ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 30 April 2013
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Volume 6, 30 April 2013
TRANSCRIPTION OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Applications for mandatory distribution on cable and satellite distribution systems pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act and applications for the licence renewal of independent conventional, pay and specialty television services
140 Promenade du Portage
30 April 2013
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
Applications for mandatory distribution on cable and satellite distribution systems pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act and applications for the licence renewal of independent conventional, pay and specialty television services
Leigh-Anna GatesLegal Counsel
Pierre-Marc PerreaultHearing Manager
140 Promenade du Portage
30 April 2013
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
22. TELUS Communications Company1550 / 9224
23. The Canadian Media Production Association1597 / 9497
24. Free Thinking Film Society1630 / 9677
25. Adam Giambrone1637 / 9729
26. Andrea Mrozek1651 / 9814
27. Ryerson University, School of Media1659 / 9854
28. TakingITGlobal1666 / 9904
29. Plasma Management & Productions Inc.1673 / 9944
30. Ness Murby1680 / 9989
31. Dawn Clelland1689 /10035
32. Jan Zawilski1698 /10091
33. Michael Petosa1706 /10138
- v -
PAGE / PARA
Undertaking1583 / 9399
Undertaking1588 / 9431
Undertaking1592 / 9464
Undertaking1593 / 9470
Undertaking1610 / 9556
--- Upon resuming on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 0902
9220 THE SECRETARY: Good morning. For the people listening on the web, we'll be late a few minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 0903
--- Upon resuming at 0911
9221 LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, à l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
9222 I apologize for being late. I had a charitable event that lasted a little longer than forecast.
9223 So, welcome. I would ask you to identify yourselves and make your presentation, please. Thanks.
9224 MME MAINVILLE-NEESON : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
9225 Bonjour, bon matin, Monsieur le Président et messieurs les conseillers et conseillères.
9226 My name is Ann Mainville-Neeson and I am Director of Broadcast Regulation for TELUS.
9227 With me today are, to my left, Greg Goodwin, Vice-President, Home Solutions, and Isabelle Rioux, Manager of Content Solutions. To my right is Lecia Simpson, Senior Regulatory Advisor.
9228 TELUS is pleased to have this opportunity to expand on its written comments in this important proceeding.
9229 The Commission's criteria for being granted a mandatory distribution order have now been well canvassed. It has been noted that mandatory distribution orders constitute an intrusive measure that must be used only in truly exceptional circumstances. It cannot suffice that the programming service requesting such an order merely provide Canadian content. If the provision of Canadian content was the only criterion, we could potentially face endless applications for mandatory distribution orders -- Canada is not short of entrepreneurs with good ideas.
9230 The Commission's criteria set a very high bar for the granting of mandatory distribution orders pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act. In particular, to warrant a mandatory distribution order, a programming service must provide content that isn't currently available to Canadians on other programming services. And the content should be directly tied to achieving some additional objective of the Broadcasting Act, over and above the cultural objective of creating Canadian content. There should be no other way of providing this content to Canadians, on TV or on other platforms, than through the granting of a mandatory distribution order.
9231 Very few of the services seeking a mandatory distribution order in this hearing meet this high threshold.
9232 Turning first to the application by Starlight, TELUS notes that Canadian feature films are available in the Canadian broadcasting system in numerous windows, whether video on demand, pay TV, specialty and broadcast services. There is no unfulfilled need in regards to Canadian feature films distributed in the Canadian broadcasting system contrary to what Starlight alleges in support of its application.
9233 Starlight argues that Canadian feature films aren't currently adequately distributed on television. They dismiss distribution by other programming services with plainly false information. In particular, TELUS considers it necessary to correct the statement that there are as few as six movies on a BDU's VOD service at any given time, as Starlight noted in its hearing appearance on Thursday.
9234 TELUS currently offers more than 160 English-language Canadian feature films on its VOD service right now and more than fulfils its condition of licence requiring that 5 percent of the English-language content and 8 percent of the French-language content be Canadian feature films.
9235 Starlight wants to create a "one-stop shop" for Canadian feature films and this may well constitute a service that would be of interest to Canadians. Certainly, Starlight's own consumer research shows significant consumer interest in this proposed service and even the research conducted by the Strategic Counsel on behalf of the BDUs shows relatively high acceptance for this service. All of this points to the potential for a good business case to offer such a service on a discretionary basis.
9236 But Starlight wants more than provide a service which aggregates Canadian feature films. They indicate that the 9(1)(h) distribution order they seek would help subsidize additional Canadian feature films. Yet, there are already numerous support mechanisms for Canadian feature films, both within the regulated broadcasting system and beyond it as well in the form of tax credits for example. There is no need for more.
9237 While it might be a "nice to have," it is not a "must have" which would meet the Commission's criteria for exceptional circumstances in which to apply the intrusive measure of a mandatory distribution order. Moreover, it is appropriate to question in the circumstances whether Starlight's proposed subsidy, which they indicate will serve in part to promote the theatrical release of Canadian feature films, is beyond the Commission's jurisdiction under the Broadcasting Act.
9238 Turning now to Sun News, their application is based virtually solely on the argument that their service provides 100 percent Canadian content. Yet, the content provided by Sun News is in a genre that is already highly competitive, so much so that the Commission determined that an open entry licensing environment was appropriate for news programming services in 2009. There is simply no reason to subsidize news programming today.
9239 While Sun News bemoans not having benefitted from the significant regulatory advantages that its competitors had in the past, that was then and this is now. Nothing would have prevented Sun News from competing for a licence in the news category years back when CTV News was first licensed. Now that other news services have blazed the trail, a competitor like Sun News cannot expect to turn back the clock and have its profit margin subsidized by Canadians.
9240 Sun News has attempted to use the fact that it is not currently carried by TELUS or MTS to make the point that its request for a distribution order is warranted. Yet, the fact is that Sun News' initial offer to TELUS was extremely demanding, completely out of line with the launch of a new service and instead reflective of Sun News' insistence that it be treated on par with other established news services. TELUS countered their offer but Sun News chose not to negotiate, preferring instead to come to the Commission with this request for a distribution order. Sun News has chosen to make its service unavailable to TELUS subscribers, perhaps to make a regulatory point in this proceeding.
9241 Moreover, it is absolutely false to say, as did Sun News in their comments last week, that it would cost Canadians upwards of $50 before they could even get to the point where they could subscribe to Sun News. TELUS offers a very skinny basic service to which theme packs or à la carte services can be added. There are no large tiers to be purchased before à la carte services can be accessed. In fact, TELUS' proposal for à la carte distribution is very similar to Videotron's inclusion of Sun News in its pick-a-pack offering.
9242 Wrapping itself in the Canadian flag, Sun News also attempts to paint TELUS as less than patriotic for including some foreign services as part of its basic package. The fact is that some services, like the example of Russia Today used by Sun News, have created a business model based on exposure and are willing to forego subscription fees in return for distribution to a greater number of subscribers in order to increase the attractiveness of their service to advertisers. There are some services which even go so far as to pay for distribution to the maximum number of subscribers. Yesterday, we heard Rogers note that The Shopping Channel is one such service. Where a programming service offers to be distributed on basic at no cost or even to pay us to distribute them on basic, it may make sense to provide the additional value to consumers by including it in basic.
9243 As for the myriad of other services seeking mandatory distribution orders in this proceeding, suffice to say that they may provide programming that may be of interest to Canadians and we make no value judgement with respect to their programming offering, but TELUS respectfully submits that none meets the higher threshold of what should be mandated via a distribution order, with the exception of the legislative services of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and the services of AMI and Canal M.
9244 TELUS hopes all of the proposed services create business models which will see their programming come to the screen, whether on TV or other platforms, and be offered to Canadians but it would set a dangerous precedent to grant mandatory distribution orders merely on the basis of an intention to provide interesting programming that consumers may want to watch.
9245 MR. GOODWIN: Much has been said about the threat of cord-cutting or cord-shaving. That threat is real. Exit surveys conducted by TELUS when customers cancel service show an increasing number of respondents who indicate that they are not switching to another BDU but rather are dropping their subscription to traditional television services altogether. Moreover, the average number of theme packs per subscriber on Optik TV has fallen 9 percent since March 2012.
9246 Much of the discussion in this proceeding has focussed on the cost of basic and what incremental cost might bring us to a tipping point where consumers leave the regulated broadcasting system. What this discussion fails to address, however, is that cost is just one element of consumers' perception of value. It would appear from our experience in operating as a new entrant BDU that many consumers object to being forced to take services they don't want on principle, regardless of cost. Consumers' perception of value is not likely to be increased by the addition of any "must buy" services they don't want. Thus, the Commission needs to weigh the importance of any additional service against the potential detrimental effect its mandating may have on the subscription of consumers to the Canadian broadcasting system.
9247 Time limitations on mandatory distribution orders in no way alleviate the problem of negative consumer perception of value. Consumers who object on principle to being forced to pay for a service they don't want are unlikely to choose to "wait it out" for two or three or five years. If they don't feel they are getting value for their subscription to the regulated broadcasting system now, they will leave or reduce their services. And if consumers leave, they will take with them their contribution to all the other support mechanisms for the Canadian broadcasting system.
9248 MME MAINVILLE-NEESON : Merci beaucoup. Ce sont nos commentaires. Il nous ferait plaisir de répondre à vos questions.
9249 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation.
9250 Évidemment, when we're at the end of a hearing or later on in the hearing you've heard the questions we've been asking, so hopefully you're prepared and we can do this efficiently.
9251 So my first question relates to some comments others have made and I just wanted to see what your views would be on this.
9252 In the event that some services who are already licensed, who are already in some cases on basic, would be unsuccessful to get their 9(1)(h) status, what would you do? Other BDUs have suggested that there's a disinclination to change and services like Vision, I guess, would continue to be offered. What's your perspective on that?
9253 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Absolutely, thank you very much.
9254 Certainly, there is an inclination to keep services where they are. Consumers don't like change and change can be expensive to execute to the extent that dissatisfied customers will call our service centres.
9255 Greg, did you want to expand on that?
9256 MR. GOODWIN: Yes. We certainly would look for some of the channels in that situation to stay on basic. It's incredibly costly for us to move a channel, as Ann mentioned, from the communications through to handling the call centre calls and the complaints and right on through to customers who may churn because a competitor leaves a channel in a different tier than we choose to do.
9257 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, where do you distribute Vision for instance?
9258 MR. GOODWIN: Vision for us is in our basic or our essentials package.
9259 THE CHAIRPERSON: Basic or essentials. It's not a real basic, right? It's an extended basic?
9260 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: No.
9261 THE CHAIRPERSON: No?
9262 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Our basic service is simply called the essentials --
9263 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ah, okay.
9264 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: -- but it's --
9265 MR. GOODWIN: I apologize. I may use those terms interchangeably but our basic tier is where essentials is today.
9266 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9267 And Avis de recherche is not part of your offering or is it?
9268 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: It is part of our offering in Quebec.
9269 Isabelle, would you like to expand on where it is located?
9270 MME RIOUX : Oui. Depuis cinq ans, c'est sur la base. Malgré sa grande distribution, par contre, c'est un service qui reçoit très peu de nos heures de visionnement par mois. Juste pour vous donner une idée, ça correspond à moins de 0,01 pour cent de nos heures d'écoute par mois, ce qui est moins que certaines chaînes étrangères et beaucoup de services de langue anglaise dans un marché qui est à 95 pour cent francophone au Québec.
9271 LE PRÉSIDENT : Mais advenant que -- parce que c'est une possibilité dans nos décisions -- qu'ils perdent leur distribution obligatoire, qu'est-ce que vous feriez avec Avis de recherche?
9272 MME RIOUX : C'est la même chose pour le marché du Québec. Ce n'est pas quelque chose qu'on aime faire, d'enlever des services à la base. C'est des coûts supplémentaires pour nous, et on ne veut pas nécessairement affecter la perception du service de base également. Même si ce service-là ne semble pas avoir beaucoup de valeur pour le client actuellement, ce n'est pas quelque chose qu'on entrevoit à moyen terme, de l'enlever.
9273 LE PRÉSIDENT : Le moyen terme, ça dure combien de temps?
9274 MME RIOUX : Dans l'industrie, moyen terme, ça peut être un à trois ans, par exemple.
9275 LE PRÉSIDENT : Un à trois ans, bon. Disons que c'est plus vite que le foreseeable future de Rogers, mais...
9276 Qu'arriverait-il donc de votre relation d'affaires avec Avis de recherche? Est-ce que vous maintenez la même entente de distribution avec le même tarif si jamais on ne renouvelait pas le...
9277 MME RIOUX : Pour l'instant, on n'aurait pas l'intention de renouveler à la baisse le tarif. Le tarif semble correct au montant qu'il est actuellement.
9278 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that the same answer for Vision?
