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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
Proceeding on the Canadian Television Fund (CTF)
Task Force Report /
Instance concernant le rapport du Groupe de travail
du Fonds canadien de télévision (CTF)
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
February 8, 2008 Le 8 février 2008
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
Proceeding on the Canadian Television Fund (CTF)
Task Force Report /
Instance concernant le rapport du Groupe de travail
du Fonds canadien de télévision (CTF)
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Rita Cugini Chairperson / Présidente
Michel Arpin Commissioner / Conseiller
Michel Morin Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Jade Roy Secretary / Secretaire
Shirley Ann Farley Hearing Manager /
Gérante de l'audience
Shari Faisher Legal Counsel /
Bernard Montigny Conseillers juridiques
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Conference Centre Centre de conférences
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
140 Promenade du Portage 140, Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Quebec Gatineau (Québec)
February 8, 2008 Le 8 février 2008
- iv -
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PRESENTATION BY / PRÉSENTATION PAR:
Bell ExpressVu 1083 / 5361
MTS Allstream 1103 / 5483
Aaron Martin 1117 / 5566
David Barlow 1126 / 5600
Karen Walton 1137 / 5642
Karen McClellan 1149 / 5677
APTN 1190 / 5888
CTVglobemedia 1246 / 6266
Canadian Television Fund 1289 / 6477
Gatineau, Quebec / Gatineau (Québec)
‑‑‑ Upon commencing on Friday, February 8, 2008
at 0901 / L'audience débute le vendredi 8
février 2008 à 0901
LISTNUM 1 \l 1 \s 53575357 THE SECRETARY: Please take a seat.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15358 We will now hear the presentation of the Bell ExpressVu.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15359 Please introduce yourself and you have 15 minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15360 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15361 MR. FRANK: Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15362 Good morning, Chairperson Cugini and Commissioners. My name is Chris Frank and I am Vice‑President Programming of the Bell Video Group.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15363 With me today is David Elder, Vice‑President Regulatory Law for Bell Canada and the Bell Video Group's Regulatory Counsel.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15364 We thank you for this opportunity to share our thoughts on the current state and future direction of the CTF. Our brief comments will focus on four key issues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15365 Bell commends the productive efforts of the CRTC's Task Force to address the concerns of CTF members. While the Task Force was unable to achieve consensus on all issues under review, its recommendations demonstrate a welcome responsiveness to the need for change in a number of important fronts.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15366 The Report proposes the creation of a second funding stream, one that would direct the private sector's contributions towards the production of more market‑oriented Canadian content.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15367 This is more of an industrial approach to the support of domestic programming, distinct from the traditional pursuit of culturally significant content which would more appropriately remain the focus of government or public sector funding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15368 Bell ExpressVu agrees with the Task Force that financial contributions from BDUs, both cable and DTH, should encourage the development of content with more market‑oriented objectives, hits, if you will.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15369 Government funding would remain focused on programming directed at achieving public policy objectives. We must keep in mind our purpose here is to have more Canadians watch more Canadian content. This proposed BDU funding stream would help us reach that goal by targeting productions which may have been excluded from consideration given the prevailing cultural concerns of the current single funding stream.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15370 One area which the Report leaves unresolved and which is tied to the creation of a new and separate BDU funding stream is the size and membership of the CTF Board of Directors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15371 In its written comments of 27 July, 2007 Bell proposed that a second smaller board be created within the context of the CTF to oversee the allocation of funds contributed by the private sector.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15372 The second board would comprise a reasonably balanced membership of distribution undertakings and independent representatives. It would benefit from its more manageable size, reaching consensus with fewer conflicting agenda while minimizing potential conflicts of interest.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15373 It is appropriate for the government to oversee the allocation of public funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15374 So, too do BDUs claim the right to ensure that the dispersal of their contributions is properly directed to the support of market‑driven productions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15375 In the Notice leading to this hearing, the Commission indicated its interest in receiving input from interested parties regarding additional sources of CTF funding. It makes brief mention of the possibility that increased contributions could theoretically come from government and/or BDUs. However, the suggestion is raised without subsequent discussion in the Report and is not pursued via a Task Force recommendation either in whole or in part.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15376 Nevertheless, to be clear, Bell strongly opposes the imposition of a greater BDU financial obligation as an acceptable or viable mechanism for additional CTF funding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15377 We note the private sector contributions have averaged over $129‑million over the past five years, growing by more than 31 per cent in actual dollar value over that time.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15378 Thus, BDUs continue to provide a greater funding level each year in step with increasing demand. Any increase to our five per cent contribution would be, in our view, unwarranted.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15379 Another issue of significant interest to Bell is the availability of programming to BDUs. The Report highlights Quebecor's legitimate concern that the CTF has failed to take into account the value of VOD's role in the development and distribution of Canadian content and the need to fund this type of activity.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15380 Bell shares this concern and would also add pay‑per‑view programming to this discussion. Moreover, Bell encourages the Commission to ensure that all programming created using CTF funding, including pay‑per‑view and VOD content, be made available for distribution by all interested BDUs on their respective VOD and/or pay‑per‑view platforms. We note a similar proposal was made by Rogers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15381 There should be no exclusions for any BDU, cable or DTH regarding such jointly‑funded programming. It would make no sense, indeed, it would be absolutely unfair if, for example, Bell ExpressVu's or any other BDU for that matter ‑‑ if Bell ExpressVu's funds were, in part, used to finance a production which it was later unable to distribute because of an exclusive arrangement negotiated between the content producer or rights holder and another distributor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15382 This concludes Bell's opening remarks. We thank you for your attention and welcome any questions you may have.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15383 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And good morning, Mr. Frank, Mr. Elder.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15384 I am going to ask Vice‑Chairman Arpin to start the questioning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15385 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you, Madam Chair.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15386 Good morning, gentlemen.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15387 MR. FRANK: Good morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15388 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: My first question to you, Mr. Frank, will deal with the five per cent contribution level that you are currently making to the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15389 Obviously there is 20 per cent of it that goes towards the Bell Fund, I guess. So, at the end of the day, it is four per cent of your total revenue that goes to CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15390 MR. FRANK: Your bottom line figure is correct, sir, 0.6 per cent goes to the Bell Fund, 0.4 per cent goes to the CAB in respect of small market independent television stations.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15391 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. So, fine.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15392 Now, in your written submission you have said that the percentage should be brought in line with that of cable BDUs, which in this instance will be, generally speaking, 2.4 per cent because two per cent will go to local expression, .6 goes, I mean generally speaking, towards their own operated fund and the remaining goes to CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15393 Is it a proposal that you have removed from the table in your oral presentation of this morning?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15394 MR. FRANK: No, sir, that remains a significant concern of ours. We didn't touch on it because we have been encouraged by the Commission in the past to raise that in the context of BDU hearings.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15395 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Of the next public hearing. So, you will come back with that one at a further date, I believe.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15396 MR. FRANK: Yes, sir, but I'd be delighted to make a few general comments on that particular topic if it is of interest to the Commission at this point.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15397 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Well, yes, I will say because, for the record, this record has to be complete by itself as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15398 MR. FRANK: Well, let me start by saying that generally speaking we think it's very important that DTH companies have the same general opportunities as cable undertakings.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15399 I think that's caught up in the government ‑‑ that's outlined in the government order and I think the spirit of that is contained in the regulatory framework the Commission set out back in 1995 for DTH BDUs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15400 So, it seems to us unfair that we would contribute more to the CTF and, in so contributing, lose the opportunity for additional local and regional expression. Right now the only real sense of local and regional expression we have is through the local television stations we carry, both CBC, SRC and private stations that we carry from coast to coast, and I think the capacity challenges of the DTH business in a relatively small market like Canada are well known to the Commission.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15401 So, in our efforts to provide a very comprehensive channel line‑up, especially now with the emergence of hi‑definition, which is very band width intensive, our ability to carry more local channels is hugely compromised.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15402 So, we would welcome an opportunity to create a community type channel like the cable industry does.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15403 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: And you will have spectrum for that?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15404 MR. FRANK: Well, we would do our very best to find spectrum for that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15405 In the alternative, sir, we have in the past floated to the Commission the concept of channelling some of this money to local television stations through the creation of an independent fund which would facilitate incremental local and regional programming on these stations which obviously would be a benefit to our DTH subscribers because they would get more local and regional content.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15406 And, I submit, it would also be of value to the local broadcasters because it would be a new source of money for incremental local and regional programming which would make them more relevant and more competitive in the 400‑channel universe.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15407 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay, thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15408 You have stated in your oral presentation and also in your written submission that you concur with Quebecor that a legitimate concern that they ‑‑ you're using the word legitimate, to finance VOD and you're adding pay‑per‑view.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15409 Now, some will argue that the Fund is already over subscribed, so that they will need to have more money in order to finance VOD and pay‑per‑view programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15410 And at the same time you are asking us to contemplate reducing your contribution, or at least one thing for sure, not increase the BDU contribution to CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15411 Where do you think CTF will find the money to meet your request?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15412 MR. FRANK: Well, before I answer the main thrust of your question, I just note for the record that, in fact, the BDU contributions to the CTF do, in fact, increase year over year and in our business ‑‑ the DTH ‑‑ in our main business, the DTH sector, those contributions have increased almost exponentially over the last seven years as our subscriber growth has increased. We've tailed off a little bit in terms of subscriber growth, but over the last 10 years, clearly, we've gone, in the case of ExpressVu, gone from zero customers to over 1.8‑million customers and, so, that has occasioned huge increases in revenue to the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15413 And I might add that that's not just revenue that's been poached from other BDUs, so, net neutral to the industry. The lion's share of those customers are net new, net new to the system. So, we've brought in, if you'll excuse the expression, a tonne more financing for Canadian production and for the CTF in particular.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15414 So, to your question about how the CTF would allocate its funds, I was seized by a comment that the Chairperson made the other day when she assured one of the participants that the Commission is very focused on Canadians and Canadian viewers, and it seems to me that Canadian viewing habits are changing, and as those habits change and they move from over‑the‑air to specialty to pay to VOD and pay‑per‑view, then the funding of the CTF should follow that kind of shift.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15415 If we're going to maintain a competitive industry, competitive to the unregulated broad band sources which are becoming increasingly prevalent and to U.S. satellite television services, which although they're unauthorized in Canada are extant from coast to coast, we have to make these shifts, otherwise we'll lose credibility in the marketplace.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15416 So, I understand that there's a huge demand for CTF funding but, as I said, CTF funding is increasing from the BDU sector, especially from the DTH sector which funds disproportionately to the industry, and I guess at the end of the day it's making do with what we've got.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15417 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Something you haven't said, but listening to your reply could I interpret it to be that the money going to over‑the‑air television and specialty and pay services should be capped, so is the money coming from the government to a certain level and whatever comes up is considered as new revenues and then could be invested into VOD, pay‑per‑view and eventually new media?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15418 MR. FRANK: Sir, I'm not at all suggesting that the ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15419 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: No, I didn't hear you saying that, but while I was listening to your reply it led me to believe that that could be an approach.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15420 MR. FRANK: Well, that could be an approach. That's not the kind of approach that we have in mind.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15421 We would encourage the Commission, as we've said in our presentation, to allow for a separate branch, a new board to be created, a much smaller board be created and that board itself would, consistent with the Commission's expectations and findings in this hearing and perhaps others to come, allocate monies in a way that maximized the viewing of popular Canadian programming. Our emphasis here is on a more market‑oriented production industry.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15422 Now, I know a lot of folks have told you during the course of this hearing that such is the case now, but we think through our proposal more flexibility would come to funding and that would allow for a shift amongst the various sectors, who's ever producing the most viewing of Canadian programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15423 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: To move to another area, and you've just alluded to it when you dealt with having a different board for the more oriented fund, your proposal is two streams within the CTF and you say with a different board for the more oriented market fund.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15424 Am I understanding you well?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15425 MR. FRANK: Yes, sir.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15426 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15427 MR. FRANK: So far so good.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15428 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: So far so good.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15429 Will the members of the second board be also members of the bigger board?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15430 MR. FRANK: That's an interesting question. I don't think we turned our mind to that question specifically.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15431 I think the best answer I can give you is, I doubt it. I would think that the members of this new board would be quite busy with the affairs of the new undertaking and their focus would be completely different.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15432 We see the public sector stream promoting, being interested in programming that is likely less commercially oriented, more culturally oriented, addressing the public policy needs of these monies as opposed to the commercial objectives.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15433 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: But at the same time in having two organizations within the same umbrella means that it's going to have the same staff and the same relationship, say, with Telefilm.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15434 MR. FRANK: That was an idea that was floated by Rogers a couple of days ago and when ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15435 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Rogers was talking about two funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15436 MR. FRANK: Yes, I know.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15437 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Making use of ‑‑ and having a service agreement with CTF and with Telefilm.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15438 MR. FRANK: Yes, absolutely. Sorry, I was less than precise with my opening sentences there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15439 In terms of the relationship, the back office relationship with CTF and Telefilm, I think everybody's focused on synergies and minimizing the overhead and, so, we would favour either a relationship with the two organizations you've mentioned, or a relationship potentially with an existing independent fund or group of independent funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15440 The idea ‑‑ we don't have religion on that particular issue, we share the concern of others and, that is, to keep the costs of running the board to a bare minimum so as much money as possible gets into the hands of producers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15441 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: It seems to me that your proposal is intellectually interesting, but it does raise practical issues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15442 First, to whom staff will be devoting its efforts, particularly when there are conflicting mandates given to them by one board and the other one, to whom shall their fiduciary duties go?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15443 MR. FRANK: I have not had any experience with the CTF, ExpressVu has not had a seat on the Board, so, we're on the outside looking in, but I do have experience on the Bell Fund, and I note for the record that the Bell Fund, the back office, the administration, the staff direction and operations of the Bell Fund is co‑mingled with two other funds. In other words, we share staff with two other funds and I know of no operational issues. Staff is able to focus when its Bell Fund time, focus a hundred per cent on our issues, on our mandate and we've had absolutely no issues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15444 In fact, if I can be a little self‑congratulatory, I think the Bell Fund is considered one of the best, if not the best, run fund in this independent fund business and its constituents are very happy with the speed, the speed to funding, the efficiency and the effectiveness of the decision making and the consistency of the decision making.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15445 So, I hear what you're saying, but I think that sort of thing could be overcome with the right management team.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15446 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: And then if it happened that we ‑‑ because at the end of the day the Bell video ‑‑ the independent fund, it's a rather very small staff and Andra Sheffer yesterday was saying that altogether you're talking four or five people.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15447 In the case of CTF because of volume, because of complexity, because of the ‑‑ you need to have much more staff than in the case of the independent fund on one hand, and on the other hand even they have a relationship with a third party that is doing their more clerical work.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15448 So, you're talking here of a much more complex relationship between two organizations than what you do within the independent production fund, the Bell Digital Fund and the Cogeco Cable Fund.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15449 At the end of the day there will be a management issue, whoever you have that leads the organization and whoever...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15450 So, how will those matters be resolved? Take for an example ‑‑ I will make an example. The private fund has a difficult relationship problem with senior staff and on the other hand you're of the view that there's going to be changes in the management; on the other hand the other board has a totally opposite view, thinks that things are smooth, doing well. At the end of the day, who wins?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15451 MR. FRANK: Well ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15452 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: How do you resolve those issues?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15453 MR. FRANK: That's a very interesting issue you bring up and I did not mean in my previous answer to trivialize the management issues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15454 I acknowledge your point ‑‑ your points, this is a non‑trivial matter, but I do think with the appropriate management and management philosophy those problems can be overcome.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15455 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Sometimes that's easier said than done.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15456 MR. FRANK: You're absolutely right, but where there's a will there's a way and there's always the prospect, I suppose, that if this is insurmountable, as I said, the operation of the independent fund could be moved. Although I think that based on the comments of others that's not the, by all means would be the first, or it would be a distant option, let me put it that way.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15457 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. Well, gentlemen, those were my questions for you this morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15458 Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15459 MR. FRANK: If I could ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15460 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15461 MR. FRANK: ‑‑ just say one other thing. A couple of questions ago I was remiss in dealing with the issue of why we've added pay‑per‑view.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15462 I just wanted to make the point that, as you may know, DTH at this time ‑‑ neither DTH company, certainly our company and I don't believe our competitor, at this time has the capacity or the technology to offer a service‑based VOD service, so we use pay‑per‑view as our near video‑on‑demand.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15463 That's why ‑‑ video‑on‑demand clearly is picking up viewers, it's of great interest to consumers and pay‑per‑view is and will be in the future our response to VOD.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15464 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15465 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for that additional comment, Mr. Frank, because I did just have a couple of questions with regards to the funding of pay‑per‑view and VOD content.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15466 It's not new content that goes to VOD; it's still the same content, for now anyway there is no content being produced that is exclusively VOD or exclusively pay‑per‑view.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15467 So, why does VOD content need funding, because it's programs that perhaps have already been funded for broadcast on either conventional or specialty.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15468 I just want to understand why it is that BDUs are coming to us and asking us that ‑‑ and telling us that VOD and pay‑per‑view content should be funded as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15469 MR. FRANK: I think in a nutshell it's early days for this type of service and I expect that the business will evolve.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15470 There is programming ‑‑ we've just started a VOD business, so, our experience level isn't perhaps as fulsome as others, but we've been running a pay‑per‑view business for some time now and there is programming that is exhibited only on pay‑per‑view and the opportunity to create more concerts and specials for pay‑per‑view may exist in the future, especially if there is funding for it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15471 So, it's a way to grow our business, a way to appeal to Canadian consumers and a way to stay with or ahead of the market.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15472 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, so, you foresee that producers may one day produce content that is exclusively available on either pay‑per‑view or VOD?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15473 MR. FRANK: I think it's well within the realm of possibility. And to the present situation, having the pay‑per‑view and VOD marketplaces in the funding stream also is of use to attracting public funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15474 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15475 We have no more questions for you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15476 Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15477 MR. FRANK: Thank you for your time and your attention.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15478 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15479 Madam Secretary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15480 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15481 And now we will hear the presentation of MTS Allstream.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15482 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself. You will have 15 minutes. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15483 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: Thank you. Good morning. My name is Teresa Muir. I am the Vice‑President, Regulatory Affairs, at MTS Allstream.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15484 With me today is Jennie Crowe, our Director of Regulatory Law.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15485 With over 76,000 customers, MTS TV, our distribution service in Winnipeg, has effected one of the earliest and most successful DSL‑based television distribution deployments in North America.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15486 Since the commercial launch of MTS TV in 2003, MTS has captured approximately one‑third of the terrestrial broadcasting distribution market in Winnipeg, our licence territory.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15487 We have achieved this level of success by focusing on providing customers with a superior product, a top quality viewing experience, new and innovative features, and perhaps most importantly, increased customer choice and control over their viewing experience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15488 In order to attract customers as a new entrant in today's rapidly evolving broadcast landscape, MTS has made, and continues to make significant investments to the Canadian broadcasting system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15489 For example, this year MTS will be testing a next‑generation software and broadband delivery system that we hope will ultimately allow us to provide new and even better services to our television and hi‑speed internet customers in Manitoba.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15490 Naturally, in addition to investing in the Canadian broadcasting system, MTS supports Canadian programming through the carriage of Canadian services, and MTS, like other distributors, is currently required to contribute 5 percent of its gross revenues derived from broadcasting activities to the Canadian Television Fund.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15491 In fact, because the MTS TV service includes both BDU and broad elements, MTS Allstream actually pays more than 5 percent of its gross revenues from any VOD purchases, once as a BDU gross revenue, and half again as VOD gross revenues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15492 Under this contribution regime, in the 2006‑2007 broadcast year MTS Allstream paid $1.4 million to the CTF and spent approximately half a million dollars on Winnipeg‑on‑Demand, our newly launched, VOD‑based outlet for local expression.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15493 Needless to say, this contribution is mandated regardless of profitability.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15494 When evaluating the efficacy of the CTF, it is important to bear in mind that the current BDU contribution to the CTF began as a voluntary bargain between the Commission and the cable distributors. This bargain was struck at a time when cable rates were still regulated and capital expenditures directly derived through these regulated rates.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15495 The Commission allowed the cable BDUs to keep half of the amount by which their basic monthly fees would have otherwise been reduced after the expiry of rate increases designed to fund capital expenditures in exchange for the voluntary payment of the other half into what eventually evolved into the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15496 Given that we are a new entrant to the distribution market, MTS Allstream has not benefited from any guarantee of return on capital expenditures that it has made to the Canadian broadcasting system. Therefore, it did not participate in the initial bargain that first created this direct monetary contribution to Canadian programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15497 Despite this, contribution to the CTF is equally mandatory for MTS Allstream.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15498 Moreover, MTS Allstream is not currently represented on the CTF Board and, thus, is given no say in the manner in which its contribution to the CTF is used.