ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 8 April 2011
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Volume 5, 8 April 2011
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
To consider the broadcasting applications for the group-based licence renewals for English-language television groups listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-952, 2010-952-1, 2010-952-2 and 2010-952-3
140 Promenade du Portage
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 Contents.
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.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To consider the broadcasting applications for the group-based licence renewals for English-language television groups listed in Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-952, 2010-952-1, 2010-952-2 and 2010-952-3
Konrad von Finckenstein Chairperson
Leonard Katz Commissioner
Rita Cugini Commissioner
Suzanne Lamarre Commissioner
Peter Menzies Commissioner
Tom Pentefountas Commissioner
Stephen Simpson Commissioner
Jade Roy Secretary
Joshua Dougherty Legal Counsel
Sheehan Carter Hearing Manager
140 Promenade du Portage
April 8, 2011
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Writers Guild of Canada 737 / 4369
Directors Guild of Canada 791 / 4737
ACTRA and Canadian Federation of Musicians 815 / 4876
Georgian Bay General Hospital 858 / 5133
Imaginad Marketing & Promotions Inc. 863 / 5159
The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation 869 / 5185
UNITY Charity 874 / 5207
Sarrazin Couture Entertainment 877 / 5225
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians 894 / 5337
Council of Canadians with Disabilities 900 / 5364
- vi -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking 766 / 4546
Undertaking 791 / 4732
Undertaking 838 / 5004
Undertaking 857 / 5123
--- Upon resuming on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 0901
4363 THE SECRETARY: Please take your seats.
4364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
4365 Commençons, Madame la Secrétaire.
4366 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci, Monsieur le Président, et bonjour à tous.
4367 We will begin today with the presentation by Writers Guild of Canada. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
4368 Thank you.
4369 MS PARKER: Good morning. My name is Maureen Parker and I am the Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Canada, a national association representing over 2000 professional English-language screenwriters.
4370 To my left is Cal Coons, a professional showrunner and screenwriter who has created popular prime time dramas such as "Murdoch Mysteries," and most recently worked on "The Listener."
4371 Also with us is Kelly Lynne Ashton, our Director of Policy.
4372 The WGC has been waiting with growing urgency for this hearing since the 1999 TV Policy removed expenditure requirements from conventional broadcasters.
4373 As a result, spending on Canadian drama dropped from 4 percent of conventional revenues in 2000 to 1.5 percent in 2009. Despite the growth in specialties, the industry is still back at 1999 production volume levels -- flat over 12 years.
4374 We agree with the Chair we need to go forward rather than backward, but that means learning from our mistakes. We welcome the 2010 TV Policy because it reinstates expenditure requirements, ensuring an appropriate spend by Canadian broadcasters on Canadian programming. This licence renewal hearing is necessary to implement that policy and to specify the exact expenditure percentages.
4375 The 2010 TV Policy is aimed at giving our broadcasters added flexibility. At the same time, the policy clearly states that these broadcasters must contribute appropriately to Canadian programming.
4376 In the group licence renewal applications the broadcasters are asking for even more flexibility than the 2010 TV Policy granted them, trying at every turn to minimize their obligations to Canadian programming -- particularly Programs of National Interest or PNI. In our experience "flexibility" is broadcaster code for "more U.S. programming."
4377 We urge the Commission not to amend the policy by agreeing to a PNI expenditure requirement based on anything other than actual historical expenditure on dramas, documentaries and award shows.
4378 We can work with the additional flexibility but only if it comes with the necessary safeguards provided by the following three recommendations:
4379 1. A corporate group CPE of 30 percent for all groups;
4380 2. A PNI CPE of 10 percent, with a possible exception for Rogers; and
4381 3. The maintaining of specialty exhibition requirements and specialty conditions of licence.
4382 After years of public hearings, research and stakeholder meetings, the Commission issued the 2010 TV Policy, which clearly stated that there will be an expenditure requirement for Canadian programming and an expenditure requirement for Programs of National Interest.
4383 We agree with the Commission's findings that a minimum of 30 percent for the CPE is an appropriate level. Some broadcasters have recent actual expenditures slightly over that figure, while others are slightly under, but 30 percent is a fair common base.
4384 The intent of the policy was to establish a floor for spending on Canadian programming to ensure that broadcasters do not go forward spending less on Canadian programming than they currently do.
4385 A proportional rate is also fair given that all of these broadcasters compete for the same programs, the same audiences and the same revenue sources. They should have the same expenditure requirement.
4386 Kelly Lynne.
4387 MS ASHTON: The 2010 TV Policy also established an expenditure requirement for Programs of National Interest -- defined as dramas, long form documentaries and award shows.
4388 At the time of the policy, the only available data was for drama programming. Analyzing drama spending only, the Commission concluded that a minimum of 5 percent would be appropriate.
4389 The policy goes on to say that broadcasters would be required to file historical spending on long form documentaries and award shows, and that the Commission "will establish, at licence renewal, a base level spending requirement for programs of national interest." So it's 5 percent plus whatever the Commission determines is the appropriate figure for long form documentaries and award shows.
4390 There has been a lot of additional data submitted this week, most of which we have not been privy to. None of what has appeared on the record has demonstrated to us a historical PNI spending level of only 5 percent.
4391 Earlier this week, Shaw submitted revised data attempting to establish that its historical PNI expenditure was only 5 percent, contrary to previously submitted data.
4392 This new figure was arrived at by Shaw reclassifying as reality shows programs previously reported as documentaries, thus reducing its PNI from about 9 percent to 5 percent. That's an awful lot of money attributed to low-budget reality shows. We would like to see a list of the titles that were reclassified.
4393 Having benefited from the inclusions of these programs as documentaries under the former regulatory framework, Shaw now wants to exclude them in order to reduce its historical expenditure. That just seems wrong.
4394 With Bell, there is a different kind of problem. Bell is not denying its historical expenditure, which is over 5 percent. Instead, it is trying to lock in at 5 percent on the basis that it can't afford to do more.
4395 Bell is changing its business model to get away from Canadian drama. Locking in at 5 percent on PNI makes it easier for them to spend money on variety programs like "So You Think You Can Dance Canada," shows that no longer qualify as supported programming.
4396 But the policy was created to provide support to the hardest-to-finance shows like dramas and long form documentaries. In this way, Bell is working to fundamentally change the 2010 Policy set down by the Commission.
4397 We have been hearing this week that there is no need for PNI CPE levels over 5 percent because recent benefits packages will put more than enough money into the system.
4398 First, we feel this is a mischaracterization of the benefits policy, which is about spending incremental to broadcasters' existing expenditures.
4399 Second, given the increased cost of high-quality production and limited sources of financing, there is a constant need for more money in the system.
4400 The broadcasters have suggested that the production community doesn't have the capacity to meet higher production levels. Our members say: "Bring it on."
4401 We've also heard from the broadcasters that Canadian drama is a money-losing proposition. We don't agree.
4402 When we filed "The Economics of Canadian Programming" report with you a few years ago, we demonstrated that Canadian programming can make money. We noted that the programming sometimes does not make money because even highly successful programs are sold to advertisers at discounted rates, just because they're Canadian.
4403 But when a drama such as "Rookie Blue" averages 1.8 million viewers and "Flashpoint" comes in at 1.3 million viewers, that's success in any market.
4404 And more importantly, broadcaster commitments to Canadian programming are part of the regulatory bargain. As a Canadian broadcaster, they must support the creation and presentation of Canadian programming.
4405 As suggested in our submission, the 5 percent CPE on PNI seems a reasonable figure for Rogers to start with, given their different asset mix.
4406 However, for the other broadcasters, all of which have assets appropriate to the broadcast of PNI programming, the WGC recommends that the Commission set a common PNI CPE of 10 percent. Ten percent is the right figure. Anything lower would do a disservice to the Canadian broadcasting system.
4408 MR. COONS: The 2010 TV Policy has lowered the conventional overall exhibition requirement from 60 percent of the broadcast year to 55 percent.
4409 However, the policy clearly states that exhibition requirements for specialty services are not subject to this overall reduction and they therefore should maintain their individual exhibition requirements.
4410 The Commission has provided broadcast groups with the flexibility to allocate up to 100 percent of specialty expenditures to another service.
4411 To ensure that each service continues to air an appropriate amount of Canadian programming, maintaining individual exhibition requirements is crucial.
4412 Despite the Commission's clear direction to the contrary, broadcasters have repeatedly requested lower exhibition requirements for their specialty services. We urge the Commission to deny these requests.
4413 The broadcasters are afforded a great deal of flexibility within the new TV Policy. They want even more flexibility by loosening genre protection in order to be able to amortize their programming expenses across all of their services and air more U.S. programs.
4414 So if they get their way, instead of a variety of original Canadian and foreign programming, we will get last year's "House" on History, Showcase and Twist TV. Genre protection is not just about protecting services from competition but also about preserving programming diversity within the system.
4415 In front of you there are a number of requests to amend conditions of licence to loosen genre protection.
4416 For example, CTV has asked that Bravo! have its exhibition requirement reduced from 60 percent to 55 percent. It has also asked for the removal of Bravo!'s cap on U.S. drama in prime time.
4417 Bravo! is intended to be a performance and drama programming service. Yet, the combination of these two requests would allow CTV to use Bravo! to an even greater extent as a rerun channel for U.S. drama.
4418 Because Bravo! does not have a narrative description in its licence that can be enforced, it is even more important that specific conditions of licence are maintained.
4419 Another example is Showcase. Shaw requested that the Commission amend the condition of licence limiting Showcase to 10 percent U.S. programming and raise it to 50 percent. This is contrary to their oral presentation, in which they referred to a minor increase to 20 percent.
4420 Though Showcase does not have a narrative description, it was licensed to provide Canadians with access to the best programming from around the world and Canada.
4421 If Showcase is allowed to substantially increase its U.S. programming, it will fundamentally change its nature of service and run the risk of becoming yet another rebroadcaster of U.S. shows. What is the point of being a Canadian cable subscriber when every channel looks the same?
4422 MS PARKER: The Commission has done the right thing by issuing a TV policy that attempts to balance broadcaster flexibility with support for Canadian programming. We believe that this will work.
4423 However, there are so many elements to this new framework that it will require careful monitoring to ensure that it plays out as intended.
4424 We need timely access to annual reporting and the opportunity to review for compliance.
4425 We would also like the opportunity to have our own in camera discussions with you so that we can freely discuss our side of the economics of Canadian programming without risking our members' careers.
4426 But ultimately, it's the Commission who will ensure that the 2010 TV Policy works as intended.
4427 We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have and we thank you very much for your time.
4428 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. I guess we are making progress. I think, Ms Parker, you have been before me many times. This is the first time you say the Commission has done the right thing.
4429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me, if we agree to your in camera for a discussion, what would you provide? It's an interesting idea. I have never heard it from you before. What figures would you be sharing with us that you can't otherwise share?
4430 MS PARKER: Well, Mr. Chair, we feel that very much some of the comments that were made this week -- we would like to be able to have a discussion with the commissioners about -- particularly about the fact that Canadian drama is a losing proposition.
4431 We have completed and we sent in, I believe, with the 2010 TV Policy, a study called "The Economics of Canadian Programming," in which we particularly said that Canadian programs regardless of their merit are sold at a discounted rate to advertisers. That's how the system works.
4432 Also, the broadcasters are not taking into their consideration the long tail effect of Canadian programming, the repeats such as --
4433 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know, I've read the study. But in camera means you share information with me --
4434 MS PARKER: That's right.
4435 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- that you cannot share with the public because it would hurt your commercial --
4436 MS PARKER: Okay. All right. Well, we --
4437 THE CHAIRPERSON: What are we talking about?
4438 MS PARKER: Well, we would certainly like to talk to you about how programming is developed and what we see are some of the problems in terms of development and production.
4439 We are in a tricky position often because we are bringing up members who have to work for the broadcasting community. We now have three broadcasters and we all know one another. We know the development staff.
4440 And for us to come forward and say, you know, there's certain things within the development process that are not working, certain things within production that are not working -- we do have data and we have figures, but it's really walking through the process.
4441 We think we can make stellar Canadian TV and we do, but there are problems on both sides of the equation.
4442 THE CHAIRPERSON: But we are not really talking so much about data as practices of the various broadcasters?
4443 MS PARKER: I beg your pardon?
4444 THE CHAIRPERSON: We are not so much talking about you sharing confidential data with us, but rather talking about the practices various broadcasters engage in, in terms of marketing, in terms of procuring programming and so on?
4445 MS PARKER: Well, projects. We could talk project-specific, which would be relatively confidential because these are programs owned by the broadcasters. But yes, you are right, this isn't -- obviously we don't have the same annual reports to review as the broadcasters.
4446 THE CHAIRPERSON: Secondly, when you talk about genre you make a link that I have never heard before, the link between genre and Canadian and foreign programming. I mean genre protection, I understand, but how does genre tie into Canadian programming?
4447 I mean Canadian programming is either exhibition requirement or spending requirement. Whatever the genre is, how does that impact on Canadian? I don't get the link here.
4448 MS ASHTON: What we are saying is that when the genre protection is not being enforced, and we are looking at Showcase and History, for example, where we don't have the resources to actually give you definitive analysis about whether the genre is being enforced, but we do have -- for example, "CSI New York," that was a closed file where they had to take "CSI New York" off of History.
4449 So when it is expanding, when the genre is expanding, then more -- what the broadcasters are doing is amortizing their programming costs. They are taking their U.S. programs from their conventional and then airing it across their specialties regardless of where --
4450 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand that. That is a violation of genre protection.
4451 MS ASHTON: Yes.
4452 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't see how -- let's assume -- take the example you used, showing "CSI" on History. Clearly it's a violation of genre protection. I still don't see how it harms the requirement regarding Canadian programming, whether exhibition requirement or spending requirement. It should have no single -- not the slightest impact on it.
4453 MS ASHTON: It's about the integrity of the system. If all of the services start to look the same it's difficult for -- we worry about the audience leaving, particularly now that there are options. There are the unregulated platforms.
4454 For our members there are issues not knowing who to pitch a project to. Is History really the place to go for a history service or do you -- is Bravo! really the place to go for arts programming?
4455 If those services start to lose their genre, lose their branding, and all they are thought of by consumers is another place to see "NCIS" and "Bones," is this where we take our Canadian -- the best of our Canadian programming?
4456 THE CHAIRPERSON: First of all, they would pay for it presumably in terms of ratings themselves or if they want to lose their brand identity. I can see maybe it would make it difficult for you to pitch, but I would have thought that the amount of exposure of Canadian programming and the amount of spending on Canadian programming is really not connected to whether a genre is being respected or not.
4457 MS ASHTON: Well, I think if, for example, we are doing a historical drama or a historical documentary, is this something that one of our members is going to want to pitch to History and see on the schedule if it's surrounded by crime procedurals or outlaw bikers?
4458 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
4459 MS ASHTON: This is perhaps not something that they want to be doing and we would rather see the genre protected so that it is a history service.
4460 THE CHAIRPERSON: I can understand that. I don't see how it necessarily connects to working, but I hear you.
4461 Now, on PNI you show it should be 10 percent with a possible exception for Rogers, given their product mix.
4462 Now at this point in time I'm so confused, I don't know what I heard in camera and what I heard in public, so I'm not going to state any numbers.
4463 All I know is that the traditional numbers of Rogers are considerably under 5 percent, and you saw the public part of their presentation where they clearly said, look, we have three specialty channels, we are essentially a conventional network, this does not apply to us.
4464 You seem to be sympathetic to the idea because you say on page 4:
"A PNI CPE of 10%, with a possible exception for Rogers..."
4465 And your exception would be what for Rogers?
4466 MS PARKER: Five percent.
4467 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right off the bat or growing into 5 percent?
4468 MS PARKER: We could review that. You know, the thing about Rogers is that they have made a deliberate choice to get out of programs of national interest and I find it very difficult to reward them for making a deliberate choice to get out of Canadian content, particularly dramas.
4469 You know, right now Cal, for example, has worked on "Murdoch Mysteries," which is a CTV show --
4470 MR. COONS: City.
4471 MS PARKER: City, sorry. I'm sorry, I was talking City and Rogers, and, you know, we can all speak to the fact that it's a struggle to get budgets.
4472 Do you want anything?
4473 THE CHAIRPERSON: But what do you mean by they have made a deliberate choice to get out of Canadian programming?
4474 MS PARKER: They don't want to make drama, so they don't make drama. And if we are looking at historical spend, we are rewarding them for a very deliberate decision not to make that type of programming.
4475 Now, we do acknowledge that their asset mix is different and they have fewer services to spread that programming over, so we are prepared to look at a different figure for Rogers. We are reasonable people.
4476 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4477 Rita, I believe you have a lot of questions?
4478 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Yes, I do.
4479 Good morning. I was going to start by saying that, you know, your very first sentence "has been waiting with growing urgency for this hearing since 1999" and I am hoping at the end of this we can all agree that good things come to those who wait.
4480 MS PARKER: Thank you.
4481 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Now, I do want to continue on a little bit with what you were discussing with the Chair.
4482 Whether it's Rogers or any other broadcaster, none of them have ever been found to be in non-compliance, pre-1999, post-1999, with their obligations, when it was called priority programming or pre-1999 when we were talking about expenditures.
4483 You now said that Rogers is deliberately trying to get out of making drama. You say in your oral presentation that at every turn broadcasters want to minimize their obligations to Canadian programming.
4484 So when you take into account the fact that they have never been in non-compliance and going forward they have agreed to a group-based licensing framework, albeit with adjustments, and the third pillar are the tangible benefits that are going to flow out of both the Shaw transaction and the Bell transaction, how do we balance what you are asking us to impose on the broadcasters with their behaviour thus far?
4485 MS PARKER: That is a multifaceted question.
4486 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: I know.
4487 MS PARKER: So let's just start maybe with the first piece.
4488 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Feel free to unpack it and --
4489 MS PARKER: I am going to unpack it as best as I can.
4490 You're right, they have not been found in violation under the priority programming system. That's absolutely true. But we certainly believe that that was a very flawed system because it permitted broadcasters to air programs such as reality shows, now called documentaries, or vice versa, and still meet their obligations in terms of the Broadcasting Act and their licence.
4491 So yes, they adhered to the priority programming system, a flawed system, and they did not develop Canadian dramas. That is the hardest to finance, the hardest to make type of programming.
4492 Now, granted, Rogers has a particular focus on local and foreign programming, but I believe three or four years ago when the trips to LA started and the foreign expenditure buying on shows -- I remember reading about "Ugly Betty," how much they paid for a show like "Ugly Betty" -- they certainly had the money the do drama. They had the money to purchase U.S. drama.
4493 They had the money to get into, you know, a bargaining situation in terms of the other broadcasters bidding for programming, but they did not make Canadian drama.
