ARCHIVED - Transcript/Transcription - Vancouver, BC/(C.-B.) - 2001/10/15
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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".
Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Renaissance Vancouver Renaissance Vancouver
Hotel Harbourside Hotel Harbourside
1133 West Hastings Street 1133 West Hastings Street
Harbourside Ballroom II & III Harbourside Ballroom II & III
Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique)
15 October, 2001 le 15 octobre 2001
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
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".
Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Andrée Wylie Vice-Chair Broadcasting
/ Vice-Président, Radio diffusion
Cindy Grauer Commissioner / Conseillère
Martha Wilson Commissioner / Conseillère
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
Andrew Cardozo Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Martine Vallee Hearing Manager / Gérant de
Marguerite Vogel Secretary / secrétaire
Carolyn Pinsky Legal Counsel /
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Renaissance Vancouver Renaissance Vancouver
Hotel Harbourside Hotel Harbourside
1133 West Hastings Street 1133 West Hastings Street
Harbourside Ballroom II & III Harbourside Ballroom II & III
Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique)
15 October, 2001 le 15 octobre 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
APPLICATION BY / APPLICATION PAR
by CFMT-TV / par CFMT-TV 107
by Multivan Broadcast Corporation / 1435
par Multivan Broadcast Corporation
Vancouver, British Columbia / Vancouver, Colombie Britannique
--- Upon commencing on Monday, October 15, 2001 at 0900 / L'audience débute lundi, le 15 octobre 2001 à 0900
1 seq level0 \h 0 seq level1 \h 0 seq level2 \h 0 seq level3 \h 0 seq level4 \h 0 seq level5 \h 0 seq level6 \h 0 seq level7 \h 0 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs, et bienvenue à cette audience puublique.
2 Welcome to this public hearing to examine two applications for an ethnic television station in Vancouver, as well as an application for the license renewal of a religious television station in Lethbridge.
3 My name is Andrée Wylie. I am Vice-Chair, Broadcasting, for the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ‑‑ from now on the CRTC ‑‑ and I will be presiding over this hearing.
4 Members of the panel are, to my immediate left, Cindy Grauer, who is the Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and the Yukon, and to her left, Martha Wilson, who is the Regional Commissioner for Ontario. To my immediate right is Andrew Cardozo, and to his right, Commissioner Pennefather. Andrew is a commissioner too.
5 The staff who will assist us in this hearing are the hearing Manager, Martine Vallee, our Legal Counsel, Carolyn Pinsky, and our Hearing Secretary, Marguerite Vogel, and of course, our analysts and file coordinators, Jane Britten, Ian McDiarmid and Janet Glendenning. Do not hesitate to speak to Ms. Vogel if you have any procedural questions.
6 This hearing will start with a special representation by the Vancouver Media Directors Guild. The panel will then begin its examination of the two competing applications submitted by CFMT-TV and the Multivan Broadcast Corporation for licenses for a new ethnic television station to serve the Greater Vancouver Area. We will then hear the renewal application of CJIL-TV, Lethbridge.
7 Before we proceed any further, allow me to provide you with some of the background to the two competing applications.
8 On October the 4th, 2000, the Governor in Council asked the Commission to prepare a report on the earliest possible establishment of over-the-air television services that reflect and meet the needs of the multicultural, multilingual and multiracial population of the Vancouver and Victoria markets.
9 On February 28th, 2001, the Commission submitted its report to the Governor in Council and issued a call for applications for a new over-the-air ethnic television service in Vancouver.
10 In its report, the Commission concluded that there was a significant demand for a new ethnic over-the-air television service in Vancouver. The Commission also noted that the vast majority of people who submitted comments believed that the licensing of this service with a strong local component was essential for the diverse and growing multicultural, multilingual and multiracial population of Greater Vancouver.
11 In its call for applications, the Commission asked applicants to address, amongst other things, the following issues in their applications: How their proposed service would contribute to achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act; how many ethnic groups and languages they intended to reach; and how they would promote the development of local and regional talent.
12 As it examines these two applications, the Commission will also be looking at how the applicants intend to ensure that the proposed new service reflects Greater Vancouver's diverse ethnic community. It will also consider the applicants' plans to reflect the local community to serve their audiences and to support independent production.
13 The application of CFMT, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, will be heard first.
14 We will then hear the application of Multivan Corporation. This part of the hearing will be in four phases which Ms. Vogel, the Hearing Manager will outline before we begin.
15 The panel will then examine an application from the Miracle Channel Association to renew the license of the CJIL television station in Lethbridge, Alberta, that expires on February 28th, 2002.
16 In particular, the panel will discuss with the licensee its apparent failure to comply with a number of regulatory requirements in the 1998/1999 and 1999/2000 broadcast years.
17 We expect this hearing to last four days until Thursday, October 18th. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we will begin at 8:30 in the morning and plan to adjourn around 6:00 p.m. with only a one hour break for lunch.
18 With so many interveners participating in the hearing, we anticipate that our entire consideration of the ethnic television proposals may take us to Thursday morning, at which time we will hear CJIL's application for renewal.
19 We will advise you, of course, of any change in the schedule that may occur as we proceed.
20 Cell phones and beepers must be turned off when you are in the hearing room. They are an unwelcome distraction for the applicants, the interveners and the commissioners. We would appreciate your cooperation at all times during the hearing in this regard, and if I catch one of the commissioners doing it, we start an impeachment proceeding.
21 Before we begin, I invite our Hearing Secretary, Ms. Vogel, to explain the process that we will be following.
22 Thank you. Et merci à tout le monde. Madame Vogel, à vous la parole. I want also to advise that after we hear the special representation, we will take a ten minute break so that the Rogers panel has an opportunity to settle itself. Thank you. Ms. Vogel.
23 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. First I'll describe the procedure that will be followed for hearing today's competing applications. Competitive applications are held in four phases.
24 Phase I is a presentation by each applicant to the Commission. When your name is called, please make your way to the table directly across from me. Twenty minutes is allotted for each presentation. Questions from the Commission will normally follow each applicant's presentation.
25 In Phase II, the applicants reappear in the same order as they presented their applications to intervene against the other applicant. Ten minutes is allotted for each intervention. Questions from the Commission may follow each intervention.
26 Phase III is where the appearing interveners make their presentations to the Commission. Ten minutes is allocated for each of these presentations, and again there may be questions from the Commission.
27 Phase IV provides an opportunity for each applicant to reply to the interventions that have been filed with respect to its application. Applicants appear in reverse order. Ten minutes is allotted for this reply, and again, questions may follow.
28 Just a note, when you're ready to present to the Commission, be sure to hit the button on the microphone so that the red light comes on the mike. For your general information, the public files associated with items at this hearing are available in the Singapore Room which is on the third floor directly above us.
29 CRTC staff in that room will be pleased to assist you, but please be aware that while an application is being heard, the public files associated with it will be in this room, and not available for viewing.
30 There is a verbatim transcript of this hearing being taken by court reporters who are located at the table to my left. If you have any questions about how to obtain all or parts of this transcript, please approach the court reporter during a break for information.
31 Finally, if you want to have messages taken, we will be happy to post them outside the public examination room. The phone number in our public exam room is 604-666-3254, and if you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact any one of us. We'll be more than pleased to assist you where we can.
32 And now, Madam Chair, with your leave, I will call the general representation. Mr. Butler, would you come forward, please?
33 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Butler.
34 MR. BUTLER: Thank you for taking the time to hear us. I am president of Vancouver Media Directors Council. We are an independent group representing advertising agencies, media directors, independent media planners and buyers. Our business is primarily local and regional in nature, placing advertising throughout British Columbia and Western Canada and throughout Canada.
35 We are here to address the recent CRTC decisions 458 and 459. We are here because we were caught by surprise. While the CRTC information is public process, we only hold ourselves to task that this information came forward without our input. Obviously we have to pay closer attention to the details going on.
36 Traditionally, we've relied on our broadcaster partners in terms of relaying information to us about the decisions that CRTC might be placing that would affect us in our markets.
37 Whenever new licenses are issued, generally we're asked for our opinions, our input and our support. Whenever new rating services are applied, we're asked for our opinions and our support. But when we deal with decisions 458 and 459, the aspect of those decisions changed how advertising was sold to advertisers in British Columbia. And while that decision was faced in front of the CRTC from, as we understand it, back in March, we had no understanding that those discussions were going on, and we were not included and did not have an opportunity to provide input in those discussions, and for that we can only apologize to the CRTC.
38 The recent CRTC decisions, 458 and 459, are now in effect, and the implications of these decisions has created some turmoil among us that we feel needs to be brought to light.
39 It is our view that the recent decisions by the CRTC were placed to protect the operations of B.C. Interior TV stations. There is a consensus among us that there is a primary need to protect the interest and economics of the B.C. Interior TV stations and their markets, and for that we've always provided support.
40 Prior to the decisions going into effect on September 1, we used to have sort of three classifications of advertisers in British Columbia.
41 National advertisers, defined as those with products and services available widely or not necessarily in their own proprietary stores, brands essentially. They might include Coca-Cola, Labatt, Ford.
42 Regional advertisers were those with products and services available throughout B.C. and Western Canada, who typically are considered on the same basis as national advertisers but don't share a national interest. Examples might be Dairy World, government corporations like B.C. Hydro, et cetera.
43 And local advertisers, those advertisers with products and services available in a limited geographic area, or have specific proprietary retail outlets. Examples might include Shoppers Drug Mart, McDonald's Restaurants.
44 We are concerned that the CRTC decisions 458 and 459 force a redefinition of those classifications into only two groups, national and local, based on how much of a specific telecaster's airtime they have bought, be it nationally or regionally.
45 458 and 459 effectively eliminate any regional classification and force all advertisers to be considered retail in terms of regional.
46 What this does as far as our input is concerned, is it creates an imbalance where there used to be a balance. For the past 25 years, certain practices have been in place that provided a balance. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart, which technically is a retail advertiser, now classifies as national since they purchase network airtime. They weren't classified that before in this province. However, a competitor in the same product category, London Drugs, doesn't buy national airtime. They have no need to advertise on a national basis.
47 They maintain their retail status in British Columbia, but because of how advertising services are sold, they effectively pay more to compete in the same marketplace in British Columbia for the same product.
48 Furthermore, how these decisions will be interpreted and enforced by local TV stations which may or may not have adequate information to make a correct determination of an advertiser's status causes us some concern.
49 We don't know how the rulings are going to be policed, how coverage rules are enforced, and who's responsible for coverage. That hasn't been explained to us in any detail at all.
50 As well, as we stated earlier, we support protecting the economic assets and business of the Interior television stations. We feel they have a real benefit to those areas of the province and they support us in our retail efforts in those areas.
51 But it's our professional opinion that most advertisers who lose the right to have province-wide coverage will not increase their budgets to reinstate covered ad messages in outlying markets. Rather, the economic effect will be to focus their attention where the bulk of population resides, and that being the Lower Mainland.
52 This could possibly result in sales losses in the outlying markets on behalf of all regional advertisers who can no longer afford a marketing presence there. This may have a completely opposite effect of what we believe the rulings intended. These decisions may do more for radio and newspaper sales in those markets than they will for TV.
53 We also feel that the net impact of these decisions is felt most by those advertisers which have the fewest opportunities for cost-efficient television advertising, that being regional advertisers.
54 In the past number of years, over 30 percent of TV audiences that were available to us in this market are now gone because they are transferred to national only services through network cable channels.
55 Nationally, those network cable channels can be utilized, and effectively, because they are sold at a lot more efficient cost, effectively decrease the cost of television to national advertisers. However, because those audiences have been removed from us, they create a fragmentation issue. It creates a situation where we're losing audience here locally to purchase locally, because we're losing supply. It falsely increases the demand on the audiences available here. And in increasing demand, it tremendously increases cost.
56 In the terms of this agreement, we also see an increase in cost of television advertising, and we also see another further force to push regional and local advertisers off of a local medium, that being television, and that causes us great concern.
57 We're losing our ability to use television strategically in media, simply because the costs are outstripping the availability of us to be able to use it.
58 The other issues that were essentially put in effect with decisions 458 and 459 is the classification of Global Television as a network.
59 In the terms of the agreement as we understand it, if Global is purchased across the country, than the CHAN signal can be then delivered throughout the province on an uncovered basis. However, with CTV and with CBC, you can buy one program and it will appear across the country, but Global is not a network technically. We cannot buy a program on Global and have it appear in all 12, 13 or 14 markets that they control. Essentially, as Global is sold on an à la carte basis, we have to buy 14 different markets, and that program has to be available in 14 different markets. So we are confused as to how the rules as applied to CTV network apply to Global when they are technically spot market in nature.
60 Another avenue of concern that this issue brings further scrutiny to is the fact that Global and CTV-British Columbia, can conceivably sell a greater portion of inventory to network buyers while at the same time, again, increasing costs and decreasing access to regional advertisers for Vancouver advertising time.
61 What we understand, there are also tremendous situations that are different between here and Ontario, subject to ownership and the like. There are consistency issues on how the rules are being applied in British Columbia, as perhaps in Ontario, where in Ontario, there are regional stations in Ottawa, London, Hamilton, but they do not have the ability to cover over non-network advertisers on Global and CTV under the same terms as British Columbia.
62 While we understand there's different ownership issues at play, it's the consistency issues that we bring forward on that.
63 And in closing, we were caught unawares. It's our fault. However, we also feel that the information as it's presented from the CRTC on their website could be better organized. With the CRTC facing over 3,000 individual decisions every year within radio, television and telecommunications, as a small organization and a small group of individuals, we just don't have the power to be able to monitor the CRTC's activities in that way. And through this process, we'd like to suggest that maybe there's a better way to organize the CRTC website so that we can have a little easier access and understanding of the activities of the CRTC, and effectively you could benefit from our input in advance, rather than bring forward to you a complaint after the fact, which essentially you may have no ability to do anything about.
64 We would like to put forward that there is significant turmoil about the decisions of the CRTC, 458 and 459. There still is no agreement among the broadcasters about how this issue could be handled or changed. There is quite a lot of animosity, a lot of emotion involved in this issue.
65 And if there was an opportunity to bring this issue back to the table, we think it's detrimental for this industry to look at this decision for the next seven years. We think it will ultimately harm the Interior TV stations.
66 And if there is an opportunity to discuss this further, we'd like to put forward to all parties that we'd be interested in helping with those discussions, at least coming up with an agreement that maybe could bring forward some of the spirit of the agreements we were operating in in the last 25 years, and also in the new reality, the spirit the decisions 458 and 459 were made. Thank you very much.
67 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Butler. Commissioner Grauer, please.
68 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you, Madam Chair. Mr. Butler, thank you for taking the time to be here today.
69 Without reviewing the entire history of this situation we find ourselves in, as I understand it, there was a historic arrangement between CHAN and the interior broadcasters which existed for many years, and in fact identified by name certain advertisers. Now, is this what constitutes the classifications you've referred to?
70 MR. BUTLER: Essentially, yes. We as buyers essentially live by the rules that were laid down to us. We were told which advertisers could purchase a signal across British Columbia and those that couldn't.
71 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: By name?
72 MR. BUTLER: By name. Now, we have been involved in that for -- well, I was raised on it. Put it that way. That was something that we always understood, that there was two levels of classifications in British Columbia, and I have no understanding of whether that was ever written down anywhere, but that's the rules we played by, and it was well understood by anybody in this province who had to buy advertising what those rules were.
73 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Because of course what happened was when the changeover happened between CTV and Global with respect to CHAN, we then received an application to carry CTV throughout the Interior, and it was important to us as a commission to find a way to do that, and it raised this situation, as you know.
74 And certainly a primary concern of ours was some protection of the markets of those broadcasters licensed to serve the Interior stations.
75 And as you know, we encouraged all the parties to reach a negotiated commercial solution. This was not something we really wanted to deal with by way of condition of license. Unfortunately, the parties were not able to do that.
76 Now, that does not mean that a commercial solution isn't still possible. The fact that there's a condition of license in no way precludes any commercial arrangement. This one existed to a large extent outside any commission, regulation, or condition of license. And in fact you talk about Ontario. There may well be commercial arrangements in place. The fact is there hasn't been any problems. It hasn't come to us, so we haven't had to deal with it.
77 Have you had discussions with all the broadcasters on this?
78 MR. BUTLER: We've met recently with CTV-British Columbia, and with the representatives of the Interior TV stations. We've had previous phone conversations with Global but have not met with them recently on the issue. But essentially we have a pretty good understanding of the positions of each.