9279 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I think we would be -- certainly when the renewal comes, and I honestly am not exactly sure when that time is, we would look to negotiate like we do for any other service and we would hope that they might be inclined to offer additional services for the price that we would pay. For example, innovation is particularly important for us, as it is for Rogers, we heard it yesterday, we are looking for more content on demand, so SVOD that a company is multiplatform. We do have a very extensive Optik on the go that accompanies our subscription to our Optik TV service and these are all the types of things that are part of those negotiations so we might be pushing for those things in particular when we come to renegotiate.
9280 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Let's hypothetically -- for instance we will just take Vision as an example, they may not get the 9(1)(h), assuming that's the hypothesis, you negotiate for a fee less than what they currently have, the wholesale fee -- again part of the hypothesis -- what happens to the Delta? Do you reduce the fees charged to subscribers?
9281 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: In my experience we have rarely had negotiations where the fees go down, but in that very happy circumstance those savings are likely to be reinvested in the service.
9282 You know, the content costs do not comprise a significant amount of the cost of basic service, there are lots of other things that go into the cost of basic, and if we were -- if we were lucky enough to actually reduce the cost of Vision TV for example, it wouldn't be more than $0.01 or $0.02 cents and you don't start a marketing campaign saying to consumers "You are going to save $0.02 a month.
9283 So I think -- Greg, you are the marketer, do you have anything to add to that?
9284 MR. GOODWIN: No, I think, Ann, you covered it well.
9285 The savings wouldn't be such that we would -- it would change pricing by sort of $1.00 or $2.00 and absolutely we would look to reinvest in applications and innovation on our system.
9286 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. With the other BDUs we talked about what was described as the mark-up situation, they felt that that wasn't a correct description of it. So assuming a service is added to basic at, let's say, X cents -- $0.07, it doesn't matter, all right. How do you -- it has been said by some that the rule of thumb should be doubling that and that's what the subscriber would have to pay.
9287 What's your view on that?
9288 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Do you want to start?
9289 MR. GOODWIN: Sure.
9290 So we would certainly agree with the other BDUs that in basic and our theme packs we don't think about pricing in sort of a cost-plus mark-up basis. That may apply in more stand-alone packages that we would have or à la carte where we have a revenue-share model with the content provider.
9291 So we sort of have two factors we think about when we set our basic pricing. The first would be the competitive environment, so where are we priced relative to our competitors in the market for a similar basket of goods. That will include the content we are providing as well as the hardware and set-top boxes and the additional features that our service may have, for example Optik on the go sort of TV anywhere product. Sometimes that basket of goods compares favourably, sometimes we are priced higher, but the competitive environment is a key factor.
9292 The second thing that we think about at TELUS is simplicity of pricing and being clear and simple for customers. So our theme pack approach, with very skinny basic and then theme packs that are fully configurable within combos, you know, choose any six theme packs or any nine theme packs at a discounted basis, we price those theme packs all identically. So today they are all $9.00 and they contain varying numbers of channels and varying numbers of HD channels there.
9293 That's a principle and a rule of thumb that we think is very valuable for us in communicating to customers and also making it simple for us to sell and support.
9294 So because we have that sort of fixed price per theme pack we tend to think about sort of margins relative to how many channels we place in a theme pack. So we have some theme packs that have a lot of channels and a lot of cost where our margins are quite slim or negative, others that are more attractive from a margin perspective. We try to add channels and manage those margins by choosing where we put a channel in a theme pack rather than putting it somewhere and setting a price.
9295 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I think in today's competitive environment and -- you know, we are a new entrant BDU who is competing fiercely for subscribers in the west and in parts of Quebec -- the concept of a mark-up that we can simply charge whatever we want to the consumer is simply incorrect in today's competitive environment.
9296 THE CHAIRPERSON: By competitive environment you include other BDUs in the marketplace?
9297 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: As well as other options for obtaining content, whether it's over-the-top or simply broadband over the Internet, there are numerous ways that Canadians consume content nowadays and the windows and really the whole business is changing dramatically.
9298 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, let's take those separately because the licensed BDUs, or the exempted BDUs, more traditional cable, terrestrial BDUs, moving around from one technology, one kind of BDU, whether it is moving to satellite or IP-based or traditional terrestrial, there are barriers for people moving around, right? There is a lethargy, there are technology costs, aren't there? So couldn't you get away with a slight price difference?
9299 MR. GOODWIN: There certainly are some barriers and, as Ann said, as a new entrant sort of we are working hard to gain market share. We have tried to address a number of those barriers through marketing means. One you alluded to would be the equipment costs. You know, perhaps at a competitor the customer owns four or five of their set-top boxes, we have structured our offer to be able to replace those without an additional cost to the customer.
9300 So I think certainly lethargy is part of it, but to a large extent customers are able to and can switch quite easily between BDUs.
9301 THE CHAIRPERSON: How much churn do you see towards other BDUs as opposed to over-the-top? I notice you made some comments about over-the-top in your introduction.
9302 MR. GOODWIN: I don't want to sort of disclose a number for competitive reasons, but we are extremely happy with our churn, it seems to be comparing very well to established carriers and we have invested heavily in our sort of retention and customer experience efforts across reliability and many other factors, call centre service, to drive that churn down. So we certainly --
9303 THE CHAIRPERSON: Without speaking to yours specifically, you are saying you are comparable to other traditional BDUs, what would be your assessment of the churn factor between BDUs, traditional BDUs, not over-the-top type?
9304 MR. GOODWIN: I would say of customers that cancel, our most recent survey, about half of them said they chose another BDU and roughly the other half said, when we phone them -- we do churn surveys after they leave -- when we ask them who you're current carrier is they say, "I don't currently have one". So that's certainly not to say all of those are over-the-top or alternate providers, many people are sort of between homes or leaving the category temporarily for economic reasons, but that number of sort of half our churn are saying they don't have an alternate provider is at an all-time high by sort of 20 or 30 points.
9305 THE CHAIRPERSON: With respect to so-called over-the-top services, so someone leaves you, or any licensed BDUs, wouldn't you agree with me there are some people who could choose to do it, the content is mostly entertainment content, one doesn't get local news, unlikely to get a lot of live sports, certainly don't have the live result-type programming where there is a competition and people like to vote and participate in that, so there is a disincentive to go to any type of over-the-top subscription VOD-type service, isn't there?
9306 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: You know, there is a lot of content that is increasingly offered by the broadcasters themselves on their own websites and making business models on other platforms, so when I look at my own local television provider I can get the newscast online, so if I wanted to I could leave my BDU and still get my local news. I can get access to the sports programming that I like generally through NHL.com for example.
9307 So there really are numerous ways that you can survive over-the-top today and I think that if we attempt to say that it's really inconvenient to consumers and we don't look at all the other content that is available out there by broadcasters themselves, as I say, we are doing a disservice to the regulated system by not acknowledging a very real threat.
9308 THE CHAIRPERSON: One of the questions I asked of other panelists is, there may be a large group of Canadians, whether it is a linguistic group or aboriginal Canadians or Canadians with disabilities, that on a national footprint are a considerable number of people, but in a given territory or area may be less numerous.
9309 When you go about putting together your packages and choosing what you will offer or not offer, with respect to these groups that are important, but minority in a certain way, how do you go about that?
9310 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I am going to ask Isabelle to respond with respect to the French-language services, for example, because our main BDU service is out West, and what we have done there is made many services, including ARTV -- I am expecting that question to come up -- we do offer ARTV, and we offer a very compelling package, at a significant discount for that minority.
9311 MME RIOUX : Oui. Dans notre territoire de l'Ouest, on peut avoir 20 chaînes francophones pour 10 dollars par mois, ce qui est vraiment une offre intéressante. Alors, on peut prendre l'offre de base tout simplement et ensuite ajouter les chaînes francophones si c'est vraiment ça notre intérêt. Donc, il n'y a pas de barrière pour ces groupes minoritaires là dans l'Ouest du Canada.
9312 Et au Québec, bien entendu, on a TV5 sur la base déjà, même si ce n'est pas réglementé, et ARTV est dans un de nos forfaits les plus pénétrés.
9313 LE PRÉSIDENT : Et votre offre de base est de combien?
9314 MME RIOUX : Dans quel territoire?
9315 LE PRÉSIDENT : Dans l'Ouest. Celui dont vous parliez dans l'Ouest avec ARTV, vous me dites que le volet additionnel francophone coûte 10 dollars. Ça, ça s'ajoute à une offre de base de combien?
9316 MME RIOUX : Oui. Je vais laisser Greg answer the cost of basic in the West.
9317 MME MAINVILLE-NEESON : Vingt-neuf dollars, $29 out West.
9318 THE CHAIRPERSON: So a francophone could, for $39 -- I guess there are taxes on top of that, which you never put as part of your packaging costs, but they would still have to them. So for about $39 a francophone living in a minority situation out West could, if they were to take your service, have how many Canadian French-language services?
9319 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: They would receive three theme packs, French-language theme packs, which include both Canadian and foreign French-language services, but the majority are Canadian, I believe. In fact, there are only two that --
9320 MR. GOODWIN: I have just been counting here quickly. There are 17 unique channels, plus the high definition pairs where they are available.
9321 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of the 17, how many are Canadian?
9322 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Those 17 are Canadian.
9323 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are all Canadian French services, French-language services.
9324 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: That's right.
9325 MME RIOUX : Oui. Alors, 20 au total avec les trois autres de langue française qui sont internationaux.
9326 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Et vous avez fait des études pour... Je donne ça comme exemple là. Ma question était plus large que ça. On parlait des autochtones aussi, puis des gens avec divers handicaps.
9327 Mais comment vous avez décidé de faire ça? Est-ce que vous parlez au groupe? Est-ce que vous faites des études de marché? Comment vous abordez le choix que vous offrez?
9328 MR. GOODWIN: At the risk of my poor French not getting the translation quite right, I think the question was about our market research program to make our choices of content.
9329 THE CHAIRPERSON: For minority groups, because it is easy to figure out what the majority wants. It tends to be more popular -- populist almost. I am thinking about the minority that might lose out.
9330 MR. GOODWIN: Much as Mr. Purdy described yesterday, from Rogers, we do have sort of a primary research program that we use to identify demand and sub-segments, and that feeds into our choices of channels to add on the system.
9331 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: It might be interesting to note, with respect to the French-language services, that we are essentially offering everything there is to offer, and have done so at a discount, so a lower cost for those three packages.
9332 Therefore, the point is, we still have a very low penetration rate, and we are offering everything we possibly can at the lowest possible rate that we can.
9333 That, in itself, is telling to us, that there is little interest in continuing to try to expand in that particular area, if we have such low penetration for the best possible offer that we can give.
9334 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So it's not the 1 to 10 rule that is driving your decisions on French language, you just want to offer everything.
9335 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: We are in a bit of a unique position, in that we do operate both in Quebec and out West. So, once we have acquired those signals for one of our BDUs, we are able to then, also, offer those channels to the other side of the country.
9336 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take it that your arrangements generally provide for a tiered wholesale rate, depending on if it's a majority or minority situation. Correct?
9337 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yes, absolutely.
9338 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have programming services approached you to make payments to get carriage?
9339 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Some services have approached us to offer payment for basic carriage.
9340 We heard yesterday, and I am acknowledging that general affiliation agreements are confidential. However, Rogers did note that the Shopping Channel is one such example, where they want very high penetration.
9341 They are in our basic package and they do pay us to be there.
9342 THE CHAIRPERSON: And your corporate policy is, if it is offered, you will accept?
9343 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I'm not sure if that is a corporate policy for whatever service there is, but certainly if a service is offering to pay us, or offering a valuable service at no cost, it makes eminent sense to include it for all of our subscribers.
9344 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you ever ask if it's not offered?
9345 Is that sometimes part of the negotiation with programming services?
9346 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Ask for payment?
9347 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
9348 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I don't think that has ever been done.
9349 MR. GOODWIN: No, not to my knowledge.
9350 THE CHAIRPERSON: So when it occurs, it is because of the service itself.
9351 Is that correct?
9352 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: That's right. In established practice, like The Shopping Channel.
9353 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was reading carefully your written submission, but also your verbal remarks here. Some have suggested that a "Must Offer" scenario would be the right balancing point.
9354 In other words, it provides for diversity of services, at least for some -- I am not saying all of them, but some of them -- and yet deals with your concerns about competitiveness, pricing above the market of your competitors and things like that.
9355 Are you as unsupportive of "Must Offer" scenarios?
9356 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Certainly, we find it less objectionable to have a distribution order that is on a "Must Offer" basis.
9357 However, we have to recognize that there is a cost to launching new services. In particular, for us, there are significant costs with respect to the signal acquisition. We ensure that all of our services -- because we are really looking to offer the best possible quality of service to our subscribers. That is what Optik TV is all about. We are looking for fibre connections, and not necessarily downlinks from satellite, which means that sometimes signal acquisition costs can be quite significant, as well as just general opportunity costs.
9358 We probably launch somewhere around 25 to 30 channels a year, and we have the human resources and the financial resources -- the capital -- to do about that.