4494 I believe they now have two Canadian dramas on the air, low budgets. I think they can do more. Rogers is a fully integrated broadcaster. We all sat through, it's been approved, it's all happened now.
4495 They have money to do more and I'm afraid that if you set the floor too low, that will become the new norm and that is the concern. You know, we are open to moving outside of the 10 percent for Rogers because they do have a different asset mix, but they can do more than they are currently doing.
4496 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Now in that report, "The Economics of Canadian Programming," I seem to recall that a large part of the margin that is made on Canadian programming is due to the fact that they can be repurposed on other specialty services.
4497 Shaw has more of an opportunity to do that now. Bell certainly has more of an opportunity to do that now. Rogers may have an opportunity to do that if they launch some of the specialty services for which we have granted approval.
4498 But is that the only model for Canadian television to return any kind of margin to broadcasters? Will we see a day when Canadian drama in particular will be profitable on conventional television?
4499 MS PARKER: We believe so. We believe that "Corner Gas" -- you know, you have to look at all the others means of distribution as well. I mean it was DVDs but now there's downloads, iTunes, et cetera.
4500 You know, the question is how the money flows back through either to the broadcaster or the independent producer, and that is a problem that they are working on in terms of trade, ensuring that, you know, everyone is getting some sort of return on the product.
4501 But absolutely, we firmly believe that Canadian drama, if made well, promoted, scheduled, has a budget that can compete with foreign programming, we can make money.
4502 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: One of the things that you warned us about a few years ago was the dropping off the cliff of money available in the system once tangible benefits from previous transactions had been spent.
4503 We have had mega-transactions in the most recently history, as you know. We touched upon it earlier.
4504 How much of a factor have those tangible benefits that will be flowing into the system, how much of a factor has that played in what you have prepared for this proceeding? You have to acknowledge there's lots of money on the table now.
4505 MS PARKER: Well, we have had experience with benefits and we can say -- because we have had various benefit packages over the last 10 years and they have put money into the system, without a doubt, but not all of it is directed towards Canadian drama or programs of national interest. We share that with, you know, other members and other parts of the industry.
4506 And, Rita -- I mean Commissioner Cugini, it really --
4507 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: It's okay, Maureen.
4508 MS PARKER: It really is -- it's verifiable and truthful when we say the numbers have been flat. So when you look at the hours of production, we are not seeing any more production despite those benefits packages entering into the system in the last 10 or 11 years.
4509 Now, we have filed documents with the Commission over the years. I believe the first CCAU report that we filed in 2003 actually got into that issue a little bit, that despite the benefits being in the system, production had remained at status quo levels. Basically it was a form of replacement money, you know, and without that benefit money I don't know where our production levels would have been.
4510 So looking into the future at the benefits packages that are coming our way, yes, we are eagerly anticipating them. We haven't actually started to see anything flow yet. We may see a pick-up in development. We are hopeful that that will happen. You can't have production unless you spend money in development. We are starting to see that trickle in, but that's a trickle.
4511 And, you know, we believe we have the capacity to spend that money. We were listening the other day where we were being told that perhaps there wasn't enough capacity in the system.
4512 Would you like to say something?
4513 MR. COONS: I would just like to mention that despite the benefits and seemingly more money on the table, there has never been more of a requirement or onus upon the producer and the production and the concept to go find a partner from outside the country to bring cash to the table. It's not like this money is suddenly springing up and making indigenous production. It's actually leveraging other deals.
4514 So I think that it's a far more complicated world that we have managed to invent despite all this cash being on the table.
4515 MS PARKER: Just one further point, that the purpose of the benefits package was to add incremental spending to the system, not to supplement the spending that they were taking from the system.
4516 So you know that's our answer. There hasn't been a lot of growth so far.
4517 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No. I mean, I think everyone would acknowledge that it is incremental.
4518 And I asked this just in the vein of not only are those tangible benefits money going to become available as incremental dollars to the system, but then we have to couple that with your request that you would like the broadcasters to start -- well, I guess that's the question: Do you want the broadcasters to start at 10 percent PNI commitment or would --
4519 MS PARKER: We could anticipate a ramp-up to 10 percent. It's not -- you know there is some movement as to the numbers this week. We certainly -- you know, we are hearing a lot of different data. We haven't had access to that data but that's something that we would like to see.
4520 What we just want to ensure is that there is the understanding that we all recognize the policy sets a floor of 5 percent and that was based on drama figures alone. I do not believe that broadcasters can come in at 5.1. They had no spending on documentary. They had no spending on award shows. I, quite frankly, am struggling with that.
4521 So what we are trying to do is to arrive at a figure that's reasonable, that allows for a growth. If we lock in at the 5 percent we will have less production than we do now. And I do not believe that that was the intention of the 2010 policy.
4522 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So you would want to see us start at 10 percent and ramp up?
4523 MS PARKER: No, no. Work towards a 10 percent.
4524 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay.
4525 MS PARKER: You have all of the data right now. You are in the best position to make a wise decision.
4526 We, of course, would like to see the data and work with you on that. We would like to get to a 10 percent certainly by the end of a five-year licence term.
4527 And we will rely on the information that we are receiving and your good judgment to make a fair and appropriate decision as long as it's over 5 percent.
4528 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: One final question, from me anyway, and only because you raised it in your oral presentation.
4529 I'm going to ask you to remove yourself a little bit from your everyday job and think about shows like "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" and other shows like that, huge audiences in Canada. Some argue they tell just as valid a Canadian story as anything else. They showcase young Canadian talent.
4530 Why is that a bad thing?
4531 MS PARKER: Oh, that's not a bad thing. That's a great thing. And you know we like those programs as well.
4532 I think the point we are making in the oral is that it's not part of programs of national interest. It's a variety program and it doesn't need the support the programs of national interest do need. And that is in the 2010 policy you set out as a Commission.
4533 So when we are reading that certain broadcasters are very concerned about making variety programs but not about dedicating resources to programs of national interests, that raises a few red flags for us.
4534 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Well, thank you very much. Like always, your position is always clear. So thank you for your presentation this morning.
4535 Those are all my questions.
4536 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len?
4537 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you, and good morning.
4538 In your opening remarks on the second page you indicate that spending on Canadian drama has dropped from 4 percent of conventional revenues in the year 2000 to 1.5 percent.
4539 Can you provide us with the data that supports that information so that we would have that information?
4540 MS ASHTON: That came from the CRTC's financial data.
4541 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can you file what --
4542 MS ASHTON: Where we got it from?
4543 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- data you used?
4544 MS ASHTON: Yes.
4545 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yeah, what data you used, please?
4546 MS ASHTON: Yes.
4547 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Mr. Coons, can I ask you if "Murdoch Mysteries" is profitable today for the broadcasters?
4548 MR. COONS: I am not, you know, privy to their financial records. I would say that, given the proliferation of them, I can't see why they would continue to make them if they didn't, especially at the rate they are.
4549 They travel well. They are very -- very loyal audiences. They are very well sold in ancillary markets; downloads, box sets, and have historically attracted a very loyal following.
4550 I could tell you this, that "Murdoch Mysteries" tracks extremely high in the second-most popular, you know, advertising rate, the 35 to 55 year old female audience. That's not what adds the glamour or the -- that's not the number that is the primary audience the broadcaster goes after but it's a loyal audience that's there and delivers for them.
4551 How they choose to sell their programming and, you know is always a mystery to me. I just don't know.
4552 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So you have no idea what the profitability of the program that you are involved in manufacturing, if I can call it that.
4553 MR. COONS: Yes. I am a creative producer and an executive producer. I have no ownership in any show that I have worked on.
4554 My job is to oversee everything creative about it and deliver, you know, product that we think will sell. For instance, "Murdoch Mysteries" is going into its fourth season, international sales in 65 markets.
4555 What those translate into is the business of and confidential information of the production company that hires me and the broadcaster.
4556 Similarly, I just worked on "The Listener", which is arguably a mystery show. I know we are delivering north of a million viewers per week. That seems to be a magic number for the network.
4557 How that translates into their figures, I don't know.
4558 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yeah, what would be interesting to me is to know how the price is set for the program. Presumably, someone knows what a cost to make it and then it gets licenced. So what I would be interested in knowing is how that price is arrived at.
4559 MR. COONS: For the actual show?
4560 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes.
4561 MR. COONS: Well --
4562 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Because in the case of "Murdoch Mysteries", Rogers is broadcasting it on City, I guess.
4563 MR. COONS: Yes.
4564 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So they pay something and the question is, how is that price set? Rogers knows what they want to pay for it, I guess, based on what they think the advertising revenue is.
4565 MS PARKER: No, not at all. This system is made up with -- it's all about the financing and that's what drives the system.
4566 So I think when you look at a show like Murdoch, for example, there is CMF money in Murdoch, about 30 percent of the budget. Generally, broadcasters put in about a 30 percent licence fee.
4567 The rest of that is made up perhaps if you can get a foreign sale, pre-sale and tax credits and sometimes producer deferrals. That's how they determine the price.
4568 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But the piece that I'm interested in is the piece that the broadcaster contributes. You said they contribute 30 percent.
4569 So my question would be, has Rogers in this case committed to 30 percent rather than 35 or 25?
4570 MR. COONS: Well, what it is; is a financeable situation, right?
4571 So if they say, if we were to come to them with a budget and say we can make "Murdoch Mysteries" for -- let's for argument's sake, say one million dollars, the pieces fall into place as that we know from telephone we can access X. We know from foreign -- as a percent -- access from foreign X as a percent.
4572 It all falls into percents which would allow Rogers to make an educated decision of, do we want to spend our 30 percent, you know.
4573 And so from the producer's point of view it's a combination of we are bringing various Canadian financing, tax credits, foreign pre-sales and fees that will bring us -- deliver us some product at one point or 2 million, whatever the number is.
4574 It's an educated decision on their part about what they want to spend, what they want to allocate.
4575 MS PARKER: Just to be clear as well, the CMF sets a minimum licence fee requirement from broadcasters. You know, it's not a market decision. They are not determining that, you know, this is their worth in the market. They have a regulatory obligation to make content. They are required by the CMF to put in a certain licence fee and most pay the minimum.
4576 The rest of the financing for that show is raised, as Cal was saying, either through foreign pre-sales, the CMF which is, you know, our federal program and tax credits and the like.
4577 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So when Rogers then decides that they are going to contribute 30 percent of the million dollars a show or whatever, somewhere in there they also have a forecast as to how much revenue they can generate from that show as well.
4578 MR. COONS: I would --
4579 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can they squeeze out any more money out of the show and through what vehicle could they do that as well?
4580 MR. COONS: Right.
4581 COMMISSIONER KATZ: That's part of their business.
4582 MS PARKER: Right.
4583 MR. COONS: Well, that's true but how they determine that is completely within their business and how they, you know, assign their advertising and sales side to, you know, to determine the value of commercial time in a show is at their discretion as well.
4584 If they want to discount Murdoch into a sales package across the network, you know, say an advertiser wants a hot American show and they say, "Well, okay, but we have got to sell the commercial time on Murdoch and we don't want to work that hard on it because it's a new show", they will discount Murdoch and throw it into that slot, you know, as a package sale. So their revenues are coming back at their discretion.
4585 They may have a value, a rate card value on what I assume they are advertising will draw back. Whether they get that or not that's really kind of up to their sales force.
4586 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay, thank you.
4587 MS PARKER: But generally, they wouldn't green light a production unless they had a revenue plan.
4588 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay, thank you.
4589 THE CHAIRPERSON: Steven?
4590 COMMISSIONER KATZ: My last question.
4591 You said that you would be prepared to consider Rogers as an anomaly given they made -- and I wrote down the words here, "A deliberate choice to get out of PNI".
4592 If CTV or Shaw came to us and said, "We are making a deliberate choice to reduce their PNI" should we also then consider giving them relief as well?
4593 MS PARKER: Well, we are not basing a lower PNI on their deliberate choice. A lower PNI is based on their different asset mix and their ability to spread their spending over those, particularly for programs of national interest over those services.
4594 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So it's got nothing to do with them making a deliberate choice?
4595 MS PARKER: No. In fact, I would say that that particular statement would urge them to pay more than what they are proposing to the Commission and do not accept anything below 5 percent.
4596 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you.
4597 THE CHAIRPERSON: Stephen?
4598 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
4599 Just one line of questioning, perhaps a couple of questions in that line.
4600 All week, and by the time that I started at the Commission -- when we get into these conversations they are largely arguments over distribution of collecting rainwater which I think is meritorious but not always productive. I am more interested in terms of where those raindrops are coming from.
4601 My background partially was in advertising and I'm amazed that I don't -- I don't ever recall hearing from the advertising community in this whole exercise, whole debate in terms of what they want to buy, how they buy content on television.
4602 I was curious as a first question, if you could tell me as one representative of the creative community, and I'm going to ask this question again throughout the hearing, how much dialogue you have with that community in terms of understanding the marketability of Canadian content, assuming that the audience is there, because if their commitment was there in a more fulsome way, I don't think we would be having this discussion.
4603 MR. COONS: Well, I can...?
4604 MS PARKER: Yes, Cal.
4605 MR. COONS: You know, in all the shows that I have ever dealt with, with some exceptions for some lifestyle programming a long time ago, never really had a single conversation with the advertising community or really sales at the network level.
4606 We hear about, well, you know this would make it marketable for them but obviously we are in a situation where you know we are trying to produce. You know, a good example is Murdoch for $1.1 million. "Poe" is in Toronto shooting now for probably I would anticipate somewhere around three an episode, same period dramas.
4607 And the ability to market "Poe" will be higher. It just is. It's going to come through the American system with a profile.
4608 You know, the discussion between us and advertising about how we are going to make it easier for you to advertise on our little show that nobody is really hearing much about never happens. It does not happen.
4609 With lifestyle or some of those things with integrated product placement you hear that sort of stuff but not on the dramas very often -- rarely, unless they want to put a can of coke in the shot.
4610 MS PARKER: Just as we were referring to that study earlier, "The Economics of Canadian Programming", we did -- that study is full of interviews with ad executives on how they value and how they sell Canadian content. So you know that would be something perhaps to refer to.
4611 You know, the system is that Canadian programming is instantly discounted, again not looking at the programming itself, not looking at the value, not looking at the stars or the creative. It's an instant discount.
4612 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: The ad business likes to consider -- I can say this now but I don't think anyone who relies on their revenues would ever agree with this -- the ad business always portrays itself to be cutting edge, taking strong leadership positions.
4613 Having worked for some of the biggest in the world I can tell you that's not the case. They follow. They follow proven trails of success. They are susceptible to the pre-promotion of a show as the audience that pre-promotion is directed to.
4614 Where I am going with this question is the whole buying of television after the creative guys finish their job and that's the art side of the agency business, it goes to the science of buying. It's always been my experience of any of the really big shops, and small, that they are just looking at rating points. They are just looking at cost per thousand and putting buys together and a show is a show is a show. They don't really think of whether it's a Canadian or an American show. There is not that affinity for -- they don't have that same 30 percent exhibition or advertising requirement.
4615 So where I am going with this is that when the agnostic process of buying starts, the one thing that does influence the buy, selling the buy to the client, is we have got you into this show. We have got you into that show. We have got you into "Mad Men" and that sells the buy. All of a sudden it turns back into a sales exercise and the numbers bear it out.
4616 Is part of the problem, if we are putting out great content with great talent in this country regardless of the system that -- the construct that supports that talent, are we missing the boat partially because of the lack of funds for pre-promotion, the icing on the cake?
4617 MS PARKER: Absolutely; absolutely.
4618 That makes it an attractive program that, you know, will make it easier to sell. Those are corporate decisions.
4619 We do not have the U.S. promotion vehicle in this country where stars -- where shows already have a loyal following before they are hitting our marketplace and all of that goes into the mix, absolutely.
4620 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So the last question is, how do the producer/promotion/creative components of the industry get the advertising agency industry to speak up on this matter?
4621 We come to this hearing. I know that it's a preoccupation of mind but, you know, there is another metric out there besides the audience and it's the marketability of the product.
4622 If we are putting out a great product and it's been poorly marketed, then perhaps the fix is a little easier than juggling PNI numbers and, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars in redistribution of that rainwater we talked about and perhaps, you know, looking at it a different way to make that rainwater a little more marketable.
4623 So may I ask you to think about how you get more compelling numbers from that industry to support your case? Because that's where the problem begins and ends; it's the bucks, not just the audience numbers.
4624 It elevates the whole conversation above the exhibitor and the producer of content to the buyer of it. And I would love to see that in future hearings.
4625 MS PARKER: I don't disagree with you, you know. But that really is in the hands of the broadcaster.
4626 You know it's not that we don't have conversations -- and we do, particularly now with product integration. We are dealing with the advertising worlds with product integration coming into our content.
4627 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: They have a similar relationship problem you do with the broadcasters.
4628 MS PARKER: You know, but they have the product to sell and, you know, I think when you are selling something you have to believe in it and you have to market it and you have to promote it. It's your job as the owner of that property to make it work.
4629 We are certainly prepared to work with them but I think it should be clear where the responsibility lies.
4630 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
4631 THE CHAIRPERSON: Peter?
4632 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes.
4633 Just quickly, if I can, PNI at 10 percent instead of 5, who loses if that -- I'm assuming 10 percent makes life better for your constituents. Who loses?
4634 MS ASHTON: Well, a higher PNI means more high quality Canadian programming which is better for the whole system and would be better for the audiences. We don't see anybody losing.
4635 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So why not 11 percent or 12?
4636 MS ASHTON: Because the 10 percent was based on the data that we had at the time from the applications. It was based on historical expenditures. So we are not pulling a number out of the hat. This is based on --
4637 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I know, but like I said, if 10 percent makes it better would 12 percent make it even better?
4638 MS ASHTON: Yes, but that would not be the policy framework.
4639 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay, I understand.
4640 But if money flows to people who make docs and dramas who does it not flow to? I guess to try to -- my first question again.
4641 Does it not flow to newsrooms? Does it not flow to children's? Does it not flow to -- I don't know, some other -- does it not flow to reality? Does it not flow to entertainment? Does it not flow to song and dance, you know what I mean? Does it not flow to comedy?
4642 MS PARKER: Sure. That's a difficult question for us to answer because, again, it's the broadcaster's decision what they put on the air with the entire policy is --
4643 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Not if we say they have to do 10 percent, it's not.
4644 MS PARKER: But there is flexibility as to what they choose.
4645 You know the reason I think we are having this conversation and we have been having it for 11 years, is because we saw spending plummet on Canadian drama and documentaries that spending became out of control on U.S. programming. So maybe that's where there will be some cutback on U.S. programming.
4646 You know the ratio right now to domestic to foreign spend is 24 to 1. When we started tracking it, it was 6 to 1. So maybe there is some leeway there.