79 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I want to add also, you can understand our reluctance when this was in front of us to get into identifying specific advertisers by way of having to deal with this in one form or another, and this seemed like a reasonable solution and a way of avoiding having to get into providing lists.
80 Do you think its possible to negotiate a commercial solution?
81 MR. BUTLER: Based on our discussions, I'm not exactly sure. The way it was seemed to work pretty well. We as media people assumed, in our error, that the rules as they were applied to CHAN would be applied to CTV-British Columbia, if in fact they were allowed to have the same rights as CHAN did in the province essentially. So that's really what caught us unawares, was our assumption of that, but that has worked for 25 years.
82 I don't know if anybody had ever written down any advertisers as far as that goes. I think there was a set of principles that guided that, but I'm not sure if there was ever a list ‑‑ as it's been termed, the list ‑‑ I'm not sure there was ever a list, but there was a set of principles that guided which advertisers could and couldn't.
83 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, unfortunately we can't go back to where we were, but the one thing I want to reiterate is, notwithstanding the fact that there are conditions of license in place, this in no way precludes the broadcasters from negotiating a commercial arrangement which is satisfactory to all the parties.
84 And I take it from some of the questions you've raised, that you have some questions of clarification or possibly a complaint you'd like to make with us.
85 And I say that because we can't certainly deal with it right here at this panel, but there are ways that you could pursue a complaint or seek clarification with the Commission.
86 MR. BUTLER: It's just in relation to how you might determine an advertiser who would be national versus local, how that gets applied. Questions came forward, if we placed one commercial at one time on a national broadcast such as Canada AM, does that give us the right then, to be a national broadcaster in British Columbia?
87 It's consistency issues. It's definition. And it's so new we really haven't had a chance to work with it in any great way, but certainly there's a lot of grey area involved with it.
88 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Have you found willingness on the part of the broadcasters to work with you to try and sort this out in a way that isn't punitive to the local and regional advertiser?
89 MR. BUTLER: They've all expressed an interest to at least discuss it further. I don't know if there's any avenue for solution between the various parties, but we have had some expressions of interest from some of them, that they would be willing to talk about it. But the positions of the various people are very different. So whether or not a solution could be found quickly, I'm not exactly sure.
90 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Do you have anything specific that you would like us to do?
91 MR. BUTLER: It becomes very difficult for us to suggest to the CRTC how things should be done. We're reacting ‑‑ that's really what it comes down to ‑‑ and providing our input into a forum where we previously didn't.
92 We don't think this is the best agreement as it's been laid down, and all we could ask is that if there would be an opportunity to be able to bring the parties back to a table again and at least be able to discuss it, would be a benefit, rather than having to watch what this agreement might do to the interior stations over the next few years.
93 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, I guess I'd like to be very clear. There is nothing precluding a commercial arrangement, in fact, and nothing would make us happier. So you don't need our -- nobody needs our permission to negotiate a commercial solution, and if the broadcasters came forward with that, that will be satisfactory. So I thank you very much for being here today.
94 MR. BUTLER: Thank you.
95 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Commissioner Grauer. You're a very brave commissioner to ask any -- oh, don't leave -- to ask any person appearing before us what it is they'd like us to do. That's very dangerous. I will say --
96 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, I'd love to know if he has ideas.
97 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope there's no journalists in the room, because they usually have an answer to that, as to what the CRTC should do.
98 You may have seen the public notice, but your allegation is that even if you'd seen it, you would have assumed that the rules would continue as they were, and so your procedural concern is that our public notices do not explain sufficiently what may be the fallout.
99 MR. BUTLER: Essentially, we didn't actually even see the public notice as far as I know. We knew that CTV-British Columbia, had to have some sort of solution to broadcasting the CTV signal throughout British Columbia, but to tell you the truth, any one of us didn't point to any sort of notice to say what the implications of that could be.
100 As I understand it, after the fact CTV applied to have their signal carried through cable stations, and that would have given CTV-British Columbia full coverage of British Columbia, but it brought into question how would you carry the coverage rules, and at that point I guess if we understood that process to happen in some way, we assumed in our error that the same rules that had previously applied would be carried through.
101 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course, we know our website can be improved, but you mentioned yourself, we issue thousands of decisions a year, so it's quite difficult to make them always as meaningful and as easily accessible as you would like them to be, but we certainly would welcome any suggestions from any party as to how to improve it further so that information is indeed disseminated as transparently and as efficiently as possible.
102 We certainly appreciate your coming, and exposing your concern to us, and as Commissioner Grauer discussed with you, there is always a way of changing things, as you found out in this case, not to your advantage. Thank you.
103 We will now take a ten-minute break to allow the Rogers people to settle their panel comfortably. We will be back then in ten minutes. Nous reprendrons dans dix minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 0930 / Suspension à 0930
--- Upon resuming at 0945 / Reprise à 0945
104 seq level0 \h 0 seq level1 \h 0 seq level2 \h 0 seq level3 \h 0 seq level4 \h 0 seq level5 \h 0 seq level6 \h 0 seq level7 \h 0 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. Madam secretary, please.
105 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Madam Chair. The first application today is one by CFMT-TV, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, for a license to operate a multilingual ethnic television station in Vancouver. The applicant proposes to direct programming to 22 ethnic groups in 18 different languages.
106 The new station would operate on channel 42C with an effective radiated power of 240,800 watts. I believe Mr. Wong is going to present the panel. Would you proceed whenever you're ready, please.
107 MR. WONG: Thank you. Madam Chair, Members of the Commission:
108 I am Glenn Wong, General Manager of Local Multilingual Television. We are pleased to appear before you to present our application for LMtv, a new multiligual television station to serve the large and diverse ethnic communities here in Vancouver.
109 With me today are: Indira Naidoo-Harris, producer and news anchor at CFMT-TV in Toronto; Mason Loh, a well known community activist and Vice Chair of the LMtv Advisory Board; Madeline Ziniak, Vice President, Executive Producer and Station Manager, CFMT; and Tony Viner, President of Rogers Media.
110 At the next table, we have: Leslie Sole, Executive Vice President Television, Rogers Media; Viddear Khan, Program Controller, CFMT; Robert Buchan of the law firm Johnston & Buchan; Robin Mirsky, Executive Director of the Rogers Group of Funds; and Jim Nelles, Vice President Marketing and Sales, CFMT.
111 At the third table and available for your questioning, are the authors of our expert research studies: Kaan Yigit, of Solutions Research Group; Dr. Lock Sing Leung, LLS Market Research Inc.; Jane Armstrong, Environics Research; and Bruce Grondin, The Media Edge.
112 Also at that table are: Wai Young, Director, Program and Community Development, LMtv; and Tom Ayley, Vice President, Finance, CFMT.
113 Seated in the audience are: Kelly Colasanti, Vice President Operations and Engineering, CFMT; Steve Edwards, Vice President Engineering, Rogers Media; and Malcolm Dunlop, General Sales Manager, CFMT.
114 In addition, I would like to acknowledge Ted Rogers, President and CEO, and Phil Lind, Vice Chair, Rogers Communications, as well as Senator Pat Carney, of the Rogers Media Board of Directors. And Mason will begin our presentation.
115 MR. LOH: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, as Glenn mentioned, I am the Vice Chair of the LMtv Advisory Board. The Chairperson is Mobina Jaffer. She has been a deeply committed supporter of LMtv for the past eight years. During that time, the number of people who share Mobina's vision of a free, ethnic television station for Vancouver has grown. Over 1,600 individuals have filed interventions in support of this application.
116 LMtv was developed by the community of Vancouver for the community. In hundreds of community meetings and in workshops, we met with residents and developed partnerships with local agencies. We have filed a comprehensive application that takes into account the real and urgent needs of local residents.
117 LMtv will not just reflect different cultures and languages. It will present a knowledgeable and realistic picture of our communities and facilitate cross-cultural discussion. In so doing, LMtv will help to build a more accepting and inclusive society.
118 All of that is very important, but it is not enough. From our extensive community consultations, we know that many, many people in Vancouver's ethnic communities are deeply distressed about negative portrayal in the media. Whether it is intended or inadvertent, negative portrayal reinforces inaccurate and offensive stereotypes. It strengthens prejudices and promotes discrimination. The backlash against members of the Muslim, and more specifically, the Arabic communities following the tragic events of September 11th highlights the damaging and dangerous consequences of careless stereotyping and the lack of inter-cultural understanding.
119 LMtv will directly address these concerns. On behalf of our communities, we will spend $1 million over the first five years of the license term to combat negative portrayal and to promote positive portrayal of minorities in the electronic media.
120 We will fund the establishment of an independent electronic media watchdog here, right here in British Columbia. This group will have a mandate to promote positive portrayal in the electronic media in British Columbia, including LMtv. We will ask an individual of very high standing in the community to serve as the Portrayal Ombudsman and to take the lead on this initiative.
121 In addition, we have entered into an agreement with the Pearson Shoyama Institute to support the development of a Canada-wide diversity data bank. This databank will directly contribute to positive portrayal by providing broadcasters and producers with a comprehensive catalogue of people from different minority groups, who are qualified to work in television or who would appear on-air as expert commentators.
122 Only LMtv has made such a comprehensive commitment to building a more accepting and inclusive community.
124 MR. WONG: By the year 2005, there will be almost 1 million people in Vancouver whose mother tongue is neither English nor French. LMtv will be their true and strong voice.
125 We will hit the ground running. From day one, we will offer 65 hours of the highest quality local programming each week. Our application includes detailed program descriptions that clearly set out how we propose to serve up to 24 ethnocultural groups in 24 different languages.
126 We have made important additional commitments to support the development of Canadian talent and to contribute to the community, totalling $30 million over the term of the license.
127 Currently there is no funding in Canada for the independent production of dramatic and documentary programming in third languages. LMtv will address this fundamental inequity.
128 We will spend $23 million on the production of at least 165 new, third language dramatic and documentary programs by B.C. based independent producers. These programs will chronicle the development of our communities, profile community leaders, and address important social and cultural issues. They will all be broadcast on LMtv, and CFMT will license each of these productions for broadcast in Ontario.
129 Development money for third language programming is virtually impossible to secure in Canada, and LMtv will change that.
130 We will commit an addition $4 million to script and concept development for third language productions. Approximately 40 new projects will be put into development each year, for a total of 280 projects over the term of the license.
131 LMtv will also fund the production of very high quality public service announcements for local community groups. This initiative will entail expenditures of $500,000 for the term of the license.
132 We will spend a further $1.5 million on broadcasting and journalism scholarships and to support exemplary work of ethnic, non-profit community groups in the Greater Vancouver area.
133 We will undertake many other unique initiatives to further enhance the quality and relevance of our local ethnic programming.
134 LMtv will have a strong presence at the B.C. Legislature and on Parliament Hill. We will establish a news bureau in Victoria and will place an LMtv reporter in the CFMT news bureau in Ottawa. When our communities have questions about provincial or national policies, we will be able to ask our politicians directly.
135 We will also establish an LMtv news presence in the Asia Pacific region to bring the perspective of our communities to bear directly on international issues and events.
136 We will support LMtv with strong and effective marketing. We will devote $1 million each year to the promotion of our ethnic programming.
137 As is the case with CFMT in Toronto, the LMtv Advisory Board will play an active and involved role in the decision-making process. We will seek its advice on our overall programming plans and on the development of responsive and relevant programming for each of the ethnic communities that we seek to serve.
139 MS. NAIDOO-HARRIS: I was born in apartheid South Africa. At that time, visible minorities were not allowed to vote, we were not allowed to go and live where we wanted to, and visible minorities in that country truly had no voice.
140 Thirteen years ago, I walked into the newsroom of an affiliate of NBC, in Albany, New York, and I realized that I wanted to be a broadcast journalist. The newsroom was a place filled with stories. It was place where people did have a voice.
141 Getting from New York to CFMT in Toronto, and to you, here today, in British Columbia has been a long and sometimes difficult journey. I have worked in eight different newsrooms across Canada and the U.S., including NBC, PBS, and the CBC. I have been a researcher, a reporter and a national news anchor.
142 Today, I am at CFMT not because I have to be there. I have chosen to be there. From the day I set food in a multilingual newsroom, I knew that it was a place like no other. It looked and felt different. It was filled with dozens of ethnically diverse journalists. They were putting out shows that told the unique stories of their communities, in their own voice. They were Canadian stories, but stories that were not being told in other newsrooms.
143 We report on the people who are often forgotten. Like the unemployed Muslim woman living with seven children in a two-bedroom apartment, or the Indo-Canadian Red Cross worker in Bhuj right after the earthquake, or the Tamil couple that lost their child because hospital staff refused to believe the woman was in labour.
144 There is no question that these stories were compelling, and yet they were not reported in the mainstream media. But we told these stories and we told them fairly, accurately, and sensitively.
145 In fact, we do it so well that we are constantly being called by people from the various communities with stories that they don't think anyone else can or will tell.
146 Right after the terrorist attack on September 11th, when the Canadian Arab Federation wanted to let others know that they do not support terrorist attacks, they called us.
147 When the South Asian Women's Centre was fielding calls from women worried about their safety because their hijab makes them an identifiable target for violence, they called us.
148 And when the telephone at the Afghan Women's Centre was ringing off the hook because people were worried about their families in Afghanistan and here in Canada, they called us.
149 One Canadian Muslim woman trusted us enough to invite us into her home as she tried to help her children understand that there is no connection between her family's faith and culture and terrorism.
150 Why do people turn to us? Because they know our work and they trust us, and they trust us to be fair. And in return, we give them a voice.
151 We want to do that here in Vancouver with LMtv. Through the use of pictures and compelling stories, we will shatter dangerous myths and misconceptions about things like turbans, the Muslim religion and new immigrants. But perhaps most importantly, we will help everyone understand the customs and cultures of others.
152 Vancouver's ethnic communities need a television station to tell the stories that other media are not telling. They need a fair and trusted voice for their communities. LMtv will be that voice.
154 MS. ZINIAK: LMtv will pursue a vision uniquely designed to meet the needs of Vancouver's ethnic communities. At the same time LMtv will benefit from its association with CFMT.
155 Every day, broadcasters are called upon to make fair and balanced editorial decisions. At a multilingual television station, those decisions are complicated by the fact that programming is produced in many different languages for viewers with widely varying cultural perspectives. Even within specific ethnocultural groups, there are often significant linguistic, social, cultural and political differences.
156 Being fair and gaining the trust of viewers in such a complex environment is hard work. It takes much more than just good intentions. We have honed, refined, and practiced for more than 15 years to get it right.
157 We have learned that it is important to have a strong and effective local advisory board. LMtv will have one. We have long established, comprehensive policies that we will make available to LMtv. We have proven procedures to guide the allocation of broadcast time between groups, to support the program development process and to address important social concerns, such as violence and portrayal.
158 LMtv will not have to reinvent the wheel. With access to our expertise, LMtv will hit the ground running. It will provide high quality, fair and balanced programming for Vancouver's ethnic community from the very beginning.
160 MR. VINER: LMtv will benefit from programming and marketing synergies with CFMT. Those synergies will be reflected in the quality and diversity of LMtv's programming.
161 LMtv and CFMT will exchange news footage and reports to enhance each station's ability to provide coverage of issues and events across the country. LMtv and CFMT will also exchange programs to provide local audiences in both Toronto and Vancouver with an increased choice and diversity of ethnic programming.
162 Synergies also play an important role in our vision of a stronger ethnic television broadcasting industry capable of supporting the production of high quality, Canadian priority programming in third languages. Our commitments in this application lay the groundwork for a strong and vital independent ethnic production industry that produces a wide variety of programs of interest to Canadian audiences and with significant export potential.
163 LMtv will immediately benefit from local and national marketing synergies. CFMT pioneered the development of national ethnic television advertising in Canada. The revenue projections for LMtv reflect our confidence that joint sales and marketing with CFMT will bring substantial new ethnic television advertising revenues to the Vancouver television market.
164 Rogers has been actively involved in multicultural and multilingual television broadcasting in Canada for over 25 years. We launched a multilingual programming service on cable in Toronto in 1974 and in Vancouver in 1981. We acquired CFMT over 15 years ago when it was in serious financial difficulty, and have provided the resources necessary to make it an outstanding multilingual television service.
165 Given the history of instability of ownership of ethnic services, we want to assure the Commission that Rogers will provide stable, consistent and committed ownership for the long term.
167 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, for the following five reasons, we believe that LMtv is uniquely qualified to serve real and urgent needs in our community.
168 Firstly, based on over eight years of consultation and partnership building, LMtv will be first and foremost a local multilingual television station, developed by our communities, for our communities.