9359 So if there is a "Must Offer" regime, then that means that some of the other services, including all of the Category B's that are on our list for launch, might get bumped by a service that is not necessarily demanded by consumers, but has been mandated.
9360 That is the opportunity cost that we would be facing in a "Must Offer" situation.
9361 We do have a constant list of services that want to get on our service, and we are constantly launching new services in order to meet consumer demand and, no matter how small, to offer services on a discretionary basis.
9362 It is difficult to conceive, in this regulatory environment, where we have created an open licensing regime for Category B services, that somehow some services would now be able to be granted, virtually automatically, a licence, and then a distribution order, and bump other services which are attempting to be competitive and seeking carriage by making their service that much more valuable to consumers, and therefore obtaining carriage in that way.
9363 Don't forget, we are not vertically integrated, we are an independent BDU that seeks to offer as many services as we possibly can. That's how we compete, and "Must Offer" obligations are simply going to detract from those other services which you have chosen to license, which have every right, also, to compete to get launched.
9364 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you are an important player in the marketplace, because your behaviour might incite competitors to offer the services as well. Correct?
9365 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Absolutely, and I think that Greg has an example of where that has happened.
9366 In particular, I think you want to talk about Hollywood Suite.
9367 MR. GOODWIN: Yes. Again, this was an anecdote recounted yesterday by Rogers.
9368 In the West, as an independent provider, we were the first to launch the Hollywood Suite set of channels. In this case, actually, our main competitor hasn't yet launched it, but just a short visit to their customer website indicates that there is quite a lot of demand in their customer base to have that service added to their system, as well.
9369 THE CHAIRPERSON: Going back to -- we have two or three minority French-language -- not French-language, but targeting minority communities. If they could make a go of it, does your philosophy of carry everything that is available mean that you would carry if they launched?
9370 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: We would be very interested in looking at every service that gets licensed, and these services in particular.
9371 I think that Isabelle showed a lot of interest in reading those applications, and they might be something that we would be interested in, both in Quebec, and if it is carried in Quebec --
9372 THE CHAIRPERSON: They may answer, however, that the reality of the amount of subscribers, and the fees you provide, and the penetration may not be sufficient to make a go of it.
9373 Is that correct?
9374 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: And that would be unfortunate. We certainly hope that it would have that competitive effect, that if we carry them, maybe others will carry them as well.
9375 In which case, that is how you start as a new service. You start somewhere, and we might not be the biggest out there, and we might not make a huge difference initially, but we will have an impact on the competition, which will then choose to carry them as well.
9376 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. You have theme packs, but you also, if I am not mistaken, do a lot of pick-and-pay.
9377 MR. GOODWIN: I would describe what we have as à la carte channel choices, rather than pick-and-pay, in the sense of Vidéotron in Quebec.
9378 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's early. Explain to me what the difference is.
9379 MR. GOODWIN: I will try to explain.
9380 We start with our basic tier, and once you have that, and the service is up and running, we have a selection of individual channels that customers can, you know, choose as they see fit based on what appeals to them.
9381 What we --
9382 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's not all the channels. It's just a group of channels?
9383 MR. GOODWIN: It's a sub-set of channels, the ones that --
9384 THE CHAIRPERSON: What percentage would it be of the total programming services?
9385 MR. GOODWIN: Oh, I would estimate it might be 20 or 25 percent of the total channels. It's certainly all the ones that we are allowed to carry à la carte based on either our -- you know, our penetration or other things in our contracts with our providers.
9386 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you say those were percentages or numbers, the 20 to 25?
9387 MR. GOODWIN: That's sort of an off the top of my head estimate on percentage.
9388 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9389 MR. GOODWIN: Of our --
9390 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Perhaps to be clear, we could add that we have none of these services which are vertically integrated offered à la carte because we are contractually not able to do so.
9391 And the difference between à la carte and pick and pay it's really a regional difference. We went through this and explored this at length in the expedited hearing that we and other partners, Cogeco and EastLink, went through with Bell Media in trying to obtain an affiliation agreement.
9392 Where we operate in Quebec and we do have pick and pay in Quebec that matches the Videotron offer as well as the Bell TV offer, but in the rest of Canada pick and pay is prevented and Bell Media provided on the record some information as to why that is.
9393 So not only do we not offer pick and pay, but they also will not make many of those services available on an à la carte basis.
9394 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in the 20-25 percent does that include Canadian and non-Canadian services?
9395 MR. GOODWIN: Yes, it does.
9396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Could you venture a percentage between those two?
9397 MR. GOODWIN: I'm not sure. I'm not sure I can, off the top of my head.
9398 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Maybe just to -- let's save some time. Could you do it through an undertaking and you can do the calculation that way for me, second?
9399 MR. GOODWIN: Yes, we certainly can.
9400 THE CHAIRPERSON: But I take it in that group of Canadians there is a considerable number of them that are VIs and, therefore, all those would not be on pick and pay?
9401 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: We do have some that are vertically integrated and certainly no Category As.
9402 I'm looking here. You know, we do have MUCH Loud and MUCH Vibe, Mystery. But the majority -- Book Television -- but the majority are non-vertically integrated.
9403 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And you talk about the situation in Quebec. I'm going to describe the situation and I'd like you to agree or disagree with my characterization.
9404 You said you're matching Bell and Videotron and Bell probably had to match Videotron. So the moment Videotron went into the market with a more consumer-driven pick and pay model or at least more choice for the consumers, the other BDUs had to follow. Would that be a fair characterization of how it evolved?
9405 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yes, that's essentially what happened in Quebec. Pushing for more customer choice has been a battle that we've been fighting, you know, over the past few years.
9406 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why isn't it occurring elsewhere?
9407 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Basically, the revenue model for the Category A services, I think, is such that the programming services feel that on a -- if they are not included in higher penetration packages and, on a pick and pay basis, I believe, and we are not programmers so I can't speak to exactly -- completely to their rationale for this statement.
9408 But what's been said to us specifically by Bell Media and it's on the record of that expedited hearing, is that the business model is simply not there. If consumers have full choice they will not get the penetration required for them to meet their Cancon requirements.
9409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I had some questions on Starlight but your presentation answered them.
9410 In terms of network capacity should we provide for mandatory distribution? Are there any network constraints from your perspective?
9411 MR. GOODWIN: So TELUS, and Optik TV as an IPTV provider, we don't have any technical constraints to the number of channels we can carry on our system just by the nature of the technology. It's only sending through the channel you're watching from the edge of the network to the television. So unlike a cable system we don't sort of have a bandwidth limitation.
9412 That being said, and I think Ann mentioned earlier, we certainly do have, you know, financial and opportunity cost constraints in terms of limited budget in any given year to launch new services. Mandatory distribution channels coming in will sort of change the -- you know, change the order and delay some other channels that we would launch.
9413 THE CHAIRPERSON: That are in your internal plans.
9414 MR. GOODWIN: Yes.
9415 THE CHAIRPERSON: At paragraph 81 of your written submission, and you've addressed it again today, there are some -- there is a relationship with Sun News. And you said, you know, you resisted putting it in the overcrowded primary news -- let me try that again -- overcrowded primary news theme pack.
9416 Why did you take that position?
9417 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, to be clear, we resisted at the rate that they were seeking at the time in their offer.
9418 First of all, their offer did -- and again, I don't want to speak out of turn with respect to the confidentiality of such negotiations, but it did require penetration rates that would have required more than the news pack. Just the news pack itself, we would not have reached the penetration that they were seeking for their service at a rate that we consider not commercially reasonable for the launch of a news service, new competitive service.
9419 So in our counteroffer we suggested a lower rate for the news pack as well as à la carte distribution on a revenue-shared basis.
9420 THE CHAIRPERSON: When did these exchanges occur?
9421 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Back in 2011 or so.
9422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Some time has passed.
9423 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: And they have not returned.
9424 THE CHAIRPERSON: There has been no negotiations or discussions since then?
9425 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: They haven`t responded to our offer.
9426 THE CHAIRPERSON: And would you agree with me that it's no longer a news service. You actually know what it's about now?
9427 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: M'hmm. And it's a news service to the extent that it does not have the same established nature, let's say, of the current incumbents, you know, either CTV News or Newsworld. It does not have the viewership and, therefore, usually viewership is what commands a higher rate for your service.
9428 So a news service that even though it's now launched and we have an indication of what the programming is like, they don't have an established viewership that warrants the rate, which is what they're requesting is essentially on par with an established service. That's not how new services launch in the current --
9429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, the fortunate part of this hearing is we have probably helped their brand recognition somewhat.
9430 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: There's that.
9431 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned that you also, as part of these negotiations, talked about distribution à la carte. And you might want to answer this through an written undertaking because I think you will not want to divulge those negotiations.
9432 THE CHAIRPERSON: But if somebody in your scenario wanted to get your basic -- I guess it's out west or would be --
9433 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: $29.00.
9434 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- $29.00.
9435 I'd be interested in knowing what the à la carte charge would have been to a subscriber that just wanted that additional à la carte service.
9436 MR. GOODWIN: Right now, all of our à la carte channels are priced at $4.00 a month and that would be the price we'd launch Sun News.
9437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So, somebody who wanted to get Sun News would presumably have to pay his --
9438 MR. GOODWIN: $29.00 plus the $4.00.
9439 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- $29.00 plus $4.00 a month to get that?
9440 MR. GOODWIN: Yes.
9441 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Okay, I believe those are our questions.
9442 Oh, wait, no. There are some emails.
9443 Okay, Commissioner Simpson?
9444 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.
9445 I'd like to go back to a comment you made about Russia Today. You said that their business model was one of getting as much exposure as they could.
9446 I'd like to tie that together with a statement you made, that it's not enough for a service that's coming to you to be Canadian in content as its only criteria. So I'd like you to help me understand something.
9447 Basic is a territory that is coveted by a distributor because it's one of your prime tools for seeking subscription. It's also the prime tool for Canadian services through the lens of the Commission to be able to get exposure to channels that we think are of significant importance.
9448 What makes Russian television given that it's not a news service -- it's more of a commentary service -- what makes it qualify in your mind to be distributed on basic?
9449 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, again, I can't divulge exactly the terms of the agreement, but there is no cost to consumers for us carrying Russia Today in our basic package.
9450 So that's very different from the business model where a discretionary service chooses to -- the negotiations of which pack and what penetration you might get for your service will determine your fee. So if you go in a very high penetrated package, generally your fee is less.
9451 And you know, to the extent that your question also relates to Sun News they were looking for both, the high penetration and the high rate, something that is simply not commercially reasonable in our view.
9452 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Am I, to sort of extract out of what you said, that because most distributors are saying mandatory carriage with or without a subscription fee is just really not in the cards, but in this instance there is something different about the relationship with Russia Today.
9453 So one, by process of elimination, has to assume that it's got a shopping channel model?
9454 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: You know, each service that's included in basic -- and we're certainly not saying that offering services on basic are out of the question.
9455 We do prefer to have a very skinny basic for a very skinny price. But to the extent that services offer a real value, we're not opposed to including them in basic without a charge in order for their business model, for larger exposure, to function.
9456 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: A last question. All news organizations are struggling with, you know, the pay versus free in the digital space, and the jury is still out on that, but going back to your comment that Russia Today has an exposure business model, in other words, give us the eyeballs and we'll take care of ourselves, distributors are not audience-focused but they are preoccupied with household behaviour.
9457 Is there anything that you can share with the Commission by way of an undertaking that could be confidential that would give us any ideas as to how that strategy is working?
9458 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: The strategy for a programming service like Russia Today or --
9459 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: No. More the issue of the strategy of exposure is all we need, just get us in the store window and we'll take care of everything else. Is there anything you can share?
9460 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I'm not sure we actually have a whole lot we can share. We're not in the programming business and --
9461 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I understand, but you're in the household behaviour business.
9462 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yes, and, you know, we assume that it's working for them since they haven't sought to change the agreement that we have with them, you know, any of the services that we currently offer on basic on those terms. I'm --
9463 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You don't know, but if there is, you would be --
9464 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: I can certainly take the undertaking that if I do find something, then we will.
9465 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.
9466 THE CHAIRPERSON: I forgot to ask you a question before I pass it on to Commissioner Poirier and that's with respect to the undertakings of your news services.
9467 I take it you will be able to complete that, have already started --
9468 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yes.
9469 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and will deliver it for the 2nd?
9470 MS MAINVILLE-NEESON: We'll even attempt to take Rogers' challenge and be the first one in.
9471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So it's now a competitive market in terms of undertakings. Great!
9472 Madame Poirier.
9473 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Oui. J'ai une question concernant les services francophones.
9474 Vous venez de dire tantôt, Madame Rioux, que ce n'était pas très populaire les forfaits francophones, je pense, entre autres dans l'Ouest, auprès des groupes de langue officielle en situation minoritaire.
