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ARCHIVED -  Decision CRTC 2000-458

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Decision CRTC 2000-458

Ottawa, 14 December 2000

BCE Media Inc., on behalf of a general partnership to be established, to be comprised of BCE Media Inc./Groupe TVA inc. limited partnership, and CTV Television Inc.

Across Canada — 200007296

14 August 2000 Public Hearing
National Capital Region
 

Travel TV - 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 "Travel TV". The Commission noted at that time that reasons, terms and conditions of the new licence would follow at a later date.

 

Travel TV will offer a service devoted entirely to programs focusing on travel. As noted in Public Notice CRTC 2000-171 issued today, Travel TV 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.

 

Travel TV will bring added diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system with a popular form of entertainment that is currently available in limited quantities on Canadian television. In granting a licence to Travel TV, the Commission has taken into account the growing Canadian tourism market and the increasing demand for special interest vacation activities for Canadians of all ages. In Public Notice 2000-171, the Commission discusses the general criteria for the approval of this and other applications for new specialty services.

 

The controlling partnership interest (51%) in Travel TV, a general partnership, will be held by BCE Media Inc. / Groupe TVA Inc., a limited partnership. CTV Television Inc. will hold 49% of the partnership interest in the general partnership. The BCE Media Inc. limited partnership is composed of Groupe TVA Inc. (19.995%) and BCE Media Inc. (79.995%) as limited partners and BCE Media NewCo Travel (OBCI) as the general partner.

 

