJNT-TV and that of SATV make it unlikely that the public's access to local programming of interest to the South Asian community in Montréal would be compromised.
7. The Commission has carefully reviewed the concerns expressed by the intervener as well as the licensee's responses thereto. It is satisfied that, as a national, discretionary service, SATV will attract a different audience than that of a local service provider. Approval of this application should not, therefore, have a significant impact on CJNT-TV's multicultural service. The Commission is further satisfied that the distribution of this discretionary service on a national basis will offer a Canadian alternative to programming of interest to the South Asian community.
8. Accordingly, the Commission deletes SATV's condition of licence no. 1 regarding the nature of service and substitutes the following therefor:
The licensee shall provide a national specialty service having as its target audience the South Asian communities of Canada. 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.
9. Regarding the distribution that this service may anticipate, the Commission notes that, consistent with Public Notice CRTC 1996-120 dated 4 September 1996, and in accordance with the provisions set out in the distribution and linkage requirements (Public Notice CRTC 1996-121 dated 4 September 1996), this service will be provided exclusively as a discretionary service and will be distributed in Canada at the discretion of broadcasting distribution undertakings. The signal will also be available for distribution across Canada by licensed direct-to-home (DTH) distribution undertakings.
10. The Commission acknowledges and has considered all of the interventions submitted in support of this application.
This decision is to be appended to the licence.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
Secretary General
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