TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
APPLICATIONS FOR LICENCES TO OPERATE NEW PAY AND SPECIALTY
SERVICES FOR DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION / DEMANDES DE LICENCES
VISANT LA DISTRIBUTION NUMÉRIQUE DE NOUVEAUX SERVICES DE
TÉLÉVISION SPÉCIALISÉE ET PAYANTE
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de Conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
September 5, 2000 le 5 septembre 2000
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
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Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Applications for Licences to operate New Pay and Specialty
Services for Digital Distribution / Demandes de licences
visant la distribution numérique de nouveaux services de
télévision spécialisée et payante
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Françoise Bertrand Chairperson of the
Commission / Présidente
Andrée Wylie Chairperson / Présidente
Jean-Marc Demers Commissioner / Conseiller
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseiller
Martha Wilson Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Peter Cussons Hearing Manager / Gérant
Carol Bénard Secretary / Secrétaire
Alastair Stewart Legal Counsel /
Peter McCallum Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de Conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
September 5, 2000 le 5 septembre 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR
OMNI FILM PRODUCTIONS 4592
M.K. PRODUCTIONS 4597
TOM HARPUR 4605
HON. DAVID MacDONALD 4614
PARENTS FRIENDS FAMILIES OF LESBIANS AND GAYS (PFLAG) 4621
XTRA! CANADA'S GAY & LESBIAN MEDIA GROUP 4628
CHAMBRE DE COMMERCE GAIE DU QUÉBEC 4638
DAVID SNODDY 4644
CANADIAN FEDERATION OF HUMANE SOCIETIES 4652
PET INDUSTRY JOINT ADVISORY COUNCIL OF CANADA 4659
CANADIAN SCREEN TRAINING CENTRE 4663
LISE WATIER COSMÉTIQUES INC. 4668
ZENOBIA COLLECTIONS INC. 4676
NORFLICKS ENTERTAINMENT LTD. 4680
NOVA SCOTIA FILM DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION 4690
BONTE MINNEMA 4695
LITTLE SISTER'S BOOK AND ART 4706
BBCM FOUNDATION / BLACK & BLUE FESTIVAL 4714
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES (continued)
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR
THE SPORTS NETWORK INC. 4723
THE JUSTICE CHANNEL INC. 4732
VISION TV DIGITAL INC. (OBCI/SDEC) 4740
LIFESTYLE TELEVISION (1994) LIMITED 4751
WETV CANADA (OBCI/SDEC) 4761
METROMEDIA CMR BROADCASTING AND/ET 4769
COGECO RADIO-TELEVISION INC. (OBCI/SDEC)
CRAIG BROADCAST SYSTEMS INC. (OBCI/SDEC) 4774
LEARNING AND SKILLS TELEVISION OF ALBERTA LIMITED 4788
SALTER STREET FILMS LIMITED (OBCI/SDEC) 4804
CORUS ENTERTAINMENT 4822
ASTRAL TELEVISION NETWORK INC./GLOBAL TELEVISION 4838
NETWORK INC. LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (OBCI)/SOCIÉTÉ
EN COMMANDITE (SDEC)
GLOBAL TELEVISION NETWORK INC. (OBCI/SDEC) 4849
NEW DAY MINISTRIES INC. 4866
STORNOWAY COMMUNICATIONS LIMITED PARTNERSHIP 4885
MUSIQUEPLUS INC. 4903
LE RÉSEAU DES SPORTS (RDS) INC. 4913
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Tuesday, September 5, 2000
at 0830 / L'audience reprend le mardi
5 septembre 2000 à 0830
30897 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning and welcome to this fourth week of our hearing.
30898 Bienvenue à tout le monde. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue à la quatrième semaine de notre audience.
30899 Nous allons poursuivre ce matin avec la Phase III qui sont les intervenants qui appuient un ou plusieurs des projets devant nous et nous vous rappelons qu'il est fort possible que nous ne posions aucune question ou que nous n'engagions pas de discussion avec les intervenants.
30900 Nous voulons surtout utiliser tout le temps que nous avons pour en entendre le plus possible. Alors ce n'est pas un manque d'intérêt.
30901 N'oubliez pas que vos interventions sont déposées au dossier public et ajoutées à votre intervention écrite.
30902 We will pursue with Phase III of the hearing, which is the hearing of supporting interventions in support of one or more of the applications before us.
30903 I want to remind parties that Commissioners may or may not engaged in discussions or ask questions of intervenors. We are very interested in what you have to say and we want to use the time we have to hear as many intervenors as possible.
30904 Remember that your interventions will be transcribed and added to the public record and added to your written intervention.
30905 Madam Secretary, please.
30906 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
30907 The first intervention will be by Omni Film Productions.
30908 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
30909 MS SCHONBACH: Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the committee and staff. Thank you for inviting me to appear here in support of the Wisdom Channel.
30910 My name is Gabriela Schonbach. I am a producer with Omni Film Productions in Vancouver. A little background on Omni. Omni Film has been producing award-winning documentaries, dramas and TV series for over 20 years. Our programs have been seen on most major Canadian networks, as well as Channel 4 U.K., the BBC, PBS, A&E, the Discovery Channel and many other international broadcasters.
30911 Series in production now include "Edgemont", a teen drama for CBC and Fox Family Channel, "Champions of the Wild", a documentary series currently in its fifth season for Discovery Channel Canada and Animal Planet U.S., "Healthy Home" for Discovery Health and HGTV, "Ancient Clues" for Discovery Channel Canada and International, and "Quiet Places" for Vision TV and Wisdom Channel U.S.
30912 "Quiet Places" is a series that explores some of the many places and activities in which people today are finding inspiration and self-renewal. It is the first of several programs we are producing in a brand new genre; body, mind and spirit programming, a genre that we feel is at the very beginning of an enormous growth.
30913 As noted in the presentation you heard on August 25th, Wisdom - Body, Mind and Spirit, is a channel that will serve the interests of millions of Canadians who have taken up the quest for meaning, a market that is being served with books, magazines, radio and thousands of Internet sites, but not by TV.
30914 Interest in the interconnection of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of life is not esoteric. It is mainstream. As an example, while making quiet places we received an incredibly positive response. People were fascinated by the idea of it. However, it was extremely difficult to pre-sell because most broadcasters did not understand it. Vision TV and Wisdom Channel saw the potential and put some resources into it. We were fortunate to find other support as well.
30915 But it was a strange dilemma because we could sense a very strong grassroots support for this series, but there were hardly any venues for it, and I can't tell you how hard we worked to complete the financing. We were determined to prove the concept.
30916 After we had produced the pilot, many broadcasters around the world, including Arte in France and ABC in Australia, wanted very badly to air the program, but did not have a strand for it. There was no programming stream that they could fit it into. That was in 1997.
30917 Since then we have produced 13 episodes. "Quiet Places" has won several awards and was nominated best documentary series at Hot Docs this year. The Travel Channel U.S. is acquiring it and Air Canada is considering it for its in-flight video programming, and this year it was the number six most screened program by distributors at the Cologne Film and Television Festival, one of the largest markets in the world. So we think that is significant and it has really expanded in the last few years.
30918 In our research and development of new programs in this holistic genre it has become quite clear that there is a need for high-quality shows and the venues on which to screen them, But why is this so important? Why do we need to carve out a public space for the discussion of meaning in our lives?
30919 I think we all have a craving to understand our place in the universe. It's the ultimate mystery. In fact, the search for meaning and transcendence is a never-ending source of fascination for most people.
30920 There are many channels out there for the adventure traveller, but why aren't there for the inner adventure? The inner journey can be every bit as adventurous as a rafting trip down the Amazon if we tell it right.
30921 It is our job and our challenge as producers to find entertaining ways to tell these stories of inner exploration and we are. We are producing programs that are entertaining, marketable and exportable.
30922 We believe that the partnership of Vision TV, Wisdom Channel and producers such as Omni Film Productions can and will set an international standard in body, mind and spirit programming.
30923 In the folders that were distributed to you there is some information about our company and about some of the programs that we are producing or developing in this genre. There are also some articles that support our contention that holistic programming is in demand. A quick quote, in a TV Guide on the subject of spirituality and television, some prominent spiritual thinkers spoke out and one quote is this:
"Television is our communal campfire and we're hungering for stories that inspire us. ... If more ordinary moments were featured on television, we would start to see the mystical in the mundane. Television is a spiritual gift."
30924 That's Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of the fabulously successful book "Simple Abundance: A Da Book of Comfort and Joy" and there are many other insights that are worth reviewing.
30925 Finally, you will find this CD, which I think you have seen. On it is a short sample of programming that I have been talking about. If you play it on your computer you will see -- I think you will see and hear proof that mind, body and spirit programming has a great future in the information age.
30926 Please consider carefully granting a licence to Wisdom. Thank you for your consideration.
30927 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Schonbach. It was very brave of you on this cold Monday morning to come and speak to us. We appreciate it. Thank you.
30928 MS SCHONBACH: You are welcome.
30929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
30930 MS BÉNARD: The next intervention will be by M.K. Productions.
30931 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Konopacki.
30932 MS KONOPACKI: Yes.
30933 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
30934 MS KONOPACKI: Good morning on this beautiful Ottawa morning.
30935 I am speaking on behalf and giving my 100 per cent support to the proposed channel Wisdom - Body, Mind and Spirit for various reasons. My background is in the area of television and for the last 15 years I have worked as a publicist and a marketer and most recently as a TV director. I have worked with broadcasters across the country. I have worked with broadcasters in the United States and in Europe, and I feel that I have some kind of, not only a marketing and publicity background, but more recently I have had a chance to work with a broadcasters in the area of -- as a TV director.
30936 So what I wanted to make were a few points, that this is definitely a new subject area for Canadian television. However, it is not new to Vision TV which does present some of this type of programming.
30937 As the director of this new series that aired on Wisdom in the U.S. and Vision in Canada entitled Age of E, I was able to explore original modalities and ancient modalities in the body, mind and spirit area.
30938 I was amazed and excited about the great response in interest by my friends, colleagues, family and the audience that actually watched this 13-part half-hour series.
30939 We all know that there is a great interest in this area today. Not only the books and magazines prove that, from the Deepak Chopra books like the Seven Spiritual Secrets of Success, of Knowing God to, you know, magazines like Simple Living, Vitality, et cetera, et cetera. There are now courses, night courses, university courses offered in this particular area.
30940 As I was researching Age of E firsthand, I realized that more and more people are seeking alternative ways of supplementing their health. In fact, the word "alternative" is now coined as complementary health because western medicine now is embracing holistic therapies, et cetera, et cetera. So we no longer just go to our doctor if we have some health issues, we also go for therapy, we go for massage, we go to the herbal stores to get the herbs that might help us.
30941 If we aren't using it for ourselves, then we have friends and family members who, once we realize on our own bodies that perhaps something is working, we suggest it to others.
30942 Speaking from my own experience, because I work in this industry of incredible stress I am one of many people who suffer from stress disorders of all kinds. What I found worked for me tremendously was yoga, acupuncture, I also go for massage, reflexology, et cetera, et cetera.
30943 The reason I'm telling you this is because as the director of the series Age of E I was very lucky to meet people who were incredibly interesting and came up with new ideas I had never heard before that I have encompassed in my own life or have spread it on to my family members, et cetera, et cetera.
30944 We have all heard of yoga, but have you heard of neurolinguistics programming, or have you heard of creating your own sacred space, or have you heard of -- I'm sure everyone has heard of reflexology and hypnoses and feng shui, but there are many, many things that are available out there for Canadians to use in their own lives.
30945 I think a channel like this would be absolutely wonderful where you could put it on the dial and you could learn something about yourself and use that for your friends and family as well for a more healthy life.
30946 I would like to actually tell you a couple of more things about these new modalities.
30947 Therapeutic touch. I don't know if you have ever heard of therapeutic touch, but it is now moving into mainstream medical care. You can find it in major hospitals across Canada and the United States, and it is the concept that there is a human energy field which extends two to four inches beyond your skin where the hands of the practitioners are placed near, but not on, the body. And treatment is often provided by nurses in hospital settings.
30948 In fact, there is a video I just wanted to show you just because it will take the stress off of me for a minute-and-a-half. It is phenomenal.
30949 When I saw this I thought: How can you get a massage on your body to make you feel better if they are not even touching your body? But it works. Isn't that amazing if you find out that something like that could work for your own grandmother or your friend who had a terrible accident.
30950 Anyway, can we roll the video.
--- Video presentation / Présentation vidéo
30951 MS KONOPACKI: We're back.
30952 Just a couple of more little things I wanted to mention that were incredibly interesting. From a Canadian standpoint, there was an Inuit drummer whose name was Angaanqaq -- and I can give you the spelling afterwards -- who learned the ancient secrets of the drum from elders in Nunavut. Again, it was one of those things that I thought: A healing drum ceremony. I don't believe that. That sounds pretty flaky to me. But I kept that comment to myself.
30953 Well, he came on the set and this beautiful, beautiful man in his 50s with grey hair down to his shoulders, incredibly focused, and he had this beautiful drum and he was wearing his native garb. I must say, it was 10 below zero and he was only wearing like sealskin clothing, not much of it either, and I thought: This is unbelievable. What is the ceremony going to be like?
30954 He started playing this drum, and there was -- I'm very educated and a person who is very sceptical about these kinds of healings of some sort, but I must tell you that he transformed the people who were shooting, the cameraman, the audio person, the people on the set. He was absolutely an unbelievable healer. Everyone felt a complete peace and calm for many days afterwards, and I can't tell you why.
30955 These kinds of phenomenon, why not explore them. I think there is great interest in Canada and the United States and in the world.
30956 Another thing that I wanted to tell you, another very interesting thing called NLP, which is neurolinguistics programming.
30957 Many police officers in Canada are now studying neurolinguistics programming, which the question asks: How come some people do things brilliantly when the rest of us don't? The study studies how humans think and experience the world. So a police officer, for example, will become more trained when they are dealing with someone who is ready to jump off the edge of a building. They will get right into the breathing patterns of that person and they will become in focus with what is going on in the mind of that person.
30958 So these kinds of new experiences -- and we live in a world of vast technology where, on the Internet, we can pick up all kinds of things, like new healings and new massages and new therapies, et cetera, et cetera. But, on television, there is really no place -- like in one place that you can find that and I suggest very, very strongly that people like myself -- and I know a lot of others, like me, that would love to see a channel that is not just a health channel, that is not just a religion channel and that is not just a lifestyle channel; it is a channel that has all of those areas of the body, mind and spirit in one place, and I could put that on and I could learn from it, my son could learn from it and my family could learn from it.
30959 So, those are my points.
30960 Now, why Vision Television? Why would you grant a licence to Wisdom - Body, Mind and Spirit, with Vision, and Wisdom in the United States?
30961 Well, I believe that they are the largest supporters of the independent producers and they understand independent production. They understand very complex matter. There are companies that produce very intellectual and very different kind of programming -- and there isn't a lot of places in Canada where this type of programming actually can be found, except on Vision -- and they bring a diversification of subject matter, as well as opinion and points of view, and they transcend cultural and religious boundaries.
30962 And this is all I would like to say, this morning.
30963 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Miss Konopacki.
30964 We certainly will need this type of wisdom when we sit down and make decisions on these applications.
30965 Thank you very much.
30966 MS KONOPACKI: I suggest a nice massage.
30967 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sounds good to me. It's a big dangerous this morning, though. It's a bit early. It will put us to sleep.
30968 Thank you.
30969 Madam Secretary, please.
30970 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
30971 The next presenter will be Mr. Tom Harpur.
30972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Harpur.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
30973 MR. HARPUR: Good morning, Madam Chair and Members of the Committee.
30974 It's sometimes said by the sceptics and by various cynics that columnists and journalists, in general, are like the soldiers who hide up in the hills until the battle is over and then come down and shoot the wounded.
30975 Though I sometimes wear another hat, as a theologian, I'm proud to say that I have been a full-time journalist, author and broadcaster for the past 30 years. A lot of this time has, indeed, been spent down on the battlefield and in the trenches. What's more, most of my work has concentrated on the very issues that we are discussing this morning; namely; the whole question of the body, mind and spirit connection.
30976 Now, like you, I don't normally go around reeling off highlights of my career to various audiences. However, I ask you to indulge me just for a couple of minutes because I really believe that in giving the kind of analysis and opinions that I'm about to do, it's important to understand some kind of sense of the background behind it.
30977 After four years at the University of Toronto, studying classics, I spent the next three years on a Rhodes scholar, at Oxford, reading "greats" or, as they call it in Latin, there, "the more humane letters".
30978 This was followed by three years of theology, both in Toronto and back at Oxford.
30979 It took 10 years and all of my friends used to kid me and say that I was a slow learner.
30980 I was ordained an Anglican priest in 1956 and served for a years in a parish. Then my old seminary, in Toronto, called me to the post of professor of the New Testament, in Greek.
30981 After some years of that, and having become convinced that while we in the seminaries were having a cosy time almost incestuously talking to one another, the church talking to itself, using language nobody outside could understand, terms like "ecclesiology" and "pneumatology" and all of that kind of thing, I realized, in the midst of all, that the real action was happening somewhere else, and the particular problem that was concerning me was that of communication, because the churches, in particular, but not only they, were having an enormous problem in -- they were just out of sync with the questions that today's people were really asking. They were in the same field, they were dealing with meaning and all that sort of thing, but the answers, or the kind of formulations they were putting out were not understood, and this problem remains with us still.
30982 I began an open-line show called "Harpur's Heaven and Hell" on a country and western music station north of Toronto.
30983 I started writing opinion pieces for "The Star" and appearing on a wide variety of television and radio outlets, as a commentator, on spiritual and religious affairs.
30984 Before long, the post of religion editor at "The Toronto Star" fell open and I took it for the following 12 years, and then went on to be a columnist there, up until the present.
30985 During the course of that, I wrote over 15 books, in the area of the body, mind and spirit connection: Life after death, a book on complementary healing and so forth.
30986 I met every key spiritual leader in the world, such as the Dali Lama, Billy Graham, and all of that, and travelled as one of the few journalists who were allowed to travel with the Pope through the United States, on his first visit there, in 1979, having already visited Ireland just before that.
30987 So I think that -- I should just say that two of the books I wrote, one on life after death and one on complementary healing, were made into, respectively, a 10-part and a 12-part series for television, and I had the pleasure not only of consulting but of being the host for those.
30988 What I'm trying to say is that I believe I know the subject of the proposed new Wisdom - Body, Mind and Spirit channel. I propose that I know it both from the theoretical or academic point of view and from the "in the trenches" point of view as well.
30989 Okay. Cutting, then, to the chase itself.
30990 During my travels not just in North America but around the globe, for "The Star", I have had a chance to have a very close-up look at what's happening in the phenomenon that I'm about to describe. It's been my bailiwick and my consuming interest.
30991 In a word, it's been a time, since the early seventies, of tremendous spiritual awakening. A tremendous spiritual search is going on, and not just in North America or in Europe but in other parts of the world, as well. There's a vast almost seismic change going on in society, an incredible raising of consciousness that is challenging every other aspect of life. It's not just a matter of certain modalities of healing. This is much bigger in its whole effect.
30992 And this is true in terms of the challenge: It's challenging the traditional religions who are in deep trouble; it's challenging conventional medicine; it's challenging conventional educational theories, and so on. The times are truly a changing.
30993 Since the early seventies, there's been an everexpanding quest for depth in life and it's really -- people feel that deep down modern life is very superficial and they include in that purview, very often, many aspects of television, as well. They are looking for a deeper sense of depth.
30994 Technology and the values of material success have not delivered happiness or peace of mind that they seemed to promise. People, today, want to find a genuine meaning to it all. They are searching for a fresh way to see themselves, their work, their health, their leisure and their ultimate goals.
30995 Part of this, I believe, is a backlash against more than 300 years, in the west, of a process of separating and analysing everything in life into more and more unrelated parts. Ever since the great thinker René Descartes, in the 17th Century, sanctioned and initiated a philosophical split between since and religion, between body and soul.
30996 For example, he said religion could have the question of soul all to itself as long as science was left to look after the body and the rest of physical reality because of that, because of that dichotomy western culture has been moving along two divided streams. This dichotomy has most obviously had its impact on modern medicine.
30997 The paradigm or the model being used by modern medicine up until just recently -- and this still goes on, by the way, a lot -- became that of a machine. Divorcing soul and spirit and even mind to some degree from the whole thing, the concentration was on the body as a machine and so you change the oil, you renew or transplant old parts and treat the whole enterprise as personally as you can, that kind of philosophy became the order of the day. Medical specialties spun like mosquitoes in a swamp.
30998 A lot of this was successful and we thank God for them, but in the process the person as a whole person, as a whole entity, as a multi-dimensional and complex organism of body, soul and spirit, virtually slipped through the cracks and disappeared and almost everyone can identify with that feeling at some point or other if they have had deep contact both with the compassionate side of modern medicine and also with its impersonality and with its attempt to treat the body as a machine.
30999 So today in healing as in every human discipline, the search is on for a return to holiness, the holistic approach. Even churches are realizing it in talking about salvation and spiritual healing they were using words that go back and relate to holy and to health, all coming from the root meaning holiness. That's the underlying philosophical concept behind everything that is going, whatever is going on today, however strange or bizarre some of it may well seem to us, but holiness is at the bottom.
31000 It's an attempt to help the human about everything that concerns humanity, not just to be well, but to realize powers one has never dreamed of. All the polls in the study show that untold millions of people in North America. There was a figure of 50 million cited in the medical journals in 1992, I remember, 50 million then and that has just mushroomed in something incredible since. There is a vast audience out there of people who are themselves consulting complementary forms, not just of healing, but of all kinds of other self-fulfilment philosophies as well. Many of these have an easter or an aboriginal background.
31001 And they have been going to these complementary people more often than to their traditional doctor. Surprisingly, the higher the person's educational background, the more likely they were to use a complementary healer. Most people think this might be for the gullible and the non-educated, but the fact show quite the opposite.
31002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Harpur, I am sorry to interrupt. You have exceed the time allowed for your presentation.
31003 MR. HARPUR: Oh, have I?
31004 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it be possible for you to summarize in a few sentences?
31005 MR. HARPUR: Yes, I could do that.
31006 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
31007 MR. HARPUR: Anyway, this is a major, major shift to holiness and the question where is TV in all of this? I mean, the book stores, it's been a miracle. In 30 years, I have seen the book stores totally transformed to where I couldn't find one of my books unless I had a guide to help me in some forgotten recess, until today when you trip over books on spirituality and all of this self-enrichment right at the entrance of the book store when you go in. But television lags behind. We have already heard that, now we just say that apart from some serious programming done on Vision right now, it's almost a wasteland out there. Spotty things are done, but nothing consistent.
31008 So I once was opposed in public to Vision getting a licence. I thought it would mean the ghettorizing of religion in Canada as far as TV went. Soon after observation and having done some work for them, I changed my mind completely. They really have the ability and the smarts and I think that Canada and the world might well be waiting to see what they can do with this kind of a mandate. It's really needed, it's under-served and I think Vision are the ones.
31009 Thank you.
31010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Harpur.
31011 MR. HARPUR: Sorry to have gone over.
31012 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, that's fine. We need help this week. So it's nice to hear from you. Thank you.
31013 MR. HARPUR: My pleasure.
31014 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31015 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31016 The next presenter will be the Honourable David MacDonald.
31017 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. MacDonald.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31018 HON. DAVID MacDONALD: Good morning.
31019 I haven't appeared in front of the CRTC for many years, or had much to do with it so this is sort of like getting back into a previous life.
31020 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you actually told us what to do.
--- Laughter / Rires
31021 HON. DAVID MacDONALD: That's right. That was only a brief period though, as you will recall.
31022 THE CHAIRPERSON: I enjoyed every minute of it.
31023 HON. DAVID MacDONALD: Oh, you did? That's good.
31024 For those who may not remember, perhaps I can spend 30 seconds just recapping a bit of my background because it's 35 years this fall that I first came here as a Member of Parliament and my first responsibility was to sit on the Committee with respect to broadcasting films and assistance to the art.
31025 So it began a kind of 30-year, 35-year odyssey of interest in the whole issue of broadcasting, and in particular public broadcasting. I once said to somebody, "I think I have played almost every role possible in broadcasting". I was a CBC announcer in the 50s, parliamentarian, active in broadcasting in the '60s and '70s and then briefly, as you recall, Minister in '79 and '80. And then a couple of times I appeared actually on behalf of applications in the '80s.
31026 The one thing I guess I have never done, I have never been on the CRTC itself. So perhaps that's a future possibility.
31027 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are still a young man.
31028 HON. DAVID MacDONALD: Perhaps of greater importance to this morning's hearing is the fact that I was actually part of and chair of the original application for Vision which was at that time the Canadian Interface Network back in the mid-80s. I was not involved when Vision finally got its licence. In fact, by that time I was living in Africa and quite by chance one of my colleagues, Peter Flemington, whom you have already met, was actually visiting with me in Ethiopia on the day the CRTC licensed Vision. That was kind of an electric moment for both of us.
31029 I have watched over the last 13 years Vision TV grow into a very unique and important Canadian institution. I am really glad Tom Harpur, a moment ago, acknowledged the fact that Tom, among others, thought this was a bad idea when we were proposing it and I have to tell you that there was a great deal of division of opinion within the religious community of this country.
31030 I worked hard along with others, Rita Deverell who is still with Vision TV, to kind of see if we couldn't make a very unique Canadian approach, both in terms of a form of public broadcasting and to allow the various expressions of religious life to find its way naturally within a most important medium of communication which is television -- the most important medium really in a mass sense.
31031 In the past 13 years two things have happened if one can telescope that period. Vision itself has evolved, but the nature of the environment in which Vision operates has also changed quite dramatically.
31032 It's fascinating that we are sitting here this morning having this hearing. Most people are not here because they are either watching it on CPAC or they are watching it on their computer because it's streamed on CPAC. That's how I watch CPAC most days when I am in my office on my computer. This application, of course, is a digital application. So this is a big change.
31033 I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to the future of Vision itself, on the one hand, in terms of the uniqueness, the value added that Vision has brought over the last 13 years. I don't have to tell you because you can look up the record of the secular approval. The Globe and Mail and everybody else saying the unique contribution that Vision makes to people in this country from coast to coast to coast is hard to kind of put a total estimate around.
31034 And now we are moving through a new phase with the licensing of these digital applications. To me it's a double barrel opportunity. It's one to enhance the quality of what Vision itself contributes to Canadians, but it also pushes to a new level what Vision is all about.
31035 The most important thing that Vision is about, in my view, isn't just its broadcasting, but the unique nature of how Vision itself works. You have this mix of the support of a broadly based group of religious communities stretching far beyond the spectrum of which I used to be associated, which is the United Church or Christian, to all the other forms of religious faith which now make up part of the body politic in this country, and the fact that it works and that it works very successfully in both its two kinds of programming.
31036 Now we are being asked, or you are being asked, to look at a licence application which would allow people then to use television in a much more self-directed, inner-directed way, which is what the Wisdom application is about, in my view. That's really important because it has been referred to this morning.
31037 There is this enormous appetite for people to be able to explore their own potential. There is no doubt that most of that exploration is happening in ways that are brand new for us. Certainly the combination of mass broadcasting television and the kind of more selective directive one can call it broadcasting or communicating that goes on through computers and other forms of spinoff applications is absolutely crucial.
31038 Now, I know it's fashionable these days to say that because the issue of bandwidth is no longer a problem that we shouldn't even have a CRTC, that in fact the market could decide everything. I believe that is close to being total nonsense. It is certainly total nonsense in Canadian terms because we survive because we make public policy decisions every day in this country.
31039 We have done it since even before the country began. We will continue to do it as long as we have some kind of political sovereignty, some kind of political uniqueness which allows us to function as a series of communities and societies within this broad context we call Canada.
31040 Crucial to that is the ability for people to be able to share their experiences and to explore their own depth and meaning. Tom Harpur has said it much better than I could and I'm sure others will amplify that.
31041 I merely want to say, as one who looks at it from the standpoint of a kind of public architecture, that it is crucially important, in my view, that the progress that Vision has made in the last 13 years, as we move into these new opportunities which are both technological as well as, in my view, kind of sociological, that there is an opportunity through the licensing of Wisdom to make that possible.
31042 I know there's already an expectation that these licences are going to go to where the big money is, to where the big corporate interest is. If that was the case, we may as well fold up the CRTC and most of the institutions that we have in this country, both nationally and provincially.
31043 I don't believe that and that's why I'm here. I believe this is an opportunity. I think the coverage that was taken 13 years ago by the CRTC to say "Yes, we will licence something like Vision. We will take chance on this even though that it has never been done before and it is totally different than anything that's happening in the United States or in Europe or anywhere else".
31044 Well, I would say, Madam Chair, this is another moment of coverage and opportunity for the CRTC to say "Wisdom is indeed an important new opportunity for individual Canadians and for Canadians in their communities and we should not miss that opportunity and make sure that there is full potential for both the Vision experience and the Wisdom opportunity to happen".
31045 Thank you.
31046 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. MacDonald. You can add to your seating now. You have been part of the CRTC because we transcribe all the presentations made to us and take them very seriously.
31047 Thank you very much.
31048 Madam Secretary, please.
31049 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31050 The next presentation will be by Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
31051 MS HAMILTON: This is a bit difficult coming after Tom Harpur and David MacDonald. I was sitting there thinking "Well, they had mothers too".
31052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that's right.
31053 MS HAMILTON: Good morning, Madam Chair, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen.
31054 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31055 MS HAMILTON: My name is Ruby Hamilton and I am here to speak on behalf of the concept of a gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender specialty channel. The potential for this service and the personal significance for many families are tremendous.
31056 I am the mother of a gay son. I am also the President of PFLAG Toronto, which is the acronym for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders. Our mission is to give support to cope with an adverse society and education to enlighten an ill-informed public.
31057 The parent of a gay child always answers our phone line, often by me. The phone calls come from distressed parents, or frequently from children of all ages, who are also in pain. Sometimes these calls can be a matter of life or death.
31058 When I suggest that I send them some of our materials or give the title of a book to read, the reply sometimes is "But I Can't read English". How frustrating it is to all our members and me when this is the answer. How wonderful it would be to be able to say "Turn to this channel and it will help you to understand and accept your child". We really need this channel.
31059 How different it would have been for me when my husband and I discovered that our 18 year old son was gay. Imagine having a television channel that you could turn to that didn't disparage your child, that could help to educate you about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, a channel that would have positive things to say to and about your child.
31060 PFLAG is part of the 36 per cent identified connection of the population, as mentioned by some of the applicants. This figure is consistent with an Angus Reid poll done for us about three years ago. This poll showed that 34 per cent of Canadians know someone who is gay or lesbian, either as a friend, co-worker or a family member. This means that we are one third of the Canadian population.
31061 I have heard some of the applicants at these hearings saying "the time has come" and it definitely has. The time has come to demystify the concepts of gender identity and sexual orientation, especially now at the beginning of the 21st century.
31062 Our families and friends come from various cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. We are all here in some way, shape or form because we love someone who is gay. Our children are called names, are bullied and, yes, even murdered. Too many suicides have sexual orientation as the underlying issue. This is the result of a lack of self-esteem most often brought about by societal homophobia.
31063 The reason I wanted to talk to you today is to tell you that PFLAG strongly supports the concept of television programming aimed at offering information and entertainment which will lead ultimately to education to support for gay and lesbian people, their friends and their families. It is exciting to think of what this could mean to the moms and dads whom I help to adjust to the fact of a gay or lesbian child.
31064 There is a terrible feeling of isolation and helplessness that folds around you like a cloak when you discover that your child is gay. It is almost indescribably painful. It is true that when a child comes out of the closet, the parents go in.
31065 I think our pain is usually because we are used to being able to protect our children and we know that we can't protect them from the hurtful words, gay bashing, loss of employment, refused housing, possible lethal violence or whatever other form societal homophobia may take. You hurt for your child and sometimes you feel shame.
31066 PFLAG helps one to understand where these feelings originate, since we have all felt those same feelings and walked in those same shoes.
31067 While PFLAG is available to the determined parent, this television channel can be an important, partial step, towards acceptance. In fact, a GLBT channel may help to raise awareness of groups such as PFLAG, and encourage parents, and families, to seek the fellowship and support of others in the same situation.
31068 I would dearly love some of you to meet a few of our parents. I think of Dahlia the mother of a transgender. I asked Dahlia, "what would you like me to tell the CRTC?" She replied, "oh please tell them that a television channel would be a wonderful help to educate us to understand our children. We love them, and even accept them, but we really don't understand."
31069 Then I think of Grace and her beautiful lesbian daughter, Kelly. I have been waiting for Grace for ten years. Finally, in June of this year, my husband I were guests at the launch of the Asian group, GenerAsians Together. You see, we lived in an Asian community and long ago recognized the need to break down the barriers for this community. I think too of our delightful Italian mom Rosa, who reads voraciously and never misses a meeting.
31070 What parents eventually realize is that homophobia, together with the rejection and pain it causes, is not unique to any one culture from among the great diversity in Canada. Much work remains to be done among all groups in Canadian society to reduce hostility and irrational prejudice.
31071 The volunteers who make PFLAG possible have lots of enthusiasm, but even enthusiasts must recognize limitations. PFLAG has chapters in a number of small communities, but there are thousands of parents of gay children who live in rural settings or in remote areas where PFLAG chapters are simply unavailable due to unmanageable distances.
31072 A television channel dedicated go gay, lesbian and bisexual issues could dramatically ease the difficulties of these people in getting access to some measure of support. The existence of a dedicated television channel would also benefit the "coming out" process for young people and help reduce the hostility many still face in their school environment. It would also help the parents to "come out" to their families and friends.
31073 I want to take a minute to express my knowledge of some of the other areas where this specialty channel would help to alleviate the marginalization of people due to issues of sexual orientation or gender identity.
31074 Since I have met thousands of people in my work with PFLAG, both here in Canada and in the United States, I know that there are teachers, social workers, police and the whole of mainstream society who may have a need to access this medium. I believe that many people in the general population would like to know who we are and, after all, we watch "straight TV" all day long.
31075 We like to say "PFLAG changes one heart at a time." Imagine changing thousands! Sometimes these hearts can be very hard, as evidenced in some of my enclosures to you. Some families will never accept their child. As Dr. Jerald Bain, the author of "So Your Child Is Gay", states "Withheld parental love is the true gay tragedy."
31076 When our children were born it never even occurred to me that any of them would be treated differently. Thank God they were born in Canada. Please help society to see there is nothing wrong with having a child who is different. They are all wonderful children. They are all wonderful children who will thrive and grow when they are loved.
31077 Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you. A favourable response to our request for this specialty channel would show our city and the rest of the country that we are moving forward toward a society that is healthy and respectful of human dignity.
31078 I would be happy to answer any questions.
31079 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Hamilton. I am sure even Mr. Harpur is impressed.
31080 MS HAMILTON: I am impressed with Mr. Harpur, so it's mutual.
31081 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. We appreciate your presence.
31082 MS HAMILTON: Thank you.
31083 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31084 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31085 The next intervention will be by XTRA, Canada's Gay and Lesbian Media Group.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31086 MR. CHANG: Good morning. My name is Andrew Chang and I am the Associate Publisher of XTRA.
31087 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Chang.
31088 We are speaking also in general support of the applications for a gay and lesbian television channel.
31089 First of all, I would like to give you some basic information on XTRA and Pink Triangle Press, which is the parent organization of XTRA.
31090 XTRA is published by Pink Triangle Press which is a community which is a community based, not-for-profit corporation that was founded in 1971.
31091 We started out as a volunteer collective that produced the Body Politic, an internationally renowned journal of gay liberation news and opinion.
31092 Since then we have grown into a national chain of gay and lesbian community newspapers; XTRA in Toronto, XTRA West in Vancouver and Capital XTRA here in Ottawa, with a total circulation approaching 100,000 copies and a readership of nearly 200,000.
31093 In addition, Pink Triangle Press publishes Go Big, a new national glossy gay live and stile magazine, also with a circulation of almost 100,000.
31094 We also engage our communities via a constellation of Web sites on the Internet and audiotext services operating in seven major cities across Canada.