169 Secondly, with the benefit of CFMT's world-renowned expertise and extensive experience, LMtv will offer a professional, balanced voice for our communities from the very beginning.
170 Thirdly, as our application clearly shows, our local ethnic programming will be of the highest quality, carefully designed to meet the needs and serve the interests of our communities.
171 Fourthly, our communities are deeply concerned about negative portrayal and we will respond to that concern with comprehensive, well funded, local and national initiatives.
172 And lastly, with the benefits of synergies, LMtv will be able to make a substantial additional commitment to Canadian talent development and the local community, totalling $30 million over the term of the license.
173 For these reasons, we believe that the approval of this application would be in the public interest. And we will conclude our presentation with a brief video that will show you the dramatic impact that a station like LMtv can make in the community it serves.
174 (VIDEO PRESENTATION)
175 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, that concludes our presentation. Thank you.
176 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Wong and your colleagues, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Lind and Senator Carney.
177 I will begin the questioning with a discussion of your programming plans, Canadian and foreign, ethnic and mainstream, and your proposed contribution to the independent production community.
178 I will then have a few questions on demand and the complementarity of your proposed service in the Vancouver market. Commissioner Cardozo will then follow with a discussion of your local presence and the mechanisms for community feedback. He will also seek clarification on social issues related to your proposed service.
179 Commissioner Grauer will then discuss with you your business plan and expected synergies. She may also have technical questions. We will also rely on Commissioner Grauer to fill in any gaps that we left in our questioning and to pull together our examinations of the various parts of your application, where necessary.
180 Although some overlap may be inevitable in these three discreet portions, we will attempt, and so will you, I'm sure, to avoid that overlap as much as possible, given our tight schedule.
181 Our legal counsel may also have questions at the end of our questioning, and we will follow a similar procedure for the examination of Multivan's application.
182 You will, of course, correct me if I make any mistakes in my questioning, be they numerical or otherwise, and whether they're to your advantage or disadvantage.
183 I will start discussing with you the local programming and the local component of your application. And the reason for that is the extent to which you state yourself in your supplementary brief, for example, at page 4, revised, and I quote:
LMtv will provide predominantly local programming.
184 And at Schedule 9 of your application, page 8, you say, and I quote:
LMtv will first and foremost be a local Canadian multicultural and multilingual television station.
185 And similarly, in Section 18, at page 2, and I quote:
LMtv will offer predominantly local television that directly reflects and serves the unique demographic composition of the ethnic population in the Lower Mainland.
186 To what extent was your decision with respect to this local orientation influenced by the results of the studies you commissioned from Environics?
187 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, it was our choice to provide that level of local programming. It was influenced not only by the research we did but also by the many community groups that we've consulted. We can go into greater detail, if you like, about the focus group research. But it was very specific, the response we had from people, and I should tell you, most of my background has been in marketing so it would have been about my two hundredth focus group, and so I was delighted and surprised about how enthusiastic people were when we started talking about local programming for the ethnic communities here.
188 So the research confirmed very much that local programming is what the people wanted to see, and that's why we've chosen, in this case, to have 65 hours a week of local programming.
189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Considering the extent to which the Environics results seem to confirm this is what people, at least the ones in the communities you canvassed, that they want local programming, it's important for us to understand what is your definition of "local" in this context, that is local programming. For example, I could argue that -- not argue, but state, I suppose, that all produced in‑house programming is local, the news, for example.
190 MR. WONG: I think that would be local. When we talk about local, and in talking to people here, what it really means to them is it's a local perspective on national or international issues. I mean, people, for instance, certainly want to know what happened in the last provincial election, and if you didn't speak English or French or Chinese, it was difficult to get daily coverage.
191 So locally produced would be part of it for sure. But as well, it's to have a local perspective on issues that are international or national, and that's what people really want. They want to know that Vancouver angle.
192 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if it were produced by an independent producer, for example, or an associate, as you've called them, but it was not thematically local, would that be brought into the number of hours of local?
193 MR. WONG: Yes, it would be. I'm trying to think of an example, working with the independent producers, where it would be a story or a documentary or coverage of an event that is local in nature. Those are the easy ones that classify as local.
194 I'm thinking of the many independent producers that we have met with. And some of them have stories about China, which isn't really local content, but it relates very much to the development, for example, of the local Chinese community here. So that would be local content.
195 THE CHAIRPERSON: You can't imagine a situation where programming would be produced by an independent producer but would not be local. So in that case, you would use that as a -- well, what would you look at? Would you look at the theme, the perspective, or would you have some classifications that are predetermined, such as all the news, they're produced in-house. If it's somebody who's from the area, an independent producer, or an associate, that would automatically go into the calculation of the hours?
196 MR. WONG: Mm-hmm. Yes. I'm sorry, I'm struggling with this question because the independent producers could talk about or produce stories that are local, and they give a local perspective on an international issue. We would consider that local.
197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I did eliminate, if the perspective was local, or the take on it was local, then even if it's an event occurring somewhere else, or it could be about unemployment insurance as it affects a local community, I would say that the theme or the perspective there would be local. But you don't foresee the possibility that such producers would have broader -- the reason I'm asking is the Environics research situates the need as the need of the communities for a local station, and you have also situated it in that fashion, I believe, as I quoted back some of your statements, and then you have made some commitments as to hours of local.
198 So it's important to us to understand what "local" means and to have some measure of how one would see the extent to which you have mechanisms to check whether your orientation will, in fact, be what you say it is, especially when it's a competing application. We believe it's important to know whether your goals will be reached by the application you put forward.
199 And of course, before we proceed further, when we do the calculation of the programming that is local, we get more than 60 hours. But your supplementary brief, at page 3, appears to make a commitment of an average of 60 hours of local ethnic programming each week, of which 30 hours will be original. And I noticed this morning that you mentioned 65 hours, at page 5 of your presentation.
200 So perhaps I'd like to know what is your commitment, because we may discuss at the end of this whether or not in these circumstances, given the emphasis on local, whether the Commission should bind you to a commitment in that regard.
201 So it may be too early. You may want to wait until the end to answer that. But there is, I think, as many as 67.5 hours can be calculated from your Schedule 17. Your commitment appears to be 60, with 30 original, and this morning we mentioned 65.
202 There is in your application, in the executive summary at page 4, what appear to be your commitments in the crucial aspects of the application ‑‑ number of languages, of groups served, amount of third language programming, et cetera, Canadian content ‑‑ and there we find as the very first issue, broadcast over 60 hours of locally produced programming each week, of which at least 30 hours will be new and original.
203 Do you want to wait until later to tell us, if there were to be a commitment -- perhaps you should because I have some questions as to what is really local in the sense that the Environics study and your discussion this morning has raised. So at the end of this discussion, I will ask you if we were, what would be the validity or reasonableness of tying you by condition of license to a certain amount of local programming, and if so, which of these numbers would be reasonable.
204 So let's look at the composition of your local programming, and let's start with news and your -- your commitment here is 30.5 hours per week, I believe, with 10 hours original? And again, if I don't use proper numbers, even if you discover it after I'm on to something else, correct me, so that the record is fair to you.
205 So you also say, at Schedule 18, at page 3, and you repeated it this morning, that you will establish news bureaus in Victoria, Asia Pacific region, and you'll have an LMtv reporter in CFMT's Ottawa bureau. And I think there is another part of your application in the supplementary brief that -- and you, I believe, mentioned it again this morning that there would be some input from Toronto, as well.
206 Now, before asking you more details about how this will be done, it's obvious from reading your application and from even not very deep knowledge of the inner ways of doing news, that newscasts will contain international, national, regional and local news. But all of that will be local?
207 MR. WONG: That's correct.
208 THE CHAIRPERSON: So some international news will come directly from, let's say, Hong Kong. You must have some feeds you pick up?
209 MR. WONG: We have feeds, yes. I'll give you another example, if I may, Madam Chair. Currently, there is a stringer that CFMT has in Islamabad, so we're able to get a very local perspective on happenings in that region now. And as news moves, obviously, throughout Asia Pacific region, we have various stringers and various correspondents that we would work with, again with an orientation of having a local perspective.
210 THE CHAIRPERSON: But there will be a portion of these newscasts that will be a straight feed ‑‑
211 MR. WONG: Yes, that's --
212 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of international news, or what's happening in Ottawa, without any local perspective added?
213 MR. WONG: Well, you know, we actually -- the way we would have, for instance, the Ottawa bureau work is we would have an LMtv reporter perhaps interviewing a Lower Mainland member of Parliament on a national issue, but from a local perspective. So we would consider that local programming for the local ethnic communities.
214 THE CHAIRPERSON: But there will be a part of the news that will look much like the top news on CTV and CBC?
215 MR. WONG: Like any other local news service, yes.
216 THE CHAIRPERSON: Considering that of your 60 hours of local programming, if it's 60 that you're prepared to commit to, half of that will be news, and all of that will be calculated as local, do you have a sense of the ratio of news that will not be from a local perspective, it will simply be international news, national news, as I see them on a mainstream station?
217 MR. WONG: I'm sorry, because we haven't done that news broadcast yet ‑‑ what I would ask is, perhaps, Madeline Ziniak to talk about the CFMT experience.
218 What we really do know, though, is that it may be an international story, but it has to have a very, very local perspective. For instance, the earthquake in India that Indira has helped cover for the local audiences in Toronto, while it was international news and there was international news feeds, there was certainly a local perspective on it and coverage from, in that case, a Toronto perspective. In LMtv's case, it would be from a Vancouver perspective.
220 MS. ZINIAK: I would just like to add that all newscasts are local because the actual process of making editorial decisions of what goes into the newscast is local.
221 These are needs from the community. The producers, associate producers, the news director, those are all from Vancouver, and they are making decisions as to what their audiences want to see and hear. And as we know, that if you're even working with international news feeds, the decision-making process, you choose stories that you know are going to fit into the local perspective. And often, from our experiences, when we do choose international stories, there is always a local angle to that.
222 For example, if you're looking at the handover of Macao, certainly it's an international story, but you have a local interview that looks at the ramifications of the change of government, and you have to have a local interview. We have audiences that demand that.
223 So I would conclude by saying even in the editorial process, the decision making with the way you edit a story, the way you choose a story, what's key in your line-up, that is local. That's the only way to do it.
224 THE CHAIRPERSON: That would be true of material that is funnelled to Vancouver from CFMT?
225 MS. ZINIAK: Yes, that's correct. It has to be relevant and it has to be decided upon by the local team, who are from the various ethnocultural communities.
226 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, can you expand for us further as to what the Asia Pacific news bureau will be, in terms of staffing, where it will be located, et cetera?
227 MR. WONG: It's not -- the opportunity for us with the Asia Pacific bureau is really to get coverage of that region which is the largest population base that's immigrating to Vancouver. So it's obviously very relevant to a lot of our local ethnic communities. And it's not so much a bricks and mortar, have a building set-up; it's more having a series of stringers so that we can be flexible and cover different regions quickly.
228 In addition to that, it will build off of the existing relationships that we have through CFMT with news services throughout Asia. And to be very specific, in some cases those stringers are Canadians who have moved back to various regions, so they certainly understand the Canadian perspective and can report back with a local flavour, albeit from throughout the Asia Pacific region.
229 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the Victoria bureau?
230 MR. WONG: We'll have a mini-studio, if I could call it that, in Victoria, in order to cover our legislature. We'll have a reporter and a camera operator and an edit facility there so that we can have feeds not just to LMtv, but also to CFMT.
231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms. Ziniak, is what you just outline to us the -- would that also be the answer if I were to ask you to what extent would the newscast be different from what is already available to members of the community?
232 MS. ZINIAK: Number one, the content will be different for the newscasts here at LMtv. Certainly, the Canadian content would be different. And as we talked about the bureaus, there will be a political perspective that will be included or reporting on the different political scenes here will be different because I don't think presently, as far as television goes, there is a reporter that can manage to ask questions of politicians, where the politicians will actually answer in various languages.
233 Because if I may, the way we operate our bureau in Ottawa, for example, is that we have a senior correspondent, David Battistelli, who can ask the question in Italian but also he would ask a question in English and ask the member of Parliament to answer in his language of origin. And this is extremely important because in answering in the language of comfort to our audiences, and certainly, we have seen now, Victoria and British Columbia in general, has politicians who are from many, many ethnocultural communities, with accountability to these language communities, can answer in those languages, and that's extremely important.
234 Therefore, the question can be asked in English or another language, depending on who we hire as a correspondent, and the answer can be in the politician's language. This, then, is incorporated into our newscasts and often we use this interview in many other newscasts as well.
235 What we produce also is a one-station story. For example, recently we were one of the first to interview the president of the Muslim Community of Canada, when the tragedy of September the 11th occurred. He was not only used in the Arabic program, but the interview was used in our Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Ukrainian, Polish, and other newscasts. So that's how we would like to approach it.
236 MR. VINER: Madam Chair, if I might? If I could just add, for a moment, you know, there's a significant difference in the newscasts that you would see on LMtv, as there are in CFMT.
237 Many of the stories that you saw on that video were never covered in the mainstream media. I think that's an important distinction to make. And of those stories that are covered, they're covered from a unique and specific perspective. I think that's our contribution. We try hard not to cover the same news in the same way as mainstream or conventional television and I think that's what has made CFMT a success and will make LMtv a success in this market.
238 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, if I may, one of the other things that our community has told us repeatedly is that the ethnic experience is not necessarily unique by ethnocultural group. And what I mean by that is, if you are an ethnic person in the Lower Mainland, you may more relate to another ethnocultural group before you relate to the mainstream. And while there may be mainstream news and mainstream coverage of different stories, as an ethnic person, to be able to relate to a different ethnic group and what their successes and their struggles are are sometimes more relevant.
239 The way that would work in our newsroom is that we would send out a camera to cover a story, but the reporters from the different languages reporting to the different community groups would be able to talk amongst themselves and explain the story back and forth so that they can relate that same ethnic experience of once specific group to the rest of the community. And that is something that people here have told us repeatedly that that's something that they can identify. It may be about immigration or it could be about tax disclosure. Different issues hit different ethnic groups different ways. But that ability for ethnic people to relate to one another in their experiences is something that they want to see, and they'd like to see it on a daily basis.
240 THE CHAIRPERSON: By the same token, Mr. Wong, my question was also how you'll handle the fact that what is relevant to an ethnocultural community in the Lower Mainland may not be the same as the issue that is of relevance to the same ethnocultural community in Toronto. So you make my point. That ethnocultural community may relate better to another one in the Lower Mainland than to their own in Toronto depending non the issue. And of course, we want to hear you about whether the synergies with CFMT may be carried to a point where this local orientation will be effective.
241 So how will you ensure that that's not the case and that balance is kept in your approach to news with relevance to this particular community which may not have the same issues as the same one in Toronto?
242 MR. WONG: Well, I guess I'd share it from a very personal perspective. I'm a third generation Vancouverite, and we are naturally somehow raised to be suspicious of anyone east of the Rockies. So as it relates to the news --
243 THE CHAIRPERSON: And we are such nice people.
244 MR. WONG: Well yes, that's true.
245 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good answer.
246 MR. WONG: So in this case, specifically for LMtv, it's important to keep that same sort of fierce independence to reflect the local communities and the issues that they want to talk about. Because we have so much news programming, it just isn't possible, in my mind, to sort of do that by remote control from one region or another. It really has to be a local decision. It has to be local management, local reporters, local editorial decision making.
247 The synergies ‑- and I know we'll talk about those later ‑‑ are more on technology or procedures as opposed to take this story and plunk it here. In my mind ‑‑ and our research clearly confirms that ‑- that's not what our viewers want to see. They want to know what's going on here and they want to know from a local perspective issues nationally and internationally.
248 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the answer is that the choice of the news is what is crucial and that will be made here, whatever the source of the component is, whether it comes via a CFMT reporter in Ottawa or whether it's footage you use from Toronto or whether you use the same stringers, the choice will be made by the news managers of the proposed station?
249 MR. WONG: That is correct, and specifically in Ottawa, that's why we'll put an LMtv reporter in that bureau. They may share a phone but it'll be our reporter, and likewise with Victoria.
250 THE CHAIRPERSON: I forget if it was Ms. Ziniak, but someone mentioned during the presentation your experience and the value of it in this proposal for avoiding stereotypes ‑‑ I may not be paraphrasing properly ‑‑ and ensuring balance, which can become a delicate issue because, unlike some of the mainstream people who often think that groups from a specific have no cultural heritage, all have the same interests and love each other and see the world in the same fashion, that you have a lot of experience in ensuring that balance is kept and sensitivities are taken into consideration. That experience is a Toronto experience. How will you ensure that a new experience is nurtured in Toronto, and what is the value of having had the experience in CFMT, but how will you then ensure that it's adapted to the area of the world which, according to Mr. Wong, is very far from Toronto, that you will be covering?