9475 J'aimerais avoir votre réaction à un commentaire qui a été fait hier par M. Charles Clément d'On Screen Manitoba, qui a dit : « Il y a peu d'intérêt parce qu'on ne se voit pas. Notre réalité à nous, celle des Francos en situation minoritaire, n'est pas reflétée dans ces fameux canaux que vous distribuez, ou pas assez, mais avec une chaîne comme ACCENTS ou comme UNIS, où on se verrait davantage, cela serait beaucoup plus populaire, donc, deviendrait même un meilleur modèle d'affaires pour votre groupe francophone."
9476 Alors, j'aimerais connaître votre réaction à cela.
9477 MME RIOUX : On pense qu'il y a de la représentativité des groupes minoritaires par l'entremise des chaînes qui existent déjà. Peut-être qu'il n'y en a pas suffisamment.
9478 La seule chose, par contre, c'est que la chaîne TFO existe depuis plusieurs années, et c'est une chaîne qui n'obtient pas nécessairement des cotes d'écoute qui sont si élevées que ça non plus. Donc, on pourrait comparer le service de TFO, si on veut avoir un portrait plus basé sur des faits, dans le territoire, par exemple, de Rogers.
9479 Nous avons décidé d'offrir la chaîne TFO à nos clients du Québec pour représenter des minorités également qui pourraient provenir du marché hors Québec, qui viendraient se joindre à nous dans notre marché à nous. Alors, on fait vraiment un effort pour offrir le plus de contenu possible qui va représenter la diversité de ces groupes-là.
9480 Mais on pense qu'il y a beaucoup de représentativité actuellement avec l'offre qui existe.
9481 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Et TFO est offert -- oui, puis vous continuez, Madame Mainville -- mais TFO est offert où en dehors de l'Ontario avec TELUS?
9482 MME RIOUX : Présentement, on l'offre au Québec et on regarde... On vient juste de la lancer, d'ailleurs. On est très fier.
9483 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Oui.
9484 MME RIOUX : Puis on regarde pour la lancer également dans le reste du Canada. C'est quelque chose qu'on regarde.
9485 MME MAINVILLE-NEESON : J'allais juste renchérir que nous offrons déjà certains services qui offrent la représentativité des francophones en situation minoritaire. Entre autres, ARTV, TV5 se doivent d'offrir ce genre de programmation qui serait d'intérêt pour les groupes minoritaires à l'extérieur du Québec. Ils sont offerts dans les forfaits que nous offrons et nous avons déjà très peu d'intérêt pour les forfaits que nous offrons en français.
9486 Si vous le voulez, nous pouvons aussi tenter d'obtenir des statistiques concernant le visionnement de SRC dans l'Ouest, qui serait quand même un service qui offre du contenu pour les situations minoritaires, si ça pourrait vous aider dans vos délibérations.
9487 LE PRÉSIDENT : Je pense que c'est un peu tard dans le processus pour ajouter ce genre de preuve.
9488 MME MAINVILLE-NEESON : Oui. Parfait!
9489 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Et juste pour compléter, TFO reste un service éducatif. Sa nature de service est complètement différente de celle demandée par les deux chaînes francophones qui visent presque toutes les catégories d'émissions. Est-ce que cela n'aurait pas un impact?
9490 MME RIOUX : TFO a une mission éducative, mais vous pourriez regarder dans leur programmation qu'ils ont beaucoup de choses qui sortent de ces cadres-là également. Ils ont une programmation assez diversifiée, culturelle, beaucoup sur le divertissement. Aussi, ils ont beaucoup de séries. Alors, c'est quand même assez complet comme service.
9491 CONSEILLÈRE POIRIER : Merci, Monsieur le Président.
9492 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci. Ce sont nos questions.
9493 We will take a two-minute break just to do the panel switch and hear from Canadian Media Production Association.
--- Upon recessing at 1006
--- Upon resuming at 1007
9494 LE PRÉSIDENT : Donc, à l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
9495 So, we'll resume with the next presenter.
9496 As is usual, Mr. Hennessy, I would ask you to identify your colleagues and make your presentation -- and use your microphone as well.
9497 MR. HENNESSY: It must be addictive, I'm copying Norm Bolen.
9498 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Michael Hennessy and I am the President and CEO of the Canadian Media Production Association.
9499 Please let me introduce my colleagues. On my immediate left is Marla Boltman, the CMPA's General Counsel. To Marla's left is Marc Séguin, our Senior Vice President, Policy. On my right is Jay Thomson, our VP Regulatory.
9500 I'd like to begin by offering these general observations about the issues that you are considering and struggling with in this proceeding and the challenges those present.
9501 In a marketplace where digital has empowered consumers as never before and enabled increased competition and choice within the Canadian broadcasting system, it is obviously increasingly hard to find the right balance between the interests of consumers generally and the achievement of the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
9502 In seeking that balance, our view is that the overarching objective for the CRTC must be to ensure a significant opportunity for Canadians to benefit from the development, production and exhibition of Canadian programming within the system.
9503 Let me be clear. We do not oppose more choice or more flexible packaging options because that is where the market has moved. But you can make great programming today and still fail to connect with audiences if that programming is underfunded or not exhibited, scheduled or promoted properly.
9504 The issue of the negative impact on affordability if certain 9(1)(h) services are approved has been a central issue in this proceeding. We believe that the impact of 9(1)(h) services on "affordability" is a red herring that threatens to overshadow the achievement of more significant objectives under the Act.
9505 The CMPA, however, is not blind to the fact that by using section 9(1)(h) to add services to the basic package the Commission will trigger BDU rate increases.
9506 But it would be a stretch to blame consumer dissatisfaction with the price of their BDU service on your rare decisions to add new, exceptional Canadian services to basic. That may be the spin, but the reality is that the cost of basic is already heavily inflated by the inclusion of the BDUs' own services, including their high-cost sports services.
9507 Even if the Commission were to mandate additional services like Starlight on basic or increase APTN's rate, it would still amount to a fraction of the total cost of basic service, which is often above $30. And arguably, if past is prologue, rates -- because they are unregulated -- will go up even if no services are added. So from a pure cost/affordability question we need to ask whether the basic service needs to be as "fat" as it is today.
9508 The idea of basic service has morphed into something much more than what the Commission has deemed mandatory to achieve its objectives under the Act. It serves commercial interests in attracting consumers to subscribe and it also serves corporate interest by providing advantageous placement and reach to affiliated services.
9509 But remember that from a consumer perspective, services placed on basic for commercial reasons or because they are affiliated are just as mandatory as those classified 9(1)(h) by the Commission, and arguably a lot more expensive on a per channel basis.
9510 So let me get to APTN.
9511 The Commission originally licensed APTN as a 9(1)(h) service so that Canada's Aboriginal Peoples would have access to a national television service to exchange information, ideas, entertainment and cultural perspectives. Those reasons are still valid today and still apply.
9512 However, Aboriginal producers have raised a number of concerns about APTN. In particular, they question whether APTN's public commitment to licensing projects from a diverse range of independent Aboriginal producers is reflected in its actual practices.
9513 You heard Delores Smith yesterday express concerns about how "Aboriginal control" should be defined for APTN. Many Aboriginal producers share those and related concerns, which we see as needing to be addressed through Terms of Trade.
9514 Aboriginal producers also have real concerns about APTN's dealings with its affiliated for- profit production company, Animiki See. The Aboriginal producers have told us that APTN utilizes Animiki See to fulfill part of its 80-percent independent programming production obligation.
9515 One way it does this, they tell us, is that it requires Aboriginal producers to partner with Animiki See as a condition of renewing their programs. So an Aboriginal producer who would have had control, financially and otherwise, on the first year of their program would then have to share or even relinquish that control once partnered with Animiki See and, more importantly, would be required to split their fees with APTN's affiliate.
9516 The Aboriginal producers have also told us that APTN's written reply on this issue did not tell the whole story. For example, while APTN stated that it has allocated 98 percent or more of its funding to Aboriginal-owned productions, what we don't know is how much of that funding is flowing to Animiki See and how much is flowing to independent Aboriginal producers. We are told that APTN spends the majority of its licensing dollars on shows that Animiki See is a partner on, leaving whatever money is left over for the independent Aboriginal producers.
9517 Mr. Chairman, we cannot underscore enough the importance of APTN for Aboriginal producers. The sad reality is that APTN is their only real program buyer. That is why many of them are not speaking out individually in this proceeding on the issues we have raised on their behalf.
9518 That is why we continue to submit that without your investigation of these allegations these issues will remain unresolved. There is a real need for transparency here regarding the role of Animiki See, particularly given APTN's special 9(1)(h) status.
9519 We therefore ask the Commission to pursue the Animikee See matter in depth with APTN during its reply phase. This issue goes to the heart of APTN's mandate. Hence, our call for APTN to be required to file transparent and comprehensive independent production reports.
9520 Let me now turn to the Starlight application.
9521 The Commission will know from our interventions in this process and in many others that we are deeply concerned about the future of Canadian English-language feature films in this country. You will also know that we strongly believe that Canadian feature films are and remain an important component of PNI in the Canadian broadcasting system. And that is why we believe the Commission should play a critical role in supporting the development, production, promotion and exhibition of Canadian feature films.
9522 Now, last fall the Department of Canadian Heritage released the results of its public opinion survey on Canadians' attitudes and opinions towards Canadian feature films. Those results confirmed what our filmmakers already knew, that Canadians want access to Canadian films on television.
9523 As the Starlight panel noted, television is the only place where many Canadians will ever get the chance to see Canadian films. Insofar as arguments about over-the-top alternatives, the reality remains that linear television is still the number one place to consume content. The Internet is a critical element of any broadcast strategy going forward but the argument that the Internet is a substitute for TV carriage is still a long way from reality.
9524 The important role television plays, and always has, for Canadian films also goes beyond just broadcasting them. Through their licence fees, television broadcasters have played a critical part in the creation of Canadian films too. But broadcasters have not only pulled back from promoting Canadian films, they've also dropped the fees they're prepared to pay for the few films they still license.
9525 This is where Starlight fits in. It has the real potential to play a big part in addressing Canada's feature film crisis. It has the real potential to make a special and unique contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system. And in doing so, Starlight has the real potential to increase consumer choice by giving Canadians in all parts of this country regular access to Canadian films for a very reasonable price.
9526 One thing we do believe Starlight still needs to do, however, is to allocate a substantial part of its programming budget to the licensing of new Canadian films. This is in addition to its plan through the Starlight Fund to fully finance new films by emerging filmmakers. It is what we have called the critical third leg in the Starlight business model. A defined and well-funded plan to license new films through this traditional broadcast licensing model will ensure the creation and presentation of the kinds of films that are now receiving critical acclaim in Canada and around the world, in addition to emerging filmmakers.
9527 We are pleased that Starlight is on the record as recognizing the importance of licensing to increase its stock of new films. It's fair to say, though, that we're still waiting to hear how significant its commitment might be. In our view, as we stated in our submission, the Commission should require Starlight by condition of licence to allocate to the licensing of new films an amount that is at least equal to the amount it allocates to the licensing of old ones.
9528 Mr. Chairman, I'd like to conclude my remarks by highlighting once again how important it is that the applicants in this proceeding agree to Terms of Trade. As the Commission has noted, Terms of Trade are in the best interest of the Canadian broadcasting system because of the stability and the clarity they ensure for producers and broadcasters.
9529 To us, this means all broadcasters, not just the large vertically integrated ones but also the independent ones and those who benefit from special 9(1)(h) status. Without Terms of Trade, true independence and the principle of fair dealing in the system are severely threatened.
9530 This proceeding is your chance to exercise your jurisdiction to build adherence to Terms of Trade into the new licences you may issue and the ones you will renew, in the best interest of the system.
9531 Thank you and we would be pleased to respond to your questions.
9532 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. The Vice-Chair will start off with some questions.
9533 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Good morning. Thank you for your presentation. It's pretty clear.
9534 Is there a Terms of Trade Agreement in place with APTN currently?
9535 MR. HENNESSY: No. We have sent them one. We just sent them one.
9536 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And negotiations have been ongoing for a number of years, I would imagine, since at least --
9537 MR. HENNESSY: Marla.
9538 MS BOLTMAN: The negotiations, well, they were supposed -- APTN sent a draft of the group called AMP in September and AMP was officially forming their group and involved us in the process, and we just got back to them recently with I guess what you could call a counter-offer. But the negotiations have not officially commenced. There's been no face-to-face meetings and no conversations.
9539 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I'm surprised you come here in support in their application and they haven't even been nice enough to sit down at the table with you and discuss Terms of Trade.
9540 MR. HENNESSY: I guess, Vice-Chair, we come from the premise that if there are any orphans in the system it's probably the Aboriginal community more than any others, and to me, the idea that we wouldn't support APTN, regardless of issues we had with them, I think would be unacceptable.