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15499 Added to this, the CTF does not separately account for the BDU contributions, giving MTS Allstream extremely limited insight into the use that is made of its significant contributions to the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15500 As an economic contributor, MTS submits that this situation is simply unacceptable, particularly in this age of increased accountability.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15501 The Task Force recognized that greater transparency is required, and we submit that every contributor should have access to a quarterly report that outlines all received applications, with accompanying justification for their financial support or denial, whether each program was indeed broadcast, and its relative success, including financial benefit and viewership.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15502 While MTS Allstream, along with SaskTel and TELUS, have in the past collectively approached the Department of Canadian Heritage to seek a seat on the CTF Board, these requests were flatly rejected.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15503 In its report, the Task Force recommended a second seat for DTH distributors, but no such recommendation in relation to the unrepresented telco BDUs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15504 Nor has the newly created Cable Coalition for Canadian Expression approached MTS Allstream for inclusion. This is hardly surprising, given that, as a new entrant competitor to the incumbent cable companies that the CCCE represents, MTS' interests often vary from those of the CCCE members.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15505 Fair governance dictates that all economic contributors should be provided fair representation on the Board.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15506 MTS also supports the Task Force recommendation to remove independent producers from the CTF Board, given their conflict of interest as recipients who benefit directly from the allocation of funds to their specific types of programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15507 Since the inclusion of broadcasters on the CTF Board also represents a conflict of interest in that broadcasters control which programming receives funding and directly benefit from the subsidization of their chosen productions, we submit that broadcasters should also be removed from the CTF Board, unless they, too, become direct contributors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15508 In addition to removing concerns about conflict of interest, such a move would reduce the overall size of the CTF Board, and would leave more room for the economic contributors to the fund to be represented.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15509 If, indeed, the Commission is going to pursue ways to increase CTF funding, the only choice the Commission has to broaden the contributions to the CTF fund is to include not only the BDU sector, but also broadcasters, and potentially even producers, who most directly benefit from the CTF funding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15510 This would not only create a return on the investment buy, for example, requiring producers who benefit most from the CTF subsidy to feed back into the fund in proportion to their success, but would also increase the overall amount available to the CTF, while minimizing the burden imposed on any one sector.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15511 Throughout these proceedings it has become clear that there are serious concerns about whether the CTF funds are being used directly to the best effect. A proposal has been made that programming destined for video‑on‑demand should also be made eligible for CTF funding. MTS supports this proposal.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15512 VOD is a new and innovative platform for Canadian programming that lets viewers exercise maximum choice. If the goal is to make quality Canadian programming easily accessible to Canadians, the anytime nature of VOD is an ideal venue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15513 Given the direct benefit that community programming delivers to regional subscribers, MTS Allstream also proposes that BDUs that are located in smaller production areas be allowed to allocate a greater percentage of their mandated contribution to community programming or other local expression.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15514 In the case of BDUs who, like MTS Allstream, deliver community programming via a VOD platform, the Commission could also allow a portion of the mandated contribution from VOD revenues to be used for the outlet for local expression, something that is not permitted today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15515 Community programming delivers a direct benefit to the community that is ultimately funding the system. In the case of the Winnipeg‑based customers, changes are needed to ensure that they are not shut out of the system, but see a direct, local, economic benefit of their contribution to the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15516 The 2007‑2008 broadcaster performance envelope updates found on the CTF website show that almost all productions receiving CTF funding and turned out of Manitoba are, in fact, documentaries. This type of programming is less likely to be a success from the perspective of the audience viewership and investment return.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15517 MTS' outlet for local expression, Winnipeg‑on‑Demand, provides all MTS TV customers with instant access to a platform where viewers can watch stories about people and events and activities within their own community.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15518 The community‑produced programming has included such stories as "Sierra's Song", a biography of Sierra Noble, a Métis fiddler, and "Legacy in Stone", a documentary on building the Manitoba legislature.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15519 Winnipeg‑on‑Demand provides Winnipeggers a new opportunity and platform to showcase their stories and to share them with their neighbours.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15520 All elements of the Canadian broadcasting system are making significant contributions to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming. There will always be demand for greater resources to allow talented Canadians to do more and to, potentially, achieve greater success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15521 At the same time, the evolving broadcasting system is providing Canadian producers with new opportunities to exhibit their work, and providing Canadian viewers with unprecedented choice.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15522 The Commission must be mindful of the fact that it is the Canadian customers who ultimately pay into any funds for Canadian programming, and who are ultimately the intended beneficiaries of such a scheme.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15523 The Commission cannot lose site of the fact that this is a finite pool of funding, and the greater the demands that the Canadian broadcasting system places on Canadians, the less the system is serving them.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15524 Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15525 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Muir.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15526 Commissioner Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15527 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Good morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15528 I understand that you are concerned about the transparency of the Canadian Television Fund, and, in a positive way, you are suggesting that the CTF will eventually provide contributors with quarterly reports outlining the applications received and the reasons for their approval or denial.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15529 Why is it important that you have this data on a regular basis, quarter after quarter, and what benefits will these quarterly reports provide to the industry?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15530 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: The way we look at it is, really, that it is unclear how funding decisions for certain productions are made, and less clear, even, ultimately, the outcome of those funding decisions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15531 Typically, when you make an economic contribution, either privately or publicly, you like to be aware of whether the decisions made actually produce an economic benefit, bearing in mind, of course, that we are talking about creating programming, and there are certain risks associated with creating art that make it a little difficult to derive the perfect set of metrics to know whether or not something is going to be a commercial success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15532 But the more we can gauge that with rigour, the more easily we can adjust what programming is funded, the more we can ensure that there are no real conflicts or mistakes made in allocating funds, and we can just measure the success overall of this kind of scheme, if this scheme continues.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15533 COMMISSIONER MORIN: I understand, also, that a results‑based approach would receive your approval, but at the same time you are concerned about the impact of the production of the Manitoba‑based, market‑driven funding stream focused on growing audiences.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15534 Why are you worried about the performance of the Manitobans?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15535 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: That is our market, so, obviously, that is what we are most focused on. The more we can provide our market with what they wish to watch, the more successful we will be.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15536 But, ultimately, even those productions that are geared toward Manitoba viewership will be more successful, too.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15537 Also, certain Manitoba‑based producers are more interested in having funds directly available to them, which isn't always the case. Obviously the CTF has a limited umbrella. The broadcasters there have control over who ultimately has the funds, and, typically, they are not programs developed for a Manitoba audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15538 What we have seen with our Winnipeg‑on‑Demand or our VOD community ‑‑ local expression ‑‑ is that we have better viewership with that programming than we do with, as I pointed out, the documentaries, which come, actually, out of the CTF funded programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15539 That is not to say that all CTF funded programming ‑‑ I understand there is a difference between the two, but Manitoba‑based production.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15540 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Since Monday, many have suggested that they have to get a seat on the Board of the CTF. You suggest that the independent producers and broadcasters should leave the CTF Board, but you want to get a seat, too.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15541 You believe it is important that the DSL/BDUs receive a seat on the CTF Board. You are not worried that, by the end of this hearing, we might have 30 members on the CTF Board?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15542 What is the possibility of an ideal Board?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15543 As the Task Force mentioned in its report, an ideal Board would consist of five independent members.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15544 Would you agree with this suggestion, even if you don't have a seat on the Board?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15545 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: The way we have looked at it is, really, that, typically, those parties making economic contributions have a sharpened interest in the success of the programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15546 I am not suggesting that other parties don't have an interest in success, but, actually, making some monetary contribution gives you a greater interest in success. At least that's our view.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15547 If you decided to have a smaller Board and removed, obviously, several members from the Board, we would support it, as long as those who actually make economic contributions have the most say in the appointment of that smaller Board.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15548 It is really a question of where the money comes from that supports this kind of programming, and accountability back to those who are actually funding it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15549 As we suggested, if others wish to fund, also, the CTF, they, too, could have some sort of input into who the Board members would be.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15550 I certainly appreciate that having a huge Board doesn't lead to an efficient resolution of issues, or make it easier for the actual staff to make decisions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15551 On the other hand, having a Board that doesn't offer any participation to those who are actually funding the CTF probably doesn't produce, in our opinion, the best outcome.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15552 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15553 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice‑Chairman Arpin?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15554 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: I note that you haven't made any comments regarding the main thrust of the report, which is the break‑up of the CTF into two funds, one where the contributions of the BDUs will be administered under different guidelines than contributions from other sources.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15555 Do you have any comments to make on that?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15556 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: I guess we would consider that along the same lines as we would consider any economic contributors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15557 Obviously, we don't disagree that if there is a decision to split the fund between having one administered ‑‑ the public funds administered separately from the contributions of the BDUs, and if that is the decision taken, we would support it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15558 We would also, still, continue to expect a certain kind of transparency, particularly with respect to the funds that we are making economic ‑‑ or the BDUs are making economic contribution to.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15559 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15560 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15561 MS GRIFFIN‑MUIR: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15562 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we take a break, it has been called to our attention that February 18th, which is the date by which everyone is to file their final comments, is a statutory holiday in some parts of the country. Therefore, for those of you who cannot submit on the 18th, we will accept your reply comments on the 19th.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15563 Thank you. We will break for 15 minutes.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 0950 / Suspension à 0950
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1007 / Reprise à 1007
LISTNUM 1 \l 15564 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation of Mr. Aaron Martin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15565 You have 15 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRESENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15566 MR. MARTIN: Good morning. My name is Aaron Martin and I am a writer/producer in the Canadian television industry.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15567 I was the head writer and an executive producer on Degrassi: The Next Generation, its first four seasons, and I was the creator and executive producer of The Best Years, an hour‑long series on Global and in the United States.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15568 I am currently developing Once Upon a Time, a primetime series for NBC produced by Imagine Television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15569 I am a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre Screenwriting Program and I have focused my career exclusively on television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15570 I have always loved television ever since I was a kid when my grandmother would let us stay up late to watch Fantasy Island. In fact, my mother named me Aaron after Aaron Spelling. So I guess it was kind of my destiny to one day work in TV.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15571 Television is the most accessible of all media, more accessible than film than books and magazines and depending on your age even more accessible than the internet.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15572 Television pipes our shared stories right into our living rooms. It's greatly important that at least some of the stories we watch are our own; emphasis on some. We can't expect to take down the goliath that is American television, but we can create alternatives to it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15573 We can and we do reflect Canada to Canadians. These stories are important because they are our stories, Canadian stories. We are not Americans. And if we all consume are American stories then what happens to Canada? What happens to the country that didn't go into Iraq, the country that swears allegiance to a foreign monarch that has barely the population of California? Simple, its culture and its identity drowns.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15574 The reason I am here today is because some people in our industry are making the false claims that Canadian television doesn't work; that it's broken; that it doesn't attract an audience; that we need to create commercial programs to draw an audience since cultural ones can't; the commercial and cultural are mutually exclusive. These are all lies.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15575 I worked for four years on one of the most Canadian series ever created. Not only has Degrassi consistently brought in respectable numbers for seven seasons, and is going into its eighth season next year ‑‑ think about that, eight seasons. How many series get beyond their first season ‑‑ but it's also become an international hit. It put an entire U.S. cable network on the map.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15576 Degrassi has won or been nominated for the following: a Television Critics award, two Teen Choice awards, two GLAAD Media awards, a Prix Jeunesse and various Canadian industry awards including multiple Geminis. Both the New York Times and Entertainment Weekly have claimed it to be the best TV teen series on the air and this is the fourth incarnation of the Degrassi franchise.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15577 Degrassi has entertained Canadians in one form or another since 1979. It is a huge commercial success. But more important, it's a huge Canadian cultural success. Its mix of no nonsense realistic storytelling, its liberal values, its casting of real and age‑appropriate kids are all distinctly Canadian attributes and are all things that differentiate it from any American teen series ever created. That's why people watch, Canadians, Americans, Australians, Malaysians. This show would never have been greenlit in the United States. It's distinctly Canadian television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15578 But is it cultural or is it commercial? Is it private since Degrassi: The Next Generation airs on CTV? Or is it public since 10 out of 10 Degrassi's roots are firmly embedded in the CBC?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15579 Here is a better question: What does it matter? It's a success and that is what TV is all about, right?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15580 I would not have a series in development in L.A. with a major television network, with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer executive producing my show were it not for Degrassi. This little Canadian show that could is that highly respected south of the border and the consistent praise I hear is that it's different. It's original. It's something that Americans would never create. It's Canadian.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15581 So why do I, a Canadian creative who lives and works in Canada, have the confidence of some of the biggest names in the biz while the BDUs are trying to shut me and others like me down? The better question is why would I stay in Canada when I can get a lot more respect and make a lot more money south of the border? The simple answer is I won't stay in Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15582 And I am hardly the first Canadian to defect. Look at the writing teams in L.A. staffed primarily by Canadians; House, Bones, 24. House is the number one scripted drama in Canada and a Canadian who worked for years in our television industry created it. So don't tell me or my colleagues that we don't know how to create commercial television. South of the border we define it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15583 Another area of concern I have with the proposed changes to the CTF involves the 10 out of 10 versus 8 out of 10 criteria to trigger funding. The Best Years, the show I created after leaving Degrassi was 8 out of 10 since it was set in Boston and our lead actor was American. It did not receive any CTF funding nor did it deserve it. CTF is public money, despite arguments to the contrary. It is money that is collected like a tax by the BDUs to support indigenous Cancom production in exchange for their ongoing protection from foreign competition. The Best Years made up its budget shortfall through a U.S. sale. We didn't deserve the Canadian Television Fund since the show was set in America, plain and simple.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15584 Were I creating The Best Years now, the proposed changes mean that it would be eligible for the CTF. It's set in beautiful Ivy League Boston. It stars an American, a woman who has appeared in Entourage and CSI: Miami and who played Justin Timberlake's love interest in his big screen debut.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15585 Hell, according to the new improved CTF, The Best Years should be a guaranteed commercial success, right? Wrong. The Best Years was not anywhere near as commercially successful as 10 out of 10 smack dab set in Toronto, Degrassi. It did not catch on with Canadians, not because the show was bad. We did big numbers in the U.S. and got great critical acclaim. But in the end, The Best Years, like so many series, just didn't click at least not with a Canadian audience. In fact, most series created just don't click. It's a reality of this business.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15586 How many series survive their first season in the U.S.? How many survive a first month? In the 2006‑2007 development season of the 600 pilot scripts that were commissioned 45 made it to series. And of those 45 only 14 were renewed for a second season and only one ‑‑ one ‑‑ made it to the Top Ten. Think about that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15587 Millions of dollars were spent for just one hit. I can't be more clear. There is no magic formula to creating hit shows even if we relegate funding to series whose sole goal is "commercial success".
LISTNUM 1 \l 15588 The big U.S. networks do everything they can to make hits. Television is not just about producing shows. These shows need to be publicized. They need good and consistent scheduling. They need promotion and hype and fair criticism. We just don't have that system setup in Canada, especially not to support homegrown shows. No matter how good a series is if the public doesn't know about it how are they going to find it? And if they do find it, it's often relegated to shoulder periods like the summer or Friday and Saturday nights when simulcasting U.S. network shows is generally not an issue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15589 And if viewers make it past all of those hurdles they are then watching shows that are produced on a fraction of the budget of most American shows. The BDUs want to take away even more money from our already threadbare budgets. And, yet, the expectation remains for us to create commercial programs; television series that will compete with Lost or House or Desperate Housewives even if the budgets on those shows run anywhere from $2.5 million to $3.5 million U.S. an hour while Canadian shows are lucky to scrape together $1.3 million. Come on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15590 Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal are not Hollywood. Our budgets aren't Hollywood budgets so why this single‑minded expectation that we can emulate Hollywood product? I am not saying that we shouldn't aim to be commercial. Of course we should and we do. But we don't spend millions of dollars on pilots. The pilot for Lost alone cost nearly $15 million or about the price of the entire first season of The Best Years.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15591 We don't spend anywhere near as much per episode for an hour‑long series and we don't spend tens of millions of dollars a year promoting our shows. But what we do when we are working at our best, is we create really specific original Canadian shows like Degrassi or Corner Gas or Little Mosque on the Prairie or Trailer Park Boys or Da Vinci's Inquest, shows that we can actually shoot on our budgets and that can then through their uniqueness and specificity to Canadian culture attract domestic and international audiences alike. Will we win every time? No way. Anything ‑‑ anyone that good at creating hits would rule Hollywood.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15592 My final complaint with the proposed changes to the CTF is dividing it into two funds. Not only will this create a lot of red tape and confusion but it's simply ridiculous.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15593 Take the West Wing. Would you say that that show was a cultural hit because it explored the inner workings of the American political system, or would you say it was a commercial hit because it did so incredibly well in the ratings? Of course the answer is both. It's just that Americans are confident enough that culture is automatically commercial. Cultural expression isn't classified as public or private. It just is. But if we were to create the same show and set it at Parliament Hill in Ottawa I honestly have no idea where that would fall in the proposed funding split.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15594 I am a proud Canadian who doesn't see a difference between cultural and commercial, who doesn't understand the difference between public and private, at least not within our unique system, not as long as the shows in question are good and appeal to an audience. Parachuting in B‑list American stars won't make Canadians watch something. And let's be honest, no A‑list American actor, writer or director would ever work for Canadian scale.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15595 So why the need to differentiate commercial and cultural before a show has even been developed? Why burden the creative process with something so arbitrary and artificial? How can any of that help our already beleaguered system?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15596 Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns today. I hope I was able to open your eyes to my world as a creative in the Canadian television industry.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15597 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15598 And now we will hear the presentation of Mr. David Barlow.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15599 You have 15 minutes. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRESENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15600 MR. BARLOW: Madam Chair, Members of the panel, Commission staff, good morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15601 My name is David Barlow. I am listed on your program as under my company name which is Screenpages.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15602 Thank you for inviting me here today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15603 For the past 25 years I have worked as a writer, story editor and producer of Canadian television series and TV movies. My movies have depicted among others Canadian peacekeepers in Croatia, four young Canadians creating the board game Trivial Pursuit, a trio of adventurers ranching in the British Columbia wilderness.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15604 The TV series have portrayed police officers in Toronto and Vancouver; doctors, lawyers and news reporters in Toronto, a Jewish family in a small town in British Columbia and a Slavey community in Nunavut.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15605 I am currently a producer and a writer on a series entitled "The Border". It features a national immigration and customs enforcement unit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15606 Two of my TV movies were the highest rated MOWs of the season on the CBC. I received two Gemini awards for best comedy series and a Gemini for writing serious drama. TV programs I have worked on have received over 40 awards and nominations and have been sold worldwide.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15607 I would like to respond to the task force recommendations from the perspective I know best, which is television drama, and I include sitcoms when I use that term.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15608 Television drama is currently the most influential form of popular storytelling. At its best it speaks to where we have been, who we are now and what we wish to become. It shows us that we are not alone in what we feel and fear. It reinforces our sense of self.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15609 The Americans understand this. They have been successfully showcasing their mores, their social attitudes and their lifestyle through their film and television dramas for over 50 years. A poll was done last year in Iraq. The Iraqis ranked America as the most hated country in the world. They also ranked it as the country they would most like to emigrate to. What was the source of this image of America as the promised land? American films and television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15610 Primetime television despite strikes, game shows and reality programs is still dominated by dramas. It is the single most pervasive and persuasive form of TV programming. It is also minute for minute one of the most expensive forms of television programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15611 The CTF has as its objective to assist the creation and broadcast of high quality, culturally‑significant Canadian television programs and to build audiences for these programs. Making television drama is hard work and building an audience is even harder.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15612 When I began in this business Canadian TV drama series were thin on the ground and the CBC resolved to increase their audiences for dramatic programming and CTV followed suit. And as time went on series like Street Legal, E.N.G. and Road to Avonlea drew weekly audiences of a million or more and ran for many seasons. A critical mass of high quality Canadian programming created an appetite for more Canadian programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15613 Then a number of things happened; more channels, fragmentation, reduced distribution fees, the CRTC's expansion of the definition of priority programs and the faltering of will on the part of some broadcasters. Between 1998 and 2006 conventional broadcasters reduced their expenditures on Canadian programming from 5.1 percent of ad revenues to 2.3 percent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15614 The cumulative effect was a radical reduction in the amount of drama produced in this country. I felt like I had gone back in time. The level of drama production seemed to be not much greater than it had been when I entered the business over two decades ago and we had a stretch of almost five years without a breakout hit; some critical successes but no hits.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15615 With little new Canadian drama on view the audiences went away. There were plenty of other choices. Canadian broadcasters were still merrily buying every new U.S. show that they could cram into their schedules and the refrain of the day was, "Well, Canadians won't watch Canadian shows. They are really not interested." But just when people started to buy that bit of sophistry along came a show called Corner Gas and then along came a show called Little Mosque on the Prairie. Wonder of wonders, Canadians turned out in droves for these shows. Networks recommitted to developing new series and we are now back to building a critical mass of Canadian quality programs which in turn will build audiences.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15616 It is a maxim that the audience doesn't know what it wants until it sees it. The only way to succeed is to keep providing the audience with choices until it sees something it likes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15617 This has to be the toughest place in the world to make TV drama. Our channels are saturated with imports from the largest, most successful purveyor of English‑language entertainment in the world. And if that weren't enough competition we also import the best of British television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15618 U.S. production budgets are on average almost three times larger than ours per hour, as Aaron mentioned and U.S. broadcasters cover 85 percent of these budgets. Canadian broadcasters pay some of the lowest licence fees in the industrialized world. Thank goodness for public financing. But partially because it is public money the process of financing in this country is long and complex.