251 MR. WONG: Thank you, Madam Chair. The synergies portion of it is important to us but that local nature of what we're trying to do is equally important. Maybe Madeline, I'm going to ask her to maybe explain the procedures part of it first, and then I'll follow after you.
252 MS. ZINIAK: I'd like to start by saying that when I joined CFMT-TV when Rogers purchased CFMT-TV, there were no procedures or systems in place. So what we have done since that time -- and this is what we would like to share with LMtv, are procedures that would include a program proposal and development procedure, how we deal with written proposals and pilot development for ethnocultural communities.
253 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, at the moment we're talking about news. We'll get back to that. You'll have an opportunity. I'm just interested in the news component of it. That area was what consists of quite a large proportion of news directed to the Chinese community and the South Asian community and how will you ensure -- and you can get back with me when we discuss independent production.
254 Don't tell me the message is I don't talk enough.
255 MR. WONG: I'm not touching any more buttons.
256 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's very important that we all turn off our mikes when -- whoops.
257 MR. WONG: One of the things that makes us unique, we believe, in being able to have a local coverage and really reflect the local communities is that as a company, we've had the Rogers Multicultural Channel, and that gave us a lot of experience in understanding the sensitivities and the diversities within each ethnic community. So from the outside the Punjabi community is large, but we know, having worked and having had extensive relationships in this eight-year process for this application, and through our advisory board members and the many, many thousands of community people that have talked to us, that there are distinct issues with each one of those communities, as you well noted.
258 And that sort of knowledge only comes from working and knowing people and building up relationships to a level of trust where people will be open and they will share stories and you do have contacts, and you don't have to ask someone else, "Who do I call for a story about this?" And we would hope that building off of that relationship that we have already, that people would offer up and give ideas and give input on things that they would like to be covered.
259 So I think that our years of experience in this market, and specifically with the Multicultural Channel, does help us gain some understanding of the local ethnic communities and how we could serve them in a news broadcast.
260 THE CHAIRPERSON: A last question on news. There will be a component of your newscasts that will be in the English language. You calculate all news as local for the reasons you've expressed. I assume that newscasts will all be calculated as third language as well?
261 MR. WONG: Yes.
262 THE CHAIRPERSON: What is in general the component of newscasts that are not in third language when it's, let's say, a Chinese newscast or South Asian newscast? Am I right that that's calculated in your requirement to reach a certain percentage of third language programming, that the entire newscast is taken into consideration?
263 MR. WONG: Yes. And maybe I'll ask Viddear Khan to give you the specific numbers for hours. But the answer to your question is yes. Viddear.
264 MS. KHAN: Thanks, Glenn. Madam Chair, there will be a total of five hours of South Asian daily news on block schedule, and this is in English. This is counted as ethnic programming, not third language.
265 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand. My question was, inside the Chinese language newscasts, for example, there may be a certain amount of English spoken, yet from beginning to end that would fall into your third language programming?
266 MR. WONG: Sorry. There is no English in our Chinese news broadcasts. The Mandarin ‑‑
267 THE CHAIRPERSON: I get this idea from ‑‑ I believe I saw in your application when you discussed closed captioning that you'll close caption the English portion of third language programming? Am I wrong?
268 MR. WONG: Not for the news portion. The news is entirely in third language. There may be bullets in English, but the words are Chinese.
269 THE CHAIRPERSON: Entirely?
270 MR. WONG: Yes.
271 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if they were not?
272 MR. SOLE: Commissioner Wylie, you may be referring to the segments of the news where the topic or the people that are being interviewed are speaking English, for example, the Prime Minister.
273 THE CHAIRPERSON: It will then be close captioned, if I recall.
274 MR. SOLE: The closed captioning would still likely be in the language of origin, but the person speaking would be allowed to speak in the language they've spoken in. On some occasions, if it's a long or a complicated passage, the newscaster and the writers will have a simultaneous translation over top of the person that's being interviewed. But there is the presence of English in our newscasts as a result of the people that we cover.
275 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that would be true in -- you will have some South Asian news that will be in a South Asian language as well; am I not right? There will be some that will be English and not counted in third language. I've forgotten your name, madam, at the back.
276 MR. WONG: Viddear.
277 THE CHAIRPERSON: I interrupted you. You understand now what I was asking was inside the newscasts if there is a fair amount of English. But what you're saying is, in no case will it not be translated or text, so it will all be third language.
278 MR. SOLE: It would be described as common currency that wouldn't be either text or captioned.
279 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that usually occurs because of the practicalities of it, not because part of the newscasts are intended to be in English?
280 MR. SOLE: Yes.
281 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I understand you saying there will be five hours of news directed to the South Asian community and therefore ethnic. But I draw a difference, as we must from a regulatory perspective, between third language and ethnic programming, which may well be in the language of the mainstream.
282 Now, magazines. There's almost 30 hours as well of magazine programming, and if we go back to this time the LLS marketing research, it would seem that in that research as well there was an expression of a desire for locally produced shows about local individuals, local topics that are relevant to the daily lives of that group in this particular community.
283 Yet, there will be some magazines that will come from CFMT. If I look at your Schedule 17 at page 16 where you talk about Canadian acquired programming, there are some magazines here, for example Ukrainian, Greek, et cetera, of the smaller ethnocultural groups that perhaps would be difficult to serve from a practical perspective.
284 Would these count as local programming if they were produced by CFMT? My question is, the programming that will come from CFMT, magazine programs which are listed here, would you calculate them as local? They'll obviously be ethnic. They may well be third language. Will they be local?
285 MR. WONG: We would not count those as local. They would have, though, content from Vancouver, so this is one of the synergies that we can enjoy, that we would have programming produced at CFMT in Toronto that we would air on LMtv, but because we have a station, a bureau here, we'd be able to feed stories back to Toronto to include in that.
286 In two or three years, as LMtv matures, if we are successful in obtaining the license, I would fully expect that we would be exporting programs, if you will, to CFMT to Toronto from Vancouver.
287 THE CHAIRPERSON: I've noticed that in a number of places, the positive of the synergies that can occur between the two. But is there not a danger that, as this is put in place, which is obviously quite effective to lower costs because you can share and cover both antennas, that there will not be a disincentive to be very local so that you're more exportable?
288 MR. WONG: I'll ask Madeline to maybe comment. But before she does, one of the things that did come up in our research and every time we talk with people, is the need to have quality programming. And they want to make sure that whatever they see is of the highest quality. And so we believe that one of the solutions for that, to ensure great quality throughout our entire schedule, is to take advantage of programming that's available to us from CFMT in Toronto with come local content, because we can share stories back and forth, for small ‑‑ as you noted, Madam Chair, for smaller language groups here in the Lower Mainland. And anecdotally, people here that have relatives in Toronto or have seen those specific programming, are very much in demand of that quality even locally, and it's important. Madeline.
289 MS. ZINIAK: I may add that although certainly local perspective and local stories are key, they're important, there are opportunities that actually CFMT-TV has utilized. We've had a Vancouver bureau here the last two years and it has enabled us to cover important stories that are also important, for example, to the South Asian community. The murder of Reena Virk. We had a camera here. This is a huge issue for the communities across Canada. Although of course this was a local story, occurred locally, it had ramifications to people across Canada. And this is where we're able to have impact in communities where we're able to include stories that are local but have ramifications to ethnocultural communities across Canada.
290 And certainly there are synergies. There's hundreds of organizations that are national that have shared issues, and we like to include the different perspectives of ethnic groups across Canada, and this is one way that that has enabled us to do so.
291 So the answer is that although we do have CFMT-TV programs here, we have included Vancouver stories in the past that have been relevant to Ontario, but those are still not included as local for Vancouver but relevant to Ontario audiences.
292 MR. WONG: Tony, would you like to comment as well perhaps?
293 MR. VINER: I would just hate to leave the Commission with the impression somehow that because there are synergies that develop between our southern Ontario service and that for the Lower Mainland, that somehow decisions will be taken out of the market. All of the editorial decisions, all of the hiring decisions, the B.C. production initiatives ‑‑ every single decision, and all the news decisions, as Maddie has pointed out, will be taken here in Vancouver.
294 We operate 30 different radio stations in a variety of markets. And if you go to our radio station in Calgary, you'll find that it has local talent, it has its roots sunk deep into the community, it provides local PSAs and local fund-raising. If you stopped people on the street, they'd tell you it was absolutely a local station regardless of where the head office was.
295 So yes, there are synergies. As Madeline and Glenn have said, the CFMT programming that's on the schedule is provided for those groups who could not otherwise sustain a program. They're not counted as part of our local commitment.
296 We couldn't get Glenn to take this job if were going to somehow operate it by remote control.
297 But apart from that, it's just not good business. You have to be local and reflect the local reality in order for this station to be successful.
298 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand, Mr. Viner. I was focusing on a very small part, the magazine part, in the context of my initial statement that we may discuss at the end of this whether the local orientation is something that you should be somehow bound by considering the research you've done yourself and the position you've taken as to what your proposal is.
299 And so I'm looking at little parts. I understand that there's a whole lot more, but now we're focusing on the magazine and I'm curious to know whether this 8.5 hours of material coming from CFMT will originally, I gather ‑‑ the first year at least, will be coming from CFMT and produced there, because I understand from your application that it's only within two to three years of operation that you expect to exchange as much, as many hours one from the other.
300 Now, is it because, for example, there is a bigger Greek community in Toronto or a bigger Macedonian community in Toronto, or is it because although you hit the ground running, you won't be able to do everything here as quickly as ‑‑ or provided as quickly as getting it from Toronto. I was focusing on those hours of mostly, I guess, magazine programming ‑‑ wouldn't it be, the 8.5 hours? ‑‑ to the smaller communities. What attempt will you make in particular for the ones that are mentioned? I remember Greek, Macedonian, Ukrainian as well, I think. What effort will you make to substitute then more emphasis coming from here in the coming years?
301 MR. WONG: Thank you, Madam Chair. First of all, the 8.5 yours that you referred to, we don't consider them local. I think that editorially we can still get Vancouver content in them, but we're not counting them as local content on the 8.5 hours of magazine shows that you pointed to.
302 THE CHAIRPERSON: Excluded from the hours that will be local if one were to establish some type of mechanism to calculate local?
303 MR. WONG: That is correct. I was referring more from an editorial standpoint. And you're absolutely right, these are groups that are larger in Toronto than they are here, so the opportunity to bring that programming back to smaller groups here that otherwise wouldn't have it, we thought was a good thing to do.
304 And you mentioned as we continue to mature as a station and sending more programming back to Toronto, one of the things is we are offering seven languages in our schedule that are not on the CFMT schedule, and those again are prime opportunities for LMtv to provide programming to CFMT, those being Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, Dutch and German. So those are languages that we will have on our schedule here in Vancouver, so to your point about the benefits we can have of providing those seven additional languages and being able to focus on those while taking eight and a half hours from Toronto for smaller groups here, as you pointed out, that is exactly what we're doing.
305 THE CHAIRPERSON: And how would you choose, especially in year one when there isn't yet this exchange? How would you choose the programs that you would export into Vancouver? I gather that the exchange will grow. What is it? It'll grow to an equal amount by year three?
306 MR. WONG: Well, not that I'm competitive, but I would think we would have more. I wouldn't want that necessarily on the record.
307 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why not? Sounds good to me.
308 MR. WONG: Because I'm sitting beside the station manager. Well, because we've got an advantage now because we are offering more languages, which is the seven that I said that we have that aren't in Toronto. I can see the day within three years where ‑‑ and I don't know if it would be balanced. I don't know if it would be 50/50. What's really important is to reflect the local communities and different ethnic groups and how they're made up.
309 So for instance, we have, that would come from Toronto, Greek, Portuguese, Macedonian, Italian and Ukrainian. The ethnocultural groups certainly exist here, but as you've noted, they're not as big here as they would be in Toronto.
310 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's also of interest to me to look at how this will work financially because if you put forward synergy as an important component, it's a natural reaction for us regulators to say, well, if you have all these advantages, we'll expect more. I'm looking at your Schedule 9 at page 8, and I believe that's where I found this quote, which says that:
With two ethnic TV stations, local communities served by CFMT and LMtv will reap the benefits from local programming arrangements.
311 So that's what you discuss. And in your deficiency response, the first letter at page 4, you state, and you repeated again this morning that within the initial two to three years, you expect to be in a position to migrate an equivalent 8.5 hours portion of your programming schedule to CFMT.
312 And in Schedule 17 at page 54, those programs are shown as Canadian acquired with funding from CFMT. And in your supplementary brief, at page 22, you say, "LMtv will exchange programming with CFMT at no cost." I'd like to know, when I look at your financial projections, whether there's any accounting shown here as to the financial benefit of possibly making a program in Vancouver and showing it on two stations and vice versa. Or is the cost of making this program in your programming expenses all there? Or is there an accounting showing that in year one, for example, you'll be getting 8.5 hours from CFMT, at no cost, I gather. How does the accounting of this arrangement work when we look at your Canadian programming expenses? And I relate again to the fact that it's put under Canadian acquired in your schedule.
313 MR. WONG: I'll ask Tony to maybe comment about some of the synergies in the accounting of it. But to your point, Madam Chair --
314 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I'm talking here not of the foreign programming. We can talk about that later. Just of this exchange with CFMT. How is that reflected in your programming expenses?
315 MR. VINER: Madam Chair, just to be clear, they are at no charge. There is therefore no charge taken in the LMtv accounting, which just leaves us more money to spend on locally produced programming. So it's eight and a half hours. It costs money for CFMT to produce that, but there is no charge. We're not double accounting. It's Canadian acquired, I guess. We've categorized it as Canadian acquired because it is acquired but it is not original. But it's at zero cost. So we think the synergy is that the station can devote the available resources to the production of Canadian local programming because it's not getting charged for approximately eight and a half hours of programming from Toronto.
316 Similarly, if there is ‑‑ Glenn believes absolutely there will be a more significant program exchange going from west to east, and I'm sure he's right. But the expenses for producing that programming will be in Vancouver, and then they will be provided to Toronto. Will they be provided at no charge? That'll be a negotiation, I'm sure, between Mr. Sole and Mr. Wong.
317 But for the purposes of this application, any programming coming from east to west will not be charged.
318 MR. WONG: And Madam Chair, you had asked ‑‑ and I had to think about this earlier when we were putting this all together and trying to figure out the exchange of programs and the accounting and who benefits and where it all comes out. My conclusion in the end is it's how through those synergies we're able to offer the B.C. Independent Producers Initiative for $27 million and how we're able to give back the $30 million back into the system. Those are the synergies -- and not just this one in particular and eight and a half hours of programming, but that's how we've been able to do it.
319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Wong, I think I heard you say that these eight and a half hours coming from CFMT will not be counted as local magazine. And can I assume that the programming that is produced here by LMtv in years two, three and beyond, intended for exchange, will not be local either?
320 MR. WONG: Not local for Toronto. Local for here.
321 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why would they be local for here if they're intended for ‑‑ let me rephrase this. Is it not possible that they'll be less than local if they're intended for exchange, that those programs that you will produce in Vancouver for sharing with CFMT will not be intensely local?
322 MR. WONG: Well, I think there's ‑‑
323 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm asking the question because you immediately said that the eight and a half hours of CFMT coming to Vancouver would not be local to here. Why would the ones that you produce here be local even if there's an exchange intended?
324 MR. WONG: What I'm meaning is that what would be defined under local hours produced in Toronto, the eight and a half hours that's coming here, I'm not considering those as in our local hours for LMtv. However, the languages or the production two or three years from now that LMtv would produce locally and share in Toronto, we would consider that local in Vancouver. I'm just saying in Toronto it wouldn't be considered local.
325 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are we not going back to a definition of local according to where it's produced and by whom rather than the theme of it?
326 MR. WONG: I think we are. And we're just trying to be consistent. If that eight and a half hours that we're currently showing is produced in Toronto and is shown in Vancouver, we're not considering that local to Vancouver.
327 THE CHAIRPERSON: Even if it just so happened that the Toronto producer had some interest in an issue occurring in Vancouver?