9541 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Do you have a -- you also mentioned the production company that -- and it would have been nice if some of the people on whose behalf you're speaking would have intervened or come forward and said, listen, this is the problem we have with the production company. It's a lot easier to have them here rather than you coming in saying, you know, not rumour has it but we've been told this and we've been told that. It's unfortunate that people don't come forward with issues of this nature.
9542 Talking about Aboriginal control, what form would you see this take? You're asking us to look into it. Do you have any suggestion to put on the table?
9543 MS BOLTMAN: I think the ownership structure of a production company can be very complex, the shareholders and who owns what in terms of Aboriginal control. It's something that we have put forth in our draft to APTN in how it should look, and certainly, we want to discuss with them further through Terms of Trade negotiations.
9544 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And what would you like from the Commission's behalf? I mean you talk about you want us to look into it. You want us to look into Aboriginal control and you want us to look into the agreement signed with Animiki See?
9545 MS BOLTMAN: Well, those are two -- there's sort of two different issues. There's the issue that Delores Smith raised yesterday about what is an Aboriginal production --
9546 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9547 MS BOLTMAN: -- and we think that that can be addressed through Terms of Trade.
9548 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: M'hmm.
9549 MS BOLTMAN: The issue with Animiki See deals with the independence and how productions are being licensed, who the production partners are, and that's something we think the Commission can help with through requiring APTN to file reports and have a more transparent showing of what's --
9550 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Would you like a condition of licence asking for a certain percentage to go to independent producers? I mean I'd like you to sort of put something a little more concrete behind this notion that you're throwing up in the air.
9551 MR. THOMSON: Well, we support the current condition of licence that APTN has, that they've agreed to maintain, which is that 80 percent of their schedule is to be devoted to programs produced by independent production companies. The next step is to ensure that when those shows are -- to ensure that that shows are actually independently produced.
9552 And to your point about the lack of information so far on the table, this is why we've asked for the transparent production reports. Once we see those reports coming in, provided that they provide the necessary information as to who the production company is, what is the share of the revenues and the payments and the licence fees and the ownership split, then we'll have more information for an evidence-based tribunal to present a more comprehensive presentation. But then you will have that information in front of you as well, so you will be able to investigate on your own if you need to.
9553 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9554 MR. HENNESSY: I think the intent -- and if you would like, we can come back, do an undertaking to give you a specific number.
9555 But the intent is actually to ensure that not only work but the actual revenues associated with that work flow through substantially to the independent producers that do the work. Otherwise, without the money, the concept of the independent producer has much less meaning.
9556 So we will put forward if you wish a hard number on that.
9557 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Mr. Chair, is that all right?
9558 Do you have a problem with the ask? I mean there was a 60-percent increase asked for in '05 and there's another 62.5-percent increase asked for today. Given what you're telling us about a somewhat lack of transparency, are you comfortable with that increase?
9559 MR. HENNESSY: I would like to be sure that it's going on screen and that it's going to meet that commitment to aboriginal producers.
9560 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9561 On the Starlight file much has been said over the last few days, I just want to sort of flush that out with you as well.
9562 How many films a year do we make in Canada right now?
9563 MR. SEGUIN: I can tell you that in 2011-2012 we produced 52 English-language theatrical films and we produced another 35 either French or other language theatrical films.
9564 And let me be crystal clear on what these numbers are. These numbers are derived from the CAVCO database and, as many of you may know, it doesn't necessarily mean that ultimately those films are released in theatres. CAVCO is actually a database that is at the financial stage of our production, it's the intention of the producer. But that is clearly the intention of the producer is to produce a grand total of 87 films in '11-'12 and that number has been dropping consistently over the last five years.
9565 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And some of the interveners that came up with the figure of 250 films a year, where does that come from?
9566 MR. SEGUIN: There's a lot of information about this --
9567 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Can you figure out that math?
9568 MR. SEGUIN: -- but the reality is, which is one of the reasons why for long time we have been asking for a proceeding to look at the theatrical film universe and how it intersects with the broadcasting sector.
9569 But I would point out that one of the reasons why the numbers seem to vary a lot is that it depends on what you include in the scope. If you include all theatrical films it would include short films. The numbers I have for short films, to give you an example, to just bolster the answer I just gave you, is that in 2011-2012 there were eight theatrical short films certified by CAVCO, English-language, and there were another five theatrical short films in the French market.
9570 So it depends on what you include in the scope. Does that include made-for-TVs? Often people confuse theatrical films with made-for-TV films. They are not all the same beast.
9571 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Doesn't matter where it's coming from.
9572 Just to be clear, NFB films would not be there necessarily either.
9573 MR. SEGUIN: Some people include them in their scope, some people don't. NFB doesn't qualify for CAVCO.
9574 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9575 MR. SEGUIN: So again, this scope --
9576 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Canada Council films as well, more arts film, wouldn't also -- they would be a film, but they would not necessarily go to CAVCO as well; correct?
9577 MR. HENNESSY: It is possible, yes.
9578 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9579 Starlight's ask basically is to the effect that people should have access -- Canadians should have access to their films, should compel them to have access to their films and we should ask Canadians to dip into their pockets on a second or third or fourth occasion to produce those films.
9580 On the exposure element, we heard from Rogers something to the effect that the numbers have increased from 2008 to 2011 in terms of the number of films that are available on screen, numbers to the effect that there are five Canadian feature films that are aired in prime time by linear broadcasters every single day.
9581 Does that number makes sense to you?
9582 MR. HENNESSY: I have no idea based on that and I guess, you know, when you say a linear broadcaster, are we -- you know, I would suspect for instance we are not talking about CTV, Global, Citytv for sure, or any of the major conventional English-language channels.
9583 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: What are we talking about?
9584 MR. HENNESSY: It may be that some of that is in the multi-channels that you see on pay, it may be -- I don't know where else. I'm just thinking, I mean "Space" often on the weekend will start a film at 10 o'clock at night.
9585 So I'm not trying to contradict their evidence, I haven't had a look at it, I assume the Starlight guys were kick on the tires on that pretty hard.
9586 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But even with respect to City, City, Rogers came before us and said they got 60 hours in the last broadcast year, 60 hours devoted to Canadian features on-air on City.
9587 MR. HENNESSY: Yes. I haven't seen that data before, but you know --
9588 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You haven't seen it. Okay.
9589 Are you comfortable with the administration costs for Starlight? I mean I look at their numbers over seven years, there is $300 million roughly in total over that period of time, $305 million, and the split is almost 50-50 between the fund and admin fees.
9590 Does that seem exorbitant?
9591 MR. HENNESSY: I think it's reaching a little beyond my scope to give you a good answer on that. Although to the extent you see it as exorbitant, that would be a good way to find within the company the money to actually license films.
9592 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I would hope that you would be comfortable before supporting this application that a respectable amount of the money that will be raised will go to directly towards production and not so much towards admin fees and advertising fees that aren't even applied towards promoting the films that they are producing.
9593 Has anyone taken a look at their numbers to see if you are comfortable with those numbers before supporting this application?
9594 MR. HENNESSY: Yes, we did.
9595 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And you are comfortable at the numbers that have been provided?
9596 MR. HENNESSY: I mean to the extent -- as you know, as Starlight said, they didn't say exactly how many people line up against those admin costs so that's a valid question I'm sure for you to ask them in reply.
9597 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9598 MR. HENNESSY: But the amount of money that's going towards both emerging filmmakers, and now that they are saying is going to go towards licensing of other Canadian films, in our view that is a significant contribution.
9599 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I'm just reading your paragraphs here and I'm trying to -- I think it's paragraph 30, you talk about:
"Starlight needs to allocate a substantial part of its programming budget to licensing new Canadian film. This, in addition to this plan..."
9600 Can can you put a little bit more meat on that bone? Do you have a problem with that?
9601 MR. HENNESSY: Yes, okay.
9602 So licensing as opposed to fully funding is more the traditional model where you are contributing to an element of the total cost structure.
9603 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
9604 MR. HENNESSY: You have Telefilm, tax credits, a whole bunch of other things, pay windows, and so average costs maybe of licensing a film could be $300,000. Sometimes that's a new film, sometimes it's closing the financing, sometimes it pays for additional promotion, but it is -- that's a very traditional model.
9605 What we are saying is, it's fine to say yes, let's make that kind of film that's underrepresented in Telefilm and it is targeted at emerging filmmakers, but in terms of all the other midrange filmmakers and higher levels filmmakers, you know, a Sarah Polley for instance or Danny Lyon that may be outside of -- sorry, not Danny Lyon, Danny Iron, that may be outside of the shareholders of the company --
9606 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Right.
9607 MR. HENNESSY: -- we think it's important that they are making films, too, because those are also films that resonate with audience. So you can do that.
9608 I mean it's like if you wanted -- what we are saying originally we started with the number which I think was around $6.5 million and we were talking back and forth with Starlight -- and they were uncomfortable in picking a number for obvious reasons because they don't know the rate, so we said, well, the $6.5 million is equivalent to what you would do acquiring library content and $6.5 million arguably could lead to licensing of up to 20 films a year. So it's a different way of increasing the supply.
9609 But I do agree with Starlight, if you don't know what the rate is, then it's hard to commit to a number. So that's why we were using the --
9610 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9611 There was another intervener that came in and said, you know, Starlight's plan is to fully fund or almost fully fund 10 films a year at $2 million or $3 million or $4 million a year. The other option is to license three or four times the number of films at the $300,000 or $400,000 rate.
9612 Do you have a position on that?
9613 MR. HENNESSY: Yes. I think that both things are important. I think that there is clearly a gap for emerging filmmakers that the fund model addresses. It's telling, I think, if you looked at the people at the table at the Starlight panel that there weren't a lot of young producers and directors there. And there's a reason for that, because it's getting harder and harder for young people to break into the business. The opportunities are shrinking. That to me is a problem. So the fund addresses that but, as I said, I think that the licensing allows you to increase the stock significantly at a lower cost for the producers that are actually starting to show established success in the market below that sort of top echelon that was sitting at the table.
9614 So I think a mix is the right thing and Starlight did agree to that in principle. There is not a number on the table what that is, but I think our members definitely think there should be a mix and we have agreement in principle on that.
9615 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Getting back to the echelon of people that were at the table that day and the Board, as near as we can see it from Starlight, people that are successful, people that have done well within the confines of the Canadian system, are you comfortable with the skin that they are putting in the game, if any?
9616 MR. HENNESSY: Am I comfortable with that?
9617 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes. I think it was "V" that said, you know, the ask is for sort of more public money -- their words, not mine -- but more public money, people but have been very successful have done very well coming back to the trough instead of putting some of their own resources into Starlight and putting some of their skin in the game, risking some of their capital if need be in this enterprise instead of coming back for more --
9618 MR. HENNESSY: Well, I assume there is an initial investment if you are a shareholder, so there is some skin in the game.
9619 I do see where you are going and that is obviously less an issue when you are licensing because you are putting a significant portion of your tax credits on the table. You are usually having to find other equity and investors outside of Telefilm, international partners or whatever to close. Increasingly we find our members have to find international partners. So I think that's a valid question to ask.
9620 In terms of should certain individuals put more skin in the game, I guess they would argue they already are putting the skin in the game by producing and directing films under traditional models.
9621 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9622 There is also the issue of retention of rights.
9623 Do you want to speak to me on that issue?
9624 MR. HENNESSY: Yes. It's important
9625 Given that Starlight is in agreement that they are going to make films under the traditional model as well as the fund, to me then it is critical. And, again, they have agreed that there has to be terms of trade around that because terms of trade defines fair dealing and the protection of rights for producers.
9626 If it's in a fund, okay, or within -- so Starlight is a broadcaster and they are also going to be operating a fund --
9627 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9628 MR. HENNESSY: -- and I'm not clear whether the fund for tax reasons will be separate or internal -- I think at this point they are looking at it internal -- but that would therefore, in essence, not be an independent production so it wouldn't be subject to terms of trade as far as I can tell.
9629 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: And you would be comfortable with that, Mr. Hennessy?
9630 MR. HENNESSY: I think well, you know, then we go back to what is the fund. Is producing the opportunity for an emerging filmmaker to get their first or second film into large-scale production, right, they get --
9631 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: With consumers money always.
9632 MR. HENNESSY: Yes.
9633 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Yes.
9634 MR. HENNESSY: You know, I'm happy to talk about the consumers money given some of the comments yesterday.
9635 But given there is theatrical release involved, they help set up distribution, that there is promotion, that there is first window and that there are opportunities for other windows, for an emerging -- a young emerging filmmaker that is a very good deal.
9636 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: Okay.
9637 MR. HENNESSY: So if you said to our members, we are going to create a new model where there aren't independent productions and it's just going to be a total studio model, I think we would have rebellion on our hands if that was the only way you could do it, because that would just be yet another way that broadcasters would be trying to tighten the screws on the independent productions.
9638 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: But it's a good trade-off.
9639 MR. HENNESSY: For an emerging --
9640 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: It's a good trade-off for trying to get your foot in the door.