4647 And I believe that's why we finally -- we have a policy because the system was out of balance.
4648 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Understood. I guess they argue that the more U.S. programming they have the more money they can make. I mean this is -- we have done this to try to ensure that if they make more money, more money flows to Canadian as well.
4649 I was just -- and, yes, we have had this conversation for 11 years. I expect probably none of us will still be having it 11 years from now, but you might.
4650 MS PARKER: Me too. I expect I won't be either.
4651 But, you know, just in terms of -- I just would like to say, "Yes, we want them to make money. Of course we want them to make money. We want a very healthy system. We work together. It's a partnership. It's an industry.
4652 But we are at a crossroads and, you know, broadcasters need to make something of their own and not simply repurpose other content. We need to make something. And that's what the creative community does. We make something.
4653 And particularly given all of the activity in the industry with OTT and Netflix coming in, consumers are looking for content, different content. And if we are simply buying and repackaging American programs and that's what we have on offer in our Canadian system, then what are we making for our audiences?
4654 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure. No, I understand that.
4655 But like just from a practical basis, if we are sending more money to this, that means the money is coming from someplace. I don't know right now where it's coming from, right? Like if it goes to you who is it coming from because like --
4656 MS PARKER: Just the American shows.
4657 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: -- we don't have any, right?
4658 So if we are shifting it around it's coming from somebody and it's helpful to know who it's coming from in terms of that and the American thing, yes. Well, I guess -- so nobody in Canada suffers if within the Canadian spend we move the money around; is that what you are saying?
4659 MS PARKER: Ultimately, it's the broadcaster's decision but maybe that would be our recommendation, buy a little less and spend at home and make something.
4660 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Really?
4661 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tom, do you have a last question?
4662 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Good morning.
4663 Am I to understand that Canadian programming, specifically Canadian drama, is profitable for the broadcasters on its own?
4664 MS PARKER: Not always.
4665 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Not always.
4666 MS PARKER: But neither is American programming and neither is European programming.
4667 This is a high-risk game. Audio-visual content is very expensive to make and it's very risky. The U.S., for example, they develop 10 projects to every one that goes into production. They have a pilot season. They yank things after three weeks if it's not working.
4668 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand that.
4669 MS PARKER: It's a high risk business and there is no guarantee that you are going to have a hit.
4670 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But you also -- the Canadian broadcasters don't have the kind of resources that would allow them to have 50 shows out there for one hit?
4671 MS PARKER: Yes.
4672 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay. When the broadcasters tell us that Canadian programming, specifically drama, is a financial loser, would you disagree with that?
4673 MS PARKER: Yes, I would disagree with that. I would disagree with that based on --
4674 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And what would you base yourself on?
4675 MS PARKER: Well, on the report, "The Economics of Canadian Programming".
4676 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
4677 MS PARKER: Which details that, you know, given the life run, given the long run of Canadian programming and the shelf life and the fact that we are starting with discounted rates, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy if you say that you are putting out a product that's destined to make no money. You know, "Corner Gas" --
4678 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
4679 MS PARKER: -- "Rookie Blue", "Flashpoint", all of those programs are -- "Rookie Blue" just came in at 1.8 million. There is no money to be made there. That's a substantive audience.
4680 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But you have no figures to substantiate those claims. Even Mr. Coons --
4681 MS PARKER: Well, we would to certainly see their figures.
4682 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
4683 MS PARKER: If you could share those with us, we have enough expertise to question those.
4684 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I understand that, but you are making a statement based on no concrete evidence.
4685 MS ASHTON: Actually, if I might, The Economics of Canadian Programming report, it was a very well-researched report.
4686 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Can I ask you a question on that report?
4687 MS ASHTON: Yeah.
4688 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: When was that report published?
4689 MS ASHTON: 2009.
4690 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: 2009. And that was based on -- what years were you studied to conclude?
4691 MS ASHTON: There were a number of years. We were looking at more recent programming but it was about five years of programming as I recall.
4692 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Could it have been closer to 20?
4693 MS ASHTON: I don't believe so.
4694 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: The study period?
4695 MS ASHTON: Yeah, I don't think so.
4696 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
4697 MS ASHTON: We are looking more recent, but long enough back that we could actually see the number of repeats of programs. We looked at a number of specific programs and we did research on sort of ad price.
4698 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah.
4699 MS ASHTON: And by looking at specifics we were able to say, "Well, this program and this kind of program, a half-hour comedy, a kids show, this is the kind of money that it is making and if it's aired on -- you know, on specialities, they air them like five times a day sometimes".
4700 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So if Canadian programming specifically drama or scripted works are that profitable, why do we have to hold the gun to broadcasters' heads for them to go through with that?
4701 MS ASHTON: The American programming makes more money.
4702 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
4703 MS ASHTON: And what we are also looking at is that's an immediate hit now. Canadian takes longer and takes more effort.
4704 It's a question of making $100 over $10 profit, and we understand that. But what we object to is them saying that every Canadian show can't make money.
4705 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Not every Canadian show but as a whole they are losing --
4706 MS ASHTON: As a --
4707 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- I'm just going to throw a number out there, 30 cents on the dollar. You would disagree with that?
4708 MS ASHTON: Yes.
4709 MS PARKER: Yes.
4710 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay, based on this report?
4711 MS ASHTON: And our experience. We don't believe that given -- when we see them promoting the DVD sales of shows on air, they have got to be making money. If they are doing terms of trade with the CMPA and haggling over rights, that's got to be because it has value.
4712 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Well, it's because they have to produce their PNI requirements or the equivalent to PNI requirements.
4713 MS ASHTON: Well, even before PNI, they wanted to have those rights. They were getting all of those rights under the same licence fee because they wanted to exploit those rights because they have value.
4714 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes, but Mr. Coons doesn't understand the economics of his own programming. He doesn't understand where it's profitable; where it's not.
4715 MR. COONS: I didn't -- actually, I didn't say that. What I said was I'm not privy to it. I don't ask, you know, people to divulge confidential information to me.
4716 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you.
4717 MS PARKER: I think that we are missing one important piece of this discussion. Yes, some of our program may not make a profit for them but that's not the point. That's not the point of having a regulatory bargain.
4718 The point of that is if they -- if we have a business where broadcasters are substituting American shows and airing American shows where is the quid pro quo? That is in Canadian programming. We have determined that it's particularly lacking in programs of national interest and that's what we are here to offer Canadians, their own content.
4719 If we don't make it, they have no ability to see it.
4720 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I think we understand your point of view. You have made it many times.
4721 As you know, as I have told you before and I will repeat it again, you have convinced us this '99 policy was mistaken. That's why we changed it to this new regime of CPE and PNI. So let's make sure it works.
4722 Thank you very much.
4723 MS PARKER: Thank you very much.
4724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's take a five-minute break before we do the next group.
--- Upon recessing at 1000
--- Upon resuming at 1007
4725 THE CHAIRPERSON: I took a break too quickly, I forgot to ask counsel to read out the undertakings that are required.
4726 Would you please do that?
4727 MS DIONNE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4728 I would ask the Writers Guild to file the following information by May 4th, which is the final submissions for intervenors.
4729 Please provide your views on whether Rogers should be allowed to roll up to 5 percent PNI over the license term or whether the 5 percent should be imposed immediately.
4730 File data used to support your statement that spending on Canadian drama dropped from 4 percent of conventional revenues in 2000 to 1.5 percent in 2009.
4731 Please file the 2009 Economics of Canadian Television Programming Report on the public record.
4732 Thank you.
4733 THE CHAIRPERSON: Allons-y, Madame la Secrétaire.
4734 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4735 We will now proceed with the presentation by Directors Guild of Canada.
4736 Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
4737 MR. GUNNARSSON: Thank you.
4738 Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs, Commissioners and staff, my name is Sturla Gunnarsson and I am a film-maker and the President of the Directors Guild of Canada. With me today are Tim Southam, a film-maker and the Chair of our National Directors Division; and Peter Murphy, our Head of Policy and Research.
4739 Mr Chair, we have travelled a long road together since you first asked the industry to stop talking about the past and work together to explore new approaches to the rapidly changing broadcasting environment we find ourselves in. At the risk of evoking poetry, which is frowned upon on television, I am reminded of T.S. Eliot when he says:
"... we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know that place for the first time."
4740 Mr. Chairman, I believe these hearings represent that place and the decisions made here will determine the future for the next generation of Canadian audiovisual creators and consumers.
4741 The DGC strongly supports the group framework the Commission has created. We believe it can be an effective model to ensure that Canadians see themselves reflected in the most powerful medium of our times. But God is in the details, and we are concerned that some of the broadcasters' proposals regarding their conditions of license are opportunistic rather than strategic responses to market threats and, if allowed, would in effect snatch defeat from the jaws of what should be a public policy victory.
4742 Ultimately, the success of the framework is dependent on two things:
4743 Setting expenditure requirements for Canadian programming and programs of national interest at a level significant enough to ensure the support of a wide range of industry programming, and;
4744 The maintenance of important regulatory measures for discretionary services which have contributed to the creation of a commercially and creatively successful sector.
4745 These two approaches are needed to ensure Canadian programming is a key component in the broadcasting system. Otherwise, as history has shown us, the broadcasters will seek to minimize Canadian voice in favour of lower cost foreign programming -- precisely the outcome the group licensing policy is intended to prevent.
4746 MR. MURPHY: We were pleased to hear the Chair on the first day of this hearing point out the Commission's expectations with respect to the Canadian programming and programs of national interest expenditure requirement figures. We have always understood the preliminary 30 percent and 5 percent figures as minimums and were disappointed to see the broadcast groups proposing less.
4747 With respect to expenditures on programs of national interest, the DGC views the proposed minimum 5 percent as far too low. The Commission itself noted that this number was arrived at after an examination of historic spending on drama alone. As such, we do not understand how some groups now claim that their historical spending on all programs of national interest is only around 5 percent, even taking into account the redefinition of documentary by the Commission.
4748 Given that spending on documentaries and award shows must be factored in to this number, and based on our own analysis of historic spending, a 5 percent figure for programs of national interest would result in the production of less of this vitally important programming than is currently being produced -- or possibly the outright elimination of documentary film-making, a form pioneered by Canadians and the only genre at which we are uncontested world leaders.
4749 Surely this is not the intended goal of this proceeding. In fact, the DGC believes the opposite should be the case and we should see an increase rather than a decline in the production of programs of national interest.
4750 Absent any exhibition rules for programs of national interest, the spending requirement must be high enough to ensure support of all types of programming under this rubric.
4751 As a result, the DGC believes a higher figure is more appropriate for programs of national interest. Our own analysis shows CTV, Corus and Shaw Media's historic spending on this programming at around 7 to 10 percent of group revenues. In keeping with the principle of having the same spending obligations for each group, the DGC recommends that expenditures on programs of national interest be set at 10 percent of revenues for these three groups.
4752 Rogers may well be an exception, given their unique asset mix, but we do not agree with their position that they are not in the business of making programs of national interest. If a significant portion of their revenues is derived from foreign drama programming, they must have an obligation to support domestic drama. Rogers must step up and do at least the 5 percent proposed by the Commission.
4753 MR. SOUTHAM: The DGC is convinced that a number of changes to conditions of license being sought by the broadcasters will result in less diversity of programming choices for Canadians.
4754 Regulatory measures have helped build a specialty services sector in robust financial health and with a wide range of programming. These measures include genre protection, individual exhibition and expenditure requirements, and requirements respecting the use of independent production.
4755 Given the success of this sector, we question why the broadcasters are seeking to strip away the factors which have contributed to making specialty services what they are today.
4756 The Commission has already dealt with the issue of programming flexibility by allowing broadcasters to draw programming from genres outside their nature of service. In doing so, the Commission put a 10 percent limitation on this to ensure that services do not morph into channels that all resemble one another.
4757 Our concern regarding the proposed changes to exhibition requirements is that taken as a whole they seem designed to allow broadcasters to maximize the time slots devoted to U.S. drama series.
4758 Changes to conditions of license that allow for more American programming in prime time will erode these services' distinct nature and result in less content diversity. For example, CTV's requested removal of Bravo's cap on U.S. drama in prime time would result in a move away from the services' nature as an arts and culture station and a reduction of important Canadian cultural programming. Removing the requirement that movies of the week and feature films be Canadian for the Comedy Network erodes its role as an important destination for Canadian comedy.
4759 The distinct nature of specialty services has provided the opportunity for Canadian creators to thrive. For example, 15 years of making performing arts film for Bravo has generated superstar directors like Barbara Willis Sweete, who now directs the filmed versions of the Metropolitan Operas, which are sold-out hits in cinemas around the world.
4760 Showcase series have fostered a generation of boundary-defying writers and directors whose work is now seen at home and around the world on leading international networks.
4761 The Comedy Network has become the stage on which a generation of comedy writers, directors and performers have launched thriving careers and gained name recognition with Canadian audiences.
4762 History and Vision's support for Canadian documentary directors has been crucial as development dollars grow scarce.
4763 APTN is now producing Canada's first generation of commercial writers and directors in the First Nations community.
4764 A dilution of any of these services' original programming mandates will result in the decimation of this new generation of home-grown talent.
4765 MR. GUNNARSSON: The DGC is also concerned about the impact on the future of feature film-making in Canada with the inclusion of pay TV services in the group licensing process.
4766 Feature films are an international cultural calling card for this country. Two examples from this year alone are Incendies and Barney's version, films that played the most prestigious film festivals in the world, were nominated for Oscars, have sold to over 60 countries each and continue to attract audiences both domestically and abroad.
4767 Pay television was a linchpin for each film's financing structure, as it has been for every feature film that either Tim or myself or any of our contemporaries have made.
4768 Pay TV services play an absolutely essential role in the financing of Canadian feature films. A 2009 study for Telefilm found that 92 percent of the broadcaster support for feature film financing came from pay television. As such, any changes to the conditions under which pay TV operates could have a profound impact on the Canadian film industry.
4769 Through the inclusion of pay TV services in the group licensing process, Corus would be able shift the dollars away from Movie Central to other services within the Corus group.
4770 Further, Corus is seeking to eliminate the rule requiring Movie Central to spend half of its expenditure requirement on drama.
4771 The DGC does not see any reason for eliminating this requirement. As a movie service, we would expect a large portion of the requirements to be spent on dramatic programming. By seeking to remove this requirement, Corus does little to calm our fears that they seek to use the spending flexibility to abandon feature film for other genres.
4772 Given the unique role of pay TV services in contributing to this vital form of expression, the DGC is not convinced that these services belong in the group-licensing process. The potential consequences of having 100 percent spending flexibility for pay TV services is too great to justify their inclusion.
4773 However, should the Commission decide to include them, the DGC recommends treating pay TV services in the same way as conventional stations for spending flexibility purposes, that is to say they would have 25 percent flexibility on their spending requirements rather than the full 100 percent. This would keep these services within the group framework, but help mitigate the negative consequences to the film industry.
4774 Finally, the DGC is pleased to see the tracking charts the Commission has created for monitoring the spending requirements of the broadcast groups under the new policy. This information should be put on the public file for interested stakeholders to engage in their own analysis.
4775 That concludes our oral remarks. We would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
4776 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submission. As always it's very cogent and to the point, which we appreciate.
4777 Tell me, we started off having a discussion on genre in this hearing and I think it was pretty clear that genre was a great success in the past to ensure the vital and vibrant specialty sector that we have, but it is becoming frayed around the edges and difficult to administer and to decide where one ends and one not, et cetera. It was also seen by many as a break for new creative entries into the field because, as I say, that genre is protected and we can't license it.
4778 I gather from this submission you are relatively a supporter of genre?
4779 MR. SOUTHAM: In terms of specialty channels?
4780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4781 MR. SOUTHAM: Yes. I will say right away that this is based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence from years of representing directors in this country.
4782 The issue at hand is the specialty channels found a way to promote creation very close to home, that is to say that individuals living in Canada were commissioned very often to create shows, create films, create documentaries, perform in them and, as of course more of the purchased materials come in online, those materials are created elsewhere, sometimes by Canadians.
4783 I for instance just wrapped an episode of "House", I am looking forward to seeing it on any one of 10 specialty channels here in Canada at some point, however I have had to travel a long way to take advantage of that fantastic new opportunity and ironically would never have qualified for that show had I not cut my teeth here in the specialty channels universe for a good 10 or 15 years.
4784 So yes, we believe that it is the nursery for Canadian creation across many genres. The diversity is key because not all directors are created -- are wired the same. Documentary makers will not learn to make documentaries by directing "Rent A Goalie" and likewise a "Rent A Goalie" director will not end up directing an episode of "House" by making a show for VisionTV.
4785 THE CHAIRPERSON: What do you say to the argument we hear over and over again that yes, it was very successful, et cetera, but it also now becomes, as you know, if you are Category "A" and that's your genre, then anybody who wants to buy something that is closely with it in effect we can't even give them a Category "B", et cetera, because it goes under the genre and the boundaries of genre are really very difficult to determine and really it serves as, in effect, a way of inhibiting innovation and new talent coming on the scene?
4786 MR. MURPHY: Yes. I don't know if it's the genre protection rules that are doing that per se. Perhaps it's the fact that they are not really adhered to. I mean we created these services to be very distinct, therefore we are doing very creative innovative things when they are kept to those distinct services. Once they start bleeding, then that's when that creativity innovation starts to disappear.
4787 With respect to if they think that genre protection should be gone, I think the Commission has already dealt with this issue when it created the Category "C"s. There is a mechanism in place. If broadcasters feel they wish to get rid of it, it's there for them.
4788 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I mean I have heard lots of evidence even at this hearing, you know, the genres shift and that what is originally thought as a good idea, et cetera, does not work any more and the genres have to be adapted to the moving demographic, or whatever it is, and therefore you can't just be rigid in saying, "That's not in your genre, you can't do it."
4789 We are being urged to be flexible so as to allow people to move with the audience, to stay relevant and still produce a Canadian content, of course at the expense of innovation. So that's the conundrum I have.
4790 MR. SOUTHAM: Without becoming in any way the people who want to micro manage the product --
4791 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4792 MR. SOUTHAM: -- I guess the market response of the broadcasters to what they see out there next year, I think it is safe to say that these genres are genres which emerged over many, many years of film-making.
4793 If you were to take the long view, I think you would say safely that in Canada there will continue to be arts and culture programming, it can be variety, it can be documentary, but in any case there will be film referring to staged events. You can say that there will be history documentaries and I think you can say that there will be series.
4794 So the individual companies are looking for ways to respond to new trends, that is to say when a specific genre is hot everyone wants to be in it. We understand that.
4795 The larger issue for us is that the purchased programming, either programs that are being brought in rather than created locally, tend to be of a specific juggernaut genre, which is the procedural. It of course is the one genre that is appearing on all of the stations.