328 MR. WONG: This is the editorial or the content side.
329 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that's my question. If I were to try to find a way of testing whether your initial view that you're providing a local station is what you'll provide, and I was trying to find measures to calculate that and hold you to it, what would be the test? And now we're getting confusion as to where it's produced as opposed to the theme. And I thought you told me earlier it was the theme or the perspective that counts. And of course, it's legitimate then to raise the question, if you intend it for somewhere else, will you hold to the local perspective?
330 MS. ZINIAK: If I just may add as far as the content goes, the product will not be less local because of the possibility of the exchange. For example, if indeed Glenn decides that New Monday, which is a program for South Asian women in Vancouver, produced in Vancouver with issues and perhaps services that are available to women in Vancouver, is available for CFMT-TV, the content would not change, but I am sure that the issues discussed on this program would certainly be of interest to those in southern Ontario. So I do not think that the content would be less local in any way.
331 Notwithstanding that, I do think there are issues that bind, not only women but certainly ethnocultural communities, and I know with the programs that we've tested here in Vancouver, they were produced in Toronto but the focus group said yes, that's the kind of material we would like.
332 And certainly when you get into news programming, there's local news, there's national news, and there's also international news which has relevance specifically to the local community, but of course can be of great interest to the community in Ontario.
333 MR. WONG: I'm sorry, your question is what's the best way to define local in production and what isn't ‑‑ I'm just trying to be consistent ‑‑ in our schedule?
334 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. And there are two issues really. One is the programming. When you say I'll do 60 plus hours, 67, 65 of local programming, what have we got there and how local is it? One could say it depends on where it's produced, which you always end up saying, although at the beginning you say it's by perspective or theme, the most difficult test of course to apply. Is it because it's produced in house? We discussed news. That makes it local. Then we will now discuss your commitment to the local independent production, and again, the same question arises. What is local? You could have a local producer who produces programming that is not local. We've been through these discussions about Canadian programming, and that's what I'm trying to explore.
335 I think you've been quite clear about the news and the reasons why from beginning to end. You can say that's a locally produced program, which is half of your hours. So then I look at magazines and I say well, synergies are a great thing. Does it affect local? How would one calculate whether you are producing 60 hours, or broadcasting 60 hours of local? So they're not easy answers.
336 But when we have competitive applications, you do research that throws up the need for a local station that offers something relevant to the community, then I think it's fair to test your proposal against the research, which is supposed to tell you what the community wants, and what you say you will provide. So that's the perspective.
337 But I agree, it's not easy. I'm just trying to get from you more information on how you will do it. And then at the end of the day, is there a need to test it, and if so, what are the mechanisms that make sense for testing it?
338 MR. WONG: And Madam Chair, I guess what I would simply state is that we try to be conservative, and it is a topic of how to define what is local and what is not, as you've quite clearly laid out.
339 What we've tried to do is be conservative and say if it's produced in Vancouver, it's local for the purposes of the schedule. That's why the eight and a half hours that I was referring to from Toronto, I didn't consider that as part of my local schedule. So that's on the being conservative in where it's produced side of the ledger.
340 On the other side of the ledger, which is the discussion point is editorially, if it's produced in Vancouver but we took a story relevant to the Punjabi community here but it was a story out of Toronto, does that change it? Well, another discussion. But what we've tried to reflect is to be conservative by saying if it's produced in Vancouver, it's local.
341 THE CHAIRPERSON: Legal counsel may come back to that, but I referred you earlier and said I would wait until we'd had this discussion before you barge in and offer 80 hours. At your executive summary, at page 4, the bottom of the page, I referred earlier to what appears to be the crucial or core components of your commitments, and the very first one is 60 hours of locally produced programming, of which 30 hours will be new and original.
342 You said 65 this morning.
343 I think we can calculate from you Schedule 17, the grid, as much as I believe ‑‑ I didn't do the calculation but someone did it, and apparently 67.5 hours. What is your reaction to the Commission imposing that as a condition of license, and if so, what would be your commitment in hours?
344 MR. VINER: (A), I think it's appropriate for the Commission, if they wish, to set that as a commitment, and we would agree to commit to the 60 hours of local programming.
345 THE CHAIRPERSON: With 30 original?
346 MR. VINER: That's correct.
347 THE CHAIRPERSON: And it would allow you presumably to withstand a more severe test if we were to apply it to 67.5 hours.
348 Let's talk about your commitment to, again, local independent production, and the same question will arise of course. What is a local producer? Is it Vancouver, the Great Vancouver area, the Lower Mainland, all of B.C.? Your two initiatives are the Local Community Producers Showcase and the B.C. Producers Initiative. So I gather the second commitment, it's anyone from B.C. who may get some money from that $24 million fund, and possibly script and concept development, the $4 million as well.
349 With regard to the Local Community Producers Showcase, which will provide 14 hours a week, of which four will be original, what is your definition of local in that case?
350 MR. WONG: These ones may be a bit easier in that they are local producers. As you noted in our B.C. Producers Independent Producers Initiative, the producer has to be B.C. based.
351 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. So local is all of the province, then, the same as with the B.C. Producers Initiative?
352 MR. WONG: Yes.
353 THE CHAIRPERSON: So for the Local Community Producers Showcase, you could be from Vernon or Kelowna?
354 MR. WONG: Yes.
355 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that would be local to the Greater Vancouver area where your station is?
356 MR. WONG: That is correct. We would expect this to be reflecting the local communities, but we'd include Vernon in that, sure.
357 THE CHAIRPERSON: The local in this case is the province, then?
358 MR. WONG: Yes.
359 MS. ZINIAK: If I just may add, the Community Producers Showcase is an opportunity for a grassroots producer. Presently we have 11 independent producers of smaller ethnocultural communities in Toronto, and our intent is to give an opportunity to those smaller communities. This could be a 52-week series or it could be a 13-week series. It could be a news magazine program or a thematic program. The community can define by itself. The independent producer will define what they feel their capabilities are, and this is a very good opportunity to test even a smaller group and to develop production skills from that community.
360 So just to define it, the Community Producers Showcase is for new producers, independent producers, very grassroots producers.
361 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll discuss a little what your relationship will be with these producers, so-called associates. But you say grassroots et cetera. So it will not be -- I had understood that it would be to serve the smaller ethnocultural groups. But do I understand that it's more the lack of expertise and sophistication of the producer rather than the size of the community that producer reflects, so to speak, if we talk about language or cultural background?
362 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, it could be either of those. When we designed the Community Producers Showcase, it was really to try to be inclusive. So rather than having a community and having to have a production and a producer that could commit to a regular slot in the schedule, we thought that if we had a regular band on a daily basis that we could allow community access, if you will, to LMtv, that we could incorporate this way. So maybe because it's a small group -- I wouldn't want to say it's because the producer's talent may not be there, because we've had four roundtables starting in May with the independent producer community here, and I can tell you from my previous experience with this group, there's a phenomenal wealth of expertise out there. So what we wanted to do was give them an opportunity to air community shows. So it is reflecting both in some cases community groups and producers with maybe less resources that we could support.
363 THE CHAIRPERSON: And those producers with less resources could be from the larger cultural groups, such as the Chinese and the South Asian?
364 MR. WONG: They could be. That's possible.
365 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you were ‑‑ I don't want to encroach on the intervention period, but if you were already providing some services in the market, wouldn't that be a source of concern that these 14 hours could become majority -- the Chinese and the South Asians, and therefore increase dramatically the third language programming directed to these communities at the expense, we'll be told, I'm sure, of those who are already providing service to the Chinese and the South Asian community. In other words, could it be that given the very large groups to whom I believe you will offer a great number of hours of programming, could also be increased via this showcase?
366 MR. WONG: I wouldn't want to exclude any language group from the Community Producers Showcase. So yes, it could go towards more, let's say, Cantonese programming. But it's not meant that way. And Mason can maybe talk about some of the community groups that we have consulted with and the commitment that we've made to them about making sure that they'll have a voice and that they will have programming. And after eight years of discussions with them, we obviously will stay true to that commitment that we've made to them.
367 So it's meant to allow the smaller language groups to have that kind of access. It's not meant to ‑‑ we're very comfortable with our South Asian and our Chinese programming, for instance. It would be nice obviously to do more for everybody, but we are broadcasting in 24 languages, as you can see in the schedule. The Community Producers Showcase would give us an opportunity to go beyond the 24, again for some of the smaller language groups that wouldn't or couldn't muster up enough resources for a regular time slot. This is an opportunity to at least provide them with some programming.
368 THE CHAIRPERSON: If this works very well, of course, you could easily see the Chinese community and South Asian community saying, "We want in on this too because this is great," and increase thereby the number of hours that you're offering to these larger communities. And it raises the question, of course, which we'll address perhaps later as to whether there would be a need for the Commission to ensure that the two major language groups are not provided with more hours of programming than you propose, to make sure that the showcases are kept to the smaller groups.
369 MS. ZINIAK: If I may add, the intent was quite focused, and that was to give opportunities to emerging communities to develop talent and to gain experience. However, if from some of the other communities such as Cantonese, Mandarin or South Asian, if there is a different proposal, different genre ‑‑ for example, if there is a proposal ‑‑ and we look forward to it ‑‑ let's say of a 13-part children's series in Mandarin which presently perhaps we're not doing, we would like to consider that, because it's a different genre.
370 So I think that's one of the things that we'd be looking at, that it actually complements the schedule and it's something different than something that's already existing on the schedule.
371 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you're not interested in pursuing the idea of limiting the number of hours offered to the two largest communities? Anyway, we'll have an opportunity. I'm sure we'll hear an intervention and you'll be back in reply as to the validity of that need, considering that there's a fair amount of flexibility there, and realities over a seven-year period can have an incentive to thwart or at least moderate or temper what was proposed at the beginning, unless there is a definite mechanism to bind you to what may be seen as the mechanisms that are required to keep you to your proposal.
372 Now, we are interested in the relationship you'll have with these producers which you refer to as associates in Section 18. But these productions in Section 17 ‑‑ no, Schedule 17 rather, at page 15, are called co-productions. So I'd like to understand better what the relationship will be. You specified that it won't be brokered time, but what will be the actual financial relationship with these people and who will have the rights to the programming? We'll discuss later on your second proposal, the B.C. Producers Initiative. It's quite clear that the rights will stay with the producer. What will happen in this case? Although these showcases are intended to be less expert probably, some of them may indeed surprise all of us. What will be the financial relationship? Will you provide not only the expertise, the help, the workshops ‑‑ I've read all that ‑‑ but also all the money that is required to put those together and will that property be yours, then? For example, why not have some on CFMT in some cases? I'm sure some of them will be of an entertainment value, et cetera.
373 MR. WONG: The independent producer will retain the rights to the programming. The financial arrangement is --
374 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's call them associates so we don't mix it with the other component of your independent production.
375 MR. WONG: Thank you for the clarification. The associates would retain 75 percent of the advertising inventory, so they could then go out and sell 75 percent of the advertising.
376 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it would be more similar to a brokered arrangement. Why do you insist that it's not brokering?
377 MR. WONG: Because --
378 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because ‑‑ oh, okay. I hear you.
379 MR. WONG: There's --
380 MR. VINER: You didn't answer.
381 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure you'll explain that you're providing work and you're providing information and you're helping them, et cetera, which is not always the case with brokering.
382 MR. WONG: That's part of it.
383 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take it back.
384 MR. WONG: That's part of it. The other issue around brokering out, though ‑‑ and this is really something we've heard from the communities ‑‑ is that in the brokering out model, where one producer, I'll say, buys that time and airs what they want, they get their views or their friends' views or a particular view and they own that time, and the rest of that community is shut out of having a voice. And that's why we're adamant about brokering out is not the model.
385 I do have some previous experience of this when I was ‑- having worked with other independent producers and having talked to them, that that model to us isn't fair to the rest of the community. And as I said earlier on in my comments, the ethnocultural groups are quite diverse. As well, there isn't the same sort of financial risk associated with it.
386 THE CHAIRPERSON: That sounds good, but how will you know whether it's not their friends if LMtv doesn't have a person speaking that language?
387 MR. WONG: We have -- and this is again where experience and expertise come in. We have a local advisory board and we'll have one in place that will be in constant contact with the community. And given our relationships with them, I expect that I'm on a number of speed dials as we speak. So I think the communities will very clearly let us know whether or not what is being aired is fair and balanced.
388 The other thing ‑- and again, let me talk about track records for a second. At CFMT in Toronto there's 183 employees. Ninety percent of them are ethnic. And LMtv will be, if not 90 percent, maybe higher. And so the station will be made up of the very community groups we are seeking to serve, and that's one of the best ways, we believe, by having our own staff from the communities and speaking that language, to be able to monitor and ensure that the programming ‑‑
389 MS. ZINIAK: If I may add also, there is a specific position, the independent production coordinator for the associate producers, the associates, is there specifically to work with the associates, there to actually fulfil their needs. There are production needs. There are facility needs. He or she will work together with these producers to get better quality of programming.
390 And secondly, as (technical difficulties / difficultés techniques)
391 MS. ZINIAK: ... and we have feedback mechanisms in place that will deal with that kind of feedback. So those are the checks and balances as well as the checks and balances that we have within the station.
392 THE CHAIRPERSON: I leave to Commissioner Cardozo to discuss with you later what indeed you intend by the procedure for choosing programming and that you will rely on the appropriate member of the LMtv local advisory board in that procedure.
393 Now, the procedure that you outline in a fair amount of detail in your application, does it apply to both the B.C. Producers Initiative and the showcase for the choice of programming? The procedure to ensure that you've got balance and that you reach your goals.
394 MR. WONG: Yes. There will be a written policy that will be published for all concerned parties so that everyone knows how it will be selected. I can't help but continue to refer to our local advisory board and how instrumental they will be in making sure that that balance in the community is maintained.
395 THE CHAIRPERSON: Will you also have regard to the ability of that producer to actually get revenue from his 75 percent share and you from your 25?
396 MR. WONG: Will they enjoy synergies from us? Yes, we'll have our own sales team here.
397 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I meant more in the choice. If you have a number of proposals, I don't know how many, and you're choosing which ones will actually produce for you as an associate once they've pitched a proposal, will ‑‑ well, we discussed a bit earlier. Will the balance in languages be an issue? Will the ability of that producer and you to recoup some of your costs be taken into consideration as well, because the incentive would be to pitch it to the larger communities from which it may be a little easier to sell air time in the program.
398 MS. ZINIAK: Yes. We have found that usually, especially in the emerging communities, because it is a labour of love initially for that producer, they have the contacts in the communities and it's usually the retail base or other entities that want to support their producer and it's that producer that knows best those contacts. And we have found that that is something that does work.
399 However, that's not the only factor that we consider in choosing those producers. We certainly look at size and we certainly look at the expressed community interest or the need for that community. Will they have numbers? Will they have an audience?
400 We also look at trends such as is the community growing or declining? Is it projected to increase? And what is the age of that community? Is it a first generation or second generation? We certainly look at the demographics. We look at the size of the population and the make-up of the population.
401 And also of course, most importantly, is language, language retention. Does the group retain their language and need the language for information purposes? And certainly the availability of talent. Are there journalists, producers, television experts who we know are out there who've had tremendous challenges in getting jobs in Canada? Perhaps they have learned their professions elsewhere in the world. Also we know there are emerging journalists who have learned the television trade in schools here and who have a particular interest in their own community, who've had a difficulty also in accessing -- working at a television station.
402 So we look at all of these elements and they don't work in an isolated fashion. They work together. And also of course we look at links to the homeland in the sense that are there information needs from the homeland.
403 So these are the criteria that we look at that work together when we consider choosing these emerging communities. But the community has to come forward and the producers have to come forward with this express need and desire to do television and to communicate using television.
404 THE CHAIRPERSON: If I look at your programming expenses and your financial projections, would I be right in finding there -- I'm not quite sure under what line ‑‑ these showcase expenses with associates? The complete cost of producing this program is here? And then in the revenues would be what you think you will be able to -- the 25 percent, the amount from the 25 percent that you'll be able to recoup.
405 MR. VINER: The answer to both those questions is yes. The cost of production is in there and the 25 percent, if we're able to recoup it.
406 Madam Chair, I understand the Commission's dilemma with respect to this issue of whether or not it might over time morph into another several hours for the larger groups. Overwhelmingly, our experience, and the purpose for which we advanced this proposal, was to ensure that new producers without the resources, many of them from the smaller communities, have access to the system. They don't have to go out and buy an hour of time and put themselves at financial risk, which many of them will tell you is a tremendous strain on them.
407 I understand, though, what your dilemma is. And where we would be comfortable, where the Commission and ourselves could be congruent, is if we could reach some sort of an agreement on the kinds of people that we would place on this, as opposed to language, but where they are in the development process. That may not be a useful offer, but that's the intention, that this gives a leg up to new producers.