31095 Generally speaking, the mission of Pink Triangle Press is the advancement of gay and lesbian sexual and political rights and freedoms.
31096 I would like to touch briefly on our interest in the applications. First and foremost, we believe that the establishment of a gay and lesbian TV station will certainly be a positive development for our community.
31097 PTP, Pink Triangle Press, has long been a supporter and developer of Canadian gay and lesbian journalists, writers and artists. We see the new station as another means to foster talent and further enrich our culture.
31098 Having been at the forefront of gay and lesbian media in Canada for nearly 30 years, we have become experts at engaging our community in thoughtful discourse through insightful analysis and commentary. We see many opportunities to partner with new media in the production and delivery of high-quality, original, meaningful and entertaining content, all of which will be the key to viewer acceptance and retention.
31099 As our own Internet initiatives area already well advanced, we also see the exciting potential in the convergence of existing, new and emerging media.
31100 A gay and lesbian television station would also further our attempts to involve gays and lesbians in the development of a national culture, providing the means for exposure, discussion and commentary on a national level, and in particular enabling those in isolated and remote communities to fully participate in the debate.
31101 Next I would like to touch on the need for a gay and lesbian TV channel. Certainly, Ruby's presentation was amazing and certainly the applications that we have reviewed have made credible and eloquent arguments for the need and the viability of a gay and lesbian channel. I don't necessarily want to revisit all those areas, but we do have a few additional comments from the perspective of a gay newspaper.
31102 Although it is currently fashionable to apply the word "community" indiscriminately to any group of people with a common interest, for gay and lesbian people the word "community" has a very specific meaning. Most gay men and lesbians grow up in families, but within those families, however loving, they find themselves isolated, cut off from others like themselves. This is true in the smallest town and the largest city.
31103 Growing up lesbian or gay in Canada means embarking on a search for others, for community. Perhaps we could even say that a gay man or lesbian woman has not truly achieved adulthood until they have found that community, at no matter what age.
31104 It is certainly easier to find that community in the largest cities, where gays and lesbians have known territories and visible institutions.
31105 However, the majority of gay and lesbian Canadians do not live in such easy circumstances. They can obtain some sense of community through the community press, but newspapers are physical objects; they require permission to be printed and distributed; they can be banned, impeded, hidden. And they are.
31106 The advantage of broadcasting as a conduit of community is that it needs no local permission. A lesbian or gay man can watch television without fear of repercussion. The joy of community is pulled out of the air with the flick of a switch.
31107 Any one of the proposals before you has the potential to allow every gay man and lesbian in the country to place their lives in a rich and sustaining context.
31108 From a personal perspective, I, as a gay man of colour, certainly do not feel I am either represented or well-served by our existing major media. I believe that our people are starved for realistic and frank portrayals and discussions of our lives, not just a few colourful snapshots taken during Pride week.
31109 Our community is actually a diaspora that cuts across every imaginable boundary -- race, religion, gender, political, economic, geographic, you name it -- the potential for far-reaching positive effects on our society are quite breathtaking when you really think about it.
31110 Finally, I would like to touch upon the necessity of a Category 1 licence in particular.
31111 I think there are two main issues we need to look at here. First of all is the need to ensure national distribution and, secondly, the impact on viability and sustainability of a channel that national distribution has.
31112 I have heard a question whether or not there is actually a national market for this channel and I can assure you one certainly does exist. Some examples or some supporting facts:
31113 As far as we know, there are some 80 gay pride organizations from all corners of Canada. Each one of those organizations represents a constituency of gays and lesbians.
31114 Pink Triangle Press itself has grown from a political newsletter produced by a group of volunteers into a multi-faceted national gay and lesbian media group with operations in five provinces. We get reader and visitor feedback through our papers and Web sites from all over the country.
31115 In addition to the nationwide distribution of our chain of XTRA papers and our Go Big magazine, there are several local and regional publications, all with established readerships. For example, Outlooks in Calgary, Times 10 in Edmonton, Swerve in Winnipeg and Wayves in Halifax. Outlooks alone has more than 20,000 copies in circulation as well.
31116 Gays and lesbians also form a subset of every single ethnocultural group in Canada and thus are represented wherever these groups exist, although many are in repressed and closeted environments for which this outlet would fulfil an important need.
31117 The applicant's market research indicates unanimous agreement amongst gays and lesbians that they would watch this channel, as well a significant percentage of their friends, relatives and other significant associates. I believe Ruby quoted a statistic of 34 per cent of Canadians have some connection to the community in some form.
31118 I think that a Category 1 licence is the only way to ensure that gays, lesbians and the people significantly connected to them will have access to this important media outlet.
31119 With respect to the impact on viability and sustainability, as the longest lived gay and lesbian specialty niche market publication in the country we certainly have a keen understanding of the additional challenges a specialty TV service for our community would face. While we believe the prospects are excellent, I certainly don't believe it is going to be an instant bonanza.
31120 It is difficult enough selling national advertising into a gay publication. While many agencies and clients recognize the huge potential on a rational basis, there are still many deep-rooted attitudes and sociocultural issues you need to overcome.
31121 It is also one thing to place a print ad in a publication you know is for the most part only being picked up by gays and lesbians, it is another where anyone flipping through the channels can see your product being advertised on a gay and lesbian station.
31122 Where we have been successful with progressive advertisers is in our ability to consistently deliver a critical mass of gay and lesbian readers.
31123 The same will hold true for a channel operator. Once you have dealt with the surrounding factors, it will still come down to delivering the demographic in sufficient numbers,. Having the fundamental support of a Category 1 licence will certainly send a positive message to advertisers.
31124 Not having the guaranteed distribution of a Category 1 licence places an additional burden on the operator who is already facing substantial adversity in addition to the normal range of business issues during the start-up phase.
31125 In summary, guaranteed distribution is a central issue that impacts, on the one side, the interests of the viewing public and, on the other, the two main revenue streams of the channel.
31126 Without guaranteed access there is a large chance that many gays and lesbians, particularly those for which availability of gay and lesbian media is severely limited, will be unable to subscribe to the service. This would be detrimental both for our people and to the subscriber revenue stream of the channel.
31127 Without guaranteed access it will be difficult to build up the critical mass of subscribers and viewers essential to effectively selling national advertising.
31128 I believe there are other potential longer term consequences as well, including the production of original Canadian content, ongoing support and development of artists, the introduction and innovation of new technologies and media. All of these are dependent upon building a strong subscriber and audience base.
31129 Those are my comments and I appreciate your attention.
31130 Thank you very much.
31131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chang, for making a presentation before the Commission.
31132 Madam Secretary, please.
31133 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31134 La prochaine intervention sera celle de la Chambre de commerce gaie du Québec.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION:
31135 M. DESMARAIS: Bonjour, Madame la Présidente, mesdames et messieurs, auditeurs et auditrices des audiences publiques.
31136 La Chambre de commerce gaie du Québec existe depuis 1997 et compte plus de 400 membres actifs provenant de plusieurs sphères d'activités. Elle demeure la première et la seule chambre de commerce représentant des gais et des lesbiennes au Canada.
31137 Nous sommes invités à Toronto le 13 septembre prochain et il y a une volonté de la part de la communauté gaie de l'Ontario de créer une entité de la même nature que la nôtre.
31138 Membre actif au sein de la Chambre de commerce du Québec, nous établissons des liens avec les principaux membres influents du Québec et d'ailleurs. Nous participons depuis plus de trois ans à différents salons d'affaires gais aux États-Unis d'Amérique afin de faire la promotion touristique de Montréal, du Québec et du Canada auprès de nos voisins du Sud.
31139 Depuis le début de l'été, nous offrons un service d'information touristique pour les touristes gais et non-gais qui veulent, entre autres, mieux connaître le Village Gai de Montréal et les nombreuses activités québécoises et ontariennes.
31140 Depuis le début des opérations du Centre d'information touristique du Village, nous avons donné et distribué à plus de 5 000 personnes de l'information les touchant et la provenance de ces gens est des États-Unis, de l'Ontario, un peu partout du monde et du Québec.
31141 Je vous parle un peu de la Chambre, c'est que par la suite nous arrivons à pourquoi nous voulions être entendus aujourd'hui -- et je vous en remercie d'ailleurs.
31142 Nous organisons des dîners-causeries Bell depuis deux ans en invitant, par exemple, M. Proteau du Mouvement Desjardins, l'honorable Paul Martin, ministre des Finances du Canada et cet automne nous recevrons, M. Bernard Landry, Vice-premier ministre du Québec.
31143 Cette année nous sommes co-promoteur du Premier salon d'affaires et de Vie Baie Black and Blue avec la fondation BBCM qui se déroulera au Palais des Congrès de Montréal les 7 et 8 octobre prochains et dans le but d'accueillir des visiteurs étrangers qui seront présents à Montréal et en plus de s'adresser à la communauté gaie québécoise.
31144 Pour votre information, la fondation BBCM est l'organisatrice du Festival Black and Blue, troisième plus important festival en terme de retombée économique à Montréal. Notons que plus de 17 000 personnes sont attendues cette année au Stade Olympique pour cette grande soirée gaie au monde, une des plus grandes d'ailleurs, et qui génère, selon les sondages CROP de l'année dernière, 35 millions de retombées économiques.
31145 Notre choix. Nous avons regardé la plupart des projets qui s'adressaient à la communauté gaie. Effectivement, la demande sur une Catégorie 1 est une priorité. Notre choix s'est arrêté sur la chaîne numérique le projet Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow afin qu'elle permette de faire mieux connaître les réalités des gais et lesbiennes de l'ensemble du Canada.
31146 Mais je pousse un peu plus loin en disant qu'il faut rejoindre aussi les francophones et les anglophones en axant sur une production canadienne d'émissions dans trois centres urbains importantes, selon le projet de Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow, la production aurait lieu à Montréal, Toronto et Vancouver.
31147 Par son bilinguisme, elle se donne une viabilité financière supérieure en pouvant rejoindre les entreprises voulant se faire connaître auprès de la clientèle gaie canadienne en respect de leur langue et de leur région.
31148 De nombreux partenaires économiques de la Chambre de commerce gaie du Québec pourront mieux rejoindre leur clientèle grâce à ce genre de véhicules.
31149 En effet, la télévision est un excellent médium pour rejoindre cette clientèle et cela conjugué à une implication dans le milieu. Il ne faut pas oublier que les "baby boomers" -- on en entend parler beaucoup ces temps-ci, depuis quelques années d'ailleurs -- gais sont plus fortunés et donc ont les moyens de consommer les produits et services qui seront publicisés sur une chaîne comme Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow.
31150 En étant diffusé partout au Canada cela constitue en fait un service national et essentiel pour la communauté gaie qui pourra être en mesure d'atteindre un plus large auditoire, et ce de façon discrète.
31151 On parlait tantôt de personnes, de jeunes qui recherchent des ressources, des gens qui sont en région, ce n'est pas évident de trouver les ressources. Je sais que je n'ai pas à vous rappeler le taux de suicide plus élevé chez les jeunes gais et lesbiennes qui ne sont pas en mesure de trouver leur information sur leur réalité et qui peut-être grâce à la chaîne Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow pourraient y trouver des ressources et des informations pour les aider.
31152 Pour la Chambre, la venue d'une chaîne bilingue est une excellente nouvelle car pour rejoindre notre clientèle, et pour rejoindre les utilisateurs des services d'informations touristiques, nous devons pouvoir être connus partout au Canada et dans le monde.
31153 La possibilité de rejoindre cette clientèle dans les deux langues augmentera de beaucoup notre taux de fréquentation de notre Centre d'information touristique et donc une augmentation des retombées économiques pour nos membres liées au domaine touristique et par ricochet une retombée économique pour l'ensemble de la population québécoise.
31154 Je suis persuadé que les auditeurs de Vancouver, Montréal ou Toronto ont un intérêt de mieux connaître les différents services disponibles à Toronto et vice versa. De plus, de permettre la création d'une chaîne comme Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow, c'est de permettre la création d'un pont entre les communautés gaies des différentes régions du Canada mais aussi entre les gais francophones et les gais anglophones.
31155 Avec la venue de l'Internet, nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre de ne pas être présents, je crois, et je crois comprendre que la technologie numérique pourra nous permettre une diffusion par le Web dans un bref avenir. Ayant un contenu bilingue, elle pourra rejoindre les populations gaies francophones et anglophones mondiales et en s'associant avec des portails Internet bilingues, cela en assurera une visibilité et une viabilité financière supérieure.
31156 En étant avocat et conseiller financier et en plus en assumant la présidence de la Chambre depuis plus de trois ans, j'ai rencontré beaucoup de gens dans différents événements. Je suis bien conscient que la population canadienne de tout âge est très ouverte. D'ailleurs nous avons entendu la mère d'un jeune gai, et nous avons la preuve par l'adoption de différentes lois partout au Canada et par les décisions rendues par la Cour suprême du Canada, qui est le reflet un peu de l'opinion d'une grande majorité des Canadiennes et des Canadiens.
31157 Je ne peux que me réjouir que nous sommes aujourd'hui en train de discuter la création d'une chaîne numérique pour les gais et les lesbiennes alors qu'il y a à peine 32 ans, sous le régime du Très honorable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, le gouvernement canadien décriminalisait l'homosexualité.
31158 Espérant vous avoir convaincus du bien-fondé de la création d'une chaîne gaie sous la Catégorie 1, bilingue, nationale, pour les gais et les lesbiennes et tous ceux qui sont inclus dans ce grand mouvement et leurs proches, soit le réseau Arc-en-ciel/Rainbow.
31159 En vous remerciant de votre attention, et si vous avez la moindre question.
31160 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Nous vous remercions, Monsieur Desmarais. Tout est bien clair, donc nous n'avons pas de questions mais nous vous remercions d'avoir fait une présentation devant nous qui est très importante au dossier public.
31162 M. DESMARAIS: Merci.
31163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31164 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31165 I would now invite Mr. David Snoddy to come forward.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31166 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Snoddy.
31167 MR. SNODDY: Good morning.
31168 Commissioners, I want to thank you for this most privileged opportunity to explain why I support a 24-hour interactive TV channel for gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and curious straight people.
31169 The reasons I give you will also shed light on why I believe CHUM Television is best positioned to operate this important channel, and while I support each of the applications before you, I will be speaking to you of my experiences with CHUM Television.
31170 I am an educator who has spent years teaching the joy, and sometimes challenges, of diversity and building bridges to members of police forces, school boards, community centres and other civic bodies across Canada.
31171 As it happens, today also marks the first day of my job as a therapist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto. You could say I am taking a mental health day from work because a channel like this will undoubtedly improve the well-being of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
31172 For that reason alone, I would like to congratulate all of the applicants. They have hit upon a unique and much needed public service. But rest assured, I am not here to dispense statistics about homophobia, gay bashing, high suicide rates amongst youth or substance abuse among adults in the gay and lesbian community.
31173 No, I don't believe the issue here is to convince you how necessary a channel like this is. I believe you already know this. I would like to share with you something from my own personal experience.
31174 When I was growing up -- actually I am one of those gay sons that Ruby refereed to -- I could not find any images in magazine articles, in radio talk shows or in or in television that reflected the difference that I felt. I didn't feel like I belonged and I searched to find answers as to why I didn't feel like I belonged. To this day, countless gays and lesbians, including myself, struggle to feel like they fit in and they struggle to come to terms with things like being a parent when most of the messages growing up suggest that we aren't fit to be parents.
31175 Trying to undo those messages that did us harm often take a lifetime and some people get stuck in that place. I know, I work with a lot of gay men who are affected long term by some of those messages when they are growing up.
31176 I can only hope that your approval of the applications before you would change this. In fact, in my new job, I am working with a group of gay men. Two of them live far enough away from Toronto that they can't make it to our Wednesday night follow-up sessions. So now I am brainstorming with them about ways of maximising technology so we can interact on a regular basis.
31177 CHUM's innovative use of technology is an inspiration to me in this regard. That's because by streaming on the Internet, Queer Television has viewers across the country including those who live in rural areas where gays and lesbians hunger to express themselves without wanting to attract danger to themselves.
31178 CHUM already understand this which is why Queer Television keeps its viewers engaged through positive stories and regular on-line chats, chats that don't disappear into the ethereal, but are actually excerpted and put into the following week's episodes.
31179 This tells TV viewers what their plugged in peers are thinking and saying and as I have observed first-hand this sharing of information invites viewers to respond to each other which reflects the community back to itself and generates yet more dialogue. This is a helpful thing.
31180 Not only have I observed this engagement first-hand, I have also participated in it. Although I have been interviewed by broadcast media throughout Canada, only CHUM has turned my interviews into serious interactivity. As you may remember from my initial letter, I appeared on the straight talks specials of the Q-Files to answer viewer questions about gay and lesbian life. These specials were live, unrehearsed and leveraged the anonymity of phone calls, e-mails and faxes to encourage honesty in viewers' questions. Just before my appearance, I asked the host, Irsahd Manji, why the Q-Files debuted on CP-24 rather than the most established Citytv. She told me that she wanted to experiment with interactivity and she would have more room to do so with this new station. I remember being impressed by her priority on interactivity and my first appearance on the show spoke to the sincerity of her efforts.
31181 That was two years ago and technology has come a long way since then, so it came as no surprise to me that the Q-Files team quickly found ways to optimize new media and move the show to Citytv where it would have both interactivity and higher quality. I care about quality, both as an educator and as a viewer.
31182 As an educator, when I go to schools and community centres, I'm constantly asked for resource materials, like taped TV programs, as an example.
31183 When licensed, this channel will be used as a resource well beyond living rooms and personal computers.
31184 To ensure that the issues this channel addresses and the people it showcases carry the credibility and legitimacy that they deserve, this channel will need to prioritize good production values.
31185 The other reality is that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are a universal community. Because we have never been well served by governments or borders, our loyalties are to values other than pure nationalism.
31186 Commissioners, I respect that one of your chief mandates is to promote Canadian content, and it's undeniable that with the existence of a channel like this more Canadians will be sharing their stories -- which brings me back to CHUM.
31187 In incubating the Q! Files on CP-24 to QueerTelevision on CityTV and on planetont.com, CHUM did not sacrifice high quality to interactivity; they ensured both. Which tells me that CHUM understands all that would be involved in making this channel a hit with viewers.
31188 There's one other point I appreciate about CHUM's application: It doesn't view my community as simply an untapped market with lots of disposable income. Like all people, gays and lesbians span the spectrum of socioeconomic classes. Believe it or not, some of us are not wealthy. But even those of us who have money to spend do so discerningly. My experience tells me that many in the community insist on being treated as human beings and citizens before being approached as consumers. CHUM has a credible track record here, as well.
31189 What do I mean by that? I mean that CHUM, for example, has incorporated our stories into their newscasts, magazine shows and talk TV specials for years. They have been early adopters not just of technology but also of us as a culture.
31190 Even now, while producing programs especially for our community, CHUM continues to be active within our community, through year-round fund-raising for AIDS or CityTV's sponsorship of the lesbian and gay pride parade. CHUM has shown that it is interactive in the real world not just the high-tech virtual one.
31191 I can safely say that CHUM has built the necessary bridges to move forward with our trust.
31192 I would like to conclude by reflecting on the word "trust".
31193 I firmly believe, Commissioners, that an interactive gay and lesbian TV channel will thrive not so much on money but, rather, on institutional values. I teach multi-million-dollar institutions that cannot understand why they are failing to serve our community and the key that I teach them is to build bridges and to establish relationships of trust. Trust takes time because it requires an appreciation of how complex diversity is and, as a result, trust takes an imaginative use of resources. Yet when that trust is established, it won't be only gays, lesbians and their families who reward from it -- we will all gain from it.
31194 A few final stories to illustrate this.
31195 Friends of mine tell me that their colleagues at work would tune in to watch the Q! Files. This was also true for relatives of mine and complete strangers who would stop me on the street and tell me that they had tuned in to watch. Q! Files had become scheduled viewing, as now QueerTelevision. On Monday nights, they would gather around to learn about something beyond the realm of experience. It's not just that these people were curious; they also found the show consistently engaging and informative.
31196 Clearly, CHUM has earned the trust of many gay, lesbian and allied Canadians. I'm proud to appear before you as one of them and passionately hope that my mental health day bears fruit for us all -- pun intended.
31197 Thank you so much for your time.
31198 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Snoddy, for your presentation.
31199 MR. SNODDY: Thank you.
31200 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31201 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31202 The next presentation will be by the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31203 MR. VAN TONGERLOO: Madam Chair, Commissioners, thank you very much for this invitation to address you.
31204 Merci pour cette invitation.
31205 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31206 MR. VAN TONGERLOO: The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies -- since 1956, the national voice of animal welfare in Canada -- has long sought a way to communicate effectively with the some 15 million-plus Canadians who have pets in their lives on a daily basis.
31207 We would also like to state the obvious; and that is that many millions of more Canadians who do not have pets, even though they may well wish do so, are keenly interested in pets, such as people who are in care, the elderly, the sick, those who live in apartments and who are not permitted to have pets, so far.
31208 Stornoway Communications, in offering to launch the Pet Network Channel, intends to provide an extremely attractive vehicle to do just that.
31209 In fact, the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and our sister organizations in the National Companion Animal Coalition -- that is, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, PIJAC -- are drawn to this marvellous opportunity because it offers a unique venue which is, to us, both very desirable and very necessary.
31210 We represent, in one way or another, most of Canada's population.
31211 We also represent, among our members, a large team of skilled professionals in a wide variety of animal fields.
31212 Further, we are able to bring that body of knowledge and skills to bear on the issues and information which will be addressed by the Pet Network.
31213 A few recent, or current, projects of the Coalition, which would be, we believe, of interest to a broad range of Canadians, are: Template bylaws to be used by municipalities with inadequate or non-existent bylaws addressing animal issues; guidelines for animal ownership in rental accommodation; dog bites and what to do about them.
31214 The Pet Network would help us to interact with many Canadians on these issues. We can share our research with them and learn from their experiences, allowing us all to benefit.
31215 The CFHS network of more than 100 animal shelters across Canada, humane education and animal rescue organizations, have countless, joyful and sad stories to tell.
31216 We welcome the Canadian programming opportunity that will educate Canadians about their pets, ending and preventing abuse, spaying, neutering, adoptions, among many others.
31217 There are many subjects which already grab the interest of Canadians when they are "hot news", but when the news values quickly disappear, the issues remain.
31218 For example, what we are talking about here are the need for more responsible homes for needy animals, abolition of puppy mills, dog fighting, animal neglect and cruelty.
31219 We also believe, as does Stornoway Communications, that we do not need to horrify to educate and enlighten, but we do, sometimes, need powerful and persuasive Canadian television programming, which Stornoway Communications, along with their strategics partners, are more than able to deliver for the benefit of Canadians from all regions of the country and all walks of life.
31220 To cite one instance: We are in a position, as the only voice for national animal welfare, in Canada, to work with the Federal Department of Justice on long overdue changes to the Canadian Criminal Code, as it affects animals. All Canadians need to know the implications of these proposed changes.
31221 Similarly, parents, teachers, social service providers and many others need to know about the still largely unknown link between cruelty to animals and violence. From wife beaters to serial killers, a link exists between mistreatment of animals and humans.
31222 Stornoway, through the Pet Network, will enable us and the independent producers in Canada to perform these services.
31223 More Canadians also need to hear and to communicate their views about, among many others, animal therapy for older Canadians, troubled youth, inmates and others; problems of pet ownership in travel; pet bite - cause and prevention; socializing pets; pet problems in northern and other remote communities.
31224 To address only one issue, in all provinces and territories of Canada, programs are being set up, or are already in place, whereby animal and human aid organizations are using companion animals for therapeutic purposes.
31225 Although the animals which participate do crave and receive human contact, the primary beneficiaries are the humans involved. This animal-based social safety net permits the elderly who can no longer keep a pet to have loving contact with affectionate creatures; helps to socialize criminal offenders; and contributes to the recovery of young and old in medical convalescence.
31226 However, there is another tangible benefit of this human-animal bonding: inmates and young offenders, for example -- many of who have themselves been exposed to abuse -- have been changed by such therapy.
31227 As a result, we have a powerful tool in our search for a kinder, gentler world to share with other humans and with the animals over which we have custody.
31228 The Pet Network mix of fun items, such as commercial and home movies, and those which pluck at the heart strings in more serious ways is what the CFHS and its more than 400,000 members believe is extremely important to put in front of Canadians. Better educators have known for centuries that humour and fun are essential to education.
31229 Stornoway Communications, through the Pet Network, has the right formula, we believe, to attract, amuse and educate Canadians.
31230 Together, we can make a crucial contribution to the health and happiness of our pets, as well as to the humanity of our people.
31231 For these reasons, we strongly urge the Commission to license Stornoway Communications' application for the Pet Network in Category 1.
31232 Thank you very much.
31233 Merci bien.
31234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
31235 It's Mr. Van Tongerloo?
31236 M. VAN TONGERLOO: C'est ça.
31237 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure you will be pleased to know we already had one dog appear before us, last Friday. A very well-behaved dog, with the National Broadcasting Reading Service.
31238 MR. VAN TONGERLOO: Very good.
31239 THE CHAIRPERSON: He was very dignified.
31240 MR. VAN TONGERLOO: Yes. Part of our subliminal advertising.
31241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
31242 MR. VAN TONGERLOO: Thank you.
31243 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
31244 We will now take a 15 minute break.
31245 Nous reprendrons dans 15 minutes après une courte pause.
--- Upon recessing at 1001 / Suspension à 1001
--- Upon resuming at 1022 / Reprise à 1021
31246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome to our hearing.
31247 Madam Secretary, please.
31248 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31249 The next presentation will be by Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31250 MR. McCANN: Good morning.
31251 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31252 MR. McCANN: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada, I would like to say that we appreciate the opportunity to come before you and express our support for what we feel is a very interesting and well thought out proposal.
31253 Our association is the Canadian branch of an international movement whose main objective is to promote the importance of companion animals, or more commonly referred to as pets, in our day to day lives. In Canada we are 360 members strong, representing the interests of all the different sectors of the Canadian pet industry.
31254 Manufacturers, retailers and even the individual pet owner can be found within our ranks, but more importantly, this diverse membership and the millions of consumers it reaches we feel makes us well suited to comment on such an application. Let's talk briefly about the importance of pets to Canadians.
31255 The important role that pets play in everyday lives of Canadians is phenomenal. While one automatically thinks of cats and dogs when thinking of pets, you can also find a large variety of less known or less traditional pets that best suit the various lifestyles of Canadian pet owners. For example, how many of you knew that the keeping of ornamental fish is the second most popular hobby in the world, secondly only to stamp collecting?
31256 It has already been established that millions of Canadians own one or more than one pet. Millions more show a keen interest in stories related to pets. In fact, over my career, in some of the conversations I have had with people from media, it confirms to me that stories about pets rank right up there in the top three list of human interest stories people want to see and hear about. Further evidence of this keen interest and interest can be witnessed by the large crowds of Canadians attending pet consumer shows, dog and cat shows and other similar events.
31257 You can also testify to this by the number of calls we receive through our 1-800 line, through our office for consumers and people that just want to have information about their pets or a pet that they might want to consider. This is also evidenced through the numerous hits that we receive on our association's Web site.
31258 Coming to the proposal for a Pet Network, when we were first approached by Stornoway Communications to comment on their Category 1 licence application, our first reaction was to notice the excellence of their timing. Never in our lifetime have Canadians been thirstier for the kind of information and programming that relates to their pets and addresses the level of interest they have for companion animals.
31259 With this growing interest in pets, pet related products and services -- the previous presenter mentioned about pet assisted therapy and other services related to pets where we are only scratching the surface and discovering these additional values and benefits of pets and what they can do to people.
31260 There has never been a greater need to put forth a venue that would provide Canadians with pertinent, up to date information and offer them a forum for discussion. PIJAC Canada believes the proposal put forth by Stornoway Communications provides such a venue.
31261 Therefore, after careful review, we respectfully submit that this very sincere and very professional application be supported for the following reasons.
31262 In terms of programming variety, what they propose will result in an attractive channel that will appeal to both pet owners and non-pet owners alike. We also feel that this channel would be quite affordable, therefore making it an all around good value for consumers.
31263 The amount of Canadian content proposed by Stornoway would provide viewers in this country with a unique perspective that has yet to be found today. With the type of informative and diverse programming proposed by Stornoway Communications, their Pet Network will provide a valuable service to all Canadians, highlighting the merits of the pet-pet owner relationship and promoting the importance of the human-animal bond.
31264 Finally, Stornoway Communications' decision to work from the start with Canadian leaders in the field of companion animals will play a key role in disseminating strong, accurate information that will end up benefiting all Canadians.
31265 In conclusion, PIJAC Canada believes that the proposal submitted by Stornoway Communications brings about the right structure that will provide Canadians sound educational and entertainment value.
31266 For these reasons, we respectfully ask that the Commission grant Stornoway Communications' request for a Category 1 licence to operate their Pet Network.
31267 Ladies and gentlemen of the Commission, PIJAC thanks you for the opportunity to comment.
31268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. McCann, for your presentation. It's personally valuable to me because my children were great fish lovers. I was teased by many people to have encouraged this as opposed to getting a dog. Now I'm vindicated.
31269 MR. McCANN: Thank you.
31270 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation.
31271 Madam Secretary, please.
31272 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31273 The next presentation will be by the Canadian Screen Training Centre.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31274 MR. SHOEBRIDGE: Members of the Commission , my name is Tom Shoebridge. I am the founder of the Canadian Screen Training Centre. I guess I am here as the voice of the future of Canadian film and television because in the last 30 years, I guess, I hate to say, I have been a teacher, advocate, promoter, unabashed Canadian national film and television supporter.
31275 I guess that comes out of my faith that we as a people have stories to tell, not only to ourselves, but to the entire world. We are catching up. We are doing a very good job. I think that the Independent Film Channel that has been proposed is a wonderful step forward.
31276 I grew up on the Saskatchewan Prairies, but one of the films that changed my life, I suppose, as a Canadian citizen was in fact a film that came out of Quebec, Mon oncle Antoine. Though it was based in a remote mining town about a young boy coming of age, it had deep resonance to me as a person, as a Canadian.
31277 What I realized, I guess, with that film is something that I had felt in my classes for a long time. That was that we have to see ourselves and our stories on the screen. That's who we are.
31278 I remember in the early 1970s -- I guess one of the things that really amazes me is how new the Canadian film industry is. When I founded the Canadian Screen Training Centre 20 years ago, all of the filmmakers in the country could have basically gathered in one small room. That's real amazing to see. There were no Alliances, no Atlantis', no Nelvanas, Salter Street. None of those existed. What we have seen is this enormous growth on all sides.
31279 Now, we have always been proud of what the National Film Board has been able to do, what the CBC has been able to do, both in radio and television, French and English. I think we have got a hole to be filled in the cultural field, and that is an independent film.
31280 Canadian film is always independent and it's always going to be independent because we can't afford the big kind of studios that the Americans bombard the rest of the world with. We love our next door neighbours, but culturally, as you know, they eat us. That's why I think a hearing like this is so important, that we in fact have a public body and a government and a history and a tradition of saying we have important stories, the public network -- the public airwaves are for the Canadian public and we should be able to see ourselves totally and fully.
31281 When I look at the theatres, and Ottawa is a very good example, do you know that today in Canada's capital there are two Canadian films playing, one in English, one in French. In the 170 or plus screens in Ottawa, two of them have Canadian films playing. If you were an international jury, you would find us guilty of impersonating a cultural nation. It's that bad.
31282 So a television network that can bring film into the home has a special place both at the personal level in which people can in fact seek out those films that they want to see that come from the various parts of the country. They will be able to see international films as well, not necessarily Hollywood films -- in fact, that's not in their mandate -- and so that we will be able to evaluate not only our stories, but independent, lesser commercial stories from around the world.
31283 In the early 1970s when I started to teach Canadian film, I had to teach Canadian film as part of the foreign film department because the stories were so different than Americans. They thought because they weren't American, they were bad, that they were weak, that they were not strong, and yet when we could see the way that our storytelling is very much closer to a European style, and that it has a legitimacy just as Japanese, Finnish and South American filmmakers have legitimacy, we could turn students around.
31284 But then we had trouble with exposure: Where do we get these films? How do we get them to see more of them because it's only through that constant exposure and availability that we can in fact build a film culture.
31285 I was trying to train Canadian filmmakers using American films and, of course, that doesn't work very well at all.
31286 So I feel strongly that from an educator's point of view -- and I guess over the last 20 years our school has trained about 4,000 people to join the film and television industry, and we hope to continue to grow and open our doors to people, but we want them to have a future in filmmaking, not just in specialty television which is doing a terrific job, not only in the networks which are finally becoming more and more Canadian as well as the CBC, but what we have to do is to have opportunity for the youth coming up.
31287 I have filmmakers contact us regularly as to, "Where do I take my film? How do I get it made? How can I make a little money on it? How can I make the next film?" and I think this kind of channel, back with someone like Salter Street who has, in fact, a terrific independent film background, I think it's a very strong proposal and I and the Canadian Screen Training Centre are very proud to be associated with them as a supporter.
31288 Thank you very much.
31289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Shoebridge for your presentation.
31290 M. SH0EBRIDGE: Merci beaucoup.
31291 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31292 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31293 The next presentation will be by Lise Watier Cosmétiques Inc.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31294 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, Madame.
31295 Mme WATIER: Bonjour, Madame la Présidente, bonjour mesdames, messieurs.
31296 Je vais me présenter. Lise Watier, présidente d'une compagnie de cosmétiques et de parfums établie à Montréal depuis 1972. Je suis distribuée à travers le Canada au niveau des parfums dans au-delà de 1 000 points de vente dont 575 au Québec.
31297 Je suis également distribuée dans quelques pays comme la France, l'Angleterre, les États-Unis, et maintenant le Japon. Quand je dis "distribuée", nous commençons notre distribution dans ces pays, aux États-Unis et en France depuis maintenant trois ans et je me lève tous les matins à la conquête du monde. Ça c'est qui je suis.
31298 Dernièrement, j'ai signé une entente de licence avec un manufacturier canadien de Montréal pour la lingerie Lise Watier qui est sur le marché depuis un an, qui est distribuée à 50 pour cent au Canada, 50 pour cent aux États-Unis à l'heure où je vous parle.
31299 C'est un peu ce que je suis moi. Je suis ici pour vous parler d'une industrie de la mode qui a une importance capitale. Le Québec, comme vous le savez -- et on vous l'a sûrement présenté auparavant -- regroupe l'industrie de la mode à un pourcentage extraordinaire. Nous avons un bassin de créateurs exceptionnels et nous avons besoin de non seulement croire en nous, mais nous avons besoin d'aide pour nous aider à divulguer cette image de créativité que nous avons à travers le monde.
31300 Aujourd'hui, il n'y a pas beaucoup d'outils disponibles pour faire connaître les créateurs, designers d'ici à des auditoires autres que le Canada. Nous avons des outils, par exemple, comme la Fondation mode Matinée qui aide les jeunes designers à aller un peu plus loin. C'est une Fondation à laquelle j'ai participé activement en étant membre du Conseil de direction à ses débuts. Je n'y suis plus maintenant.
31301 Il y a la Griffe d'or qui diffuse une fois par année des designers qui nous font -- la Griffe d'or nous fait connaître de nouveaux visages, nous fait apprécier leur talent, mais on oublie que la mode c'est au-delà d'un produit. La mode aujourd'hui c'est du show-business. La mode est associée directement à travers le monde à la musique. C'est une façon d'exprimer l'art et la culture de ce que nous sommes, notre culture et notre société.
31302 Comme expérience personnelle, sur les émissions de télévision que j'ai animées, j'ai invité plusieurs designers québécois qui me disaient immédiatement après la diffusion d'une émission comment l'impact était positif au niveau des ventes et au niveau de la reconnaissance surtout pour ceux qui n'étaient pas tellement connus.