9641 MR. HENNESSY: Yes. Yes.
9642 And I think that that is -- we do have to always ask that question in terms of because there are economic, social and cultural objectives -- obviously you know this -- that the Commission has to meet and I think one of them has to be about what about those future generations.
9643 I'm good, I'm near retirement, the world is blowing up all around me but, you know, I will be able to get out of here pretty quickly and then, you know, a few years later probably out of the whole game, you know. But the young people like my son who are trying to just find jobs in the media business, it's a hard slog. So from that perspective it is a great idea.
9644 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You raised the issue of consumers and their interest and you wanted to speak to the issue following some comments yesterday?
9645 MR. HENNESSY: Yes. I think that a lot of distributors were talking about if you raised the price of service through a mandatory order, you know, there is threat, you know, people may cut the cord. I think Greg was pretty good today in that he pointed out people don't look at it's because my basic went up, right, I mean I don't think many people just subscribe to basic, they certainly didn't when I was at TELUS or in the cable business.
9646 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: You hope not. You hope note. You hope they would be --
9647 MR. HENNESSY: No, absolutely. Absolutely. And there is that risk of consumer dissatisfaction, but it is quite clear.
9648 I think if you were to ask every distributor that appeared before you over the last couple of days -- or maybe there are still a couple to come, how much -- since you haven't done anything in the last three years -- at least just with respect to mandatory orders of course, we have been here many times -- but if you haven't done anything with respect to mandatory orders in the last three or four years a great question to ask would be: Well, how much has your basic rate gone up in the last three years? Because obviously it wasn't caused by you.
9649 But I can guarantee you that I bet every one of those distributors sitting before you raised their basic rates anyways without the fear obviously that people would drop off the network.
9650 Now, one could argue about the competitiveness of that, if you can do that, but I think there is a real competitive threat happening. I don't deny that. But it's just that distributors raise prices for a number of reasons. I would agree with them, the number one reason -- or the distributors, I'm sorry, make their basic package a certain way for a number of reasons and the number one reason, I will agree with them totally, is you think about the consumer. What's the consumer going to do relative to my competitors, relative to their behaviour to cut service or not if I raise prices, okay, or if I don't put the right things in the basic package. So I absolutely agree with that.
9651 But I also know, having worked in a lot of corporate environments, that that is not the only question. The other questions you have to bring to bear in mind is, you know, should I put my competitors services here?. Do I advantage or disadvantage? Do I trade-off carriage? These are factors that may have less to do with what the consumer wants and more to do with the overall stability and return to shareholders, just as raising your rates of certain amount may allow you to invest in other activities, or if I have a conventional broadcaster maybe I want to make sure if its revenues -- our advertising revenues are going down, which they seem to be, that the media business as a whole, now that I'm vertically integrated, is still making up for some of those losses.
9652 So there are a number of decisions that go into how you determine basic rate that aren't always consumer related.
9653 I think our point is, to somehow say to the Commission, well, gee whiz, you know, if you were to increase basic rates because you deemed something to be essential or meet the mandatory order test, that would be very bad, I think is kind of -- it's a bit specious, because I would argue that even -- and I think the past will prove it -- that even if you didn't, as we said in our opening comments, the rates are likely to rise a little, too, if only because they are buying time before the tsunami hits.
9654 COMMISSIONER PENTEFOUNTAS: I won't ask you to comment on the tsunami.
9655 I think at the end of the day we heard BDUs yesterday and I mean some of that may have gone, according to them, to improving their network and CAPEX that's involved there, but at the end of the day most of them told us that it wouldn't make that big a difference. I think I asked a question at one point, what if 9(1)(h) disappears completely and there is no mandatory carriage, it wouldn't make that big a difference on the monthly bottom line of the consumer.
9656 So I thank you so much, Mr. Chair. I don't know if anyone else has questions.
9657 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just want to get back to terms of trade quickly.
9658 So you currently have terms of trades agreements with private English broadcaster; is that correct?
9659 MS BOLTMAN: Yes, with the five privates, Shaw, Rogers, Astral -- well, plus Astral, Corus and Bell.
9660 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And those agreements include most favored nation clauses; is that correct?
9661 MS BOLTMAN: They do.
9662 THE CHAIRPERSON: So will your existing terms of trade agreement define the content of the terms of trade agreement you plan or would want to have with APTN?
9663 MS BOLTMAN: We think that the existing agreement serves as a good baseline and if there are certain conditions -- we are somewhat closed in by the most favored nation's agreement, but we believe that agreements can be reached with other independent broadcasters that we can craft that will work -- within the most favored nation's that we can craft to work with those smaller independents that can make the agreement work.
9664 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you will agree that APTN is not like Shaw and CTV?
9665 MS BOLTMAN: We would agree, yes.
9666 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And then therefore you shouldn't necessarily be imposing the same -- just because you have an MFN clause with the terms of trade with the large private English-language networks that it shouldn't necessarily be applicable to APTN?
9667 MS BOLTMAN: It depends on what you are looking at. Most of the provisions within the privates agreement can be fulfilled by any broadcaster. There are certain conditions that may be applicable to certain broadcasters that have to be worked on just because of the size and because APTN for example is different than the other five.
9668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
9669 MS BOLTMAN: But generally speaking terms of trade looks at the rights and how production works and that's applicable across the board.
9670 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are our questions. That's all I need.
9671 Thank you.
9672 So we will take a break until 11 o'clock and continue with the other interveners.
9673 Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1045
--- Upon resuming at 1100
9674 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome. You are Mr. Litwin, correct?
9675 MR. LITWIN: Yes.
9676 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please go ahead. You have five minutes to make your presentation.
9677 MR. LITWIN: Thank you very much.
9678 My name is Fred Litwin, and I am the President of the Free Thinking Film Society, which started in 2007 as a response to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit/911. At the time I wanted to see a counter film, but quickly found that no cinema would bring in the film I wanted to see.
9679 So I got some friends together and we started a film society dedicated to showing films on liberty, free markets, democracy, equality of opportunity, and all of this underscored by a patriotic respect for Western culture and traditions.
9680 We got off to an inauspicious start. Our first film, on radical Islam, was promptly cancelled by the cinema two weeks before the screening. We had to scramble to find a new venue, and because of increased costs, we lost several hundred dollars, but we did pack the house because of publicity in the Ottawa Sun.
9681 Since 2007, we have shown over 80 films, brought in over 35 speakers, launched over 15 books, programmed three film festivals, convened several panel discussions, and even hosted a few debates.
9682 The topics we cover are very controversial -- democracy in China, the prison-state of North Korea, anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, environmental lunacy, political correctness at universities, Caledonia, the horrors of Communism, the downside of Canadian multiculturalism, men's rights, and the biases of the CBC. These are just a sampling.
9683 As a result, getting TV and radio coverage has proved somewhat difficult. Occasionally we would get on CBC Radio in the morning, but after a huge event on the importance of the mission in Afghanistan, as well as being a fundraiser to send Afghan girls to school in March of 2010, the CBC stopped covering our events -- unless, of course, we were the subject of controversy.
9684 In early 2011, the Iranian Embassy convinced the Library and Archives Canada to cancel our film "Iranium" about Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.
9685 Heritage Canada intervened to get the film rescheduled, only to have the film cancelled by physical threats.
9686 Then the CBC had no trouble finding me to be on their afternoon show. But, of course, that was after the fact, not before.
9687 In the lead-up to my third film festival in November 2012, I thought we were on the verge of a breakthrough. The CBC contacted me for an interview with Greg Autry, co-author and producer of a new book and film, "Death by China".
9688 We tracked Greg in Chicago, and he was indeed interviewed by a CBC producer. His film and panel discussion were the highlights of our third film festival, timely given the potential CNOOC acquisition of NEXEN.
9689 You would think that this would be the type of event that the CBC would be interested in. After talking to Mr. Autry, they decided that he would not be right for the morning show. After all, he wanted to talk about ethics, and they wanted someone to talk about investments -- and, well, you know, ethics and investments just don't mix.
9690 Mr. Autry was so incensed that he published about his experiences, which I have appended to my testimony.
9691 Over 200 people attended this film, belying the CBC's lack of interest. Needless to say, Greg was covered on Sun News.
9692 In fact, I have lost count of the number of times I have appeared on Sun News to talk about our events. I have appeared on all of their major shows, and the news department has also covered our events.
9693 When we held a press conference on China, at our third film festival, of the major media, only Sun News attended. They thought it was worthwhile to hear the firsthand views of a survivor of a Chinese labour camp.
9694 We value diversity in this country. In fact, we are sometimes rather obsessed with it. But we rarely talk about diversity of thought.
9695 When I think of CTV, the CBC and Sun News channels, I think of Rolodexes. Each one of these stations has a different Rolodex. They speak to completely different people for their stories.
9696 The ideological diversity on the CBC is extremely limited. Just look at their coverage of Israel, or almost any other topic. Just last week, in a story on the attempted terrorist attack in Canada, the CBC gave a fair amount of space to Eric Margolis, who is, according to Ottawa Citizen columnist Terry Glavin, "a doubter of the 'official story' of 911 and a crank so dizzy that Sun Media had to fire him three years ago..."
9697 I could give you many more examples of bad experts used by the CBC, but that is really not the point. The point is that I value Sun News because they speak to people I would otherwise never hear from, people who have no voice on the CBC or on CTV.
9698 For instance, Jonathan Halevi regularly looks at anti-Semitism in the Muslim world, particularly useful coming from an Israeli who is fluent in Arabic.
9699 Karen Selick, of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, regularly speaks about individual freedom.
9700 Tarek Fatah provides an inside look at Muslim radicalization in Canada.
9701 And people like Lorrie Goldstein and Bjorn Lomborg regularly update Sun viewers on the latest environmental craziness.
9702 I could give you many, many more examples.
9703 What I like most is that the Sun is gritty, it's scrappy, it breaks lots of important stories, and it is willing to take on the media.
9704 Who else would break stories about Attawapiskat? What other TV news channel covers foreign funding of environmental NGOs? Where else could I see criticism of the CBC or David Suzuki?
9705 In other words, Sun News has a completely different Rolodex, and they cover completely different stories -- and thank God for that.
9706 If the CRTC is going to mandate carriage of TV stations, it is imperative that Canadians have access to that other Rolodex. Why should Canadians have to pay extra to get an alternate point of view?
9707 Thank you very much.
9708 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for that.
9709 Your written presentation and your oral presentation are very clear, so I don't have a lot of questions, because your perspective is quite clear.
9710 As I said at the beginning of the proceeding, in terms of opinion, it is really not our job to decide on one side or the other --
9711 MR. LITWIN: Right, sure.
9712 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- it is more from a systemic place, to make sure that the various views are available in the broadcasting system.
9713 I have just one question. You said, "If the CRTC is going to mandate carriage of TV stations..." So, I take it, if we are going to say yes to one, we have to say yes to Sun?
9714 Is that your logic?
9715 MR. LITWIN: Well, I would be quite happy if there was no mandatory carriage of anything and there was complete freedom for people to pick and choose what they wanted.
9716 But, if you are going to have mandatory carriage, then I think that having an alternate point of view is quite essential.
9717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, okay. That's what I had understood, and I just wanted to make sure that I understood it clearly.
9718 Thank you very much for appearing today.
9719 MR. LITWIN: Thank you very much for having me.
9720 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for participating in our proceedings. It's important.
9721 We will go to the next presenter.
9722 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
9723 We will now hear from Mr. Adam Giambrone. He is appearing by teleconference.
9724 Mr. Giambrone, can you hear us?
9725 MR. GIAMBRONE: Yes, good evening.
9726 THE SECRETARY: Good evening for you. You are in Europe, right?
9727 MR. GIAMBRONE: That's correct.
9728 THE SECRETARY: We can hear you well. The panel is now ready to hear your presentation.
9729 MR. GIAMBRONE: Thank you very much for this opportunity. Apparently we had some difficulty in connecting the videoconference today, so I apologize for not being able to see you in person. I actually am able to watch you, but you are unable to see me.
9730 I recognize that my time with you today is short, so I will get right to my presentation.
9731 I am a former Toronto City Councillor and former federal President for the New Democratic Party, between 2001 and 2006, and I currently am an on-air commentator with Sun News.
9732 When I came to think about the whole issue about Sun News and the issue of the CRTC and mandatory carriage, my first thoughts came to be around where Canada was in terms of being a democracy, and the fact that we are recognized around the world for our free and open media, particularly our news media, which is widely recognized as a vital component to a functioning democracy.
9733 In light of what is being discussed today, I think it is important that we keep in mind that the more media voices and the wider range of opinions that we can present is very important for our democracy, and indeed the entire country.
9734 Canada is a very diverse country and needs media from diverse perspectives. Sun News has a role to play in serving this diversity and brings voices from across Canada to cover local and national stories.
9735 In many Canadian markets there are very few outlets to access the news, and this might limit the scope of debate by concentrating opinions and information among a very select few.