4796 There are two major issues here. One is, they are not made here so our directors aren't working on them, unless they move there.
4797 The other is that of course directors who have developed a specialization inference -- as what Barbara Willis Sweete does as a person who films opera -- is suddenly not going to have those opportunities on the one channel that was designed to accommodate that skill-set and bring those programs to an audience.
4798 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4799 Suzanne, you have some questions?
4800 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes. Merci, Monsieur le Président.
4801 Mr. Southam, I will add about your "House" episode that you also have the opportunity to watch it in either French or English whenever it's aired.
4802 M. SOUTHAM : Et je dirais même que j'ai eu l'opportunité de le créer en français car plusieurs des intervenants sont francophones.
4803 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE : Et voilà! Alors, vous aurez l'opportunité de faire ça, par contre, avec un petit six mois de délai.
4804 I have questions first on your position regarding pay television because I'm struggling. I'm a little bit confused about what you are presenting here and maybe it's a language issue.
4805 When you are talking about drama, do you include feature films in drama or are those two distinct categories for you?
4806 MR. MURPHY: Just to start, I think when we are talking about the pay TV issue we are specifically talking about film.
4807 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. But at the same time you are concerned that Corus is seeking to eliminate the rule requiring Movie Central to spend half of its expenditure on drama?
4808 MR. MURPHY: I think that film, film would come into the dramatic.
4809 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Fair enough.
4810 Now, you are also concerned that Corus is asking to have pay television included within its group because it could allow it to shift some resources from Movie Central to the other elements of its group.
4811 But it could also be the other way around, couldn't it?
4812 MR. GUNNARSSON: It could. History hasn't borne us out on that one, but I suppose theoretically it could.
4813 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. But it's the historical actions of Corus within that genre that makes you worried about that?
4814 MR. GUNNARSSON: Well, our concern is that taken all together all indications are to us that they are getting ready to get out of the movie business.
4815 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Well, we can ask them for that in the reply part of the hearing.
4816 Okay. Now, going back on the conditions of license regarding exhibition requirements, explain to me why you are concerned about this, because the way I figure it, if we require broadcasters to spend 30 percent of their gross revenues on Canadian content, be it drama or whatever, they are going to want to maximize their return on their investment so why would they not show it as much as they can to get the maximum revenues?
4817 Now that we have a spending requirement, why is exhibition still so necessary as far as you are concerned?
4818 MR. SOUTHAM: In prime time?
4819 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, if that's your issue.
4820 MR. SOUTHAM: I would say simulcast. I would say that, as I understand it, the revenues to a Canadian show which does not benefit from simultaneous retransmission will automatically be lower in any given -- in any given hour slot as compared to a U.S. program being simultaneously broadcast on, for instance, NBC and CTV.
4821 So the incentive -- the numbers simply don't work in favour of the Canadian-created show, quite apart from any of the exogenous issues like attending on marketing and visibility and all the issues that were raised by the Writers Guild.
4822 Simultaneous retransmission simply makes the Canadian show less attractive, as I understand it.
4823 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay, fair enough. But when you are talking about prime time and you are talking about simulcasts, you are basically talking about OTAs.
4824 You do get prime time also on specialty TV, so is there a concern also there?
4825 MR. SOUTHAM: The concern is the locus of creation, the concern is where has this been made and what is the impact on the creative community if the dilution -- if that particular mass of production which is essentially local is diluted, further diluted by an influx of foreign-created programs. So for our membership the specific worry is that we will be working less in that formula.
4826 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4827 MR. MURPHY: Yes. Just to add, I think we would hope that your analysis or your view of the system that if we require them to spend a certain amount of programming then they are going to want to maximize the revenues from that community. We would hope that is the case and I think that is the premise that this model is built on.
4828 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4829 MR. MURPHY: Unfortunately, some of the proposals of the broadcasters and some of the attitude of the broadcasters leads us to think that maybe that is not the case and that it is still seen as, "Let's just get as low as possible what we have to do for Canadian programming" -- then it's sort of the burden -- "we just have to get it out of the way and then we can keep our schedules open for a nice foreign programming which makes us more money."
4830 So there is a concern about that. So we feel the exhibition requirements on specialty for example provide a little bit of discipline to ensure that we do have the Canadian program in good time slots and it's not just maximized all for foreign programming.
4831 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4832 That brings me to my other question about the minimum requirement for PNI.
4833 Now, PNI is a subset of Canadian programming and you mentioned, I think in the second page of your presentation, that your own analysis of historical spending on CTV, Corus and Shaw puts their programming of PNI shows more around 7 and 10 percent.
4834 Now, understanding that if we were to stick or decide that 5 percent was the minimum that we were going to require for the entire licensing period, if historically they have been making 7 or 10 percent, why would they not "overspend" and keep doing it for the next license term?
4835 MR. MURPHY: That comes back to just simply the economics of Canadian television, that given the chance to do less we think they would do less, you know, just do the minimums.
4836 I think we had -- there are kind of some examples. I remember in CTV's original proposal it was talked about having everybody at the same numbers, saying "Don't penalize us because we have spent the higher number and don't reward others who have underspent." Corus' response says, "We don't underspend, we meet our obligations." I think that's it, they are going to meet their obligations and they don't really want to do more.
4837 I mean there might be times when it goes up, but in general I think they will try and hit those obligations and probably will not want to exceed them.
4838 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. You represent directors, so how do we get broadcasters to move away from this mind-set that it is an obligation and not a great way to make business?
4839 MR. SOUTHAM: You know, it's important that we not characterize the individuals involved as having an agenda which is contrary to ours spiritually.
4840 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Yes.
4841 MR. SOUTHAM: The system doesn't favour Canadian programming in prime time. Because of the structure of simultaneous retransmission --
4842 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4843 MR. SOUTHAM: -- we simply aren't competitive. We also have the additional issues of being a slim market, a small market, all the things you have heard about, the 12 to 15 million households that are attached to the end of the cable. Simply a small market, difficult to market to, difficult to get the Canadian story out with the U.S. juggernaut to the south.
4844 But it's a structure issue for the most part with respect to Canadian programming. If I were running that business I would not put the production dollars in, I would go and buy programming that's already created. It makes business sense.
4845 Of course our issue is we are in Canada, we are looking for a Canadian voice and we are looking for ways to incent our partners to put that Canadian voice in front of Canadians via you.
4846 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4847 MR. SOUTHAM: So it's the proces d'intention part is not really a fruitful avenue, we are not actually wondering --
4848 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: That's what I was getting at.
4849 MR. SOUTHAM: Okay.
4850 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So basically what you are saying is it's not a question of mind-set, it's rather a question of structure which is dependent on our proximity to the most important country who produces drama?
4851 MR. SOUTHAM: Yes. We believe that we are all facing a very interesting challenge together.
4852 MR. GUNNARSSON: But there is also a question of mind-set in the sense that we would like to establish a set of ground rules now moving forward. We would like to put these wars and these battles behind us. We would like to go back to work and stop coming to visit you here in Ottawa.
4853 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And do the stuff that you do well.
4854 MR. GUNNARSSON: Yes. Well, I would like to think we do this adequately.
4855 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: I wasn't implying you weren't.
4856 MR. GUNNARSSON: But, you know, you said how do we get the broadcasters to see this not as an obligation.
4857 Well, in fact we produce a lot of things that the broadcasters are very happy with. I direct a show called "Rookie Blue", we get 1.8 million viewers. I direct another show called "Degrassi". I don't know what the ratings are, but it has been on forever and it is sold everywhere.
4858 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: It was on when I was a kid.
4859 MR. GUNNARSSON: Yes. So I believe that we are quite capable of joining hands here and getting into a situation where we are all enthusiastic about the work. What we need to do is eliminate the incentive to -- we need to stop these discussions.
4860 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
4861 MR. GUNNARSSON: We need to set a clear set of boundaries and parameters, preferably robust ones --
4862 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And then move forward.
4863 MR. GUNNARSSON: -- and then get on with the task of making great television.
4864 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Thank you.
4865 Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman. Merci beaucoup.
4866 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4867 Anything from my colleagues? No.
4868 As I said, you are always concise and to the point, so those are all our questions. Thank you very much.
4869 MR. GUNNARSSON: Thank you.
4870 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
4871 I would now ask ACTRA and Canadian Federation of Musicians to come to the presentation table.
4872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire, it seems the panel wants to take a 10-minute break, so we will do that first.
--- Upon recessing at 1035
--- Upon resuming at 1046
4873 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary...
4874 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now proceed with the presentation by ACTRA and the Canadian Federation of Musicians.
4875 Please introduce yourselves for the record, after which you will have ten minutes for your presentation.
4876 MR. BENSKIN: Thank you, Mr. Chair, Vice-Chairs, Commissioners and Staff. My name is Tyrone Benskin. I am a professional actor and ACTRA's National Vice-President.
4877 Joining me today is award-winning actor, and proud Canadian, Wendy Crewson, Stephen Waddell, ACTRA's National Executive Director, Joanne Deer, Director of Public Policy and Communications and consultant Garry Neil.
4878 We are here as the voice of 21,000 professional performers, members of ACTRA, whose work entertains, educates and informs audiences in Canada and around the world.
4879 We are also speaking for the 17,000 members of the Canadian Federation of Musicians, the foremost organization of professional Canadian musicians.
4880 We are honoured to be invited to speak to you about implementing the new group-based approach for licensing private television broadcasters.
4881 As you might have heard, we weren't exactly big fans of the 1999 Television Policy. We have always been inundated with American content. But since 1999, we have lost even more ground, especially in prime time, dropping from 22 drama programs in prime time down to 2, over the two-year period after that decision.
4882 We welcome this chance to start fresh, with a new and improved framework that will begin to correct the gross imbalance in spending between Canadian and foreign programming. The return to Canadian Programming Expenditures and new spending requirements for Programs of National Interest is nothing short of a victory for our industry and for Canadian audiences. It will give Canadians the chance to enjoy our Canadian voice, and our culture, on our TVs, through scripted drama programming.
4883 So the framework is in place. But we all know that the devil is in the details. And the details are not small. The biggest concern for ACTRA is that we arrive at CPEs that are fair, reasonable, and most importantly, that take us forward, not backwards. If this new framework results in less Canadian content, it will rival the 1999 TV Policy as an utter failure.
4884 We support the Commission's proposal that each group should be subject to the same overall CPE in order to create a level playing field. We also agree that the minimum group CPE of 30 percent of gross revenues is appropriate for all four broadcast groups: Bell, Shaw, Corus and Rogers.
4885 A percentage-based CPE by nature is fair, flexible and self-adjusting. Groups with smaller revenues will have smaller requirements than those who are financially more robust.
4886 When times are good, broadcasters will contribute more; if revenues take a dive, their spending obligations also go down.
4887 For Programs of National Interest, the Commission set out a starting point of 5 percent of gross revenues, based on the historical spend on drama only. This 5 percent must be a floor, a beginning, and not a ceiling.
4888 As the policy states in paragraph 75:
"Analyzing past expenditures for drama (category 7) only, the Commission has determined that group expenditures of at least 5% of gross revenues over the licence term is appropriate."
4889 It follows that spending on PNI must be more than 5 percent to account for the additional historical spending on long form documentaries and award shows, regardless of any re-jigging of the numbers by broadcasters to account for a redefinition of long form docs.
4890 Based on the available data going into these proceedings, Bell, Shaw and Corus should be spending at least 10 percent of their gross revenues on PNI, in order to ensure that they are not required to spend less than they have historically been spending on drama.
4891 Rogers is asking for a 2.5 percent PNI obligation. This is absolutely unacceptable. If Rogers wants the privilege of holding broadcast licences that allows it to simulcast American drama, then it must be required to produce Canadian drama at appropriate levels. Given its unique asset mix, we would be prepared to start with a lower PNI for Rogers, perhaps starting at 5 percent and stepping up to hit 8 percent by the final year.
4892 These numbers must be revisited if their assets should change over the licence term. The same holds for all of the broadcast groups.
4893 Again, in proposing these numbers, we are doing the best we can, without a lot of information. The critical thing, however, is to come up with minimum requirements that see us moving forward.
4894 It is well established that the current spend on at risk genres -- drama, scripted comedy and long form documentary -- is inadequate and unacceptable.
4895 Coming out of this process, some groups may end up with spending obligations that are higher than what they are currently spending. And that's okay.
4896 The fact is, each of these broadcast groups is part of a very large, financially robust, vertically integrated company. They each have more than adequate resources to meet the Broadcasting Act's requirements to contribute to Canadian programming, and to do so at levels that are higher than recent historical levels.
4897 Surely it was not the Commission's intent with the new framework to have less Canadian drama. Nor do I think it was your intent to reward historical underspending with a licence to keep doing so.
4898 Broadcasters have a habit of asking for all of the benefits with none of the obligations. The broadcasters will argue for the lowest obligations they can get. We heard one group all but admit that the CPE they proposed was based on nothing but being the lowest number they thought they could get away with, as far as the Commission was concerned.
4899 As you said yourself, Mr. Chair, you gave them unprecedented flexibility in this policy; there needs to be quid pro quo.
4900 The objective here must not be merely to ensure that broadcasters don't do any worse, it must be for them to do significantly better over the next licence term.
4901 MR. WADDELL: Producing Canadian scripted drama and comedy programs is only one part of the solution. Providing them to Canadians when and where they are watching is the other part.
4902 We know you are not keen to make any changes to the policy. That said, we feel a responsibility to raise a concern about what might be an unintended consequence of the new policy.
4903 Our fear is that there is so much flexibility in the new group-based policy that there won't be any drama on prime time on the conventional services. The fact is, if conventional broadcasters are not actually required to put drama on their schedules, broadcasters will be tempted to relegate it to their specialty services, leaving prime time wide open for U.S. simulcasts, and they will keep meeting their CanCon obligations with inexpensive, reality-style programming.
4904 This would be bad public policy. Over-the-air television is still where programming finds its greatest audiences and where "event" television can bring the country together. And Canadian drama is what makes our Canadian broadcasters distinct. If they are just offering us a duplicate of the American network schedules, then why do we even have Canadian broadcasters?
4905 I want to believe that broadcasters will see this new policy as an opportunity to showcase Canadian drama, to promote it and schedule it where they can get the biggest audiences and the biggest financial return. But we have seen what happens when broadcasters say, "Trust us to do the right thing," as they did with the 1999 policy -- our programming disappears.
4906 We, therefore, respectfully suggest that the Commission require that conventional over-the-air broadcasters air two hours of Canadian PNI in real prime time, Sunday through Friday, 8 to 11 p.m.
4907 We also have concerns about some of the proposals to amend Conditions of Licence for specialty services. It would appear that broadcasters are trying to use this process as an excuse to wipe away conditions and requirements that were introduced for good reasons and after careful consideration by the Commission.
4908 There has been a lot of talk about genre exclusivity and "genre creep" here this week. It's clear that broadcasters are pouring a lot of creative juice into interpreting the nature of services for a lot of their services. Yet again, it's another example of broadcasters wanting the benefits of regulation without the obligations.
4909 We don't think it serves anyone to water down speciality services to the point where you look at a schedule and you can't figure out what the channel is about.
4910 We trust that the Commission will only agree to changes that further the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and serve the system as a whole, not individual broadcasters.
4912 MS CREWSON: These licence renewals are a chance for you to fix something this has been badly broken for way too long. Canadians are drowning in American programming and we need a lifejacket.
4913 The broadcasters still don't seem to get that a licence isn't a right, it's a privilege, a privilege that Canadians give them in exchange for having access to their own stories and their own culture.
4914 We have said it here before: We want broadcasters to make money, lots and lots of money. That's in everyone's interest. But in exchange for permission to use the public airwaves, they must do their part and give back to the system.
4915 We also need to remember that while these hearings are about licensing television services, the impact will reach far beyond that. The programs that will be created as part of the CPEs will show up on our websites, iPads, mobile phones, and every other screen that pops up over the next five years. If we want Canadians to have a choice to see their own content on all these screens, it starts here.
4916 Broadcasters should be smart enough to know that in a world where we can watch anything at any time, the only way they will survive is to make themselves distinct. And the only thing that makes them distinct is our Canadian programming. Original Canadian content is a product that no other country in the world can create.
4917 I have had the opportunity in my career to work on a number of very popular television series from the United States, and big U.S. blockbuster movies, but I have also had the privilege of helping to tell some great Canadian stories, and those are the ones I am most proud of, the stories that have shone a light on some incredible Canadians -- Sue Rodriguez, Louise Arbour, Jane Doe, Lorraine and Terry Evanshen -- ordinary people in tough circumstances who do extraordinary things. This is the stuff we Canadians are made of.
4918 It's safe to say that only because of Canadian content rules these stories were ever told. The fact is, we have many more heroes, and many more stories that need to be told, and we are the only ones who can, and will tell them. We must tell them because it's who we are. And you hold the key to getting more of these stories on our screens.
4919 For too long Canadian content has been overshadowed and undervalued. We must do better. I know we can, and we are optimistic that if you make courageous decisions in this process, we will get there.
4920 Thank you.
4921 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submission.
4922 You start off by saying that a group CPE of 30 percent for all groups is correct. That is your basic premise. If we talk about CPE, you believe that it should be a minimum of 30 percent. That's what you are saying.
4923 On the other hand, the whole tenor of your document suggests that broadcasters will do what we impose upon them and not one bit more.
4924 So when you say minimum, that means we will get 30 percent. But you are not suggesting that we do anything else on CPE, you are saying that for the next seven years we will have a minimum of 30 percent.
4925 MR. WADDELL: Yes, Mr. Chair, we would be satisfied with the 30 percent minimum requirement.
4926 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Then, on the PNI, you heard the people before you, and both groups suggested that it should be 10 percent for everybody, except Rogers, and they had different approaches to Rogers.
4927 That seems to be sort of the consensus, and that is based on historical drama spending and your perception of what they can do in terms of documentary and award shows, I gather.
4928 MR. WADDELL: That's correct, Mr. Chair. Based upon their asset mix, our suggestion is that we start at 5 percent with Rogers, and then move up to 8 percent over the life of the licence.
4929 THE CHAIRPERSON: This starting up with 5 percent with Rogers, that is starting up considerably higher than they are at right now, already, as you know.
4930 MR. WADDELL: Yes.
4931 THE CHAIRPERSON: They suggested 2.5 percent, and I have said very clearly that 5 percent is the minimum, but can you really start them off at 5 percent in Year 1, when they are at 2.5? You are, in effect, asking them to double it.
4932 What you heard from them, and what is really -- it's their asset mix. They are mostly conventional. They have three specialty channels. And award shows for them don't make sense, because nobody will go to them, since they don't have a national reach, they are just, according to them, I repeat, in five major cities.
