Ottawa, 22 July 1997
Public Notice CRTC 1997-96
Revised Lists of Eligible Satellite Services
1. In Public Notice CRTC 1997-17 dated 19 February 1997, the Commission called for comments on requests by Canadian sponsors to add non-Canadian satellite services to the lists of satellite services authorized for distribution in Canada: the list of Part II Eligible Satellite Services (Part II list) and the list of Part III Eligible non-Canadian Satellite Services (Part III non-Canadian list) (the lists). The Commission received 1,043 comments in response to this notice. The Commission thanks all of the parties who submitted comments in this process.
REQUESTS TO DELAY PROCESS
2. A number of those who submitted comments suggested that no additional foreign service should be authorized for distribution until the Commission has completed its process to consider the licensing of new Canadian specialty and pay television services pursuant to Public Notice CRTC 1997-33. In that notice, the Commission indicated that it would hold a public hearing on applications for new pay and specialty services that are received before 30 September 1997.
3. After reviewing these comments and the replies filed by sponsors, the Commission has decided to proceed to amend the lists as set out herein. Among other things, this amendment will provide distributors with the ability to choose among a greater number of non-Canadian satellite services that may be packaged with Canadian specialty and pay services, including those due to launch in September 1997.
PACKAGING RULES/RESTRICTIONS FOR NEW NON-CANADIAN SERVICES
4. Public Notice CRTC 1997-17 invited comments on proposals by ACCESS - Learning & Skills Television of Alberta Limited and the Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) with respect to the placement of additional non-Canadian services on the lists.
5. In response, a number of parties suggested that additional non-Canadian services should be authorized for distribution only in digital format, and that they should not occupy analog capacity that could otherwise be used to distribute Canadian services.
6. After reviewing the comments filed on this matter and the replies of sponsors, the Commission considers that the additional non-Canadian services authorized in this notice should not be subject to any additional requirement concerning the Canadian services with which they may be packaged other than those existing packaging rules pertaining to services on Sections "A" or "B" of the Part II list, or the technology used for their distribution. The Commission is of the view that, in addition to providing packaging partners for Canadian pay and specialty services, this approach will provide distributors with the maximum flexibility to add non-Canadian services to tiers without placing distributors that have yet to roll-out digital technology at a competitive disadvantage.
SERVICES NOT BEING ADDED TO THE LISTS
The Popcorn Channel
7. The Commission understands that the Popcorn Channel has ceased operation. The Commission therefore considers that it would be inappropriate to add this service to the lists.
Prime Time 24
8. The Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA) and Star Choice Television Network Incorporated filed a request to have added to the lists a number of U.S. network signals that are currently distributed by Prime Time 24, a U.S. satellite provider.
9. The Commission notes in this regard that the current process to amend the lists was initiated, among other reasons, on the basis that the required linkage of non-Canadian services to Canadian pay and specialty services contributes to the successful marketing of these Canadian services. The request to add Prime Time 24 signals, however, concerns the provision of an alternate source of U.S. network signals to Canadian distributors. It raises issues which are outside the scope of the current proceeding.
10. The Commission considers that the matter of alternate sources of U.S. network signals should be dealt with in the context of a separate process whereby the Commission would also have the opportunity to consider applications from Canadian parties who may wish to distribute such signals to Canadian distributors.
11. In Public Notice CRTC 1997-92 dated 16 July 1997, the Commission announced that it intends to hold a public hearing commencing on 11 February 1998 to consider, among other matters, the licence renewal application of Canadian Satellite Communications (Cancom). In that Public Notice, the Commission also indicated that it will be prepared to entertain applications from parties for a licence to offer a package of programming services to cable distributors, whether on a national or regional basis. The Commission intends to consider the request to have the U.S. network signals distributed by Prime Time 24 added to the lists in the context of this proceeding.
Bloomberg Information Television
12. The CCTA requested that Bloomberg Information Television (Bloomberg), a business news and information service, be added to the lists.