9736 We all benefit when media voices and opinions are local, focus on issues of concern to Canadians, and not imported content from the United States or abroad, as we see with some other networks.
9737 Sun News uses Canadians to tell our story to us, and I am an example of that, and it provides a Canadian perspective.
9738 There are few other stations in Canada that do as much political coverage, news and commentary as Sun News. This includes their coverage of local issues, as well as national concerns, in terms of analysis and discussion, and in-depth analysis.
9739 My experience with Sun News, I think, is instructive. I have been part of the Sun News team over the last two years. As a commentator for Sun News, I can attest to the number of times I have been brought onto their various media programs, such as The Agenda, The Source, Byline, The Arena, and others.
9740 When I comment on Sun News, I offer opinions on a diverse range of topics of local and national interest.
9741 For example, I was recently involved in the coverage of the Saskatchewan election, including pan-Canadian election-night broadcasts that provided detailed results, by constituency, as well as analyses and opinions of the implications of this electoral contest.
9742 Sun News was the only broadcaster to offer this kind of coverage.
9743 If we look to the current B.C. election campaign happening right now, Sun News has five reporters, and they are the only channel giving extensive, daily, national coverage to the campaign; not just in B.C., but across the country.
9744 I think this is an important example of the type of programming that Sun brings.
9745 I am also called on to discuss matters closer to home, such as transit funding and other municipal topics.
9746 And Sun News has provided me with an opportunity to share my views on a variety of subjects, such as the need for a national transit strategy that would address some of our issues in our nation's cities and how it affects their growth in terms of transit development.
9747 I have often disagreed with the host's perspective, and in many cases my views go against the story's angle, yet I continue to be invited back as a regular guest, often two or three times a week.
9748 When I think about it, there are many cases where there is fierce debate amongst myself and other participants, on a wide range of subjects and a variety of shows, and I like to think that, with Sun News, it is the most persuasive and well-thought-out position that wins the day.
9749 Regardless of my opinions expressed, clearly I have always felt welcome to express them on Sun News, on a wide variety of topics and different subjects. I think that is very important.
9750 When I think about what Sun News means for Canada, I think it is important to think about the Broadcasting Act itself and its requirement to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and environmental fabric of Canada.
9751 It is important for Canadian-owned companies to be active in Canadian media space. A high degree of Canadian content contributes to the enhancement and preservation of Canada's national identity.
9752 The Sun News network produces 96 hours per week of original Canadian television content. This is incredibly important, as we often see that, with our proximity to the United States, there is a lot of influence from across the border, and having Canadians, as I mentioned before, telling our stories is very important.
9753 By enabling communication between groups of people and across sometimes wide geographical boundaries, the media can help in informing and reinforcing culture and collective identity. This is particularly important in smaller communities, where there is not necessarily a local network. In these cases, Sun News can sometimes broadcast local issues that might otherwise be overlooked, and provide a link to the outside world.
9754 Sun News is Canadian-owned and, at 96 hours per week, offers a consistently high rate of Canadian content and Canadian personalities.
9755 The application that is being made speaks directly to the important mandate of the CRTC. As you know, the national policy objectives for our broadcasting system are set out in Canada's Broadcasting Act. You, the CRTC, play a vital role in regulating and supervising the system, to ensure that those national objectives are met.
9756 I note that our legislated broadcasting policy objectives were founded on the principles of ensuring the development and availability of Canadian content for Canadians, and Sun News is a good example of just that sort of network that I think the Broadcasting Act was looking to create.
9757 The Act stipulates that distributors should give priority to the carriage of Canadian content, and indeed almost all of Sun News is Canadian content.
9758 Further, I think that reflecting a diversity of values back to Canadians is a central objective of the Act and the CRTC. It is an objective that I think we can all share, and it should be considered when evaluating this application in the forefront.
9759 Therefore, in this application there is a case for the CRTC to involve itself in the preservation and enhancement of Canadian news networks like Sun News.
9760 Canada is a sparsely populated country, so it is expensive and difficult to build a network of reporters on the ground in locations across the country. Without mandatory carriage, I think that would be very difficult; not just for Sun News, but for other stations as well.
9761 Launching a news-focused TV station isn't easy, especially in these days of broad consumer choice, including a wide range of easily accessible foreign news networks and specialty cable channels.
9762 It is my understanding that Sun News' competitors, CBC and CTV news networks, were given mandatory distribution when they were first granted licences. Sun News is asking for the same treatment, for a lower distribution fee that other networks previously enjoyed.
9763 This is not just a question of competition with the CBC or CTV. Current distributors currently offer a whole range of U.S. programming. But Sun News is only available in 4 out of every 10 households, due to what cable companies think Canadians want to watch. Canadians have not actually been given the choice themselves. It is companies that, frankly, have something to gain, in terms of the cost to them in what they can pick and market, that are making decisions for the average Canadian.
9764 Moreover, the five-year limit requested ensures that the order can be reconsidered or phased out if things evolve and Sun News becomes more entrenched.
9765 In conclusion, this brings me back to my opening remarks about the media and democracy. My political views are pretty well known as a New Democrat. It won't surprise you to hear that I don't always agree with the point of view espoused by Sun's commentators. But I believe that our country was founded on democracy and fairness, and a diverse array of media voices is vital for a democracy. Sun News offers a counterpoint to many other commentators on the scene today.
9766 As a Canadian news network, Sun News should be treated fairly, in a manner consistent with previous precedent.
9767 Thank you.
9768 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating in the hearing.
9769 I noticed that in your original February 10th intervention you had not requested to appear, so I was happy to see that we could accommodate your participation.
9770 MR. GIAMBRONE: Thank you.
9771 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am not sure that I have a lot of questions for you, because it would seem that your position and your speaking points are quite consistent with what the applicants actually asked of us and told us originally, and we have already asked a lot of questions on that.
9772 I only have one question. I take it that your point is mostly to ensure that the broadcasting system has a diversity of perspective. Of course, before us, we have one application that requests mandatory distribution on basic, in both digital and analog, which would mean, potentially, an increase of at least 18 cents per month for cable subscribers.
9773 Are you suggesting that that is the only way the Commission should be examining whether we could add diversity to the broadcasting system, or should we be considering other means, as well?
9774 MR. GIAMBRONE: I am not an expert, and I want to be very clear, my expertise lies in transit and I guess somewhat in municipal affairs. So I am not an expert on the best way to promote Canadian content.
9775 I do think, however -- I don't know how else you get an option before Canadians, to allow them to have the choice.
9776 Ultimately, there is a five-year review, and there are other mechanisms that would allow the CRTC to come back to this question. But without --
9777 I don't know of other means that would be possible in order to allow a network to establish itself across Canada, and I think it is important that you have networks that offer various political perspectives and opportunities for discussion, and Sun News clearly does that.
9778 There may be other ways of ensuring that, but I think that we, collectively, should want to have as many different voices in the conversation as possible.
9779 Judging from what I have learned going through this process about past experiences with creating national networks -- and I wouldn't draw the CBC as a comparison, because they are quite a unique entity in our country, perhaps around the world, in terms of being a national broadcaster.
9780 But, in terms of CTV, these are experiences that would seem logical to me as a way to give an opportunity for a new network to come on the scene.
9781 Ultimately, I am not suggesting that it be mandatory forever. Ultimately, I think it would be Canadians who should have the right to decide whether they want to pay for Sun News, or, I suppose, any other programmer.
9782 But I think that the critical issue here is how to deal with a relatively new network and how to allow it to have the tools to appropriately expand and provide a new outlet for different voices within the first media spectrum.
9783 THE CHAIRPERSON: And other new services that also have a lot of Canadian content, in your view, are different. This is because it is a news service.
9784 Is that correct?
9785 MR. GIAMBRONE: Well, when you say services, I would ask a question back for clarification. There are many different mediums for the media. My thought here is that we are addressing the issue around, specifically, television.
9786 There are other networks that, obviously, have pan-Canadian coverage, and I can't speak to the potential applications that they may or may not make.
9787 I assume what the CRTC would do is consider those as they came forward.
9788 This is one of the first new networks to come out in a very long time. I have been engaged in sort of listening to news across the country for a long time, and I can't think of a brand new -- not a network that was cobbled together from former ones, but a brand new network coming out across the country that has started up in a long time.
9789 So I think, when you look at this, you have to take that into consideration, in how you would address it. And I assume what you will have to do is address what would happen the next time another news network like this were to form.
9790 These are important questions that, perhaps unfortunately, we haven't had enough opportunity to ask, and I think that is one of the reasons why you, as the Board of the CRTC, need to take this very seriously, to ensure that new entities like Sun Media, or one that would come next, would have the opportunity to get a foothold and present a broader array of choice for Canadians.
9791 Ultimately, in the long run, it will be Canadians who decide what networks they want to watch.
9792 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The reality is that we do get lots of applications for new services. Some of them have launched, and others have not because they can't negotiate carriage.
9793 That is why I was testing whether your perspective was specific to news services as opposed to other types of services.
9794 At this very hearing we have applicants who are seeking 9(1)(h) status on basic who are, I would describe, more entertainment-based programming; highly Canadian content, but not necessarily news.
9795 So I was asking whether you thought there was a special case to be made for news and information.
9796 MR. GIAMBRONE: Mr. Chairman, I am not familiar with all of the different applications before the CRTC at the moment, or indeed even the ones before this committee.
9797 I do think that a network that serves -- and this may be my bias, but, you know, news that discusses current events and issues --
9798 On cable television there is a wide range of opportunities for entertainment programs. Those are important. Obviously, we all enjoy them. We all partake in various -- in watching the various programs, but creating a national news network, perhaps, I see as a higher value to that.
9799 This is obviously a difficult subject because it becomes everyone's personal assessment. I, too, would welcome more channels of a different nature across the country, to be honest with you. I would be willing to pay additional fees.
9800 I speak personally in this regard, with a personal remark, on having increased Canadian content from different sources. I think it's very important. I go through my TV channels and, you know, one of the satellites. I see a lot of -- I think there is great choice. I enjoy foreign programming as well, but I think it's very important that we protect and that we give a chance for new Canadian programming.
9801 So I think if I were to be an intervener on another application I would likely -- and I speak in general here -- be favourable to generally pursue the Board of the CRTC to be liberal on their considerations for new applications to make sure that they're given a chance.
9802 The specifics of which I don't really know. You are more experts than I am on this one, but I do think having more of a choice of what I feel is hundreds of channels on my TV, very few of them are Canadian and that worries me.
9803 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, your position is very clear and your intervention has been helpful in us developing better records.
9804 So I thank you for having participated in our hearings.
9805 We'll go --
9806 MR. GIAMBRONE: Thank you very much.
9807 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
9808 We'll now go to the next intervener.
9809 THE SECRETARY: She's already sitting, Ms Mrozek.
9810 MS MROZEK: Thank you.
9811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Press your button and please go ahead.
9812 MS MROZEK: Thank you. Can you hear me?
9813 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you.
9814 MS MROZEK: My name is Andrea Mrozek and I am the Executive Director of a public policy think tank called the "Institute of Marriage and Family Canada".
9815 The Institute is seven years old and is located in downtown Ottawa. We conduct, compile and create research pertaining to the family and present it to Canadian decision makers.
9816 By way of example, yesterday, on April 29, 2013, we hosted Dr. Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, to discuss his recent paper on the benefits of family income splitting for Canadians.
9817 We have charitable status and receive no government funding, relying on the generosity of individual donors and foundations to do our work. We have a list of thousands of supporters across Canada who receive our updates and these research briefs are frequently picked up by the media.
9818 Our policy team has been sought out for analysis and commentary by every major news outlet.
9819 I believe that given my experience with and in the media, I have some capacity to comment on the unique contributions of Sun News.
9820 Firstly, Canadians benefit when there are more media voices that are easily accessible.
9821 Each media outlet brings their own approach to the news. The questions differ. The amount of time allotted to a particular topic differs. The format, whether one-on-one interview or a panel, that too differs. This is not to speak of the different audiences these broadcasters attract.
9822 It is my opinion that the more opinions Canadians see, read and hear the more well-rounded we become. Disagreement causes us to sharpen our point of view.
9823 If we at the Institute produce a paper on the research and statistics showing a decline in marriage, it is helpful both for us and for Canadians to hear a number of different questions on that topic. That there is a decline in marriage in Canada is a simple fact. Why that is and what the implications are is up for debate and discussion.
9824 At the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada we are not seeking agreement. That would, of course, be nice. We thrive, however, on thoughtful discussion. This occurs best where there are more voices present.
9825 Therefore, Canadians benefit when they can see a number of different approaches to the issues of the day. The presence of Sun News on mandatory cable would encourage that.
9826 Secondly, Canadians benefit from the unique approach of Sun News. Sun News does in fact bring a different approach to the issues of the day. Frequently, if I am on Sun News, someone who disagrees they will be on as well but not at the same time.