4933 Therefore, we are talking about documentary and drama, and if you only have three specialty channels on which to also show them, you are just not going to get the return. It's unrealistic to impose 5 percent.
4934 That's what they are saying.
4935 MR. WADDELL: I appreciate that they take that position, Mr. Chairman, but we feel that the 5 percent, which you have established as the floor, should be a floor with respect to Rogers as well as the others.
4936 I think many of us remember that Citytv, when it started, produced its own programming, and continued to do that right up until they were taken over by CTV.
4937 So it's entirely possible, and we encourage Rogers, and City, and OMNI stations to do dramatic programming.
4938 THE CHAIRPERSON: If Rogers were here, surely they would say that's why they went bust, that it is an unsustainable level of production.
4939 MR. WADDELL: I am not sure they went bust, Mr. Chairman, they were taken over. They were bought out.
4940 THE CHAIRPERSON: They were an under healthy company when being taken over, but...
4941 So you do not see any way of sort of having them grow into whatever this hearing --
4942 As I understand it, you want to say that for the next fiscal year, which starts in August -- the television year -- you have to produce 5 percent of PNI.
4943 MR. WADDELL: Yes, sir.
4944 THE CHAIRPERSON: Notwithstanding that that's a 100 percent increase over what they are doing right now.
4945 MR. WADDELL: Yes, it may be, and they have obligations under the Broadcasting Act, and we believe that they should be required to fulfill them.
4946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Then there is the exhibition requirement that you want us to impose over and above that. What is your fear? You fear is that they are going to spend all of this money --
4947 Let's assume that I take you by your word and we impose on Rogers 5 percent, and 10 percent on everybody else. That is a lot of money that they are going to spend, primarily on drama.
4948 So your fear is, notwithstanding that they are spending that money, they are not going to show it where they can get a return for that money, in terms of advertising?
4949 MR. WADDELL: One hopes that they would, and we would expect that they would, sir.
4950 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which means you show it in prime time. If you don't show it in prime time, obviously, you are going to get less return.
4951 I am trying to understand why you want me to impose something that seems to be contrary to the underlying principle of the policy.
4952 We tried exhibition in drama. That didn't work, so we have gone back to a spending requirement, basically on the very simple assumption that if you make them spend the money, they want to see a return for it. They are going to show it where they can get the best return.
4953 So if they have to spend 5 percent, only in the case of Rogers, on PNI, to do that and then show those dramas where you don't get any return would be self-defeating. No businessman would do that.
4954 Why do you feel that, on top of that, there has to be a prime time exhibition requirement?
4955 MR. WADDELL: Mr. Chairman, we have been saying this consistently, as you know. This is not a new idea, we have been saying this consistently for the past ten years or so; that there is a need to return to exhibition requirements because --
4956 THE CHAIRPERSON: To exhibition requirements. You said to spending requirements.
4957 MR. WADDELL: Well, yes, we certainly applaud the spending requirements. We also, in this submission, have suggested -- I know you are not interested in bearing from the policy, but we have also suggested the possibility of a two hours in prime time exhibition requirement, which we believe is necessary in order to ensure that the broadcasters, in fact, put Canadian drama in prime time, when there is the maximum audience for viewing, instead of continually running U.S. shows.
4958 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let me try it again.
4959 We are trying to give them -- I am basically saying: Look, these are the requirements. This is the cost of doing business in Canada. You produce this much in terms of overall content, this much in terms of PNI. Other than that, I give you maximum flexibility. It's your business, you are the businessman, they are your dollars, not mine, so you figure out where you can get the best return.
4960 And you are suggesting that by doing that they are going to be foolish and they are going to spend this money on Canadian product, but not exhibit it where they can get the best return.
4961 I don't know what assumption leads you to that. Since I am spending that much money -- and we are talking fairly large sums here -- I have to show it where it makes sense.
4962 MS DEER: I think the fear is that, in many cases, they can get substantially more by running American programming, and leaving them the flexibility to keep their schedules open so they can -- you know, when the American channels move their stuff around -- you know, it just leaves their schedule wide open and enables them to -- makes it easier for them to air American programming.
4963 And we have seen in the past where they have had to spend money, for example, with benefits moneys. That is money that they have been forced to spend, and I don't think we have always seen that they have always put it in the best spot on their schedules. They haven't necessarily put it in prime time, and they haven't necessarily put any kind of marketing and promotion behind it to maximize their money.
4964 We are hoping that they will make the smart business decisions, but we haven't always seen that in the past when they have said "Trust us to do that."
4965 So, really, we would just like to see some sort of safeguard to ensure that they do that.
4966 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Crewson, you say that Canadians are drowning in American programming and we need a lifejacket.
4967 Who is the "we"?
4968 MS CREWSON: I think it's the creative community in this country, but I also think it's the Canadian consumer. I also think it's the Canadian content that Canadians should be able to see on prime time.
4969 THE CHAIRPERSON: But isn't the consumer voting with his remote? Doesn't the consumer decide what he wants to watch?
4970 MS CREWSON: Sure.
4971 THE CHAIRPERSON: They obviously seem to like the U.S. programming.
4972 MS CREWSON: If it's all you can ever find on prime time, then it's going to be what you are going to watch.
4973 I can't tell you the number of people I talk to who see something and say: You know, I had no idea that was on. I didn't even know that show existed.
4974 What happened to that show? I loved that Canadian show, and now it's gone.
4975 They don't put the money into promoting it. They don't show it in prime time. If people can't find it, people don't watch it.
4976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but all of this dictates spending requirements, which we have done.
4977 MS CREWSON: Yes.
4978 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I am sort of struck by when you say "we need a lifejacket." I'm not so sure that if you talked to the average --
4979 I am very much aware of the fact that the Canadian consumer can watch your programming on four screens, and whatever we impose on television will not apply, necessarily, to -- or doesn't apply to mobile devices, to computers, et cetera.
4980 Our control over -- or imposing conditions on broadcasters is becoming less and less. There are more alternatives. So there is a question here of -- you want to respect the ability of people to choose what they want, when they want, how they want, et cetera, and they will do it anyway.
4981 Therefore, only impose what makes sense, which will lead to --
4982 As you said, the problem is promotion. How does our new policy affect promotion, for instance?
4983 You say they are not promoting Canadian programming. Are we missing something here by only going after spending and not going after promotion?
4984 MS CREWSON: Well, we have talked about it, and I think that all the groups have spoken about this. This is a deep, long, hard problem. The horse kind of got out of the barn long ago. We didn't have those kinds of things that promoted an industry here, living beside that juggernaut.
4985 We found, for instance, with our music industry, that once we put in those regulations, we nurtured a music industry that has become second to none in the world.
4986 I think that these are blocks that we keep putting into place, hoping that we can create this thing which we know is here, but we have trouble in the competition with all of the U.S. stuff that comes in.
4987 So are we missing something in that? I don't know. I mean, I think that it has been a long, hard problem that we are still working on.
4988 MR. NEIL: Mr. Chairman, at the risk of oversimplifying, here is the reality for the broadcaster. For roughly the same amount of money, roughly the same investment, they can purchase rights for a Canadian drama that is produced, let's say, at $1.5 million an episode, or they can purchase the Canadian rights for a big U.S. drama that is produced, probably, for twice that budget.
4989 What they get with the U.S. drama is a program that has a massive North American promotional machine behind it, they get higher production values that come from the higher budget, and they enjoy simulcast protection.
4990 So, clearly, Canadian drama is at a competitive disadvantage, which is not to say that it can't be profitable. It can be profitable. It is profitable. It can be even more profitable.
4991 This is where, in my view, the exhibition requirements come into it, because if you say to them, "All right, now we want you to make sure that two hours a week, in prime time, you are going to have that Canadian drama," that is another element, now they might be forced to promote it even more, and address some of those other issues.
4992 But we will never create in this country -- it is simply impossible, because of the competitive advantages that U.S. drama has, to compete directly with that U.S. drama. It's just not going to happen, and that's the concern.
4993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me just go on a tangent here. Is that necessarily a static fear? Won't that change?
4994 I am thinking about social media and the viral effect of places like Facebook or something. If someone on Facebook watches a Canadian show, could they not send it to their friends saying, "This is terrific," who will send it to their friends, et cetera? Suddenly, in effect -- it is a totally different way of promotion and it could bring vast audiences to Canadian productions.
4995 MR. NEIL: Absolutely, that could happen. We haven't yet seen it in the audio-visual world. We have just seen it a little bit in the music world. But that is possible.
4996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we have seen it in the audio-visual world with certain things on YouTube, which enjoy huge audiences. It is being driven by way of the various social media.
4997 MR. NEIL: But it has not yet had an effect on the business, on the audio-visual business. It has had an effect on the music business to this point.
4998 So that is a possibility down the road, but the business reality we are addressing today, and for the next licence term, is the broadcasting model.
4999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, you quite rightly point out that all of the broadcasters have used the occasion of this hearing to also ask for changes to the conditions for the specialty channels.
5000 I see in paragraph 50 of your submission a whole list of the ones that you oppose. Are there any of the changes that they have asked for that you approve of, or is this basically a blanket denial?
5001 MS DEER: We don't have any objections to the ones that we didn't list, except that there was CMT, which also requested a decrease in their videos, which was, by oversight, not included on our list.
5002 THE CHAIRPERSON: What, for instance, is one that you would have no objection to?
5003 MR. WADDELL: Could be a while.
5004 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why don't you do me a favour and file with us a list of the ones that you feel you have no objection to?
5005 THE CHAIRPERSON: Which brings me to the whole issue of genre. We had a lot of talk about it this morning, et cetera, et cetera. I gather by and large you are a firm supporter of genre.
5006 MR. WADDELL: Yes.
5007 THE CHAIRPERSON: You were here when we talked to the previous people. What is your position on the fact that there is a concern?
5008 We have two problems. Number one, the broadcasters tell us the audience shifts, the interest shifts, et cetera, and you have to be flexible and allow us to adjust the genre. Otherwise, you know, you are confining us to a niche that just becomes increasingly unprofitable.
5009 A perfect example was TVTropolis, you know, which was supposed to be a boomer channel and allow people so that you can watch things that are over, I think, 10 years old, et cetera.
5010 According to Shaw, and I have no reason to doubt their word, that's unfortunate but boomers don't only want to watch old stuff. Actually, boomers would like to view things that are slightly less -- slightly newer and therefore they want us to reduce that. It's still focused on the same element but it is a change that they feel that they need in order to meet the changing demands of their audience.
5011 Why would we not agree to do that?
5012 MR. WADDELL: Why you should not?
5013 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, I mean isn't that legitimate?
5014 MR. WADDELL: Yeah.
5015 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that therefore, genres are moving and just to say -- I will take one example which I found particularly convincing. Others are less convincing, et cetera.
5016 But I can appreciate the broadcasters saying, "Don't confine me to this space for the next five years because the space is moving and I have to move to stay with my audience".
5017 MR. WADDELL: Well, I mean, those licences for those specialty channels were granted originally by this Commission on the basis of promises that were made at the time. You know, once you make a promise you hope that folks are going to keep to them.
5018 But, that aside, it's -- I mean the purpose of these genres was to create -- as I believe -- was to create an opportunity for audiences to be able to look at a specialty channel because they have an interest in history or theatre or older programs like Showcase and Bravo! So the intent was to try and build an audience for those genres of programming.
5019 If each genre is -- sorry -- if each specialty channel is then going to be a moving target and can have any form of content, then what is the purpose of having those specialty channels?
5020 I mean it's already gotten to a rather ridiculous state when CSI is on everything and "Dog, the Bounty Hunter" is on History Channel or the "Hellcats" is on Access Alberta. How is the "Hellcats" associated with Access Alberta? I mean we all like to -- anyway, we will leave it there.
5021 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, you are making my point. I mean, is genre -- the genres have become very wishy-washy. On the other hand, broadcasters say, "We need the flexibility so that we retain our audience".
5022 There is also the other argument that we are hearing from lots of people that as long as the policy is there it also acts as a brake to people coming forward with new ideas and new innovations which happen to collide with some aspect of some of these genres.
5023 So in effect, you are driving the Canadian -- the creative talent out of the country to go somewhere else because there is just no way they can get on the screen here.
5024 MS DEER: I think one of our other big you know concerns was, it seems to me that, you know, again, the broadcasters want all of the benefits of genre exclusivity. You know, they want mandatory carriage. They want to be able to say, "We are the only ones with a history channel". Yet, they also want the flexibility to air whatever they want.
5025 So I think, really what we are saying, is it has to be -- they can't have it both ways.
5026 You know maybe they are -- you know, I don't know. We might be open to the option of discussing that there be two history channels, you know, and maybe the definitions of what is on those channels is a little more flexible, but you know they can't have it -- they can't have it both ways.
5027 I think, you know, Canadians do have a right that when they go to something that's defined as a history channel, they know they are going to -- you know what they are going to see and you know they are not going to see something else.
5028 I also think, you know, in this world where we have other services, things like Netflix and you know as you keep saying, people can see what they want, when they want, I think it might actually serve the broadcasters better to create unique niche brands so that people know where to go for its particular kind of programming.
5029 THE CHAIRPERSON: Isn't that really what it's all about, is branding? In the end, it's not Shaw or something. It's branding, that you establish a brand and it's identified by the consumer. If I go there this is what I will see and this is what I like.
5030 MS DEER: Well, I think part of the difficulty in what we have been seeing is that it's hard for me to say what the brands of some of these stations are now when you look at the schedules of the services.
5031 You know, sometimes you are like, "Well, that kind of looks like a house" show but they have -- you know, about house décor, but they have also got you know "Dog, the Bounty Hunter on".
5032 I mean, you know, it's just getting more and more difficult to tell them apart. To me, increasingly it seems that the brands are getting watered down.
5033 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not wanting to put my words in your mouth, but from this discussion I get the feeling you are saying, "We have already gone way too far in the flexibility on genre but, for God's sakes, stop where you are. Don't go any further. Keep it where we are".
5034 MR. WADDELL: Yes, sir.
5035 May I make a comment too about your comment about losing creators, losing the opportunity in Canada? Unfortunately, that's mainly because of lack of work opportunities.
5036 MS CREWSON: Yeah. I have to say that we haven't found -- I mean, especially since the 1999 policy there hasn't really been an uptake in membership employment at all. We haven't seen jobs flowing in. There doesn't seem to be an abundance suddenly of work.
5037 I mean, I myself, finally after 10 years, went back down to the States last month to find a job because I thought I can't actually make a living up here anymore.
5038 And I think that we are finding that with all creators, if you look to any of our directors, writers, show runners, anybody, our talent always has to leave because we just don't have the work here.
5039 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
5040 Rita, you have questions?
5041 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Now I will ask you just the same question I asked the Writers' Guild this morning. And that is what -- how big of a factor did the tangible benefits that will be flowing out of the two major transactions we heard earlier this year, how much of a factor has that played into your submission?
5042 MS DEER: I would say none. I mean because as far as we are concerned, tangible benefits are completely separate. They are a result of a whole different proceeding and, you know, they are there because of, you know, being able to get a broadcasting licence without a competitive process.
5043 So you know we believe that requirements for having a broadcasting licence are, you know, different and on top of what they are required to pay in public benefits monies.
5044 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Now, I agree with you that they should not form part of the methodology to come up with the formula, going forward as far as the policy is concerned, but is it really fair to be that dismissive of the tangible benefits not only because of the amounts but also because a sizeable portion of those benefits are dedicated to programs of national interest?
5045 MR. WADDELL: Commissioner Cugini, I don't think we are being dismissive of those amounts. They were an obligation which this Commission placed on those licence holders as a result of the merger and they were -- as Joanne said, they are there for specific purposes.
5046 We are now talking about regulations with respect to the renewal of the licences of the major broadcasting groups. To me, they are separate -- they are separate issues, certainly separate proceedings.
5047 And we are looking forward to, you know, the next five to seven years with respect to licences and the regulatory obligations that are placed upon those broadcasters, irrespective of the mergers and acquisitions that have taken place up to now.
5048 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Mr. Neil, I appreciate that you are -- you characterize it as an oversimplification but, I mean, I think it is useful information when you say they can either spend $1.5 million on producing an hour of Canadian drama or pay a licence fee for a U.S. program that probably costs considerably more than that.
5049 And it goes back to the discussion that you had with the Chair in terms of the scheduling of that $1.5 million hour of drama.
5050 Why would it be in the best interests of the broadcasters to put any kind of show that would cost that much? I know the $1.5 million is not totally their cost. I know that, but why would they schedule that in anything other than primetime?
5051 MR. NEIL: First of all, the fundamental point is it's costing them, the broadcaster, roughly the same for those two things, the $1.5 million drama. They are only paying a portion of that budget --
5052 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No, I understand that.
5053 MR. NEIL: -- the 30 percent. They are also paying roughly the same amount for the $3 million U.S. drama.
5054 With flexibility, I can easily foresee a situation in which they would marginalize their Canadian drama. They would consider it a cost of doing business but in order to maximize shareholder value, they would program American drama in those primetime hours because it's simply easier for them to make more money. They can sell more advertising for that.
5055 We understand that. That's the reality.
5056 And so if you give them that flexibility, I could easily see a situation in which that will happen and suddenly we will only see the Canadian drama on the specialty services owned by Bell or the specialty services owned by Shaw and we won't see it on the conventional. That will be simply American drama because they are going to make more money at it.
5057 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And the rest of the Canadian content portion at primetime?
5058 MR. NEIL: Will be the relatively low cost reality, so-called reality-based television programs or news or information programming, sports programming as well, which clearly will have a role on the conventional services.
5059 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. Thank you very much.
5060 THE CHAIRPERSON: Peter?
5061 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes. I kind of want to go back to the question I was asking writers earlier and directors.
5062 Sorry, I have a cold.
5063 The more that we mandate goes into PNI it has to come from somewhere. And I don't blame you in the least for coming here and representing the best interests of your members. That's your job and that's what you should do.
5064 But the best interests of your members may work against at some point the best interests of others. And I need to understand that because if more money moves to you it has to come from somebody.
5065 What is your perception of who loses if you win?
5066 MR. WADDELL: I don't know that anybody loses, Mr. Menzies. I mean this could be a win-win for everybody.
5067 Let's do some distinctive Canadian programming that people want to watch and advertisers want to put their commercials on. Then everybody wins.
5068 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I get that, but given that -- I mean, we all know that the 30 percent -- a penny more than that won't get spent in all likelihood, if we are realistic and practical people about this.
5069 If more money shifts to drama -- if more money goes to "Flashpoint" and "Rookie Blue" my fear, and this is what I want you to address, is that less money goes to shows like "Ice Pilots" and "Rodeo Life on the Circuit" for instance, right?