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15619 A friend recently completed an application for development money for a feature film script, not production just the script. The package; application, proposal, budgets, bios, contracts, corporate and other supporting documents ran to 125 pages. When he told me this I said, "Steve, the actual screenplay is only going to be 110 pages." Even if you manage to get your production financed you still have to face the fact that failure is the constant, success an exception.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15620 Aaron mentioned the ratio of scripts placed in development by the U.S. networks compared to shows still on the air after two seasons. The odds of success are something like 35 to 1 in the United States and it's no different here proportionately.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15621 So huge competition, financing challenges and a high mortality rate, that's the climate. What about the task force recommendations?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15622 The last thing the industry needs is two funds. More objectives, more division of focus, more criteria, double the administration, double the complexity for producers to try and figure out ‑‑ trying to figure out where and how to apply. Is my friend Steve going to have to prepare two 125‑page applications just to cover his bets?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15623 From what I have heard and read almost every supplicant who has appeared before you this week has wanted something a little or a lot different out of the CTF monies. With everybody saying, "Me, me, me; what about me?" do we actually believe a board made up of nominees from contributing members is going to come up with simple and flexible and effective guidelines for a private sector funding stream, unless of course the CTF decides just to hand the money over to the contributing members and let them finance the programs they want.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15624 If that's the route chosen, don't expect to see a lot of Canadian drama being produced. We have already established that it is high risk and high cost and we have past practice which demonstrates, given the choice, broadcasters are more likely to go with lower cost programming, reality entertainment, magazine shows, documentaries. And with the CTF split into two there will be less money spread over more applicants. Several private contributors have already registered that they want to take out as much as they have put in.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15625 Don't start splitting up and hiving off already limited resources. Don't create additional language that will further limit and constrain the stewards and administrators when they are trying to determine the best way to accomplish the stated objectives. Allow qualified experienced people of good intention to do what circumstances require to serve the existing mandate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15626 Several private contributors see a pile of money going to support production. It's natural that they would want a piece of the action or at least control over the action. But it's not their money anymore than the GST that I collect is my money. And I don't get to dictate how my GST is spent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15627 Where does this apposition of market‑oriented private sector programs and high quality culturally‑significant programs come from?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15628 I have written and produced shows for CBC, Global and CTV. I have worked on shows that ended up on numerous specialty channels. The objective is always the same, make something that was of the highest quality we could afford that was competitive, that went after the largest possible audience and that met its financial targets; in other words, market oriented.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15629 The successes were culturally significant. They had an impact on the popular culture of the day. The successes on private networks were indistinguishable in their aims and objectives from the successes on the public network. Why do we need two funds to accomplish the same objectives?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15630 Actual and potential return on investment must be a factor. No producer goes into a production to lose money but it's an unpredictable high risk game. There are more losers than winners. If the BDUs or anyone else can figure a way to guarantee returns on particular programs they won't need the assistance of the CTF. The private marketplace will provide a ready source of financing. And that's the confusion that needs to be cleared up in my opinion. The CTF is not in whole or part private funds held in trust for the financing of purely money‑making ventures. It's public money that is supposed to be allocated in a way that will build audiences for Canadian programs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15631 That said, there is this myth that culturally‑significant publicly‑subsidized Canadian television programs don't provide a return on investment. The programs my colleagues and I have written and produced have filled the schedules of Canadian broadcasters and specialty channels, providing low cost repeats and earning ad revenue for years after their initial runs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15632 Over the past decades I have watched production companies and specialty channels being built on the back of Canadian television programs financed with public funds. I have seen these production companies and specialty channels prosper. I have seen hundreds of people employed by these companies and I have seen these companies and their libraries of Canadian television programs bought and sold in mega deals and I have seen the major shareholders in these companies become multimillionaires. Canadian television programs don't make money? It all depends on how you do the accounting.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15633 Do we need a market‑oriented private sector‑oriented funding stream with a focus on investment return? Guess what, we have already got it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15634 There is a sense both in the recommendations and some public comments that somehow the CTF program has failed, that people don't watch Canadian programs. This is as false as the myth that CTF‑funded programs aren't market oriented. Millions of people have watched and enjoyed 10 out of 10 Canadian movies and series, many millions of people. There have been Canadian hits, TV movies and series with large audiences and critical successes; shows with fiercely loyal audiences that have sold well abroad.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15635 The track record for Canadian television programs will always be erratic and as drama producers and writers we simply don't get enough at bats to ensure a large number of homeruns. That is not a reflection on the talent and capability of the creative teams behind these shows. It is simply the law of averages. And whenever we threaten to get on a roll and build a critical mass of programming it seems someone comes along and decides to change the rules or improve the game or disrupt the status quo to serve their own interests.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15636 But most damaging of all have been the actions that seem to be borne out of low self‑esteem. There are players in this industry that seem to believe their lives and experiences and that of their fellow Canadians could never provide an adequate basis for compelling drama. And since they see themselves in such inferior light they are unable, despite the enormous evidence to the contrary, to appreciate that a majority of Canadians do enjoy seeing themselves and their world on their television screens.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15637 I would respectfully suggest the following: Stay the course. Use a single fund to continue to fulfil the established objectives. Do not be misled by private versus public mumbo jumbo. That is too likely to be translated to, "Let us off the hook so we don't have to finance Canadian drama". And finally, resist the impulse to fix that which isn't broken.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15638 Thank you for your attention.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15639 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15640 And now we will hear the presentation of Karen Walton.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15641 You have 15 minutes. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRESENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15642 MS WALTON: Good morning, and thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. I am a Canadian screenwriter who writes film and television drama in Canada, the United States and Great Britain.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15643 My TV credits include the multiple Gemini award‑winning Movie of the Week, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe; executive staff‑writing primetime series like U.S. cable network Showtime's flagship, Queer as Folk, and guest writing on Canadian primetime series like best drama winner, The Eleventh Hour, or What It's Like Being Alone, Straight Up and Drop the Beat and so on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15644 For 14 years I have been hired at home and abroad to write competitive programming by corporate entertainment interests as diverse as the CBC and CTV to Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and, most recently, Sony Columbia.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15645 As you know, I am here to strenuously object to certain conclusions and recommendations of the Canadian Television Fund task force report as a creator and author of Canadian stories, as an avid consumer of domestic television and as a cable subscriber and not one, but two, Canadian households.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15646 Let us begin with the recommendation to create a new separate funding stream, separate supposedly public versus private monies to be managed by the contributing partners in the broadcast cable distribution business. This is a recipe not for the salvation of successful television made for, by and about Canadians, but rather, to me, guarantees its ultimate demise.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15647 For inherent in this recommendation, I see few opportunities for truly original Canadian content, fewer opportunities for Canadians to see our unique world views and values properly reflected by their own, and our clear desire for alternatives to syndicated, simulcast foreign content or pale imitations of it all but ignored.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15648 To be frank, the new funding stream looks like nothing more to me but another tick in the shopping list for the wholesale sellout of a vital Canadian industry and its customers. As a Canadian creator, I am extremely concerned that we are on the verge of allowing a few private profiteers to write their own ticket to the eventual control of our public airwaves.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15649 The BDUs' contributions are public money. The 5 per cent required by the Broadcast Act from the revenues they get from Canadian subscribers is a social contract executed in the interests of us all in exchange for the privilege of protection from foreign competition. We have already seen what happens when we weaken that contract on mainstream television, endless evenings of cheap foreign content, poorly‑promoted Canadian shows relegated to inconsistent, if not downright, obscure timeslots. With a new funding stream as proposed we can expect much much more of the same under the suspect banner of market‑driven objectives.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15650 Based on the report, certain parties seem to assert a, frankly, wilful confusion as to the state and standards of CTF products and their market performance to date. But I myself only conclude that certain participants just don't like sharing the sandbox with those charged to protect and promote the public's interest. And I don't see that improving by making them the stewards of the playground. I see no evidence that they have interest whatsoever at heart beyond charging Canadians more for less.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15651 As a writer whom works in a much larger, much more competitive global market, I know quality Canadian programs are only possible in public/private partnerships. And I will grant you, I can't think of a formal organization that couldn't stand improvement. But as to the CTF's funding guidelines, nowhere do I see stated in intent or result bad shows that no one watches and no one profits from. Nowhere do I see a shred of evidence that the CTF is currently out to throw contributors' money down a well, burn it in the backyard or hand it out willy‑nilly to Joe Canadian, credentials unspecified, experience unknown, pipedreams nonetheless validated due to nation of origin, quite the contrary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15652 As you have already heard this week, the CTF has invested in series that consistently deliver quality product, not just to Canadians, but product popular with the world. Shows like Flashpoint, The Listener, and Sophie have been snapped up by our greatest competitor, the U.S. marketplace. Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin and, my personal favourite, Minuit, le soir were recently sold to France's top‑rated public broadcaster for primetime broadcast and these are but a few, as you know, of CTF's recent performers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15653 We compete, we are successful. Perhaps I am missing something. I routinely benefit from the exploitation of my products through television and film residuals. I am very interested in profits and audiences. Perhaps those who would recommend fund splitting are somehow better prepared, can demonstrate a track record or the vital experience developing, producing and selling their own Canadian shows that could increase the profitability and popularity of my products, but I doubt it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15654 We have all seen the BDUs' programming schedules. The Canadian cable companies are hardly flagships for either competitive Canadian programs or even Canadian content beyond promises of cheap, copycat reality projects. Some of their representatives' very public derisive attitude toward what I, as a successful Canadian creator, have done so far or what I might like to do in the future, their preference to hold us all hostage, working with willing partners responsibly towards a reasonable solution to their concerns, these things don't inspire images of ideal leadership to a land of milk and honey and hits. Rather, they only stoke my fears that corporate bullies can and will have their way in Canada under that suspect banner of more market‑driven objectives. Whose market? Whose objectives?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15655 Please do not subscribe to the rhetoric that suggests culturally‑representative programs are somehow antithetical to hit‑driven commerce. We all know that this is not about public policy versus private enterprise at all. Culture is commerce. Hits occur when a distinctive and singularly identifiable voice reaches and resonates with common experience. Culture and commerce are not separate ideas. In modern society, it is the all‑pervasive entertainment media that is the principal carrier of popular attitudes, influences, information and new ideas.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15656 If you question this point of view I humbly direct your attention to the overwhelming influence of American values, products and corporate agendas on all Canadian populations. Ask yourself how it got in the door, television, radio, internet, cable, movies, images and sound created by the great melting pot of mythologies of one conglomerated culture disseminated for a single common result, profit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15657 America is in the business of pumping their culture into the world and Canada should be in the business of pumping ours. America is an example only to us in the sense that if you invest in and cooperate, collaborate with, cultivate a nation's talent, it pays huge.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15658 I, for one, am not interested in endorsing the BDUs' bid to have us subsidize their ability to compete. Canadian television's commercial success depends not on repeating, revising, emulating or submitting entirely to another country's already too pervasive cultural agenda, but in our celebration of our own intrinsic and fundamental differences from the predictable formulaic pablum currently produced elsewhere.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15659 We have the opportunity to keep offering Canadians and the world a competitive and desperately needed alternative. And after all, correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't cable created in the first place to address the audience's mad appetite for these alternatives, to encourage and exploit our diverse tastes and interests? So why on earth would we then endorse reducing our only advantage, distinctly Canadian content? Non‑qualifying eight out of 10 productions have created, produced, broadcast and have been put out to market in Canada, it is no better results than 10 out of 10s. Logically then, the Fund's current requirements in no way hinder those who do not wish to make entirely Canadian content.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15660 That is why I also object to the recommendation that the CTF reduce the qualifying Canadian content points from 10 out of 10 to eight out of 10. The message we would be sending is we are not successful enough because there are too many Canadians involved. Do you want to send that message to our taxpayers, to our writers, actors, directors, producers, crew who, by the way, are also taxpayers? You might as well add, hey, Canadian talent, don't let the door hit you on the way out and send us a post‑card from sunny California.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15661 You will lose a lot more than a few taxpayers, you will lose a vital component of the defenders and disseminators of this country's identity for good.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15662 The notion that 100 per cent Canadian cannot also be a hit is absurd and denigrates the industry as a whole, our audience's desire for it and our world market buyers. It is a sad day indeed when a federal regulatory body would endorse such a concept even in jest, even as an ill‑conceived exercise in potentially repatriating successful but non‑resident Canadian talent, I can see no good or common sense in it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15663 Talented expats have left us and will continue to do so as long as we fail to present a stable development and production environment with reliable financing that offers something better than: a) less money than other markets pay us; b) scant respect for natural‑based resource contributions to all of our broadcasters' profits; and c) the persistent, systemic devaluation of our skills and merit like this eight out of 10 proposal.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15664 They will continue to leave Canada for marketplaces where the only obstacles to creating hits are the odds and healthy competition, not dithering about how to finance one without them. That is never a question elsewhere. Canadians write hits and become household names elsewhere. Consider Paul Haggis, a former Canadian writer of the series Due South, now an Oscar Award‑winning filmmaker who, on the side, just reportedly made $7 million to rewrite Sony Columbia's next James Bond movie.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15665 Consider Colbert Report writer, Montrealer Barry Julien. Consider writer/performer Mike Myers, writer/performer Jim Carrey, writer/director Jean‑Marc Valleé and his recent engagement in England of Martin Scorsese's production of The Young Victoria. Consider writer/directors like Brad Peyton, who has many studio deals, and ask yourself why he is no longer pursuing the animated television series he created at the CBC.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15666 This isn't about public versus private, this is about keeping Canadian talent working for Canada. Yet, here we are again defending our talent to our own, again. Some days I wonder if there are any of us left to fight off the self‑serving private interests who believe a foreign actor or director or writer will solve their endemic creative management issues. Hits are cultivated by responsible entertainment professionals in collaboration with willing broadcasters. Hits are not bought, they do not travel exclusively with non‑Canadian passports.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15667 If you honestly believe the answer to dissatisfaction with our national product is to import non‑Canadians to make it, we might as well pack it in here and stop pretending we value a distinct and separate identity at all. But I am sure most Canadians and Quebecers would vehemently disagree with that option.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15668 Finally, permit me to suggest that more success will come from better financed and managed development. But in the report, with respect, development, the cornerstone, the foundation, the groundwork of any successful TV endeavor has been relegated to a nod in a paragraph denoting it as a special interest.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15669 Here is where we are failing our unique and invaluable edge in meeting a more market‑driven agenda. Here is why there is confusion about how a hit is made. Here is where we are failing to allow that a crucial element to making consistently successful television is committing to effective, high‑quality, properly time‑lined, exceptionally well‑managed development by our topnotch Canadian talent a top priority.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15670 Unsatisfying shows in any form are not always but often the result of underdevelopment. When you don't care what happens next or when you don't care what happens enough to stay tuned or come back next week, that is often because the underpinnings of the show have not been thoroughly tested, revised, reinvented, reworked to the highest possible standards.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15671 From concept to cast to how to advertise the show to its ideal audience to how many minutes between commercials we have to tell a clear and compelling story that captures your attention and makes you want more, this is the art, craft and science of development. As development takes time and resources to be executed properly, it is costly to do it well, but not worth doing by half measures. And if there is a secret formula to hits, development is the lab with all the equipment required to cook them up.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15672 As my peer Denis McGrath puts it, development is the creation and testing of your product's prototype, and then building the assembly line for its production so it can "be made for a reasonable cost and work right every single time." And make no mistake, down the road when you have got assistant directors scouting and costumers and set builders and a 50‑person crew, try to craft a new episode every eight days you see how important getting that whole system right is.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15673 I would add that it is also, down the road, the difference between sitting on the edge of your living room seats glued to your favourite show or zapping off to something else made somewhere else, something that has been given the kind of investment it needs to hold you fixed and draw you back to your TV set each week again and again, in short, a hit.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15674 Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15675 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15676 And now we will hear the presentation of Karen McClellan. You have 15 minutes.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15677 MS McCLELLAN: Good morning, Madam Chair and members of the panel, Commission staff, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for having me here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15678 My name is Karen McClellan and I am a writer and producer working in the Canadian television industry.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15679 My writing credits include writing episodes for CTV's critically acclaimed and award‑winning series Robson Arms, The Best Years, where I also served as a co‑producer; Alice, I think, based on the acclaimed and award‑winning book by Canadian Susan Juby, and Gemini Award‑winning animated series Oliver's Adventures.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15680 My most recent writing credit is Bridal Fever, an event movie produced for the Hallmark Channel in the United States. I am also the creator and producer on two television series currently in development for CTV and CanWest Global respectively. And I also have a movie currently in development with the Lifetime Network in the U.S.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15681 I was born and raised in suburban Oakville, Ontario. For as long as I can remember I have always written and wanted to be a writer, always. It is not even that I wanted to be a writer, it is just who I am. At age 10 I wrote my first novella. When I was 16 I turned to screenwriting. After I earned by Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto I started working in the film and television industry taking any job I could get as long it exposed me to how television gets made.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15682 Long before I earned professional credits as a writer I learned about film and television from the ground up. I paid my dues apprenticing in some of the most widely regarded and powerful film and television companies. I worked in the development departments of ABC, Alliance Communications, and I was the assistant to several top television movie producers, including Irwin Winkler whose credits include Rocky, Raging Bull, The Right Stuff and Goodfellas. I also worked for Gale Anne Hurd whose body of work includes the blockbuster hits Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15683 In 1998 I earned my Masters of Fine Arts in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. In 2003 I graduated from the Canadian Film Centre's primetime television program. Both schools are recognized inside and outside of the film and television industry for their highly selective and competitive programs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15684 I mention this because I want us to be very clear about where I am coming from when I say that I know what is involved in developing good television, and so that you know that I come here not only as a concerned Canadian screenwriter, but also as someone who has more than paid her dues in the industry, not just in Canada, but also in the United States, which is the country often held up as the standard against which we measure our own accomplishments.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15685 In the last 15 years I have straddled America and Canada academically and professionally and I take great exception to Jim Shaw's assertions that Canadians don't know how to write commercial or cultural hits, because that is why we are here, isn't it, to debate how television is developed and funded in this country? Jim Shaw and Quebecor, and now Rogers Communications, would like to wrest control of the CTF's fund and divide it down commercial or private and cultural or public lines with the implication being the two are mutually exclusive. They are not. Cultural is commercial.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15686 There is an old adage in writing, and that is write what you know. That is what I do and that is the only reason for any of the success I have had to date and the only reason why a Canadian and American marketplace has responded to my writing. I am a Canadian who writes what I know and the stories I tell happen to appeal to a broad audience, which is why I want to tell you about Bridal Fever.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15687 Bridal Fever is the screenplay I wrote eight years ago, right after I graduated from the American Film Institute. When I moved back to Canada I continued to develop the script and I finally sold it last July to the Hallmark Channel in the U.S. The development executives at the Hallmark Channel, with a subscriber base of 83 million homes ‑‑ and I know it is the end of a long week, so I will quickly do the math ‑‑ that is more than twice Canada's population, decided that it would be the perfect fit for their network. They knew their audience would love to tune into a fun, frothy, romantic comedy and it is no coincidence that they have programmed the movie to play this month as their big Valentines event movie.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15688 The Hallmark Channel has promoted the movie not only on their network, but on any network where they believe they have an audience. They invested a lot of money into the making of Bridal Fever and now they are proudly promoting it because they believe it is a commercial success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15689 Entertainment Weekly agrees with Hallmark and declared it the best bet to watch on TV for this past Saturday, February 2, when it premiered on Hallmark. Neither Hallmark nor Entertainment Weekly cares that Bridal Fever was written by a Canadian, directed by a Canadian, stars Canadian actress Andrea Roth of Rescue Me, was filmed in Canada with a Canadian crew and produced by a Canadian production company. They don't care that it was, for all intents and purposes, a 10 out of 10 production. All they care about is can it attract an audience? And it did, it attracted millions of Americans this past Saturday night.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15690 So I ask you, is Bridal Fever a commercial success or a cultural success? Because that is why I am here before you today, to defend the fact that Canadians can write and produce television that is clearly commercial and culturally Canadian.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15691 It is absurd to me that I need to be here today at all. One would think my birth record, track record, education and work experience alone would prove the fact that Canadian writers can be commercial. But it is not enough. So why is that? Because Jim Shaw is doing his best to bully others into believing that there is a difference between being Canadian and being commercial and that somehow the two are mutually exclusive.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15692 In an article dated January 7, 2007 in the Ottawa Citizen Jim Shaw is quoted from a letter he wrote to the CTF saying that:
"The Fund has become nothing more than a means of subsidizing broadcasters, pay and specialty services and independent producers to produce Canadian television programming that few watch and has no commercial or exportable value." (As Read)