408 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, that would not be easy for me to decide where a producer is in his development or her development. But I am sure there are undeveloped Chinese producers and undeveloped Punjabi producers. The question becomes here how much Punjabi and how much Chinese may end up on the screen over and above the news and what you've produced via this showcase, is more the question.
409 MR. VINER: I understand the dilemma.
410 THE CHAIRPERSON: In what language will it be? It could be an undeveloped Chinese producer, but it'll end up still not appealing to the Macedonians, presumably.
411 MR. VINER: I understand the dilemma perfectly. And equally I'm sure it's difficult for the Commission to want to put constraints and to --
412 THE CHAIRPERSON: But we love constraints, Mr. Viner.
413 MR. VINER: -- and to reduce the flexibility of a local station to change its schedule over seven years. It must be difficult.
414 THE CHAIRPERSON: I suppose if I looked at your programming expenses, I would find some of this money in line 8 and possibly some in line 3 under programming expenses, 4.2, where game shows or the human interest, et cetera, entertainment magazine, and possibly could be under information as well, a line which is not news, right? But all these expenses would be there?
415 MR. VINER: Yes. Yes.
416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, the B.C. Producers Initiative, which is for drama and documentaries, and that, if I understand, is a $27 million commitment, $4 million of which would go for script and concept development and $23 million to producers with a minimum of $3.5 million per year and a minimum of 10 of these produced per year and 167 over seven years, right?
417 MR. WONG: Yes.
418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, at page 14, revised, in your supplementary brief, you talk about direct costs for these programs. What is intended here? The 3.5 million presumably will go to 10 projects minimum, so I would say then that 3.5 million roughly divided by 10 for the direct costs. What exactly will this money go to?
419 MR. WONG: That amount is for script development, and I'd ask Robin Mirsky to maybe walk us through the various specifics of it. And then the balance of it --
420 THE CHAIRPERSON: Don't think so. I'm talking about the 27 million. If I understand, you are committing to spend no less than 3.5 million in any given year for a minimum of no less than 10 of these documentaries or dramas in one year to add up to 165 of them in seven years. Presumably the commitment is so that one year you don't do any at all. So then, if I look at minimum of 3.5 million, minimum of 10, and you speak of the money going for the direct costs of these ‑‑ so 3.5 million divided by 10 would be the direct cost. What will it cover? All of the production? What will it cover? Or is it an amount of money you'll give to a producer and expect that a drama or a documentary, how long, what quality? How will this work?
421 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, I'll ask Robin Mirsky to take us through the details. They ‑‑
422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are we in agreement, Mr. Wong, now that what I'm saying is correct?
423 MR. WONG: Yes, I --
424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because I think the other is ‑‑ for script and concept development is 40 projects, right, each year for a total of 280 in seven years, which will be an entirely different use of money, 4 million over the entire seven years. Is that okay?
425 MR. WONG: Yes. Robin.
426 MS. MIRSKY: Good morning. I just want to clarify one thing. The brief says a minimum of 10, but it's actually 10 documentaries and 10 dramas a year, so it's a minimum of 20. So the $3.5 million will be split between development and license fees, so that essentially, if you take the $4 million and divide it over the seven-year license term, it's about an average of $570,000 a year for development. The balance will be paid to producers in the form of a license fee to produce this minimum of 20 dramas or documentaries every year, with average license fees of between 125 and 150 thousand dollars. That license fee is designed to pay for the whole cost of production, because in our research and talking to the industry, we discovered that there is no money available for third language production. So we are essentially paying for these productions in full.
427 THE CHAIRPERSON: But in total, that producer -- so it's 3.5 million divided by 20 actually, right?
428 MS. MIRSKY: Yes.
429 THE CHAIRPERSON: And drama is expensive. Programming -- do I understand that the producer will not be expected then to supplement this money by whatever means, leverage, since he or she will have the rights at the end of the day, or are you expecting this money will be sufficient to cover quality programming in that amount per year?
430 MS. MIRSKY: We don't expect producers to go out and look for other sources of financing. It's great if they do but we do understand that for third language programming it's extremely difficult to do it. We created these license fees to cover the cost of a production, either a small documentary or a small one-off drama, keeping in mind that CFMT in Toronto has agreed to license these projects as well with a fair market value license fee of between 10 to 20 thousand dollars.
431 So with a budget of anywhere from 125 to 170 thousand dollars, we felt that a one-off documentary or drama, producers could come up with a quality production. That was a sufficient budget for a quality production.
432 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's 20 per year, and yet on your schedule you only have one hour a week devoted to showing these. What happens to the other ones?
433 MS. MIRSKY: Well, it's an hour a week and the projects can be anywhere from half an hour to an hour. So in any given week we could air one one-hour program or two half-hour programs.
434 THE CHAIRPERSON: And again, in your Schedule 17 at page 15, you have those under co-productions, so I'm not to read anything in there. All the money will come from LMtv.
435 MS. MIRSKY: Yes, cash license fees from LMtv.
436 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the producer will retain the rights. Are you expecting some of these programs may reach a level of quality that it could be sold to CFMT? I think there's reference to that. Or even sold somewhere else?
437 MR. WONG: There is provision for CFMT to pay an additional license fee on top of that. As well, with some of the --
438 THE CHAIRPERSON: But that's only ones it's produced.
439 MR. WONG: That's correct.
440 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if you're right that the independent producer for third language programming can't easily -- I suppose there's nothing that prevents them from borrowing money and adding it to the amount that you give, is there?
441 MR. WONG: There isn't at all. Madam Chair, I think one of the things I might add in from the --
442 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or the producer may have money and not need to borrow.
443 MR. WONG: You know, they may. But I will tell you, I met with over 150 independent producers in our roundtable discussions here in Vancouver and I asked the same question. I said, you know, "125,000, 150,000, is that a lot of money? What's that going to get you done?" And the answer was, "We have no sources of funding. There's nothing available to us." And there was a women who for seven years has been trying to do a documentary on four and a half billion Chinese that have had their feet bound, in the history of China, and she's living below the poverty line. And so for her, $125,000 would more than finish this project.
444 And so I think in the mainstream world maybe, we judge production values by how much money gets put into it. And I want to put a perspective on this that there are no sources of funding for these independent producers right now out of their personal savings, or yes, they could go out and borrow. So $125,000 probably wouldn't work for Steven Spielberg, but for a lot of these producers that are struggling now to find that first nickel, $125,000 from LMtv, 10 to 20 thousand dollars in a CFMT licensing fee, and the opportunity to sell it to other services, some of the new ethnic digital services ‑‑ this becomes a fairly exciting proposition to be able to create this industry and this production locally here in British Columbia for the independent ethnic producers.
445 So I just wanted to add that perspective about the quality and the amount of money.
446 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms. Mirsky, I haven't quite understood how 20 a year will be shown with one hour in your schedule.
447 MR. MIRSKY: It's an hour every week, it's a 52-week year, and as I said, it could be two half-hour projects every week or it would be a one-hour. So over the course of a 52-week year, there's ample opportunity for the regular scheduled programs. And I also wanted to add that the CFMT license fee is guaranteed and it's a pre-buy, so a producer could take that into account in their production budget when they're financing their project.
448 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why is it that, I think in Schedule 17, you say -- I think it's page 16 or 15 ‑‑ you say in that slot that it'll be either ‑‑ yes, it's page ‑‑ where did I see that? It says somewhere that in that slot you would have programming ‑‑ oh, yes. It is page 15: "B.C. Independent Producers Initiative or other ethnic programming." That's if you don't want to repeat those and you run out?
449 MS. MIRSKY: Yes.
450 THE CHAIRPERSON: So other programming could fill in that slot, which is what, seven o'clock on Sundays, right?
451 MR. WONG: Yes.
452 MS. MIRSKY: We also have the occasion often to produce specials based on what's happening in the community, and often we're in the position to of course pre-empt regularly scheduled programming. So our hope is that this is a wonderful time, Sunday evening, so any of our specials that we produce that we know LMtv will, this will be a wonderful platform for those specials.
453 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, you talk about ‑‑ again, that will come up in intervention obviously. But you talk about perhaps less experienced producers. Could some of them come from the Shaw Multicultural Channel?
454 MR. WONG: Yes. And in fact, several of the current Shaw Multicultural Channel producers have talked to us and we'd be pleased to work with them.
455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, the 4 million that will go to script and concept development, how will that money be dispensed? I guess it'll be a minimum of 40 projects a year, I think we agree, Mr. Wong?
456 MR. WONG: That is correct.
457 THE CHAIRPERSON: And 4 million over seven years.
458 MR. WONG: That's correct. It's script development money and for concepts. It's to help get a good start on the projects, and if you need more detail, Robin Mirsky can take you through that in detail. But it is important to us to encourage that production and take that first step through script and concept development.
459 THE CHAIRPERSON: As usual, some of this money may not turn up into programming in any way and it will have nothing to do with the license fee or broadcasting. It will simply be the very first level of projects?
460 MR. WONG: That's correct. And it is a distinct money. It is managed by our local ‑‑ in fact, Wai Young, this will be her job. So I hope we get something out of the $4 million. But it's development, so maybe not all of it.
461 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, the money related to that, in your supplementary brief at page 24, revised, you have a list there of how the 30 million you speak about is calculated, and it adds up to 30 million. You mentioned a number of these things this morning. It adds up to 30 million, 27 million for the Producers Initiative, 4 million for script and concept development and a number of projects. Every time I calculate it I come to 30 million except when I look at your financials. It's not a big deal, but there is a million missing. I just want to understand -- a million over seven years, Mr. Viner.
462 MR. VINER: It may not be much to you, Madam Chair.
463 THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought it would be your comment. What are you talking about?
464 MR. VINER: No, no. Not at all.
465 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not worth our time.
466 MR. VINER: No, not at all. Can I clarify?
467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's look at the 4.2, programming expenses. The top from 1 to 12 are your total Canadian programming expenses, which add up to over seven years, 50.5 million or 54.70. Okay, now, I go down to 16, script and concept development and other programming and community initiatives. So the 25 plus 4 adds to 29. Shouldn't it be 30?
468 MR. VINER: If I can provide some clarification. The $30 million is a commitment to the B.C. Producers Initiative. And the other ‑‑
469 THE CHAIRPERSON: The PSAs and the scholarships and the whole --
470 MR. VINER: Sorry. All of it, you're right.
471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Three million sounds good.
472 MR. VINER: Three million sounds good.
473 THE CHAIRPERSON: It would add ‑‑ no, no, no. But if you want to put it all in ‑‑
474 MR. VINER: Oh, yes. Thank you very much. Thank you so much.
475 THE CHAIRPERSON: You better mind your p's and q's.
476 MR. VINER: My apologies, Madam Chair. What we have done is we have the full commitment to the licensing under the 27 million which is the 23 and 4, under the B.C. Producers Initiative. We are mindful that the Commission from time to time has tried to determine the level of spending which is incremental versus that which might normally be expected. So we have earmarked a million of the 27 towards regular programming expenses to license Canadian third language programming under the same terms and conditions or under the terms and conditions and as part of the B.C. initiative, but that's where the difference arises. Have I made myself clear?
477 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. Look at the page. You find under script and concept development 4 million, and other programming and community initiatives, 25. Should it not add up to 30? Because if you speak of the 27 million, it's in there too, isn't it?
478 MR. VINER: No, 26 of the 27 is in there, but one of it is back in the regular ‑‑
479 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ah, okay.
480 MR. VINER: You know, this is the incremental issue?
481 THE CHAIRPERSON: For a million that's enough answer.
482 MR. VINER: Thank you. Do you think it was worth a million dollars? It was a million dollar answer, Madam Chair?
483 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have a few more questions. Are you so tired that you'd like a break? What about my colleagues? Yes. You're just so interesting and it's taking longer than I thought. We must all do as well as we can in going through your applications. We will take a ten-minute break but I'll be right back here with my mike on in ten minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1145 / Suspension à 1145
--- Upon resuming at 1157 / Reprise à 1157
484 seq level0 \h 0 seq level1 \h 0 seq level2 \h 0 seq level3 \h 0 seq level4 \h 0 seq level5 \h 0 seq level6 \h 0 seq level7 \h 0 THE CHAIRPERSON: There's one question I forgot to ask you. We thought we shouldn't spend more than 10 minutes over a million, but there's two pages, or at least two places in your application at page 52 of Schedule 17, and page 5 of your first deficiency letter, where we talk about 15 million to B.C. Independent Producers Initiative, instead of 27 million.
485 MR. VINER: I get to answer the money questions.
486 Madam Chair, when we originally filed, we filed for 15 million. And the absolute truth is that when I was away on vacation, trying to think of ways in which we could ensure that we would be able to provide the communities with what they sought, and getting a couple of phone calls a day from Glen, who was urging us to see if we could put more -- even more money behind the project, I reviewed where originally, our 15 million came from, and it was because we had decided that that was the absolute maximum that we could afford over the course of a seven-year license. And then I thought I've got to free myself from that thinking because we're not going to be around for just a seven-year license. If you award this license to us, you know that we'll be here through not one license period, but through several. So I thought, "Well, if I can do 15 million, I can up that if I go another five or seven years beyond that, if I amortize it."
487 I took that proposal back to Ted Rogers, and Ted agreed.
488 THE CHAIRPERSON: And he forgot to check those two pages?
489 MR. VINER: And he forgot to check those two pages.
490 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good enough. Before we move to something else, Mr. Viner, you have something to add about the showcase?
491 MR. VINER: Yes, the Community Producers Showcase, Madam Chair, I had the benefit of consulting with my colleagues at the break, and perhaps we would like to suggest that we would take as a condition of license, or a commitment, that no more than 20 percent of the hours scheduled for the producers showcase would be in Chinese or South Asian in any given month. So we're looking at a way to ensure that we don't somehow become a predominantly Chinese or South Asian television station. We hope that that maybe goes some way towards reassuring the Commission that that is not our intention.
492 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Now, I think it's the case that all your ethnic programming is Canadian, and all your Canadian programming is ethnic in this proposal, but when asked in deficiency, and you responded at page 3 of the first letter, you showed an intention to develop one hour.
493 Now, is this just because the Commission, the staff asked you why didn't you have Canadian programming that was non-ethnic, or did you see a value in adding some, and what would it be, how it would be scheduled, how would you make sure that it's not duplicative of what's already happening in the market? Do you have your soul in this? Do you see a value to it, or is it just a response to a question, thinking that we thought you should have some?
494 MR. SOLE: Commissioner Wylie, when that deficiency came up, we discussed it as two stations, not one, and it was clear to us that with the recent renewal of CFMT, that there were opinions advanced that we should attempt to do some Canadian content in English that was not ethnic, and that would relieve the station to run more imported or foreign ethnic.
495 When we sat down and looked at that deficiency, we decided that if both stations together ‑‑ because CFMT is facing increased Canadian content, and we thought together, if we were to develop a English language, Canadian content magazine show, or a talk show, or something, that dealt with ethnocultural issues but not a qualifying program, that both stations would be relieved and be able to, in fact, import more foreign material. That discussion came out of the renewal of CFMT and the need that Madeline expressed to me, and subsequently, what Glenn and the LMtv people expressed to me about that deficiency. It was a solution that was reached between the two management groups, and I agreed with it. So we are committing, as a result of that deficiency, to develop that five-hour English language, Canadian content program.
496 MR. VINER: I think if I just may add, though, Commissioner --
497 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is non-ethnic, you understand?
498 MR. SOLE: That's correct.
499 MR. VINER: That's correct. If I can just add, Commissioner, we've had extended conversations on this. The requirement to have ethnic acquired programming is very important to the audience. Chinese movies or imported entertainment shows from India or Pakistan, or any of the countries, is a significant part of the attraction that we provide to viewers. It's difficult, given the economic circumstances, to launch LMtv with that, but what we're trying to do is create five hours on our schedule where we can bring in imported language programming, and that really is the key driver, and the way in which we'll accomplish that is by doing an English language non‑ethnic program. And we say in our deficiency letter, we'll schedule it during daytime. And that was the purpose. That was the reason behind it.
500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your response, really, is, "We'll do some non-ethnic Canadian, and we'll also import some ethnic programming that is not locally produced."
501 Now, I notice that in the Environics study, that if you look at question 6 -- you see your presence here will be validated now -- that if I remember, question 6 asks would you watch, or I forget what the question is exactly, but a service that would offer local programming and entertainment programming from the homeland, right? Question 6, "The program would offer homeland entertainment and news from Hong Kong, South Asia..." et cetera. So the response, the very highly positive response to whether people in the Lower Mainland would want this would have been affected possibly by the fact that they would get homeland programming in their language, right? It's in the question. And your proposal, up to the deficiency, didn't have any homeland programming in their language, correct?