13. This request was opposed by, among others, Report on Business Television (ROBTv). ROBTv argued that the Bloomberg service would be competitive with the service that ROBTv has been licensed to offer, and further, that Bloomberg is an expected source of program material for its service. In its reply, the CCTA stated that the text component of Bloomberg will be different from ROBTv and that ROBTv will provide more analysis than Bloomberg on how business news impacts on Canadians. It argued that Bloomberg would be a successful packaging partner with ROBTv, not a competitor.
14. After carefully considering all of the views on this matter, the Commission has determined that the Bloomberg service would be competitive with the Canadian specialty service of ROBTv. The request to add this service to the lists is therefore denied.
15. 3264777 Canada Inc. filed a request to have Newsworld International (NWI) added to the lists. It stated that, although NWI is produced in Toronto and currently available on the Canadian Anik E1 satellite, it has not applied for a Canadian licence because it is essential that NWI design its schedule for global viewers and not a uniquely Canadian audience.
16. CTV Television Network Ltd. commented that the NWI service is a Canadian specialty service not a non-Canadian service eligible for inclusion on the lists.
17. 3264777 Canada Inc. replied that, "while the content of NWI is Canadian-generated, it is scripted, packaged and targeted at international markets." It stated that it had decided, at this time, not to apply for a specialty licence "given that holding a Canadian licence would cause NWI to shift from its present mission of being a world news service without country-specific emphasis." Further, it noted that the Commission had indicated in Decision CRTC 95-902 that the originator of the NWI service could request that the service be added to the lists.
18. The Commission has examined the description of NWI's service and has determined that the sponsor of this request has failed to make a convincing argument as to why NWI does not fall within the definition of a "programming undertaking" in section 2 of the Broadcasting Act and, as a result, requires a licence.
19. Accordingly, the Commission has decided to deny this request to add NWI to the lists. Furthermore, its directs NWI to file a licence application or apply for an exemption from licensing.
20. The Commission received requests by sponsors to add the following non-Canadian single-faith or limited point-of-view religious services to the lists: Cornerstone TeleVision, Eternal Word Television Network, The Inspirational Network and Three Angels Broadcasting Network.
21. Under the Commission's religious policy, as set out in Public Notice CRTC 1993-78 dated 3 June 1993, non-Canadian religious services are to be distributed exclusively in a package with Canadian single-faith discretionary religious services. This requirement was noted in Public Notice CRTC 1997-17. Since the Commission has not yet licensed a Canadian single or limited point-of-view discretionary religious service, the distribution of foreign single-faith religious services is effectively precluded under the present policy.
22. The Commission has reviewed the comments submitted by parties addressing this issue and has determined that it would not be appropriate to alter its policy on religious broadcasting at this time. For this reason, the Commission has decided to deny these requests to add non-Canadian single-faith religious services to the lists.
23. The Commission would, however, be prepared to consider requests to add non-Canadian single-faith religious services to the lists at the time a Canadian single-faith discretionary religious service is licensed.
SERVICES BEING ADDED TO THE LISTS
24. The Commission has carefully examined the requests filed by sponsors, the comments of interested parties and the sponsors' replies thereto, and has decided to add the following non-Canadian services to the lists, subject to the restrictions described below.
25. Accordingly, the following services will be added to Section "A" of the Part II list and the Part III non-Canadian list:
America's Health Network
The Filipino Channel
The Golf Channel
TV Food Network
26. In addition, the Commission has decided to move Black Entertainment Television (BET) from Section "B" to Section "A" of the Part II list, thereby enabling this service to be packaged with Canadian specialty services as well as Canadian pay television services. The Commission has also decided to remove the restrictions imposed on the distribution of the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), permitting the full-time distribution of this service.
27. The Commission has also decided to add the following services to Section "B" of the Part II list and to the Part III non-Canadian list:
American Movie Classics
Game Show Network
Turner Classic Movies
28. By majority vote, the Commission has decided to add Playboy TV to Section "B" of the Part II list and to the Part III non-Canadian list, but only with the strict carriage restrictions described below.