LISTNUM 1 \l 15693 That is one of the most ignorant assertions recorded in the history of Canadian television and, yet, it has caused a tempest. And where is the ringmaster to defend his claims? Has he shown up in person this week to speak passionately about how the CTF is broken?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15694 Corner Gas, Road to Avonlea, Due South, Robson Arms, Degrassi, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Trailer Park Boys, Cold Squad, these are a few of the commercial hits Canadians have written and produced in the last 10 years. And I may add that Cold Squad was so successful that Jerry Bruckheimer, one of the most successful and business savvy Hollywood producers, copied it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15695 All of the shows I have mentioned are commercial hits rooted in Canadian culture and distinguished by being singularly Canadian. Why are they commercial? Because the public wants them. In a recent poll an overwhelming majority of Canadians, 86 per cent, said they want access to Canadian programming that is distinct from American TV programs and think the Canadian Government, regulated by the CRTC, should invest and help ensure that Canadians have access to Canadian TV programs that reflect Canada and its people.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15696 The most authentic and successful stories are borne out of genuine knowledge. It is essential to this industry that we employ Canadian writers to tell stories that reflect Canadian experiences. So often the naysayers in the industry will point to Americans as being better writers, better able to tell Canadian stories.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15697 I know from firsthand experience working on several TV shows, in addition to earning my MFA at the American Film Institute, and I can tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. Canadian writers are uniquely qualified to tell Canadian stories and being Canadian does not mean delivering a less commercial or less entertaining product.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15698 What is important to success is experience and cultivating a pool of professional creative talent within this country. Professional writers are able to write shows that are not only relevant to Canadian culture, but also commercially successful. Canadian writers are more than capable of creating television shows that appeal to a mass audience. Those shows are not only important to the fabric of Canadian culture, they have spawned incredible talent, most notably Academy Award‑winning writer Paul Haggis, who was the show writer on Due South and went on to win an Oscar for his feature, Crash.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15699 Also included in that lot are Emmy Award‑winner David Shore, another Due South writer who went on to create the smash TV hit House. These are two Canadian writers who started working in Canada writing Canadian shows and have continued to create and entertain large audiences with their work. Please note the integral common ground between both men. They started working in Canadian television. Why? Because they were Canadian writers telling unique stories to the Canadian experience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15700 I am proud to be a writer following in these illustrious footsteps and I aspire to being a writer of similar note. That kind of success is brought out of two things, talent and opportunity. Opportunity has a broad meaning too. It is not just having the chance to hone one's craft, it is also having the opportunity to create and develop television shows that will entertain and appeal to a wide audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15701 Having had three series in development, two with CTV and one with Global, and having been on the writing staff for several popular TV shows, I am well aware of the important role development plays in creating hit shows. It takes time and resources to develop a television series from the germ of an idea to what is eventually aired on TV.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15702 Great TV is not born overnight, it takes many hours of sweat and work to craft a show, to hit the right marks, to write the funny lines, test and retest what is working and what is not. It is a process that can take years and it is widely recognized as essential by television creators throughout the world.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15703 A recommendation by the CRTC task force on the CTF to cut development funding by allocating it only to the heritage portion of the funding, $100 million if implemented, would be detrimental to quality Canadian television being developed and produced in Canada. Cutting development funding will cut opportunities and increase the likelihood that we will lose talented screenwriters, develop fewer talented screenwriters and establish the conditions in this country to finally prove certain cable operators' self‑interested proclamations that we can't make good television.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15704 Canadians can make good television, we have already proved it. Canadian broadcasters and cable operator want hits. Well, creators want hits too. We want hits because we love what we do and the big ratings mean that we have reached our intended audience. Nothing in the world is more gratifying, not for me and not for the countless writers and producers I have worked with in Canada and in the U.S.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15705 But creating hits takes money and it takes responsible programming and development. Even then, there are no guarantees a show will be a hit. Nobody can predict what audiences will respond to, best guesses don't work. The mega hit TV series Seinfeld was almost cancelled after its first season because of low ratings. Imagine that, Seinfeld, the most successful sitcom ever created.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15706 American networks pour hundreds of millions of dollars into producing quality TV to attract advertisers and audiences. Those hits don't happen overnight. The Sopranos was 10 years in the making. David Chase first developed the show at Fox. After a couple of years Fox past on that show. Eventually, he found a home at HBO, more development. Finally, when the series debuted, those first scripts had gone through years of development and rewriting and rewriting and thousands of dollars.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15707 If this task force is serious about making Canadian TV commercially relevant, it will pour more money into the development fund, not sneak it away under the auspices of two funds, commercial and cultural or private and public, whatever you want to call it. Canadian culture, specifically Canadian television, is a renewable resource. We are not plundering our seas for cod, we are not raising our forests for timber, we are not drilling sands for a resource that contributes to our current climate concerns. Our hits are broadcast in over 130 countries, proof that we can make great and profitable exports that not only support our local economies, but also bind Canada's national unity. But what we are lacking is opportunity.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15708 Cable operators don't want to put money into the fund they call doomed. They don't want to air Canadian shows because it is too hard to turnaround a profit. I agree, it is much easier for them to take the money earmarked by CRTC Regulations and invest it into American‑format shows and fund American research and development. That is what they are doing, they are funding American shows and American risk takers because they are too lazy to take the risk themselves.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15709 Just like it will be that much easier for me to go down to the States and find work in an industry that doesn't judge me on my nationality, but judges me on the quality of my work. Americans know how to take creative risks, that is something the Canadian cable operators could learn. What kind of risks are they taking when their private companies are protected by public policy?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15710 Quite simply, I am asking the CTF task force to reconsider any designs it has to divide the CTF into two funds, private and public. I am asking you to give the same protection and consideration to Canadian writers and creators you would give to any other special interest group. There is no reason for me to stay in Canada. The only reason I came back here was for family and because I believe in this country. But I don't want to live in Canada and work in an industry at discriminates against me because I am Canadian because, make no mistake, that is what is happening here.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15711 So why do I stay here? I ask myself that everyday and the only answer I have is that Canada matters to me. Because as long as I am Canadian and I have a story to tell, I want to tell it here. I want to see my experiences reflected on the small screen. I want to practice my craft here, where I was born and raised. I want to contribute to Canadian culture.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15712 I believe in this country, and I believe that when we are authentic and forget to compare ourselves to our neighbours to the south, we are utterly and completely fantastic.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15713 And the very idea that I have to leave my homeland to freely pursue my craft is offensive.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15714 Would you read a Canadian newspaper where the journalists were all American? Would you want to listen to a Canadian radio station that played only American music, reported only American news, simply because a small number of individuals who control those newspapers or radio stations wanted more advertising revenue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15715 Wouldn't you feel cheated? Wouldn't you feel betrayed, like you were a second‑class citizen who couldn't speak up for yourself? I know I would feel that way, I already do when it comes to this hearing that we're having about the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15716 I hope I have given you some insight into what it means to work creatively in this industry and what is at stake from a creative standpoint.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15717 And I thank you for listening to my concerns today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15718 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, ladies and gentlemen, thank you all for your oral presentation here this morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15719 I must say that the one common goal and, you know, I for one hope that we will continue to build a Canadian system that allows each and everyone of you to stay in Canada and hone your craft.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15720 Our questions to you, some may be specific to your submissions, both your oral and your written one, while others may be more general.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15721 So, if any of you want to answer any of the questions, just turn on your microphone and we'll call you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15722 And I will ask Commissioner Morin to lead the questioning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15723 Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15724 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes, good morning.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15725 I ask my first question to Screenpages and after to Mr. Martin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15726 As you have said, producers and broadcasters have acquired a certain degree of confidence that they didn't have before, and I remember that in the 90s the criteria was eight out of 10, now it's 10 out of 10.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15727 So, with all the Canadian series which have been exported, why are you continuing to stress the importance of protecting the Canadian industry when English Canadian series are exported around the world?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15728 As the Chair has said, if you want to intervene, please do.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15729 So, Mr...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15730 MR. BARLOW: The success of the 10 out of 10 Canadian series around the world is gratifying and speaks to I think the concept that you can go global by being local and specific, unique in particular.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15731 I think that we ‑‑ I'll let Aaron respond as well, of course ‑‑ but I think that certainly from my point of view the 10 out of 10 for a public fund is appropriate because that's probably the most difficult thing to finance with foreign partners.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15732 Even though on the sales side we have had success with 10 out of 10, it's one thing to come in after the fact when you see the program and another thing to come in in the beginning before the program is realized.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15733 And generally the experience, there's been two things that have happened. One is that there's no indication that eight out of 10 is any more successful, that's any more competitive than 10 out of 10 both ‑‑ you know, with Canadian audiences. And the other experience has been that when you open those key two points to non‑Canadians that traditionally what happens is either the writer or the lead actor is replaced by a non‑Canadian, and we feel when that happens invariably there is a substantive change in the Canadianess of the program.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15734 And, again, we feel that a public fund should support those things that are most Canadian. If there was more money available, then I could understand or consider that there might be some argument for the criteria being relaxed, but my understanding is that CTV went to 10 out of 10 because of the overwhelming demand for funds and the consideration that eight out of 10 would have a better chance of attracting outside financing that would not ‑‑ that would then dictate that the program would not require domestic financing, public funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15735 Aaron, do you want to speak to that?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15736 MR. MARTIN: My show, "The Best Years", was actually first sold to the United States and it became a co‑pro and the very basic thing they said to me was, it can't be set in Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15737 And so, you know, even though it was, you know, produced in Canada, you know, directed by Canadians, written by Canadians, its origins were in the United States.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15738 So, in my mind, if I was able to access that kind of money, which I was, why would I need to access money that's specifically reserved for Canadian culture? I mean, if you're actually able to do a pre‑sale to a foreign market, then you shouldn't be able to get money that is earmarked for promoting Canadian culture unless the show remains set in Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15739 And I'm not sure that if you ‑‑ I mean, the biggest place you want to get money from is the United States and most Americans I know are not going to want to develop a show from the ground up that is set in Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15740 COMMISSIONER MORIN: My second question, you don't agree with the out of 10 scale, but some private funds said yesterday that it is a useful opportunity, even if it's not always the case, it's an opportunity for everyone.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15741 MR. MARTIN: But it isn't an opportunity if Canadians aren't hired because of it. I mean, you know, the fact is if you have an eight out of 10 that means you can have non‑Canadians on it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15742 So, why is the Canadian public going to fund somebody from L.A. to come up and direct or write or star in something? It doesn't make any sense to me.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15743 If it's public money, which it is, it should be going towards Canadian public not American public. I mean, the U.S. machine has more than enough money to, you know, to employ its stars and its writers and directors.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15744 We're a different ‑‑ like I said in my presentation, we're a totally different market. We do things totally different than Americans do. We need to have, you know, funds there for Canadians.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15745 COMMISSIONER MORIN: A question for you, Mr. Martin, specifically.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15746 What are other narrower measures we can use to reduce, to define the CTF eligibility? In other words, what other measure can we use to weaken and to minimize the importance of the audience as a criteria?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15747 Is there an interaction between a group of factors that we can use, a more precise determiner of CTF eligibility instead of only using audience number; we can use, for example, international syndication. What do you think about this?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15748 MR. MARTIN: Again, you know, there is different ways of determining success in a TV show. I mean, that's why this artificial idea of trying to reach a million with every TV show doesn't make sense to me because some shows are geared towards ‑‑ and this happens in the States too ‑‑ some shows are geared towards specific audiences.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15749 So, I think if you're able to get your audience you're going for, that's success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15750 I mean, it's hard to say if selling it to 130 countries means that you deserve CTF more than somebody else. I think that you deserve CTF if you're a Canadian show and then you let the market forces work after that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15751 If you create the show and it does well, you should keep ‑‑ you know, get renewed for a second season. If it doesn't do well, you get cancelled. That should be the determining factor in TV production.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15752 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Because since Monday we have heard many interveners here saying ‑‑ having visceral opposition to this criteria, the audiences.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15753 MR. MARTIN: Yeah, but ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15754 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Now, I don't explain that because there's a lot of jobs at stake here for the unions and so on and the audience number is in some way an objective that we can fix to get more production from the...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15755 MR. MARTIN: Yeah, but if you consider what it takes to get an audience to watch a show, you can't expect to get an audience just by shooting something. It's not like "if you build it they will come", they won't if they don't know it's on air or if it's on Saturday nights at nine.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15756 So, if everything's going to based on audience, then ‑‑ and Canadian broadcasters and cable companies and everybody wants to work like Americans, then they have to act like Americans.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15757 Like I said in my presentation, Americans spend millions, millions of dollars promoting and they think of things right in advance, like, where can I ‑‑ you know, we're going to make something that's going to come on after "American Idol" so we can keep a female audience, let's make a drama that that's specific.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15758 Canada we don't and that's, you know, in many ways because the Canadian schedules are determined by simulcasting.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15759 So, my point is that you can't expect to get the numbers that "Lost" gets if you're not going to promote the show like "Lost" gets promoted, or you're not going to put it at the right time that it needs to be on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15760 So, how can you expect a Canadian show that isn't promoted, that is at a bad time to do as well. Like, that's where the idea of only numbers coming into it makes no sense to me.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15761 There's occasional shows that do really well, like "Corner Gas" and "Little Mosque on the Prairie", but even then they don't do as well as, you know, as some megahits. It's...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15762 I think what the determining factor should be is if it's on the air and if it fails, you know, at all, then that's left to the broadcaster to cancel it or not cancel it. It shouldn't be left up to cable companies to determine the schedule.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15763 MR. BARLOW: The other concern about an audience ‑‑ the audience criteria and foreign sales are that they are post facto determinants.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15764 If you're talking about funding an initial television series, you're a year away ‑‑ in this country, usually a year away from knowing what degree of success it will have and you may be two years or more away from knowing how it's going to do in foreign markets.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15765 So, you can certainly ask producers ‑‑ and I assume the CTF does this ‑‑ you can ask broadcasters and producers what their expectation is in terms of the audience they wish to reach and I think in many cases that is not just a whole number, I mean, I think you can look for a specific niche market or targeted audience and then you would be judged on the extent to which you reached that audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15766 So, in some ways I think it's a matter of asking applicants to articulate exactly who they wish to reach and not just a whole number.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15767 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Over the last years the percentage of the Canadian programming has decreased, if we compare with the whole broadcasting system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15768 How do you explain that? Is there a link with the promotional advertising from the broadcasters, or some people have said that Tuesday and Wednesday. Do you agree that there is a lack of promotion about the Canadian shows that could explain this fact?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15769 MS McCLELLAN: There's absolutely a lack of promotion that goes on around the Canadian shows.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15770 And ‑‑ how to explain it. Canadian broadcasters invest a lot of money in American television shows and they also simulcast them, so I completely understand the standpoint to heavily promote what you've spent a lot of money on, what you think you can get a return for.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15771 But the downside to that for Canadian programs is that they are slotted in, you know, whatever time is left, they're not widely promoted. When they are promoted, they are generally promoted on their own network, but they're not cross‑advertised.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15772 You know, a show on CBC isn't advertised to the audience that the show could also get from another station, like CTV or Global where the audience is watching.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15773 I mean, I'll use "Bridal Fever" as an example just because I'm so familiar with it. But it was advertised on Hallmark and it was also advertised on the Food Network and other networks across the board that compete with Hallmark, but where Hallmark thought it would find an audience. So, Hallmark went out and reached out to the audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15774 I think what happens often in Canada is that Canadian shows are promoted somewhat on their own station, but that you're relying on that one demographic to look for that show and that's just ‑‑ that's not how people watch television any more.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15775 People watch TV, they PVR it, they use their digital recorders to get the programs, they buy TV on DVDs, they watch it in chunks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15776 The audience has changed dramatically in the last 10, 15 years. People are not loyal to one TV station any more, they're not getting all of their programs from just one place.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15777 So, I think it's essential that shows are cross‑promoted, that there's bus ads, that there are billboards, that there are radio station ads, that everything is done to promote these shows. And it takes money and resources and a desire to do that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15778 And it's very difficult to find your audience if nobody knows that that show's out there.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15779 There's a fantastic show called "Robson Arms" and, yes, I do have bias because I wrote for it ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15780 MS McCLELLAN: ‑‑ but initially it used to air on Saturday nights against "Hockey Night in Canada". I mean, "Hockey Night in Canada" is an institution, everybody watches "Hockey Night in Canada". So, there were a few people watching the show on Saturday nights, it had a small loyal audience, but once the show was moved to Tuesday nights and followed after "Corner Gas", suddenly the numbers skyrocketed. It went from 200,000 people watching the show to around 700,000. I mean, I don't have exact numbers, but that's the general ball park. It more than doubled its audience. And that's because it was programmed at a time when people want to watch that show. The "Corner Gas" audience, they want to watch it and they're probably the same people who want to watch "Hockey Night in Canada".
LISTNUM 1 \l 15781 So, that's what happens with Canadian programming, why it's difficult to get the numbers and get the audiences that the American shows get.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15782 I hope that's answered your question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15783 MR. BARLOW: Just one thing I'd like to add quickly and that is that if you ‑‑ I think everybody at this table can completely understand, if you give a private broadcaster the choice between producing a lower cost indigenous program, reality show or a documentary as opposed to a drama, a lower cost show with less downside risk, as business people they will make that choice.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15784 If you give them the choice between putting on an American show that they've purchased, an American drama that they've purchased that comes with an enormous amount of ancillary publicity and media support over a more expensive, higher risk Canadian drama which they're going to have to promote from ground zero, as business people they will make that choice to do the one that has less risk and less economic exposure.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15785 What I think we're saying is, as creative types is that when there's public financing available for the tough stuff, the indigenous drama, there should be a requirement that folks commit to making indigenous drama and it should be supported, at least partially, out of the public fund.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15786 MR. MARTIN: Can I add just one more thing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15787 "The Best Years", which is an eight out of 10 which was, you know, on Global and on the N in the United States, Global, you know, only had so much money to promote it, they did a great on‑air campaign that Karen was talking about where, you know, they did lots of ads on their network and they did a really big push when the show premiered and so we got, you know, a nice premiere and then the numbers went like that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15788 Whereas in the United States the N, which was able to access across the Viacom Network because they're part of Viacom, so they were able to access MTV, VH‑1, all these different networks, they cross‑promoted it across all those networks, they put trailers in movie theatres, they were able to access Facebook, on My Space they did. I mean, they did a huge campaign because, you know, they had more money, they're part of Viacom and that resulted in the premier episode of "The Best Years" on the N being something like 200 per cent higher than anything that had premiered in that time slot before.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15789 So, this is where creative crosses over into business. And we're here doing the creative side, there has to be a business side that's helping along with it and if you don't have that, it can be the best show in the world, like "Intelligence", but, you know, it wasn't promoted, so, who's going to watch it and people just don't know it, and it's half the business, it is the film and television business.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15790 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yesterday the Quebecor Group which own TVA, the broadcaster, and VideoTron the cable distributor has offered, and there was a lot of coverage in the French press this morning, offered to the CRTC to double the amount of production which is expected over the next three years of $50‑million to increase ‑‑ to double this 50‑million over three years to more than 100‑million over the next three years in Canadian content.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15791 But in order to do that they are asking the CRTC and opting out of the Fund, of the Canadian Television Fund.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15792 So, it's a big proposal, you know, and if the CRTC gave the permission of this opting out to Quebecor, what would your reaction be?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15793 If Rogers, for example, or Shaw promised to the CRTC that over the next three years they will double their Canadian content production ‑‑ for example, Rogers I think is contributing over 300‑million to the CTF and it's getting a few millions instead of ‑‑ so, if Rogers or Shaw, for example, if Shaw promised to double the Canadian content production and other distributor on the English side, what your reaction will be to such a proposal, on your side, if I say?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15794 MR. BARLOW: Opting out, what a great Canadian tradition.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15795 That's very generous, that's very generous. I think that there's ‑‑ part of me as a Canadian says that, you know, we've built in this country a tradition of balance of payments, of the haves taking care of the have‑nots, of making sure that there's some, if not equitable distribution of wealth when the haves are doing well and the have‑nots are not doing so well, that we do this in other sectors of the economy in Canada and we've done it successfully. There's no doubt it's a generous offer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15796 My initial reaction is that I would worry about the minority plays, the additional areas where the CTF is trying to foster things like support of Francophone minorities in other parts of the country and their educational commitments and so forth.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15797 I would worry about these things perhaps being ghettoized if all the big players opted out and said, well, all the money that we have and we collect from subscribers we want to spend on ourselves. You know, that's understandable, but I would worry, as I say, about what it does to the minor players who can't speak up.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15798 And then I would also look and something like this for still something that some sort of regulations that do what the CTF objective now does, which is to articulate specific areas of need in Canada in the Canadian popular culture and ask that, as generous as these offers are, that they also abide by those criteria.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15799 So, as I said before, drama would not suddenly disappear even with 100‑million being spent by Quebecor or whoever.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15800 Just press that button.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15801 MS WALTON: Oh, thank you. Ah, there it is.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15802 Actually in response to either the Shaw scenario or the Quebecor scenario, I would respond totally genuinely. I would have three questions, because I did ‑‑ I have been, and thank you, enjoying these broadcasts in my office all week, so I did see almost all of both presentations and I had three questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15803 So, these are my answers to their proposals, or the imagined proposals in the case of one party.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15804 My first question would be: Are you satisfied with their definition of Canadian content? Does Canadian content mean by themselves for their own employees and back into their own pockets?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15805 My second question would be: Why can't they do it in the current CTF framework? Why? Where does the money magically occur and grow so fast outside of a reasonable conversation with the people who actually are responsible for making sure that we all make product that reflects this country and not one person's private interest or the interests of foreign influence on that individual? Why can't that be done in the current funding arrangement?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15806 I didn't understand what the problem was. If they have that much money to spend, I'd be glad to take some from them, so I didn't understand the rationale.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15807 And my third question is basically: If in three ‑‑ do you really truly ‑‑ because I'm not convinced by what they said ‑‑ believe that in three years we will have, as David says, a vastly improved Quebec dramatic scenario over even what we enjoy in Quebec now?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15808 I watch both English and French programming in Montreal. I'm amazed always as an English Canadian from other regions to even see how much content is on now and how excellent it is, but they are CTF productions that I admire and watch and I watch them weekly, which is more than I can say for some of the other product that we're discussing.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15809 So, I just ‑‑ I would say, I doubt it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15810 MR. MARTIN: And I guess my concern would be is, what's the track record of these people to producing anything? I mean, they're cable providers, they're not studios, they're not producers, so...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15811 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Oh, they're enjoying good ratings over many shows.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15812 MR. MARTIN: But shows that they created or shows that they bought?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15813 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes, shows they created.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15814 MR. MARTIN: Like...?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15815 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Like "Minuit, le soir", for example is ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15816 MR. MARTIN: But I'm not talking about in Quebec, I'm talking about in English Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15817 COMMISSIONER MORIN: ‑‑ is imported in France and so on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15818 MR. MARTIN: But did they green light that or...