31303 Personnellement, j'ai participé il y a quelques temps à une émission de CNN qui a été diffusée à travers le monde au moins à cinq ou six reprises, et qui m'a amené des répercussions qui me sont venues du Kuwait, d'Amérique du Sud, de Chine, de partout. Alors il est évident que la télévision joue un rôle extrêmement important dans la diffusion de l'information de ce que nous sommes ici aussi.
31304 Le rôle de Perfecto au sein de notre industrie est un rôle qui va bien au-delà de la diffusion d'une image. Perfecto nous a donné le goût non seulement d'être à la fine pointe et d'être informés, mais nous a donné le goût d'aller plus loin parce que cette information qui nous vient de partout au monde est en même temps une source d'inspiration pour les créateurs d'ici, une source d'inspiration qui nous fait part des tendances mode les plus pointues autant en Europe qu'aux États-Unis ou ailleurs à travers le monde, et c'est un impact qui ne peut pas rester sous silence puisque c'est un impact qui touche une industrie -- comme vous l'avez sûrement entendu, ou vous allez l'entendre -- qui regroupe, je pense, au Québec comme 72 000 emplois avec des ventes qui se chiffrent autour de 4 milliards de dollars. Alors c'est une industrie.
31305 Je peux dire que tout comme la musique qui alimente l'industrie du disque, la mode et le design sont une forme d'art qui reflète une société, qui reflète une époque, une culture, et c'est une forme d'art qui a aussi des retombées économiques plus que substantielles.
31306 La mondialisation est aussi un phénomène dont il faut tenir compte. L'information que nous avons, qui nous est diffusée et qui provient de grandes capitales de la mode a non seulement un impact sur notre image personnelle, c'est-à-dire qu'ici, comme partout ailleurs, on a le besoin de se sentir à la mode, le besoin d'être à l'heure du jour simultanément avec nos cousins d'outre-Atlantique ou nos voisins américains.
31307 Je ne sais pas si vous vous rappelez, mais il y a 10 ou 15 ans on était toujours un an plus tard. Il y a 15 ans on recevait les modes de Paris un an plus tard, aujourd'hui c'est simultané. On vit à l'heure de la mondialisation et en même temps.
31308 Mais ça nous permet aussi de participer à l'évolution culturelle et sociologique des pays que nous souhaitons cibler pour nos propres produits. L'exportation, on le sait tous, est essentielle à notre survie et à notre croissance.
31309 La diffusion des grandes tendances mode et design nous informe immédiatement sur les attentes de ces marchés. Alors quand on voit des modes qui nous sont présentées qui viennent de Paris ou qui viennent de Milan, ça nous donne tout de suite l'image et la connotation que ces marchés sont à la recherche de raffinement, qu'ils ont le souci du détail, ils ont un goût de raffinement qui nous permet de produire nous aussi des vêtements ou des cosmétiques qui sont attendus dans ces pays pour répondre à leurs attentes.
31310 Quand on parle d'Angleterre et du Japon, là il y a un terme anglais que je vais utiliser où c'est plus "edgy". On est à la recherche de choses qui vont nous étonner. Alors les Anglais, les Anglais aiment se faire étonner. Ils aiment être choqués parce que c'est ce qui les séduits. Alors ça nous permet ici quand on voit cette diffusion de mode de comprendre que ces marchés ont besoin d'être choqués, ils ont besoin d'être un petit peu bousculés pour enfin être séduits.
31311 Quand on regarde les États-Unis, on voit et on réalise que sur la Côte est c'est le bon chic bon genre. On recherche des choses qui sont plus conservatrices. On se rend du côté ouest des États-Unis on voit que le marché aime autant ce qui est star que ce qui est naturel et santé -- ça c'est la Californie -- et ça nous permet donc de comprendre ces marchés d'ici et de produire les produits qui leur correspondent.
31312 Une chaîne comme Perfecto répond à ces besoins, autant sur un plan de divertissements -- parce que ne l'oublions pas, la mode est un divertissement, c'est le show-business, et la mode fascine, autant les gens d'ici que d'ailleurs. Alors ça répond à des besoins personnels -- quoi porter cette saison? Qu'est-ce qui va faire que je serai ou je me sentirai à la mode, que je sois homme, femme ou enfant? On sait que les petites filles de 4 ans aujourd'hui choisissent leurs vêtements et elles-mêmes ne se font plus dicter.
31313 Sur le plan créatif, c'est une inspiration pour nos designers. Sur le plan informatif, on est au courant en même temps que tout e monde à travers le monde. Sur un plan commercial, quelles sont les attentes qu'on a pour nos produits d'ici. Sur un plan économique, plus on vend ici, plus on achète, plus la consommation est bonne, et plus l'économie de notre pays est en croissance.
31314 L'expérience acquise depuis déjà plusieurs années donne à Perfecto une longueur d'avance qu'il faut considérer. Sa philosophie et son ouverture rejoignent les téléspectateurs québécois avides d'améliorer leur mode de vie, de connaître les produits de mode et de design les plus pointus, et fiers aussi de connaître et de promouvoir les créations de chez nous.
31315 La mode a un impact qui va bien au-delà du vêtement, du design. La mode véhicule des mouvements sociologiques qui nous dictent une nouvelle façon de nous alimenter. On ne mange plus comme avant. Ça n'est plus la mode de manger comme avant. Maintenant on mange santé. Alors la mode va bien au-delà du vêtement.
31316 La mode nous dicte aussi que nous devons être en forme. Nous devons faire de l'exercice. C'est à la mode de faire de l'exercice. C'est démodé de ne pas en faire. De nous exprimer aussi, une nouvelle façon de nous exprimer, d'approcher le monde. Une nouvelle façon de voir les pays qu'on veut visiter: le monde à découvrir, et c'est une nouvelle façon, la mode, d'écrire notre histoire.
31317 Voilà pourquoi j'appuie la démarche de Perfecto, la Chaîne auprès du CRTC et je vous remercie de votre attention.
31318 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Je vous remercie, Madame Watier. Vous m'avez convaincue, donc j'ai beaucoup de pain sur la planche. Pas du pain, non, des céréales.
--- Rires / Laughter
31319 Mme WATIER: Merci.
31320 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci beaucoup de votre présentation.
31321 Madame la Secrétaire, s'il vous plaît.
31322 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31323 The next presentation will be by Zenobia Collections Incorporated.
--- Pause / Pause
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31324 Mme MINICUCCI: Alors bonjour, Madame la Présidente.
31325 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, Madame.
31326 Mme MINICUCCI: Je suis Marisa Minicucci, une dessinatrice de mode. On est ici pour appuyer le projet qui a été soumis par Perfecto, présenté par Perfecto.
31327 Je vous donne un peu les antécédents de la compagnie Zenobia. Elle a été lancée en 1993 par mon associé, Barry Bly, qui est ici aujourd'hui, et moi-même. On produit la griffe Marisa Minicucci. C'est une maison prestigieuse canadienne de design de vêtements pour dames reconnue pour son design moderne, son exécution soignée et ses tissus de grande qualité. La collection a été distribuée profitablement en Amérique du Nord depuis 1993, dès le début -- 80 pour cent aux États-Unis et maintenant on a débuté en Grande-Bretagne.
31328 Je passe Barry Bly, mon associé, avec d'autres faits.
31329 M. BLY: Bonjour, Madame la Présidente, membres du Conseil.
31330 J'aimerais cibler mes commentaires sur les conditions socio-économiques qui créent le besoin pour Perfecto, la Chaîne.
31331 Les statistiques qui ont trait à l'importance de l'industrie vestimentaire au Canada et spécialement au Québec ont été fort bien documentées et vous ont été présentées déjà. Alors je ne vais pas revisiter.
31332 Ce qu'on veut faire, c'est que nous aimerions souligner les particularités souvent négligées quand on représente l'industrie du vêtement et du design.
31333 La mode est une composante clé du style de vie moderne. On parle maintenant de "lifestyle" comme un "mantra". La mode a une étendue internationale. La mode est tangible -- le produit est perçu par le regard et par le toucher. La mode utilise la technologie avant-gardistes - CAD/CAM, EDI, Internet, les innovations de haute technologie en fabrication de tissus. La mode utilise de façon soutenue la main-d'oeuvre -- le rendement de haute valeur ajoutée au niveau designer, particulièrement.
31334 Toutes ces qualités d'appliquent également à d'autres domaines du design, mais l'étendue restreinte du marché domestique impose des limites à l'accumulation de fonds de commerce pour fins de mise en marché concurrentielle contre les marques internationales renommées. C'est pour cette raison que Perfecto, la Chaîne est un partenaire idéal.
31335 Notre industrie souffre d'une représentation négative de vêtements. On entend toujours parler des abus de la main-d'oeuvre et du système de prélèvements fiscaux qui s'appliquent d'ailleurs à d'autres industries aussi. Perfecto, la Chaîne encourage les chefs de file et par ce fait même suscite l'intérêt dans le design canadien et régénère carrière des professionnels habiles dans tous les aspects du développement innovateur.
31336 Pourquoi Perfecto, la Chaîne?
31337 Mme MINICUCCI: La Chaîne Perfecto nous a toujours beaucoup appuyés. Toutes les fois qu'on a eu quelque chose qui a passé à Perfecto ç'a été toujours beaucoup reconnu -- "Oh, Marissa, je t'ai vue là, je t'ai vue là" -- mais même au-delà du Québec, partout, partout, ç'a été toujours un grand succès.
31338 Ça représente un mode de vie, un mode de vie qui se met dans les arts, dans l'architecture, et il ne faut pas oublier qu'ils ont été des pionniers depuis 1992.
31339 Ce sont eux qui ont conçu cette idée de présenter un mode de vie, un mode de vie qu'on veut faire part, qu'on veut voir comment c'est à l'étranger, et nous comment on se compare avec les autres. On est à jour, on est aussi bons que les autres. On a beaucoup de produits ici au Québec qu'on doit faire connaître chez nous et ailleurs.
31340 C'est ce que Perfecto va faire pour nous. Ils ont déjà fait ça. Ça fait des années qu'ils le font. Et pour être dans les arts, dans la mode et tout ça, il faut être un peu innovateur et je pense que c'est ça qu'ils ont apporté à cette industrie depuis les années qu'ils le font. Ce n'est pas une réaction à une demande du public, dire, "Oh, sais-tu, peut-être que...". Ils ont déjà pensé à ça. Ça fait des années qu'ils sont là.
31341 Alors je crois beaucoup à tout ce qui est innovateur, tout ce qui dit, "Bon, j'étudie le marché, je crois qu'on s'en va vers ça. On a besoin de ça". Ils nous ont donné ça déjà et j'espère qu'ils continuent.
31342 Alors je veux juste dire merci à Perfecto pour tout ce qu'ils ont fait à date et qu'ils continuent.
31344 M. BLY: On pense que Perfecto, la Chaîne, réunit à une même table des habilités qui se complètent et offre passions et développe des fonctions de chef. Surtout Perfecto, la Chaîne présente une perspective internationale qui est un aspect clé pour nous, pour les compagnies qui se promènent sur le marché global, et positionne le design canadien -- et je souligne "le design canadien" -- dans l'arène internationale.
31345 C'est pour ces raisons qu'on appuie la soumission de Perfecto, la Chaîne, et on vous remercie beaucoup.
31346 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Nous vous remercions, Madame Miniccuci et Monsieur Bly de votre présentation.
31347 Mme MINICUCCI: Merci.
31348 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31349 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31350 The next presentation will be by Norflicks Entertainment Limited.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31351 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, gentlemen.
31352 MR. NIELSEN: Good morning.
31353 We would like to thank the Commission for allowing us to intervene in this matter of the Work Channel and the Issues Channel.
31354 I would like to say that while we were asked to intervene, we especially requested to appear because we think both of these channels are a unique opportunity for the Commission to in one case repair a tradition that has been lost, in the other case to launch one.
31355 I am the President of Norflicks and this is Derek Pert who is our Supervisor of New Media. I asked him to read our presentation because I think he would have more credibility on new media than I would. Derek.
31356 MR. PERT: Thank you.
31357 We would like to thank the Commission for allowing us to appear and state the reasons why we support @work.ca and the Issues Channel being applied for by Stornoway Communications.
31358 With regard to @work.ca, our company, Norflicks Productions, has long been interested in a service which would provide viewers with information concerning jobs, where to find them, how to get them, how to upgrade one's credentials to make finding a job more likely, what working conditions should be expected if one is successful, and at the same time, supply employers seeking to hire people, with information as to where they might look.
31359 To this end, three years ago we met with Stuart Wells, Assistant Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada and subsequently, with department heads at Statistics Canada who deal with all manner of employment information. These are people who produce publications, daily, weekly, monthly and annually, hundreds of them, describing the Canadian labour market in all its aspects; including training, health and safety, labour law, employees rights, and other information -- as well as the most up-to-date information concerning where to find jobs, and the skills required to find them.
31360 In our discussions we also reviewed what information was available from other federal and provincial government departments, such as Labour and Industry. At the same time, we did a less exhaustive survey of what was available from corporations, employment agencies and unions. This was all done with the view to persuading someone else, who will be nameless, to apply for a channel such as the one Stornoway now proposes.
31361 What we found is that there is more free information about work than about the weather. And almost none of it finds its way on to our TV screens.
31362 In any given week there are 35 shows to help someone learn how to cook, several on how to build a house, paddle a canoe, shoot a moose, improve your skills with makeup, improve your health, plus, literally, hundreds of hours of air time devoted on how to invest. But, there is virtually nothing on how to get a job if you are unemployed, or how to improve your job, or how to find training for skills a certain job requires.
31363 The failure to provide this free and readily available information to those who need it is a shocking situation, and a sad commentary on Canada's broadcast industry.
31364 The nature of work is changing. Everyone knows that. So, the task of @work.ca will be to explore how and why things change, and how to cope. As we've said, our initial attraction was to the fact that Stornoway was doing something about work. This sparked our interest. But the reason we are here is Stornoway's determination to use the Internet as part of the service they will provide.
31365 Eventually, in the not too distant future, Canadian job seekers and job providers will communicate with one another directly through @work.ca. At the outset, viewers will access @work.ca's Internet services and resources via their desktop computer, but as the full features of the digital TV system become available in set-top boxes, viewers will be able to engage the same services, even look for work, over their televisions directly. This will also make the fullness of @work.ca available to those who lack access to a computer.
31366 @work.ca will also be what service TV must aspire to be, a meeting place where the essential aspects of microeconomics are taught to everyone who participates; entrepreneurs, established businesses, and job seekers, from all ages, from all regions, and from all walks of life.
31367 Imagine what it might mean to a maritimer who finds little employment to his or her taste close to home, to be able to pre-test the market for their skills without even leaving home, courtesy, @work.ca.
31368 All job statistics are, of necessity, gathered locally, and while the information covering all job opportunities is much too detailed to be described on @work.ca's programs, their existence will be publicized, and detailed information will be made available, through @work.ca's Internet components.
31369 We believe that @work.ca is the most important application before you. We think it deserves placement in tier one, since Stornoway's determination to make this initiative succeed is clear, and since none of the more established players in the industry have seen fit, up until now, to do it in the comprehensive way which Stornoway proposes.
31370 We have said that we think the most important application before you is @work.ca. We think The Issues Channel runs a very close second.
31371 We watched Stornoway's appearance before the Commission and despite the effective, accurate and passionate explanation by Martha Fusca of what she meant by public affairs, we fear that some confusion might remain. If so, there's good reason for that, since public affairs, in the sense that it is commonly used, applies to any actuality programming concerned with public issues, including news, gavel to gavel presentation of events, and interviews flowing from those events.
31372 In The Issues Channel, public affairs is used to describe a particular genre of programming that has deep roots in this country.
31373 Starting in radio in the 1940s and 1950s, CBC created Citizen's Forum and Farm Radio Forum, which organized groups across Canada to contribute their ideas, words and presence in CBC programs produced under the aegis of a Public Affairs Department.
31374 With the dawn of TV, that department presented such programs as Close up, Horizon, This Hour Has 7 Days, Public Eye, Inquiry, Sunday, The Way It is, Twenty Millions Questions and Weekend. These were collectively the most successful programs of the late 1950s, 60s and early 70s. You will recognize some of the names responsible for them; Ross McLean, Patrick Watson, Douglas Leiterman, Daryl Dyke, Beryl Fox and Allan King.
31375 The Fifth Estate followed Weekend, but the mandate had changed. The Public Affairs Department had by then been abolished, and so The Fifth Estate became the extremely effective investigative program we are now familiar with, but it was no longer doing public affairs in the way its predecessor programs had.
31376 What distinguishes a public affairs program is that it acts as a purveyor or publisher of the views of a wide range of informed people who mostly have no direct involvement or stake in what is being discussed. They are sought out not just for their specific knowledge, but for their judgment.
31377 We watch them because they are wise, provocative, witty and convinced that thorough, well-expressed ideas can contribute to our culture and public life. They provide perspective on public issues in the way some articles in magazines like Harpers, Atlantic Monthly and the National Review supply perspective. Note that our examples are all American. That is because no Canadian magazine with substantial circulation exists to fulfil that role.
31378 The best example we have in this country of public affairs, in the sense which The Issues Channel is using it, is CBC radio which electronically publishes people with something to say, whether topical or not, like Jean Vanier, sometimes adding production embellishments to make their subject more accessible, sometimes confronting them with someone who thinks differently in order to stimulate debate and sharpen insights.
31379 Public affairs such as this does not report. Though it may convey information, it doesn't expose or investigate; it illuminates and illustrates how the free flow of ideas provides direction in a healthy democracy. Put succinctly, it places a premium on judgment, wit and wisdom rather than on topicality, sensation and revelation, as news and what is currently called "current affairs" does.
31380 News and public affairs are complimentary. One, news, we have in abundance. The other, public affairs, has virtually disappeared.
31381 CPAC does not even attempt to extract the most stimulating intellectual kernels from the vast array of public events it harvests since it is not its role to thrill us with the adventure of ideas. And since it performs an extremely useful, but different service, its mandate should remain exactly what it is.
31382 What will make things work for the Issues Channel is interactivity. The farm forums and the citizen forums, which took years to establish, will be created virtually overnight on the Internet.
31383 The Issues Channel will allow people who are remote from the formulation of public policy to feel that they have a way to make their own ideas matter. Viewers will suggest many of the topics. They may also suggest or supply many of the people who will appear and spawn debates between people of divergent views.
31384 Using Internet-based features, viewers will be able to take part in on-line poling, cast votes, express for or against positions, and see on-screen representations of the proportion of the viewing audience who share or oppose their views. These features will ultimately become an on-screen part of the Issues Channel programming. This is real and meaningful interactivity and will provide a link for viewers to the process by which decisions affecting public policies are made.
31385 Many of the applications you have heard have emphasized Internet involvement and interactivity, but none, which we have read or looked at, have incorporated the possibilities of new media so seamlessly as have the two applications for @work.ca and the Issues Channel.
31386 As an independent production company, so far happily unaffiliated to any broadcaster, we are busy experiencing the possibilities of the new media. "New" is another reason we came here today in support of Stornoway. We think it is very important for new players to be licensed.
31387 Undoubtedly, large broadcast organizations come to look at broadcast opportunities in a practised, predictable way. That is their strength. But surely it is prudent to have some people in the system who are getting into the game just as the game is changing.
31388 Thank you very much.
31389 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Nielsen and it's Mr. Kirk?
31390 MR. PERT: Pert.
31391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Pert, I'm sorry.
31392 Thank you for your presentation.
31393 Madam Secretary, please.
31394 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31395 The next presentation will be by Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation.
31396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31397 Ms Kirby?
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31398 MS KIRBY: Ms Kirby.
31399 Good morning, Madam Chair, Commissioners, Madam Secretary and Commission staff. My name is Bonita Kirby. Since 1997 I have been Chair of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation. I am also the Manager of the Executive MBA Program for St. Mary's University in Halifax.
31400 It is a pleasure to be able to appear today in support of Salter Street Films' application for digital specialty television services.
31401 Let me begin by just telling you a little bit about the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation. It was created in 1990. The Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation is a provincial Crown corporation and reports to the Department of Economic Development. The mission of the corporation is to grow film, video and new media industries in Nova Scotia by stimulating investment in employment and by promoting Nova Scotia's locations, skills and creativity in global markets.
31402 The film and television industry in the Atlantic region has grown enormously during the last 20 years, in no small part due to the success of companies like Salter Street Films.
31403 Nova Scotia is the centre of the industry in Atlantic Canada, representing about 95 per cent of activity. Today Nova Scotia's film and television industry contributes over $130 million to our economy, compared to $14 million in 1993. In fact, Salter Street was crucial in establishing the industry in Atlantic Canada. It has been a cornerstone in the development of local expertise, talent and infrastructure.
31404 Today Salter Street plays a significant role as the largest and only vertically integrated production company in the region, and the only publicly traded entertainment company east of Quebec.
31405 With yearly revenues of over $50 million, Salter Street accounts for over one-third of the regional activity. Salter Street's impact on the region is felt in a number of ways. It employs a core staff of 60, hires an additional 400 people in production roles each year from across the country.
31406 Salter Street operates Electropolis Motion Picture Studios, the largest sound stage in Atlantic Canada. Salter Street Digital and Salter Effects, the company's post-production facility, are state-of-the-art and are innovators in the use of leading edge technology. Salter Street New Media is a dynamic and successful new media division that has produced original branded content for the Internet.
31407 Salter Street's creative and financial success is obvious. It's award-winning productions are well-known throughout Canada and its programs are sold in over 100 countries around the world.
31408 Now Salter Street is ready to bring digital broadcasting to eastern Canada. It is this undertaking that will firmly entrench Atlantic Canada in the Canadian broadcasting system. In an era of change and restructuring of the system, it is vital that the region be included now. By establishing a broadcasting centre in the region, Salter Street Films will ensure that Atlantic Canada is a full participant in the digital world.
31409 By granting a licence to Salter Street, television production in Atlantic Canada will evolve from a seasonal industry to one of a year-round employment and production. It will mean a number of high-paying, high-skilled jobs in a knowledge-based industry. It will mean significant spinoffs economically and creatively.
31410 We are very pleased with Salter Street's strong commitment to the independent production sector. Its promise of earmarking at least 50 per cent of the Canadian program expenditures for each proposed channel will benefit Atlantic producers, as well as independent producers across the country.
31411 It is for these reasons that all four Atlantic film agencies have supported Salter Street's applications. Indeed, all four Premiers of the Atlantic provinces have united on this point. Each has written to the Commission in support of Salter Street's proposals.
31412 Salter Street Films is the company to bring special broadcasting to our region. It has an outstanding management team, the financial clout and the commitment and ability to provide superior quality television services to all Canadians.
31413 Salter Street understands the importance of Canadian content and the role of the independent producer in broadcasting. It is committed to both of these integral aspects of Canadian broadcasting. It is the obvious choice for Atlantic Canada and for the national broadcasting system.
31414 On behalf of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation, I urge you to grant licences for the outstanding applications that Salter Street Films has submitted to the Commission.
31415 I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and I would welcome any questions.
31416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Kirby.
31417 We don't have to ask you who you are supporting, do we.
31418 MS KIRBY: It is very clear. I think that you would find that in the Atlantic region people very much have their fingers crossed that it will be Salter Street Productions that will be in the area.
31419 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
31420 MS KIRBY: Thank you.
31421 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31422 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31423 The next presentation will be by Bonte Minnema.
31424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31425 MR. MINNEMA: Hi. Good day, Madam Chairperson and Commissioners.
31426 My name is Bonte Minnema and I am here today to talk to you about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and QueerTelevision and why it matters.
31427 It is important to me for a number of reasons, and I will speak to these issues as a viewer, as a gay youth, as a queer broadcaster, as a community activist and, finally, how it is important and how vital it is for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgendered and queer Canadians to be really included in the media and the representations that we produced of ourselves here in Canada.
31428 As a viewer, I'm a 24-year-old gay male and I'm a consumer of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer media, and I prefer to consume media that represents me and my community. I feel that I have that right, especially having grown up with representation of myself and community in the media that is not in the least reflective of me or who I am.
31429 I, together with my community, have struggled to come where we are today. And, although we have made some strides, we still have a long way to go. But everything worth achieving is worth working for. I have struggled with my communities and we have worked to get where we are.
31430 And having been where we are and seen social changes, legal changes and changes in community and social services, it's -- the question for me isn't "When will we have a gay channel? or "Why should we have a channel representing the lesbian and gay community? but "Why not?".
31431 Quality lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer content is of utmost importance. It seems that every other community has acquired that right and that there are plenty of local and regional markets with broadcast channels that reflect them, for most other communities.
31432 A channel like Pride Vision will provide news and current affairs from a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer point of view. The discussions and social awareness and positive entertainment value of a channel like this are both endless and invaluable.
31433 For years, I saw only stereotypical, and usually negative, images of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer characters on television.
31434 A channel by and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer is not just about queer characters often in sitcoms. It isn't just about shows like "Queerest Folk". While that was, apparently, a ground-breaking show and many people I know watched it and enjoyed it, it really only represented middle-class, urban, able-bodied gay, white men.
31435 The Pride Vision programming schedule takes into account the cultural mosaic of our country and offers inclusive community-based relevant programming that will be of interest to all Canadians, particularly those associated with and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community.
31436 Pride Vision is extremely important at this stage in our development, our history and our overall objectives to where our communities are going to be on par with other communities.
31437 I suspect that, in the future, when -- whichever gay or lesbian television is licensed, when it comes back to apply for licence renewal will be coming back for many different reasons than when applying for the original licence because of the effect that it will have on our country.
31438 It's very important, in order to hear all of the many and diverse voices in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer communities, that the licence is given to someone who has taken the time to get to know this market, who has a commitment to serving it and who has a proven record of broadcasting to niche markets.
31439 As a gay youth, why is this important? I'm 24. By some definitions that's youth. By some it isn't. The majority of my community involvement, however, has been in developing youth-related initiatives, programming, community services and, as a young person, involved with making legal change, with other community groups.
31440 It wasn't too long ago that 23, for young gay men, was considered gay middle age. This is in reference to, of course, the AIDS crisis. We were affected by a number of issues, as a community, and concerns that deal with non-conventional and insular ways because we did not have the means of mass communication. And while some would argue that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer communities have done remarkably well in bringing issues such as HIV infection to the light of day for everyone, there are many more issues that need to be addressed.
31441 Just thinking socially, even in a city, in an urban centre like Toronto, it's still difficult for many people to find a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer-positive doctor, let alone queer-positive television.
31442 Please imagine, for a moment, that you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or queer person. Imagine you know what it is and what it means. Imagine that you're out. Or maybe, for a moment, imagine that you're not. And imagine how it feels to be completely alone. Imagine how it feels to be in search of community. Imagine how it feels to be in fear of rejection, in the process of coming out. Imagine living in many different parts of this country where there might be some community there that you would like to reach out to or the community there might be really, really invisible and hard to access.
31443 Then imagine how it might feel to be affirmed by seeing positive images of who you are or that friends and family are supported -- supportive of you and that they might have a better understanding of who you are and your feelings and what you are going through because they have watched and seen informative, interesting, relevant and accurate programming on this new channel.
31444 Responsible, objective lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer programming will give everyone a better understanding so that we might conquer and overcome fear, so that we might overcome the stereotypical and inaccurate portrayal of members of our community.
31445 Imagine being a teacher or a school board trustee and imagine knowing that you have both a legal responsibility and a personal commitment to making sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer youth are safe and represented and their issues are discussed in your schools.
31446 But then imagine having to deal with parents and voters and the fear that you might have in dealing with these issues and the support that a channel like this might bring.
31447 I remember being 23. It's not that long ago. It wasn't all that great for me being reminded that 23 used to be gay middle age.
31448 But I'm lucky that I live in a strong community in the lesbian and gay village in Toronto where I can access many programs and services. But I often think about what it might be like if I hadn't left that small town I came from, in rural Ontario, and moved to the city, trying to access these services.
31449 But then I think, with the licensing of a station like Pride Vision, how this might change.
31450 I imagine how the positive imagery and all of the power of positive imagery and information can affect people, how it can affect lives and how the bringing of information and images to people can help them make community connections and community changes and positive changes in their lives and communities.
31451 A channel like this will bring resources, community connections and programs, community news, community current affairs and programming to people around issues and around discussion that reflects them and who they are. What a difference that will make! And the reach of Pride Vision will extend far beyond the youth segment of our population.
31452 Well, as I have said, I have come to know 23 isn't gay middle age. There are many people in their forties, fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and probably even over the age of 100, who are in the same situations and predicaments that I have just described.
31453 Will the message that it's okay to be gay be any less important to someone who's 80?
31454 Pride Vision will make that difference in many people's lives.
31455 Madam Chairperson and Commissioners, your choice today, in my opinion, is not whether or not to grant a licence to a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer community channel, but to whom.
31456 It should be a programmer and broadcaster that has taken the full spectrum of community issues into consideration -- youth issues; seniors' issues; women's issues; children's issues; transgender/transsexual issues; spiritual issues; sports, cultural and class issues; health and community issues -- a broadcaster who will work and consult and work even more with the community as it serves, on an ongoing basis, through advisory committees, through research and consultation, with experts in this relatively new area of broadcasting.
31457 As a broadcaster -- I'm a radio broadcaster. I broadcast, as part of the show, "Gaywire", on CIUT, at 89.5-FM, I broadcast from the University of Toronto. I receive lots of feedback about our programming firsthand.
31458 I can't stress enough what real need there is for the dialogue and for a television channel that really represents and is about and based and enrooted in the issues and discussion and representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer communities.
31459 In response to our pride weekend broadcast, to our special events, to the coverage of community groups and the discussions that we have on a radio show, really, the response shows how -- a lot of gratitude, appreciation and a desire for people to be involved with these discussions in a new and public way.
31460 Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer access is important for many Canadians. It isn't just about small public radio stations and fragments of programming here and there. It is about everyone and it is important to everyone. It is about human beings being human and it is about people wishing to understand and appreciate each other. It is about celebrating our differences and joining in those things that we have in common and bind us together.
31461 Supporters and members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer communities have the capabilities, and the desire, to develop and launch programming on their own channel.
31462 The question is not "Why?" but "Why not?" -- and I can't think of why not.
31463 There is much undeveloped and raw undeveloped lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer talent just waiting for an opportunity to broadcast, from independent producers to on-air women and men, to news and public affairs personnel, all of whom, and many more, who will benefit from an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer-friendly national service.
31464 As a community activist, part of what I do is get involved with many issues, initiating discussion, initiating actions on a variety of issues that affect our community. I do this because I realize that this is how I can affect a positive change,
31465 Although by some centres I'm considered young, I am determined to use the experience that I have had in a positive way that will make a difference for the future generations.
31466 Much of what I and countless other selfless individuals do goes under-reported. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer media, particularly via news and current affairs, special events broadcasting, will facilitate both my work and the work of so many other people and discussion to involve far greater numbers in these discussions than we have ever imagined before. PrideVision will allow people across the country to participate in discussions and be aware of issues that are important for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, important and vital media.
31467 The information age, the importance of communication -- in the information age, the importance of communication cannot be understated. Imagine again being a bit young, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, a queer person. I ask you to imagine being before --
31468 MS BÉNARD: Mr. Minnema, could I ask you to summarize your comments. You have gone over the allotted time.
31469 Thank you.
31470 MR. MINNEMA: Imagine being able to participate in these discussions.
31471 PrideVision, through the guidance of John Levy, recognizes all that I have said and more in becoming an important and representative broadcaster of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
31472 Madam Chairperson and Commissioners, you have an opportunity to be innovative and to add true diversity to our broadcasting systems and to send a message to the rest of the world. Where in many countries one can be executed on site for being gay, Canada is a leader. For the sake of our community and our country, and I think of all Canadians, I ask you to make PrideVision the reality it deserves to be.
31473 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Minnema, for your presentation.
31474 Madam Secretary, please.
31475 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31476 The next presentation will be by Little Sister's Book and Art.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31477 MR. DEVA: Good morning. My name is Jim Deva. I am the co-owner of Little Sister's Bookstore in Vancouver.
31478 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31479 MR. DEVA: I would first of all like to start off by thanking you for the invitation to speak today, although I must confess I was somewhat conflicted in accepting it. My forte is not public speaking. I am a bookseller. I love my job. I love books and I love the power that books have on people's lives.
31480 I am quite excited about the prospect of a gay and lesbian station in Canada and the positive effect that that would have on our community. Quite frankly, I am also impressed by PrideVision's presentation of what that view is going to look like.
31481 Some of you may have heard of Little Sister's. We are well known, one might say notorious, for our fight with Canada Customs and their somewhat crude attempt at censoring and destroying books and magazines as they enter the country bound for our store.
31482 When we first opened our doors in 1983, we were located in a small, second floor walk-up. We had very few books on our shelves. Indeed, gay and lesbian writing, gay publishing, was in its very infancy. It was only at that time that the gay and lesbian community in Canada began to blossom and grow.
31483 Canada Customs began their systematic harassment of our store in the 1980s. By the later part of that decade, it was apparent that if our store was to continue in business, we would have to go to court and end Customs Canada's clearly unconstitutional activities.
31484 We at that point launched a small court case. It was funded by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Group. Through clever legal dodging, we were unsuccessful at getting Customs to court to argue the legality of censorship. Several unsuccessful attempts later, it became apparent that the only way to create a legal forum for debating censorship was to create a massive court case that put the very process of censorship on trial.
31485 It was at this point that the Civil Liberties Organization explained that they could not be financially responsible for the court case and the hundreds of thousands of dollars that a court case might ensue.
31486 Our small store would have been quickly bankrupt if we had to pay the legal fees, so my partner, Bruce, myself and our amazing manager, Jeanine Fuller, sat down and said "Are we going to close? What are we going to do?" Then it became apparent that we were going to have to say "This problem is greater than we can solve". We had to turn it over to our community, the gay and lesbian community, and say "Help us". It was a humbling experience, an experience that changed my life and Bruce and Jeanine's life.
31487 Jeanine crossed Canada twice. She met with every little town and community that would hear her, every small and large group in our lesbian and gay community. She went across the Prairies, into Ontario and Quebec and into the Maritimes. She met in bars and in community centres and people's private homes. She explained what our problem was and she explained that we needed help.
31488 It wasn't very long until the funds actually started coming in. We had enough money at that time to actually begin our court process. We spent 34 days in court. We have gone through the initial judgment, we have gone through the B.C. Court of Appeal and in March this year we presented our case to the Supreme Court of Canada. We are now awaiting a decision.
31489 We have found that our community is strong, socially conscious and ready to take on most challenges. If there is one doubt in your mind that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people are not ready as a community to support a gay television channel, I sit before you today and say that I am the proof that it can happen and that our community can get together.
31490 You know, in the late 1970s I had the pleasure of being part of the first Gay Pride March in Vancouver. There were less than 200 people at that march. Indeed, there were more people opposing us than people that were marching. This August at our Pride Festival, we had over 200,000 people. With even larger turnouts at Toronto and Montreal and in other major cities, it is very apparent that we do have the numbers of people to support a gay and lesbian channel.
31491 I think I need some water here. I am more comfortable in my store amongst my books.
31492 One of the people that I work with -- his name is Mark McDonald and he is our book buyer -- is a brilliant young man. He has been with us about six years. He is also a very good writer. He has the honour this very month of having his first book published.
31493 Mark has become part of the young and vibrant writing force that is emerging from the west coast of our country. His book, which is very good, will sell well in Vancouver where our local gay media will review the book. Perhaps, if he's lucky, the dailies might pick it up and write a bit about it, but there is very little chance that his book will do well across Canada.
31494 One of the reasons that I'm so excited about the prospect of a national lesbian and gay channel is the fact that Mark and many other writers and artists from coast to coast will have an opportunity to present their work to our country and to our community.
31495 Perhaps we can then put a stop to the phenomena that Canadian artists must be well known in the United States before they are successful in our country. I know that phenomena is across Canada, but in our community where there are very few national -- really none -- national publications, it is very difficult for a west coast writer to be recognized in the rest of Canada. I'm sure it's the same with eastern writers.
31496 As our community has grown through the years, so has our store. We now have a store on street level with over 3,000 square feet of retail space, making Little Sister's one of the largest gay and lesbian bookstores in the world.
