Ottawa, 6 May 2003
Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs
Global Television Network
81 Barber Greene Road
Re: Annual Report Pursuant to Decision CRTC 2000-221
Dear Ms. Bell:
This is to acknowledge that the Commission accepts CanWest Global's second annual report filed 13 December 2002 pursuant to Acquisition by CanWest Global Communications Corp., through its wholly-owned subsidiary CW Shareholdings Inc., of the ownership interests held previously by WIC Western International Communications Ltd. in various conventional television stations and in certain other broadcasting undertakings, Decision CRTC 2000-221, 6 July 2000.
While this report provides all the information required in the above decision, the Commission considers it necessary to comment on two specific concerns.
Compliance with condition of licence regarding priority programming
In the annual report, Global notes that, subsequent to its broadcast, the series No Boundaries did not receive Canadian certification. Based upon the information filed in the annual report, it appears that CHAN may not have been in compliance with the condition of licence requiring it to broadcast a minimum average of 8 hours per week of priority programming. The Commission will advise Global of any shortfalls following the normal review of its logs. However, the Commission considers it appropriate to advise Global at this time that should there be a shortfall as a result of the non-certification of No Boundaries, or for any other reason, the Commission expects Global to make up the necessary hours within the current licence term.
In the annual report, Global states that " We did not increase our series drama production from the west overall." In fact, based upon the figures provided in this report, western-produced drama declined significantly from 77 hours in 2001 to 46 hours in 2002.
At the public hearing that considered CanWest Global's application to acquire certain broadcasting assets of WIC Western International Communications Ltd. Global acknowledged that, ".we have to improve our record of deriving more dramatic content from western Canada. You have our commitment that we want to change our track record."
It was in response to this commitment that the Commission expected Global to report annually on its progress towards increasing the amount of drama programming that it licences from producers in Western Canada.
In the Commission's view, Global's failure to demonstrate progress in this regard is disappointing. The Commission considers that the trend revealed in this second annual report fails to live up to the commitment made by Global at the April 2000 public hearing.
The Commission recognizes that many factors are involved in the successful production of dramatic programming - not all of which are in the control of the broadcaster. Nevertheless, the significant decline in western-produced drama reported by Global requires a serious and planned approach by the licensee to ensure that it does not become a trend.
Accordingly, the Commission expects Global, in its next annual report, to show a demonstrable increase in western-produced drama. Further, it expects Global to provide a serious plan as to how it will ensure that progress is maintained through the balance of the licence term.
The annual report and related correspondence will be placed on Global's public examination file.