Programming made by Canadians: Understanding Industry Responsibilities
A strong and diverse Canadian broadcasting system is a primary objective of Canada's Broadcasting Act, which states:
- each element of the system must contribute to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.
The Canadian broadcasting system is made up of all the Canadian programming and distribution services involved in broadcasting:
- programming services (such as radio and television stations, discretionary or on-demand television services) that decide what programs to carry; or
- distribution services (such as cable television or direct-to-home satellite (DTH)) that deliver programming services to the public.
Tangible Benefits Policy
Since the CRTC does not solicit competitive applications to transfer the ownership or change the effective control of broadcasting undertakings, it expects applicants to offer significant benefits to the communities they propose to serve and to the Canadian broadcasting system.
The CRTC's tangible benefits policy applies to all transfers of ownership or change in effective control involving:
- conventional television stations;
- pay television services;
- pay-per-view television services;
- specialty television services.
Generally, applicants must commit clear and tangible benefits that represent a financial contribution of 10% of the value of the transaction, as accepted by the CRTC. The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that proposed benefits are commensurate with the size and nature of the transaction.
Contributions to Canadian Programming
The CRTC requires that broadcasting distribution undertakings (e.g. cable companies and direct-to-home satellite services) make financial investments in the creation of programs made by Canadians.
The CRTC's 1997 regulatory framework for broadcasting distribution undertakings addresses the issue of contributions (Paragraphs 116 to 150) and sets out the following framework:
- With the exception of small cable companies, all broadcasting distribution undertakings must contribute a minimum of 5% of their gross annual revenues derived from broadcasting activities to contribute to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.
- DTH distributors must allocate the entire 5% programming contribution to an independently-administered production fund.
Local and community TV
Within the renewed Policy framework for local and community television, the CRTC is adopting measures to ensure that broadcasters continue to fulfill their social responsibility to produce locally reflective news and that they have the resources to do so.
In keeping with its preliminary view that there is currently sufficient funding within the system to ensure the creation of locally relevant and reflective programming but that the allocation of such funding needed to be re‑examined, the CRTC is putting in place measures to allow private broadcasters, and in particular those owned by large companies, to choose to reallocate funds currently devoted to community programming to the production of local news or to community programming in other markets.
Discretionary and On-demand Television Services
Expenditure requirements for discretionary television services vary and are set by conditions of licence. Check decisions for individual services for details.
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