31497 Small business is changing. Bookstores are under competitive pressure more than most businesses in Canada at the present time. We sell books across Canada, and indeed ship to many countries around the world.
31498 Little Sister's has an Internet site which we have had for several years and it is now one of the areas of greatest growth in our store. A national forum to advertise would certainly be useful to our store and, I believe, to many other gay and lesbian businesses across our country.
31499 It was recently announced that amazon.com is going to open a virtual gay and lesbian bookstore. I have little fear that we will be able to compete with this huge company, but I do believe that given a level playing field, most Canadian businesses can and will compete with the best in the world.
31500 Not only am I enthusiastic about the prospect of a national lesbian and gay television channel, but I am pleased with the way that PrideVision has reached out to our community for support. In much the same way that Jeanine and Bruce and myself had to reach out to our community for support and guidance when funding a court case was an issue, I see that PrideVision has made a special effort to be inclusive in planning their vision for a gay channel.
31501 I have here several thousand signatures that PrideVision did in Vancouver at our Vancouver Pride Parade. The enthusiasm of people for an actual gay and lesbian television channel in Vancouver is really quite immense.
31502 As a west coast person, let me assure you that a Toronto centric channel is not my vision for a gay channel. Just as our community tries to include the words "lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgendered" as frequently as possible to ensure that we all understand that our community acts as an umbrella to protect and empower all people, regardless of race and gender, so too we must realize that there are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people across the country and they must feel that they are part of this very important channel.
31503 In conclusion, I would just like to plead with you that when you give out these precious gifts of channels, actually voices for people to be heard across our country, that you realize how important it would be for a gay and lesbian channel to be part of those voices.
31504 I would also like to again lend my support for PrideVision. From what I see of their work, they have the vision that is going to make it work. Thank you.
31505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Deva, for your presentation. I think you do very well with a microphone.
31506 MR. DEVA: You encourage me
31507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31508 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31509 The next presentation will be by BBCM Foundation/Black & Blue Festival.
31510 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
31511 MR. MAIDMENT: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
31512 First, let me introduce myself. My name is Keith Maidment. I am out, proud, gay man living and working in the diverse multicultural, multiethnic City of Toronto and a proud Canadian.
31513 I have been involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered community for 15 years and I am also a professional firefighter. As some of you might remember, I was the front person behind Rainbow Radio, a recent unsuccessful radio application in the Toronto area last winter.
31514 Today I have the honour of being asked to speak on behalf of Bad Boys Club Montreal, which hosts the largest single night cultural event in the world, Black & Blue, also a proud member of the National Advisory Committee for PrideVision, if awarded.
31515 I would like to begin with the history and the evolution of BBCM Foundation. In 1991 a group of friends decided that they wanted to create a party, a big party, and invite their friends and associates to join them. The reason, to celebrate, but to also give the proceeds to a good cause. That year 800 people attended the party, an event called The Black & Blue.
31516 The party is now a full-fledged festival; a social, cultural, sports and party events that lasts for over seven days. In 1999 more than 65,000 people from all over Canada, the USA, Europe, Australia, South America and New Zealand attended these events.
31517 The initial group of friends has grown and evolved to what is now a registered non-profit foundation, a very proud foundation that has been able to create an internationally renowned project, nurture its growth to what is now the largest event of its type in the world;
31518 A foundation that has been able to attract tourists from all over the world to come to Montreal in the most effective way;
31519 A foundation that is a community leader in donating $800,000 so far;
31520 A foundation that as a result of its annual events has been able to generate more than $100,000 in tourism spinoffs for the Montreal economy;
31521 A foundation that has received accolades and rave reviews for its creativity, ingenuity and uniqueness from media and entertainment industry representatives around the world;
31522 A foundation that has big events, big ideas, a big figure, but most importantly a big heart.
31523 Like many creative ideas and initiatives, progressive projects are not able to flourish and grow without a strong commitment and support from so many sponsors and advertisers. Air Canada, Genre magazine, Capital Q weekly, America AIDS magazine, Royal Bank, Zoom Media, Le Chateau, Gaywire.com, Draggin' magazine Canada, Gay.com, Bank of Montreal, Bacardi and Quebec Tourism, to name a few, understand and recognize the truly unique opportunity and financial benefits of advertising to this diverse community.
31524 If PrideVision is awarded the licence it too will have the same opportunities to reach out for new sources of revenue and advertising dollars. Organizations will benefit from this national exposure.
31525 Organizations and advertisers have never had this opportunity to reach such a wide audience in one community in a single medium.
31526 As comfortable as many of us are being out, there are still many of us that remain in the closet. Coming out in today's society still involves risk. Television can help eliminate these risks. Our community can connect from the privacy of their own homes.
31527 PrideVision will also be a truly national service, whereas until now the gay and lesbian perspective has been absent or, at least best, relegated to the fringe. PrideVision will bring our community into the mainstream. The mainstream is where we want to be, where we ought to be because it is where our total world also exists. No cultural community in this country should exist in isolation or be prevented from interaction to the overall larger community.
31528 PrideVision is an idea whose time has come. It will enjoy the full support of our community across the nation, the support of advertisers who want to reach this market and the support of our families, friends and co-workers who love and respect us, reflecting and representing all Canadians, once again making Canada a progressive leader in the communications industry.
31529 For this very reason we urge you to consider awarding PrideVision a Category 1 licence. We believe Mr. Levy and his team have the experience and the enthusiasm and the know-how to make PrideVision a business success, as well as a model for the world. Thank you.
31530 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
31531 Is it Mr. Merwood?
31532 MR. MAIDMENT: Maidment.
31533 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps you could spell it for the court reporter.
31534 MR. MAIDMENT: M-a-i-d-m-e-n-t.
31535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your presentation.
31536 Madam Secretary, please.
31537 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31538 The next presentation will be by the Filmmakers Association of Visible and Ethnic Minorities.
31539 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
31540 MS HILL: Good morning. I am here in support of WETV's application for a Category 1 broadcast licence because I feel very strongly that WETV has a focus that is essential to Canadian society.
31541 I organize an ad hoc group called FAVEM, the Filmmakers Association of Visible and Ethnic Minorities. For over 10 years we have been working to improve the representation and participation of visible and ethnic minorities in Canadian film and television. It doesn't appear to be fair to equitable.
31542 I am a screenwriter with some directing and producing experience. I have been a part of the industry for over 15 years and during that time I have not yet a filmmaker or a Canadian of visible minority origin who is satisfied with their relationship with the Canadian film and television industry.
31543 As filmmakers, we maintain close ties with our communities. We know the communities that support us and the organizations that support us. We know how they feel.
31544 We are hearing constantly from persons and organizations who are frustrated. They tell us we are here, we work, we contribute to the society, but we do not see ourselves or our stories or our concerns reflected in Canadian media.
31545 An ACTRA study has shown that actors of colour have a one in six chance for work compared to white performers. Although there are no statistics that I know of, it appears as though the situation is much less advantageous to producers, writers and directors of colour.
31546 I have heard from producers and distributors and, as well, of other filmmakers in our group who have had the same experience, that our stories are too black or too ethnic.
31547 Although there is a Multiculturalism Act in Canada, the industry appears to disregard it for the most part.
31548 We are concerned that giving a licence to companies who are established producers, who are already on a circuit which has a systemic bias against racial and ethnic minorities, will perpetuate this bias.
31549 For the past two years I have been in contact with WETV as a screenwriter. They have had no problem accepting that a Canadian story could have black or brown faces that were not cops or criminals.
31550 In my experience, WETV is a broadcaster that welcomes racial and cultural diversity. I am sure that WETV will foster connections with minority filmmakers as producers, writers and directors and in other key creative positions. The on-air host of Welcome to the Global Village, which is playing in Europe at the moment, has a racial minority Canadian as its host.
31551 I have no doubt that its programming will reflect the country's multicultural, multiracial reality and quality programming. WETV's concern for the physical environment is from a human perspective and therefore extends to the cultural environment.
31552 In our opinion, a licence for WETV is a must.
31553 Thank you very much.
31554 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Hill.
31555 MS HILL: Thank you.
31556 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe, Madam Secretary, that that ends Phase III of our hearing.
31557 MS BÉNARD: Yes it does, Madam Chair.
31558 THE CHAIRPERSON: In light of the late hour, I think it would be more sensible to adjourn now for lunch and resume at 1:30 for Phase IV.
31559 We reiterate our thanks and appreciation to those who have presented spoken interventions in this process.
31560 Alors nous remercions tous ceux et celles qui ont pris le temps de venir nous présenter une intervention dans la Phase III.
31561 Nous vous reverrons à une heure et demie.
--- Upon recessing at 1150 / Suspension à 1150
--- Upon resuming at 1330 / Reprise à 1330
31563 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon and welcome back to our hearing.
31564 Nous reprendrons maintenant avec la Phase IV de l'audience.
31565 We will now start hearing Phase IV of the hearing which consists of applicants in reply in the order which is inverse from the order that was used for hearing their applications.
31566 Madam Secretary, please.
31567 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31568 For the record, I would like to let you know that KRG Television Limited have advised that they do not wish to avail themselves of this opportunity, so we will go on to the Sports Network.
31569 I would like to remind you that you have 10 minutes.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31570 MR. BRACE: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Commissioners. I am Rick Brace, President of NetStar Sports and Senior Vice President of CTV Sports and the Outdoor Life Network.
31571 With me today are, on my left, Trina McQueen, Executive Vice-President of CTV; and, on my right, Nikki Moffat, Vice-President of Finance for CTV Specialty Operations; and our Legal Counsel, Monique McAlister of Goodman, Phillips & Vineberg.
31572 It is with great pleasure that we appear before you today as the first applicant in this final phase of the digital specialty hearing. We are delighted to present our reply to interventions regarding our application for WSN, Women's Sports Network, and to provide you with the responses to our homework questions.
31573 Our reply will be limited to interventions by SportsNet, Headline Sports, the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the CCTA.
31574 SportsNet and Headline Sports originally filed interventions objecting to the licensing of WSN, stating that our proposed nature of service was not sufficiently restrictive. However, in Phase I, with the assistance of the Commission, we were able to crystallize our nature of service as attached to our presentation and as follows:
31575 WSN will be a national English-language specialty programming service dedicated to sports that feature female athletes and participants, including coverage of professional and amateur sporting events, magazine shows, documentaries and instructional programs. In other words, sports events where males are exclusively the principal competitors will not be part of WSN.
31576 We are also committed that no more than 10 per cent of WSN's schedule will be comprised of programming previously aired or simulcast on a service owned by CTV or any of its affiliates.
31577 As a result of these commitments, both Sportsnet and Headline Sports have filed letters with the Commission indicating that they are satisfied with the commitments we have made with respect to our nature of service and that they did not wish to appear in Phase III to intervene against WSN.
31578 SportsNet has indicated that with these conditions, and I quote, "its concerns would be alleviated." Headline Sports has written that "With these restrictions" -- and once again I quote -- "it has no objection to the application being approved should the Commission see fit to do so."
31579 WTN has also chosen not to intervene against WSN. As you heard from WTN in Phase II, they did not intervene against our application because they do not see this service as directly competitive with WTN. WSN will focus exclusively on women's sports, an area that neither WTN nor any other broadcaster has made its focus.
31580 In response to the Canadian Conference of the Arts' statement in Phase III that licensing sports services would contribute little to program diversity, we disagree.
31581 In fact, supporting interventions filed with respect to our application from key sectors of society have stated that WSN will add diversity and a fresh perspective to the Canadian broadcasting system.
31582 For instance, WSN has been described by Isabel Diamond, an independent producer, as:
"...a concept long overdue for the Canadian viewing audience".
31583 And from the amateur sports filed, Marg McGregor, Chief Executive Officer of the CIAU, writes:
"We welcome the introduction of WSN as a vehicle to give visibility to Canada's sports heroines, including female student athletes. Clearly the time is right to answer these issues with a new made in Canada specialty service."
31584 These are just two samples of our many letters of support, which show the demand for the kind of diversity WSN will bring to Canadians viewers.
31585 Contrary to the CCA's intervention, WSN will be an attractive addition to any digital offering. Sports programming is popular by any measure and has always been an attractive basis of any programming offering. Sports services have high audience appeal and offer exceptional entertainment value. WSN will add the valuable draw of sports to digital, ensuring that the roll-out of digital is as strong as possible.
31586 With the explosion of participation and interest in women's sports, we believe that WSN is on the wave of the future.
31587 MS McQUEEN: Commissioners, with respect to the CCTA's intervention that digital specialty services must be attractive and affordable, we agree wholeheartedly. That is why we have designed WSN to be very affordable. With a starting wholesale rate of $0.16, holding at $0.19 in years six and seven, WSN will be one of the most inexpensive or affordable services.
31588 WSN also meets the CCTA's attractiveness test on many other levels:
31589 It will be the first-ever women's sports network, an original idea with original content. We will provide a minimum of 700 hours per year of original Canadian programming, programming about women's sports and female athletes that is currently not seen by Canadian viewers.
31590 WSN has committed as a condition of license, to spend 53 per cent of our revenues on Canadian programming.
31591 Our benefits to independent production are significant. Fourteen million over the license term and an average of 525 hours per year by year seven.
31592 WSN will provide programs from a female perspective, with not only sports events but with biographies, instructional and personal development programs, programs that our research told us was important and attractive to female viewers.
31593 And interactivity will be an integral part of our programming strategy, building on our profound experience as pioneers in this area.
31594 In summary, WSN responds to the CCTA intervention fully. It is an attractive and affordable service that will add diversity to the Canadian broadcasting system and will enhance any digital offering. And, the licensing of WSN will give women's sports their own home in the digital world, in response to the growing demand for this programming.
31595 MR. BRACE: That concludes our reply to interventions.
31596 With respect to our homework assignments, your first question asks us to choose which of our Category 1 applications the Commission should give priority in licensing. Since TSN has filed only one Category 1 application in this process, I think the answer is obvious. But beyond our own self-interest, we truly believe that WSN is a service that can add significant value to the Canadian broadcasting system.
31597 When our team at TSN first sat down to develop concepts for Category 1 licences, there were numerous ideas that were considered. At the end of the day, the one that stood out from the rest as answering your call and in delivering an attractive, diverse and affordable opportunity was WSN.
31598 TSN has put all our eggs in one basket, because we truly believe that WSN is a winning service on numerous levels, including attractiveness, affordability, diversity, attention to Canadian programming expenditures, commitments to the independent production sector, and the tremendous opportunity for women to enter the sports broadcasting genre.
31599 WSN fully meets the licensing criteria for Category 1 services. And when combined with the social benefits this service will bring -- the creation of role models for young women; the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the development of women's sports, in Canada -- we believe that licensing WSN should be a priority.
31600 Your second question asks us to indicate which Category 1 service, if licensed, would jeopardize our business plans.
31601 WSN is not directly competitive with any Category 1 service filed in this proceeding and there is no Category 1 service that would jeopardize our business plans.
31602 And your final question asks us to indicate the appropriate number of Category 1 services that should be licensed in the English language and in the French language.
31603 We believe that nine to 11 English-language and five French-language Category 1 services would be appropriate. This will give viewers a wide selection of viewing opportunities and will be a solid foundation in both markets to build digital.
31604 Madam Chair, and Commissioners, we thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
31605 As you can tell, we are passionate about the possibilities of this channel that we offer. WSN is a novel idea; the first of its kind in North America, and perhaps the world.
31606 It is a service that will appeal to that large segment of viewers that participate in women's sports or enjoy watching. It will appeal to viewers who want to know more about sports heroines, their personal accomplishments, their life stories and their challenges, and it will appeal to viewers in search of programs promoting healthy lifestyles and positive role models for our youth.
31607 We believe that WSN is an idea whose time has come.
31608 Thank you.
31609 And we welcome your questions.
31610 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
31611 I only have one question for you: Where is your apple?
--- Laughter / Rires
31612 MR. BRACE: It's actually with my son, who took it to his teacher this morning. It's the first day.
--- Laughter / Rires
31613 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Brace, you have got your priorities mixed up!
--- Laughter / Rires
31614 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
31615 MR. BRACE: Thank you.
31616 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31617 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31618 The next presentation will be by the Justice Channel.
31619 You also have 10 minutes for your presentation.
31620 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31621 MR. STUART: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Commissioners and Madam Secretary and Commission staff.
31622 I'm Ian Stuart, Vice-President of The Justice Channel, and with me today, if I may introduce them, first, is Wayne Banks, next to me, our Secretary-Treasurer; Brian Cloney, our chartered accountant; and Jonathan Blakey, our legal counsel.
31623 We are pleased to appear before you in Phase IV of this historic proceeding to provide the reply comments of The Justice Channel.
31624 We would like to make note that we have filed our responses to the questions which the previous group answered in writing. So they are on your desk.
31625 We are aware of only one intervention opposing our application; and that is the one from The Law & Order Channel.
31626 We carefully reviewed the transcript of their intervention.
31627 Consistent with the Commission's process, we will restrict our reply to only those points that they raised.
31628 The first claim -- low commitments to Canadian content, both as a proportion of total programming content and expenditures as a percentage of the prior year's revenues -- is unfounded. This argument must be rejected.
31629 Our application is clear. Table 8.2 sets out our year-over-year projected programming expenses. The numbers in line 4 of that table represent the numerator in the expenditure percentages. Line 5 of our "Pro Forma Cash Flow" table, on page 50, provides forecasted year-over-year revenues for the licence term. We subtracted "Production and Other Revenues" from the "Total Revenue" figures, line 4. The resulting number represents the denominator. Year-over-year expenditures on Cancon were calculated as a percentage of the previous year's revenue figures.
31630 The numbers are reprinted below for ease of reference.
31631 Law and Order's claim that our Canadian content expenditures represent 29 per cent of the prior year's revenues is wrong.
31632 To the contrary, our minimum commitment is 31.8 per cent, in Year 2, rising to 37 per cent, in Year 7. The average for the final six years of the licence term is 38 per cent.
31633 Law and Order also misrepresented our Cancon commitments expressed in terms of overall programming.
31634 As explained during Phase I, we inadvertently filed our Category 1 application on a Category 2 form. We were assured by staff in the Commission's Toronto office that this was acceptable, provided we indicated it was, indeed, a Category 1 application.
31635 Unfortunately, use of the Category 2 form may have conveyed the impression we wished to be bound by the minimum levels in the Category 2 form.
31636 The Justice Channel did not adopt the Category 2 levels. Rather, in responding to this question, we indicated, "Please See Supplementary Brief".
31637 At no time have we ever indicated a willingness to adhere to the Category 2 minimums. We corrected that misconception in Phase I and our August 20, 2000, letter. That letter confirms our minimum yearly hourly amounts of original non-repeat Canadian programming.
31638 As explained in the August 30th submission, the hourly figures are based on a per-hour original non-repeat Canadian programming production.
31639 These minimum hourly figures can be expressed as a percentage of total programming hours when programming is adjusted to reflect our proposed repeat factor of 12 times, or less, per year.
31640 These figures are also reprinted below, for convenience.
31641 Canadian content is 49 per cent of total programming, in Year 1; 68 per cent, by Year 7. To clear any confusion: 49, 49, 52, 55, 61, 61 and 68 per cent Canadian content year over year are absolute minimums. We are prepared to be bound by these minimums by condition of licence. However, to repeat, the very nature of our channel dictates high proportions of Canadian content.
31642 Law and Order's second claim is that we significantly overstated our subscriber revenues. This claim also misrepresents our application.
31643 Our subscriber numbers are provided in Schedule 15. We reviewed the CCTA's two scenarios and the projected DTH subscribers filed by Bell ExpressVu, in conjunction with PN 2000-22.
31644 We averaged the optimistic and pessimistic forecasts and averaged the figures for those odd numbered years to infer figures for the even numbered years.
31645 We performed a similar exercise with the DTH numbers and added the CCTA and DTH numbers to arrive at the potential universe of digital subscribers.
31646 Contrary to Law and Order's claim, our numbers for Years 1 through 3 are conservative, with penetration rates of 33, 40 and 53 per cent, respectively.
31647 These numbers, again, are reprinted below for convenience.
31648 What about Years 4 through 7?
31649 Our evaluation suggests that by the end of Year 3, or the beginning of Year 4, acceptance of new technology we described to the Commission increases faster than the levels anticipated by the industry, creating the, quote-unquote, hockey stick curve, peaking in Years 5 and 6. However, even in the event our penetration levels flat-line after Year 3, our service remains financially viable.
31650 We repeat our invitation to Commissioners to examine this new, ground-breaking, wireless technology. Tests of this technology have exceeded expectations, with reported speeds in excess of 40 Mbs.
31651 Moreover, the technology is not line of sight, which has limited MMDS, and has a much wider range than WAN technology. We expect it will dramatically stimulate the take-up of new interactive digital services far beyond current industry projections.
31652 The third Law and Order claim questions our advertising revenue projections.
31653 This concern may be based on their mistaken belief that our services are similar. They are not. The Justice Channels fills a distinct programming void.
31654 In contrast, a significant proportion of Law and Order's programming consists of reruns of programming already distributed by the mainstream media. Examples: The Rainmaker; The French Connection; The Fugitive; Towering Inferno; Back Draft; FBI Files; Street Legal; Due South; et cetera.
31655 Our advertising revenues reflect higher subscriber demand and higher advertising demand, based upon the attractiveness and uniqueness of our service.
31656 The Justice Channel's programming is targeted to specific audiences.
31657 Our service appeals to specific advertisers who recognize the service will provide higher advertising value because our subscribers are more likely to be their actual and potential customers. Advertisers we surveyed expressed a strong willingness to sponsor socially relevant programs as part of their corporate image and public relations strategy.
31658 Few Category 1 applicants can reasonably claim their proposed services satisfy such a demand.
31659 Law and Order's fourth claim was that the service focuses on drama and general entrainment.
31660 This comment, too, demonstrates a fundamental lack of familiarity with our application.
31661 We provide close to seven pages of program descriptions at Schedule 7.3 of our application. Over 25 proposed programs are described. Of that number, only four are dramas. Two fall within the "game show" category. None are from Category 11. Far from suggesting a focus on drama and entertainment, these descriptions clearly indicate these genres will comprise only a peripheral part of our programming.
31662 We clarified, during Phase I, that the service will concentrate on Categories 2(a) and 2(b) and 5(b), and that programming in Categories 7, 10 and 11 would be restricted to not more than 20 per cent of total programming. The record demonstrates no ambiguity or change whatsoever.
31663 We accepted a condition of licence restricting the exhibition of programming from these categories to not more than 20 per cent of total programming. There is no ambiguity on that point.
31664 The final Law and Order point is that we purported to change our application.
31665 This assertion is highly inappropriate. This veiled reference to changes is unsubstantiated.
31666 By raising this issue and then refusing to elaborate, Law and Order impugns the integrity of the principals of The Justice Channel.
31667 The record demonstrates no change to our application.
31668 Our commitments to Canadian content are clear and unequivocal.
31669 Our descriptions for those programming categories are unambiguous and unchanged.
31670 Our commitments to limit the distribution of dramatic and entertaining programs to not more than 20 per cent could not be more clear.
31671 In sum, each of the points raised by Law and Order is either without foundation or based upon a complete misreading of our application and the record.
31672 The Justice Channel is proposing a high-quality, innovative service which fills a clear programming void.
31673 Our business plan is viable and our commitments to Canadian content are attainable.
31674 Our programming is socially relevant.
31675 We are a new entrant in the Canadian broadcasting industry and believe this is an added strength of our application.
31676 We appreciate this opportunity to provide our reply comments and would be pleased to answer any questions.
31677 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Stuart.
31678 MR. STUART: Thank you.
31679 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31680 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31681 The next presentation will be by Vision TV Digital Incorporated. They also have 10 minutes for their presentation.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31682 MR. FRASER: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, members of the Commission, members of the staff.
31683 I am Fil Fraser again, President and CEO of Vision TV, the controlling shareholder of Wisdom, Canada's Body, Mind and Spirit Channel.
31684 I am here with Susan Bower, our Vice-President of Finance and Administration, and Rita Deverell, our Vice-President of Production and Presentation.
31685 We are all happy to be back once more in this final phase to reply to the interventions and to show you that we did our homework.
31686 But first, I would like to take this opportunity, if you will, to thank those who took the time to intervene in support of our application for Wisdom, especially the four intervenors who took the time and trouble to speak to you in person this morning.
31687 As to interventions, negative interventions, we are pleased to note that no one in Phase II spoke against our application. Levfam, which did intervene in writing, did not revisit its arguments and seems now to recognize that Wisdom is not a competitor in the health genre.
31688 So now we have come to the time when we need to try to draw some conclusions from these proceedings. You have asked everyone what the criteria for licensing these services should be. Applicants, distributors, producers, broadcasters are all eager to serve the public with a remarkable array of new channels. They have provided input as to how these channels should be launched, what the nature of the packages should be, and the criteria to be used. Members of the public outlined their wishes for what the new services should do as well.
31689 There seems to be a consensus that for a successful launch of those new services, all of those you license must work with each other and with distributors to make sure the launch and the years that follow bring more Canadians into the digital universe.
31690 Wisdom has demonstrated its commitment to that process. We have budgeted $1.4 million for pre-launch in year one marketing costs and our advertising budget stays at the same level for the first four years.
31691 Our significant and ongoing commitment to marketing will support industry-wide efforts to bring new subscribers to digital television. Clearly, those licensed must have the financial wherewithal as well as the ability to launch and implement their services, while at the same time respecting the obligations they have made. This is not a licence criterion, it is the price of entry. Wisdom has a conservative and attainable business plan backed by strong and experienced broadcasters who are willing to invest to make it work.
31692 As we indicated in our answer to your question on the criteria in Phase I, we feel that there are three essential areas which new services must address to meet the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. Attractiveness and demand, diversity and content, we feel are paramount -- not to discount the other criteria, especially interactivity.
31693 So to be attractive to a significant number of Canadians, new channels will have to provide interesting and compelling subject matters that subscribers can only obtain in a digital world and they must be reasonably priced. A combination of high quality services which together provide excellent value for money will be needed to encourage consumers to move to digital.
31694 We are convinced that diversity will be a key factor in driving consumers to digital. Extending already well-served programs genres or areas will not, we don't think, provide the necessary incentive. There needs to be a diversity of voices in the digital world as provided by the independent producers whose programming will have pride of place on Wisdom and there should be a place for those like Vision TV who are driven less by profit than by mandate.
31695 Canadian content is important and can be considered according to a number of criteria: percentage of exhibition, spending on Canadian programs, original hours and contribution to the independent sector.
31696 Madam Chair, we argue that Vision excels in each of these areas.
31697 So now allow me to amplify, first on attractiveness and demand. A consumer and advertiser research that we submitted with our application is consistent with evidence of strong public demand for Wisdom subject areas as found in other media. Specialty television is often compared to a magazine rack and if you look at those racks, you will see that they are filled with body, mind and spirit topics. So are the best seller lists. There is a clear market interest in these subjects. That's undeniable. It's now served by print and by the Internet, but not yet by television.
31698 Wisdom will serve this interest at a modest subscriber rate bringing attractiveness and affordability to any package in which we are included.
31699 Now diversity. Wisdom, like its major partner Vision, will being enormous diversity to the system.
31700 First, diversity of subject matter. No applicant before you, Commissioners, has proposed to serve the broad audience interested in the interconnectedness of body, mind and spirit. Wisdom will not be a health channel. Its programming will focus on life improvement and enhancement, providing information on methods that help us to make sense of our harried lives.
31701 Second, diversity of voice. Vision's programming comes from some 140 independent producers across the country -- that's at last count -- who are small and medium players from all regions of Canada. Wisdom will follow this pattern and will capitalize on the expertise of Vision's full-time staff based in Halifax and Victoria, as well as on the three full-time staff in Toronto who work on developing new independent programs.
31702 Third, diversity in programming and workforce. Vision is without doubt the most diverse service in Canada, in gender, in ethnicity, in race and religion, in its workforce and in its programming. Wisdom will build on this.
31703 Fourth, diversity of ownership. The partnership of Wisdom: Body, Mind and Spirit, is absolutely unique, anchored and managed by Vision, a not-for-profit entrepreneur whose surpluses go back into programming. Vision's lean and efficient approach has resulted in spending well over its conditions of licence on Canadian programming. Our conditions of licence on spending during the current licence term is $40 million, but by August 2001 we will have exceed this by 15 per cent, spending a total of $46 million on Canadian programs.
31704 And we bring a true American partner, not the Canadianization of an American brand, but one who wants to build this genre in the U.S. with help from us and from Canadian independent producers.
31705 As the Honourable David MacDonald pointed out earlier today, public policy on broadcasting is dealt with the same basic issues year after year after year. First, maintaining a Canadian space in the electronic media, and second ensuring a diversity of programming and voices.
31706 The Broadcasting Act calls for programming that enlightens as well as entertains and informs. That is a provision we take very seriously. It calls for a variety of comprehensive programs that are varied and come from a variety of points of view. In the 1991 revision of the Act, the important contribution of the community and not-for-profit sector was underlined.
31707 Canadian content. Wisdom's Canadian content commitment exceed the Commission's criteria for Category 1 applicants. Our spending on Canadian programming is among the top third of the applicants you have before you, and we will ensure a minimum of 6,000 hours of original Canadian programming.
31708 Fully 75 per cent of our Canadian program spending will go to the independent sector -- a commitment few others have matched, whether you measure it in the absolute dollar amount or in percentage.
31709 Our alliance with the Wisdom Media Group in the U.S. will provide export potential for independent producers in Canada, leveraging our licence fee and the funding that they bring to the table.
31710 As you have already heard this morning, we have already worked on one exported series with Wisdom in the United States, and we are in production on two others with them and with independent producers.
31711 Also as you heard this morning, producers are keen to produce this kind of material. They have had good audiences, they have already exported programming in this new budding genre. What they need now is a Canadian platform to exhibit their programs.
31712 Can we do it? You have heard bigger broadcasters than us speak of the need for synergies and experience. Once again, our experience is unique and I would argue instructive.
31713 We exist on eight cents per subscriber per month and for the first six years we had no subscriber revenues at all. Like kids who grew up in the Depression, we know how to get by on slim resources. We economize, we find ever more efficient ways to operate. We contract out instead of tying up our resources in capital and we partner, partner, partner.
31714 We are confident in our abilities to survive the small scrapes and not so small ones that come to any service and the very special ones that come to a service with such a large and diverse constituency as Vision and, in the future, Wisdom.
31715 Our efficiency and our confidence have led us to a small inside joke that we tell ourselves: We are not lean and mean, we are lean and serene.
31716 On that note, we conclude our Phase IV reply and now let's deal with the homework questions that you have assigned us and also to the wording we promised Mr. McCallum when we appeared on the 25th of August.
31717 First, the Sophie's Choice question, Madam Chair. I am happy that we are spared the agony of that choice. Although we have three applications before you, we chose to focus our Category 1 energies on the applications that needs Category 1 status and that will most benefit from the system being a Category 1.
31718 Second, who would impact us among the Category 1s or who might we impact? We are happy to say that we could live happily with any other applicant you might licence and don't believe that we would negatively impact anyone else. We have proposed a unique format that has very little overlap with existing services or with other applicants. Let us be very clear one more time. This is not a health application. Wisdom is a unique subject area, focusing on life improvement.
31719 Commissioners, this is a good point at which to reply to Secretary McCallum's request for wording to add to the nature of service definition to clarify this distinction, and so we offer the following:
"The programming on Wisdom, Body Mind and Spirit would include holistic approaches to wellness, but not traditional, Western medical theory or practices."
31720 Finally, you asked us about the number of services you should licence. We have been greatly impressed with the quality and the diversity of the applications before you. We are less sure about the number of French language services, but it is clear that there will be the same need there of an attractive package to help drive subscriptions.
31721 At the English language application level, we note that there is a wide variety of high quality proposals that will provide diversity and a platform for Canadian expression. We thought about it and our review leads us to suggest that anywhere from 10 to 15 English language Category 1 services could well be accommodated in a variety of packaging scenarios.
31722 So, Madam Chair and Commissioners, during our Phase I appearance before you we noted that wisdom is what enables us to navigate life's difficult ambiguities. It requires managing through insight and sacrifice to create conditions of lasting integrity and validity.
31723 We thank you, Madam Chair and Commissioners, for your time, your patience your good humour and your energy. We wish you the wisdom of grandmothers, and grandfathers too, in your deliberations.
31724 We thank you.
31725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Fraser. I'm glad I have potential grandfathers. No, one real one. They're hiding though. They are not like me, bragging about it.
31726 MR. FRASER: I brag a little too.
31727 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
31728 Madam Secretary.
31729 MR. FRASER: Thank you very much.
31730 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31731 The next presentation will be by Lifestyle Television 1994 Limited. They have ten minutes for their presentation.
31732 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back, Madam Ali. We are ready for you.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31733 MS ALI: Thank you. Good morning, Madam Chairperson, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Elaine Ali, President of Lifestyle Television. Appearing with me today is Laurie Stovel.
31734 We are pleased to have the last opportunity to speak to the interventions that have been filed on our application to establish a new specialty channel focusing on romance and romantic relationships.
31735 MS STOVEL: The first interventions that we wish to address are those filed by Levfam Holdings, Astral Television Networks, WIC Premium Corporation and Teletoon. Each of these interventions seeks to limit the amount of programming that would be shown on R&R, either from specific categories or, in the case of Levfam, with a particular theme.
31736 This brings us once again to the issue of how to fence in a specialty service to ensure that it does not become something other than what is intended and described by the applicant during this hearing. The principal concern is to ensure that the new specialty services provide additional diversity to the system and more choice for Canadian consumers. This, of course, brings us right back to the proposed nature of service definitions. We would like to offer some general comments on this issue.
31737 We see specialty services as being defined by a combination of three separate elements. One is by target demographic group, two is by program category and three is by programming theme.
31738 During our discussion with you on how best to fence in our service, Madam Chair provided a number of examples of programs that could be presented on R&R that could also reasonably fall into the service plans of other applicants. We could consider these crossover programs, to borrow a phrase from the music industry.
31739 The U.S. drama series Murder She Wrote is another example. With a strong female protagonist, this program could certainly be suitable for presentation on WTN. Because it is copyrighted more than seven years ago, it could also be presented on Prime. Certainly it would be appropriate for presentation on a mystery and suspense channel.
31740 MS ALI: We have also noted with pride that several of the applications have included in their schedules programming originally commissioned by WTN for independent producers, series such as You, Me and the Kids on one of the parenting channels and World's Greatest Spas and Best Places to Kiss on a travel channel, for example.
31741 We are delighted that the independent producers who created these shows will have greater opportunities to sell the second window rights, increasing both their own financial returns as well as their programs' exposure to Canadian audiences. Indeed, we are pleased that the series Mind, Body & Soul, originally produced for WTN, has already found a second home on the Life Network. That is one of the benefits that specialty services bring to the Canadian broadcasting system.
31742 Trina McQueen of CTV pointed out that in many cases, the presentation of programs on a differently-themed service could well bring new viewers to that program. People who might not be inclined to watch WTN may well find the series I just mentioned on a parenting channel or a travel channel.
31743 This brings us to the idea of destination channels and that is what we are talking about with R&R, a destination channel for people who are looking for information about romantic relationships or entertainment programming that has romance and romantic relationships as its central theme.
31744 All the programming presented on R&R will be consistent with that theme. And we do want the opportunity to present viewers with a variety and diversity of programming from within that single theme.
31745 During our discussion with you earlier in this hearing, we suggested a clarification to Part A of our Nature of Service definition by adding the word "exclusively" and specifying relationships as romantic relationships. We hope these changes have served to more clearly define the service that we are proposing.
31746 When we spoke with legal counsel regarding proposed conditions of licence, we also indicated that we could agree to a number of specific limitations on program categories.
31747 We appreciate your concerns about ensuring that program services are distinctive and that conditions of licence are in place to ensure that distinctiveness. Perhaps rather than specific limitations, this problem could be addressed another way.