5070 And in my view where there is a view that can be determined, there is more about Canada and Canadian culture in "Rodeo Life on the Circuit" and "Ice Pilots" than there is in either "Rookie Blue" or "Flashpoint" put together which, let's face it, are you know, created relatively generically and nobody denies they are in Canada and the certain streets are there and everything.
5071 You know, like "Rookie Blue" is distributed in Argentina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway. I think it just debuted in Korea, I think, a couple of months ago, which is great. I mean you have to build things generically. I get that.
5072 But my concern is that we are claiming credit for this being great Canadian drama but I'm not sure that that's really as much in the spirit of the aspirations of the Broadcast Act as a sort of reality documentary like "Rodeo Life on the Circuit" and "Ice Pilots".
5073 Help me.
5074 MS CREWSON: Yeah. It's a difficult question.
5075 Of course, those shows are made because we talked about, or the last group talked about it -- the writers talked about the spending blocks, how we put it together. So foreign spending on foreign sales is important. We have to put that block in. So we have to make those kinds of generic programs that we can sell to the U.S. and we can get a U.S. partner on or make foreign sales.
5076 It doesn't mean it's the only kind of programming we can make. We can make great indigenous dramas that talk to Canadians coast to coast. We are capable of doing that.
5077 We haven't done it recently. There has been of course, all the problems that we have talked about, but it can be done. Those are great shows that pull a nation together. Those are the kinds of shows we want to be making.
5078 "Ice Pilots" and "Rodeo" guys don't cost much to make in the beginning. You are not paying performers. Your costs are very minimal on those shows. That's why they make them.
5079 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yeah, I know.
5080 MS CREWSON: Because they don't cost very much. Are they fun? Yeah. Do they really speak to us as a nation as to the issues that we are supposed to be discussing and the things that join us together? Maybe a little bit.
5081 But I think that there is nothing -- that dramatic programming really is the linchpin of popular culture and should be the kind of stuff -- we should have those kinds of series on Canadian television; that they have on American television, that they have on Quebec television that everybody tunes into.
5082 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: My point is that -- and I appreciate the passion and that and, you know, "Rodeo" and "Ice Pilots", I am the Alberta and Northwest Territories Commissioner so they kind of speak to me.
5083 MS CREWSON: Okay. Okay. I see. I love those shows, great, great shows.
5084 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: But I mean it is a diverse country and think different things.
5085 MS CREWSON: Sure.
5086 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I'm not trying to impose my tastes just to make the point that there are a variety of cultural tastes and that sort of stuff around and raise that concern.
5087 Like I said, I mean I am completely open-minded. You should be here representing the best interests of your constituents and the most -- and drama in a sense is the most aspirational genre you have in that sense.
5088 But like I said, there is kind of that thing where the things we are claiming the most credit for sometimes, just because the world is a tough place, I guess, they are not really as distinctly Canadian as some of what from your perspective you would view as you know if it is cheap to do that, and that sort of stuff.
5089 But they are more like a documentary -- I mean to me, "Rodeo Life on the Circuit" is a documentary. A long form but it is kind of a new form of documentary.
5090 Anyway, thank you for that. Thank you.
5091 MR. BENSKIN: If I may add to that, for me as well, I think Canadian content doesn't necessarily need to be locked into Canadian flag, wheat fields and beavers. I think Canadians as people have a distinct view of the world. We have a different view as far as the Americans are concerned politically.
5092 And I think how we tell stories, I think, is really distinctive Canadian. How we tell stories. We tend to tell stories from the point of view of the characters and the individuals involved as opposed to a plot.
5093 The American version, the old SWAT for example, was all about action whereas, you know, I watch -- "Flashpoint", thank you. My memory is just going crazy -- "Flashpoint" and for me the intriguing part of this is the very Canadian way of telling the stories about the individuals involved.
5094 And I think that makes it as much Canadian as anything else even though it may be attractive to the Americans in the rest of the world. But I think that aspect of the storytelling is really important as well.
5095 So it's not necessarily always about, you know, telling stories about a Canadian figure but how we tell those stories as well, which I think is very distinct.
5096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tom?
5097 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Good morning.
5098 I think "Durham County" represents how Canadians tell stories more than "Flashpoint" but that's personal opinion.
5099 MR. BENSKIN: Exactly; exactly.
5100 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: To the point that Mr. Menzies was making about cowboy documentaries, it is a reflection of who we are but it doesn't provide work for the creative community. And if we want to maintain a creative community here we need to have people that believe that in the long term they will be able to live here and raise their families here doing work.
5101 There was an argument brought before us earlier this week that created an impression that you are already working at a maximum capacity and that supply will never be able to meet demand, especially if we ask for it with all this new money going into creative works in Canada.
5102 Is there any truth to that?
5103 MS CREWSON: No, none whatsoever. I was shocked when I heard that and I thought, "I don't know who they are talking" --
5104 50 percent of our membership this year, half of our membership claimed income and out of that half I'm sure not 10 percent, you know, really made their living at it. We have crews. We have directors. We have writers. We have plentiful creative community that is unemployed.
5105 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Is there a point at which that would be the case?
5106 MS CREWSON: That we would be saturated with work?
5107 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
5108 MS CREWSON: No. We have a huge industry that dedicates itself to the service industry because there is nothing at home. We have people that, you know -- no, we have a huge creative and technical community here ready to work.
5109 MR. WADDELL: Yeah, our best years were at the end of the last century, around the turn of the century, the year 2000, and I can tell you that's a combination of a variety of things but including U.S. production in Canada and we were nowhere near capacity at that time.
5110 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Your members their average income, you mentioned income --
5111 MR. WADDELL: Yeah.
5112 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: -- I know in Quebec $12-$13,000. You are at $15,000 roughly.
5113 MR. WADDELL: As Wendy said, only half actually make any money in the jurisdiction and actually only 10 to 15 percent make a living.
5114 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: 10 to 15 percent?
5115 MR. WADDELL: Yeah, actually make a living.
5116 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yeah, thanks.
5117 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you very much.
5118 MR. WADDELL: Thank you very much.
5119 THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel, is there an undertaking you want to restate?
5120 MR. DOUGHERTY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5121 There is one undertaking. And please provide as part of your May 4th final submission the following information:
5122 - A list of proposed changes to conditions of licence filed as part of the group's applications in this proceeding that you do not object to.
5123 Thank you.
5124 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
5125 Let's go on. It's Friday. I am sure everybody wants to go home so we will try to deal with everything this morning and have a late lunch.
5126 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. I will now ask the CTV supporting panel to come at the front table.
5127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Madam Secretary, can we start?
5128 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5129 We will now proceed with the presentations by Georgian Bay General Hospital, Imaginad Marketing & Promotions Inc., The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, UNITY Charity, and Sarrazin Couture Entertainment who are appearing as a panel to present their interventions.
5130 We will hear each presentation which will then be followed by questions from the Commissioners to the panel. Each intervener will have five minutes for their presentation.
5131 I will now invite Georgian Bay General Hospital to begin. Please introduce yourself and then you have five minutes.
5133 MS LAYCOCK: I would like to begin my presentation by thanking the Members of the Commission. The CRTC has always understood the intrinsic value of encouraging social capital via their licensed media outlets and what a profound footprint that has made on our Canadian culture.
5134 Statistically we know that on average each one of us is involved in 45 separate not-for-profits. For example, we may be a member of a church, and a service club. We may coach our child's soccer team or belong to an association specific to our profession. We may contribute money to our favourite cause and volunteer at another.
5135 Day to day we go about our lives, unaware that for us to enjoy our overarching sense of community many stars have to align.
5136 I am here to speak in particular about the significant role media has played and continues to play in the not-for-profit sector and, of course, to support the application of Bell Media for the licence renewal of their local television stations, and in particular, "A" Barrie.
5137 My name is Susan Laycock and I am the Executive Director of Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation (Midland and Penetanguishene).
5138 Prior to my work there I was Director of Communications, Social Media and Public Relations at United Way of Greater Simcoe County; Executive Director of Grieving Children at Seasons Centre; Director of Communications at Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce as well as Office Manager at Big Brothers of Barrie and District.
5139 I also sit as publicist and a founding member of the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame and was Board of Governors appointed to the Fund Raising Program Advisory Committee at Georgian College.
5140 I hold two professional Not for Profit designations -- the CFRE or certified fund raising executive designation and the CAE or certified association executive designation. As well, I am awaiting notification of my recent sitting for a CAVR or Canadian Administrator of Volunteer Resources designation which would result in my being the only person in Canada to hold all three designations.
5141 Both my diverse work background encompassing media and social service, paid and volunteer, as well as my educational designations have helped me to understand just how vital our media partners are to the Not for Profit sector and to society as we have come to know it.
5142 The awareness provided through public service announcements, news reports, websites, social media feeds and appearances by staff (mostly on their own time) at well-orchestrated events all ensure that causes have the opportunity to secure funding which is often desperately needed.
5143 And just as an aside, I was also one of many supporting interveners asking the CRTC to approve BCE's acquisition of CTV and specifically, requesting approval of the benefits funding for the "A" stations. I speak for those other supporting interveners to thank you for ensuring that our "A" Stations have the funding they need to remain open and serve their local communities.
5144 I would like to now provide two case histories to illustrate "A" TV's community impact in Barrie. One I was personally involved with and one I observed last week on "A" TV's news and later their Facebook feed.
5145 Case One: When I was approached to take over the role of executive director at an agency, it was in shambles. Many staff had or were resigning, and the Board was debating the advisability of keeping the doors open as the centre had acquired a massive debt of $30,000. There was not enough funds in the bank to meet the next payroll.
5146 I immediately realized two things.
5147 First, the Centre was doing phenomenal work with the children it supported and, second, no one knew about it except doctors, police and social service workers who referred children to the centre.
5148 I approached "A" TV who created a public service announcement in addition to providing staff to host a gala, and on-air opportunities on the news both in attendance and coverage of events.
5149 In one year, the Centre's culture changed from that of one in which the staff were all but begging for funding to one in which phones began to ring, with businesses and individuals wanting to support programming.
5150 It is impossible for me to tell you how many children will be supported in what may be the most traumatic situation they may ever face and whether they will then not go on to contemplate or complete a suicide, but I do know that children who are left unsupported through a tragedy often fall through the cracks and become involved in the all too familiar traps of alcohol, drugs and incomplete education, losing their opportunity for a healthy and happy life, not to mention the financial cost to our society of healthcare, penal system and social services required.
5151 The ripple effect of 'A' TV's support of Grieving Children at Seasons Centre impacts the entire community.
5152 Saving local TV became a mandate with our community supporters, and when The Commission decided in the BCE transaction to provide funding for programming for the local 'A' stations, combined with the new licence term, a collective sigh of relief went up knowing that our partner would be around to continue informing and supporting us for the foreseeable future.
5153 Case Two: A local food bank shared with 'A' TV that they would have to close their doors. Their stats in terms of numbers of people supported were both impressive and heart-wrenching. Within one day of a news story and follow-up Facebook feed, an anonymous donor stepped forward with a cheque for $5,000 so the doors could remain open while other sources of funding were found.
5154 I wish to leave you with one final thought today. In the case I just shared, I can tell you that there were children in Barrie who did not go to bed that night hungry directly due to the CRTC's vision and 'A' TV's fulfillment of that vision.
5155 For all these reasons, I am providing my support for the licence renewal of 'A' TV as well as Bell Media's other local television stations across the country so that they can continue supporting their local communities and their social causes.
5156 Thank you.
5157 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5158 I would now invite Imaginad Marketing & Promotions Inc. to begin. Please introduce yourself and then you may begin.
5159 MR. HECHT: Good morning. Hello.
5160 My name is Julian Hecht and I have been the owner/operator of a small Montreal ad agency called Imaginad since 1986.
5161 I also managed Quebec's largest English weekly newspaper for six years and I was the sit-in morning man on an English all-talk radio station.
5162 Among my charitable initiatives I have been an active Board Member of The Sarah Cook Fund, which is a fundraising organization with a focus on kids with cancer and their families at the Montreal Children's Hospital. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this November.
5163 I am a vocal member of Quebec's Anglophone community and a member of one of Montreal's many ethnic communities and I have come here today to try to express what a vital role CFCF-TV plays in our lives, and this, at a variety of different levels.
5164 When I buy advertising, one look at the numbers makes it very clear that CFCF-TV reaches more English-speaking Quebecers than any other media in the province. After years of cultivating this relationship with Quebec's English speakers, CFCF-TV's newscasts have become an integral part of the social culture of our communities.
5165 Whether it is coverage of a local political rally against the way the English language is being treated in Quebec or the celebration of Montreal's Greek Community, Italian Community, Jewish Community or a dozen others, no media is able to get the message out to the extent that CFCF-TV can and does.
5166 The importance of both of these kinds of activities cannot be overstated. You see, there are only a few small groups left who stand up for the protection of the English language and our community's institutions in Montreal and the rest of the province. Without CFCF-TV's coverage bringing news of their initiatives and activities, these groups would disappear under the radar altogether.
5167 It's nice to be mentioned on page 17 of The Gazette, great to be on page 5 of The Suburban, get a little news bite on CJAD, but when CFCF covers your initiative you are getting to the homes of over a million and a half Anglophones and bilingual Francophones.
5168 L'impact de CFCF au Québec a pris un autre rôle aussi, celui d'éducateur. Présentement, c'est cool d'être bilingue au Québec, et je vous propose que CFCF a un rôle important dans l'éducation de la population de Montréal et les régions.
5169 Notre population est plus bilingue que jamais dans notre histoire. Mes amis et mes voisins écoutent "etalk," les nouvelles avec Lloyd Robertson, "Canadian Idol," "Think You Can Dance," "Grey's Anatomy," et caetera, et nous développons une perspective commune, un sens d'appartenance dans la même communauté.
5170 Le temps des deux solitudes au Québec est révolu et nous avons une communauté bilingue, où le langage n'est pas un obstacle à l'amitié. CFCF joue un rôle de grande importance dans l'éducation et l'unification de la population montréalaise.
5171 At the other end of my spectrum, one of the greatest Canadian traits is our sense of inclusion, no matter where you come from or what you are. CFCF-TV's coverage of local ethnic initiatives and activities bring an enormous amount of pride to those groups and in a very important way helps legitimize their efforts with an important pat on the back.
5172 After their parades, after seeing the CTV logo on the camera at their event, there is a second celebration at suppertime in front of the family TV, watching the coverage, seeing their flags, their friends, their smiling faces. Sometimes that happens all over again for the 11:30 CFCF news, and there are hundreds of phone calls and emails in between, making sure no one will miss the coverage.
5173 Every time this happens it's a victory. It's us getting noticed in our struggle to keep our community's identity alive for yet another generation. It's fun for a kid to walk in a parade, but when he or she sees their smile on the CFCF News, well that just takes it to another level.
5174 I know that CFCF covers every ethnic and community event and festival they have cameras to cover.
5175 So besides Montreal's Italian, Greek and Portuguese street festivals, besides the Jewish community's March to Jerusalem and the Chinese Community's New Year's Celebrations, CFCF's Christine Long is also out there giving important exposure and credibility to a variety of English theatre groups: the Centaur, the Geordie, The Hudson Players, Montreal's English Fringe Festival and the English programming at the Montreal Comedy Festival.
5176 If that's not enough of a contribution to our community, I would like to talk to you about the role that CFCF-TV has played in some of our most important charitable events.
5177 I just described the family gathering in the evening to see their parade. Well, we live that every year with an event called The Splash and Dash for Kids with Cancer. Our committee brings hundreds of runners and swimmers to the McGill University Sports Complex every fall and we have raised millions of dollars over the last 10 years, enough to rebuild the entire Paediatric Oncology ward, which is called Sarah's Floor, the 8th floor of The Children's.
5178 A few years ago, I had the very good fortune to meet Chris Hardt at CFCF. He was the gofer in the Promotions Department and to this day -- he's now the Director of the department -- he makes sure that there's a public service announcement on the air before our event. He shows up with a mascot, gifts and goodies, a team of three on-air personalities from the news team, and then a cameraman and reporter come and do a report on the event.
5179 That generosity has been the vital ingredient in our annual growth, our notoriety and our sense of incredible pride. Every year after the event, exhausted, drained and swearing we will never put ourselves through it again, we gather to watch the CFCF evening news and after a few hugs and some high fives, we start planning for the next year.
5180 Ask the committee members from the Jewish General Hospital's Ride for the Cure or the Cedars Cancer Institute's Dragon Boat Race, The 401 Challenge, The Lakeshore General's Duck Race, just to name a few, what the impact of CFCF-TV's support and coverage means to their morale and to their bottom line and you will understand why I strongly recommend that you renew the CTV licence for CFCF Montreal.
5181 The idea of a Montreal without CFCF-TV would be as hard to imagine as a Canada without a moral conscience.
5182 Thank you for this opportunity.
5183 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5184 I would now invite the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation to begin. Please introduce yourself.
5185 MR. ALOFS: Mr. Chair, Mr. Vice-Chair and fellow Commissioners, my name is Paul Alofs and I am the President and CEO of The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.
5186 To understand why I am speaking in support of Bell Media's group licence renewal hearing today, I would like to begin by giving you some background on The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.
5187 Based out of Toronto, the Foundation raises funds to support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching and compassionate care for Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute, together known as The Princess Margaret.
5188 The Princess Margaret has achieved an international reputation as one of the top five cancer research hospitals in the world. People come from all over Ontario, Canada and the world to be treated at The Princess Margaret because of the specialized care and treatment provided there.
5189 At the core of our organization is the vision "To Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime." Our bold vision statement unifies all of our aspirations, activities and ambitions. We inspire hundreds of thousands of people to support our vision and cause in very tangible ways.
5190 To do so, we use a hybrid of the best practices of the private sector and the not-for-profit sector in order to maximize performance, also known as social enterprise. This newer model of thinking is really a more advanced version of the not-for-profit model.
5191 The Foundation is one of North America's most successful social enterprises as measured by effectiveness and efficiency. PMHF is responsible for raising $1.3 million per employee and over $70 million in net fundraising revenue annually. Efficient, as we invest less than 10 percent in general fundraising and administrative expenses. We are a hard-working machine.
5192 A challenge as daunting as conquering cancer might seem insurmountable, but it isn't. It just requires substantial resources used effectively by talented people and motivated organizations. It requires partners who go beyond the realm of "business as usual."
5193 Two partners that the Foundation is indebted to for standing behind us in our vision are Bell Media's CP24 and BNN, and I would like to speak to the incredible support that each has provided to our fundraising success.
5194 Our relationship with BNN goes back to 2007 when BNN partnered with the PMHF to help promote our Gift of Stock campaign. BNN produced three outstanding videos that told "The Princess Margaret" story. This was a successful move as we received a total number of 84 gifts of stock from donors that year -- a record number.
5195 We have continued to work with BNN since that time on a number of PSAs as well as on a campaign for the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre, a revolutionary clinic in Canada and around the world.
