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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 2000-452

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Decision CRTC 2000-452

Ottawa, 14 December 2000

CHUM Limited

Across Canada — 200010546

14 August 2000 Public Hearing
National Capital Region

 

 

FashionTelevision - a new specialty channel

 

On 24 November 2000, the Commission made a decision to issue a licence for a new national English-language Category 1 specialty television service to be called "Fashion Television: The Channel" (FashionTelevision). The Commission noted at that time that reasons, terms and conditions of the new licence would follow at a later date.

 

FashionTelevision will focus on fashion and style, but will also cover art, architecture, photography, modelling, décor and design, health, fitness, beauty and lifestyle. As noted in Public Notice CRTC 2000-171 issued today, FashionTelevision and 20 other new digital specialty services will be made available to subscribers by all distributors who offer programming to the public using digital technology and by some cable operators who serve smaller markets using analog technology. The licence, when issued, will expire 31 August 2007.

 

FashionTelevision will bring added diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system by providing coverage of matters that currently have exposure through only a handful of fashion-related programs available on Canadian television. In approving this application, the Commission took into account the growing number of Canadian fashion magazines and their significant readership, which crosses all demographic groups. In Public Notice 2000-171, the Commission discusses the general criteria for the approval of this and other applications for new specialty services.

 

FashionTelevision will be owned and operated by CHUM Limited (CHUM). CHUM has significant experience in Canadian broadcasting through its ownership of various radio and television stations including CITY-TV Toronto, and existing specialty services such as MuchMusic, Bravo! and Space. CHUM is also a worldwide leader in the provision of fashion-related programming through its internationally reknowned program "FashionTelevision."

 

Terms and conditions of licence common to all of the new Category 1 specialty services are set out in an appendix to Public Notice 2000-171. Conditions specific to this application can be found in the appendix to this decision.

 

 

 

Programming

 

Nature of service

 

FashionTelevision will provide a national English-language specialty television service dedicated to fashion, beauty, style, art, architecture, photography and design. Programming related to fashion will predominate, with over 50% of the programming devoted to it, but the service will also deal with art and design forms such as photography and architecture, in a feature reporting or "profile" style. The service does not intend to feature "how-to" programs related to design, and no more than 15% of the programming will feature programs devoted to home or garden design. The program categories identified by FashionTelevision as forming the service’s content are set out in a condition of licence found in the appendix to this decision.

 

The new service will operate in a "program wheel" format, with the majority of programs repeated three times each weekday, shown at the same time each day. Weekend programming will differ from the weekday programs, and although there will be some repetition on weekends, there will be fewer repeats than on weekdays.

 

Programs will be offered in a variety of formats including information and magazine-style shows as well as dramatic and comedy series, and feature length films. FashionTelevision stated that all dramas and movies would "feature characters in situations from the world of fashion and design."

 

Contributions to diversity

 

FashionTelevision will contribute to increased diversity in the Canadian broadcasting system by adding to the quantity, diversity and quality of fashion and style programming available to Canadians. The licensee stated that FashionTelevision "will become the central Canadian television platform for the exploration of beauty, photography, design and architecture - critically exposing, exploring and celebrating Canada’s domestic strengths and global success."

 

Canadian content

 

The licensee made a commitment to broadcast a minimum of 40% Canadian content from 6 a.m. to midnight, and a minimum of 40% from 6 p.m. to midnight, in the first year of the licence term. FashionTelevision’s commitment will be increased gradually over the licence term. In the seventh year of the term, a minimum of 50% Canadian content will be broadcast, both during the period 6 a.m. to midnight, and between 6 p.m. and midnight. In addition, the licensee made a commitment that 100% of the programming broadcast daily between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. would be Canadian.

 

Following discussions at the hearing, the licensee further committed to broadcast a minimum of 173 hours of original self- or co-produced Canadian programming, and 175 hours of acquired original Canadian programs in the first year of the licence term, increasing to a minimum of 215 hours of original self- or co-produced and 215 hours of original acquired Canadian programs in the seventh year of the term. FashionTelevision stated that, over a seven-year licence term, at least $525,000 would be spent on script and concept development for original Canadian programs, and at least $700,000 on new fashion videos.

 

Canadian programming expenditures

 

Beginning in the year following the first year of operation, the licensee will expend a yearly minimum of 41% of its gross advertising, infomercial and subscription revenues on Canadian programming. The licensee estimates that, in accordance with this formula, it will spend almost $19 million over the licence term, to acquire or produce Canadian programs. A formula for the calculation of the amounts required is set out in a condition of licence found in the appendix to this decision.

 

Independent production

 

The majority of FashionTelevision’s Canadian programs will be station-produced, although CHUM stated that independent producers will be called upon to produce fashion videos and related documentary programming, and that the $700,000 identified above would be dedicated to such programs. The Commission notes the licensee’s commitments, and as set out in Public Notice 2000-171, all Category 1 services will be subject to a standard condition of licence in this regard.

 

Interactivity

 

CHUM stated "the website for FashionTelevision will be a full co-partner in the service" and that web-based interactivity will include additional information, entertainment, and selected program material streamed online. It also anticipates that FashionTelevision viewers will eventually be able to chat, engage in e-commerce and participate in contests online. Additional interactive television formats and services complementary to FashionTelevision will be added as technology permits.

 

Ownership and synergies

 

As noted above, FashionTelevision will be owned and operated by CHUM, which owns a number of radio, television and specialty undertakings across Canada. The new service will also build upon the success of CITY-TV’s highly popular "FashionTelevision" program. On 24 November 2000, the Commission made a decision to issue a licence to MusiquePlus inc. for a French-language Category 1 specialty service (Decision 2000-466). The new French-language service, to be known as Perfecto, La Chaîne will, with FashionTelevision, focus on fashion and design. Due to the similar programming, and the ownership position of CHUM in both services, there will be beneficial synergies for both FashionTelevision and Perfecto.