31748 Since our presentation, we have had an opportunity to review our programming plans and the nature of service definition and propose changing Part B to read as follows:
31749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, Ms Ali. We will sort this out before you continue because that's not quite fair. Are you responsible for this? It sounded like Zeus
--- Pause/ Pause
31750 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you don't mind, pick up wherever you were. Sorry about that.
31751 MS ALI: That's all right.
31752 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's beyond our control. We regulate telecom, we don't control it.
31753 MS ALI: I will start off just about where I left off.
31754 We appreciate your concerns about ensuring that program services are distinctive and that conditions of licence are in place to ensure that distinctiveness. Perhaps rather than specific limitations, this problem could be addressed another way.
31755 Since our presentation, we have had an opportunity to review our programming plans and the nature of service definition and propose changing Part B to read as follows:
"At least 80% of the programming shall be drawn exclusively from the following categories: 2A, 2B, 5B, 7A, 7C, 7D, 12, 13 and 14."
31756 This provides an overall limit of no more than 20 per cent from the remaining categories of programming, which had previously been included in our proposed definition.
31757 As discussed with legal counsel, we would also add a Part C, further limiting programming from Category 7(e) to no more than 10 per cent of the broadcast year, which speaks directly to the intervention filed by Teletoon.
31758 We did not propose a limit on the amount of programming from Category 7(d) as suggested by the interventions from WIC Premium and Astral. We do not consider R&R to be a movie-driven service, but we certainly cannot imagine offering an attractive, appealing and comprehensive romance channel without a significant percentage of romantically-themed movies.
31759 The program schedules we provided to you for years 1 and 7 contemplate one movie per evening, and these would be drawn from both Category 7(d) and 7(c). In combination, these two categories would represent some 33 per cent of our total program schedule, with Category 7(d) representing about 25 per cent of the schedule. We could not accept a condition of licence limiting feature films to either 10 or 15 per cent of our schedule as proposed by Astral and WIC.
31760 We could, however, accept a condition of licence that limits such films to only those that have romantic relationships as the central theme. Indeed, those are the only kind of movies would fit within our overall objective to become the destination channel for lovers of romance.
31761 We could also accept a condition of licence limiting the presentation of feature films to only one during the evening broadcast period. This is consistent with our proposed programming plans, and we note that this is a condition of licence that has been discussed with other applicants.
31762 We have prepared a revised nature of service definition that incorporates these changes which we have attached to our presentation.
31763 As we stated in our written response to the intervention filed by Levfam, we don't anticipate that programming addressing the gay and lesbian community, or featuring gay and lesbian themes, would comprise more than 5 per cent of our overall schedule. We do question whether a specific limitation in this regard is appropriate, however, as it would limit our responsibility as a broadcaster to reflect the fullness of the Canadian mosaic.
31764 Insofar as the intervention from the National Broadcast Reading Service for the Blind, we have confirmed that our technical facilities will be capable of carrying DVS.
31765 With respect to the interventions by distributors and associations representing their interests, we look forward to working with them, together with other successful applicants to establish co-ordinated launch plans.
31766 In response t the various interventions filed by arts groups and the independent production community, we would note our high level of commitment to the creation of original new Canadian programming produced entirely by independent, unaffiliated producers. This commitment can be measured in terms of both hours of programming and financial investment.
31767 In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many intervenors who filed letters of support for our application. These included a number of independent producers, who provided thoughtful comments on their positive experiences working with WTN; Manitoba Film & Sound Recording Development Corporation, representatives of the advertising community, Red River Community College, both the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Member of Parliament John Harvard, Manitoba's Minister of Industry, Trade and Mines, MaryAnn Mihychuk, and Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray.
31768 Finally, I would like to congratulate the Commissioners, CRTC staff, our fellow applicants, industry associations and others who have devoted so much of their time during the past several weeks and months for the thoughtful dialogue and debate that has ensued.
31769 This has truly been an historical hearing and we have appreciated greatly the opportunity to participate. And with your approval of our application, we look forward to the opportunity to participate in the new digital environment. Thank you very much.
31770 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Ali and Ms Stovel.
31771 MS ALI: I believe that I should just note that I think we have done our homework and handed it in early in Phase I and II.
31772 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you haven't changed your mind since?
31773 MS ALI: And we haven't changed our mind. Thank you.
31774 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess you'll keep your A-plus.
31775 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
31776 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31777 The next presentation will be by WETV Canada. Ten minutes are allowed.
31778 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31779 MS RANKIN: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Commissioners. I am Linda Rankin and appearing with me are David Nostbakken and Tony Keenleyside.
31780 WETV is pleased to present its final thoughts on this opportunity to be a part of such a major milestone in Canadian broadcasting.
31781 It's a bit difficult to appear during the reply phase since no one specifically intervened either against the concept of including environment as a genre to be included in the overall package or against WETV's application to be that licensee. We read this as at least tacit support for our application.
31782 However, we do believe that it is necessary to comment on two points: the Canadian Council of the Art's dismissal of our business plan and clarification on our ownership as a result of questions raised by Commissioner Williams.
31783 First, we based our business plan on the research results.
31784 Environics International research said categorically that Canadians are the most environmentally active in the world.
31785 The theme of living green to Canadians is as important as hockey. It's a key value and how we describe ourselves.
31786 CT Marketing research said that 59 per cent would take the channel at $3 per month on a stand-alone basis and that 70 per cent said that they would take the package of channels that included WETV because WETV was in it. to ensure accurate and reliable results from their research instrument, they pre-tested it. Then they pre-tested it again because even for them the answers were so positive from the test groups.
31787 This leads us to the conclusion that consumers would choose us, no matter what the packaging and that WETV is a key driver in any digital package.
31788 PricewaterhouseCoopers advertising research said that WETV was not a numbers buy, but rather a strong psychographic buy with, and I quote from the report:
"Unique themes -- Fresh programming -- Clear mandate, Clear focus -- Ideally suited for certain messages -- Good image vehicle -- Content excellent for internet."
31789 And we would draw the light viewer to television, seen as a bonus to advertisers.
31790 Agencies could readily identify the advertisers who will want to associate with our themes. Additionally, our relationship with the various NGOs and businesses for social responsibility gives us a new group of advertisers wanting to bring their green and environmentally responsible messages to a supportive audience. WETV is not same old, same old. Our appeal is well-documented in our research. We used this as the basis for our forecast of ad revenues.
31791 Our Web site is already interactive and receives 1,000 weekly visitors who visit at least four pages and have been logging on to our poll, developed by Environics International. This translates to a minimum of 52,000 visitors and 208,000 pages annually today. This is quite remarkable as we are not yet on air in Canada with specific programs to drive the visitors to visit.
31792 Today, Web site advertising is still finding its way, but by this time next year, it will be a very different story, and our themes and program series are designed to take advantage of the significant growth in this area.
31793 This leads us to conclude that we could assume both on-screen advertising and a value-added component on the Web site.
31794 I would like to clarify our penetration assumptions. We based our application on a 60 per cent overall penetration level of the digital subscriber universe rising to 75 per cent by year seven, aggressive but not unrealistic in light of the very strong research results and very low .15 per subscriber wholesale rate. The trade-off between subscriber forecast and wholesale rate is just that.
31795 We have a ready-made word-of-mouth network in each community through our various NGO supporters. We know that these organizations will help to drive subscriber take-up because there will be finally something of real value for these light television viewers.
31796 WETV benefits from family member WETV.com, who shares in the value-added revenues generated by program series that drive visitors to the Web site in exchange for the management of our Web site needs and the development of on-screen interactive components. This is a robust dot com company in its own right.
31797 Our green theme lends itself naturally to products and services to be acquired through e-commerce and using the on-screen capabilities of purchasing from your armchair.
31798 Additionally, we have identified a long list of green affiliation programs that pay up to 25 per cent for affiliate-driven purchases. Not only do we expect green product purchase to grow significantly, we want to encourage green consumption habits through television series. Each service will feed the others.
31799 WETV Canada's operating costs are lower than they would otherwise be owing to its service agreement with family member WETV International. This agreement specifies the relationship and services received for a set price for the first seven years, including human resources. Rates are low because these are incremental costs, not loaded costs, for WETV International.
31800 In conclusion, our business plan will stand the test of time from start-up through the seven years and make a profit while making a differences.
31801 On the issue of ownership and control, we bring new blood into the Canadian broadcast environment. WETV Canada will be a Canadian corporation located in Ottawa and owned and controlled by Canadians -- David Nostbakken and Linda Rankin -- through WETV International.
31802 The other shareholder, Murray Lester Investment Counsel Inc., is a family-owned Canadian corporation operating as a Quebec Securities Commission licensed investor counsel. It has committed to purpose the entire float of WETV Canada units to be distributed to Canadian citizen clients, if the channel is licensed. Through a "shareholders agreement", WETV International will have voting control of WETV Canada. We have attached a chart that illustrates all of this.
31803 Thank you.
31804 These are my remarks. David Nostbakken will review our response to Phase IV - Additional Information to be Filed by Applicants.
31805 MR. NOSTBAKKEN: First question: To which two or three of your Category 1 proposals should the Commission give priority, and why?
31806 We have only one, to which we ask that you give priority because:
31807 We are Canadian, who are the most environmentally active in the world, who want their children to watch our programming, and who would buy a package just to get our programming.
31808 We are attractive, affordable, Canadian and utilize the interactive applications for the public good.
31809 We have outstanding market research, pre-tested twice to verify the research instrument, that indicates a high degree of interest in the theme, the program series and the price, either on a stand-alone basis or as part of a package.
31810 We have built a business plan on the basis of a low subscriber fee. We are ready to let the consumer decide and strongly believe that WETV Canada will be a driver in that choice.
31811 A second question: For each of the Category 1 projects you propose, what other Category 1 proposal of any other applicant, if licensed, would jeopardize the feasibility of your business plan?
31812 None of the applicants would jeopardize our application. Indeed, our market research shows that we will drive the penetration of the package, that consumers will buy the package to get us. Our market research described a package with something for the whole family.
31813 Thematic packages may be good marketing but, in any case, there would be no other channels in Category 1 applicants that would jeopardize our launch.
31814 Finally: How many Category 1 proposals should the Commission license?
31815 We are on record already as saying at least 20 English services would provide the consumer with choice and allow attractive packaging such that all target audiences would find it possible to create a package to their own taste.
31816 Since we are English-only applicant we will not comment on French language packaging.
31817 That is our response.
31818 Thank you very much.
31819 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Rankin, Mr. Nostbakken.
31820 Madam Secretary, please.
31821 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31822 The next presentation will be by Métromédia CMR Broadcasting Incorporated and Cogeco Radio-Television Incorporated. Ten minutes are allowed.
31823 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, gentlemen.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31824 MR. BÉLAND: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Madam Chairperson.
31825 Let me introduce the people beside me this afternoon. At my left, Michel Carter, President of Cogeco Radio-Television. To my right Pierre Arcand, Executive Vice-President of MétroMédia. Behind me Gilles Sénécal, at my left. Gilles Sénécal is responsible for Corporate Affairs for MétroMédia. Beside Gilles Sénécal Yves Mayrand, Secretary of Cogeco Radio-Television.
31826 First of all, we would like to thank you for this opportunity to appear one last time at this hearing in support of the Travel and Leisure Network. Our remarks will be quite short in the current circumstances.
31827 Indeed, the appearances by various other applicants and other interested parties during the first three phases of the hearing have not, in our view, raised any doubt with respect to the needs of an English-language travel and leisure channel alternative as part of an attractive, different and affordable package of new digital services to be launched about this time next year. Nor have these earlier appearances raised any specific issues or concerns with respect to our proposed service that need to be addressed at this stage.
31828 MR. CARTER: We now turn to the questions that the Commission has asked applicants to respond to during the final phase of the hearing.
31829 First, the Commission asked applicants to provide an indication of their priorities and preferences with respect to two or three of their various Category 1 proposals.
31830 Several applicants have evidently approached this process as a betting game and hedged their bets by filing a great number of proposals in the greatest possible number of programming genres. The Commission's question requires these applicants to focus, in the end, on fewer and more realistic pursuits.
31831 In our case, we have focused from the outset not even on two or three proposals but actually on a single Category 1 licence proposal. The Travel and Leisure Network is the only digital specialty service that this partnership wants to operate. This is why it is the only service for which we seek a Category 1 licence.
31832 It is a particular type of specialty service with broad appeal, for which we have a specific understanding and specific expertise. Because we have all the prerequisites to make this service a great success in its own right, we have no need to hedge our bets on any other companion service. We really want this single Category 1 licence, and we will devote our undivided attention and resources towards making it not only successful but also a great contributor to the rapid penetration of digital services in Canadian households.
31833 The second question asked by the Commission was whether there were any proposals for Category 1 services that, if licensed in conjunction with our own, would jeopardize the feasibility of our business plan.
31834 During the second phase of the hearing, we indicated that there should be only one travel-related service licensed by the Commission, and we provided a specific list of those service proposals that we considered as travel-related.
31835 Otherwise, we do not consider that any other Category 1 service proposal would jeopardize the viability of the Travel and Leisure Network.
31836 One small note of caution however. The Commission should be aware that some of the proposed services focusing on mature or potentially controversial content, such as sexual matters or issues, should not be indirectly imposed to Canadian households through inappropriate packaging with more broadly based family information or entertainment services. Inappropriate packaging in this regard could cause consumers not to subscribe to packages of otherwise attractive, general appeal services, such as the Travel and Leisure Network, for family or personal value reasons.
31837 The third question asked by the Commission had to do with the number of Category 1 services that should be licensed in the English language and in the French language respectively.
31838 We strongly believe that the Commission should license the Travel and Leisure Network together with at lest nine other English-language Category 1 services in order to provide the opportunity for a strong initial launch and attractive packages of digital specialty services to be offered to English-speaking Canadian households.
31839 French-language digital services, if licensed by the Commission, should be licensed, in our view, without taking away from the necessary minimum complement of 10 English-language Category 1 specialty services, and in sufficient number so as to support a reasonably attractive and affordable French-language service package from the outset.
31840 MR. BÉLAND: In closing, Madam Chair, we wish to reiterate that our proposal fully justifies the issuance of a Category 1 digital licence to the Travel and Leisure Network because we feel that there is a clear need for the travel-related service in the English-language, because we also believe that the Travel and Leisure Network fulfils the Commission's objectives and licensing criteria, and because this partnership between MétroMédia and Cogeco Radio-Television is clearly dedicated and focused on this project. Also, finally, because the partners in this project have secured the best and the most seasoned talent and know-how in Canadian travel television programming.
31841 Thank you again for considering our proposal.
31842 We will be pleased to answer any further questions you may have.
31843 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Carter, Mr. Béland and vos collègues.
31844 J'espère que vous ne vous êtes pas rendus à 150 miles à l'heure.
31845 Madam Secretary, please.
31846 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31847 The next presentation will be by Craig Broadcast Systems Incorporated and they will be allowed 15 minutes.
31848 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon and welcome back.
31849 Proceed when you are ready.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31850 MR. CRAIG: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Members of the Commission.
31851 With me, today, at the front table, are Sandi McDonald, Cam Cowie, Jennifer Strain, John Donnelly and Andrew Forsyth, from Bohn & Associates.
31852 At the back table: Debra McLaughlin and Al Thorgeirson.
31853 I would like to begin by going back to the beginning of this process.
31854 When we developed our applications, we debated a multitude of ideas. We had to pick services that were not competitive with anything that exists today. They had to be confirmed by market research as the most attractive offerings, and they had to be services that Craig is uniquely qualified to deliver.
31855 Of the 19 applications that we filed, we gave priority to the three applications that we filed for Category 1 services because they were the ones that best matched these criteria.
31856 It's in this context that we offer our reply comments today.
31857 Some of the incumbents are trying to convince you that the newcomers can't do it. CHUM, for instance, questioned our subscriber levels for Festival and The MET -- but this is not terribly surprising.
31858 They are hoping that you will be so persuaded by their pessimistic predictions for new digital services that you will not license applicants who have come to you with higher Cancon levels, more affordable wholesale rates and more creative programming ideas.
31859 Let's look at the facts.
31860 Beyond testing consumer demand, applicants were faced with the challenge of projecting take-up rates for digital services.
31861 In preparing our applications, we reviewed several reports in the public domain but, to our knowledge, we were the only applicant who actually tested this vitally important factor in our custom research.
31862 In three separate surveys, representing over 3,000 unique Canadians views, respondents were asked their willingness to pay an additional $11 a month for improved quality of sound, picture and programming choices.
31863 In the cable universe, approximately 40 per cent of respondents stated they were willing to pay additional dollars.
31864 What is important about this finding is not just the significant level of interest but that it was achieved without any marketing of the program concept.
31865 One has to conclude from the high level of interest that Canadians have an appetite for new digital services.
31866 This research validated the PwC forecasts used in our applications -- all of which project subscriber levels that are in line with, or more conservative than, those filed by other applicants.
31867 In the case of independent film applications, by Year 7, two of the applicants have higher subscriber numbers than Festival and two are lower than Festival and we are right in the middle.
31868 Moreover, our services might reasonably be expected to have higher take-up rates, given their combination of high demand low cost; particularly The MET at only 19 cents per subscriber.
31869 We would also like to talk about the process of projecting advertising revenues.
31870 The myth that advertisers are interested only in advertising vehicles with large audiences has been proven false by the incredible success of the current analog specialty services.
31871 Most of these services do not even deliver a single rating point for their best shows in any major market. Yet, they continue to post double digit growth in their national advertising revenues.
31872 The reality is: advertisers are only interested in consumers.
31873 Our three services will deliver distinct, unique consumers.
31875 MS McDONALD: Nowhere is this more true than in the case of Connect.
31876 Our in-depth research clearly tells us that: teens are hard to reach, with any media; teens do not associate with, or have a strong brand relationship with, any existing television services; advertisers currently have no adequate television vehicle with which to target teens, specifically; teens would overwhelmingly support Connect; and advertisers were excited about Connect, as it would give them access to their most elusive target demo.
31877 In other words, teens will drive the digital tier.
31878 MR. COWIE: We were one of the few, perhaps the only applicant that went beyond projecting digital subscribers to project a demographic profile of the digital audience. This gave us a unique perspective in looking at potential quarter-hour audiences and how they would affect revenue projections.
31879 In the case of Connect, the projected average quarter-hour audience ranges from a low of 720 to a high of 2,380 viewers between the ages of 13 and 24.
31880 This represents less than 1 per cent of the total available audience.
31881 These conservative audience estimates would translate into advertising rates, for a 30-second spot, of only $35, in the heart of prime time, giving advertisers an extremely efficient buy and a very desirable target audience.
31882 We note, in the last round of specialty applications, virtually all of the applicants projected losses into Years 3 and 4 and, in reality, almost all posted profits by the end of Year 1 or 2.
31883 MS STRAIN: Moving on to Festival. Corus Premium Television and Astral have intervened against Festival, and others, as to the appropriate definition of an "independent film".
31884 We agree with these intervenors that the "produced and financed test" is simply too difficult to determine and police. That is why we agreed with Corus that we would not broadcast any English-language feature film originally theatrically released by a major Hollywood studio.
31885 We have also agreed that we would respect the pay window and are comfortable, in principle, with the third revised condition of licence proposed by Mr. Robertson, last Wednesday, with one caveat: If the pay services have opted not to acquire a Canadian film, then other services should be free to acquire it.
31886 However, the incumbents seek to further hamstring a new independent film channel with the "top 100" restriction, which would prevent an independent film channel from airing a successful independent. Otherwise, they argue, the new channel will compete with and harm the pay services.
31887 Let's put this issue in perspective.
31888 First, by Corus' account, in 1999, there were only 12 independent films that made the top 100 list. We are talking about a very limited potential overlap.
31889 Second, consumers buy the pay services primarily for the Hollywood blockbuster films. They will buy an indie film channel because it delivers programming that is distinctly different, off Hollywood and non-mainstream.
31890 Moveover, the intervenors neglect to mention that the windows for pay and digital specialty are different.
31891 As the Commission knows, an orderly market for film distribution exists to maximize revenues for a film. After home video, the typical top 100 blockbuster has an exclusive pay per view and pay window -- usually about 18 months in duration, plus a hold-back period. The film then goes to network television. And only after that is it available to other windows, like specialty.
31892 Because of this orderly market, a top 100 film is going to be broadcast on Superchannel and TMN long before it is ever available to a digital specialty service.
31893 With respect to the intervenors' other concerns, we note that, in the intervention process, we did agree to limit the number of movies we would air on Connect and we also agreed that The MET would air no feature film at all.
31894 Madam Chair, of all the independent film channel applicants, Festival will bring the most benefits to the broadcasting system: $25 million in Canadian programming expenditures, including new funding for independent producers, all of it truly incremental to the system, measurable and tied to the business plan; a commitment to expose French-language films to the rest of the country; one of the lowest wholesale fees; and the depth and breadth of Lions Gate Film's 40 years' experience in the production and distribution of world class film product.
31895 MR. CRAIG: Thanks, Jennifer.
31896 We will focus our remaining time on replying to the intervention by CHUM, with respect to our application for The MET.
31897 CHUM's intervention is based on the suggestion that The MET will be directly competitive with MuchMusic. CHUM argues that rock music is, to quote Mr. Znaimer last week, "the heart and soul of Much".
31898 It would be more accurate to say that rock music "was" the heart and soul of Much. It is now pop and CHR music that are the heart and soul of Much, occupying over 60 per cent of its playlist. Less than 25 per cent of its playlist is made up of rock music that has not crossed over to the CHR charts.
31899 Me turn, now, to John Donnelly to elaborate.
31900 MR. DONNELLY: Thank you, Drew.
31901 Given the evolution of music today, it is impossible for CHUM, even with their combined MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic services, to cover all the bases of today's popular music.
31902 CHR is a music format all its own. There are now 47 CHR radio stations across the country and, in most Canadian cities, they are among the highest rates stations. They co-exist alongside rock radio format stations, without being directly competitive.
31903 CHUM questioned the analysis of MuchMusic's playlist we submitted to the Commission on July 20th in response to CHUM's written intervention.
31904 That analysis was prepared solely to show how few of the top 75 songs on the record's rock chart that MuchMusic was playing. The total was only 28, leaving 47 of that week's top rock songs without air play.
31905 But our logs do, in fact, show that Guns n Roses, Limp Bizkit, Tea Party and Tragically Hip were counted among the limited rock play list programmed by MuchMusic.
31906 To verify the numbers that we reported in our supplementary brief, we retained the services of Bohn & Associates, independent consultants, who specialize in music genres, segmentation and radio programming.
31907 Let me turn to Andrew Forsyth, who will summarize the results of this review.
31908 MR. FORSYTH: Thank you, John.
31909 We reviewed each of the selections on the logs compiled from MuchMusic last March.
31910 Based on our comprehensive review, we determined that 10.3 per cent of MuchMusic's playlist consisted of Canadian rock bands; 12.3 per cent were songs by international modern rock artists; 0.3 per cent were mainstream rocks songs; 0.3 per cent were classic rock songs; and 0.8 per cent were songs which could be categorized as "metal".
31911 When you add up all these rock sub-categories, the grant total for the rock genre was only 24 per cent.
31912 On the CHR side, the grand total was 61 per cent of their playlist.
31913 And we have annexed our calculations to this reply.
31914 MR. DONNELLY: Thank you.
31915 CHUM's suggestion that a music video service focusing entirely on rock would be directly competitive with MuchMusic ignores another point.
31916 A comparison of MuchMusic's audience and demographics for a CHR radio station will show great similarity: strong teen appeal; skewing female.
31917 The formats are also similar. Both draw from the best of the contemporary music charts, of all the charts: pop; urban; rock and country.
31918 CHUM stated, in its intervention, that there would be a large audience overlap between The MET and MuchMusic -- and this is not the case.
31919 Rock radio stations generally attract a predominantly 18-to-44 male audience who do not want to hear urban, rap or pop music. Rock radio stations have long earned substantial audiences by remaining faithful to the format.
31920 The MET's audience will be comparable to a rock radio audience.
31921 Our audience research shows that only 8 per cent of those surveyed felt there was enough variety offered, in terms of music channels, and only 9 per cent felt they were seeing enough Canadian artists on music television. Yet, there were over 84 per cent interested in the rock music format and all of its sub genres.
31922 During the CHUM oral intervention, Commissioner Wilson discussed whether there are thousands of videos not being played by MuchMusic.
31923 CHUM acknowledged this, and they acknowledged that its service is limited to only the most popular cuts.
31924 So, this is where The MET comes in.
31925 With a 60 per cent Canadian content level, The MET will provide a new outlet for these videos -- and they will be great videos.
31926 There are several existing funding initiatives available, now, for the production of new music videos. And, of course, we wanted to add to that support, but also beyond it, with new initiatives to stimulate the production of new rock documentaries and live music concerts produced for television.
31927 The MET will contribute nearly 6 per cent of its revenues to these initiatives through The MET Priority Program Fund and will be a catalyst for the production of new rock videos.
31928 Madam Chair, the Canadian broadcast system is incomplete.
31929 There are four distinct national charts, yet only three existing music television services, which cover country, adult contemporary and CHR charts. There is no service that adequately covers the rock chart.
31930 So, The MET will not be directly competitive with MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic or CMT. It will a void, it will serve its own audience and it will set a new benchmark of support for Canadian talent.
31931 MR. CRAIG: Thank you, John.
31932 Madam Chair, you asked us if we would accept conditions of licence limiting the amount of Category 2 and 7 programming aired on The Met, and the answer is "yes". We would be prepared to limit our schedule to no more than 10 per cent from Category 7 programming and no more than 5 per cent from Category 2, measured on a weekly basis.
31933 You also asked us to answer three general questions which we have attached to this reply. We would like to conclude by noting and expressing our appreciation to the Canadian Conference of the Arts who ranked all three of our applications among the top 10 and to the Directors Guild who supported our connect application.
31934 We would also like to thank all the intervenors who supported our applications, particularly the thousands of rock fans who supported the map.
31935 We have come to you with innovative program concepts, high Cancon commitments, substantial support for Canadian independent producers and affordable, attractive services. We have the knowledge, the experience and infrastructure to make these services a success.
31936 More importantly, we bring to the table the enthusiasm, creativity and fortitude which comes from a half century of pioneering new businesses which are the hallmarks of this company.
31937 That concludes our remarks in Phase IV. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
31938 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Craig and your colleagues.
31939 I guess this will, for you, considering your numbers, join the mix of the $1,000 regulatory cup of coffee.
31940 Have a good trip back. Thank you.
31941 MR. CRAIG: Thank you.
31942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
31943 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
31944 The next presentation will be Learning and Skills Television of Alberta Limited, 23 minutes are allowed.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
31945 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back.
31946 DR. KEAST: Thank you.
31947 Madame Chair, Madam Chairperson --
31948 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have a rested Mr. Znaimer, I hope.
31949 MR. ZNAIMER: Not entirely.
31950 DR. KEAST: Commissioners and staff. I am Ron Keast and with me are Moses Znaimer and Peter Palframan.
31951 We are pleased to have this final opportunity to address certain comments made by other applicants and intervenors generally, specific interventions against some of our proposals and to respond to the three questions that you posed as homework during the hearing.
31952 Although it was raised specifically at this hearing by Rogers ZDTV in respect to our computer access application, this is not the first time we have heard our work described as being "earnest educational efforts" by which it's intended to imply that education is dull and boring and not conducive to commerce.
31953 Well, this is a dated reactionary pout down, a slight to all education and especially to our society's stated interest in, and need for, a learning culture.
31954 The fact is, much of the compelling, attractive and popular programs on specialty television -- Discovery Channel, Bravo!, the History Channel and Newsworld and, of course, Canadian Learning Television -- are "earnest", that is to say intelligent and about serious and important things which, of course, is precisely what has led to their success.
31955 But what we do that even the other "earnest" services don't is inject formal learning connections and context into education-oriented channels that are produced with an up to the minute, Citytv/MuchMusic inspired look and feel. This allows -- indeed stimulates -- viewers to engage in and to learn more about the subject of the enticing program they are viewing and, if they are sufficiently inspired, to enrol in a credit course offered by our many partner institutions which are then delivered at a distance, on-line or otherwise.
31956 This educational context and learning connection supporting all our programming is real added value that will drive sales by attracting people to television who heretofore were less likely to take additional packages or perhaps even shunned television entirely. Rather than detracting from enjoyment of a program, context and utility add to its appeal.
31957 This is the special twist we proudly bring to our new digital applications. It is one that distinguishes our applications from all the others and it is an approach that we genuinely believe will help sell a digital package because education is important to each and every Canadian.
31958 There is plenty of evidence of the interest in, and demand for, lifelong learning. National expenditures on education are second only to health. It makes sure every family with a child or a grandchild in grade school or high school or college, or indeed with a new computer in the den and an organizer in the purse, is a learning family.
31959 Attractiveness and popularity of the proposed new digital services has, quite rightly, been a prime consideration at this hearing. We agree wholeheartedly, but the focus should not just be on the entertainment-only, diversion-only services. Many people will simply not be interested in investing in a digital box just to get more of the passive, leanback entertainment-driven television which they already get in abundance.
31960 MR. ZNAIMER: Another point which has been raised frequently during this hearing is the call for new entrants, promoting this as a way of ensuring programming diversity. Along with this has been the criticism of the idea of new ideas and channels growing out of programs or programming blocks or strands. The criticism alleges that such services will not contribute to the diversity sought in new digital services.
31961 Such an objection effectively criticizes us for seeking to evolve and grow in keeping with our areas of established expertise and for attempting to serve viewers more comprehensively with programming and learning opportunities for which they have expressed interest and demand.
31962 Not only have we been developing a number of strategic programming strands since Canadian Learning Television went on the air, we have been contemplating and working on the viability of new learning-based genres since 1995. Our previous computer and travel applications in 1996 and 1997 attest to that. Our experience piloting these genres, which we now propose to roll out as discreet services, should surely then be considered an advantage.
31963 Still, it must be admitted the call for competition can be very beguiling. Who can be against honest competition?
31964 But in fact, since we are all vying for favours, your favour in a regulated environment, one applicant's right to compete can only be bought at the price of another applicant behind denied exactly that same right. This is especially unjust -- indeed it's cruel -- when the first applicant has literally pioneered a genre, demonstrated its enduring audience appeal and established a market that was simply not there before.
31965 So what in fact is the new player bringing to the table except a sharp eye for an opportunity that might be had for as little as a random application, tossed in like a lottery ticket with a bunch of theirs, and supported as much by strategic or tangential considerations, such a candidate's region of origin, as by the content of the proposition itself?
31966 So let's turn it around. What exactly is someone chanting "new player" for existing genres saying? They are saying, "We have no previous demonstrated interest or activity to show you. Even though we deploy the same terrestrial outlets as CHUM, we have chosen not to develop niche properties and the science of making them in those existing operations, but now that we can see that we have missed the boat, we would like to get on board. In fact, we would like you to sideline the frontrunner and hand their momentum and their intellectual property to us".
31967 Next, the CCTA have attempted to deflect attention away from cable's involvement in many of the Category 1 applications presented at this hearing on the basis that they are a minor participant in the digital universe with DTH providing the largest number of digital subscribers.
31968 This mistakes the real situation. The fact is that the cable perspective is in control of one of the two DTH operators and that, coupled with cables existing, enormous subscriber base, and even with a comparatively low take-up of digital over the next few years, means that they will have very substantial influence over the digital services that will be carried by all distributors.
31969 So we continue to believe that this may be one of the last opportunities the Commission will have to reinforce an orderly relationship between program undertakings and distribution undertakings and to put its own imprint on the future of the digital future.
31970 It seems obvious that it in the open-entry Category 2 environment that will follow this hearing it will ultimately be the distributors who will determine which services can carried and which do not.
31971 You can be assured that services in which a BDU has any interest, control or otherwise, will be accorded carriage. For this reasons, we -- and we are not alone -- urge the Commission to licence as many Category 1 services that you are satisfied are focused, attractive and socially useful and that as many possible should be non-BDU affiliated as they, the BDUs, will take care of themselves.
31972 MR. PALFRAMAN: And now we turn to specific interventions to our proposals. Computer technology.
31973 We have already dealt with a comment by Rogers ZDTV with regard to the earnestness of our application. But as to Rogers view that you cannot "out-ZDTV" ZDTV, we believe that our computer access proposal does just that by offering a greater diversity of entertaining, attractive and instructional programming.
31974 We will continue to acquire the best of ZDTV's programs, as we do now. We will acquire the best programming from other U.S. production and distribution companies such as C/Net from whom we already get C/Net News.
31975 We will carry programming from the U.K.'s .tv with whom we are developing an output agreement and, of course, we will provide all the Canadian computer related programming that is already available and will be even more available from Canadian independent producers such as Steve Dotto, together with our own productions.
31976 Global's Digital 1 criticized our low level of Canadian content as compared with their 77 per cent throughout the licence period. They point to this as their single advantage over our proposal.
31977 It seems obvious that the level of Cancon proposed by Digital 1 can only be achieved by combining a high repeat factor with unrealistic revenue projections to support fuzzy promises of extra high Canadian programming expenditures which won't materialize, as their percentage expenditure offers will flex down once reality sets in.
31978 With projected advertising revenues reaching over $5 million a year, a subscriber wholesale rate of 65 cents and almost 2.5 million projected subscribers, we have serious concern about Digital 1's ability to meet its so-called commitments.
31979 In the books genre, Corus' Booknet noted that the minimum levels of Canadian content for our Book Television proposal were lower than the minimums they are proposing.
31980 In fact, in the case of our Book Television proposal, the expenditures on Canadian programming increase over the licence term while it is curious to note that the Booknet expenditures on Canadian programming actually decrease between years three to seven at precisely the moment when their Canadian content commitments are supposed to be increasing.
31981 Also with respect to Booknet, we note the extremely high emphasis on children's programming and animation, over 40 per cent in the case of animation. This is probably not surprising given Corus' ownership of YTV and Treehouse. In a genre for which the research conducted by LTA and Alliance Atlantis indicated a strong broad, all ages demand for a Book Channel, Booknet represents an exceedingly modest proposal.
31982 Alliance Atlantis - The Book Channel put forward their investment in interactivity as their singular advantage over our proposal. Our response to this is that all this is simply a projection, a pious wish, whilst we are already engaged in books related programming and interactivity on the Web in their support.
31983 In addition, the Book Channel's narrow aim at authors and their work betrays a limited imagination in regards to the nature of creative writing in that it does not take into account opera librettos, hiphop rhyme, the spoken word tradition, comics, newspapers, magazines or Web sites on the Internet.
31984 Finally, the Book Channel demonstrates a singular lack of knowledge of existing Canadian literary television. They state:
"There exists remarkably little television programming that focuses on Canadian books and authors."
31985 As we have previously described, our team have been involved in the production and hosting of Imprint as well as Prisoners of Gravity and the arts strand of The Journal. Bravo! produces BookTelevision, the Giller Prize event, Bravo!News and Arts and Minds flow. It broadcasts Literati and the Originals. SexTV, QTV and Media Television all feature book items, as does ShelfSpace on Space. Canadian Learning Television produces The Word and airs Hot Type and MuchMusic produces and broadcasts Rock 'n Roll 'n Reading.
31986 This doesn't seem like "remarkably little" to us. In fact, this mistake on Alliance Atlantis' part demonstrates their lack of knowledge and experience in this field and the importance of awarding a licence to an applicant that is already working in the area and has developed the genre to a point where it can stand alone as an excellent digital specialty service.
31987 DR. KEAST: We would like now to respond to the Commission's specific questions.
"To which two or three of your Category 1 proposals should the Commission give priority, and why?"
31988 While we obviously believe all six of our applications meet the Commission's criteria, stand up well against all competing applications, have merit and would be successful in the new digital environment, we have prioritized our top three proposals on the basis of their attractiveness and their natural education fit. They are as follows: Computer Access - The Technology Channel, Book Television - The Channel, CareersTV - The Jobs and Management Channel. Our reasons for choosing these three are as follows.
31989 Computer Access has been a priority for us since our first application for the channel in 1996. This is, in fact, the third time we have applied for a computer channel.
31990 A computer channel requires an educational/instructional underpinning to be both attractive and useful and this is our specialty. Doesn't it make as much sense, perhaps even more sense, to aim for universal computer literacy as to encourage universal Internet access?