LISTNUM 1 \l 15819 MR. BARLOW: You're actually talking about Rogers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15820 MR. MARTIN: Yeah.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15821 MR. BARLOW: You're talking about Rogers, yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15822 MR. MARTIN: I'm talking about Rogers, sorry, I'm talking about English Canada, yeah.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15823 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Okay.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15824 MR. BARLOW: I believe they're new to the ‑‑ Rogers is new to the broadcasting game. I don't know, aside from carrying the baseball and hockey is it, or basketball, I'm not sure what they've done in drama.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15825 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15826 MS McCLELLAN: Excuse me, if I may add.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15827 My concern with what I've just heard is, where is there accountability, that's what I want to know? If they take money out of the Fund, if they decide, Rogers and Shaw and Quebecor, decide that they're no longer going to put money into the Fund, who are they going to be accountable to and what money is this; is this their own private money or is this still money that they're collecting on behalf of subscribers and, so, in that respect it's still public funds? That's what I would want to know and ask in relation to their question to you, their proposal.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15828 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice‑Chairman Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15829 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Only one question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15830 Are you members of the Writers Guild of Canada?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15831 MR. BARLOW: Yes, in ‑‑ yes, we all are.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15832 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: The four of you?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15833 MR. BARLOW: That's correct.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15834 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15835 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I too just have one question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15836 We did hear, as Commissioner Morin said, yesterday from the private funds and we know there are a number of them out there, there is the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15837 Once you have a project ready to be pitched to ‑‑ I know you go first to the broadcaster, do you have a preference as to who funds your shows?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15838 Who do you go to first; do you go to the private funds or do you go to the CTF?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15839 MR. BARLOW: Usually you knock on every door and the configuration usually depends on the nature of the program and the broadcaster and so forth.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15840 So, some of it's self defining by, you know, your region, the nature of your program, the broadcaster you're doing business with, the production company you're doing business with, for instance, you know, some private funds bridge financing, some production companies are big enough they don't ‑‑ they can bridge finance to a certain extent, development on their own.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15841 So, it depends really on the nature and packaging of the material, that's been my experience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15842 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the ability to knock on every door, do you find that to be an advantage or a disadvantage?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15843 MR. BARLOW: Very personally , the more various ways there are to get shows done, the more comfortable I am.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15844 I believe in diversity and I believe that different broadcasters serve different needs, hopefully different funds serve different needs and it's that range of diversity. I'd hate to see a monopoly in any one area.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15845 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then, Mr. Barlow, you might be anticipating my next question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15846 If we agree and continue to maintain the Task Force recommendation that the CTF should be split into two funds and if we clearly identify what we think the role of those two funds should be, wouldn't it be advantageous to you to have that one more door to knock on?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15847 Various participants throughout the week have said, well, split it, you can split between profit and non‑profit broadcasters, one could be commercial the other could be dedicated solely to special initiatives.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15848 Wouldn't that be to your advantage, if we were able to come up with a definition that clearly defined both funds?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15849 MR. BARLOW: That is, to me, in my opinion, a big "if".
LISTNUM 1 \l 15850 As I say, and I think you have heard it from others here, we have a lot of difficulty making distinctions between commercial and cultural. We don't make that kind of separation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15851 I, personally, would always be worried about the ghettoization of non‑profit, of special interests, of a "there and that" fund, and we have kind of built a wall around that. You know, you have to go in there if it smacks at all of anything special interest, or anything cultural.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15852 I think our argument is that cultural and commercial are often the same thing in television. It's a popular medium.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15853 So it's the "ifs" of the definitions and it's the ghettoizing of certain areas that would make me nervous.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15854 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Walton?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15855 MS WALTON: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15856 I just wanted to say that, in this particular hypothetical creation of the hypothetical private fund with these particular hypothetical players, what I ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15857 THE CHAIRPERSON: The players aren't hypothetical, but anyway...
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
LISTNUM 1 \l 15858 MS WALTON: That's for you to say, I won't get into that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15859 Here is the interesting thing about their presentations yesterday ‑‑ and I really enjoyed the question and answer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15860 At one point, Madam Chair, you were asking for a plan, and that would be, frankly, my key concern about any new private fund, as it is with every private fund for me, personally. I deign to take my associations quite seriously, politically, economically, impact‑wise, and my local economy and so on.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15861 For instance, I didn't hear what the plan was for these private interests. Agenda creatively? Agenda for me as creative talent?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15862 I didn't understand what it was that they felt they could accomplish, except for adding programs that I don't do. I am not interested in writing game shows. I won't be doing the next Canadian Idol, Sequel 26 ‑‑ ever. I admire very much the people who do them, but it is not my gig.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15863 So I didn't hear in what they proposed, or I don't see in what I have seen so far from the transcripts any evidence that there was a plan that right now, today, I could say, "Yeah, I would go and knock on that door, too," because right now I am not clear at all on what it represents.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15864 Plus, I don't see in any of those corporate structures the infrastructure that is devoted to responsibly developing, producing and selling home‑grown product. I didn't see that they are somehow especially able to do that better than, say, our existing situation with inde producers going to various funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15865 MR. MARTIN: Could I respond to that, too?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15866 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15867 MR. MARTIN: As a creative person, I honestly just don't know what the difference is between commercial and cultural.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15868 When I hear "commercial", does that mean that they want only procedurals, like cop shows?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15869 To me, there is no definition, because some of the most commercial shows, even coming out of the United States, aren't necessarily commercial.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15870 "Gilmore Girls", a show like that, would you consider that cultural or commercial?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15871 It's not a procedural, it's about two women who have a really close relationship, in a very specific, small‑town American setting.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15872 How do you define it? That's what I am really concerned about, is how you define the two.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15873 If a small amount is only relegated to personal, character‑driven shows and the rest is delineated to cop shows or medical shows, that doesn't seem to help foster creativity or making shows that an audience is going to go to for distinctiveness and originality.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15874 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15875 Commissioner Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15876 COMMISSIONER MORIN: With two funding streams in the CTF, wouldn't it be easier for CBC, for example, to respect its mandate ‑‑ the mandate of public interest instead of commercial interest, or ratings?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15877 MR. MARTIN: If the public interest is to reflect Canadian culture, isn't it best to reflect it to as many people as possible?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15878 MR. BARLOW: "Little Mosque on the Prairie" is a blatantly commercial sitcom. It walks and talks and looks like a duck. It's blatantly commercial.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15879 It also says something pretty important, I think, about the Canadian culture and about how we try to live in this country.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15880 So it serves a public and a cultural ‑‑ although I am not comfortable with that word ‑‑ mandate. Where would it land? Which one of these funds would it land in?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15881 I have done entertainment programming for 25 years, and I don't know ‑‑ most of the product that I have done on CBC has been like "Little Mosque", or attempted to be like "Little Mosque". It's using a commercial format to entertain and, since we are alone here, send a message about how we as Canadians live.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15882 But I never say that too loudly, because it scares people and they think, then, it's culture, and I just want them to sit back and enjoy it. I'm getting my message in.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15883 Where do I fit? Where do I land? Which door do I knock on?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Like I said, thank you very much. Your positions are quite clear, and your submissions are very well written. Thank you.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
LISTNUM 1 \l 15885 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15886 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. Now we will hear the presentation of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15887 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself. You have 15 minutes.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 15888 MR. LAROSE: Jean LaRose, APTN; Joel Fortune, Fasken Martineau.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15889 First of all, I want to start by saying that I am very honoured to be presenting to the Triple A Team of the CRTC and its supporting Staff.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15890 Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Vice‑Chairperson Arpin, and Commissioner Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15891 We know each other, of course, but, for the record, I am Jean LaRose, Chief Executive Officer of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15892 I am here today with Joel Fortune from Fasken Martineau.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15893 Let me give you a road map to my comments today. I will address APTN's general perspective on the CTF, our ongoing and recurring concerns regarding the weakness of audience measurements, our view that a market‑oriented approach is not an end in itself ‑‑ we have a much richer set of objectives in the Broadcasting Act ‑‑ and our concern that separating so‑called special initiatives from the overall single fund would not be appropriate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15894 The significance of the Canadian Television Fund to the broadcasting system and to Canadian programming really cannot be overstated. The alternative to a stable, well‑funded and effectively administered programming fund like the CTF is a much weaker broadcasting system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15895 Right now, from APTN's perspective, the fund is stable, it is fairly well funded, and it is effective.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15896 Is the CTF the very best fund that money can buy? This is a question of perspective, obviously. From APTN's perspective, we feel strongly that more resources should be allocated to high quality, first year Aboriginal productions, both Aboriginal language productions and productions in English and in French.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15897 These kinds of productions have, until very recently, been absent from the broadcasting system. Aboriginal peoples have been invisible, and the effect has been devastating.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15898 Some people might want to debate the causal relationship between invisibility within Canada's mainstream cultural products and the impact this has had on Aboriginal peoples. From our perspective, there is no debate. The impact is clear on our languages, on the quality of information we see, and don't see, and on the prejudices we experience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15899 The CTF is a key regulatory tool, so we believe that more resources should be allocated by the CTF to preserving Aboriginal languages, and more resources should be allocated directly to APTN, because APTN has a direct mandate to advance the interests of Aboriginal peoples. In fact, we are the only broadcaster with specific Conditions of Licence related to this mandate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15900 This is our perspective on the CTF. I have presented it here because I believe that you have heard some other points of view about how the CTF supposedly is or isn't meeting other particular objectives, and doesn't, to borrow the words of one critic, create value out of culture.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15901 The impact of the CTF, through APTN, on Aboriginal participation in television, still the most powerful communications tool, is significant. Since APTN was launched, the number of Aboriginal‑owned, independent production companies has grown from just a couple to more than the 70 that we are aware of today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15902 CTF funding, which goes directly through APTN to independent production, with significant Aboriginal participation, has led, in concrete terms, to the creation of real value for Aboriginal peoples in Canadian culture.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15903 Furthermore, in this year's Request for Proposals for new programming for APTN, I am proud to say that all approved projects are by Aboriginal‑owned or controlled production companies. This is an incredible achievement in just eight short years, and the CTF fund is a major part of this success, because this is a measure of success that you, as the CRTC, can use to define if the CTF is in fact a success in itself.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15904 Could the CTF be improved? Yes, from all kinds of different perspectives, including our own. We would like more resources, but, then, who wouldn't?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15905 But for now, today, I am here to make our point, which is that the CTF, as it is now constituted, as a single fund with a range of objectives, is probably a better structure than the alternatives under consideration.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15906 One of the Task Force recommendations is that audience success should be a primary criterion for continued funding, particularly in relation to the broadcaster performance envelopes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15907 APTN relies on the funding through the English and French BPEs. In the current year, we are allocated $2.6 million under the English language envelope, and $607,000 under the French language envelope.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15908 Accordingly, the BPEs and the measurement of audience are very important to our overall funding level and to the amount of programming we can produce, or help to produce as contributing broadcasters with other broadcasters.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15909 We have made the point before that APTN often participates as a secondary broadcaster in higher cost productions to complete the funding required, and to ensure meaningful Aboriginal participation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15910 But APTN does not garner the kind of audiences that CTV, Global or TVA garner.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15911 Moreover, our audiences are different from those other mainstream audiences. Our audiences among Aboriginal peoples are difficult to measure, which is a point that has been confirmed by BBM.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15912 But there is no single, monolithic, overreaching audience in Canada. An overemphasis on total audience measurement as a factor of the BPE calculation, we believe, does a disservice to the plurality of Canadian society.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15913 In fact, our existing funding system already recognizes that there are two different audiences ‑‑ the French language funding stream, and the English language funding stream ‑‑ to support each of these. These audiences are measured and allocated separately.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15914 That is my point. There is no single audience in Canada. How we measure it depends on our perspectives and our objectives. We measure French and English audiences separately because we recognize that there is a difference, and we want to support both languages broadcasting in our system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15915 The CTF has done a fair job, so far in my view, in balancing audience measurement against other factors in setting BPEs. This year, like last year, more emphasis is being placed on audience number and less on historical access. We will need to see what impact this will have on APTN in the future, and, ultimately, the role we play in licensing mainstream productions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15916 I am, however, concerned about that impact. I am concerned because it seems that when APTN starts to benefit from the measurement factors within the CTF model, these change, and I often feel we are back to square one.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15917 This is a case where reduced reliance on historical access is possibly going to impact us negatively, since we were just starting to have a growing measurement of historical access.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15918 As I said earlier, audience measurements do not measure Aboriginal peoples in Canada. We estimate that this means a shortfall of 2 million viewers a week in our audience numbers, at the very least.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15919 My suggestion is that if more emphasis is to be placed on bulk audience measurements for funding, then more thought needs to be given to the concept of base funding support within the CTF for APTN.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15920 At APTN we want to increase our overall audience share, and also better serve our primary and largely unmeasured Aboriginal audience, but we are not in the same position as CTV, Global or TVA to do so. We don't have the resources, we don't have the profile, especially in the channel lineup or across commonly owned platforms, and we don't have the same bottom line mandate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15921 I believe strongly that a so‑called market‑oriented approach is not an objective in and of itself for broadcasting policy or for the CTF. Simply put, if the market were an end in itself, we would not need a Broadcasting Act. The reason we have a CTF is to support programming that the market would not otherwise support, or not support to the extent we want or need.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15922 As thoughtful people, we want to do more with our broadcasting system than make money and let the market run its course, regardless of the consequences.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15923 When it is said, therefore, that it is desirable that a more market‑oriented approach be adopted for the CTF, I believe that what we really have in mind is a desire to produce more popular programming than Canadians want to watch.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15924 The point that we made in our written submission, and that many others have made, is that no broadcaster or producer tries to do anything else than to produce great programming that the intended audience will want to watch.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15925 No further incentive is required, that is already the prime objective for all programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15926 Now, the types of programs that the CTF supports are not all, by their nature, destined to compete directly for the same mass audience that consumes American prime time programming, but that does not mean that those programs are not produced with a view to being the best, most attractive programs possible, and it certainly does not mean that they are not popular programs. They are certainly popular with their intended audiences, and discounting the legitimacy of the audiences, even if they are smaller, seems derogatory to me.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15927 In my view, the CTF made a compelling point when it said that it is not desirable for the CTF to try to make market decisions about particular programs. Broadcasters themselves make those decisions by selecting the programs that are best supported using their funding envelopes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15928 We support the continuation of this approach. Our principal concern is that different broadcasters should have reasonable access to the CTF's funding streams in light of their different mandates.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15929 This brings us to the suggestion regarding different funding streams for different kinds of programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15930 Funding decisions should take into account the achievement of broadcasting policy objectives and the circumstances of different broadcasters. Some broadcasters, like APTN, have the mandate to do more than just homogeneous, mass appeal programs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15931 If the best way to ensure a reasonable level of funding to APTN is to allocate dollars separately from the dollars allocated to other broadcasters, then we would consider that approach. It works for the CBC. But what APTN objects to is the notion that there are two streams of funding available to the CTF, and that, by their nature, they should be directed to different purposes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15932 We have a much more powerful funding mechanism now, where there is a single fund that is allocated based on the achievement of different objectives. Under this system, APTN has been treated fairly thus far. We encourage continued CRTC oversight over the CTF to ensure that this remains the case.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15933 APTN would not support a CTF funding system where important policy objectives, like the reflection and participation of Aboriginal peoples in the broadcasting system, are not seen as an important objective for the CTF overall, having regard to all resources at its disposal.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15934 We do not support a system where Aboriginal peoples' participation in the CTF, a fundamental tool of broadcasting policy, is realized solely on outside government funding.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15935 First, the CRTC, not the Department of Canadian Heritage, has the primary duty to regulate the broadcasting system. Contributions made by BDUs to the CTF are mandated by the CRTC. Contributions made by Heritage are not.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15936 What happens if the Department finds other priorities for its moneys?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15937 This is not a theoretical or rhetorical question. Such reallocations happen as governments or their priorities change.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15938 Aren't Aboriginal peoples full players in the broadcasting system? Doesn't the CRTC have an interest, through its own policies and mechanisms, in seeing Aboriginal peoples treated fairly in accessing CTF funds?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15939 Given that the CRTC has recognized the important place of Aboriginal peoples in the industry by licensing and supporting APTN since 1999, I would interpret that as a strong affirmative statement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15940 Second, I believe there is no validity to the notion that CRTC‑mandated BDU payments to the CTF are somehow private and should, by their nature, be allocated to private as opposed to public objectives. It is entirely within the discretion of the CRTC as to what objectives are appropriate for this fund and to what extent. The question is, what are the objectives we want to achieve, not the source of the funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15941 Third, BDU contributions reflect the requirement of the Broadcasting Act that each element of the broadcasting system shall contribute, in an appropriate manner, to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming. We strongly believe that BDUs should make a contribution to a range of programming that reflects their fundamental role in the broadcasting system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15942 Aboriginal peoples are consumers. We are cable and satellite subscribers. Our subscriber payments go to BDUs and, ultimately, find their way back to the CTF. Why shouldn't those payments find their way back to Aboriginal peoples in CTF supported programming that reflects our special place within Canadian society, to borrow a phrase from the Broadcasting Act.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15943 Last, it seems to me that some of the support for the split‑fund notion is owed to the fact that, over time, the federal government contribution to the CTF has declined. It has been pointed out in some submissions that the current level of government support is not sufficient to support allocations to the CBC, educational broadcasters, and other special initiatives.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15944 What we are looking at, therefore, we believe, is a natural desire for some to have access to more funds, pure and simple. It is not a question of principle. After all, when the shoe was on the other foot, when the federal government portion of the CTF revenue was much greater than the BDU portion ‑‑ and that seems to have been the case until `06‑`07 ‑‑ I never heard an outcry that private programming, on private broadcasters, should not be supported by public funds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15945 I thank you for this opportunity to make our views known regarding the CTF. We have highlighted today some of our key points, and I would like to summarize them quickly.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15946 APTN would not support the kind of amendments to the regulations that were proposed by the Task Force.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15947 APTN supports the continuation of the CTF largely on the basis that it has been operating.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15948 At the same time, we are concerned that over‑reliance on market forces and audience measurements could have a negative impact on APTN's role in bringing Aboriginal peoples into the broadcasting system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15949 We are fundamentally opposed to a segregation of funds from different sources to different purposes within the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15950 We encourage the CRTC to continue to exercise active oversight over the CTF and its programs. There is no reason, in our view, why the CRTC should not do so.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15951 If the overall broadcasting policy objectives are not being achieved by the CTF ‑‑ and we believe that this should include the objective of full participation of Aboriginal peoples in the broadcasting system ‑‑ then the CRTC should intervene.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15952 Naturally, in this submission I have highlighted our key concerns. I do want to state that I believe the focus that this process and the Task Force report placed on the CTF has been beneficial. I have the impression that the CTF has tightened its operations and governance, partly in response to the Task Force report.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15953 Furthermore, I think that the importance of participation at the CTF, at the Board table, has been highlighted for the Commission.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15954 Let me first say that APTN has, thus far, been fairly treated by the CTF and its Board.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15955 We have listened to the debate about governance. Our view now is that the CTF could well be served by a smaller, truly independent Board, accepting advice from all stakeholders. Decisions would be made by the independent Board. This would allow APTN to present a case for ourselves to the CTF on the same footing as other stakeholders. We, and others, would have to insist on Board representation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15956 If this kind of structure is not put in place, then APTN will need to push harder for Aboriginal representation on the Board.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15957 As a last point, APTN endorses the call for new funding for new media production.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15958 At this point I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15959 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. LaRose and Mr. Fortune. As always, both your written submission and your oral presentation are quite clear.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15960 I really don't have a lot of questions for you, but I have a few.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15961 On page 4 of your oral presentation you say: "I am very proud to say that all approved projects are by Aboriginal‑owned or controlled production companies."