 

The new service will originate from the CHUM building in Toronto, and use a combination of dedicated and shared facilities. Through its co-location with other CHUM services, FashionTelevision will have access to a master program library, emergency engineering services, creative services, the CHUM building equipment, information technology support, and accounting, legal and personnel services. FashionTelevision will also have access to the production and creative supervision of senior CHUM producers and management.

 

 

 

Other matters

 

Rate

 

In its business plan, the licensee proposed a wholesale rate in English-language markets of $0.40 in the first three years of operation, increasing to $0.43 for the remainder of the licence term. In French-language markets, the licensee proposed a wholesale rate of $0.12 for the first three years, increasing to $0.13 for the remainder of the licence term. Following its launch, CHUM proposes to offer FashionTelevision free, during a three-month trial period.

 

Service to the hearing-impaired

 

The licensee committed to install a TTY (teletypewriter), and to spend a minimum of $325,000 over the licence term on closed captioning. It stated that since some older recorded material would be used, it would be impossible to project the percentage of programming that will be captioned over the term of the licence. CHUM did, however, commit to caption all elements of originally produced new programming and the Commission notes the licensee’s commitments. It expects however, that by the end of the licence term a minimum of 90% of FashionTelevision’s programming will be closed captioned.

 

Service to the visually-impaired

 

With respect to descriptive video service (DVS), the licensee stated that it has experimented with audio description for entertainment programming, and continues to explore the feasibility and financial viability of its implementation. While it does not believe that specific commitments to DVS are realistic at this time, due both to cost and limited potential audience, CHUM continues to monitor developments, and is prepared to broadcast described programming when available at a reasonable cost.

 

In the shorter term, the licensee will make its programming accessible to visually-impaired subscribers by ensuring that graphics and visual elements are as large and clear as possible, and that on-screen text is accompanied by voice-overs that provide concise summaries of information presented visually, including, where applicable, telephone numbers.

 

The Commission requires FashionTelevision to be technically equipped to deliver described video programming and to fulfil the commitments included in the application. In addition, the Commission encourages the licensee to provide audio description of visual information wherever possible, and to provide described video programming as outlined in Public Notice 2000-171.

 

 

 

Employment equity

 

The Commission notes that this licensee is subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 and therefore files reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.

 

Conclusion

 

In approving this application, the Commission is satisfied that FashionTelevision will provide a unique service that will focus on subjects not currently offered in quantity on Canadian television. The Commission notes that CHUM successfully operates a number of Canadian specialty television services, including some in the digital environment. In view of the licensee’s experience in a variety of broadcasting endeavors, and the important synergies that will result from CHUM’s ownership interest in Perfecto, La Chaîne, the Commission is confident that FashionTelevision will also be a "good fit" as the curtain opens on the digital era.

 

Secretary General

 

 

This decision is to be appended to the licence. It is available in alternative format upon request, and may also be examined at the following Internet site: www.crtc.gc.ca

 

 

Appendix to Decision CRTC 2000-452

 

The licence for the national English-language programming undertaking (specialty television service) known as FashionTelevision: The Channel will be subject to the following conditions, as well as those set out both in Public Notice CRTC 2000-171, and in the licence to be issued.

 

Nature of service

 

1. (a) The licensee shall provide a national English-language Category 1 specialty television service that is dedicated to fashion, beauty, style, art, architecture, photography and design.

 
  1. The programming must be drawn exclusively from the following categories, as set out in Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990:

2a

Analysis and interpretation

8a

Music and dance other than 8b or 8c

2b

Long-form documentary

8b

Music video clips

3

Reporting and actualities

8c

Music video programs

5b

Informal education/recreation and leisure

10

Game shows

7a

Ongoing dramatic series

11

General entertainment and human interest

7b

Ongoing comedy series (sitcoms)

12

Interstitials

7d

Theatrical feature films aired on TV

13

Public service announcements (PSAs)

7f

Comedy sketches, improvisation, unscripted works, stand-up comedy

14

Infomercials, promotional/corporate video

7g

Other drama

   
 
  • No more than 15% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from category 7.
 
  • No more than 15% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall focus on home and garden design.
 

Exhibition of Canadian programs

 

2. In each broadcast year or portion thereof, the licensee shall devote to the distribution of Canadian programs the following percentages of the broadcast day and the evening broadcast period:

   

Broadcast day

Evening broadcast period

 

Year one

40%

40%

 

Year two

40%

40%

 

Year three

40%

40%

 

Year four

45%

45%

 

Year five

45%

45%

 

Year six

45%

45%

 

Year seven

50%

50%

 

 

 

Expenditures on Canadian programs

 

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, except as amended below:

 

(a) In each broadcast year following the first year of operation, the licensee shall expend on Canadian programs not less than 41% of the previous broadcast year’s gross advertising, infomercial and subscription revenues;

 

(b) In each broadcast year following the first year of operation, excluding the final year, the licensee may expend an amount on Canadian programs that is up to ten percent (10%) less than the minimum required expenditure for that year set out in or 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 each broadcast year following the first year of operation, where the licensee expends an amount on Canadian programs that is greater than the minimum required expenditure for that year set out in or calculated in accordance with this condition, the licensee may deduct:

 

(i) from the minimum required expenditure for the next 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 year of the licence term, an amount not exceeding the difference between the overexpenditure and any amount deducted under paragraph (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 set out in or calculated in accordance with the licensee’s condition of licence.

 

Definition

 

The term "broadcast day" shall have the same meaning as that set out in the Television Broadcasting Regulations, 1987.

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