31991 The future of distance learning delivery will be computer based and so it is important that we are in the forefront of that delivery. Learning requires interactivity and in today's world, computers are essential for both.
31992 Books, literacy and literature are basic to education at all levels. This is why a top priority for us is Book Television. A Book channel will by definition have a learning and educational base, so it should be provided by a group with an understanding of and commitment to this and will be able to present it attractively.
31993 Careers, learning and jobs has been a focus of Access programming since 1995 and of CLT since September 1999. Careers and careers development presupposes lifelong learning. Again, this is a specialty of ours, an area of expertise. No other broadcaster or production company has the experience or track record we do in jobs and careers. So the applications for CareersTV is a natural extension of what we are doing now.
31994 MR. PALFRAMAN: The second question related to the Category 1 projects that we were proposing and what other Category 1 proposal of any other applicant, if licensed, would jeopardize the feasibility of our business plan.
31995 This is not as simple a matter to establish as one might hope, given that even in cases where these are directly competitive applications, we offer another dimension with our learning context. Nevertheless, in undertaking a sensible review of all our proposals and competing services, we have developed the following summary.
31996 If either The Book Channel from Alliance Atlantis or Booknet from Corus are licensed, the feasibility of our Book Television business plan would be jeopardized.
31997 If any of Rogers-ZDTV, Global's Digital 1 or CTV's The Digital Network are licensed, the feasibility of our Computer Access business plan would be jeopardized.
31998 If Stornoway's @Work.ca is licensed, it would affect our CareersTV business plan.
31999 If either of Rogers Documentary Channel or Corus' Canadian Documentary Channel are licensed, our DocsTV business plan would similarly be jeopardized.
32000 If either of the BCE Media Travel TV, Corus Discovery Travel and Adventure, Global Canadian Travel Channel, Pelmorex Leisure Network or Cogeco's T&L Network applications are licensed, the feasibility of our Travel Access business plan would be jeopardized. And to that I would say vice-versa in terms to our applications being licensed.
32001 We do not believe that the business plan for our Law and Order channel proposal would be jeopardized by the approval of any of the other applications before you.
32002 With respect to question three and how many Category 1 proposals the Commission should licence, in the English language we believe the Commission should licence in the order of 20 English language Category 1 services and five French.
32003 This is based on our analysis of the Category 1 applications, determining the number of different genres represented and then eliminating what we considered to be very narrow interest or unclearly defined genres.
32004 DR. KEAST: Madam Chair, Madam Chairperson, Commissioners and staff. We are educational broadcasters. We understand the "Importance of Being Earnest", but we are also successful commercial broadcasters. We have to be attractive, which is to say appealing, indeed entertaining in order to be educational.
32005 Moses is our active Executive Producer for CLT and Access and for what ever new services you may licence. "Dull television" and "Moses" simply don't go together. They are a contradiction in terms.
32006 With us, subscribers can have their cake and eat it too. They can subscribe to our services because of their perceived social values and they can watch and enjoy our programs and services because they are also visually smart, up to the minute and remarkably useful.
32007 Of course, attractive and earnest go naturally together. They are, after all, the real, the Canadian A&E - Attractive and Earnest.
32008 That concludes our presentation. Thank you for your attention. We would be pleased to respond to any questions that you might have.,
32009 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can't recall asking for poetry.
32010 Thank you, Dr. Keast, and Mr. Znaimer and your colleague.
32011 We will now take a 15 minute break. Nous reprendrons dans 15 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1511 / Suspension à 1511
--- Upon resuming at 1530 / Reprise à 1530
32012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back.
32013 Madam Secretary, please.
32014 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32015 The next presentation will be by Salter Street Films Limited. Twenty-three minutes are allowed.
32016 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you will allow me, I apologize, I should have done this before. We will sit until six o'clock, so it may well be that some of you will have the delight of staying in Ottawa overnight to start at 8:00 tomorrow morning.
32017 J'ai oublié de mentionner avant d'appeler la requérante suivante que nous devons ajourner à six heures et nous reprendrons à huit heures demain matin.
32018 Alors il est fort possible que nous débutions avec les demandes de vidéo sur demande et de télévision payante quelque temps dans la matinée demain. Alors soyez prêts.
32019 It's probable that we will start hearing the pay television and -- pay-per-view rather, applications and video on demand sometime tomorrow morning. So we hope everybody will be there -- au rendez-vous.
32020 We apologize again, Ms Tait. Go ahead.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32021 MS TAIT: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Commissioners, Madam Secretary and Commission staff. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you again.
32022 You will remember my colleagues from before. To my left is Michael Donovan, Chairman and CEO of Salter Street Films. To my right is Claude Galipeau, VP of Corporate Planning and to his right is Joel Fortune, our legal counsel from Johnston & Buchan.
32023 Today we will be replying to a number of the interventions that you have heard, both general as well as those directed to our six Category 1 applications: Comedy for Kids, Girls TV, the Independent Film Channel, Nature TV, Play TV and ZTV.
32024 We will also respond to the questions you posed regarding our Category 1 priorities; which other applications would jeopardize the feasibility of our business plans if licensed; and how many French and English Category 1 licences we believe the Commission should license.
32025 We would first like to thank the many organizations and individuals who wrote to the Commission supporting each of our applications. Their support confirmed our belief that each of the services we proposed meets a need, and fills a programming gap in the Canadian broadcasting system. We are grateful to all of those intervenors for their support, and for the time they took to participate in this public process.
32026 I will now ask Michael to say a few words.
32027 MR. DONOVAN: Madam Chair, Commissioners, good afternoon.
32028 The most difficult question that the Commission has asked us so far is: Which of your Category 1 applications would you most like to see licensed, and why?
32029 Your question has preoccupied us since it was posed on the first day of the hearing. In making our selection in the first place, we chose the six before you because we believe that:
32030 Each of them is popular -- and our consumer research shows this;
32031 Each of them is original, distinctive, and new to the Canadian broadcasting system; and
32032 Each of them builds on our strengths.
32033 We also considered how our six services would work together in a digital package.
32034 Three of our services have broad-based popular appeal: The Independent Film Channel, Nature TV and Play TV.
32035 The other three are niche focused and are designed to expand the breadth of the appeal of the digital offering as a whole: Girls TV, Comedy for Kids and ZTV.
32036 We have set our priorities.
32037 MS TAIT: The Independent Film Channel Canada is our top priority.
32038 A channel dedicated to independent film and Canadian filmmakers fits naturally within Salter Street's mission as an entertainment company distinguished by its creative track record.
32039 Salter Street Films' roots are in moviemaking. We began as film producers. We have maintained close ties with the independent film community.
32040 We know how to nurture Canadian talent. And we know from first-hand experience the critical importance of the U.S. market and international exposure.
32041 Most importantly, we have found a solution that balances: affordability, popularity, and on-screen and off-screen contributions to Canadian independent film.
32042 I'll return to this application later when responding to the points raised by the other applicants.
32043 Our second priority is children. As you know, Salter Street filed applications for two children's services: Girls TV and Comedy for Kids.
32044 These services were designed to exist side-by-side. Each of them fills a current gap in the broadcasting system.
32045 It seems to us a straightforward proposition: Children should be represented -- front and centre -- in the digital future.
32046 It's also common sense. Children are, and will continue to be, early adopters of new technology. If innovation and audience participation are to be the hallmark of digital services, then surely children and children's programming are ideally suited to lead the way.
32047 This brings us to the two incumbent children's specialty and pay broadcasters that have intervened against us.
32048 Our general position, which we've stated before, is that diversity is not served if existing broadcasters are granted exclusivity in broad categories of programming. We believe that Corus' and Family Channel's exclusive claim on children's programming will prevent new contributions to the Canadian broadcasting system.
32049 In the case of Comedy for Kids, the purpose of this service, you will recall, is to provide children between the ages of five to seventeen with live action comedy programming.
32050 Our proposed condition of licence is specific and narrow: All of the programming exhibited on our service "will be comedic in nature". This means programming that has comedy as its dominant purpose, from beginning to end.
32051 In Salter Street's application for Comedy for Kids, we conducted a content analysis of English-language comedy programming for kids during one sample broadcast week. Our analysis included the schedules for YTV and the Family Channel.
32052 We found that kids comedy amounted to only 2 to 3 per cent of the total week's programming.
32053 The bulk of that comedy programming was animation. When you look at the amount of Canadian live-action comedy for children that is available, there is almost none.
32054 We included our analysis of YTV's schedule in our written reply to Corus' written intervention. We found that less than 10 per cent of the sample broadcast week on YTV was dedicated to live-action children's comedy.
32055 In response to Family Channel's intervention of lat week, we conducted a new analysis of that service for the current week of September 1 to 7, 2000. We used www.familychannel.ca as our source.
32056 The findings of our analysis for the Family Channel are that it is exhibiting eight hours of live-action comedy series for children, or 6.4 per cent of the sample broadcast week. All of these hours are non-Canadian.
32057 During the same week, the Family Channel is exhibiting 10.5 hours of live action comedy movies -- 8 per cent of the schedule -- all of those hours are American.
32058 It is crucial to note that the Family Channel occupies a unique position in our broadcasting system. Up to 60 per cent of its programming may be sourced from the Disney Channel in the United States, and only 25 per cent of its programming must be Canadian.
32059 Comedy for Kids will feature 65 per cent Canadian programming by the end of the licence term.
32060 The claims by Corus and Family Channel that they already provide substantial amounts of live-action comedy for children are overstated. Comedy for Kids will occupy a distinctive niche by providing large amounts of comedic, non-animation, Canadian children's programming.
32061 We also conducted a content analysis for girls programming and included it with our application.
32062 We found that easily less than 5 per cent of the programming available on television during the broadcast week we tested was targeted at girls. Indeed, sadly, it was closer to 1 per cent of TV time per day on average.
32063 We do not deny that existing children's services and some children's programs do contain positive role models for girls as well as boys, but what we are proposing is a different type of service entirely, a lifestyle service for girls. Such a service does not exist on Canadian television.
32064 All our programming will be distinctly girl centric and will be unlike other girl programs found on television today. The schedule will include girls' magazine shows, girls' talk shows and girl how-to shows, for example.
32065 We have also suggested specific conditions of licence to maintain the distinct nature of our channel as a service for girls.
32066 First, all of our programming will be dedicated strictly to information and entertainment for young female television viewers between the ages of five and seventeen.
32067 Second, we have imposed a specific limitation on animation at 15 per cent.
32068 Third, we have suggested a specific limitation on feature films -- no more than two per week during prime time, as we suggested in our oral intervention, which we would accept for all of our non-film based applications, including Comedy for Kids -- with an overall limit on feature films of 10 per cent, in keeping with this prime time restriction.
32069 Fourth, no live sports.
32070 Fifth, 50 per cent of the acquired programming and 80 per cent of the original programming will feature a female protagonist or host.
32071 And, finally, during our appearance before you we indicated our willingness to accept a condition of licence similar to that imposed on YTV with respect to American programming, at least 35 per cent of the non-Canadian programming must be from outside the United States.
32072 We do not accept the "operational definition of family programming" proposed by Family Channel. Their "operational definition" is overly broad and it does not respect the distinction that the Commission has drawn between family programming and children's programming.
32073 In effect, it would prohibit any entity, other than Corus or Family Channel, from ever launching a new children's programming service.
32074 We believe that children's programming is a distinct category different from broad family-oriented programming.
32075 Family Channel noted that a small sample of program titles appearing on our draft programming schedules are currently exhibited on its service. Our programming grids are illustrative and, given the nature of the rights market for specialty and pay services, there will be no actual overlap of programs between our services and either Family Channel or YTV.
32076 Salter Street seriously evaluated the role that new children's services will play in the Canadian broadcasting system and in the digital tier of services. We concluded that just as there is a comedy service for adults, there should be a comedy service for children. Just as there is a women's channel, there should be a girl's channel.
32077 Therefore, we place either -- but preferably both -- of our children's services second on our priority list of Category 1 services.
32078 For our third priority, we have selected a broadly based popular service: Nature TV.
32079 Our consumer survey found that 66 per cent of Canadians are interested in the channel concept, and that the concept appealed to a broad demographic, 18 to 64 year olds. There is no doubt that Nature TV will be a driver for digital roll-out.
32080 As we have noted, we believe that the exceptionally high demand for this service illustrates that there is ample room in the broadcasting system for a channel having nature and its preservation as its sole focus.
32081 Salter Street received encouraging interventions from numerous Canadian organizations that promote habitat conservation and the protection of the natural world.
32082 Last week's cover story in The Globe and Mail underlines the urgency of the issues facing Canada's wildlife in the face of global warming. This story revealed that Canada is high on the list of countries at risk of losing a large number of species to global warming. Canadians do care about their natural environment. That's why demand is so high for this service.
32083 CTV, on behalf of The Discovery Channel, has intervened against Nature TV.
32084 Let me emphasize, Salter Street does not view Discovery as being directly competitive with Nature TV.
32085 Nature TV will be focused solely on programming dedicated to "nature and wildlife, and will feature plants, animals, marine life, geography, and people who explore the natural world." Its mission is to promote preservation of the environment.
32086 It is clear from the 1994 licensing decision for the "Discovery Science Channel" -- as it was then called -- that its service is broader than nature programming, including all of the following topics:
"...the mysteries of science, computers, robotics, software applications and video games, ... human behaviour, wildlife, gardening, food, travel, ... the environment and cultures of countries around the world."
32087 Nature TV, a service focused on nature, can co-exist Discovery given Discovery's broad mandate.
32088 ZTV and Play TV are our fourth and fifth choices for Category 1 services.
32089 We believe that both are outstanding, original services. They are ideal candidates for convergence and digital interactivity. They will help roll-out digital boxes, and become platforms for innovative uses of the digital medium.
32090 ZTV, a lifestyle channel for Canadians in their 20s, will serve an identifiable niche. Licensing ZTV as a Category 1 service means that this genre will make a maximum contribution to Canadian content.
32091 Similarly, Play TV is a chance for Canadians to create their own game show channel and a community of interest around Canadian games.
32092 As you can see, our choices are consistent with our emphasis on the social contributions of our services to the broadcasting system. This is not to take away from the strengths Play TV and ZTV will bring to the system as drivers of the digital tier. Both will make significant contributions to convergence and interactivity.
32093 This concludes our comments on the Commission's question relating to the priority ranking of our Category 1 applications.
32094 I would now like to turn to our application for an independent film channel and respond in detail to the interventions of other applicants.
32095 As we have said before, we do not support the claim that incumbent broadcasters -- in this case, Astral and Alliance Atlantis -- should have a claim on a broad category of programming, such as film.
32096 We believe that we have proposed the most effective solution for a Canadian independent film channel, a solution that combines affordability and popularity, on-screen and off-screen contributions to Canadian independent filmmakers and a direct link to the international film community.
32097 We have the most reasonable of business plans before you. To be specific, our wholesale rate is the lowest in light of our subscription and ad revenue projections, at between 35 and 37 cents.
32098 Craig's average wholesale rate is 30 cents, but it is dependent on very aggressive ad sell-out and ad revenue projections. In fact, their total seven year ad revenue projections are almost four times greater than ours.
32099 Alliance Atlantis' 30 cent wholesale rate is crucially dependent on aggressive subscriber projections. Their business plan hopes for 65 per cent greater penetration than ours by the seventh year.
32100 Astral's 65 cent wholesale rate is simply too high, priced at a pay service level. Their business model is also dependent on aggressive ad revenue projections, almost three times greater than our projections.
32101 This puts Salter Street's commitments to Canadian programming in proper context. Given the key structural numbers underpinning our business plan -- low wholesale rates, low advertising revenue assumptions and conservative subscriber projections -- we have the most defendable business plan before you.
32102 We are committing to a minimum seven-year total of 840 original hours of Canadian programming, greater than Astral's 700 hour commitment. Within our budget, the licensing of new films is at least $7 million over seven years, greater than Craig's $5 million commitment.
32103 The Independent Film Channel Canada, of all those applications before you, is the most committed to a broad-based, grassroots approach to mentoring and fostering new talent. Unlike Astral, IFC Canada does not rely on one institution to fulfil the important objective of building a robust independent film community in Canada.
32104 Astral has objected to our approach of working with a U.S. partner. Astral suggested last week that the Commission should consider "all Canadian" applicants before those that have entered into alliances with non-Canadian programming services.
32105 Our response is:
32106 First, the Independent Film Channel Canada is an "all Canadian" applicant. It is 100 per cent Canadian-owned. Our arrangement with IFC (U.S.) is a licensing deal. There is absolutely no chance of back door control or influence by our American partner.
32107 Second, Astral's objection is contrary to the Commission's past decisions in this regard, as well as to the call for this hearing in which the Commission encouraged such alliances in the interest of strengthening the roll-out of digital.
32108 As we have stated, we pursued a U.S. alliance for an independent film channel -- and for none of our other proposals -- because this genre of programming more than any other survives on the presence and active involvement of international buyers and audiences.
32109 Astral also objected to the definition that we proposed for independent feature films.
32110 Salter Street has followed the discussion in this area carefully and we have proposed a definition that excludes all but a very small percentage of movies that are "produced, financed or distributed" by the Hollywood majors, in order to capture a few films seminal to independent cinema.
32111 We also stated in our written reply to interventions that we would accept a variety "top 100" restriction if the Commission deemed it necessary, though we don't think it is necessary.
32112 We believe that the Independent Film Channel Canada is more than just a "movie channel". As a specialty service, we have intentionally limited the amount of feature length film programming in the schedule:
32113 To differentiate the service from existing pay services;
32114 To provide a more in-depth viewing experience for cinephiles; and
32115 To promote a filmmakers and their films, in Canada and internationally.
32116 I will leave the last word to Michael.
32117 MR. DONOVAN: We have responded to your first question and listed our priorities for Category 1 applications and the reasons for our ranking. I hope this helps you in your deliberations.
32118 Now, to your second question, namely: What Category 1 proposal of any other applicant, if licensed, would jeopardize the feasibility of the business plan in any of our applications?
32119 With the exception of the independent film channel proposals, by Alliance Atlantic, Astral, CHUM and Craig, we do not believe that any other Category 1 application would jeopardize any of our proposed services.
32120 To your third question: How many Category 1 proposals should the Commission licence?
32121 We believe to capture the best services proposed and to build a strong package of digital services in the English language, that 15 to 20 English services would be appropriate.
32122 In the French-language, five services we think.
32123 This concludes our intervention for Phase IV.
32124 Thank you very much.
32125 We are prepared to answer any questions.
32126 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know, Mr. Donovan, how hard homework is, but this fulfilled an old dream of mine, because I was a rather slow pupil in school and found homework difficult, so I thought one day I will get my revenge on the system, somehow or other.
32127 MR. DONOVAN: Well, I always enjoy doing homework.
--- Laughter / Rires
32128 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Tait and your colleagues.
32129 Madam Secretary, please.
32130 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32131 The next presentation will be by Corus Entertainment Incorporated. They are allowed 23 minutes.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32132 MR. ROBERTSON: Madam Chairperson and Commissioners, I am Paul Robertson, President of Corus Television and to my right is Kathleen McNair, Vice-President, Regulatory Affairs Corus Entertainment, and to her right is Jamie Haggarty, Vice-President Finance, Corus Television.
32133 We are pleased to be here to reply to the interventions filed concerning our six Category 1 applications.
32134 We will deal with each of our applications individually, but we will start with Land & Sea.
32135 In its letter of intervention, CTV suggested that Land & Sea is too general in nature to qualify as a "specialty" service. Clearly, we do not agree.
32136 As described by the Commission, specialty programming services should provide thematic or vertical programming, often targeting a specific demographic and having a well-defined genre.
32137 Canadian viewers will know exactly what to expect when they tune to Land & Sea: a unique service that consistently reflects rural experiences, information, ideas, sensibilities and values.
32138 Land & Sea's primary audience is the more than 3.7 million rural Canadians who are currently under-served by both conventional and specialty broadcasters.
32139 The core of the Land & Sea will be information programming, providing daily news coverage of rural industries and exploring rural issues in a richness and depth not found in our broadcasting system.
32140 A 15-second story on declining pork prices may be sufficient to an urban dweller questioning their grocery bill but it does not provide the insight and information required for someone who makes their living from the hog industry.
32141 CTV also contends that because a portion of Land & Sea's schedule may be of interest to both urban and rural viewers, the service is not deserving of a specialty service.
32142 With respect, we consider the same can be said of all programming initiatives on all specialty networks.
32143 Land & Sea is a unique and vital specialty channel that reflects the spirit, the reality and the interests and concerns of rural Canadians to the rest of Canada.
32144 It's our hope that Land & Sea will reach out and create new dialogue and understanding between rural and urban Canadians.
32145 We consider the reflection of rural issues to urban Canadians to be a very positive element of our application, and we also believe that the level of support we received from preeminent Canadians from all provinces attests to the need for Land & Sea. Our "Who's who" list of supporting intervenors include Brian Tobin, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador; Dennis Laycraft, Executive Vice-President of Canadian Cattlemen's Association; Cory R. Ollikka, President of the National Farmers Union; Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba; to the Honourable Sharon Carstairs, Senator -- and this demonstrates the demand and need for a service such as Land & Sea.
32146 MS McNAIR: Discovery Travel and Adventure Canada is another of our Category 1 applications and, as its name implies, will be dedicated to presenting travel and travel-related programming.
32147 As the Commission knows, the travel genre is perhaps one of the most hotly contested.
32148 Palmorex, BCE Media, Global, MetroMedia and Learning Skills Alberta have all suggested that each of their applications is most deserving of a Category 1 licence.
32149 Not surprisingly, we disagree.
32150 We consider that Travel Adventure Canada represents the most attractive and diverse service before you.
32151 In its intervention, Global stated that its travel service would commission the most Canadian programming of all applicants and BECE stressed its commitment to original Canadian programming.
32152 In reply, it must be emphasized that 100 per cent of our original Canadian programming will be commissioned from arm's-length independent producers.
32153 This commitment is in contrast to the high levels of in-house original programming proposed by the other applicants.
32154 Furthermore, we are proposing licence fees of up to $20,000 per half hour of Canadian original production. This commitment will ensure that the Canadian independent programming featured on our service will be of such quality that it can easily be exported and featured on Discovery's travel services throughout the world.
32155 Discovery Travel Adventure Canada will be able to capitalize on the unparalleled travel programming expertise and brand equity of Discovery Travel while fostering the creation of quality Canadian travel programming that will receive international exposure.
32156 MR. HAGGARTY: As you know, we have applied, in partnership with Salter Street, for a digital specialty service, known as CHROME, dedicated to serving the needs and interests of Canadian men.
32157 TVA/Global and CTV have also proposed men's programming services.
32158 TVA and Global suggested that their men's service would make a greater contribution to Canadian programming than CHROME.
32159 We respectfully disagree.
32160 Of all the applicants, CHROME is proposing the highest commitment to Canadian content, 65 per cent by Year 7, coupled with the highest level of Canadian programming expenditures, at 40 per cent.
32161 We believe that these commitments demonstrate that CHROME will make the greatest contribution to Canadian programming initiatives and the broadcasting system.
32162 As well, in our application, we proposed safeguards for access by arm's-length producers.
32163 Salter Street, who will bring diversity and creativity to CHROME, is limited to accessing, as a maximum, 20 per cent of the Canadian programming expenditures. We believe that access by independent producers will ensure that CHROME introduces a diverse programming choice into the system.
32164 MS McNAIR: Booknet is our Category 1 proposal dedicated to exhibiting programming based on published works -- and, once again, this is a competitive genre.
32165 In their intervention, Alliance Atlantis questioned our commitment to interactive content.
32166 As with all of our Category 1 applications, we believe that we have proposed exciting interactive opportunities.
32167 We are one of the few Canadian members of ATVEF, the Advanced Television Enhancement Form. As such, in all our applications, we have proposed the delivery of enhanced digital content through the open standards being developed by ATVEF and consider ourselves a leader, in this regard.
32168 While we certainly endorse and fully support the opportunities presented by digital television, we believe the Commission must compare each applicant's commitments to the exhibition and support of Canadian programming in accessing the merits of the respective applications.
32169 Our service, Booknet, offers the highest levels of Canadian content, commencing at 65 per cent, and reaching 75 per cent, by Year 6, versus Alliance Atlantis' Book Channel that starts at 55 per cent and only reaches 65 per cent, in Year 7.
32170 Learning Skills Alberta is proposing Canadian content of 40 per cent, rising to 50 per cent, over the licence term.
32171 Booknet is also committed to providing the highest level of Canadian programming expenditures, at 40 per cent.
32172 Furthermore, to ensure our service provides diversity and variety of voices, we have committed to allocating, at a minimum, 60 per cent of our original first-run Canadian programming expenditures to arm's-length producers.
32173 Canadian authors receive international acclaim in the publishing world yet their works receive limited exposure on television.
32174 Our partnership with Nelvana and its experience in the publishing world, through Kids Can Press, will ensure that Canadian stories and published works are brought to life on Canadian television screens.
32175 MR. HAGGARTY: As a recent father, I am particularly excited by our Parent TV proposal -- a programming service dedicated to exhibit information-based programming about family life and parenting issues.
32176 In its intervention, Rogers questioned our expertise in parenting and our ability to develop a programming service dedicated to the needs and interests of Canadian parents.
32177 Contrary to Rogers' contention, we believe that Corus' experience and expertise in developing exciting and innovative specialty programming services targeted to children and preschoolers makes us the obvious choice to develop a service for Canadian parents.
32178 We are proposing a service that responds to the informational needs of parents.
32179 Parent TV will not be appointment television; it will provide informational programming to busy parents when they want it.
32180 Since Parent TV will not broadcast any dramatic programming, it will be the number one resource for parents, like myself, seeking information on child-rearing issues.
32181 Parenting issues and the positive role that television can play in a child's early development have always been central to our programming approach on Treehouse and YTV.
32182 We have an advisory panel on Treehouse made up of the important disciplines surrounding child development, including paediatrics, psychology and nutrition.
32183 There are many knowledgeable independent producers who can help us move swiftly to get stimulating new programs to air.
32184 Our application also discusses our strategic relationship with Canadian Parents Online -- perhaps Canada's preeminent parenting Web site.
32185 In light of the foregoing, and contrary to Rogers' suggestion otherwise, we believe that we have developed the necessary expertise and relationships to create a very attractive and responsive digital specialty service for Canadian parents.
32186 We would also add that our service will make the greatest contribution to Canadian programming, and the broadcasting system, through its Canadian content and Canadian programming expenditure commitments.
32187 MR. ROBERTSON: Finally, we wish to reply to the interventions we received concerning The Canadian Documentary Channel.
32188 Rogers suggested, given its history of supporting documentary filmmaking, it has a proven track record in the genre and should be awarded the licence.
32189 Corus supports the creation of funds as part of significant benefits packages and recognizes that Rogers has made an important contribution, in this regard.
32190 At the same time, we must emphasize the more than 60 years' of support the documentary genre has received from our partners, the NFB and the CBC.
32191 In its oral intervention, Rogers states that its commitment to the independent production community makes it deserving of the licence.
32192 In terms of commitment to independents, we will exhibit 66 per cent Canadian content, in the first year of operation, rising to 75 per cent -- which is the highest of all the applicants.
32193 Further, at least half of our Canadian programming acquisition expenditures will go to arm's-length producers, which we have defined to exclude the CBC, the NFB and the four independent producers with an equity interest in the service.
32194 Rogers stresses that, in comparison, 95 per cent of its Canadian programming expenditures will go to the independent production sector.
32195 However, Rogers' definition of "affiliated producers" would not extend to the four independent producers who have an equity interest in their documentary service.
32196 Therefore, all of their Canadian programming expenditures could be allocated to the independent producers that own a portion of the service.
32197 Rogers also questions our licence fee commitment and stresses that it is proposing licence fees of up to $10,000 per hour.
32198 We believe that we have made a very significant commitment to licence fees and our original independent production.
32199 Each year, we will commission 26 hours of Canadian documentary production from arm's-length producers, for a licence fee of $25,000.
32200 As well, in our fourth year of operation, we will provide annual bursaries and scholarships of $100,000, doubling to $200,000, by Year 6, to support young up-and-coming Canadian documentary filmmakers.
32201 CBC and NFB's rich programming will add a depth and a breadth to our service that will allow it to have a truly Canadian focus, but amounts to less than half of the programming schedule and only 20 per cent of our services' program acquisition costs.
32202 Accordingly, we believe that the Canadian Documentary Channel demonstrates great support for the Canadian independent production community and we will make the most significant contributions to the broadcasting system.
32203 This concludes our reply comments on our individual applications.
32204 However, we would be remiss if we didn't thank the hundreds of producers, individuals, organizations and corporations that took the time to write the letters of support of our applications. These letters demonstrate the widespread demand for our proposed services and we wish to thank all of these intervenors for taking the time.
32205 Now before we close, we certainly take full responsibility for doing our homework as requested by the Commission, and despite the fact that it was very difficult homework, we are here to respond to your three questions.
32206 First of all, with respect to the number of Category 1s that we would propose, we would stay with our opening remarks that said at minimum 10 English. We fell short of commenting on the number of French. We haven't really reviewed all the French applications and didn't really feel that we could add a lot of value in determining what might be an appropriate ratio between the two, but in focusing on English at 10 at minimum.
32207 Second, the question was: Which other Category 1s if licensed could jeopardize your business plan? Our situation is pretty straightforward here. Most of all the competitive applications are clearly competitive. So anything that speaks of travel, documentary, parent, books or men would all, in our mind, jeopardize our business plan and, therefore, if licensed we would not feel we could go as well.
32208 There is a couple of grey areas that we will just comment on for clarity. Atlantis Alliance has an Indie Film Channel combined with a Documentary Channel. If it was licensed, we would still go with a Documentary Channel. We think we could coexist with that channel. And then CTV has an Exploration and Travel Channel, I believe it's called. That, if licensed, we could also still feel comfortable going with our travel application. So those are the two that perhaps were grey areas, that we wanted to clarify.
32209 And the third point -- and perhaps definitely the most difficult -- was: Which of these six applications do you feel are most deserving to be licensed? While we did have a hard time with this, we felt that in support of the process that we would take our best shot at it.
32210 Perhaps what I would do is just start by saying that there are two that we feel more strongly about than the others and the two are first of all, Discovery, Travel and Adventure and then Documentary. And we choose those because, first of all, Discovery, Travel and Adventure has an outstanding American partner that has really created this category and they would give any applicant such a hugh head start on developing an outstanding program service that we really felt that it was an important service that should be licensed.
32211 With respect to the overall genre, we really wouln't expect that Travel would be the type of genre that could be denied in this process and that's another reason. We think that it's a wonderful platform for the export of Canadian programming that could be developed and exhibited on Discovery services around the world. Another bit point in its favour. And this is a category that longer term will lend itself to interactive concepts and e-commerce and because of that it really is one that we feel strongly should be licensed and if you are going to licence it we would really recommend that it's Discovery, Travel and Adventure that you licence.
32212 Next, the Documentary Channel. As we have said throughout the process, it is the Canadian form. It should be licensed. I don't think there is -- I think again this is a genre that we would be very surprised if through the process it didn't get licensed one way or another. And we come to you with the NFB and the CBC, and we have spoken of the important contribution they have made in the programming that we can bring to bear not only through the library, but new programming that is being developed every day.
32213 Because of this exciting content and the importance of being able to air this program for Canadians, we think that the Canadian Documentary Channel would be our second choice.
32214 The next two would be Land and Sea and Chrome which is the Men's Channel. Land and Sea, because it's a totally unique genre that adds diversity, and we truly believe that it would make a unique commitment to all Canadians and provide them information that they just don't have today. And then Chrome because we know that the men out there would really love to see the channel and we think we could just have a ball developing the programming and it would be really a fun one and an entertaining service. So those are four out of the six.
32215 We would also make a pitch for the other two, but that would be stretching our credibility, I think.
32216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I see Mr. Haggarty passed CRTC 101 with flying colours and he is back for an advanced course.
32217 MR. HAGGARTY: And I got promoted to the front row.
32218 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
--- Laughter / Rires
32219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
32220 Madam Secretary, please.
32221 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. The next presentation will be by Astral Television Network Inc., Global Television Network Inc. Limited Partnership. Ten minutes is allowed.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32222 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, and welcome back.
32223 MS DE WILDE: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, members of the Commission, Commission staff.
32224 My name for the record is Lisa de Wilde. I am President of Astral Television Networks. With me today is Alicia Ortiz and Stephen Zolf.
32225 We are going to be addressing the entry of foreign services, launch issues that were touched upon by a number of players as well as responding to the affordability in Canadian content, concerns that were raised about Cinefest by some of the other applicants.
32226 First of all to distribution. We wish to address Category 1 launch issues that were raised by CAB, CCTA, BCE Media as well as others.
32227 Our starting point, of course, is the Commission's own Public Notice 2000-6 where you set out the necessary pre-conditions for a workable launch of the new services.
32228 First, they must have the benefit of favourable packaging arrangements. Second, BDUs would not be permitted to distribute any Category 1 service on a stand-alone basis unless such service was also distributed as part of a package. Thirdly, you went on to state, each Category 1 service must be packaged and marketed on an equitable basis as compared to any other new digital service.
32229 To ensure that these conditions are realized, we believe that the Commission should include three additional key precision or key measures in your decision.
32230 The first is to ensure a common launch date for the new Category 1 services on all digital platforms. There appears to be significant consensus to work towards a simultaneous launch on all digital platforms, and by all platforms we mean all major distributors in each language market.
32231 Second, all affiliation agreements with Category 1 services should be finalized no later than six months before the launch date. The rationale for this measure is the principle of reciprocity. If the Commission supports the need for a common launch date on the basis that it would be in the best interest of the broadcasting system, then a corresponding obligation should be placed on BDUs to finalize agreements with all services well ahead of the launch. This means that BDUs cannot choose to launch only some services. Rather, they must launch all of them.
32232 These measures, we believe, will enable new services to make timely, pre-launch expenditures, including hiring people, acquiring programming, developing and implementing marketing plans, all of which will be critical to successful launches.
32233 Now, we are not asking the Commission to micro manage our negotiations, but rather to provide a framework around which our negotiations can take place.
32234 To a third suggestion, Category 2 and newly authorized foreign services could be launched at the same time, but not before Category 1 services so as not to give the former an advantage. Turning now to the lists. During BCE Media's appearance last week, Mr. Racine proposed a new, more relaxed criterion for the addition of French-language, non-Canadian services to the list, a new test that focuses on merely "directly competitive" as opposed to the existing test of "partially competitive".
32235 If Mr. Racine's more relaxed criteria were to be adopted by the Commission, it would effectively lower the threshold for the entry of all foreign services, not only French-language services.
32236 In response to a question from Commissioner Williams, Mr. Racine conceded that under Canada's international trade obligations any relaxation of the criteria for the entry of non-Canadian French services would inevitably have to be extended to all non-Canadian services including American.
32237 The U.S. would surely argue that special treatment to French services would be an infringement of Canada's trade law obligations. Although differential treatment would arguably be sanctioned under NAFTA due to our cultural exemption, all affected parties nonetheless have the right to engage in retaliatory measures of equivalent commercial effect, in response to such cultural measures.
32238 Therefore, the U.S. could be justified in retaliating and Canadian experience has illustrated that it's virtually impossible to withstand threats of retaliation.
32239 Our ability to offer diverse, richly Canadian services, which incorporate programs purchased from U.S. services is one of the cornerstones of Canadian broadcasting policy. If Mr. Racine's proposed directly competitive test were applied, U.S. services would inevitably change their current practice and start to retain the program rights that they now sell to Canadian services, even those in which they have an ownership interest.
32240 So it would not be long before many existing U.S. services currently not on the list would retain rights for the entire North American market in order to enter the Canadian market on their own, contrary to Mr. Racine's assertion that all significant American English-language services are already on the list. In fact, 33 of the 43 most widely distributed ones are not on our list. So the spectre of HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Disney, the History Channel, Discovery U.S.A., retaining rights for our Canadian market, and seeking to be added to the list, would not be very far off.