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
Travel TV will provide a national English-language specialty television service consisting exclusively of travel or travel-related programming. The service will explore the world within and beyond Canada’s borders. Programs will address various segments of the population and all types of travel, including those focusing on adventure, outdoor, sporting, cultural and historical interests. The program categories identified by Travel TV as forming the service’s content are set out in a condition of licence found in the appendix to this decision.
As described by the applicant, Travel TV’s programming will feature:
  • current information for business travellers,
  • an innovative approach to addressing the needs of disabled travellers,
  • the potential and visibility of tourism related to Canada’s aboriginal culture and communities,
  • a showcase for cultural events, shopping, and dining for Canadians travelling at home and abroad,
  • matters related to budget travel including discount airfares and inexpensive dining options,
  • hosted journeys to the most breathtaking, dangerous and challenging environments on earth,
  • Canadian and foreign documentaries on travel destinations around the world,
  • a limited number of feature films with travel as a central theme,
  • guides to family travel, and family-friendly destinations,
  • tips on personal travel safety, health, budgeting and scheduling matters, and
  • information of particular interest to seniors, women, children and solo travellers.
Contributions to diversity
Travel TV will contribute to increased diversity in the Canadian broadcasting system, since programming focused entirely on travel-related matters is not currently available through analog distribution. In discussions at the hearing related to the ownership position of CTV in the specialty channel Outdoor Life, Travel TV indicated that there would be minimal duplication of programming currently available on that service.
Canadian content
The licensee made a commitment to broadcast a minimum of 53% Canadian content from 6 a.m. to midnight, and a minimum of 53% from 6 p.m. to midnight, in the first year of the licence term. Travel TV’s commitment will be increased gradually over the licence term. In the seventh year of the term, a minimum of 70% Canadian content will be broadcast, both during the period 6 a.m. to midnight, and between 6 p.m. and midnight.
Following discussions at the hearing, the licensee further committed to broadcast a minimum of 750 hours of original Canadian programs in the first year of the licence term, increasing to a minimum of 1,296 hours in the seventh year of the term. Travel TV stated that, over a seven-year licence term, over 8,000 hours of original Canadian programs will be broadcast.
Canadian programming expenditures
Beginning in the year following the first year of operation, the licensee will expend a yearly minimum of 53% of its gross advertising, infomercial and subscription revenues on Canadian programming. The licensee estimates that, in accordance with this formula, it will spend approximately $41 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
At the hearing, Travel TV made a commitment that at least one-third of the Canadian programming budget over the licence term would be spent on productions from independent producers. The licensee expects that this commitment will represent a minimum of 1,428 hours of original programming, at a cost of approximately $13.5 million. Travel TV stated that programs acquired from production companies associated with CTV, BCE or Canal Évasion would be excluded from this commitment. 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
Internet-based interactivity will be accessible either through a personal computer or through a set-top box. Interactivity will provide personalized content such as program guides, additional information, travel planners and portfolios, travel checklists and last-minute travel opportunities. Travel TV indicates that the interactive components of its service will evolve naturally when digital set-top boxes begin to integrate television and the Internet.
Ownership and synergies
As noted earlier, a majority (51%) of the partnership interest in Travel TV is held by BCE Media Inc. / Groupe TVA Inc. Limited Partnership (BCE/TVA partnership). The remainder of the partnership interest is held by CTV. The BCE/TVA partnership will be managed by the general partner BCE Media Newco Travel (OBCI), and will be controlled by BCE Media Inc., by virtue of its majority partnership interest and its majority ownership of the voting interests in BCE Media Newco Travel. CTV will manage the programming operations of the service and Bell ExpressVu will manage the distribution operations of the service. CTV and Bell ExpressVu will each report directly to the partners (BCE/TVA partnership and CTV) and will operate under the direction and control of the partners.
Travel TV will benefit from BCE Media's managing partnership in Canal Évasion, a French-language specialty service focusing on travel. Benefits will include efficiencies in both the production of Canadian programming and the purchase of foreign programming. The licensee has indicated that the savings will be used to support more and better Canadian programming. Travel TV will also benefit from the cross-cultural experience and insights available through a close working relationship with Canal Évasion. In addition, through the BCE group of companies, Travel TV will have access to the expertise and facilities that will enable it to position itself in the forefront of interactive television.
The licensee has also developed a working relationship with Canal Voyage, a travel-related channel available in France, Belgium and Switzerland. This relationship is expected to foster the international broadcast of Canadian programs. Travel TV also has a programming agreement with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network that will allow Travel TV to feature programs focusing on the geography, lifestyle, heritage and culture of aboriginal communities.
Filing requirements
This authority will only be effective and the Commission will only issue the licence when the applicant has clearly demonstrated that it is a "qualified corporation" as defined in the Direction to the CRTC (Ineligibility of non-Canadians) and is eligible to hold a licence. Consequently, the applicant is required to file all relative incorporation documents (certificate and articles, by-laws, etc.), a copy of the executed Shareholder’s Agreement and information related to the final composition of the Management Committee, Board of Directors and partnership interests, or any other pertinent agreement, for review and approval by the Commission.
Other matters
Rate
In its business plan, the licensee a proposed a monthly wholesale rate of $0.35 per subscriber per month, and a 3-month free "preview" period.
Service to the hearing-impaired
The licensee has committed to install a TTY (teletypewriter), and to close caption at least 30% of the programming each broadcast day on Travel TV in the first year of operation. That level will increase by 10% each year, resulting in a minimum of 90% of programming to be close captioned in the seventh year of operation. The Commission expects the licensee to fulfil these commitments.
Service to the visually-impaired
Travel TV stated that it will make every effort to acquire the rights for descriptive video when it acquires programming. It noted that it will continue to monitor technical and financial developments related to the provision of descriptive video service (DVS) in North America, with a view to implementing the service during the latter part of the first licence term.
The Commission requires Travel TV 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 will be subject to the Employment Equity Act that came into effect on 24 October 1996 and therefore will file reports concerning employment equity with Human Resources Development Canada.
Conclusion
The Commission is satisfied that Travel TV will offer attractive and unique programs that will increase the diversity found in the Canadian broadcasting system. The licensee’s proposals and plans will foster the production of Canadian programs and their distribution abroad. The Commission is confident that the expertise and experience of all of the parties involved in the new service, and the resources that will therefore be available to it, will ensure the success of Travel TV.
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 2000-458

The licence for the national English-language programming undertaking (specialty television service) known as Travel TV 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 entirely to travel or travel-related programming.
(b) The programming must be drawn exclusively from the following categories, as set out in Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990:
1 News 8b Music video clips
2a Analysis and interpretation 9 Variety
2b Long-form documentary 11 General entertainment and human interest
5b Informal education/recreation and leisure 12 Interstitials
7c Specials, mini-series, made-for-TV feature films 13 Public service announcements (PSAs)
7d Theatrical feature films aired on TV 14 Infomercials, promotional/corporate video
8a Music and dance other than 8b or 8c
(c) No more than 5% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from category 7d. All theatrical feature films must have themes related to travel, and be limited to one such film per week.
(d) No more than 5% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from category 5b.
(e) No more than 5% of all programming broadcast during each broadcast week shall be drawn from category 8b.
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 53% 53%
Year two 55% 55%
Year three 60% 60%
Year four 60% 60%
Year five 65% 65%
Year six 65% 65%
Year seven 70% 70%
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 53% 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 be defined as the 24-hour period beginning at 6:00 a.m. each day.