LISTNUM 1 \l 15962 Do you make this a requirement?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15963 MR. LAROSE: We make it a requirement to the extent that, in trying to develop our production sector, we will accept proposals from non‑Aboriginal production companies, but we ask that they partner with Aboriginal individuals.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15964 We are trying to build capacity in our community. We are trying to give opportunities to our peoples, which, up to now, have never been afforded to them. We have found that, certainly, the non‑Aboriginal production sector has been very positively responsive in developing relationships and partnerships with our producers, and with other technical staff, to create these entities that are Aboriginal‑owned or controlled, in partnership with them, or on their own, to produce our programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15965 As we stated at the Commission back in 1998 when we first applied, the goal here is to provide opportunities to a sector of the population that never had them, i.e., our peoples. We are now doing that, and we are doing it, quite often, in partnership with non‑Aboriginal people.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15966 THE CHAIRPERSON: How many projects did you participate in last year that went for CTF funding?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15967 Even just a ballpark figure.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15968 MR. LAROSE: I would have to say 20, 30 maybe, all in all.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15969 I am throwing the Aboriginal Language Initiative envelope in there as well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15970 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are including the ones that were in Aboriginal languages.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15971 MR. LAROSE: Yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Remind me, is that a guaranteed envelope, Aboriginal language productions?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15973 MR. LAROSE: It's a guaranteed envelope as long as the government wishes to guarantee it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15974 THE CHAIRPERSON: On page 7 you say: "My suggestion is that if more emphasis is to be placed on bulk audience measurements for funding, then more thought needs to be given to the concept of base funding support within the CTF for APTN."
LISTNUM 1 \l 15975 Can you elaborate on that point?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15976 What do you mean by the bulk audience measurements for funding?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15977 MR. LAROSE: If it becomes a criterion that the key defining measure is strictly total audience measurement, then I am ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 15978 THE CHAIRPERSON: The total hours tuned suggestion made by CanWest yesterday?
LISTNUM 1 \l 15979 MR. LAROSE: It could be the CanWest proposal. I have heard other proposals, as well, and maybe Joel will want to add something to this.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15980 Anything that is solely or greatly focused only on audience measurement, then we are of the opinion that something within the CTF, a certain amount, has to be devoted to APTN to allow us to grow audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15981 Since our audience isn't measured, we are at a huge disadvantage to get access to broadcaster performance envelopes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15982 As BBM stated to us quite directly, and in writing, they don't measure our audience at all. They don't have any Aboriginal peoples in their audience, so the 2, 3 or 4 million people we will get in a week watching us are mainly non‑Aboriginal people. If we were to factor in the Aboriginal audience, as well, considering there are almost 2 million Aboriginal people, what would our average audience be? It would probably triple, quadruple, quintuple ‑‑ I don't know ‑‑ and nobody knows.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15983 That's why, for us, we couldn't rely strictly on an audience measurement system, because Aboriginal people would be totally, totally invisible in the system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15984 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, by default, that's why historical access is so important to you that it remain a factor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15985 MR. LAROSE: It has become very important to us, yes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15986 THE CHAIRPERSON: I really don't have any other questions. Like I said, you are always quite clear.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15987 My colleagues may.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15988 No.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15989 Thank you very much for your contribution here today.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15990 MR. LAROSE: Thank you.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15991 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15992 LA SECRÉTAIRE : J'inviterais maintenant TQS à se présenter.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15993 LA SECRÉTAIRE : S'il vous plaît, vous présenter, et vous avez 15 minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15994 Merci.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15995 M. BELLEROSE : Bonjour, Madame Chair, Monsieur le Vice‑président Arpin, Monsieur le Conseiller Morin, membres du personnel.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15996 Mon nom est Serge Bellerose. Je suis Vice‑président, Nouveaux médias et Affaires corporatives de TQS, et c'est en ma qualité de porte‑parole du réseau et de ses stations que je m'adresse à vous aujourd'hui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15997 J'apporte cette précision importante du fait que je suis également membre du conseil d'administration du Fonds canadien de télévision depuis mai dernier.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15998 J'y suis délégué par l'Association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs en ma qualité de représentant du secteur de la télévision généraliste privée de langue française.
LISTNUM 1 \l 15999 À mes côtés, à ma gauche, se trouve mon collègue Louis Trépanier, Vice‑président, Programmation de TQS.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16000 Permettez‑moi d'abord de prendre quelques instants pour rappeler au Conseil la situation particulière dans laquelle se trouve TQS à l'heure actuelle.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16001 Depuis le 18 décembre dernier, TQS est sous la protection de la Loi sur les arrangements avec les créanciers des compagnies.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16002 L'entreprise a également été mise en vente, sous la supervision du contrôleur mandaté par le tribunal, RSM Richter.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16003 Le 24 janvier dernier, à la demande de TQS et de son contrôleur, la Cour supérieure a émis une ordonnance établissant un processus de vente, de même qu'un échéancier.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16004 Les acquéreurs potentiels ont jusqu'au 25 février pour présenter des offres d'achat fermes, et c'est au début du mois de mars que les actionnaires actuels auront à accepter l'offre retenue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16005 La transaction sera alors soumise à l'approbation du tribunal le 10 mars et le dépôt d'un plan d'arrangement suivra dans les semaines subséquentes, tout comme les demandes d'approbations réglementaires requises.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16006 C'est donc dans ce contexte tout à fait particulier que nous nous présentons devant vous aujourd'hui pour faire part au Conseil d'un certain nombre d'observations sur la situation du marché de langue française et de préoccupations quant à l'accès aux contributions financières dont bénéficie TQS par le biais des enveloppes de rendement du Fonds canadien.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16007 TQS aurait toutes les raisons de critiquer sévèrement le Fonds canadien, voire même de demander carrément sa disparition et son remplacement par un autre mécanisme de soutien au financement des émissions prioritaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16008 De fait, dans le marché de langue française, TQS reste résolument le parent pauvre du Fonds, malgré ses 11 parts de marché et en dépit d'engagements qui l'obligent à diffuser cinq heures d'émissions prioritaires par semaine.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16009 Pour bien saisir l'ampleur du déséquilibre dont est victime TQS à l'heure actuelle, permettez‑moi de vous fournir quelques données comparatives sur les enveloppes de rendement attribuées aux diffuseurs dans le marché de langue française.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16010 En 2007‑2008, l'enveloppe de TQS est d'environ 3,7 millions de dollars, en baisse d'un demi‑million de dollars par rapport à l'année précédente.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16011 En comparaison, Radio‑Canada dispose d'une enveloppe de 27,6 millions, TVA de 16,4 millions, Astral avec ses services spécialisés de 13,5 millions, Télé‑Québec de 6 millions et TFO de 4,8 millions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16012 Oui, TQS serait parfaitement justifiée de joindre sa voix à celles qui réclament à grands cris le démantèlement du Fonds depuis plus d'un an.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16013 Et pourtant, nous ne le faisons pas.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16014 Nous ne le faisons pas parce que nous reconnaissons que, dans le marché de langue française particulièrement, l'apport du Fonds canadien a contribué à la production et à la diffusion d'un grand nombre d'émissions et de séries de qualité qui ont rejoint l'intérêt d'un vaste auditoire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16015 C'est pourquoi nous croyons sincèrement que le Fonds canadien a toujours sa raison d'être.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16016 Toutefois, afin qu'il joue pleinement son rôle dans le système, des changements en profondeur s'imposent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16017 Il est totalement inéquitable que 52 pour cent des fonds alloués aux enveloppes de rendement des diffuseurs de langue française soient attribués aux télédiffuseurs publics.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16018 À elle seule, la Société Radio‑Canada dispose d'une enveloppe protégée correspondant à 37 pour cent des montants disponibles, en vertu d'une exigence de l'entente de contribution intervenue entre Patrimoine canadien et le Fonds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16019 Pour leur part, Télé‑Québec et TFO ont reçu cette année 15 pour cent des allocations des enveloppes de rendement, et les deux télédiffuseurs éducatifs demandent que leurs allocations soient garanties à ce niveau dans le futur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16020 Lors de consultations menées par le groupe de travail en mars dernier, TQS avait suggéré que le fonds soit scindé en deux volets.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16021 L'un, public, alimenté à même les contributions de Patrimoine canadien et qui financerait les télédiffuseurs publics et à but non lucratif de même que les initiatives spéciales.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16022 L'autre, privé, financé à même les contributions mensuelles des EDR et qui soutiendrait des projets destinés aux télédiffuseurs privés.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16023 TQS réitère publiquement sa proposition, qui a également été avancée plus tôt cette semaine par Astral.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16024 TQS est d'avis que le Fonds doit profiter de la mise en place de ce nouveau volet privé pour procéder également à un rééquilibrage statutaire des enveloppes de rendement dévolues aux différents diffuseurs privés en tenant compte de leur importance dans le marché et de leurs obligations réglementaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16025 Il devrait aussi éliminer le facteur de rendement lié à l'accès historique, prioriser le succès à l'auditoire et permettre aux diffuseurs d'allouer les montants de leurs enveloppes de rendement à leur entière discrétion dans les genres d'émissions admissibles, afin de répondre adéquatement aux besoins du marché.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16026 TQS croit également que le Fonds canadien devrait assouplir ses restrictions quant à l'accès limité aux enveloppes de rendement pour les sociétés de production liées aux télédiffuseurs privés.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16027 Par ailleurs, TQS est en profond désaccord avec la proposition de Quebecor de se retirer du Fonds canadien et de réaffecter la totalité des contributions de son entreprise de distribution Vidéotron à son télédiffuseur généraliste TVA, à ses chaînes spécialisées ainsi qu'à son service de vidéo sur demande.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16028 S'il donnait son aval à une telle proposition, le Conseil contribuerait à créer un déséquilibre concurrentiel dans le marché qui, à terme, se ferait au détriment de la diversité et du système canadien de radiodiffusion.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16029 TQS est d'avis que la solution proposée par Quebecor est totalement inappropriée dans la mesure où elle confèrerait notamment à TVA un avantage indu sur ses concurrents, avantage rendu possible du seul fait de son appartenance à un groupe de propriétés qui contrôle la plus importante EDR au Québec.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16030 En fait, Quebecor propose une solution sur mesure pour servir ses propres intérêts au détriment de ceux du système.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16031 De plus, l'approbation par le Conseil de la proposition de Quebecor paverait la voie au retrait du Fonds canadien de télévision d'autres entreprises de distribution tentées, elles aussi, de favoriser leurs entreprises de télédiffusion liées.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16032 C'est donc tout le système de soutien à la production d'émissions originales canadiennes de qualité qui s'en trouverait profondément bouleversé et affaibli.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16033 Nous remercions le Conseil de nous avoir permis de transmettre nos observations dans le cadre de cette instance, et nous sommes disposés à répondre à vos questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16034 LA PRÉSIDENTE : Merci, et bienvenue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16035 Vice‑président Arpin ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16036 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Merci, Madame la Présidente.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16037 J'avouerai en premier lieu que votre mémoire est claire. Il n'y a pas de...
LISTNUM 1 \l 16038 Le nombre de questions va être relativement limité parce que vous avez couvert à peu près tous les angles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16039 Cependant, vous avez mis de l'importance, effectivement, sur les critères de sélection qui permettent de déterminer la taille des enveloppes et vous avez dit que, bon, il faudrait éliminer le facteur de l'accès historique et prioriser le succès de l'auditoire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16040 On a entendu, dans le cadre de cet audience, hier matin ‑‑ je ne sais pas si vous avez eu l'occasion d'entendre les représentants de Canwest, qui nous ont fait un commentaire du même ordre, mais en nous soumettant une proposition qui est basée sur...
LISTNUM 1 \l 16041 Attendez un peu. Je vais la retrouver exactement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16042 Sur les heures totales d'écoute. Plutôt que sur portée. Plutôt que sur les minutes moyennes d'auditoire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16043 Je ne sais pas si vous avez eu l'occasion d'entendre les gens de Global ou prendre connaissance de leur proposition.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16044 M. BELLEROSE : Malheureusement pas, Monsieur Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16045 Vous comprendrez qu'on est particulièrement occupé. J'ai concentré le temps disponible à écouter mes collègues de Quebecor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16046 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Si le Fonds optait pour effectivement éliminer l'accès historique pour ne s'en tenir qu'au succès d'auditoire, comment mesureriez‑vous ce succès d'auditoire ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16047 M. BELLEROSE : Au départ, la raison pour laquelle nous militons en faveur de l'abandon du facteur historique ‑‑ il est très important dans le marché de langue française. Je crois que c'est autour de 45 pour cent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16048 Donc, à peu près la moitié des enveloppes sont déterminées par le facteur historique.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16049 Donc, à partir du moment où vous avez été, pour toutes sortes de raisons ‑‑ et je ne porte pas de jugement sur le contexte qui a fait que le résultat en est ainsi.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16050 À partir du moment où, dans le passé, vous n'avez pas été favorisé par l'attribution des enveloppes, c'est sûr que vous allez de façon récurrente entériner ce désavantage‑là dans le futur, puisque le facteur historique est basé sur la moyenne des trois dernières années.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16051 Alors, quand on regarde ce que TQS a eu comme enveloppe, ça jouait entre 4,2, 3,3, 3,7. Donc, c'était dans l'ordre de grandeur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16052 Donc, ce facteur‑là joue un rôle extrêmement déterminant.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16053 Le facteur du succès à l'auditoire peut être mesuré de bien des façons selon les catégories.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16054 Le Fonds, cette année, à titre d'exemple ‑‑ parce qu'il y avait des préoccupations du côté des télédiffuseurs éducatifs par rapport particulièrement aux émissions pour enfants, le Fonds a réussi à développer des approches originales qui valorisaient davantage le groupe cible, ce qui permettait aux gens donc d'avoir une reconnaissance adéquate des succès d'auditoire parce qu'ils vivaient une niche particulière.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16055 Le défi qui nous guette en tant que télédiffuseurs conventionnels ‑‑ c'est sûr que, la tentation des télédiffuseurs privés, ce serait de dire : « Oui, mais ça, ça va nous défavoriser. Parce que, nous, on a de petits auditoires, on n'obtient pas les mêmes portées. »
LISTNUM 1 \l 16056 Mais la vérité est toute autres. C'est que la structure d'obtention des droits fait en sorte que les télédiffuseurs spécialisés ont l'occasion de pouvoir diffuser à de multiples reprises parce qu'ils acquièrent des droits multiples de diffusion lorsqu'ils financent des productions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16057 Donc, lorsque vous faites le cumul de ces heures d'écoute‑là, finalement, ça fait des sommes assez importantes d'heures écoute.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16058 Et de ce côté‑là, la télévision conventionnelle peut, dans certains cas, être défavorisée.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16059 Le danger qui nous guette également, c'est qu'actuellement dans le calcul du succès à l'auditoire on permet également d'avoir un certain nombre d'émissions qui n'ont pas été supportées par le Fonds mais qui auraient pu l'être. Donc, qui auraient été admissibles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16060 Mais encore là, ça favorise ceux qui mettent une programmation qui est largement orientée vers le Fonds parce que, ou bien vous faites des acquisitions d'émissions admissible, dont le nombre est relativement limité, ou bien vous acceptez pendant une période intérimaire, pour pouvoir monter votre enveloppe, à grand prix, de financer par vous‑même, sans avoir le support du Fonds canadien, des émissions prioritaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16061 Alors, on imaginera aisément que de faire ça suppose des ressources financières colossales pour pouvoir rééquilibrer les enveloppes disponibles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16062 C'est la raison pour laquelle nous proposons de scinder le Fonds en deux volets, et au moment de la scission de réévaluer les enveloppes en tenant compte de l'importance des joueurs dans le marché et de leur contribution, de façon à ce que les enveloppes au point de départ soient établies de façon plus raisonnable et qu'après, une fois les enveloppes établies à un niveau plus acceptable, que le facteur du succès à l'auditoire peut jouer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16063 Et, à ce moment‑là, c'est la concurrence qui jouera.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16064 CONSEILLER ARPIN : On a entendu également dans le courant de l'audience des représentants de l'APFTQ nous dire que dans le marché francophone on devrait éliminer le critère du succès à l'auditoires puisque les francophones écoutent essentiellement les émissions canadiennes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16065 Donc le succès à l'auditoire n'est pas un critère significatif pour déterminer les enveloppes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16066 On suggérerait de pondérer différemment les critères actuels, notamment la sur‑licence versée par le télédiffuseur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16067 Et monsieur Leduc, qui accompagnait madame Samson, a ajouté qu'on pourrait faire un petit groupe de travail et puis on serait capable rapidement d'arriver à développer d'autres critères.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16068 Je ne sais pas si vous avez des observations à partager avec nous.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16069 M. BELLEROSE : Bien, je ne suis pas vraiment en accord avec le point de vue de l'APFTQ parce que, à partir du moment où le Fonds établit des enveloppes de rendement, il renvoie la responsabilité de la prise de décisions, et des bonnes décision, aux diffuseurs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16070 Puis on a un rôle à jouer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16071 À ce moment‑là, c'est à nous, comme diffuseurs, d'avoir les bonnes stratégies et de faire les bons choix.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16072 C'est vrai que les émissions ‑‑ns le marché de langue française particulièrement, les émissions financées par le Fonds ont de façon générale du succès.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16073 Elles n'ont pas toutes le même niveau de succès. Je veux dire, il y en a qui fonctionnent très, très bien. Il y en a qui fonctionnent de façon moyenne. Puis il y en a qui ne fonctionnent pas également.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16074 Et je pense que maintenir le critère de succès à l'auditoire est la meilleure garantie de s'assurer que les diffuseurs vont jouer leur responsabilité de façon correcte en tant que diffuseurs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16075 Ils prendront les bonnes décisions et feront les bons choix, dans le meilleur intérêt des téléspectateurs.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16076 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Dans nos discussions avec les représentants de Télé‑Québec, de TVA, de l'APFTQ, on a parlé des caractéristiques du marché francophone et puis on a essayé de comprendre pourquoi l'enveloppe des stations hertziennes avait subi une diminution très appréciable au cours des deux dernières années, dont notamment particulièrement cette année, où la diminution a été chez tous les diffuseurs significative.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16077 Vous avez mentionné vous même des chiffres dans votre présentation il y a quelques instants.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16078 Est‑ce que vous êtes en mesure d'évaluer ‑‑ avez‑vous cherché à évaluer ce pourquoi‑là, comment‑est ce que vous êtes arrivé à ça ou...