5196 Like BNN's support of our vision to Conquer Cancer in our Lifetime, CP24 has proven to be an extraordinary supporter. In 2009, the PMHF partnered with CP24 to help promote our lottery.
5197 As you can imagine, running a lottery in today's marketplace is risky business, one that takes creativity, strategy and meticulous planning. With CP24's around-the-clock coverage, our lottery sold out -- an extraordinary achievement.
5198 CP24 has proven to be a critical and substantial key to the success of our many programs, supporting events such as Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, The Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers, and raising awareness about the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre.
5199 The leadership and support provided by both Jack Fleischmann of BNN and Bob McLaughlin of CP24 never ceases to amaze me. BNN and CP24 staff are absolutely fundamental to our successful campaigns to help "Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime."
5200 It is because of the excellent relationship that The Princess Margaret has with both CP24 and BNN that I am here today to request that the licence renewal application for these services be approved.
5201 As I mentioned in my letters of support for BNN and CP24, both have always been "best in class" and vital supporters of our cause. CP24 and BNN have continually gone over the top to provide outstanding coverage and highlight the important work that is happening at The Princess Margaret. Having both media organizations as partners who are true to their messaging and The Princess Margaret's mandate is one of a kind.
5202 Thank you, Mr. Chair, Mr. Vice-Chair and fellow Commissioners, for your time. I conclude by once again appealing to you to approve the renewal applications for both CP24 and BNN.
5203 The challenge "To Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime" is the single most daunting task that I have ever faced in my career. The fact that CP24, BNN and their viewers are partners with us in this fight gives me great confidence and great hope. CP24 and BNN represent the best of what Canadian media can do to support a vital Canadian cause.
5204 Thank you.
5205 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5206 I would now invite UNITY Charity to begin. Please introduce yourself.
5207 MS SHARMA: Hello. My name is Rajni Sharma and I am the Community Outreach Director for a not-for-profit organization called UNITY Charity.
5208 We are an arts-based alternative education organization. We engage young adults by implementing in-school and community programs. Through our program we reach over 30,000 young adults all across Canada.
5209 Our program engages youth-to-youth dialogue using professional artist educators teaching various art forms, including breakdancing, spoken word poetry, graffiti art and beatboxing.
5210 The artist educators help boost their self-esteem, engage them with academics and introduce them to a healthy lifestyle. Our goal is to empower young adults to make better choices as mentors and positive community role models.
5211 Each year, UNITY Charity puts on a summer festival in the City of Toronto. This year's festival will commemorate over 100 youth performances who have participated in the UNITY program.
5212 The festival will be an opportunity for young adults to showcase their artistic talent and voice their stories and unique issues through urban art form. For this year's festival we are excited to have MuchMusic on as the official media sponsor.
5213 When UNITY was deciding on a media partner for this year's festival, we first approached MuchMusic. This is because we have seen the positive effect Much has on community organizations that support young adults, for example, with the work they have done with Kids Help Phone and War Child.
5214 Working with MuchMusic allows an organization to effectively deliver impactful messages and address social issues. They have a unique voice that resonates and speaks the language of young adults. Based on this knowledge, we felt MuchMusic was the right fit for the UNITY festival.
5215 Also, UNITY Charity and MuchMusic share similarities with targeting young adults and valuing the importance of addressing social issues that young adults deal with today.
5216 We are excited that MuchMusic is supporting this year's festival. An example of this support will include having one of their VJs host the event. This will enhance the experience of our performers as it will give them the opportunity to share the stage with a professional and recognizable face.
5217 Much will also be providing on-air mentions, which will hopefully get the audience involved and connected to UNITY's cause. In addition, Much will offer pro bono airtime for PSAs and online support.
5218 It is my understanding that Much has asked for the ability to air lifestyle or social issues programming. As a community organization we strongly support this idea as we believe addressing social themes such as bullying, sexuality, mental health and violence are issues young adults are dealing with today.
5219 UNITY Charity's mission is to provide these young adults with outlets to positively express their stress and help them deal with these issues. Therefore, UNITY is in support for MuchMusic to be able to air social programming because it will provide an opportunity to further support these issues.
5220 It will also generate further attention of the work of UNITY Charity and other community organizations. We believe that these issues must be discussed to be effective, not just mentioned.
5221 On behalf of UNITY Charity -- and I'm sure that other community organizations that Much has supported will feel the same way -- we support MuchMusic's application for licence renewal. We believe in MuchMusic's impact on young adults and we look forward to working on new projects and promoting positive and healthy messages with MuchMusic.
5222 I would like to thank The Commission for allowing me to speak today. Thank you.
5223 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5224 I would now invite Sarrazin Couture Entertainment to being.
5225 MR. SARRAZIN: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today in support of Bell Media's group licence renewal.
5226 My name is Pierre Sarrazin and this is my partner Suzette Couture. We were previously here at the February 1st hearing for BCE's acquisition of CTV.
5227 Our independent production company is based in Toronto and produces television series, movies and feature films.
5228 We have worked closely with CTV over the years. They have supported the development and production of six television movies and two seasons of our television series "The City." Recently, CTV greenlit our television series pilot "Stay With Me," which we will shoot over the next couple of months.
5229 In other words, we know firsthand as writers and producers how passionately committed CTV is to Canadian television programs of national importance.
5230 MS COUTURE: When we were here at the February 1st hearing, we spoke of the foreign competition facing CTV and the broadcast industry. We would like to thank the CRTC for approving Bell Media's acquisition of CTV. CTV is now in a position to withstand the wave of change that is sweeping the broadcast environment.
5231 Unregulated program providers such as Netflix do not create Canadian content, nor do they contribute to any of the funds that support Canadian productions such as the ones we have created and produced for CTV and which have attracted such high numbers in Canada.
5232 That is why we are here today to support Bell Media's group licence renewal. We are happy to see that its application, which puts forward a minimum of 30 percent of the group's gross revenue and 5 percent directed to programs of national interest, is consistent with the CRTC policy. We feel that this minimum should be met by all Canadian broadcasters as it is, after all, the minimum.
5233 MR. SARRAZIN: CTV's commitment to quality Canadian content has been remarkable over the years and has resulted in some of the greatest successes in Canadian television. This is due to a longstanding culture that always understood that airing Canadian television programs is not just an obligation, it's smart broadcasting. Bell Media's commitment to 30 percent of gross revenue with a minimum 5 percent directed to PNI continues the CTV tradition.
5234 In this new multiplatform universe, we believe that what will distinguish a Canadian network, how it will hold and build its audience, ultimately how it will survive, is by developing and airing exciting, high-quality, uniquely Canadian programs written and directed and produced and acted by Canadians.
5235 We would like to thank the Commission for its longstanding commitment to the Canadian creative community and to Canadian audiences.
5236 Thank you.
5237 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submissions. You are obviously all great supporters of CTV and you have actually been here twice now.
5238 If I ask you what does CTV not do that it should be doing, what would you say vis-à-vis the organizations that you represent?
5239 MS COUTURE: Well, I think it's doing great. And, as we said, the relationship has been very positive for us as creators and for the Canadian audience, because I think that the kinds of stories that they choose because they are so, I think, talented in understanding what the Canadian wants to see and then they promote it so well.
5240 So think they are doing great. Of course, I would like them to do more, more Canadian programming, but I think they are certainly a strong supporter of Canadian programming as it is.
5241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5242 MR. HECHT: They have done everything but write us a cheque.
5243 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's a good answer.
5244 Okay, Suzanne, you have some questions?
5245 CONSEILLÈRE LAMARRE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
5246 First of all, thank you all for making the trip to our hearing. You know, you don't live next door, so it's nice to have visitors.
5247 I have a few questions.
5248 The first one I have for you, Ms Laycock, is you are obviously greatly involved in not-for-profit organizations and I take your point about how the 'A' Channel in Barrie has been very active.
5249 But tell me, when you get involved with the 'A' Channel like this, does it help create a momentum also with the other players in the broadcasting business like radio, community TV, and if so, do you also get some money for your buck from the other players?
5250 MS LAYCOCK: It definitely does create an interest. I think, as just people in general, we are excited when we hear other people being excited about things.
5251 It certainly does help generate funding as well, not necessarily from the media itself, of course, although we are close to it, but we very much do -- I talked about 'A' TV creating the commercial for the organization I was involved in and they were in debt.
5252 That debt was paid off early the next year because we had so many donors that became aware of it. It touched their heart and they actually contacted the agency to see how they could help. So it definitely translates into money into our sector.
5253 Am I answering the question that you asked me?
5254 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: What I am wondering is you do get a lot of exposure because of your partnership with 'A' Channel, but that exposure, does it extend beyond what 'A' Channel gives you? Does it actually get picked up by other media, by the radio, by newspapers, by community TV channels?
5255 MS LAYCOCK: I would say definitely. Again, I would go back to the point that people, the more they hear about something, the more value it seems to have and they want to be part of that as well too.
5256 And because we are in smaller, more rural communities, I think our media partners do tend to work together. It's hard to have exclusivity when there's maybe just one of a certain event happening. So they do tend to work together really well actually.
5257 But having 'A' launch the opportunity or get the ball rolling certainly makes a big impact in getting that started quickly and on as large a scale as we would like to see.
5258 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So would it be fair to say that in your case 'A' Channel has proven to be an important engine to get the train going when you are doing charity work?
5259 MS LAYCOCK: Make no mistake about it, that centre was slated to be closed. The board felt that they would give it a few more months and if nothing happened then they would -- $30,000 may not seem like a lot of money in the room I'm talking to here --
5260 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Well, it is to me.
5261 MS LAYCOCK: -- but for a small not-for-profit that's a significant amount. We actually had to hold our paycheques for a few weeks. We couldn't cash them because there just was no money in the till.
5262 But that commercial changed everything for us. People would -- in fact, there was someone who appeared in the commercial who was a performer, but not a high-profile performer, and people would come up and say to him: You really look familiar. And he would say: Well, singing? And they would say: No, no. The Seasons Centre. We have seen you on 'A' TV. You are supporting that centre.
5263 We went from one year, again, to not having enough funding to the second year phoning people and they would say: Yes, we are very aware of you and we want to help. Absolutely.
5264 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Thank you. Monsieur Hecht -- did I say that correctly?
5265 MR. HECHT: Yes.
5266 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Thank you. You have done an excellent job at explaining how CFCF covers very well news and current affairs in the Montreal area. You sell advertising, so -- actually you buy advertising, I should say.
5267 MR. HECHT: I do both.
5268 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. You do both.
5269 MR. HECHT: Yes.
5270 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So definitely you are a client of CFCF.
5271 I would be very interested in your point of view regarding an issue that was raised by another intervener this week who mentions that while CFCF does a good job with news and current affairs, they feel they could do more local productions as far as drama is concerned, documentaries are concerned, that reflect English people in Quebec and the Montreal environment.
5272 So if CFCF were to do that, would you still be buying advertising from them? Would you still be advertising on their shows?
5273 MR. HECHT: Absolutely.
5274 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Absolutely.
5275 Do you feel it would also be maybe that currently as they are not doing as much as some people would like them to do, that maybe there is an opportunity here that they may have to do more and better business with the Montreal community?
5276 MR. HECHT: I have been listening to the last few interveners and thinking about how the cream rises to the top. When your Chairman mentioned some of the successes on YouTube, those are organic successes. They rise to the top because of the interest.
5277 So if there were a winning formula whereby people would actually watch that content, then, you know, absolutely it would be a wonderful thing. It's quite difficult to pull off at a local level, I believe.
5278 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay, thank you.
5279 Mr. Alofs -- did I say that correctly? Thank you.
5280 I have a similar question for you than I did for Ms Laycock.
5281 Your involvement with the TV portion of CTV-Bell Media players, does it help you create momentum also with the other media when you try to raise funds for The Princess Margaret Hospital?
5282 MR. ALOFS: Without question. BNN, for example, very much took a leadership role in our launch of the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre, which is one of the world's first one-day diagnosis centres for breast cancer, now being expanded to pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer as well.
5283 They got involved early. They helped us tell the stories by interviewing docs, by creating a video. We repurpose that video. We use it in press releases. We use it on our own website. We used it with our donor community. We use it in many different places. So BNN played an instrumental role in helping us build the whole story.
5284 And actually in terms of Princess Margaret, we placed third last year in research performance around the world. We have many major news releases that get picked up worldwide. The Rapid Diagnostic Centre was the most covered news event for Princess Margaret, and BNN played a central role in helping us get that story out.
5285 In a similar fashion CP24, the way that they have gotten behind our lotteries, The Princess Margaret lotteries are the largest private source of funding for cancer research in Canada. So they are incredibly important to us.
5286 You can think about whether it's right or wrong, but the lotteries actually pay the salaries of almost 1,000 of the top researchers that work at The Princess Margaret, and so selling out those lotteries is absolutely vital to us.
5287 CP24 basically got involved in helping us create around-the-clock coverage of our lottery show homes and other aspects of our lottery, really bringing it to life like no other media partner has ever done, and that actually got other parts of the media thinking about how they could use our stories, tell us patients' stories and relate them back to our lottery and help us sell out.
5288 So both BNN and CP24, I think, are just excellent examples of media that have played very important roles at the front of us getting our story out not only across Canada but around the world.
5289 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Thank you for that.
5290 Ms Sharma, listening to your presentation, one question I have off the top is: UNITY Charity, how long has it been in existence?
5291 MS SHARMA: Since 2008.
5292 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: So it's a relatively young organization and I must say that I think you have made a smart choice in partnering with Much to get your message across.
5293 Now, obviously the organization is not aiming at necessarily fostering performance careers, but do you know of any people who have been involved with your group, who have sought help with your group that are actually considering that as a career development now that they have been through your organization?
5294 MS SHARMA: Yes. Actually, we have been a registered charity since 2008, but the founder of the organization took his passion, which is break dancing, and turned it into this sad not-for-profit organization, but the artist educators that I mentioned earlier on, some of them were actually students of our program so they were -- you know, they went through our program in high school and they graduated. They kind of continued on in university and then created a university club and then from that they became artist educators, so they gave back.
5295 They wanted to work with UNITY and continue to work with UNITY so they became -- we have an intense training process which they go through and now they teach that art form, which is also their artistic talent. So if it's spoken word, poetry or beatboxing it's their own individual passion that they are using now to give back to the program.
5296 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And obviously with the partnership with Much they will get more exposure also.
5297 MS SHARMA: Yeah. Hopefully, most definitely, especially going on stage and performing in front of a large audience and sharing that with youth and the artist educators, hopefully they will be able to profile themselves and their talents and hopefully it will help.
5298 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Pardon my ignorance here and I will have to ask for forgiveness to Commissioner Cugini also, but when is the festival taking place?
5299 MS SHARMA: July 7th to July 10th.
5300 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Thank you.
5301 Madam Couture and Mr. Sarrazin, you have been involved with CTV for quite a while, as I can see, producing shows that were aired on CTV. I want to go back to what I was earlier discussing with Mr. Hecht about local production not only in Ontario and Toronto, but also in other parts of Canada, not necessarily only Montreal.
5302 Do you feel that you have a special challenge trying to sell shows or produce shows that actually show a little bit more regional reflection of all the regions of Canada.
5303 Do you get involved with that?
5304 MR. SARRAZIN: In our experience, we have done six television movies for CTV.
5305 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay.
5306 MR. SARRAZIN: Four of them have been shot in the regions and two in the Toronto area.
5307 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So you --
5308 MR. SARRAZIN: So we have shot in British Columbia where we did a story on the police working the drug addicts in the downtown east side of Vancouver, it had to be shot in Vancouver. So we developed it and wrote the script in Toronto, but we co-produced with Chris Haddock Productions in Vancouver and did it out there.
5309 When we did the "Sheldon Kennedy Story", it was uniquely Alberta, a Calgary story, because he played for the Calgary Flames, so we partnered with a Calgary production company Doug MacLeod, Alberta Filmworks, we shot out there.
5310 We recently did a movie, our last movie for CTV, we shot it in Montreal, it was about the -- it's called "The Terrorist Next Door", about how some young immigrants take the wrong path when they come to Canada. it was a Montreal story so we co-produced with Richard Lalonde in Montreal.
5311 So we co-produce. Almost all my productions have been co-productions except for the two I did in Toronto.
5312 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. So it's getting done. That's what you're telling me, it's getting done and it's getting aired and it's --
5313 MR. SARRAZIN: It's getting big ratings.
5314 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: And it's being watched.
5315 MR. SARRAZIN: Yes.
5316 COMMISSIONER LAMARRE: Okay. Thank you. Thank you, all.
5317 Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman. Merci.
5318 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tom...?
5319 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you.
5320 Good morning or good afternoon.
5321 Monsieur Sarrazin and Madame Couture, a question. I see that you were under the impression and you believe that Canadian programs are not just an obligation but smart broadcasting for broadcasters. I also see that you would like gross revenue on CPE to be 30 percent and a minimum 5 percent PNI.
5322 Would you agree with me? Did I correctly represent what you presented to us?
5323 MS COUTURE: Yes. This is the CRTC minimum; right.
5324 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. Would you have any objection, given what you have stated here, that it's smart broadcasting to raise that PNI to 10 percent?
5325 MS COUTURE: Given a choice between a minimum and an ideal, I will go for the ideal every time. I think that --
5326 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: So I gather you would have no objection?
5327 MS COUTURE: Absolutely not.
5328 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
5329 MS COUTURE: At the same time we understand the pressures that conventional broadcasters face and not having seen their financial statements I don't know, is this something that will or can work for them, which is certainly your responsibility, but the creative community always wants more.
5330 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you.
5331 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are our questions. Thank you for taking the time to intervene and share your views with us.
5332 Let's take a 5-minute break while you are setting up the next panel.
--- Upon recessing at 1220
--- Upon resuming at 1225
5333 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, commençons.
5334 THE SECRETARY: We will now proceed with the presentations by Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians and Council of Canadians with Disabilities who are appearing as a panel to present their interventions.
5335 We will hear each presentation which will then be followed by questions from the Commissioners to the panel.
5336 I would now invite Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians to begin. Please introduce yourself and you will then have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5337 MR. RAE: Thank you very much.
5338 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. While these two presentations have a certain connection to them, we will make them separately, okay.
5339 The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians is a national organization of Canadians who are blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted. We have appeared before you before, provided written interventions on a number of topics, and this time I am delighted to be here in person.
5340 So what really brings us here? A lot of reasons, but let me begin with just three.
5341 First of all, seven years is a long time. Seven years for someone at my age is even a longer time. Seven years for someone at my age may be an eternity, so I am anxious that this proceeding moves significantly in the direction of full access, full access in the areas of audio description, verbal description and quality closed captioning.