32241 We therefore urge the Commission to maintain its policy and to reject BCE's proposal. To do otherwise would jeopardize the long platform and successfully established Canadian distinct program rights market.
32242 Now turning to Cinefest. Alliance expressed concern for the affordability of Cinefest. In reply we have the following comments.
32243 As Janet Yale acknowledged last week, the difference between a 30 cent and a 65 cent wholesale rate will be insignificant when the package is priced for retail to the consumer. She noted that rates will vary depending upon the value of the content offered. Bell ExpressVu in a similar exchange also confirmed that there really is no absolute or targeted wholesale rate.
32244 Our wholesale fee reflects the fact that Cinefest will be a high quality movie based service. Both the CCT and Bell ExpressVu clearly stated that the foremost criteria for new services will be their consumer appeal and the attractiveness of the service. Our own research clearly indicates that the film niche will be a significant driver and, therefore, less price sensitive than other programming niches.
32245 In any event, packages will range from a number of thematic services to larger packages, including existing Canadian digital services, foreign services and even non-programming services. Moreover, when you add in the $11 price of the digital box, the difference between a 30 cent wholesale fee and a 65 cent wholesale fee becomes invisible to the customer.
32246 Besides, our primary objective in building our business plan was to ensure that under any scenario, we could provide an attractive service to drive digital boxes. If indeed we are pleasantly surprised by the pace of the digital rollout and penetration levels for Cinefest, our business plan can be realized under a lower wholesale fee.
32247 Turning now to our Canadian programming commitments. CHUM and Alliance have criticized our approach to supporting Canadian movies. Let's be clear. While a digital specialty channel's licence fees will be welcomed as a new and important element in the system, an independent film service with average revenues of $10 million or so on its own is not going to solve the underfunding of the Canadian film industry.
32248 What's important to take away is that Cinefest's spending on licence fees, including pre-buys, for Canadian films will be more than any other independent film applicant.
32249 In addition, we disagree with CHUM who disputed the value of our new original programming. These are all commitments through completely unaffiliated independent producers.
32250 The benefits of celebrating and promoting our film industry can't be underestimated, especially in providing a dedicated venue that can act as an incubator or a platform for the building of both a Canadian star system as well as a concerned promotional machine that will build awareness and audience interest in Canadian movies.
32251 Cinefest will have original programming and licence fee budgets representing a minimum of 45 per cent of our revenues, higher than any other applicant.
32252 We wish to provide clarification on two further matters. First, Alliance mistakenly stated that we had the "second lowest proposal in terms of Canadian content hours" and that we do not get to the 50 per cent level until year seven.
32253 To correct the record, Cinefest reaches 50 per cent Canadian content in year four, as we promised in our application, a level that is, except for CHUM, equivalent to all the other applicants, including Alliance.
32254 In fact, we are still confused about just where Alliance is on its own on-air commitments. In four different places in its supplementary brief, it clearly states that its Canadian content levels will be fixed at 50 per cent and will not go higher unless "two million subscribers has been reached".
32255 The second issue of clarification relates to the use of mini-series and made-for-tv movies, a point raised by CHUM and Alliance. As we noted earlier in this hearing and as clearly set out in our programming grid in our application, Cinefest's schedule will not include mini-series or made-for-television movies and, in fact, we are happy to agree to that by condition of licence.
32256 Finally, we want to thank all of those who filed interventions of support for Cinefest. we received over 80 supporting interventions from Canadian producers, distributors, directors, festivals, educators and industry organizations. Over two thirds of those interventions were exclusive to Cinefest.
32257 They came from noted industry players like Norman Jewison, Bruce McDonald, Jerry Ciccorriti, Brigitte Berman, Vincenzo Natali, Camelia Frieberg, Raymond Massey, Suzette Couture, Peter Simpson, Pierre Latour and David Cronenberg, to name only a few.
32258 I want to leave the last word though to Gordon Pinsent, one of Canada's truly great actors, who I believe illustrates the potential of Cinefest. He states:
"The added promotion of Canadian product by Cinefest would be invaluable to us during these times, when our voice needs to be heard as never before. In the ever-growing monolith of non-Canadian programming. To be the proper landlords, not tenants, of our own cultural playing field, is one of my fondest hopes, and with the advent of Cinefest, we can finally be on our way to achieving that goal."
32259 I thank you for your attention. I do wish to assure you that we have our homework because, like Michael Donovan, I like doing homework as well. We have attached it in written form as an appendix to our reply.
32260 I would like to just fill out perhaps the answer to the first question which is "which of the Category 1 proposals should the Commission give priority to?" As I said, perhaps somewhat facetiously, on a previous appearance with you, Cinefest is obviously our one and only priority. I think that is genuine because we believe that we bring a distinct and Canadian perspective to the marvels of world cinema. We obviously love movies and think that it would be a wonderful new addition to the system, something that is genuinely different.
32261 Thank you very much.
32262 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms de Wilde and your colleagues.
32263 Madam Secretary, please.
32264 MS BÉRNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32265 The next presentation will be by Global Television Network Incorporated. They are allowed 23 minutes.
32266 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back. I don't know what we are supposed to think when the President ends up in the back seat.
32267 MR. SHEA: I didn't get my homework done.
32268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Was it difficult writing Phase IV?
32269 Go ahead.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32270 MR. O'FARRELL: Thank you, Madam Chair, Commissioners and Commission staff. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this final phase of his historic licensing proceeding.
32271 My name is Glenn O'Farrell. With me here today representing Global Television are the ever youthful Kevin Shea, Charlotte Bell to my left, Patricia Douey, Catherine Thompson, Judy Tapp and Katherine Browne in the back row.
32272 In our view, there is no doubt that this hearing once again clearly demonstrates the unmistakable character of the Canadian approach to building a strong and sustainable broadcasting system, an approach that is inclusive, accessible, lenient and accommodating to the largest possible number of stakeholders and interested parties.
32273 For the members of our industry, and indeed for most Canadians, this type of public process, while demanding and extensive, is the right way, the way by which we ensure the broadest possible participation in a forum of transparency and fairness. Therefore, we begin our remarks today by thanking you for upholding those values and continuing that tradition.
32274 We have attached as Appendix A our responses to the Commission's questions raised earlier in the proceeding. We also have attached as Appendix B a summary of our commitments.
32275 Our presentation today will focus on our seven Category 1 applications: Vital, Violet, DesigNation, 13th Street, Your Money, Digital 1, and The Canadian Travel Channel.
32276 For the record, we continue to advocate that you should award 15 English-language Category 1 licences and five French-language services to strengthen the hand of Canadian programming services as we enter the digital environment.
32277 Turning to the oral interventions, we submit the following comments.
32279 MS DOUEY: With respect to Global's application for Vital tv, in the health programming service category, there are four competing proposals before the Commission. One intervenor suggested that our application was flawed as a result of the inclusion of Rogers in the ownership of our proposed service.
32280 We feel this view directly contradicts the Commission call as it specifically encouraged participation by distributors in any of the proposed digital services.
32281 Other interventions argued that it would be preferable to have a digital health channel which included the participation of U.S. partners and their associated new media and Web sites. We take the contrary view that in this particular genre, so obviously important to Canadians, it is essential to have a health service that is wholly Canadian owned and operated across all of its platforms, including its Web site.
32282 The Canadian health care system is completely and fundamentally unique. Whereas health care in America is a commodity, in Canada it is a public service.
32283 As you deliberate on these applications, we urge you to recognize and consider the critical importance that Canadians consistently place on health matters. This fact is demonstrated by numerous public opinion polls and extensive research which clearly place health matters at the very top of Canada's public policy priorities. From across the country, Canadians agree that our health system is one of the central elements of our Canadian identity.
32284 Our exceptional and all-Canadian health and medical channel is aligned with Canada's leading health and medical Web site, medbroadcast.com. Vital tv also has a Programming Advisory Committee which includes representatives of a number of Canada's leading health and medical organizations. And the list of intervenors who have given their support to Vital tv is both a comprehensive and extensive cross-section of who's who in Canada's health and medical sector.
32285 While all of this is on the drawing board now, we are more than anxious to launch this all-Canadian health service for the benefit of all Canadian consumers. We respectfully urge you to award the privilege to Vital tv, and its Canadian partners, to deliver to the Canadian public this essential specialty programming network.
32286 Moving to the second of our applications: Our love, romance and relationships proposal -- Violet -- it is in competition with two other Category 1 applications that share the same genre.
32287 With clearly articulated research to support Violet, our application out-performs the competition in terms of Cancon levels throughout the term, in terms of the number of hours of original Canadian production and Canadian program expenditure, and in terms of interactivity, closed-captioning and descriptive video commitments.
32288 As a consequence, it's no surprise that Violet received the enthusiastic support of so many Canadian independent producers.
32289 And as an entertainment-based service, we know that romance programming sells. We just have to look at Canada's own romance publishing giant, Harlequin. We are certain that Violet will be a highly-attractive addition to the Canadian broadcasting system.
32290 Turning to DesigNation, we do not consider any of the Category 1 applications to be directly competitive with our art and design channel proposal. However, we were startled by CHUM's comment that this application would not add diversity to the Canadian system when in fact DesigNation has deliberately included programming genres that are significantly under-represented.
32291 Here again, our market research, conducted by Pollara is compelling and is further supported by the additional evidence we find in the tremendous interest Canadians demonstrate for art and design publications on the magazine racks across the country.
32292 DesigNation is a bold and innovative opportunity for Canadian entrepreneurs that is to be seized or lost. We can and will create an attractive programming service as our commitment to invest $38 million in Canadian production testifies. And we will market and export that programming and indeed, DesigNation itself across the world because there's nothing else like it anywhere.
32293 We would be remiss not to thank the distinguished and indeed numerous voices from the design, visual arts and fashion worlds who submitted their encouragement and support for DesigNation. This group of believers in the concept would be too numerous to name individually. However, I would single out The Canadian Council for the Arts, which certainly needs no introduction. We sincerely thank them all.
32294 MS THOMPSON: We now turn to 13th Street, our mystery and suspense channel. As you know, Global applied for a mystery channel in earlier rounds of specialty licensing. And although we were unsuccessful, we have remained committed to the concept of a mystery channel because we know it will win the hearts of the many Canadian mystery enthusiasts.
32295 As we prepared for this digital round of licensing, we looked abroad to find inspiration and found 13th Street, a digital channel success story in France and elsewhere. We sincerely believe that we can make this highly popular concept a Canadian digital winner. And while our mystery and suspense channel does have competition in its genre, we respectfully submit that neither of the other applicants has the programming and marketing muscle of the 13th Street partners.
32296 We ask that you give us this opportunity to launch a Canadian mystery and suspense channel that truly will distinguish itself as a "digital driver".
32297 We were surprised to hear CHUM suggest that 13th Street included programming from the horror and science fiction genres. Even a cursory glance at our proposed schedule would reveal that this is not the case.
32298 Another of our proposals, which does not have any direct Category 1 competition, is Your Money -- the personal finance channel. You heard Deirdre McMurdy, a respected Canadian business journalist offer her first hand insights on the ever-growing appetite Canadians have for personal finance information as they accept greater direct responsibility for their own financial futures.
32299 Here again, we would like to thank the numerous individuals and organizations which intervened to lend their support to our efforts.
32300 It came as no surprise that our market research revealed that fully 75 per cent of Canadians feel that a personal finance channel is desirable. And while there is a lot of information available on the topic, there is no one Canadian point of reference to which Canadians can turn for reliable, understandable and readily accessible personal finance information.
32301 The next proposal we wish to review is in the highly competitive travel category. Corus made the inaccurate suggestion that our proposed programming for the Canadian Travel Channel was to be produced exclusively in-house and further misled the Commission by suggesting that their Cancon levels were superior to ours. Both of these assertions are without merit.
32302 While the other applications are quality proposals, our Canadian Travel Channel can be distinguished from the pack on the basis that we have committed to commission more new original Canadian programming than any of our competitors.
32303 We are deeply appreciative of the support garnered by this application which is on file with the Commission.
32304 And finally, we turn to the technology service category where we also find a number of competing applicants. Rogers suggested that "you can't out ZDTV ZDTV in the computer category". We fail to understand the value of a suggestion that Canadians are not capable of creating a successful technology channel.
32305 Our proposal, Digital 1, submitted in partnership with Astral, has the unique and very important characteristic of being an application that is intentionally designed to strengthen Canadian technology programming through its deliberate and strategic programming relationship with the recently launched, French-language counterpart, Canal Z.
32306 We do not find any similar initiative directed at producing Canadian technology programming for both the English and French markets in any of the other proposals.
32307 This unique advantage is further demonstrated as Digital 1 stands head and shoulders above the competition in terms of its commitment to Canadian content exhibition, which towers above the crowd at 77 per cent. We are of the view that these factors were critical in garnering the overwhelming support we have received from the many intervenors who have encouraged the licensing of Digital 1.
32308 MS BELL: Good afternoon. Bonjour.
32309 In this increasingly competitive media world, both regulated and unregulated, new entrants to the market cannot rely on guaranteed success. And what you have heard time and again throughout this proceeding is the consensual view that the new digital universe will be singularly challenging. It goes without saying that to be successful, these new programming services will require significant financial and strategic resources to fuel their launch and sustenance.
32310 A clear indication of our financial commitments can be found in the business plans that we submitted in support of each of our applications where you will consistently find high levels of Canadian programming and marketing expenditures.
32311 In order to make a good first impression on consumers, new digital services will have to come out of the gates with strong programming and marketing. We understand this and took quantifiable measures to demonstrate our commitment to launch our proposed services with higher levels of Canadian content than what you would see in competing applications.
32312 We also maintain strong financial commitments to the marketing and promotion of the new services, prior to, at launch and throughout the first licence term. And we have developed consumer-friendly, tailor-made interactive components for each of our proposals and will ensure that we push interactivity applications to the edge of available technology every step of the way.
32313 We see these commitments as essential to maintaining the profile and awareness of these services to avoid digital churn and disconnects. These examples of commitment and resources were carefully considered and deliberate.
32314 We also insisted that our business plans be based on conservative digital universe and penetration assumptions. Some applicants criticized our approach. Our projections were based on the information that all applicants had at the time of filing as provided by the CCTA and our projections are in the middle range of the optimistic and pessimistic CCTA forecasts.
32315 We consider that this was a reasonable position to take, at the time, and no on can ascertain what the actual numbers will be.
32316 As to the comments regarding our proposed whole sales, they were based on those same middle-of-the-road digital universe and penetration assumptions.
32317 Moreover, our market research supported the affordability of our suggested wholesale rates, in all cases.
32318 We also compared our proposed wholesale rates to those rates currently received by digital services and found ours to be well within their existing range.
32319 Nonetheless, we stated, in Phase I, that should subscriber levels exceed our projections, we would adjust our rates accordingly -- and, in any event, the rates of all successful applicants will, obviously, be subject to negotiations.
32320 From a "big picture" perspective, we have taken the view that during the course of the first licence term, our emphasis would be to invest resources, particularly in Canadian programming, to make the services attractive and successful, rather than look for early and rich financial returns.
32321 Furthermore, we did not submit unreasonable and unrealistic business plans, such as CTV, forecasting cumulative operating losses well into the second term of its proposed services.
32322 We listened, with interest, to the National Broadcast Reading Service's intervention on the availability of DVS for the new digital specialty channels.
32323 We are prepared to respond to their proposal and hereby commit to include one hour, per month, per channel, of DVS programming, in Year 1, increasing by one hour, per month, per year, throughout the term.
32324 Another example of our strategic commitment is our undertaking to leverage every CanWest multimedia platform asset and advantage, from content to promotion, for the benefit of the new services.
32325 In summary, we respectfully submit that we can make a significant contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system through ownership of new digital programming services.
32326 Why these applications?
32327 Commissioners, we have eagerly been anticipating this licensing hearing.
32328 Since the last round of licensing, we made a concerted effort to develop a corporate vision of programming services that would shape the digital world. But, first, we began by reviewing the history of the launching and development of analog specialty services.
32329 We then held extensive consultations and discussions with various parties, not only here in Canada but internationally.
32330 We then pursued an equally intensive review of under-represented programming and looked to foreign experiences for additional insight.
32331 And, finally, we then identified potential opportunities for Canadian and international partnerships to strengthen the Canadian broadcasting system.
32332 As a result, you have these seven applications before you. They are information- or entertainment-based and stand as strong, attractive, individual proposals which meet and, indeed, surpass each element of your licensing criteria.
32333 Finally, we would like to reiterate our answer to your question, regarding competitive Category 1 applications, as stated in Phase II.
32334 Thank you.
32335 MR. O'FARRELL: We would like to add our support to the proposals put forward by the CAB, in their presentation to you last week.
32336 We believe that the three major elements of their submission are essential to a successful launch of new digital services:
32337 First, the need for an access code.
32338 Second, the requirement that distributors and the new licensees sign affiliation agreements well in advance of a common launch date.
32339 And, third, the development of an industry joint marketing group.
32340 The CCTA said they would be willing to consider an access code but, frankly, one which did not include elements around pricing, packaging, marketing and advertising would not very helpful.
32341 We believe that guidelines and parameters, such as those suggested by the CAB, are not unreasonable and would assist all parties in moving the launch of the new services ahead.
32342 We also believe that further discussion on a dispute resolution mechanism outside of that allowed in your regulations, such as commercial arbitration proposed by Commissioner Williams, deserves consideration.
32343 As suggested by the CAB, the need for affiliation agreements 90 days prior to the launch would be another key element included in an access code.
32344 We believe it is important to enter the digital world in a genuine partnership.
32345 In our view, as we have stated before, distributors and programming services must share the view that subscribers are the consumers of the Canadian broadcasting system, rather than any one player's exclusive client.
32346 This launch will require a great marketing effort by both licensees and distributors. Strongly branded services and heightened awareness of the value of the digital box and its offerings will be a joint challenge. Therefore, we believe in a co-operative joint marketing group.
32347 In conclusion, as you complete this hearing, we are very thankful for the opportunities that you have given us to participate.
32348 And, as a result of this process, we leave beholden to one enduring and overriding truth, one unmistakable and indelible impression; and that is that Canadians are deeply committed to preserving their cultural identity in a fast and furious, converging and consolidating multimedia world, dominated by non-Canadian conglomerates.
32349 How else would you explain 87 Category 1 applications for new digital specialty services competing to launch in an under-represented subscriber world?
32350 We entrust our submissions to your collective wisdom and wish to reiterate our thanks to the hundreds of intervenors who have supported our applications.
32351 And as my seven-year-old daughter says, when she wants to offer you her best: Bon appétit; grâce à Dieu; Amen!
--- Laughter / Rires
32352 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you keep this up, I may renew my plan to become a nun.
--- Laughter / Rires
32353 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms Bell, Mr. O'Farrell.
32354 Madam Secretary, please.
32355 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32356 The next presentation will be by New Day Ministries Incorporated.
32357 They will have 10 minutes.
32358 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. Good afternoon.
32359 Proceed when you are ready.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32360 MR. THIESSEN: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Commissioners.
32361 I am Jeff Thiessen, General Manager of IntuneTV. With me, today, is John Reimer-Epp, Director of Regulatory Affairs.
32362 We are pleased to say that there have been no interventions against our application by any applicant, or by any other party.
32363 We have stated, in earlier phases of this process, that no other application in Category 1 is competitive with our own -- and this view has been confirmed by all other applicants.
32364 In addition, there are no proposed services alongside of which we would not launch IntuneTV.
32365 It, therefore, seems to be the consensus of all involved in this process that our proposal is unique among applications before you.
32366 We are even more excited and pleased to see that approximately 2,000 Canadians intervened in support of IntuneTV, each expressing their own individual reasons for believing that our application is important to the future of Canadian television.
32367 This one application, out of a total of 88, has received an astonishing 20 per cent of the total number of interventions filed in this hearing. And I want to point out that these are just not form letters -- and the vast majority will not benefit, directly, from the licensing of our service. Most of these intervenors are viewers who wrote to you why they, personally, want to have access to IntuneTV; and here are some brief examples of what they said.
32368 From Jocelyn Godbout, in Burnaby, B.C.:
"I especially love the fact that my 16 year old could `tune in' ... she is very influenced by music videos, as I'm sure a lot of children her age are. I only wish it had been there sooner."
32369 From Bronwyn and Azmy Yacoub and Janie, Shawn, Nellie and Anna-Maria Hill:
"We would like to see some music videos that are not always about sex, drugs and violence. After seeing some ... such as Eminem or even Brittany Spears, we feel they promote that it is sexy, romantic and cool to be violent and perverted."
32370 From Mike Helder, in Belmont, Ontario:
"It would be good if we got [IntuneTV] so our parents wouldn't have to worry about what we are watching."
32371 And from Ernie Wesolowski, in Regina, Saskatchewan:
"I believe Canada's music industry would be well served by providing a music video channel for singers and songwriters who do not currently fit into the MuchMusic and Country music channels ... There are lot of contemporary Christian musicians `out there' that would [really] be enjoyed by Canadians on a video channel."
32372 We are moved by this support. I know it is representative of many thousands who didn't put pen to paper. These letters are poignant confirmation of the findings of our market study, which demonstrates widespread demand for IntuneTV and no other applicant has given you such tangible evidence of demand for their service among Canadian viewers, and this evidence is a reliable indication that IntuneTV can and will significantly drive sales of the digital tier.
32373 MR. REIMER-EPP: Commissioners, one of the very real issues to arise in this hearing pertains to the relative merits of diversity versus synergy. In other words, what are the advantages of licensing a new player like IntuneTV in a genre where there is available foreign programming, but very little in the way of existing Canadian programming?
32374 We want to remind you that the Commission has a great deal of historical experience in building new industries with relatively new players. As an example, here are the words of Mr. Bernie Finkelstein, chairman of VideoFACT, written to Mr. Znaimer of CHUM on the public record in 1993. A full copy of this letter is attached to our presentation.
32375 He paints a powerful picture of the enormous potential of a new Canadian music industry beginning from a small programming base. I quote:
As you prepare to appear before the CRTC to renew MuchMusic's license, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect on our organisation.
I think fondly of our early meetings predating the beginning of MuchMusic. If memory serves me well, in 1984 there were less than 40 Canadian videos available for programming. How then would MuchMusic begin to realise its fundamental goal of a distinct Canadian service that would promote Canadian artists and music, coast to coast? It was from here that the decision was made to begin a fund whose entire dedication was to enhance, encourage - indeed formulate a Canadian music video industry from the ground up. ...
Some facts: VideoFACT now has funded over 700 videos...Much and its sister station MusiquePlus have provided VideoFACT with $6,000,000.00 in funding. This has been parlayed into approximately $13,300,000.00 worth of production. The funds have gone to artists, producers, directors and directors of photography across the country. Whether in English or French, videos have helped to create a new vocabulary and culture...We can be proud."
32376 Looking back at the end of IntuneTV's first licence term in seven years' time, the Commission will rightly be proud once again. Although time has passed and MuchMusic has joined the ranks of established services in Canada, we ask you, the Commission, not to lose sight of the incredible potential of less than 40 Canadian videos in the hands of an applicant who is completely dedicated to the development of a Canadian cultural industry.
32377 There is a successful historical precedent for everything that we propose to do at IntuneTV. For the hundreds of Canadian artists who have no voice on Canadian music television, and for those Canadian viewers who are demanding an alternative, IntuneTV is a strikingly original opportunity for the broadcasting system to realize that potential once again.
32378 A number of intervenors share our view that new players offer unique freshness and diversity to the broadcast system. Some, like the Canadian Conference of the Arts, have gone so far as to say that new players are an essential requirement of the Broadcasting Act as they can ensure the widest diversity of Canadian cultural expression.
32379 In contrast to the majority of applications before you, many of which are nested in existing broadcasting groups, the expression offered by IntuneTV will be completely unique to Canadian television.
32380 The fact is that this absence of CCM on Canadian television seems somewhat artificial, given that Canada borders on the unqualified artistic and financial success of CCM in the United States and internationally. This gap in the Canadian system is deepened by the failure of even one of the existing players to bring a proposal before you in either Category 1 or Category 2 to address CCM as Canada's lost music genre.
32381 We suggest that music is, with a very few exceptions, among the most essential of Canadian cultural expressions and is, therefore, a vital component of the Broadcasting Act.
32382 While applicants in this hearing have proposed many interesting areas into which the digital universe might expand the Canadian system, we suggest that those genres that are artistic in their essence, including music, are the best suited to realizing the goals of the Act. We therefore urge the Commission to make as much space as possible in Category 1 for music services.
32383 MR. THIESSEN: Commissioners, you have before you applications of all shapes and sizes. Some may resemble the familiar Papa Bear, others the more diminutive Mama Bear, still others the perfectly proportioned Baby Bear, not to mention the hungry, tired and much discussed Goldilocks.
32384 Let me take the last few minutes of our presentation today to remind you of some of the additional reasons why IntuneTV, like Baby Bear, is metaphorically "just right" to take its place at your table of ten or so licensees.
32385 Number one, our commitment to Canadian programming is among the highest before you in this hearing, particularly when expressed as a percentage of revenues and, most importantly, when considered in light of the limited availability of Canadian content at this present time.
32386 Number two, New Day Ministries is a non-share capital corporation. This makes us uniquely able to keep our programming goals in the forefront of everything we do, since these goals will not compete with shareholders for our complete attention.
32387 We are committed to reinvesting all surplus revenues into Canadian programming. We are also subject to a higher level of regulation and scrutiny than other applicants as a result of our charitable status.
32388 Number three, we will be able to begin exporting Canadian music internationally almost immediately upon launching IntuneTV.
32389 Number four, when we say independent producers will receive $9 million from IntuneTV over seven years for the production of music videos and $2.6 million for the production of concerts, we really mean producers who are completely, 100 per cent independent.
32390 Number five, IntuneTV will be based in Western Canada and will source programming from thriving musical centres in every region of the country.
32391 Number six, our music programming and our audience are ideally suited to interactivity and will readily adapt to take full advantage of this new interactive technology as it rolls out. In the meantime, our plans are capable of implementation immediately upon launch based on available Internet technology.
32392 Number seven, IntuneTV will be a venue in which viewers will see reflected their aspiration to higher standards and deeper values for themselves, their children and their community.
32393 As expressed by Dr. Larry Kozuback of Port Alberni, B.C., and I quote:
"Viewers would greatly benefit from being exposed to a high standard of music with a moral outlook on relationships, conflict and love."
32394 Commissioners, over 80 per cent of Canadians would welcome this addition to their broadcasting system. They want to see the programming alternative that IntuneTV has to offer.
32395 Number eight, IntuneTV will introduce a completely new Canadian musical expression into the broadcasting system, thereby creating an alternative to the established music industry and introducing the faces and voices of a unique group of artists and musicians to the Canadian marketplace and viewers.
32396 Madam Chair, Commissioners, this is why the team of experienced professions that you met in Phase I is passionately committed to implementing this licence. We hope that you will share our excitement and our vision for the future of IntuneTV.
32397 It has been a privilege to participate in this hearing and we are prepared to respond to any questions that you may have at this time.
32398 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I hope my husband isn't watching this and preparing porridge for dinner.
32399 Thank you.
32400 Madam Secretary, please.
32401 MS BÉRNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32402 The next presentation will be by Pelmorex Leisure Network Incorporated. Ten minutes are allowed.
32403 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back, Mr. Temple. Proceed when you are ready.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32404 MR. TEMPLE: Thank you. I had hoped I might have reinforcements this time, but it looks like the course of events has left me alone again.
32405 THE CHAIRPERSON: They knew you would do a good job and didn't respond.
32406 MR. TEMPLE: Madam Chair, Madam Chairperson, Commissioners, I am Paul Temple, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Development, for the Pelmorex Leisure Network Inc.
32407 In this proceeding, Pelmorex has focused its energy on the submission of one application for a single specialty service. It is to that service -- L-NET: The Leisure Network -- that we believe the Commission should give priority in the travel and leisure genre.
32408 During our appearance in Phase I on August 21, you asked Pelmorex to identify the specific selection criteria that we believed should get the most weight when the Commission considers the relative merits of the various Category 1 applications.
32409 We said then, and continue to believe now, that all of the criteria you have established are important, but that two of them should be placed at the top of the list -- One, attractiveness of the proposed service and, two, innovative use of interactivity.
32410 The new Category 1 services that will be licensed as a result of this proceeding must be the most attractive proposals available in the genres most likely to stimulate consumer interest. In this way the new digital services will not only survive, but also thrive.
32411 Pelmorex believes strongly that the Commission can best help this to happen by licensing a group of Category 1 services that, collectively, will have the broadest appeal to the largest number of consumers.
32412 A specialty service in the travel and leisure genre is an essential component of the group of successful Category 1 services. L-NET is, in our view, the travel and leisure service that will be the most appealing to consumers.
32413 L-NET will be appealing to consumers for several reasons. More than just a travel channel, it will help consumers to plan the use of their leisure time on a day-to-day basis. It will focus on Canada, featuring events, festivals, destinations and activities in all parts of the country. It will broaden our horizons by providing the best of international travel and leisure programming, obtained through our partnership with the U.K. based travel channel.
32414 Pelmorex also believes that the Commission was absolutely right to identify innovation in the use of the digital medium as one of the selection criteria. In fact, as we said a couple of weeks ago, the Commission should give this criterion considerable weight when assessing competing applications. We urge the Commission to give those with vision and imagination the opportunity to show consumers what the digital future can hold.
32415 L-NET has an ambitious plan for interactivity, but it is grounded in reality. Pelmorex has an established infrastructure ready in place to develop and deploy interactive content. The CCTA confirmed a few days ago that the interactive features described by even the more ambitious applicants should become feasible during the first licence term.
32416 We strongly believe that of all the competing travel applicants, L-NET has the most imaginative approach and is the most likely to fully capitalize on the characteristics of the digital medium.
32417 Although Pelmorex has focused on attractiveness to consumers and innovation in the use of interactivity as the key selection criteria, we have not lost sight of the other criteria proposed by the Commission. Successful applicants must be strong in all areas to earn the privilege being granted a digital Category 1 licence. Allow me to briefly summarize our proposals for L-NET as they relate to these other criteria.
32418 First, contributions to Canadian programming. This has been a fundamental requirement of programming services in the analog world and must continue to be so in the digital environment. L-NET's Cancon commitments are substantial and it will provide significant opportunities for the Canadian independent production sector. L-NET will be particularly beneficial to the smaller independent producers in all regions of the country.
32419 Next, contribution to diversity. We believe that the licensing of L-NET will contribute to diversity in several different ways. Travel and leisure programming is not widely available today in the Canadian broadcasting system.
32420 Our programming will reflect Canada's cultural diversity to viewers, helping them to understand other Canadians in other parts of the country that much better. And the licensing of Pelmorex, a truly independent company with no corporate ties to conventional broadcasters, distributors and production houses, will enhance much needed diversity of ownership in the Canadian broadcasting system.
32421 Third, affordability of the new digital services is another essential requirement to help ensure the success of new digital services. New services that are affordable in their own right will mean that larger packages of digital services will also be affordable and will be able to provide the best value to consumers. L-NET's proposed rate meets this test.
32422 Last, but certainly not least, is the ability of the applicant to fulfil proposed commitments. In other words, does the business plan make sense? In the case of L-NET, the answer is yes. In preparing this application, Pelmorex took the time to do a thorough assessment of the realities of operating a new specialty service in an uncertain digital environment.
32423 Our business plan was not developed using a cookie cutter approach, but was built piece by piece from the ground up, drawing on our experience in operating two successful specialty services with sophisticated technological aspects.
32424 Our costing assumptions are thorough and comprehensive, including such elements as organizational charts, equipment configurations to enable interactivity and the most comprehensive consumer research.
32425 On the revenue side, our forecasts of subscriber penetration are aggressive but achievable. We disagree with those who argue that a new digital service will not be able to achieve significant penetration in the early years.
32426 We believe that if the Commission licences a reasonable number of attractive new services with affordable rates and if distributors launch and market those services in packages designed to maximize value to consumers, the new digital services will quickly find a receptive and enthusiastic audience.
32427 In this regard, Pelmorex believes that the Commission has an important policy role to play in putting in place the appropriate regulatory framework for the distribution of new services.
32428 There has been considerable discussion during this hearing about packaging, pricing and how digital technology can best be used to provide value and choice to subscribers. What needs to be kept in mind is that while technology should be used to achieve policy objectives, it should not necessarily be used to determine policy objectives.
32429 We agree with SPTV and the CAB that new digital services should be made available to consumers in broadly based, appealing packages that will deliver the highest overall value to consumers. This is an approach that has been previously endorsed by the Commission, albeit in the analog world.
32430 Pelmorex believes that there is an equally strong public policy rationale for favouring this type of marketing in a digital world as well. After all, while the economics of distributors may change significantly with digital cable technology, the economics of program service do not.
32431 The availability of broadly based, affordable packages of attractive new digital services will give them the best chance to succeed. In doing so, these new services will maximize their contribution to diversity, to the Canadian independent production sector and to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. It will also give consumers the best value for making the most services available at the lowest possible cost.
32432 To conclude, our L-NET application clearly meets or exceeds all the Commission's licensing criteria. More importantly, when taken as a whole, we believe L-NET has the most to offer of all the travel and leisure applications.
32433 Finally, given the first day back to school and in the off chance my son is watching, we take our homework assignments very seriously and am pleased to announce a report that we have filed our response to the Commission's questions earlier today.
32434 Thank you.
32435 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's good because it's too late to threaten to keep you after four.
32436 Thank you.
32437 MR. TEMPLE: Thank you.
32438 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, please.
32439 MS BÉRNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32440 The next presentation will be by Stornoway Communications Limited Partnership. Eighteen minutes are allowed.
32441 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
32442 MS FUSCA: Thank you very much. You have the pleasure of seeing me without my hair blown dry. Mr. Hylton is flying in as we speak. He should be landing in about 20 minutes with our presentation.
32443 MS FUSCA: Good afternoon.
32444 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don't have an application for Fashion TV, do you?
32445 MS FUSCA: No, our rebuttal, our rebuttal. It feels like another presentation.
32446 THE CHAIRPERSON: Considering your hair, I thought it would be important to check whether you have an application for Fashion TV.
32447 MS FUSCA: It's a mess now. All right.
32448 Good afternoon, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission, staff. My name is Martha Fusca. I am President and Chief Executive Officer of Stornoway Communications.
32449 To my left is Bill Gray, Executive Vice-President of Stornoway Communications and General Manager of our four channels, and Michel Carter, Vice-President and General Manager for Cogeco Radio-Television, and Dr. Gerry Wall, President of Wall Communications.
32450 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Fusca, before you go further, I would like to confirm with you whether or not Mr. Hylton has a fax machine.
32451 MS FUSCA: A fax machine?
32452 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
32453 MS FUSCA: On the airplane?
32454 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, he was on his way.
32455 MS FUSCA: Yes. He's on Air Canada.
32456 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't know. This could be cause for disbarment.
32457 MS FUSCA: Before we begin, we would like to congratulate you and the Commission staff on your recent and well deserved award. I would also like to say that you are out our little gift that we brought you, which are those little squeezee balls for stress and tension that I thought you might want to throw at us too.
32458 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have five or ten under my desk.
32459 MS FUSCA: Ours were really pretty colours.
32460 We are very pleased to have this opportunity to share some thoughts and ideas we have on a number of subjects and to respond to interventions regarding our applications. We will first address the interventions filed by Talk TV, CPAC and Newsworld regarding Stornoway Communications' application to operate a specialty channel undertaking called The Issues Channel.
32461 We would like to begin by reiterating what we have stated in our application and in our appearance before the Commission. Our desire and our plan is to bring new voices to the broadcasting spectrum as envisaged by the Commission.
32462 The letters of support from across the country that we have tabled with you, the experience and insight of the advisory board and consultative committees whom we introduced to you at our hearing, our Decima Research and our agreement with CCSA combined have convinced us that there's a real need for the opportunity for more Canadian debate on the great issues that face our country and the world. Our solution is The Issues Channel.