LISTNUM 1 \l 16079 M. BELLEROSE : Il y a plusieurs facteurs, et peut‑être que Louis pourra compléter ma réponse, mais il y a des éléments qui jouent en notre défaveur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16080 Le fait que nous disposions d'une enveloppe et que nous devions allouer certains montants dans les différentes catégories de genres admissibles joue à notre désavantage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16081 À titre d'exemple, cette année, nous avons une enveloppe de 3,7 millions, mais elle est répartie entre la dramatique, la variété, les émissions jeunesse et les documentaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16082 TQS, dans sa stratégie de programmation, n'a pas une stratégie de diffusion d'émissions pour enfants. Elle n'a pas non plus une stratégie de diffusion d'émissions documentaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16083 Au fil des ans, les définitions du genre documentaire s'étaient élargies. Les règles, pour toutes sortes de raisons, ont été resserrées au cours de la dernière année.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16084 Donc, c'est un genre qui devient moins attrayant pour un diffuseur comme TQS.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16085 Donc, on se retrouve dans une situation paradoxale où, même si notre enveloppe n'est pas importante, on est obligé de laisser de l'argent sur la table.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16086 Alors, évidemment, ça, c'est un facteur qui joue contre nous.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16087 Le Fonds a établi des critères de flexibilité. Il permet de prendre 15 pour cent ‑‑ dans le cas de diffuseurs privés dans le marché de langue française, il permet de prendre 15 pour cent de l'enveloppe totale et de pouvoir réallouer ces sommes‑là d'une catégorie à une autre catégorie.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16088 Ce n'est pas suffisant. Ce n'est pas suffisant.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16089 On se bat avec un Télé‑Québec qui, lui, peut réaffecter 50 pour cent de son enveloppe d'une catégorie à l'autre et qui a une enveloppe qui est plus importante que celle de TQS.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16090 Je vais prendre le cas de Radio‑Canada maintenant. Radio‑Canada a une enveloppe protégée de 27,6 millions, je crois. Trente‑sept pour cent, en fait, des sommes disponibles de l'enveloppe de rendement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16091 Il sait à l'avance de quelles sommes d'argent il va bénéficier. Il sait d'ores et déjà que l'année prochaine il peut commencer à faire sa planification en sachant que ces argents‑là sont assurés pour lui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16092 Non seulement ça, mais il avait une grande liberté d'affecter ces sommes d'argent‑là dans la catégorie de sa préférence.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16093 Le résultat net, c'est que, actuellement, Radio‑Canada consacre les deux tiers de ses enveloppes dans la dramatique.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16094 Et ça laisse à peu près 50 pour cent des enveloppes disponibles pour les diffuseurs privés dans la dramatique.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16095 Or, au Québec, ce qui fonctionne, c'est la dramatique. C'est le genre d'émission qu'on veut prioriser parce qu'on sait que ce sont les émissions que les gens préfèrent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16096 On est désavantagé également à ce niveau‑là.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16097 Donc, c'est tous ces facteurs qui font qu'il y a une pression au niveau des enveloppes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16098 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Quand on consulte le site Internet du Fonds canadien, on constate que TVA et Télé‑Québec on fait des échanges d'enveloppes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16099 TVA a cédé ses enveloppes de documentaires et d'émissions pour enfants pour des dollars de dramatiques.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16100 Vous nous avez dit il y a quelques instants que vous ne réussissiez pas à investir tous les dollars qui vous sont alloués.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16101 Avez‑vous eu ce genre de discussion avec d'autres, les autre diffuseurs, puisqu'il semble que, comme politique, maintenant le Fonds canadien accepte des déplacements inter‑compagnies des enveloppes ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16102 M. TRÉPANIER : Effectivement, Monsieur Arpin, on a eu des discussions avec, entre autres, TVO et des discussions aussi avec Télé‑Québec.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16103 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Je présume que vous voulez dire TFO, plutôt que TVO.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16104 M. TRÉPANIER : TFO, excusez. Et Télé‑Québec.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16105 Tout ceci, dans le contexte où TQS était dans la position que Serge a décrite en début de présentation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16106 Et finalement, on n'a pas fait d'échange comme tel. Mais il y avait une ouverture pour le faire. On n'a pas fait de transaction.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16107 On n'a pas transigé entre nous comme on aurait pu le faire parce qu'on a fait des choix, je dirais, stratégiques en voulant mettre le plus possible l'argent disponible dans les dramatiques qui, pour nous, amenaient un succès certain à l'antenne de TQS.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16108 Je pense à des émissions comme Bob Gratton, 450, chemin du Golf ou une autre dramatique qui était en développement chez Vendôme qui s'appelle Grande fille.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16109 M. BELLEROSE : En fait, l'échange auquel vous faites référence entre TVA et Télé‑Québec a été rendu possible grâce à une modification des règles que le Fonds a faite cette année.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16110 Parce que, historiquement, ce qui se passait, c'est que des joueurs comme Astral étaient extrêmement favorisés du fait qu'ils possédaient plusieurs chaînes spécialisées qui occupaient différents créneaux, différentes niches.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16111 Et eux, ils avaient le loisir, à l'intérieur de leur groupe corporatif, de pouvoir changer des dollars d'un genre à un autre entre Canal Vie, par exemple, et Canal D ou Série Plus et... bon.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16112 Alors, évidemment, ça les plaçait dans une position qui était particulièrement avantageuse.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16113 Alors, donc, des diffuseurs ont demandé à ce qu'il puisse y avoir un élargissement des possibilités de pouvoir faire des échanges.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16114 Et le Conseil a changé ses règles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16115 Mais le potentiel de pouvoir bénéficier de cet assouplissement‑là reste quand même passablement limité parce qu'il n'y a rien qui dit que les enveloppes de l'un ‑‑ ce qui pourrait être disponible pour l'un correspond au besoin de l'autre.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16116 Donc, ça reste hautement aléatoire comme possibilité de satisfaire les besoins d'un diffuseur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16117 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Dans sa présentation orale, hier, Canwest nous suggérait que le Fonds ‑‑ un, ils adhéraient à la notion du fonds privé et que ce fonds‑là devrait être divisé 50‑50 : 50 pour les télévisions hertziennes; 50 pour cent pour les canaux spécialisés.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16118 Est‑ce que vous avez un commentaire ? Est‑ce que c'est un scénario qui a une signification ou un intérêt dans le marché francophone ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16119 M. BELLEROSE : Si on excluait les télédiffuseurs publics, je pense que c'est une proposition qui mériterait attention.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16120 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Mais il faudrait absolument éliminer les diffuseurs publics ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16121 M. BELLEROSE : Oui, absolument.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16122 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Dans cette formule.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16123 Vous avez commenté dans votre présentation orale la proposition de Quebecor d'utiliser une option de retrait des contributions de Videotron du Fonds canadien.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16124 Cependant, Quebecor dit à la même occasion que, si Videotron se retirait de contribution, évidemment, TVA ne serait pas en demande pour accéder à des fonds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16125 Et les données financières qui ont été présentées par TVA, ainsi que celles que le Conseil a rendues publiques, semblent démontrer que ces sommes pour la période courante sont à peu près équivalentes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16126 Qu'est‑ce que ça ferait si, effectivement, le Conseil se mettait en accord avec la proposition de TVA ? Qu'est‑ce que ça ferait sur ‑‑ quel serait l'impact pour le Fonds ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16127 On enlève un dollar et puis on élimine un joueur.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16128 M. BELLEROSE : Votre collègue Morin hier parlait de la proposition de Quebecor comme un coup de tonnerre. J'ai lu les comptes‑rendus dans le journal ce matin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16129 Moi, je décrirais plutôt la proposition de Quebecor comme un pétard mouillé et de la poudre aux yeux.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16130 En fait, la vraie question qu'il faut poser, Monsieur Arpin, c'est : « La proposition de Quebecor de hausser à 30 millions par année la contribution qu'il ferait à la production originale canadienne, est‑on vraiment sûr qu'il s'agit de nouvel argent ? »
LISTNUM 1 \l 16131 J'aurais aimé qu'on pose la question à Quebecor. Elle n'a pas été posée ou, du moins, les réponses de Quebecor ont été plutôt nébuleuses hier lorsqu'on a demandé : « Oui, mais qui contribuerait à ce 30 millions‑là ? » On ne savait pas trop c'était qui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16132 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Bien, non.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16133 Bien, moi ‑‑ c'est moi qui ai posé la question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16134 M. BELLEROSE : Oui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16135 CONSEILLER ARPIN : La réponse que j'ai retenue, c'était Videotron.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16136 Cependant, on a poursuivi en disant que, de toutes façons, comme c'était dans la famille de Quebecor Media, ça pourrait peut‑être venir de Quebecor Media.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16137 Jamais on n'a mentionné le mot TVA, parce que j'essayais de savoir si, finalement, les dollars seraient du recyclage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16138 Mais je suis d'accord avec vous qu'il y a encore un élément de nébulosité, mais on ‑‑
LISTNUM 1 \l 16139 M. BELLEROSE : Mais laissez‑moi avancer un certain nombre d'hypothèses de réflexion sur la provenance de l'argent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16140 Vous avez raison. Ce serait très surprenant que cet argent‑là vienne de TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16141 TVA est dans la même situation que TQS. TVA, tout comme TQS, dit qu'il y a une crise qui traverse la télévision conventionnelle. Malgré ses grands succès, ses marges bénéficiaires fondent.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16142 Et TVA est d'avis, tout comme TQS, que le modèle ne fonctionne plus et qu'il doit être repensé et revisité.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16143 Et on aura un autre rendez‑vous au mois d'avril à ce sujet‑là.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16144 Donc, on peut soupçonner que ce n'est pas TVA qui va allonger les 13 ou 14 millions excédentaires dont on parle actuellement, parce que la contribution de Videotron tourne autour de 17 millions, je pense. Et ils proposent 30 millions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16145 Donc, il manque 13 millions. Il vient d'où ce 13 millions‑là ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16146 L'été dernier, Videotron ‑‑ TVA a diffusé une émission extrêmement populaire qui s'appelle Le banquier. Et l'été dernier, sur Videotron, ils ont offert en exclusivité à leur clientèle abonnée au service numérique et abonnée au service de vidéo sur demande quatre émissions exclusives du banquier en vidéo sur demande.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16147 Qui a financé ces émissions‑là ? Est‑ce que c'est TVA ? Est‑ce que c'est Videotron ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16148 Une émission extrêmement coûteuse à produire. Il y a quelqu'un qui a payé.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16149 On ne sait pas. On peut poser la question. On peut supposer que Videotron a dû mettre un peu d'argent dans la production de cette production‑là.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16150 Le printemps dernier, Videotron, en vidéo sur demande, a diffusé en première fenêtre, en exclusivité, la série Le négociateur, qui est une série très populaire qui passe le vendredi soir actuellement à TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16151 Est‑ce que TVA a permis à Videotron d'avoir accès à une première fenêtre sans que Videotron participe au financement ou donne une forme de contribution financière ou de compensation à TVA ? C'est plutôt douteux.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16152 Hier, monsieur Péladeau mentionnait à quel point sa vidéo sur demande connaissait du succès. Il parlait d'un million de téléchargements par semaine, 52 millions par année.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16153 C'est effectivement un très grand succès.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16154 Je suis moi‑même une personne qui regarde régulièrement des produits sur vidéo sur demande.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16155 Mais la vidéo sur demande, en bonne partie, fonctionne grâce aux produits qui sont offerts gratuitement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16156 Or, quels sont les produits offerts gratuitement en vidéo sur demande de Videotron ? Ce sont des émissions de TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16157 Si vous avez 52 millions de téléchargements en vidéo sur demande dont une bonne partie doivent être des émissions de TVA, on peut s'attendre à ce que ça ait un impact sur l'écoute des produits diffusés par TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16158 Si vous écoutez en vidéo sur demande, vous ne l'écouterez pas sur TVA. Puis il n'y a pas de publicité, généralement, en vidéo sur demande.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16159 Donc, à quelque part, il y a un modèle économique qui ne marche pas.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16160 Donc, on peut supposer que Videotron contribue sous une forme ou sous un autre à quelque part pour avoir accès à cette programmation‑là.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16161 Donc, peut‑être que, finalement, Videotron paie déjà 13 millions de toutes sortes de natures en acquisition de droits, en acquisition d'émissions, en complément de financement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16162 Je suggère ça. C'est peut‑être moins. C'est peut‑être davantage.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16163 En commandites.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16164 Donc, finalement, peut‑être qu'il n'y a pas un dollar de plus pour le système avec la proposition de Quebecor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16165 Peut‑être que le 13 millions qu'ils disent qu'ils vont mettre, ils le mettent peut‑être déjà.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16166 Mais qu'est‑ce qui va arriver si vous dites oui à cette proposition‑là ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16167 TVA va se retirer du Fonds. Quebecor ne contribuera plus.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16168 Là, ils vont envoyer ça dans un fonds où il va y avoir 30 millions où TVA va pouvoir se servir à souhait avec le genre d'émission qu'il veut.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16169 Pas nécessairement des dramatiques, des variétés. Ça pourrait être d'autres types d'émissions qui présentement ne sont pas admissibles au financement par le Fonds.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16170 Et, en plus, TVA va finalement régler un problème qu'il évoque depuis deux ans, qui est le problème d'acquérir les droits multi‑plateformes pour la distribution des produits.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16171 C'est là, l'enjeu clé, Monsieur Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16172 Lé négociations avec le milieu de la production indépendante sont extrêmement difficiles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16173 Nous mêmes, nous sommes confrontés à cette réalité‑là.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16174 TVA a été extrêmement plus agressif que nous depuis deux ans dans sa tentative de conclure une entente avec les producteurs indépendants, et il a été incapable de le faire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16175 Ce que TVA veut faire présentement et ce que QMI veut faire, c'est très simple. C'est de se retirer du Fonds, de prendre tout l'argent qu'il dépense de toutes façons, de l'envoyer dans un fonds, de le dépenser eux‑mêmes de la façon qu'ils veulent avec de la production interne ou avec des producteurs amis qui, eux, accepteront de consentir la cession de leurs droits multi‑plateformes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16176 C'est ça, la décision que vous avez à prendre. Est‑ce que vous voulez souscrire à une proposition comme celle‑là ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16177 Et si vous dites oui à ça, demain matin, Rogers va faire la même chose pour financer des émissions sur Citytv. Shaw va faire la même chose pour financer des émissions sur Corus.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16178 C'est l'effondrement du système de financement des émissions de qualité que vous allez signer en prenant un décision comme celle‑là, si vous la prenez.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16179 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Écoutez, Monsieur Bellerose, vos réponses sont claires et précises.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16180 Je vous remercie, quant à moi.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Conseiller Morin ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16182 CONSEILLER MORIN : Évidemment, tout le monde actuellement, beaucoup de gens, veulent que vous restiez dans le système.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16183 Alors, c'est pour ça que je vais vous poser la question et je vais revenir sur la question des facteurs historiques.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16184 Vous avez jusqu'au 19 février pour produire des commentaires plus précis à l'écrit. Bon.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16185 Vous êtes désavantagé, et on le comprends, par ces facteurs historiques.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16186 Mais si on n'en tenait pas compte, de manière à ouvrir les portes aux plus de « moutons noirs » possibles dans le système, qu'est‑ce que vous auriez obtenu au lieu du 3,7 millions ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16187 S'il n'y avait pas eu de facteur historique, est‑ce vous auriez obtenu cinq, six, sept millions ? Je n'en sais rien.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16188 Et ça, j'aimerais avoir des chiffre. Si vous ne les avez pas aujourd'hui, peut‑être plus tard.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16189 M. BELLEROSE : Nous pourrons vous fournir ces informations‑là, Monsieur Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16190 Il faudrait faire les calculs. Très honnêtement, les calculs, on ne les a pas faits.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16191 Mais il nous fera plaisir de vous les fournir.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16192 CONSEILLER MORIN : Parce que c'est un peu ça, hier, que Canwest nous a démontré.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16193 M. BELLEROSE : Oui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16194 CONSEILLER MORIN : Je vous invite à prendre connaissance du mémoire de Canwest.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16195 C'est qu'ils montraient les différentes situations, comment eux étaient finalement très désavantagés par le système. Et on présume évidemment que vous l'êtes également.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16196 En ce qui concerne le fonds Quebecor, s'il devait y avoir ‑‑ j'ai posé la question hier à Quebecor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16197 S'il devait y avoir une possibilité de retrait qui soit accordée par le Conseil pour une période ‑‑ hier, j'ai parlé d'une période de trois ans avec une date butoir après deux ans.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16198 Évidemment, vous semblez très critique sur ce que pourrait offrir Quebecor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16199 Quelles seraient les conditions qu'on devrait poser à Quebecor, non seulement pour Quebecor ‑‑ mais comme vous l'avez justement souligné, s'il arrivait que le Conseil approuve de retrait, peut‑être qu'éventuellement d'autres joueurs de l'industrie voudraient faire de même.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16200 Alors, dans ce contexte‑là, j'aimerais que vous nous disiez, nous écriviez, les questions ou enfin les balises qu'il faudrait mettre pour l'accord d'un tel retrait, d'un tel droit de retrait, à Quebecor.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16201 M. BELLEROSE : Pour le 19 février ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16202 CONSEILLER MORIN : S'il vous plaît.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16203 M. BELLEROSE : Oui. Il nous fera plaisir de le faire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16204 CONSEILLER MORIN : Parce que ça pourrait nous aider, évidemment, à éviter des écueils et des trous noirs que, peut‑être, on n'a pas vus hier.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16205 Et c'est sûr qu'on veut, dans la mesure du possible ‑‑ si on devait prendre cette décision‑là, c'est sûr qu'on ne voudrait pas se retrouver avec des grandes surprises, même s'ils nous invitent à suivre de très près tout ce développement, éventuellement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16206 M. BELLEROSE : Il nous fera plaisir de vous soumettre ces données, Monsieur Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16207 CONSEILLER MORIN : Malgré toutes choses qui se passent dans votre dossier, donc, on vous souhaite le plus grand succès.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16208 Merci.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16209 M. BELLEROSE : Il y a 24 heures dans une journée, Monsieur Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16210 CONSEILLER MORIN : Et d'une manière plus générale, dans notre discours de ce matin, il y a quelque chose qui me frappe ‑‑ et je ne peux pas m'empêcher de vous poser la question.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16211 Tout ce que vous dites très souvent ‑‑ moi, j'entends souvent le discours de l'entreprise privée qui veut le moins de règles possibles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16212 Et dans tout votre témoignage ce matin, j'ai eu l'impression que c'est règles que vous voulez.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16213 Est‑ce qu je me trompe ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16214 M. BELLEROSE : Oui, effectivement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16215 Il faut établir un certain nombre de règles et de critères qui permettront d'assurer une équité dans le système.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16216 À partir du moment où vous faites face à ces concentrations de joueurs comme ceux qu'on a dans le marché, c'est bien évident qu'un joueur comme TQS ne peut pas faire autrement que de demander à ce qu'il y ait des règles claires d'établies de façon à s'assurer qu'il ne soit pas désavantagé par rapport à la possibilité que ses concurrents puissent bénéficier d'avantages indus.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16217 En même temps, on propose aussi un certain nombre d'assouplissements par rapport aux règles actuelles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16218 Lorsqu'on propose de nous laisser la possibilité d'affecter les sommes d'argent dans les genres qu'on souhaite prioriser, c'est un assouplissement qu'on demande parce que, dans le fond ce qu'on dit, laissez‑nous faire les meilleurs choix possibles de façon à ce que le marché soit mieux servi.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16219 On aura notre réponse immédiatement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16220 Si on fait les mauvais choix, on n'aura pas de succès d'écoute et puis on va être pénalisé. Et nous, on va être pénalisé lourdement parce que, si on n'a pas de succès d'écoute, c'est nos revenus qui sont directement affectés.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16221 Donc, oui, d'une part, on demande des règles. Mais d'un autre côté, on demande aussi à ce que certaines règles soient assouplies, et voire même éliminées.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16222 CONSEILLER MORIN : Actuellement, ce n'est peut‑être pas votre modèle d'affaires, mais Quebecor a un modèle d'affaires qu'il propose.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16223 Quebecor ne vient pas soustraire de l'argent au Fonds puisque, Videotron et TVA, c'est grosso modo, semble‑t‑il, au cours des cinq dernières années, assez neutre, finalement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16224 Alors, pour vous, pour TQS, hormis le modèle d'affaires, vous ne perdriez pas au change, me semble‑t‑il, au niveau du Fonds canadien sinon que de vouloir à tout prix maintenir une structure qui, selon Quebecor, ne répond plus aux attentes de l'entreprise.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16225 M. BELLEROSE : Moi, j'ai toujours pensé qu'il valait mieux se battre à l'interne.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16226 Moi, je suis au conseil d'administration du Fonds. Peut‑être que je perdrai mes illusions dans un an ou dans deux ans. Mon collègue Lampron les a perdues, manifestement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16227 Mais, moi, je pense que mieux vaut se battre à l'interne pour faire évoluer les règles, faire changer les mentalités et essayer de faire en sorte que les choses fonctionnent mieux.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16228 Moi, j'y crois profondément.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16229 Peut‑être que, dans un an, je tiendrai un langage différent. Mais je crois encore profondément qu'il y a possibilité de modifier certaines conditions à l'intérieur desquelles on doit oeuvrer.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16230 Mais le plus important, je crois, c'est que, si vous acceptez la proposition de Quebecor, c'est que vous ouvrez également la porte à la création d'autres fonds semblables, comme je l'ai mentionné.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16231 Pourquoi Rogers, à ce moment‑là, demain matin, qui vient d'acquérir une chaîne, un réseau de télévision généraliste en Ontario et au Canada, City ‑‑ pourquoi lui à ce moment‑là, pour relancer City, qui était un réseau en difficulté, ne déciderait pas, « Bien, écoute. Moi, je vais prendre cet argent‑là, je vais l'envoyer dans un fonds et puis je vais financer à plein un programmation sur City. » ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16232 Ça donnerait un « sapré » bon coup de pouce à City. La tentation serait forte de le faire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16233 Pourquoi Shaw ne ferait pas la même chose en créant son propre fonds et en décidant d'aider financièrement Corus ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16234 Voyez‑vous, c'est ça qui est le danger qui nous guette.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16235 Et n'imaginez‑vous pas non plus que, immédiatement ‑‑ si Quebecor se retire du fonds, étant donné que c'est des revenus qui viennent directement du Québec, il va y avoir une « sapré » bataille à l'interne pour savoir comment on affecte les enveloppes un tiers‑deux tiers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16236 Est‑ce que les anglophones vont accepter d'être pénalisés du fait qu'il n'y a plus de contribution de Videotron ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16237 Moi, je ne suis pas sûr de ça.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16238 Donc, tout l'argent que Videotron va retirer va directement avoir un impact sur les télédiffuseurs restants de langue française à mon avis.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16239 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais le but n'est pas de créer de nouveaux fonds. C'est d'augmenter le contenu canadien.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16240 C'est comme ça que nous a présenté sa proposition Quebecor. « Nous doublons le contenu. »
LISTNUM 1 \l 16241 Évidemment, avec les réserves que vous avez faites ce matin, c'est pour ça que je vous invite à nous proposer des critères « d'opter out », si je puis dire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16242 M. BELLEROSE : Hm‑hmm.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16243 CONSEILLER MORIN : Vous comprenez ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16244 M. BELLEROSE : Oui.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16245 CONSEILLER MORIN : Le but n'est pas de créer des fonds privés.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16246 M. BELLEROSE : Non.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16247 CONSEILLER MORIN : C'est d'augmenter le contenu canadien. Et Quebecor vient devant nous et dit : « Nous, on double le contenu canadien. »
LISTNUM 1 \l 16248 Contrairement à Shaw, ils font une proposition. Ils mettent ça sur la table.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16249 Est‑ce que c'est une proposition valable dans tous les sens ? Est‑ce qu'on doit avoir des réserves sur certains point ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16250 C'est pour ça que je vous invite à proposer des choses très précises le 19 février.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16251 M. BELLEROSE : Nous allons le faire avec plaisir. Mais je vais suggérer peut‑être juste un ou deux éléments d'ici à ce que nous soumettions de façon plus spécifique nos commentaires.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16252 Il est possible pour Quebecor de jouer selon les règles. Le Conseil a la capacité de demander au Fonds de modifier certaines des règles. Si, le problème, c'est d'acquérir des droits multi‑plateformes, ça peut se régler, ça.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16253 Et je pense qu'on peut donner une directive au Fonds ou demander au Fonds de reconsidérer son approche et que des diffuseurs, au moment où ils négocient ou ils déclenchent des projets avec des producteurs, qu'ils puissent acquérir ‑‑ outre leur licence pour une diffusion traditionnelle sur leurs ondes hertziennes ou sur les chaînes spécialisées, qu'ils puissent envisager d'acquérir également des droits d'exploitation multi‑plateformes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16254 Il n'y a rien qui empêche ça. Et je pense que c'est quelque chose qui peut être envisagé. C'est quelque chose qui peut être considéré.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16255 Et il y a plein d'autres éléments comme ça, je pense, pour lesquels il y a des solutions qui sont possibles.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16256 Et, si Quebecor est prêt à mettre 13 millions de plus, qu'ils le mettent. Qu'ils le mettent à TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16257 Qu'ils jouent les règles du jeu en retirant 16 millions du Fonds canadien et puis que Videotron donne un autre 13 millions à TVA.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16258 Pourquoi pas ?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16259 Ils peuvent le faire actuellement. Il n'y a rien qui les empêche de le faire.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16260 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16261 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16262 We will now break for lunch. We will be back at 2:15 p.m.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16263 Thank you.