29. In amending the lists at this time, the Commission is aware that, in response to Public Notice CRTC 1997-33, it may receive applications for new Canadian services that propose to operate in formats competitive with non-Canadian services on the lists. The Commission wishes to inform prospective applicants that it will not be disposed to remove a non-Canadian service from the lists, even should it license, in the future, a Canadian service in a competitive format.
30. The Commission wishes to reaffirm the continuing elements of its policy regarding the inclusion of competitive non-Canadian services on the lists. Specifically,
a) it will not authorize non-Canadian services that can be considered either totally or partially competitive with existing Canadian pay or specialty services; and
b) it will consider the removal of existing non-Canadian services from the lists if they undergo a change in format so as to become competitive with a Canadian pay or specialty service.
Restrictions on Playboy TV
31. Given the adult nature of the programming distributed by Playboy TV and considering that this service is available 24 hours per day, the Commission has determined that distributors should be permitted to distribute this service to a subscriber at the specific request of that subscriber. In addition, distributors are not permitted to package Playboy TV in such a way that subscribers are obligated to purchase Playboy TV in order to purchase any other programming service.
32. The Commission is also aware that the scrambling technology currently used by certain distributors may not completely block the reception of a discretionary service from the premises of a customer who does not subscribe to that service. For this reason, upon receipt of a request by a subscriber that Playboy TV not be receivable in the subscriber's premises, cable distributors who distribute this service are required to take measures to fully block the reception at the subscriber's premises of both the audio and video portions of Playboy TV (for example, using trapping technology).
33. This requirement to fully block Playboy TV has not been applied to DTH licensees since their service is distributed using only digital technology, which, by its nature, provides a high level of encryption.
34. A notation has been placed on the lists to reflect these restrictions on the distribution of Playboy TV.
ADDITION OF SERVICES TO THE PART III NON-CANADIAN LIST AND THE DTH LIST
35. In a number of cases, the sponsors did not specifically request that non-Canadian services be added to the Part III non-Canadian list. At this time, the Part II list and Part III non-Canadian list are identical with respect to non-Canadian services. In order that all cable distribution licensees be permitted to distribute the same non-Canadian satellite services, any new service added to the Part II list (whether in Section "A" or "B") as part of this process has also been added to the Part III non-Canadian list.
36. In Public Notice CRTC 1997-50 dated 2 May 1997, the Commission established a list of DTH Eligible Satellite Services (DTH list) as part of the regulatory changes announced in Public Notice CRTC 1997-25 entitled New Regulatory Framework for Broadcasting Distribution Undertakings. In order that all distribution undertakings be permitted to distribute the same non-Canadian satellite services, new non-Canadian services added to the Part II list and Part III non-Canadian list as part of this process will also be added to the DTH list (in either Section "A" or "B", as appropriate). In addition, any change in the carriage status of non-Canadian services found on the Part II list and Part III non-Canadian list will also be reflected on the DTH list.
37. It should be noted, however, that the DTH list was issued for administrative convenience and will apply to DTH licensees only with the coming into force of the new Broadcasting Distribution Regulations (the regulations) in early 1998. Therefore, until the regulations are in force, it will be necessary for a DTH licensee to apply for a condition of licence and receive approval from the Commission before distributing any of the non-Canadian services that are on the DTH list, but not specifically included in its conditions of licence.
38. In Decision CRTC 97-359 of today's date, the Commission has approved, in part, an application by Cancom to add the signal of KIRO-TV (IND) Seattle, Washington, to the lists of signals that it is authorized to distribute. While Cancom had requested that this signal be added to Section "A" of the Part II list, the Commission added this signal to Section "B", for exclusive linkage with Canadian pay television services.
39. Accordingly, this signal has been added to Section "B" of the Part II list and to the list of Part III Eligible Canadian Satellite Services.
40. The attached lists have been amended to reflect the changes announced herein.
Laura M. Talbot-Allan
This document is available in alternative format upon request.
Dissenting Opinion of Commissioner Garth Dawley
Commissioner Dawley dissents with respect to the inclusion of Playboy TV to Section "B" of the Part II list and the Part III non-Canadian list.