502 MR. VINER: That is true, Madam Chair, and it's only a matter of priority. Yes, the audience said that they would like imported foreign programming, and they said they'd like a lot of things, but first and foremost, far beyond the others, they wanted programming that was relevant to them, that was reflective of the community, and was Canadian.
503 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, in this case, it's not what they said, it's what Environics asked. The question was to get to an answer as to whether they would watch, the question includes ‑‑ correct? ‑‑ that it would have homeland entertainment programming.
504 MS. ARMSTRONG: Question 6 does include a reference to homeland programming, but question 5, which is the first question that we asked ‑‑
505 THE CHAIRPERSON: I knew you would have an answer.
506 MS. ARMSTRONG: Question 5, which is the first question, the top of mind kind of question, asked people whether they'd be interested in local news and local entertainment programming in their mother tongue, and as you know, that's where we got the response of nine in 10 saying that they would give that station a try. And the response was not just unanimous in the sense that almost nine in 10 said that, it was enthusiastic. Many more people said they were very interested in that local kind of station than even somewhat interested. Very enthusiastic.
507 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you doing any on CFMT at the moment, of foreign ethnic?
508 MS. ZINIAK: Oh, yes.
509 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and in either CFMT or LMtv, particularly, how will you choose the language and the type of programming? Will you be interested in making sure that it's complementary to what's offered by services that already exist?
510 MS. ZINIAK: Yes, that's correct. The way we schedule acquired --
511 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is what is called a leading question.
512 MS. ZINIAK: Yes. The way we schedule, of course, is by language corridor. So we have found that most importantly, it's to either have local news or magazine programming followed or preceded by acquired material, be it entertainment, or, you know, be it tele-novellas. So the way we schedule that is we build the audience who would actually get the benefit of both local programming and then entertainment and international or homeland material.
513 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, the 50 hours a week of non-ethnic programming which appears, or you say will be predominantly U.S. programming, in this same deficiency response, at the same pages, you explain that CFMT, at times, is required to buy national rights for a portion of its foreign English language programming. And given that it operates within Ontario, CFMT then sub-licenses that programming to other regions and other broadcasters.
514 How much of CFMT's foreign programming is in that category that you're able to sub-license and recoup some of the cost in the form of national rights?
515 MR. SOLE: Commissioner Wylie, they're generally situation comedies, and I can give you -- Frazier, we bought national rights for Frazier for 10 years.
516 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm more interested in what's the proportion --
517 MR. SOLE: I would say 60/40.
518 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- ball park figure of where you can sub-license?
519 MR. SOLE: Where we can sub-license? We have sub-licensing agreements in British Columbia currently. Prior to CHUM being here, KVOS and VTV bought programming from us.
520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, if I can rephrase, then, my question is how much foreign programming do you buy for CFMT that you cannot or you do not sub-license, but you nevertheless paid national rights for?
521 MR. SOLE: Somewhere between 20 and 25 hours out of the 50. About half can't be sub‑licensed.
522 THE CHAIRPERSON: That can be sub-licensed, but you may have had to have paid national rights for it?
523 MR. SOLE: No, that wouldn't be the case.
524 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. You'd pay just for Ontario, and that's it?
525 MR. SOLE: We would pay for something less than national rights, yes.
526 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if you pay national rights, you normally can sub-license all of it?
527 MR. SOLE: That was the case until the re-figuration in this market. There were customers here that we could sub-license to. At the same time, there were people that weren't competing with us. But that has changed.
528 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, at page 4, I quote, you talk about:
A relationship between CFMT and another television station, such as LMtv, would greatly assist both stations in terms of bidding for and obtaining high-quality, foreign English-language programming.
529 Does that suggest that the synergies that Commissioner Cardozo will talk to you about in greater detail, is the ability to pay more because you'll definitely have two stations to amortize the cost of it?
530 MR. SOLE: Well, everyone's paying more every year. I think what it is, it would be an ability for both stations to acquire audience-attractive U.S. programming that would deliver the highest yields to support the Canadian content.
531 LMtv will benefit from CFMT's place in the market, as will CFMT. I think the economic value is not as important as the audience attractiveness that both stations together will be able to draw by getting the best programming as opposed to the most cost-efficient.
532 THE CHAIRPERSON: And on the same page, that's what you mean when you say:
With access to high quality foreign English language programming, CFMT and LMtv will both be in a position to effectively maximize the revenue generated from the foreign English language portions of their respective programming schedule.
533 MR. SOLE: Yes, Madam Chair, that's exactly right.
534 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, in your financials, is that synergy reflected in the amount of money attributed to the purchase of foreign programming rights? Do you take into consideration -- for example, would this programming expense page under "Foreign Programming" look different if you didn't have CFMT?
535 MR. SOLE: Our opinion is yes, it would look very different.
536 THE CHAIRPERSON: Expand on that. You took into consideration that ability to amortize over two stations without even the difficulty of whether it's sub-licensable or not, into consideration in coming to your non-Canadian programming expenses.
537 MR. SOLE: Well, firstly of all, LMtv would be buying, or would be in a position to try to buy audience-attractive programming without the anchor of central Canada, which every national buy is pivoted on. LMtv would end up somewhat in the position that KVOS has found themselves in recently and that is they're put into a position where they have to buy the programs that are left over. And this has happened to us in Ontario. It's not a comfortable feeling. But it would be more acute when you get to a smaller market or to a market with less advertising and less audience available.
538 So I believe that LMtv, standing alone, attempting to put together a foreign English language schedule, would have quite a daunting task without CFMT.
539 THE CHAIRPERSON: You probably can see where I'm going, that my last question will be considering -- I'll ask it now and you can think about how you answer it. Considering these deficiencies that we've been talking about with regard to both the foreign programming and the local programming, because of the synergies between the two, should the Commission expect more? And commitments that are -- you know, when it looks at the two competing applications, should it put that in the mix and say, "They'll have two stations to amortize this over. They'll be able to get more quality." Why not more local programming? Why not more ethnic language programming?
540 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, I think what you see as a result of the synergies of LMtv and CFMT are that $30 million, the $27 million for the B.C. Producers Initiative.
541 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I'm not just talking about that. I'm talking about how much of your ethnic programming is third language, how much of it there is. Is 30 hours of news and 30 hours of magazine programming sufficient, given the resources you'll have and the synergies? And should the 60 hours of local be 67.5, as calculated in your own programming grid? It's an obvious -- you see, when you pitch synergies and, in fact, financially you can see they're there, then what should the measure be as to whether what you offer in terms of programming rises to the resources that you'll have?
542 MR. VINER: Madam Chair, we went through this very consideration when we developed the application. It was our conclusion that, as Glenn has said, that by offering $27 million where none now exists, by offering a total of $30 million in community benefits, that that was appropriate. We believed, after long consultations with program producers, that this -- that national -- or that ethnic producers, independent producers needed an opportunity, and we've put $27 million towards that. That's, I think, what you might expect. That's the direction in which we went because we felt that was of prime importance. So we don't think that's an insignificant investment.
543 So yes, there are financial synergies; we don't deny it. We have put that money into a commitment for $27 million and an additional three. We shouldn't forget the 1 million for positive portrayal and the scholarships and the community grants. That's where that synergy has gone.
544 MR. WONG: And Madam Chair, if I may, in terms of programming output, that results in the 65 hours of local programming and it results in 24 languages in our schedule and the belief that we will actually do more through the Community Producers Showcase and the B.C. Producers Initiative. So I think that the result of the synergies are shown not just in the financials, and not just in the community benefits that go directly back to the community, but in terms of what the viewers will get and the ethnocultural groups, with more languages and more local hours.
545 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. With regard to your commitments, more languages, for example, is another area where, of course, discussions can be had about to what extent can you really offer a good service if you offer half an hour a week to 55 different languages. But your commitments in the Executive Summary, at page 4 ‑‑ counsel will probably eventually get you to tell us what it is that your commitments are, because you have talked, again, about 24/24 and this morning in your local presentations, that's what we find when we do the analysis. But your commitment appears to be 18 -- 22/18. So we'll clarify that at the end, what is the commitment, because that's usually a condition of license. And that again, with the balance or equilibrium I was talking about, can be an area where you can do more.
546 Before we go to just a few questions I have on demand, Mr. Viner, you addressed the showcase and the whole issue of how much Chinese, how much South Asian programming. Am I right that your commitment is 78 hours a month of Chinese language programming, and 78 hours a month, I think directed to the South Asian, but not necessarily in -- some of it in English? Am I correct?
547 MS. KHAN: Madam Chair, the block schedule shows 14 hours of Chinese programming, and 19.5 hours of programming for the South Asian communities. I can give you a breakdown of the languages for the South Asian --
548 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, some of the South Asian may be in English, but directed to the South Asian community?
549 MS. KHAN: That's right.
550 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, I'm coming back to what you will hear in intervention and some of the concerns that have been expressed about how much Chinese and how much South Asian programming. Are you prepared to make further commitments? Do you think it's necessary, not reasonable, whatever, to restrict you to a certain number of hours in these languages? We can come back to in reply.
551 Now, demand. Your research is into the South Asian and Chinese residents of the Lower Mainland. What do you mean by that? What is the Lower Mainland for the purpose of this research? I may have missed it, but I didn't see anywhere an explanation of where your research was conducted.
552 MR. WONG: The research was conducted here in the city of Vancouver. For the purposes of the Lower Mainland, we mean the Fraser Valley, Vancouver, and because of our carriage, Victoria as well.
553 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the questionnaires were only to people in the city of Vancouver? Because the title of the research is that it was conducted in the Lower Mainland.
554 MR. WONG: Sorry, the research was conducted here, but it surveyed people from the suburbs of Vancouver.
555 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, yes. Well --
556 MR. WONG: So sorry, from the Lower Mainland.
557 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
558 MR. WONG: We use them interchangeably.
559 THE CHAIRPERSON: It could have been conducted in Toronto?
560 MR. WONG: No.
561 THE CHAIRPERSON: It could have, I mean --
562 MR. WONG: It could have, and they weren't.
563 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the questionnaire is here, right?
564 MR. WONG: That's correct. Sorry, yes.
565 THE CHAIRPERSON: So where it's conducted is -- it's who was put in the sample that I'm interested in. So what's the Lower Mainland?
566 MR. WONG: Lower Mainland? Greater Vancouver residents.
567 THE CHAIRPERSON: Give me a better idea. Maybe Commissioner Grauer knows, but you know, what is encompassed there? Well, I'm interested, because some of your proposals are all of B.C., some are Greater Vancouver.
568 MR. WONG: Oh, I see. Okay. When we talk about --
569 THE CHAIRPERSON: Lower Mainland.
570 MR. WONG: Yes. I apologize. I'm a third-generation Vancouverite so you can believe I don't even know the names of the streets but I know where the restaurants and the hotels are.
571 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, I mean more general than that. Other cities, other towns, Victoria?
572 MR. WONG: Yes. It would be equivalent of the Greater Toronto area, for instance. It's Vancouver ‑‑ the city of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody. It would be an area that if you were to drive, would be 45 minutes, although in today's traffic maybe an hour and a half. North and West Vancouver. Yes, so when we say the Lower Mainland, that's the general areas we're talking about. Richmond, for instance, Surrey would be a very large population.
573 THE CHAIRPERSON: And only Chinese and South Asian residents of the Lower Mainland were canvassed. How did you determine what other groups would be served?
574 MR. WONG: Well, I have the benefit, Madam Chair, of having been the president of Rogers Cable Television here in British Columbia previously, and I had experience with the Rogers Multicultural Channel, and the many producers representing many different ethnic groups. And through that network and through Wai Young's work, who is in constant contact with local community groups, while it wasn't a formal research, it wasn't a quantitative study, we were able to get the opinions of many, many groups, many who have written to us and to the Commission, expressing their views about the type of programming and the languages that should be included. So they're sort of -- that's not a quantitative way of doing it.
575 We also have done focus groups around them as well.
576 THE CHAIRPERSON: These, what I call the second entire next to -- I guess because it's second in my book, but the one addressed, if I recall, to the younger generation, it mentions English-speaking Chinese and South Asian residents of the Lower Mainland. Could you then wonder whether there is not enough ethnic programming other than third language from the responses?
577 MR. WONG: I'll ask Dr. --
578 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because I gather that these would be English-speaking in their normal life. Are you suggesting that what they wanted, however, was third language programming?
579 MR. LOH: Madam Chair, when we do the studies, most people were assumed ‑‑ the younger Canadians or second-generation ethnic Canadians would not be as interested in ethnic programming. That's why we were very conservative when we did the study to choose among the youth group. Anyway, from 18 to 35, we chose specifically for the ones that do speak English, and then see if they're still interested in ethnic language programming, the type that would be provided by LMtv.
580 THE CHAIRPERSON: In third language as opposed to ethnic in English?
581 MR. LOH: That's correct. And we were, of course, pleasantly surprised that over 80 percent of this particular group responded very favourably and they were really interested in what LMtv would have to offer.
582 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I am almost done. I have a few questions on complementarity. I think it also comes out of these studies that people want something that's not available. I understand the whole issue about having to pay for what's available, and this being free over the air, but over and above that question I think people want something that is not available to them.
583 How have you factored that into your schedule and your programming proposals?
584 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, we have a range of programming, and it is very true, in talking with various people, that it's impossible to satisfy everyone. We wish we had a 48-day, at times, to get all the program that we'd like to do.
585 We did try to priorize and --
586 THE CHAIRPERSON: Hopefully you succeed this morning.
587 MR. WONG: Maybe. We have targeted, in a general sense, various groups with different types of programming. For instance, youth programming. On our schedule, you'll find 10 youth programs and that's really sort of teens to 21, and you know, in talking to parents and to many of our own associates that happen to be in that age group, it's a very troubling time. And if you're an ethnic kid growing up in Vancouver, it can be even more troubling.
588 And so we have a number of programs that are designed for young people. For the Cantonese, we have something called Raves and Waves. There's a Hindi program called Gulshan (phonetic), a Japanese journal and Punjabi and Vietnamese. And just it seemed really common in our discussions and consultations with various community groups that they were worried about their youth and being able to retain language and culture and to get programming on a very powerful medium free that they could connect with. And so that's why, in our program schedule, you'll find 10 youth programs.
589 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the issue I'm focusing on now is complementarity. Are you saying it's because that's not available in that language in the market at the moment?
590 MR. WONG: Well, certainly for --
591 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm looking at did you look at what's available in the market? Did you look at what's available on the Shaw Multicultural Channel and made an effort to supplement that, give something different and non-available?
592 MR. WONG: Yes. I mean, the answer is yes in that clearly, if you speak Mandarin or Cantonese, there are services available, albeit, as you've pointed out, you have to pay for it.
593 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure they have news. It's not a service I'm that familiar with, or maybe I was more familiar with it at some time, but they are a little closer to conventional stations, are they not, than they are to specialty services?
594 MR. WONG: Well, they are in terms --
595 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the sense that they give news and entertainment, whereas you wouldn't have that in many specialty services.
596 MR. WONG: The challenge is the accessibility because you have to pay. And now, specifically for Fairchild, it's on a digital box as well. So for many people in the Chinese community, it's available but they don't have it because of the cost of it.
597 THE CHAIRPERSON: What your research seems to indicate ‑‑ I'll surely be corrected if I'm wrong, but it seems to indicate that those people who buy these services have no intention ‑‑ at least that's what you tell us ‑‑ have no intention of watching less of what they are already paying for, right?
598 MR. WONG: Well --
599 THE CHAIRPERSON: And will that not be more true if you make an effort to have something that's complementary to those two large groups that you're focusing on? Am I correct that the research, you say, indicates that those who already watch that type of programming will not stop watching it.
600 MS. ARMSTRONG: That's correct. A majority of people say that they will continue what they're watching now, maybe reallocate some of their choices, but they will continue.
601 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's the researcher's answer. Now, what is the broadcaster's answer to how they --
602 MR. WONG: Sorry. Can I -- my --
603 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- to how they ensure that that occurs? Does it not lead me to believe you would look at providing what's not provided now or at different hours or --
604 MS. NAIDOO-HARRIS: Can I --
605 MR. WONG: I'll go first, and then others can chip in. Madam Chair, I think the issue for us, and what we've heard repeatedly from the community, including people that have the Fairchild service, is that they would like some choice. They would like additional programming.