‑‑‑ Suspension à 1241 / Upon recessing at 1241
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1412 / Reprise à 1412
LISTNUM 1 \l 16264 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation of CTVglobemedia. Please introduce yourself and you have 15 minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16265 Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
LISTNUM 1 \l 16266 MR. GOLDSTEIN: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16267 Good afternoon, Madam Chair, Vice‑Chair Arpin, Commissioner Morin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16268 My name is David Goldstein and I'm the Senior Vice‑President, Regulatory Affairs for CTVglobemedia.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16269 Let me take a couple of minutes to introduce my colleagues before we begin our formal presentation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16270 At CTVglobemedia we are active and passionate collaborators in the creative process of each production from the earliest stages of development to the final details of a promotion and publicity campaign. We work closely with independent producers and talented creative teams to make the best possible shows each and every time. And we think this commitment is a very important factor in the success of our programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16271 Here with me today are two people who are critical to this creative process. Louise Clark to my far left, our Vice‑President of Programming and Development is based in our Vancouver production office and is responsible for our development and production work across the country, working with our creative executives located across the country. Her many years of experience in nurturing talent and shaping productions has earned the respect of production colleagues across Canada.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16272 Louise has been our production executive for such acclaimed programs as Corner Gas, Robson Arms, Cold Squad and award‑winning documentaries including Parkinson Enigma, Race of the Century, Confessions of an Innocent Man, as well as the family drama series, Magician's House, which won an international Emmy.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16273 Ed Robinson, to my immediate left, is our Executive Vice‑President Programming for CTV as well as the President and General Manager of both the Comedy Network and Space. Ed has a long track record of supporting the creative process, assembling the best teams and fostering such popular Canadian hits as Canadian Idol going into its fifth season ‑‑ it's the highest‑rated Canadian series since the inception of electronic audience measurement ‑‑ the Juno Awards, which since coming to CTV has travelled to different cities from across the country to great acclaim and highly rated audiences; innovative comedy such as Odd Job Jack, Comedy Now, Puppets Who Kill and the number one comedy series in the country, Canadian or American, Corner Gas, which has achieved over one million viewers for each and every one of the 80 episodes that it has aired to date and it regularly ranks in the top 20 shows watched by Canadians each week.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16274 Since this is after all a discussion of how we can achieve successful Canadian programming, I am pleased to be joined by two of Canada's most experienced and successful content leaders. We would now like to begin our oral presentation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16275 We would like to thank the Commission for the opportunity to appear today. We have heard from a lot of people with different agendas this week. Some just don't want to spend money. Others want to pocket it for themselves. Our point is that the CTF is working by all objective criteria. It was designed to help fund great Canadian television and it has done just that. While there may be ‑‑ may have been many different points of view this week, the process has been constructive and in our view there seems to be an emerging consensus among creators, programmers and most of the BDUs on two key points; the need for ongoing support for Canadian programming and the earning of audiences which is critical.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16276 At CTV we do not believe the CTF is broken. We actually believe the CTF to be a great Canadian success story. Let's not mess with that success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16277 We believe the CTF task force work has been valuable and we note that the CTF board and management have worked diligently to improve transparency and accountability. Like all things, the CTF has evolved and will need to continue to evolve as we face an increasingly competitive future. It is in that spirit that we would like to outline the following points for the Commission's consideration.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16278 First, we support the CAB's proposal to maintain one fund with one administration but with two streams to ensure that we are achieving both our public and private objectives.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16279 Second, we endorse a continued system of envelopes for private broadcasters based on objective audience success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16280 And, lastly, we strong believe the Shaw and the Vidéotron proposals of placing their contributions into self‑directed funds was never the Commission's intent when the CAPEX rules were changed. It is a step backward that will create planning uncertainty for producers and disadvantages to unaffiliated broadcasters.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16281 MS CLARK: By any tangible measure the CTF is a tremendous success. We are not aware of any other public/private partnership that triggers over three dollars in production volume for every dollar of public investment. While the CTF has allowed us to pursue a stronger programming strategy, to be clear, the CTF is not a subsidy to CTV but an investment accelerator to provide independent producers with licence fees and equity investments that the market alone would not normally provide.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16282 We think the big picture achievements are positive and that the numbers speak for themselves.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16283 In our case alone, across our services since 2000 we have licensed 1,415 hours of CTF‑supported programming including Canadian drama series, documentaries; movies of the week, feature films, children's programming and variety programming. These shows aired prominently in primetime and were well promoted. Many received critical acclaim. Several have won both national and international awards for excellence and most important of all they have been well received by Canadian audiences from coast to coast.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16284 Since pictures are worth a thousand words we would like to share some of our success with you onscreen. Please roll the video.
‑‑‑ Video presentation / Présentation vidéo
LISTNUM 1 \l 16285 MS CLARK: We shared these moments of CTV original programming with you to help illustrate the depth of our pride and our ability to work with exceptional talent and to create compelling Canadian programming.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16286 The Commission is well aware of the huge success of such programs as Degrassi and Instant Star, both on CTV and around the world, with both series having sold to over 150 countries.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16287 What's more, two of the clips you just saw are the winning results of the new CTF pilot initiative. The pilots for both Flashpoint and The Listener resulted in series pickups by CTV in December and were more recently picked up by CBS and NBC respectively. It is truly unprecedented to have two major U.S. networks committed to two distinctly Canadian series for their new broadcast season and it reflects a growing evolution of Canadian programming in the marketplace.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16288 Beyond the CTF, as we go forward we will need to look at different funding models that will provide us the flexibility to increase our investment in Canadian programming. Clearly, Canadian programming is on the right track. The CTF is important to that success and we believe it is not time to change that course.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16289 MR. GOLDSTEIN: It is clear the many stakeholders are troubled by the proposals advanced by Shaw and Vidéotron. While many of those issues will be dealt with in the reply phase of this proceeding, we thought it would be worth taking a couple of minutes to provide some historical context.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16290 In 1993 the Commission undertook the structural review as a wide‑ranging review of almost every aspect of the distribution of broadcasting framework, not unlike the upcoming proceeding in April.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16291 The Canadian Cable Television Association then claimed that their members were to be besieged by the death star that would rain down unfettered foreign competition. In response they had a two‑pronged proposal. First, was increasing the number of eligible foreign signals and, secondly, the deregulation of basic cable rates to pay for infrastructure of the rates.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16292 In return for deregulation of basic cable rates based on capital expenditure, known as the CAPEX, the CCTA presented the Commission with the early blueprint for what was to become the Cable Television Fund. The BDUs have subsequently benefited significantly from that deregulation. They built robust systems which have been used to propel them into very profitable programming distribution services and extremely profitable internet and telephony services.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16293 While true that much has changed since 1993 basic BBDU rates are still unregulated and the dreaded death star representing foreign competition never materialized. The 5 percent contribution became 3 percent as many cable companies were able to use that 2 percent to self‑fund the community channels.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16294 To be clear, the BDUs' contribution to the Fund was never meant to be a proxy for not having to pay benefits for transfer of ownership transactions and it was never meant to offset the need to support Canadian services. The Commission should be wary of any solution that would allow BDUs to setup content funds for their own programming that would put non‑affiliated broadcasters at a disadvantage. To be clear, this is not the BDUs money. It was a financial contribution to the system to allow for deregulation.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16295 MR. ROBINSON: We understand the CTF task force wrestled with the balance between public obligations and the need for private sector success. Different players have different objectives and different regulatory obligations. Public broadcasters and other public policy supported activities have different mandates, different expectations; do not have priority programming obligations.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16296 As stated earlier, we agree with the CAB proposal for one fund with one administration but with two streams; one to meet public objectives and one to meet private objectives. We believe the solution is simple, symmetrical and elegant.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16297 The first question we asked ourselves is why one fund. And the answer is quite simple. Having gone through the painstaking process of harmonizing the administrations of TeleFilm and CTF, it was clear from all the stakeholders that providing one door to knock on would not only minimize administrative costs and thereby maximize production dollars, but allow for predictability and objective funding criteria.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16298 The second question we asked ourselves was how do we best create success given the distinctiveness of the private and public objectives? This has been a preoccupation of the Fund since its inception. What we are proposing is a more stable funding envelope for the public stream that will provide predictability. The public stream would allow for the federal government's contribution which is currently approximately 40 percent of the Fund; to provide stable support for public broadcasters, aboriginal broadcasters, minority language programming and versioning. This would leave the private stream to be derived from the BDU contributions which would continue to be allocated in broadcaster envelopes based on objective audience‑driven criteria.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16299 For private broadcasters, especially in English Canada, earning audience to Canadian programming is both our greatest challenge and our greatest opportunity. In the quest to achieve cultural and commercial success earned audience is the common currency.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16300 Canadians have greater access to U.S. programming than anyone else in the world and they vote with their remote controls. That is why despite assertions from some stakeholders, finding and holding audiences is not simply an issue of schedule. At the end of the day the true success will come to those who are prepared to invest and support the best shows. We believe the CTF criteria that weighs objective, historic audience success works. It's fair and it provides predictability.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16301 At CTV we met the challenge of competitive audience‑based envelopes by investing almost $210 million in licence fees to CTF‑supported shows since 2000, an average of over $30 million per year.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16302 Our success story at CTV is about putting the creative forces first. We seek out and encourage writers, producers and performers to work with us and to find those compelling, high quality projects that we believe audiences will embrace. We then solidify and nurture the right creative teams. We support each stage of the production process and we establish a promotion plan that includes as much cross‑platform support as possible.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16303 A great and current example is airing on this Sunday night, our original Movie of the Week, entitled Mayor Thorpe. CTV recognized the sensitive nature of this important Canadian story throughout the development, production and marketing process. We view this program as one of our proudest achievements to date. We have a long and successful relationship with the screenwriter, Andrew Wreggitt, and the two production companies involved. Last weekend we were in a heavy promotional campaign during the Super Bowl which reached an audience of over five million viewers. That on‑air promotion and publicity campaign continues throughout this week, and taking every opportunity to promote our shows we encourage everyone here to watch this significant and thought‑provoking movie on Sunday night, CTV, nine o'clock. Check your local listings.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
LISTNUM 1 \l 16304 MR. ROBINSON: A lot of the independent productions we have developed and aired have benefited from the CTF. It is true that we have benefited more than other private broadcasters from the existence of the CTF, and there is a reason for this. We have earned it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16305 This has been accomplished by developing and choosing better, scheduling and promoting better. We have delivered results and that's why our independently‑produced programs get a larger slice of the pie. Any of our competitors could have done the same but chose to do less. It's called value for money and it's a fine public policy and private sector principle.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16306 We welcome the competition and we intend to work just as hard to keep our position. At the end of the day Canadian viewers will be the winner.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16307 MR. GOLDSTEIN: So, the question we ask ourselves today is: Where is the crisis?
LISTNUM 1 \l 16308 A few nasty letters and newspaper ads by Shaw could not possibly be able to undue a decade of success.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16309 We are here today because a select few don't want to play by the rules. The time and resources that have been expended this week could have funded a 10 out of 10 Canadian MOW that a million Canadians could have watched.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16310 We are here because someone thinks that they're allowed to cherry pick their obligations yet keep all of the benefits of the regulatory protection to themselves.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16311 Shaw is a very profitable company who has flourished due to the protective blanket that you provide. They can't be allowed to brag on Bay Street and come crying to the Commission.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16312 At the end of the day the rules exist for all of us or they exist for none of us. We fully support the Commission in demonstrating their backbone in dealing with Shaw's initial transgression. We believe that resolve must continue.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16313 We thank you for the opportunity to appear today and we welcome your questions.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16314 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Goldstein and your colleagues. I think we can always count on you guys to deliver us the sound byte or punch line or concluding remarks.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16315 I'll turn it over to Vice‑Chairman Arpin.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16316 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16317 Well, thank you for coming today, but being the last to intervene in this process allows us maybe to counter check some opinions that we have heard as well, so...
LISTNUM 1 \l 16318 But my first question to you will be, while you have a very thorough presentation, you didn't speak a lot about audience success or audience measurement, I should have said, and you only alluded indirectly to it at the end of the presentation when you said; we have delivered results and that's why our independently produced programs got a larger slice of the pie and that obviously you have benefitted from the historic access in the system.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16319 You probably heard your main competitor, and some time partner, making comments yesterday about their own view regarding the measurement criteria.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16320 I don't know if you had the chance to look into what they have said and what they have suggested for the future, including having the Fund split 50/50 between over‑the‑air and specialty services and also remove totally historical access and work with hours tuned rather than average minutes.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16321 I don't know if you have any comments to make on that.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16322 MR. GOLDSTEIN: First of all, we do have the benefit of being the last intervener and have had an opportunity to follow the proceedings closely.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16323 I guess I'll begin by starting off and then I may ask Ed and Louise to come in and help.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16324 But many of the criticisms, we're perplexed because either way we're the target. If you go to an audience measurement ‑‑ if you go strictly to an audience measurement indicator, then our audiences are there and they're demonstrable. If you go to a historic model and you went to the historic model, again, our audiences are demonstrable.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16325 So, we're unfortunately taking criticism from both sides, when we think at the end of the day audience should be key, but there has to be balances, we said in the opening statement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16326 We've only had 24 hours to look at the CanWest proposal. We have some immediate concerns. You know, I obviously don't want to spoil the new détante with our new friends at CanWest, but we have some serious questions about both the methodology in the way they've measured audience. I particularly am interested to see how they came to the Rogers' numbers, having some personal experience with how the CHUM envelope's developed.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16327 So, we're going to be going through those in more detail, the way they measured audience and different demographics. So, we'll coming back in reply with something more substantial.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16328 But the other thrust of their proposal, which is sort of dumbfounding us ‑‑ and, you know, I think Ed will jump in on this ‑‑ is that they seem to be looking at success across the entire schedule as opposed to shows and, from our reading of it, that includes American shows as well and the performance of the whole schedule which, unfortunately for us, is not apples to apples.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16329 But maybe Ed can elaborate.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16330 MR. ROBINSON: Yeah. I think our reaction from a programming point of view is that the presentation, as brief as it is, is flawed. We don't see it as a way to actually address what we're talking about today, which is supporting Canadian original programming and bringing that programming to the largest audience possible.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16331 This is about original Canadian, this is about supporting our artists and giving them a place of pride in which they can be seen from coast to coast by as many viewers as possible.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16332 To do a measurement that, whatever time frame you put across an entire schedule, is actually blending the Canadian shows in with foreign shows in a way that makes no sense to us, we would want to continue with what's been the experience of the CTF.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16333 We support the success to day. We think that there is every indication of future success and we want to stay the course with the way this has been in the last many years.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16334 MS CLARK: Yeah. I think, echoing my colleagues' comments, my major concern is that it takes the eye off the prize. We are here to secure the success of Canadian programming on Canadian television and, as I understand it, the proposal we heard yesterday would allow a significant envelope to a broadcaster without any Canadian successes on their schedule. That's a reasonable outcome from the proposal, as we understood it.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16335 I'll also take this opportunity, since it came up in the Commissioner's notes that, you know, we are extremely proud of the numbers our shows have achieved and I'll give you a couple now ‑‑ we didn't want to clutter our presentation with too many ‑‑ but our MWOs, our Movies of the Week, like "MayerThorpe" coming up, which we expect to do well.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16336 We've got a terrific track record there with shows like "Lucky Girl", 1.4‑million viewers; "Stolen Miracle"; 1.3‑million viewers, "Tagged", 1.5‑million viewers; and "One Dead Indian", which you also saw a clip from, also over a million viewers.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16337 Our drama series, "Degrassi", "11th Hour" and "Cold Squad", "Robson Arms" have all been seen by millions of Canadians.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16338 Our documentaries have also had an equally good track record, some of them over a million for one‑hour one‑off documentaries, a significant achievement.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16339 I also want to just comment on the question of historical access because to us it's a reflection of our ongoing and sustained commitment to Canadian programming and we are happily rewarded for that commitment with the historical access. I think we have, as was pointed out in the oral presentation, earned that position.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16340 And we also would like to point out that the CTF is a work in progress. It has undergone a lot of refinements recently, including the English language drama envelope which is a relatively new feature of the program, as is the pilot program as we pointed out.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16341 And I think we can all say that recently we've seen a lot of Canadian television, not only on CTV, but on Global ‑‑ CBC is a separate issue ‑‑ but I think what we're seeing is that it's actually working. We are seeing Canadian television being delivered to Canadian audiences through the English language drama envelope.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16342 So, we're saying, if it's not broken why would we want to fix it now.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16343 MR. GOLDSTEIN: If I can just wrap up.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16344 I mean, obviously we believe in a system of ours tuned to two plus and I found with interest the analogy ‑‑ the audience measurement analogy that CanWest used yesterday which was the football stadium. And I believe it was Ms Williams who was trying to convey to the Commission the difference between reach and hours tuned and that in her analogy that reach was if people came for the first quarter and left for the rest of the game they'd be considered as reach but not hours tuned.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16345 I guess our perspective is if you balance historical criteria versus current criteria, if I won four Grey Cups in a row I'm going to have better seasons' ticket sales, I'm going to have bums in the seats on a regular basis and I'm going to have a competitive team on the field. That to us is what audience success means.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16346 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Now, in the discussions the word promotion was mentioned a couple of times by all of you and we heard earlier today the writers complaining that there was not enough promotion, that's why Canadian programming were not having success and they gave examples that there's no cross‑promotion between platforms, and one of the writers even suggested that "Corner Gas" could be promoted during the "Hockey Night in Canada" because it is aiming at the same type of audience.
LISTNUM 1 \l 16347 Do you have any comments to make regarding ‑‑ and are you doing cross‑promotion and are you promoting Canadian programming?