32463 Our focus is not on daily news, our focus is not on gavel to gavel coverage of debates, conferences or political events. Our focus is not on live coverage of any issue. Our schedule will not be interrupted or changed to follow breaking news stories or events. Our focus and our schedule are not entertainment host-based programming.
32464 Instead, our focus is very much broader. Our programming's priority is to provide an opportunity for reasoned debate, for context, for nuance, for divergent views, an opportunity that our research tells us is not sufficiently available to Canadians.
32465 MR. GRAY: CTV has stated that Issues Channel is directly competitive with its just launched Talk TV. In fact, Issues Channel is dramatically different in both concept and program content.
32466 A study of Talk TV's programming schedule clearly places it in the realm of light entertainment, focusing as it does on oral discussion of topical, attention-getting concerns by way of interviews and live audience talk shows, both old and new, Canadian and foreign.
32467 Issues Channel, on the other hand, offers a fundamental conceptual difference. We will explore issues in ongoing depth, using various program structures, the Internet and interactivity to engage and create participation with our audience.
32468 We will not do celebrity interviews and hosted self-help shows. We will not provide comedian-emceed gabfests. We will not import foreign talk shows.
32469 We have committed to spend $42 million over our licence term on programming to accomplish these aims through long and short form documentaries, discussions, forums, magazine programs, debates, occasional movies and interactive elements.
32470 We will delve into concerns that don't have easy answers that are in a completely different category than entertainment-oriented chats.
32471 Both of these channels have their place and their audiences. They are clearly not directly competitive, just as People magazine and The New Yorker, for example, cannot be said to be chasing the same readers for the same reasons.
32472 MS FUSCA: We also respond to CPAC's contention of direct competitiveness with Issues Channel. CPAC provides an invaluable service to nearly one million viewers per month. It notes on its Web site that it offers full live coverage of the House of Commons when it is sitting, it covers Question Period daily. It goes on to say that it regularly televises House and Senate committees live. It says that it does the same for the Supreme Court for public hearings, for industry hearings such as these underway now at the CRTC.
32473 It broadcasts Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry. Its Newsmaker series allows viewers to watch unedited coverage of major speeches and news conferences across the country. Its news specials programming takes viewers to where the news is happening and keeps viewers there with uncut coverage until it is played out.
32474 In fact, by our count, based on the schedule on CPAC's Web site, when the House is sitting, this kind of coverage accounts for nearly 110 hours of programming a week, and that is without counting any other live news specials.
32475 We salute our colleagues for that volume, range and quality of programming, but that is not what our Issues Channel is about. Our focus goes well beyond that to the deeper, more contextual aspects of what those 110 hours mean to Canadians, to the greater debate that too seldom takes place.
32476 An examination of CPAC's programming categories as outlined during their last CRTC hearings indicate that CPAC uses Categories 3 reporting on actualities and 12, which is now 15 filler. Of these two categories, the only potential overlap with the Issues Channel is filler.
32477 Stornoway did not include Category 3 in its listing of programming categories and, therefore, the overlap consists of filler.
32478 MR. GRAY: Now we would like to address Newsworld's intervention. Newsworld, like CPAC, provides a critical service and Issues Channel will not and does not compete with it. Newsworld brands itself as Canada's news network. On its Web site, it says it is Canada's pre-eminent news channel. Its principal focus is news every hour and during many hours, on the half hour as well.
32479 Newsworld does an outstanding job of following breaking news, departing from its schedule to go live on a hot story. On its Web site, it claims that it is the country's leading source of new programming. It covers provincial and federal elections from start to finish. It reports political conventions live. It delivers major hearings live. We believe they do a great job of that, but Issues Channel is different.
32480 Newsworld suggests that our proposal plans to offer programming that is an integral element of the long form coverage that is the mainstay of Newsworld. Based on its schedule and conditions of licence, we do not believe this to be true.
32481 Indeed, on its Web site, Newsworld states that it "supplements its news schedule with weekly documentaries...."
32482 Our channel does not supplement news. It raises its own issues and explores them in context thoroughly and broadly.
32483 It's interesting to make a comparison between Newsworld's programming categories -- laid out in its condition of licence -- and those proposed by Issues Channel. Out of 10 programming categories we plan to use, Issues Channel has three in common with Newsworld; Category 2 -- analysis, interpretation and long-form documentaries; 4, religion; 5(b), information education, recreation and leisure.
32484 What we plan to cover in Categories 4 and 5(b) adds up to less than 5 per cent of our schedule. Overlap is, therefore, confined to Category 2. This is one category out of 10 for us and one out of six for Newsworld. And last, but more significantly, Newsworld's raise d'être is Category 1 news.
32485 We believe our application responds fully to the Commission's call and our focus and approach are significantly and critically different from any existing channel and are unique to the Canadian broadcasting system. It fills a genre Canadians need and want and they have said so.
32486 MS FUSCA: Madam Chair, we would now like to turn our attention to CareersTV - The Jobs & Management Channel intervention regarding our application @work.ca.
32487 We would like to first respond to the statements made by Dr. Ron Keast of Learning & Skills Television of Alberta Limited's CareersTV- The Jobs & Management Channel application. It's really rather too bad that we are picking on each other because we have worked with each other and I rather enjoyed the experience.
32488 Dr. Keast suggested that our revenue estimates were exaggerated, our penetration rates were too high, our Canadian content was too high -- imagine that -- we'd either go broke or fall into the hands of distributors. Well, if they're Michel's it's not so bad.
32489 Let me begin with our penetration rates. We have used a year one penetration of 40 per cent, rising gradually by about 2.5 per cent to 60 per cent by year seven.
32490 In contrast, CareersTV - The Jobs and Management Channel, has a year one penetration of 45 per cent, rising to 55 per cent by year four, which stays the same for the last four years.
32491 While it is apparent that there is very little difference between CareersTV's penetration rates and those of @work.ca, it is important to recognize that our penetration rates have been supported with very detailed, price specific, market research.
32492 Our penetration rates are derived based on the responses of actual, or soon to be actual digital subscribers, those people who will be making real buying decisions and who were given specific information on packaging options and very specific price points. CareersTV has not provided support anywhere near the same depth or detail.
32493 Regarding our revenue estimates, we would note that our estimates for digital subscribers are conservative. For example, our start-off point estimate of 1 million DTH subscribers in September 2001 has already been reached as we sit here today, one year prior to launch. Our projections for the digital universe are well in line with other applicants and with the estimates provided by CCTA and ExpressVu.
32494 CareersTV has not provided any support for their claims of revenue overestimation, other than a belief, which is most inadequate given the supporting evidence we have filed.
32495 Our Canadian content starts at 55 per cent in year one and rises to 70 by year seven. This level of Canadian content is achieved by spending $30 million on Canadian programming, with significant input, $8.5 million, for the Canadian independent production community.
32496 The results of this plan are contained in the program schedule we have submitted. We believe this is the way to create and provide program channels that will be attractive to Canadian subscribers and advertisers and will provide high-quality, varied, unique and attractive channels for the new digital offerings.
32497 Finally, also CareersTV's claim that we will either go broke or be sold to distributors, wishful thinking, sounds achingly familiar, as an attempt to prevent new entrants into the specialty market.
32498 Not only is Stornoway committed to the success of this channel, but our investors and other partners are also committed to this channel for the long haul, as evidenced in part by the significant losses we are prepared to accept in the early life of the channel and the significant financing that has been committed.
32499 MR. GRAY: During the course of these hearings, numerous parties, from distributors to program suppliers, to industry associations, have stressed that attractiveness to audiences of new digital offerings is crucial to successfully creating consumer desirability in respect of digital acceptance.
32500 Assuming that most take up will be in package form, this means an array of services offering high quality, variety and uniqueness.
32501 Without these characteristics there will be no incentive to acquire digital boxes to move over into the digital domain. A marketing thrust must be able to offer more and different.
32502 Our view is that spinning off sub-genres of existing analog services is not enough. If you pay extra, you expect something new.
32503 That is why we have created four, distinct channels, none of which has been hived off or previously nested in an analog service. We have developed originals and that's what Category 1 must be all about.
32504 With this in mind, we chose to apply for only four services. We chose genres with which we are familiar and with which we are exceptionally experienced. All of these proposals have very broad appeal. They all exceed in delivering to you, the Commission, and to the Canadian public the criteria set out in the call for these hearings.
32505 We have clearly embraced every term of the Broadcasting Act and it is your criteria and the Broadcasting Act that are creatively and dynamically reflected in our applications.
32506 The CAB has suggested that, quote:
"The Commission is in a position to ensure diversity by licensing Category 1 services in all remaining significant genres. Choices made by others may not serve the interests of diversity, and may well result in U.S. services occupying genres that could be filled by Canadians."
32507 We couldn't agree more.
32508 To determine Category 1 licences, SPTV reiterated to the Commission their policy objectives, stating:
"Providing Canadians with a greater selection of diverse, high quality television services that are affordable; maximizing the quality of Canadian programming; and fostering a strong, independent Canadian film and television production sector...."
32509 Again, we agree, our application is reflecting diverse, affordable, high-quality Canadian content with a strong commitment to the independent production sector.
32510 Since this hearing began there has been much discussion about the affiliation of production companies to program providers and the ownership line which should be drawn with respect to self-dealing rules. We stated and maintained that more than 10 or 15 per cent economic ownership by a service provider of an independent producer should determine an affiliated relationship. This should apply not only in our case, but across the board.
32511 Further, we submit there should be a limit placed on how much programming an affiliated producer may supply to its related broadcaster. A cap should be no more than 10 per cent.
32512 We did not create our services in order to funnel our own produced material onto the air. While doing so is obviously an economic advantage to vertically integrated companies, we believe it is significantly disruptive and could well prove fatal to the independent production community.
32513 Affiliated companies should be free to produce for any other broadcaster, but should have strict limits placed on self-dealing.
32514 Over the past three weeks, as we listened to various applicants for Category 1, we heard a thread of opinion from large integrated groups that either stated or implied that only they with their synergies with existing analog and broadcast entities would be capable of launching the new digital world. We respectfully disagree. Indeed, in this Commission's call for these hearings and embedded in the Broadcasting Act are clear calls for licensing of new and diverse voices.
32515 Our applications and those of some other new entrants come to you with solid, completely financially-backed proposals, supported by the experienced staff and skills necessary to carry out their plans.
32516 It could be argued, in fact, that the corporate applicants, the large corporate applicants do not need the protection provided by Category 1. With their diversified portfolios of broadcasting media and/or telecommunications properties, entrenched positions in the Canadian marketplace and commercial clout, surely they should be capable of surviving in the competitive open market offered by Category 2.
32517 MS FUSCA: Right on.
32518 Madam Chair and members of the Commission, during this hearing process you gave us three homework questions.
32519 The first was to pick two or three of our priority applications in respect of Category 1. While we wish to comply, we find it impossible to choose among the four. Each was developed with the same commitment and intensity as the other. Each, as you have seen, has garnered major, significant support from the various communities affected by its subject matter. Not only do we have an internal priority, but we certainly could not betray the belief in us that we have received from so many individuals and organizations across the country.
32520 The other two questions were: Is there any other application that could jeopardize our business plan? And, yes indeed, there is one, @work.ca would be jeopardized by CareersTV.
32521 And two, how many services should be licensed in Category 1? The little evil person in me wants to freak everybody out and say like 50, but I won't.
32522 Before and during this proceeding, we had actually given this matter a great deal of thought. In creating our own applications, we determined from the beginning, as we have suggested to you earlier, that the digital launch will need attractive and diverse channels.
32523 It must contain elements of entertainment, information and social responsibility if it is to meet the terms of the call and of the Broadcasting Act, while at the same time providing viewers with valuable news choices to entice them into a new world of television services.
32524 Given the technological opportunities provided with digital delivery, interactivity must play a key component consumers want for their money and so they must be given options significantly different from what is now offered in their television universe. This only makes good business, social regulatory and common sense.
32525 Of our four services, @work.ca, the Pet Network, Issues Channel and the Dance Channel could themselves make a very fine package, but if we were sitting in your shoes, and even if we could not limit ourselves to these four as beneficial as they might be to us, we believe that a larger grouping somewhere in the neighbourhood of say 12 to 13 is very appropriate.
32526 Therefore, we believe that if you took these 13 new English services along with an appropriate selection of French-language offerings in Category 1, it would allow for a rather dynamic digital launch to guarantee that we launch this package or packages in a very convincing way to potential buyers.
32527 Consumers would immediately understand that this new business is not about more of the same, but rather the turning of a page to a new bright chapter.
32528 Madam Chair and Commissioners, we would like to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to have participated in this very exciting, detailed and profound process. While we don't envy you the difficult of your deliberations over the coming weeks, we hope that we have been of some assistance in providing you with very real and strong options as well as considered suggestions in what is surely a complex procedure.
32529 Thank you very much.
32530 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Fusca, I would like to leave you with two comments of comfort.
32531 One is your words are transcribed and are given to us in writing -- a copy to each of us -- so don't be concerned if you didn't have a written presentation to deposit with us. The second is even dry, Dr. Keats' hair is nowhere as elegant as yours.
--- Laughter / Rires
32532 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
32533 Madam Secretary, please.
32534 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
32535 La prochaine présentation sera celle de MusiquePlus incorporée. Dix minutes sont allouées.
RÉPLIQUE / REPLY
32536 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour. Nous vous souhaitons la bienvenue une troisième fois.
32537 Vous pouvez procéder quand vous êtes prêts.
32538 M. MARCHAND: Bonjour. Vous remarquez que le groupe diminue de fois en fois mais que notre intérêt est toujours grandissant toutefois.
32539 Donc, Mesdames les Présidentes, distingués membres du Conseil, mesdames et messieurs.
32540 Je suis Pierre Marchand, vice-président directeur général de MusiMax et à ma gauche, Michel Arpin, secrétaire corporatif de MusiquePlus.
32541 Nos réponses aux questions pour la Phase IV de cette audience sont jointes en annexe.
32542 Notre réplique sera composée de deux parties. La première nous permettra de répondre à l'intervention du Groupe TVA à l'égard de notre projet. La seconde partie nous permettra de commenter certaines interventions donc celle de BCE Media sur l'opportunité de changer les critères utilisés pour la distribution des services étrangers de langue française.
32543 Dans son intervention, Groupe TVA a chercher à minimiser le niveau de concurrence pouvant exister entre son projet EXIT et Perfecto, la Chaîne en restreignant à moins de 25 pour cent les chevauchements entre les deux services.
32544 Nous sommes en désaccord avec cette affirmation de EXIT. Nous établissons d'ailleurs, quant à nous, le chevauchement à au moins 36 pour cent. Comme indiqué dans notre demande, notre grille couvrira outre la mode, la beauté et le design. Il couvrira la photo, l'architecture, le papier peint, les modèles et mannequins, les objets du quotidien et de notre mode de vie au 21e siècle, des sujets que EXIT a incorporés dans sa grille sous la nomenclature "styles de vie" et qui représente au-delà du 25 pour cent déjà admis par Groupe TVA, un autre 11 pour cent de sa grille, soit un total de 36 pour cent.
32545 Dans son intervention, EXIT affirme que le sujet de la mode présenté sous la forme "Fashion Television" est trop étroit pour alimenter une chaîne numérique.
32546 Nous sommes en désaccord. Rappelons que dans notre projet, la mode sous tous ses aspects représente 70 pour cent de la grille de programmation totale et 67 pour cent des heures de grande écoute. Elle obtient ainsi la place qui lui revient.
32547 Par ailleurs, notre projet dédié à la mode, mais aussi au design et à l'architecture, n'est pas une copie du projet présenté par CHUM Limited. Il découle de presque dix années d'expérience donc en programmation avec les émissions à succès Perfecto et D. C'est sur cette expérience que nous avons bâti notre projet.
32548 A part le Groupe TVA, tous les intervenants, dont Mesdames Marie Saint-Pierre, Lise Watier, Marisa Minicucci, ainsi que M. Barry Bly, qui ont comparu dans le cadre de cette audience pour vous faire partager leur expérience de travail avec MusiquePlus ont souligné notre rôle comme initiateur de ce genre de programmation et les succès qui en ont résulté pour le milieu.
32549 Ils souhaitent qu'à l'instar du rôle qu'à joué MusiquePlus au fil des ans dans l'évolution et la structuration de l'industrie de la musique, nous puissions contribuer par Perfecto, la Chaîne à l'essor de l'industrie de la mode et du design.
32550 Par ailleurs, Groupe TVA affirme que 80 pour cent de notre programmation canadienne annuelle repose sur de courtes capsules de mode et que ce concept est un prolongement des services existants. Ceci est inexact. Ces capsules ne représentent que 33 pour cent de la programmation canadienne et seulement 2 pour cent de nos dépenses de programmation canadienne. Notons que ces capsules ne sont pas diffusées durant les heures de grande écoute.
32551 Deuxièmement, le concept de Perfecto, la Chaîne est effectivement un prolongement de notre philosophie de télévision, une philosophie qui est reconnue comme novatrice et offrant certainement le meilleur rapport qualité/prix. La création de Perfecto, la Chaîne est donc une initiative enrichissante qui représente des retombées promotionnelles et économiques importantes pour les milieux de mode, de design, d'architecture, et cetera.
32552 Quant à la demande d'un tel service, Groupe TVA affirme que les recherches indiquent que seulement 30 pour cent des téléspectateurs ont manifesté de l'intérêt pour le sujet de la mode.
32553 A notre avis, cette donnée n'est pas surprenante puisque la question posée par CROP dans l'étude de TVA ne traitait pas de mode mais plutôt de l'intérêt des téléspectateurs pour les tendances de la mode.
32554 Afin de conforter Groupe TVA sur l'intérêt qui existe pour un service dédié à la mode, au design et à l'architecture, mentionnons par exemple la rechercher Pollara qui a été réalisée pour le compte de Global pour le service DesignNation qui rapporte que 69 pour cent des répondants ont confirmé être intéressés par un service qui couvrirait les designers de mode, les architectes, les designers industriels et graphiques.
32555 La même recherche confirme que 44 pour cent des répondants ont mentionné qu'au moins un résident de leur foyer serait intéressé à regarder un canal dédié à la mode.
32556 Les données PMB, qui ont été citées par le Groupe CHUM Limited dans sa demande pour Fashion Television, démontrent que c'est au Québec que l'intérêt des téléspectateurs pour regarder les émissions sur la mode et la beauté est le plus élevé.
32557 Les données socio-démographiques et psychographiques du lectorat des magazines Clin d'oeil, Femmes Plus, Elle Québec et Ocean Drive, confirment ce phénomène social qui se traduit par l'intérêt grandissant de la population pour ce genre de contenus.
32558 D'ailleurs, divers éditeurs de magazines ont exprimé depuis le dépôt de notre demande leur intérêt réalisé avec nous des projets conjoints.
32559 Enfin, l'étude réalisée par Industrie Canada qui fait état de l'industrie de l'habillement et de la mode qui regroupe en première importance le Québec, qui abrite 67 pour cent des établissements, produit 63 pour cent des expéditions, et représente 56 pour cent des emplois du secteur.
32560 Groupe TVA critique le plan de lancement et de mise en marché de notre demande en faisant état d'un budget de 250 000 dollars alloué pour la promotion et la publicité de ce nouveau service.
32561 En fait, ce montant ne comprend que les coûts directs qui ne peuvent être absorbés par des entités existantes associées à MusiquePlus. Perfecto, la Chaîne bénéficiera de l'infrastructure existante de MusiquePlus tant en communication, relations de presse et création, ce qui nous permettra d'amortir un nombre important de coûts de lancement.
32562 Il nous faut ajouter que le lancement du service se fera en association avec les nouveaux services qui vont être lancés au même moment et les câblodistributeurs et distributeurs de services numériques.
32563 Aux montants indiqués dans notre demande, s'ajoute une période d'essai de trois mois aux abonnés, une valeur donc de un million et demi de dollars. De plus, Perfecto, la Chaîne, comptera sur le soutien de MusiquePlus et MusiMax et sur les synergies en place avec les stations de radio et les canaux spécialisés des sociétés mères auxquelles s'ajoutera l'effort publicitaire que nous pourrons dégager de la division d'affichage extérieure propriété d'Astral Media.
32564 M. ARPIN: Madame la Présidente. MusiquePlus souscrit aux commentaires de l'ACR, de TVSP et du Groupe de radiodiffusion Astral relativement à l'avis public CRTC 2000-6 et au projet de BCE Media de nous offrir d'ici peu des services étrangers de langue française.
32565 Nous demandons au Conseil de maintenir sa politique actuelle. Il n'y a pas de raison d'avoir une approche différente pour les services étrangers de langue française qu'il y en a pour les services étrangers de langue anglaise.
32566 En fait, il n'y a pas plus de réciprocité entre les services français et canadiens qu'il y en a avec les services américains. Les exploitants de canaux spécialisés Météomédia, Télétoon, Canal Vie et MusiquePlus ont cherché à exporter leurs concepts vers la France avec pour résultat qu'aujourd'hui des services spécialisés français utilisent nos concepts et veulent maintenant nous les exporter.
32567 A titre d'exemple, dès ses débuts MusiquePlus, à l'invitation de M. Jack Lang, alors ministre de la Culture, et de Mme Catherine Tasca, ministre de la Communication de France, a cherché à bâtir des partenariats pour la mise sur pied d'une chaîne musicale qui non seulement lui aurait facilité l'approvisionnement vidéoclip francophone mais aura également permis la mise sur pied d'un contrepoids francophone à MTV. Ça n'a pas résulté en une activité.
32568 Le résultat est qu'aujourd'hui la télévision spécialisée française de France n'est pas différente de la nôtre. D'ailleurs, lors de sa comparution en réponse à une question du Conseil, M. Racine nous l'a lui-même confirmé lorsqu'il a dit, et je le cite:
"A l'étape où nous sommes rendus du développement du système audiovisuel au Canada et en France, ils sont un peu l'équivalent de ce que l'on peut avoir ici". (Tel que lu)
32569 Fin de la citation. Tout allégement des règles d'admission pour le fallacieux prétexte de la préférence de point de vue entraînera sur le plan de l'acquisition des programmes une concurrence indue avec les services existants de langue française qui évoluent sur un marché étroit.
32570 Nous ne voyons donc pas pourquoi le Conseil envisagerait de modifier ses politiques et ses conditions actuelles.
32571 MusiquePlus est membre de l'ACR et souscrit aux positions présentées au Conseil dans le cadre de cette audience par son association. De plus, nous concourrons aux positions exprimées par le Groupe de radiodiffusion Astral et ses filiales, CHUM Limited ainsi que par TVSP.
32572 En ce qui regarde les préoccupations de l'APFTQ à l'égard de la programmation croisée et de l'accès au fonds de télévision canadienne, nous désirons apporter les deux commentaires suivants.
32573 Premièrement, MusiquePlus s'engage à ne pas faire de programmation croisée entre ses services. Par ailleurs, Perfecto, la Chaîne souhaite récupérer les archives de MusiquePlus sous forme des émissions Chic Planète, Perfecto et D afin de constituer le premier noyau d'émissions pour son nouveau service.
32574 Deuxièmement, à l'exception des portraits et documentaires, les autres émissions de Perfecto, la Chaîne ne se qualifient pas aux critères du fonds de la télévision canadienne. A notre avis, Perfecto, la Chaîne n'est pas une menace pour les producteurs indépendants. Au contraire, il sera tout comme MusiquePlus une pépinière de nouveaux artisans.
32575 Finalement, nous désirons remercier les 68 intervenants dont la majorité est issue du milieu de la mode, de la beauté et du design qui ont appuyé notre projet. Nous avons ouvert le sentier de la mode et du design pour la télévision. Nous avons été les pionniers. Maintenant nous avons montré le chemin et nous sommes prêts à offrir ce service aux téléspectateurs francophones.
32576 Ceci complète notre réplique. Nous sommes disposés à répondre à toutes vos questions.
32577 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Nous n'en avons pas, Monsieur Arpin. Votre position est très claire.
32578 Nous vous remercions, Monsieur Marchand, Monsieur Arpin, de votre réplique.
32579 Madame la Secrétaire, s'il vous plaît.
32580 Mme BÉNARD: Merci, Madame la Présidente.
32581 La prochaine présentation sera celle du Réseau des sports RDS Inc. Treize minutes sont allouées.
32582 THE CHAIRPERSON: This will be the last applicant we hear in this Phase.
32583 Alors nous vous rappelons que ce sera la dernière présentation que nous entendrons ce soir et nous reprendrons demain matin à huit heures.
RÉPLIQUE / REPLY
32584 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, Monsieur Frappier.
32585 M. FRAPPIER: Bonjour, Madame. Bonjour, Madame la Présidente, mesdames les Conseillères et messieurs les Conseillers.
32586 Permettez-moi une petite analogie. Les audiences publiques c'est comme un match de football et nous voici rendus au quatrième et dernier quart d'un excellent match des séries éliminatoires.
32587 A la lumière des longues heures que vous avez consacrées depuis le début des audiences, nous ne vous souhaitons aucune période de prolongation à ce match.
32588 L'introduction des principaux joueurs sur notre équipe s'est faite en début de rencontre le 18 août dernier, mais permettez-moi de vous en faire le rappel. Je suis Gerry Frappier, le président et directeur général du Réseau des sports. A mes côtés, Madame Trina McQueen, vice-présidente exécutive de CTV; M. François Messier, vice-président de la programmation de RDS; M. Kevin Dumouchel, le directeur des finances et administration du Réseau des sports, et en arrière de nous Mme Kathryn Robinson, conseillère juridique de Goodman, Phillips et Vineberg, et Mme Elizabeth Duffy-MacLean, directrice des affaires commerciales de NetStar.
32589 Dans le cadre de cette quatrième et dernière phase du processus, le Conseil nous a demandé de répondre à trois questions précises.
32590 La première nous demande: A quels deux ou trois de vos projets de Catégorie 1 le Conseil devrait-il donner priorité et pourquoi? Nous croyons fermement, et nous vous soumettons respectueusement que les deux demandes, le Réseau Grand Air et le Réseau Info Sport méritent votre approbation. Nous avons analysé en profondeur nos deux demandes, une par rapport à l'autre, mais aussi avec l'ensemble des autres requérantes de services francophones.
32591 Réseau Grand Air et le Réseau Info Sport rencontrent bien sûr, et même surpassent dans certains cas, tous les principaux critères établis par le Conseil.
32592 Les deux répondent favorablement aux critères quant à la programmation canadienne, notamment au niveau du pourcentage de contenu canadien où on se compare avantageusement à la majorité des autres demanderesses.
32593 Plusieurs intervenants ont parlé de l'importance de contribuer positivement au secteur de la production indépendante. De par la nature même de nos deux demandes, le sport et les activités de loisir et de plein air, nous ouvrons de nouvelles vitrines d'exploitation aux producteurs indépendants francophones dans des champs d'activité qui leur sont rarement accessibles aujourd'hui. C'est réellement une plus value pour eux, comme en témoignent les nombreuses lettres d'appui issues de ce secteur.
32594 Les deux font leurs classes quant au caractère attrayant du service ainsi que de leur capacité d'enrichir la diversité de l'offre télévisuelle francophone. Dans son intervention, l'ACTC soulignait l'importance d'offrir un bouquet de services réellement distinctifs afin de promouvoir la migration au numérique, allant même jusqu'à dire qu'il y a certains abonnés aujourd'hui qui délaissent le numérique en faveur d'un retour à l'analogique, et ce par manque de différentiation.
32595 Le Réseau Grand Air et le Réseau Info Sport sont à la hauteur de ce besoin de différentiation. La recherche, ainsi que nos études de marché, le prouvent amplement, mais aussi des services à caractères sportifs ont déjà fait leur preuve quant à leur capacité de mousser l'intérêt et l'abonnement aux nouveaux services. Bref, le sport est un agent moteur de tout mode d'assemblage.
32596 De plus, les deux services répondent à tour de rôle à une lacune réelle dans le marché francophone puisque des services du genre existent déjà dans le Canada anglais et ont taillé leur niche. Par le fait même, l'ajout du Réseau Grand Air et du Réseau Info Sport contribuerait à un accroissement indéniable à la diversité linguistique. La diversité est justement au coeur des deux services proposés, que ce soit de par la place privilégiée donnée aux peuples des Premières nations ou du journal quotidien informatif et éducatif dans le cas du Réseau Grand Air, ou bien la place choyée qui sera donnée au sport amateur, régional et universitaire dans le cas du Réseau Info Sport.
32597 Les deux demandes sont dotées d'une composante interactive innovatrice aussi forte l'une que l'autre. Contrairement à certaines autres requérantes, nous ne nous sommes pas contentés d'offrir un site Web tout court mais nous avons mis en place les sommes d'argent nécessaires pour que le contenu interactif fasse partie intégrante de la programmation des deux réseaux.
32598 L'abordabilité est aussi un critère majeur qui nous pousse à recommander les deux services. On a écouté attentivement ce que les autres requérantes ainsi que les distributeurs tels que Look avaient à dire à ce sujet. Sans exception, tous ont exprimé l'importance d'assurer un prix accessible aux consommateurs afin de promouvoir le développement du numérique.
32599 L'équation est quand même assez simple. Plus le prix sera bas, plus les consommateurs seront encouragés à faire l'adoption des nouveaux services. Voilà un des plus grands faits d'armes de nos deux demandes. Les réseaux Info Sport et Grand Air ressortent tous deux en tête de classe avec les tarifs de gros les plus bas -- 45 sous et 50 sous respectivement -- tandis que la presque totalité des autres requérantes francophones affichent un prix allant de un dollar à deux dollars. Dans ce contexte, nous croyons avoir répondu mieux que quiconque d'autre à l'important besoin de faire le mariage entre le caractère attrayant du service et l'abordabilité de ce service pour le téléspectateur.
32600 Ce dernier point nous amène à la prochaine dimension, soit la raisonnabilité des plans d'affaires. De notre part, nos projections sont plus que réalistes quant à la progression de la distribution numérique.
32601 Notre support marketing, la force et l'expérience de notre équipe dans la matière et le bien fondé de nos grilles de programmation ce sont toutes des grosses cartes dans notre jeu. Mais tout cela a un bas prix et c'est l'as caché de notre jeu. C'est la clé qui ouvrira toute grande la porte au déploiement numérique. Cette même clef nous permet d'être confiants et optimistes quant au niveau de pénétration qui sera réalisé avec nos deux nouveaux services.
32602 Pourquoi être optimiste quant à l'éventuel taux d'abonnement à nos services numériques lorsque d'autres requérantes le sont moins? Voici notre logique. Ceux et celles qui opteront pour le numérique le feront tout d'abord par souci d'une meilleure qualité d'images et de son, mais aussi et surtout par désir d'un choix de services élargi par rapport à l'analogique.
32603 De plus, ils profiteront de la valeur ajoutée qu'offrira les composantes interactives des nouveaux services. Si les services sont à la fois attrayants et abordables, le taux d'abonnement devrait logiquement suivre. Nos deux plans d'affaires expriment cette confiance, non seulement quant à l'éventuel succès du numérique, mais encore plus quant à la façon que le succès se réalisera.
32604 Pour ce qui est de votre deuxième question, il n'y a aucun projet de Catégorie 1 qui remettra en question la faisabilité de nos plans. Il est important de noter que nous n'avons reçu aucune intervention contre nos demandes et que nous n'en avons déposé aucune contre les autres non plus.
32605 Nous n'avons reçu que des témoignages d'appui issues des différents milieux. Donc vous pouvez en déduire que nous serions très heureux de cohabiter avec n'importe quel autre requérante qui réussira à gagner votre faveur.
32606 Nous osons même croire, Madame la Présidente, que les autres requérants accueilleraient favorablement notre participation dans l'éventuel bouquet numérique puisque la nature de nos deux demandes dynamiserait l'abonnement si les expériences passées sont le moindrement garantes de l'avenir.
32607 Passons maintenant à la troisième question, à savoir combien de projets de Catégorie 1 le Conseil devrait-il autoriser en langue anglaise ou française. Peu importe le nombre de licences anglophones que le Conseil jugera bon d'octroyer, nous recommandons au Conseil l'autorisation de cinq nouvelles licences numériques francophones tout comme la majeure partie des autres requérantes semble aussi le suggérer.
32608 La nouvelle offrande aux téléspectateurs francophones se doit de privilégier la diversité et la variété. Plus il y aura de nouveaux services attrayants disponibles en numérique uniquement, plus le consommateur sera incité à faire le saut. C'est aussi une occasion en or d'élargir l'offre télévisuelle francophone qui demeure inférieure à sa contrepartie anglophone et du même coup permettre aux francophones de se retrouver davantage à l'intérieur du paysage télévisuel canadien.
32609 Les licences de Catégorie 1 nous offrent la meilleure chance de succès à cet égard. Toutefois, les meilleurs concepts ainsi que toute la planification et toute la bonne volonté au monde pourraient fort bien se faire refuser à la porte si le consommateur est buté à un prix abusif.
32610 Nous ne désirons pas remettre sur la table le débat quant à la raisonnabilité des plans d'affaires des autres requérants. C'est plutôt le message suivant que nous désirons vous laisser.
32611 Les nouvelles licences numériques c'est comme les saucisses Hygrade. Vous vous rappelez de ce fameux slogan? Plus on en mange, plus elles sont fraîches, plus elles sont fraîches, plus on en mange.
32612 Alors dans notre cas on pourrait dire, plus le prix est bas, plus les gens s'abonneront, plus les gens s'abonneront, plus le prix restera bas.
32613 Alors ayons confiance au potentiel éventuel du numérique. Rendons-le accessible aux téléspectateurs et ils répondront à l'appel. Nous souhaitons que cinq licences différentes puissent éventuellement partager cette vision. C'est faisable, Madame la Présidente. Assis à une même table, les détenteurs des éventuelles nouvelles licences et les distributeurs de ces nouveaux services, peuvent s'entendre sur des prix de gros et des marges bénéficiaires raisonnables s'ils partagent le but commun d'assurer le succès du numérique auprès des consommateurs.
32614 Nous y croyons puisque l'avenir passe nécessairement par ce chemin et il est de notre responsabilité commune de faciliter ce passage.
32615 En conclusion, Madame la Présidente, chers Conseillères et Conseillers, l'équipe du Réseau des Sports souhaite vivement et de tout coeur participer et contribuer à cet avenir prometteur.
32616 Nous souhaitons avoir témoigné du sérieux de notre approche de par la qualité, l'étanchéité et la clarté de nos deux demandes ainsi que de la philosophie qui nous a guidés dans leur conception. Le domaine auquel nous sommes associés, le sport ainsi que les activités dans le plein air, sont caractérisés par la performance, les résultats et la passion.
32617 Nous avons ça dans nos tripes aussi et nous les transporterons au Réseau Grand Air et Info Sport advenant une réponse favorable de votre part.
32618 Nous vous devrons cet engagement et nous le devrons aussi à tous ceux et celles qui ont appuyé nos demandes ainsi et avant tout aux téléspectateurs qui s'attendront à rien de moins de notre part.
32619 Nous vous remercions de nous avoir prêté une oreille si attentive au cours des dernières semaines, et permettez-moi de conclure en disant qu'il n'y a rien que nous souhaiterions plus que d'être obligés dans sept ans de se retrouver devant ce même Conseil pour le renouvellement des licences Grand Air et Info Sport.
32620 Merci et si vous avez des questions il nous fera plaisir d'y répondre.
32621 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Nous n'avons pas de question, Monsieur Frappier, mais nous sommes charmés que vous ayez ajouté les saucisses Hygrade au gruau de "Baby Bear".
32622 M. FRAPPIER: Bon, ça commence à faire un bon repas.
--- Rires / Laughter
32623 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Nous vous remercions.
32624 We will resume at eight o'clock tomorrow morning.
32625 Nous reprendrons à huit heures demain matin.
32626 Il est malheureux que certaines personnes soient ici et qu'elles ne soient pas entendues mais nous n'avons pas le choix. Ce soir nous devons ajourner à six heures.
32627 Nous vous remercions tous et à demain.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1758 to resume
at 0800 on Wednesday, September 6, 2000 /
L'audience est ajournée à 1758 pour reprendre
à 0800 le mercredi 6 septembre 2000