606 So we've tried to reflect that. We've also tried to reflect in the spectrum of languages of having 24, some groups that just don't have any programming today.
607 There is not a Punjabi daily news service, and this is, as you well know, a very large group in our community, and yet they don't have that daily news service. So we've tried to reflect it that way.
608 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry. I'm listening.
609 MS. NAIDOO-HARRIS: If I may add, Madam Chair, I'm going to talk about Toronto a little bit, because we've had some experience with this there.
610 The show that I work on quite a bit is called South Asian News Week, and I've been told repeatedly by people when I'm out in the public that not one generation, not two generations, but three generations in a family will sit down and watch the show. The question is why. They watch it, and watch it very -- there's a very strong, loyal sort of following in terms of this show, and they watch it because they're getting something that they're not getting anywhere else.
611 For the seniors in the family, they get a little bit of what's happening at home in a language, and certainly in a sort of focus on issues, that is not being discovered elsewhere, at other places on the dial.
612 When you come to the husband and wife, let's say, in the family, they're new immigrants. They're still trying to find out what it means to be Canadian, and they also want to keep in touch with their culture, and our show provides that direct link to them.
613 Now, for the children, it's an extremely difficult time for them. I can tell you that it's difficult enough being a teenager, but being a teenager and being a new immigrant has stresses and strains that can be very, very difficult.
614 And so what I think this kind of programming does is it helps the children in specific and the various groups keep in touch with who they are. The children understand their parents in terms of where they come from, what it is that mother and father are trying to say in terms of their culture, and this is what it's all about.
615 They get to see it on a show that makes them feel good about who they are. They have an opportunity to explore their unique identity and still discover what it's like to be Canadian, and I think that the service that these kinds of programs offer is key.
616 It's something that new Canadians need, and Canada is changing. The face of Canada is changing, and our programs have to reflect these changes.
617 THE CHAIRPERSON: My question was much more narrowly focused than that. It was, what is LMtv's understanding of, number one, serving the community rather than simply being an alternative replacement for what's there, and ensuring, for financial reasons and to make your researchers right, that there isn't less audience than you expected because you're offering something too similar to what's already there.
618 That was my question. Just how important, in your view, is it to look at what's available in Chinese, for example, that our more mature services in Vancouver -- there's also the South Asian service, but that you offer something different at different hours that's in effect scheduling choice, et cetera, and you come back then to language as well.
619 MR. LOH: Madam Chair, maybe I can address the -- your question. I'll try. Madam Chair, the Chinese market, as you have outlined, it's a little bit more mature because we do have Fairchild and we do have, like television, being Mandarin, and the market is somewhat served.
620 But Glenn has talked a little bit about access because it is not available to every household. In fact, it is just a fraction of the households of lower mainland community has that service, primarily because of the cost issue.
621 And over the eight years that we have done consultations with groups after groups, individuals after individuals, people have said to us, for people who don't have it, they want access; for people who do have it, they still want choice.
622 And I could give you an example what Indira was talking about in terms of community demands. In my own household, I can tell you there are three generations, and they are all interested in more programming.
623 My mother-in-law, she's 75 years old. She doesn't speak too much English so Chinese programming is a necessity for her. She gets her information, her news, and entertainment all from Chinese programming.
624 My wife was an immigrant to this country at the age of four. She is ethnic Chinese, but she speaks good Chinese, I like to say, and she would like to think so. But she doesn't read or write Chinese, and she does want Chinese TV.
625 The specific example, the most recent one I have with her was a discussion just yesterday. We have a city by-election here. Richmond is one of the lower mainland municipality and just had the by‑election for the mayor and three council positions, and one of the mayoral candidates is ethnically Chinese, and his wife is a physician, a colleague of my wife, also a physician. They know each other.
626 So we were there sitting in front of our TV on Saturday night, waiting for the results of the election, because we like to know generally who won, who lost, but in this particular case we have a personal interest because my wife knows one of the candidate's wife, and she wanted to know. And we were surfing the channels, local channels, and finally one station reported on the result, but all they said was who won the mayor position but they didn't say what numbers, the votes, and they didn't do a interview. They did a quick interview, ten second byte, with the winner, but there was no interview with the one we were interested in.
627 And my wife was very disappointed. She asked, "What's the number?" And I said, "I don't know. We have to wait. If there's a Chinese program they will talk about the numbers." And in this case, because it's a Chinese candidate, my wife was particularly interested. There's a personal interest. But I can assure you, for ethnic candidates running in an election, there will be lots of interest from that particular ethnic community of the result and the interview.
628 And for my children, the third generation in my family, my children -- I send them to Chinese school Saturday, every Saturday for three hours of Chinese language training because I want them to maintain their heritage.
629 But we're not alone in that situation. There are over 100 schools, Chinese schools in the Lower Mainland, and some of you, some of the people might say, "Oh, this is just the parents wanting their children to learn the language." But I can tell you the UBC Chinese program is attended by -- over 50 percent would be ethnic Chinese students.
630 So the young people do want to learn the language. They know that it's an advantage if they know the language. So there's a strong demand in the market that's not being met, and LMtv will meet that.
631 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that there are two issues. One is to supply programming to those who, for whatever reason, don't want to pay for the existing services. The other is the extent to which you'll pay attention to the complementarity of the programming so that it's not a repetition, but an addition to the communities. I have one --
632 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, if I may, I think Tony -- I would just ask Tony, if you don't mind, if he would comment and then Lock Sing --
633 MR. VINER: Madam Chair, I just wanted to say that the answer, I think, on the complementariness of our program, if there is such a word that I've used, is that you know, we'll be intensely local.
634 Remember, in Toronto we compete against these same services, and so we do it by having intensely local television news and programming directly reflective of the local communities. So I believe it can also be done here, and just with respect to the demand in these communities, perhaps Lock Sing might just say a word.
635 MR. LEUNG: I'm responsible for the qualitative research of the study and I believe I can shed some light in this issue here.
636 When we talk about alternatives, what I've learned from these groups is that it's not a matter of that they don't have television programs in Chinese or South Asians. Really, they're talking more about the quality.
637 And when I talk about quality in here, they're referring to quality in the productions and also quality in the in depth way of treating a particular subject.
638 So coming back to, for instance, you mentioned yes, for the Chinese, they have Chinese news, so therefore why do we need two Chinese news programs. It really comes back to when we showed them in the study those sample video with all the different segments in there, what really impressed respondents, I feel, from the groups, it's not just that, "Oh, I've seen this or this cover." They're really impressed by the quality of the productions in --
639 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, I'm sorry to interrupt, but the video I wasn't going to raise, but you raised it. I've been involved before with people who produced seven-, eight-minute videos.
640 I'd hate to thing that one's research would hang on that, because of course it's going to look marvellous. It's going to be little bits of the best of everything, and you spend weeks at it and so on, just like what we saw this morning. It's marvellous. It's touching. It's emotive, emotionally engaging, but surely you don't tell me that this is a research tool that gives -- if I say you'd see that all day here, would you like it? Well, of course.
641 MR. WONG: Madam Chair, if I may, having worked on the research here, it was an eight-minute video of actual footage. There was no music. There was no voice-overs. It was --
642 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I haven't seen it, but in any event --
643 MR. WONG: Well, but it was representative of the programming --
644 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes --
645 MR. WONG: -- because it was taken --
646 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me ask you while I have the research people. This is my last question. On your Environics test or study with young South Asian and Chinese, question 3, interest in watching the new television station, you say, "Interest in watching" -- this is in page 5, 6 of the report. Quote:
647 Interest in watching the proposed station is much more intense among South Asians than among Chinese residents.
648 The difference is 52 percent in South Asians and 36 percent in Chinese.
649 Is it your view that it's because there's already some Chinese programming available that there would be this -- and has been available for a longer period, as opposed to the South Asian service, which is rather new?
650 Is that a reason? What is the reason for this big discrepancy in interest in watching LMtv, the proposal?
651 MS. ARMSTRONG: The question really was just, would you be likely or not likely to watch this new station, and the responses, the differences between the South Asian and the Chinese sample tell us simply that, the degree to which those two groups would be interested.
652 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
653 MS. ARMSTRONG: Myself, I can't really answer that question.
654 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
655 MS. ARMSTRONG: Perhaps someone else on the Rogers team --
656 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does the panel have a comment? Is it because people feel not perfectly satisfied, but the Chinese language residents of the Lower Mainland are more satisfied than the South Asian because of the availability?
657 MR. VINER: It's reasonable speculation. We think it's a quality issue, but yes. That's -- I think that's a reasonable speculation.
658 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think I interrupted you. Is there something else you want to add? No. Yes, Mr. -- your colleague.
659 MR. LEUNG: Yes. I just want to come back just to comment on ‑‑ you're right. Just based on an eight minutes kind of a video, even 15 minutes would not -- should not be based on that, to draw any conclusions.
660 What I was really trying to say is that even before showing the videos, we're trying to learn, first of all, as to what the needs are for any kind of news stations or anything, given what they've seen so far.
661 And the point I want to make is that for the Chinese, and certainly also for the South Asians as well, is that their main complaint is about the quality.
662 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, and I realize fully that the video was just one component, that you also had verbal focus groups, I guess. So I don't want to denigrate it, but it's to me a tool that is very good for impressing Commissioners, but you shouldn't prepare your financial projections on the basis of their reaction.
663 This is it for me. I thank you for your patience. I've been longer than I thought. I will deliver you to Commissioner Cardozo at quarter to 2:00. Thank you.
664 Alors, nous reprendrons à 2 heures moins le quart, 1:45.
--- Upon recessing at 1245 / Suspension à 1245
--- Upon resuming at 1345 / Reprise à 1345
665 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. As promised, I will now deliver you to Commissioner Cardozo. Although I apparently did make a mistake. Synergies will be discussed by Commissioner Grauer as I said at the opening. I confused that later on during the morning. The pattern still remains that Commissioner Cardozo will do Synergies. Commissioner Grauer will do Synergies. A senior moment. Commissioner Cardozo.
666 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Madam Chair. I know what I want to do, so let's proceed.
667 THE CHAIRPERSON: I do have a priority button.
668 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: As Commissioner Wylie said, I'll be covering local presence, community feedback and social issues, and I think, as you'll note through the day, of course, they are issues that we've touched on before which maybe I'll try and clarify a bit further in some cases, but it's hard to cut your application into very discreet elements. We've tried to do as much of that as we can.
669 Can you hear me okay? If you can't at any time, just let me know.
670 Let me start, then, talking about local management and ask you if you can give us a bit more information than you have about the degree to which the local management, and I suppose that means primarily you, Glenn Wong, will have with regards to decision-making authority. What are the kinds of decisions you will make and what are the kinds of decisions you would have to get Mr. Viner's agreement or somebody else in the Toronto headquarters?
671 MR. WONG: Thank you, Commissioner. The local decision-making would be around programming, for instance, what would be carried on LMtv, local editorial control, obviously, because it's important to reflect what our communities want here.
672 In our plans we will want to hire approximately 135 people from here in the Lower Mainland, and that would be a local hiring decision as well.
673 And as answerable as I will be to Mr. Viner, I'm also answerable to our local advisory board, as another way of making sure that not only I'm accountable but my staff would be accountable in providing the programming for our communities.
674 So those would be some examples of the local decision-making autonomy that we have, and again because it's a local station wanting to reflect the local communities, it can't be done by remote control.
675 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: The flip side of that question is, then, what are the decisions that would be made in Toronto that you would have to seek authority from Toronto from the headquarters?
676 MR. WONG: I think one of the areas that we'll benefit from in that, is the acquisition of foreign programming, particular the American programming. And starting up a new station, I'd want to be very much focused on what we can do locally with our local programming.
677 And if I can get some help, and if I only have to input as opposed to have to drive the negotiations for acquisition of foreign programming, for instance, that would be most beneficial for me and my staff here.
678 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And I guess budgetary plans at some level. Almost every company I've been in, oddly enough, people want to know about budgets and revenue and how you're making targets.
679 The way it works in the Rogers groups of companies is that you set your targets in conjunction, and it's a collaborative approach, but once as management you accrue your numbers, you go out and achieve them, and if there's assistance you need, you can draw on the other parts of the company for those resources.
680 But really, it's up to the local management to make their numbers and that's the way I've operated with Rogers in previous lives and the way I've operated in most parts of my career.
681 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In terms of senior staff, who are the senior staff that you would have who are here ‑‑ and I'm not asking necessarily for the names of people, but what are the roles or the titles that you will have? I guess I'm asking you to demonstrate to us that decision-making rests here.
682 MR. WONG: There's many key positions but the ones in particular that come to my mind would be a vice-president of programming, to ensure that our programming is local and relevant for the local communities.
683 We are fortunate enough already to have Wai Young on board, who is our director of community and program development, and Wai has extensive history with many, many of the multicultural groups in the Lower Mainland so it gives us a leg up. I would also want to have our sales, obviously, locally as well.
684 Now, there's obviously good synergies in working with CFMT staff. The areas that I think I would de-emphasize in my management team is I wouldn't want to have a vice-president of finance per se. I think we can get a lot of synergies on the operating side with some of the back office administrative and accounting type functions.
685 So sales, news director for sure to be local, and production. A lot of our production would have to be local here because we'll be working with local, independent producers, so a large number of producers will be needed on staff to help with that programming.
686 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Just to clarify, LMtv will be 100 percent owned by Rogers?
687 MR. VINER: Yes, sir.
688 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Right. I'm just wondering, had you ever contemplated any joint ownership with either people locally based or ethnic minorities in the Vancouver area?
689 MR. VINER: Yes, we had, Commissioner Cardozo. We had some discussions with the other applicant. But the vision of a -- it varies, and not for you to decide whose vision is better, but the vision varies. The horizon to get a return on in investment varies.
690 There are also some issues that relate to the synergies that I know that you or the chair or Commissioner Grauer or Commissioner Pennefather of Commissioner Wilson will discuss with me ‑‑
691 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That's a very good approach.
692 MR. VINER: -- will discuss with me. A real practical reality is that if you have one completely owned entity and another that's owned in partnership, then you have to charge things out at commercial rates and do arms-length transactions and have them sort of the free-flow of programming and information and all of those kinds of things, is impeded by a different structure.
693 But having said that, we did contemplate it, and it didn't work out.
694 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: What are your thoughts -- the issue of ownership is often one of the issues that comes before us and the Act is not crystal clear in terms of saying we should favour a local ownership or not, but there is some sense of local programming, local reflection has to be serious and involved, and you've certainly gone through a lot of steps to demonstrate how you would do that.
695 But in general terms, what's your guidance to us as to whether we should take the issue of local ownership into account or where we place it on the scale of making a decision?
696 MR. WONG: Commissioner Cardozo, I think it is something obviously that has to be added into the mix and certainly considered and weighed.
697 What the people we've talked to, though, I mean literally thousands of people now, what really counts for them is what they see on their television station.
698 As you well know, there's been a very large number of ownership changes amongst the mainstream television stations here in the Lower Mainland.
699 And if you were to poll people, nine out of ten people, I would venture to say -- and that's not an official number but my guess -- nine out of ten people wouldn't know who owns what now. And what matters to them though, is, "Can I still see Tony Parsons, the number one news anchor on that evening broadcast at 6:00 on Channel 11? Yep, I can."
700 Now, does Tony get a paycheque with a different logo on it? It doesn't matter to the viewer.
701 And so while I think it should be taken into consideration, what matters for our viewers is, what type of programming are they going to get? What type of quality of programming are they going to see as a result?
702 So really, it's the programming and the quality of it that really, really counts the most. And particularly for an ethnic broadcaster, who should be so privileged to obtain this license, the expertise and the experience that we think we've gained, that I know I had as a result of having the Rogers Multicultural Channel, and learning about the diversity, and the dynamic needs of the community groups, the ownership and whose logo was on that paycheque wasn't as important as the advisory board we had for the Multicultural Channel, as the community groups that said, "I want this type of programming."
703 And so it's really the connection you have with the community and your ability to reflect their voice and their vision, as opposed to the straight ownership question.
704 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: With regards to management, where do you see -- I'm just trying to understand how you fit the whole thing together, and it seems to me that there's perhaps in terms of the relationship between the local station and CFMT, that it's sort of a helping and directing dichotomy of how you look at it. You don't mind them helping you, but you don't want them directing you. Is that a fair kind of dichotomy?
705 MR. WONG: Well, I'm not perfect, so sometimes direction would be appropriate, but I think for us to really be --
706 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: That's not what your brief said.
707 MR. WONG: I could --