5342 I can tell you that the AEBC is a member of a number of other organizations, including the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Access 20 Coalition and what I can say is that the disabled community if firmly united on our calls for this 100 percent access.
5343 I must say, I wish I could go home tonight and an accessibility genie had removed all the barriers to our full access, but I am a realistic man, too, you know, and I suspect that is not going to happen. But we think 10 years is more than a reasonable timeframe.
5344 The second reason that brings us here is the rapid change in technology. New ways of delivering programming is happening. Today we see more and more programming also delivered through the Internet and we believe the Commission must also regulate full access in this new area.
5345 Thirdly, we are a citizens group. We are an organization of rightsholders and we believe it is important that you hear from citizens, from us, from users at every opportunity and we appreciate the opportunities we have been afforded to come here. We appreciate that a lot.
5346 So what are we looking for? I have said we are looking for 100 percent access to audio or verbal description and closed captioning and I have also said that we recognize that this probably won't happen overnight.
5347 What we do need from this hearing, given that it may cover seven years of renewed licences, is significant additional regulation by the Commission to accelerate the amount of original Canadian programming that is fully accessible in the area of new ways of broadcasting. We do believe the Commission needs to regulate the Internet.
5348 I have always been -- it's always been hard for me to understand that the Commission may regulate who gets licences, what level of Canadian programming may be provided, but it doesn't seem to regulate all the ways in which we as customers receive that programming.
5349 What we find is that any reliance on voluntarism has been a failure to the disabled community, not just in this area but equally in the areas of transportation, in the areas of development of products, and so forth. We find that continues today and so it's understandable that we have less than great faith in the private sector to do things on its own without regulation, without your regulation.
5350 While our first emphasis is clearly on increasing the number of hours of original Canadian programming that is made accessible, that is not the only area. A growing amount of U.S. programming is already captioned and audio described and verbally described, but only some of it gets passed through to our homes as Canadians. That needs to be fixed.
5351 You folks have -- because you can see -- easy access to TV listings, so it's easy for you to determine when your favourite show is on. I don't have that similar opportunity. So another area of access -- this is an access issue -- is access to information about what's on television, when my favourite programs might be on; when specials might be aired that none of us know about. This needs to -- these requirements must be built into all and license renewals, not just for the broadcasters who are part of this proceeding, but to all broadcasters across Canada whether they be private or public. This need for 100 percent access must be a part of all license renewals.
5352 So what we are seeking are mainstream solutions to mainstream access issues. The presence of the accessible channel was not intended, either by you, the CRTC, or by TAC itself as a reason or an excuse for mainstream media to either drag their feet or fail to move on access and nor must it be allowed to do so.
5353 Whenever we seek greater access the spectre of cost is often thrown in our face. We understand that some of the accommodations we need for full access to Canadian society involves some measure of cost. However, if all broadcasters are required to develop 100 percent access, that will create a level playing field. That will prevent any one or two broadcasters from saying, "We are doing it, the others aren't, why should we have to?"
5354 So that's another reason why we need 100 percent access to be a part of license renewals for any and all broadcasters, whether public or private.
5355 I guess I would finish with basically two more points.
5356 One is, at present you folks can have full access and enjoy what television offers. We pay the same cable bills as you do, thus I think it's fully reasonable for us not only to want but to expect the same level of access.
5357 Well, some progress has been made up that road and we thank the Commission for the role it has played in that, and we thank those broadcasters who are doing a good job.
5358 More needs to be done, not only in the areas that I have mentioned, but also employing more of us. I think that all sectors of the broadcast industry would benefit by hiring more individuals with disabilities so that the kind of expertise that they now seek outside of their organizations could be right there, right inside. After all, when decisions are being made, if we aren't there it's far, far too easy to forget about us.
5359 Well, we aren't going to let anybody forget about us, we trust you won't forget about us, and that's why I want to finish by imploring you as Commission to use the regulatory powers that you have to assist us in achieving our goal of 100 percent access by the year 2020 or maybe sooner.
5360 I thank you for the opportunity to be here. Thank you.
5361 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Rae.
5362 I would now invite Council of Canadians with Disabilities to begin.
5363 Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes. I'm sorry, please open your microphone.
5364 MR. RAE: Thank you.
5365 One of the previous spokespersons talked about being a member of a number of organizations. I'm another one like that. The AEBC is a member of the Council of canadians with Disabilities, I serve as its First Vice-Chair; Jim Roots, Organization of the Canadian Association of the Deaf is a member of our member organizations.
5366 The Council is made up of disability organizations in nine provinces and a number of disability organizations.
5367 I'm not going to reiterate the comments that I made on behalf of AEBC -- although I assure you that CCD fully endorses those comments -- rather, I want to give Jim the floor so that he can spend most of our time talking about the need for quality closed captioning.
5369 MR. ROOTS: Okay. I would like to thank the CCD for allowing me come here and present on behalf of them, but mostly on behalf of the Canadian Association of the Deaf, where I am Executive Director.
5370 The Canadian Association of the Deaf has been advocating for captioning accessibility for 40 years and the Commission is well aware of our history. You also know that we continue to demand 100 percent captioning of all programming immediately, so our position has not changed on that.
5371 There have been a lot of improvements in recent years. At least five channels now caption almost everything, because one of our representatives, Henry Vlug, won human rights complaints to force them to do so.
5372 The Commission routinely requires 95 percent captioning of nearly all licensees. Your regulatory policy 2009-430, paragraphs 73 to 77 states that 100 percent is the goal and is achievable now by all broadcasters. So we full expect that we won't have to wait until the year 2020 to see this come true.
5373 We want to applaud you on your new attitude towards captioning complaints. Now when we complain you take some action. Please keep it up.
5374 But do more than that, make sure that the licensees keep the promises they make in response to these complaints.
5375 My time is limited, so I just want to highlight five points that need your attention in this proceeding.
5376 First, for the second time the broadcasters have unilaterally broken off cooperation with consumer groups and our joint effort to develop captioning standards. The Commission needs to look at a different way of approaching the issue of standard.
5377 Second, quality is still a serious concern. Sports channels continue to run captioning in the middle of the screen, obscuring the action.
5378 The Weather Channel continues to send out some of the worst captioning in the world, even while bragging about 25 years of excellence.
5379 Roll-up captioning continues to be the dominant form of captioning, despite consumer preferences for pop-up captioning.
5380 Even the best captioning continues to be plagued by things like hanging words where the captioning abruptly stopped one or two sentences -- one or two words from the end of the sentence, and by a totally unacceptable five second time lag, even for programming that is not live captioned. You try watching the rapid fire comedy show today with a 5-second time lag. It makes no sense.
5381 Third, far too many broadcasters are using the transition to digital equipment as an excuse to broadcast without captions.
5382 One of them, Channel Zero, wasted two years pretending that captioning is our top priority, without doing anything to fix the problem. Now YTV has been doing the same thing for more than 3 months. These licensees would never broadcast programming that was missing its audio because of equipment programs, yet they think nothing of broadcasting for two years without captioning, all the time flat out lying about it being their top priority.
5383 The Commission has to take a zero tolerance approach to this excuse.
5384 Fourth, live programming and emergency programming continue to lack captioning. Live reporting at the Japanese earthquake on March 18th had long sections with no captioning on CTV and Canwest Global. I'm talking about the evening newscast, long after the quake was over and the report was simply repeating what they had been saying for at least 7 hours already.
5385 Fifth, the Commission encourages broadcasters to caption their webcasts, especially news clips taken directly from the TV news feed. Not one broadcaster has done this, yet American broadcasters have shown it can be done without difficulty. The broadcasters here make all kind of excuses, blaming technology or deciding, without any input from caption consumers, that 6 point type is too small to read on a computer screen, or claiming there are copyright restrictions involved.
5386 None of these excuses are valid. None of the alleged barriers are insurmountable.
5387 The Commission has decided it won't regulate web content, but this is television on the web contents that did appear on television first. You do have the power to rectify this situation.
5388 A perfect example of how broadcasters might use their online resources to extent accessibility is the federal election leader's debate on Tuesday and Thursday. Every licensee that plans to show the debate should establish a link to a shared web page that could stream live sign language interpreting of the debate. One link for ASL, American Sign Language, and one link for LSQ, French-language.
5389 Interpreting can be streamed in sync with the televised broadcast. It's true viewers would be required to watch two separate screens, their computer screen set up in front of or beside the television screen, but this is hardly a major problem for people who are used to watching TV with one eye on the performers and one eye on the captions.
5390 With the full online screen to work with, two interpreters can appear side-by-side and thereby convey the genuine give and take of the debate. For example, one interpreter could sign for Mr. Harper, while the other interpreter signed for Mr. Ignatieff during their one-on-one exchanges.
5391 With the full screen viewers won't be forced to squint at a lone keyhole interpreter whose image is scrunched into the corner of the TV screen. The captioning won't be blocked by the keyhole interpreter either.
5392 The station responsible for providing the venue doesn't have to worry about physically fitting the interpreters into the crowded set where they can be seen by the audience at all times, instead, they can be set up in a separate room offstage.
5393 And let's not overlook the fact that if the consortium of broadcasters is sharing the same webcasts of interpreters, they are also sharing the costs involved in providing the interpreting.
5394 So I don't want to hear any excuses about it being too expensive to do. This is practical. It is innovative. It is inexpensive. It is technologically feasible. It is full and equal access for deaf viewers, and it's the kind of idea that the broadcasters could come up with for themselves, if they would only hire people with disabilities to actually work for them.
5395 In closing, I want to thank Martine Vallée for her strong and determined attitude in fostering better accessibility. She is doing a great job, but she needs more support.
5396 The Commission needs to hire people with disabilities on a permanent basis to work with her.
5397 CAD, CCD and other groups have been advocating for years that the CRTC should establish an internal disability department, and that means more than just Martine Vallée and one assistant. Please make that a priority for yourselves in the new fiscal year.
5398 Thank you.
5399 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentations.
5400 Mr. Rae, first of all, it is going to be a five-year licence, not a seven-year licence. So we will see you again in five years, not seven years, if that is any comfort to you.
5401 More importantly, you talked about the internet and regulating access in this area. I was surprised by that. I would have thought that the internet was, to some extent, the solution for you, because giving special access via internet rather than via television is a lot easier, and there is a market for it.
5402 I know, for instance, that I happen to have a neighbour whose child is dyslexic, and there is a special machine which you can put a book on and it comes up and it speaks to you, rather than you having to read it, because the kid can't read.
5403 Is the market not responding to the need for the disabled, whether they be blind, deaf, or whatever, by coming up with internet solutions?
5404 You say that we should regulate, but our principle is not to regulate unless there is market failure, and I would like to hear from you whether you feel --
5405 Is the market not responding to it?
5406 After all, we are all becoming older. The boomers are becoming older, so we will have more people with visual impairments or hearing impairments.
5407 MR. RAE: My simple response, Mr. Chairman, is no. No, and I am sad to say that.
5408 Technology for many of us has become a double-edged sword. It helps some, but strange though it sounds, new barriers are still there. A lot of barriers are yet to be removed.
5409 So we do believe that, just as we are seeking 100 percent access to programming over the television screen, we believe that same level of access should be provided for any programming that is streamed over the internet.
5410 And there is more and more of that happening and, as you are suggesting, we agree that more and more of that will happen, but so far a lot of the access that -- even the level of access that may be available through television is not available for programming that is streamed over the internet.
5411 That's why we believe that there is a need for the Commission to regulate in that area, as well.
5412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Roots, when we approved the Bell/CTV transfer, we also approved that $7.5 million of the benefits would go toward establishing a fund -- I have forgotten the exact title, but, in effect, to deal with disability issues in communications. That could be done through research, that could be done --
5413 I am sure you are aware of it. Are steps being taken to organize it and set up the board of governors and everything?
5414 MR. ROOTS: A board of governors for what exactly?
5415 THE CHAIRPERSON: We had set aside $7.5 million to establish a fund to deal with the issues of disability --
5416 MR. ROOTS: Oh, yes. No efforts -- nothing about any plans, no, other than what appears in your decision, of course.
5417 There has been no contact about this, really. Nothing. Bell has invited some organizations to work with them on telecom issues, but there has been nothing happening on television itself or other accessibility issues.
5418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
5419 Tom, do you have some questions?
5420 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Just briefly, I noticed that you asked for a significant increase in what described video broadcasters are required to broadcast.
5421 Now, it may seem self-evident to you, but just for the record, what impact would those increases have on the community you represent?
5422 MR. RAE: They would provide us greater access to more programming. It would provide us with a greater level of entertainment to the programming that we watch.
5423 I can also tell you, sir, that a lot of non-disabled people also benefit from this sort of thing. A fellow who rooms with me, who has some level of hearing problems, he finds greater enjoyment because the purpose of audio description and verbal description is to fill in gaps, and sometimes they fill in gaps that are easy for anyone to miss.
5424 So while we advocate for this as an access issue for the disabled community, the benefit of this work goes well beyond our community.
5425 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you have some kind of cost analysis of what that would require for the broadcasters?
5426 What would it cost them?
5427 MR. RAE: I'm afraid I don't. I think the Coalition will speak to that next week.
5428 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
5429 MR. RAE: But, again, as I suggested earlier, if you were to require it as a Condition of Licence for all broadcasters, there is a level playing field.
5430 I would also submit that the notion of equity is not new. The Canadian Human Rights Act covered persons with disabilities, as did the Charter, back in the eighties.
5431 So we submit that any organization covered by those statutes, in this case the broadcasting sector, has had ample time to get on board with access.
5432 Any suggestion that this work is new -- if it's new to them, it's not our fault. The requirements, the reasons, are not new, and if any group in our society, whether broadcasters or anybody else, has failed to make access a priority within their organizations, well, it's their failure, not ours.
5433 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I have a final question, and maybe this goes to my own ignorance. The AEBC uses the term "audio description" and the Commission uses "described video".
5434 MR. RAE: We are speaking to both. They are somewhat different. They are related, but they are different.
5435 Audio description is describing text that is written across the screen, that is not spoken. Verbal description is the extra audio track that is inserted through the SAP, which provides the description of what is going on, whether it be what a person looks like, what a person is wearing, or what is actually happening when there is a gap in any verbal comment on the screen.
5436 We are seeking both.
5437 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Thank you very much for clearing that up for me.
5438 MR. RAE: It's a pleasure.
5439 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I don't know if anyone else has any questions...
5440 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I have one question for Mr. Roots and one question for Mr. Rae.
5441 Mr. Roots, have you had direct participation in the working group activities with the broadcasters?
5442 MR. ROOTS: Yes, I have. I have had a main role in that for the past two years, both efforts to set up guidelines.
5443 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: My question is this: In reading all of the documentation from the working group, there still seems, after a considerable amount of time, to be not as much progress as, I think, all of us had hoped for, in spite of the fact that there has been adequate, if not very sincere, participation by all parties.
5444 Where is the group stuck? What do you think is the biggest obstacle remaining?
5445 MR. ROOTS: Oh, there are so many of them, I can't begin to pick the biggest one.
5446 One is that the broadcasters --
5447 Excuse me, I will have to switch to sign, as my voice is going.
5448 MR. ROOTS: The first problem is that the broadcasters themselves, obviously, are controlling the agenda and controlling the process. The user groups, the consumer groups, are actually outside of that.
5449 For example, the users have discussed our feelings, our opinions, our ideas. We write it all down, we share it with the large group, with everyone, but the broadcasters never share their things with us. They don't respond to our suggestions and submissions. They seem to be working in sort of a covert way, and waiting until we actually meet in person -- every second month we meet in person -- and they have a lot of negativity and they turn down -- say no to many of the things that we have suggested.
5450 Their position is not flexible. We have tried to be flexible, to understand their situation and their position and their defence and their problems, et cetera. We have tried to understand, and we have tried to work together, but we don't feel that it's a two-way street. They are not flexible with us.
5451 They have hired a facilitator, a paid facilitator, which means that the facilitator is following what they are dictating, basically, and it seems that the facilitator has come to feel that the users have good points, and that we have some rights, and has tried to present that to the broadcasters, and the result was that the facilitator was fired by the broadcasters.
5452 There is a draft guidelines document, and they submitted it to you, the CRTC, and said that it was a final, approved document, but it had never been approved. We still had a list of concerns that we had presented and asked for changes to, and we never got any response. They, in fact, ignored that document and submitted to you the document you received.
5453 That has happened twice, two separate times, two separate efforts to establish a group problem-solving session, but both of them failed.
5454 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Roots, that's exactly what I wanted to hear for the record.
5455 Mr. Rae, welcome to the Commission. It's great to see you in person. I have had the pleasure of hearing you at previous hearings.
5456 I don't know if this is a question or just a statement. If there is any benefit to the communities that may come about as a result of vertical integration, it is that the abilities of the various companies that are now coming all under one ownership -- it is certainly my hope that it is going to provide a better integration of the content of the technologies, right from the means by which they do described video, improved captioning, removal of the delays, right through to the very controller of the set-top box that sits in your hand that helps you get the access you are looking for.
5457 Would you do me a favour, please, and just, in one final statement, with vertical integration in mind, restate your goal for seeing described video, in particular, expand in a more realistic expectation for --
5458 Right now we are at four hours, which is an expectation that we may be looking at quite closely, but 100 percent, I don't think, is going to happen overnight.
5459 Is there any kind of an increment that you would be happier with if you had to put your finger on an increase over the next five years?
5460 MR. RAE: I am delighted to be here in person this time. This one is the biggie for our community, and that's why I came here in person.
5461 I wish I could share your optimism about technology. I must confess to being a bit of a Luddite at heart, but I hope you are right.
5462 Now, as to your question, we do accept the notion of incremental progress. As I said, at my age, I wish this could happen a lot faster than perhaps it will.
5463 So, if the Commission were to require incremental steps that would get us to the goal of 100 percent access by the year 2020, we would be happy with that. Anything less than that would give us a problem.
5464 We understand that this may need to occur in steps. However, as new ways of doing things -- even if we think of five years, some of the methods for delivering and developing programming in five years may not be used today. Thus, it is critical that the Conditions of Licence that you impose cover the development of new ways of doing things, of new technologies, so that the introduction of new ways of doing things or new technologies does not result in us having to wait yet again, or the broadcasting sector using the introduction of new ways of doing things as an excuse to delay our access.
5465 I am talking about universal design. When something new is constructed, it must include full access.
5466 I hope that's helpful.
5467 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much, and thank you very much for making the effort to come all this way.
5468 MR. RAE: It's my pleasure.
5469 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for coming. I think that concludes our questions. I will certainly remember what you said, zero tolerance for violations of disability covenants. That certainly is our policy and we will, hopefully, try to apply it in the future. Thank you.
5470 MR. RAE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, I think that's all for today, and we will meet on Monday at...
5472 THE SECRETARY: Nine o'clock.
5473 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1303, to resume on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 0900
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