9827 I've done debates. I've done quite a few of them and with an extremely good moderator this can work. But more often than not it ends up with one person, usually the more aggressive one, running down the clock. The polite person sits quietly by. So you will understand then, that for the purpose of these shows, I am in the process of learning how to be more rude.
9828 I appreciate an approach that allows for one person to have a discussion on the issue. We can go in-depth as analysts at the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada and not be worried about simplistic sound bites or trying to discredit dissenting views. Sun News allows the space for this.
9829 Another unique element to Sun News is the fact that whether they agree or disagree with our conclusions, they acknowledge that on the issues that we do research these are important enough to cover them. There are other networks in places where these issues have been sidelined. I'm not aware of any other major networks sending a camera to cover the March for Life on Parliament Hill and, yet, Sun News has done so.
9830 When 15,000 Canadians converge on Parliament Hill for any reason at all, this deserves some coverage. Yet, no network has brought a camera, save for Sun News. There are pro-life Canadians and they have stories that ought to be told. Sun News has chosen to report these stories.
9831 Finally, the inclusion of Sun News for mandatory distribution would enhance a diversity of views and help improve the quality of other news channels.
9832 One of the benefits of more voices is that it causes each broadcaster to improve. This is a basic principle of competition. The more broadcasters that compete for viewers, the harder they will work to achieve this.
9833 In conclusion, Sun News has always been respectful and engaging in the issues they choose to cover. Love them or hate them, Canadians benefit when more media enter into the fray. It is not merely a question of increasing competition. It is not merely a question of Canadian content.
9834 I think it is a question of allowing the maximum number of Canadians to hear the maximum number of voices in order to get the full picture of what is going on in Canada. For these reasons, I believe Canadians will benefit if Sun News is included in the mandatory package.
9835 Thank you.
9836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for your presentation.
9837 I've read carefully your intervention and followed you this morning with your oral presentation. You'll understand that we'll -- you know, our job is not to decide any particular view or opinion out there. I have been asking questions about, how do we ensure enough diversity of viewpoints in the Canadian broadcasting system?
9838 My question to you, and it's only my single question to you is, why do you think mandatory distribution on basic, particularly analog basic -- is your view that's the only way we should be considering and making sure there is a diversity of voices, an opinion on matters of public concern?
9839 Because you may not be an expert on broadcasting the rules and regulations but there may be other ways of ensuring that through must-carry orders, through the nature of the licenses provided, through packaging rules.
9840 I mean, there's other ways of achieving the objectives. And so when we're balancing off an increase of 18 cents a month versus other objectives, why do you think that the best way to achieve it would be through an increase in rates for Canadian subscribers?
9841 MS MROZEK: I'm looking at this from the perspective of a consumer and a contributor. I believe that Sun News ought to be given the same treatment as other broadcasters, news broadcasters were given before them. And from that perspective, again, I'm coming to you as executive director of a think tank. I certainly can't comment on the ins and outs of the regulation.
9842 I think that leveling the playing field is imperative and without this leveling of the playing field as a starting point for a new contributor on the scene, it's unlikely that they'll be able to thrive. There is a time limit on it.
9843 The five years would allow you to reconvene and consider this five years down the road, at which point nobody knows what the environment -- media is changing rapidly. We don't know what it will look like five years from now, but at this point in time this is the way to level the playing field and have it be a fair shot for a new contributor to Canadian news content.
9844 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you. I'm just happy to see that even though you originally did not request participation in the oral phase of the hearing that you decided to in any event.
9845 So we're happy to have heard your point of view orally today. Thank you. Thank you very much.
9846 MS MROZEK: Thank you.
9847 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we'll go to the next intervener.
9848 Thank you.
9849 THE SECRETARY: The next presentation will be in "Support of Education Through Media". I would invite Dr. Charles Davis, please, to come forward to the presentation table.
9850 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, welcome. Just, yeah, press the mike so that we can -- the little light goes on. That's so we can hear you well.
9851 So please present yourselves. I'm not sure who Dr. Davis is? Okay, on the left and you are?
9852 MR. FALZON: My name is Charles Falzon. I'm the Chair of the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University.
9853 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, well, welcome and please go ahead.
9854 MR. FALZON: Oh, thank you. Shall I start?
9855 Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners for having us here.
9856 Ryerson and RTA has appeared in the past before the Commission and presented our conviction that the future of the industry and media as a whole, is really based on our commitment to the future of youth and talent and new forms of creativity.
9857 Our position as having been leaders in this field since the beginning of the industry is that perhaps we need to find new ways of connecting with what the youth of today are saying creativity in media and broadcasting are.
9858 I question, for example, how much they are actually engaged in this process, how much they are engaged in trying to figure out what the future of broadcasting is.
9859 We believe very clearly and very strongly that through an operation like Dolobox we can participate in engaging them in media, in encouraging professional development and creative development and making our new media structures more relevant and helpful to them in the future.
9860 We believe that, above all, we need a distribution vehicle that speaks to youth and that is both national and creative, encouraging the creativity of youth. Dolobox offers a perfect bridge, in our opinion, between a new type of demand that is evolving in the internet world and the desire to create content.
9861 It is national and will receive the marketing support of the system, yet open to a new way of content creation. In our opinion, it is time for the system to allow the fresh air that youth is providing content creation today.
9862 At Ryerson and RTA School of Media, we are in a unique place. Like the system, as I've said, we've been there from the beginning, but we have now a new approach to education, a new approach to encouraging creativity and the future of broadcasting and media with our youth.
9863 Our whole focus is about creating as much content as possible and encouraging the youth to create it. They disseminate it in various ways. Dolobox could become a really key way for them to disseminate it and to get support.
9865 DR. DAVIS: Mr. Commissioner, thank you.
9866 We have -- Ryerson University has a memorandum of understanding with Dolobox. Through this memorandum of understanding we have committed to partnering with Education Through Media to develop the Dolobox Television Initiative, including providing formal education and training through a certificate program.
9867 We will develop a plan to regularly deliver TV content to Dolobox from our students. We have abundant quality content that we can provide.
9868 We will source, for example, college sports content through our new sports broadcasting program. We can provide it to Dolobox on a non-exclusive basis.
9869 Charles Falzon and I have agreed to serve on the Dolobox Television Initiative Advisory Committee. That's a personal commitment as well as an institutional commitment that we have made. And the RTA School of Media will appoint a faculty member to lead in the development of the partnership.
9870 We're very interested in the Education through Media initiative and we believe that it would be electrifying in the broadcast system. We would very much like to be part of it.
9871 MR. FALZON: And in conclusion -- thanks, Charles -- in conclusion, we really encourage anybody involved in media not to underestimate what's happening in youth creativity today. To look at them as people who are just trying to get a job in five years or six years is not connecting with youth.
9872 In the late -- early twenties, late teens, today youth that we work with are creating product that we never would have imagined at that same age 20 years ago. We feel this is the voice of Canada and it is an important part of the investment in the future.
9873 As far as Dolobox, in conclusion, we really believe it is a new way to understand creativity, to allow access to the youth and to invest in the future. We are genuinely impressed with the clarity and authenticity of this application.
9874 Thank you.
9875 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
9876 Commissioner Poirier will have some questions perhaps for you.
9877 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you, gentlemen, for coming here today. I have three questions, okay, and they are sometimes tough questions, okay?
9878 Why do young adults find it gratifying having access to traditional TV? Isn't the online, unregulated system more attractive to them? Why do they need TV?
9879 MR. FALZON: I think that that is true. They are attracted to the online system. I think they are attracted to the online system because it is speaking to them in ways and it is accessible that they can share and participate.
9880 We feel that Dolobox could be the best of both. We feel that if it feels like it's accessible to them, it could actually improve the quality of product because there will be more professionalism, more curation and more higher standards and maybe more resources to make even better content.
9881 Therefore, the youth will be able to look at something that is using the best of traditional media and, yet, having the culture, the nature of the web broadcasting that you're rightly saying they are now getting more engaged in.
9882 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Well, wouldn't it be a little bit self-serving for Ryerson to participate into that channel? Yes, because it would be Toronto-centric, Ontario-centric and it would be helpful to your program. But for who else would it be helpful?
9883 DR. DAVIS: All right. I'd like to answer that.
9884 We don't have an exclusive relationship with Dolobox or Education through Media. We think we are the first of a number of partnerships that they will develop with other educational institutions.
9885 So, yes, it does increase our visibility and, yes, that's a very good thing for us. But we don't think that this will be Ryerson inundating Canada with television content, not at all.
9886 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And my last question. You know, all Canadians would have to pay, not only the young adults. We have never granted a 9(1)(h) mandatory distribution for a group based on the age. So why would Canadians want to pay for that service?
9887 MR. FALZON: I think that Canadians would support investing in the youth. I think that, you know, first of all, the programming will be of interest not just to youth although it's youth-focused. It will hopefully create a voice that other demographics are interested in.
9888 But I think that if you ask most parents who are looking at their youth engaging in society, engaging in creativity, I think a vehicle like this would be something that would be generally worth supporting by most people.
9889 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Maybe, just a technical question. Do you know what percentage of the programming you would participate in, in percentage?
9890 MR. FALZON: Percentage-wise I don't have that calculation. But we are estimating about 100 hours a year of content.
9891 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Okay, thank you very much, gentlemen.
9892 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are our questions. Thank you very much for participating.
9893 MR. FALZON: Thank you very much.
9894 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Secretary?
9895 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
9896 Our next presenter will be Liam O'Doherty and I believe there is an appearance by Skype.
9897 Here they are. Good morning. Can you hear us?
--- Technical difficulties
9898 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you hear us, sir?
9899 THE SECRETARY: Oh, technical problems here.
9900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. O'Doherty, can you hear us?
9901 MR. O'DOHERTY: Yes, I can hear you. Can you hear me?
9902 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, very well. So although you're -- the visuals are blocking, we can hear you very well.
9903 So please go ahead. You have five minutes to make your presentation.
9904 MR. O'DOHERTY: I don't believe it will affect it in any way.
9905 Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners, and thank you for the opportunity to intervene at today's hearings.
9906 I'd like to start by telling you a bit about TakingITGlobal and what Dolobox can do with a 9(1)(h) licence.
9907 TakingITGlobal is a youth-focused NGO founded in 1999 by two young Canadians and our mission is to empower youth to understand and act on the world's greatest challenges.
9908 We operate a global social network for social change. So if you could imagine Facebook oriented towards achieving the millennium development goals, accelerating youth participation in policy processes like the U.N. and cross-pollinating great project ideas from one context around the planet to another, you have a snapshot of what we do.
9909 The three main stakeholders that we work with are young people, organizations which serves them and educators. Our network is currently built on 450,000 members around the world, 50,000 of which are in Canada.
9910 So we connect youth to information opportunities, technical infrastructure and a community to amplify social change at the community and global levels.
9911 The internet's use for youth engagement changes the way that young people see themselves as active agents of change in society and we believe the possibility to reach youth across our country through a not-for-profit broadcasting will unlock amazing opportunities for our generation.
9912 Digital natives like myself have come to expect an additional level of interaction which is not met by traditional broadcasting and our voices and stories are largely missing from the current media ecosystem. This is especially true for the more marginalized folks of my generation.
9913 We are interested in helping to fill this gap by convening a national platform built upon media produced, curated and broadcasted by youth. We have online platforms through media like our global gallery which provides a method for sharing, creativity and media online and our whole membership so far has produced 700 videos to date on subjects like deforestation, human rights, technology and media.
9914 We also operate media training programs online such as Adobe Youth voices which employs a trainer model to enable young people to create media about the issues which are important to them.
9915 We are currently in our third year of this program and we have more than 400 videos created so far.
9916 We have also just completed a program funded by Heritage Canada called "Defining Moments" which ran a national art contest to explore themes of Canadian identity and history and the connections young people feel to their country.
9917 We collected and showcased almost 800 works from young Canadians which has helped to strengthen the vast network of artists all across Canada.
9918 So we intend to build on these programs through Dolobox to convene a multiplatform conversation which will help to engage and motivate young people from coast to coast to coast.
9919 With the goal of helping young people to see themselves differently, spreading positive messages and creating important conversations and dialogue for young people, not-for-profit organizations such as ours are very well positioned to moderate and convene honest and authentic interactions in ways which entities who primarily pursue profit cannot.
9920 Dolobox represents the opportunity to create an inclusive, accessible media platform for our net-savvy generation and we strongly believe that the Dolobox initiative should be granted a mandatory carriage licence to realize this opportunity.
9921 Thank you very much for your time.
9922 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for your presentation. Commissioner Poirier will have some questions.
9923 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Hello. I have just a few questions.
9924 I read your document and I was wondering, are you aware of any other place in the world where a request like Dolobox' request has been made or any special channel offered elsewhere in the world that would provide young adults a similar commitment to a broadcaster?
9925 MR. O'DOHERTY: No. To my knowledge there is no current opportunity that falls under what you just described.
9926 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: So why would we be the first?
9927 MR. O'DOHERTY: Because we feel like Canada can be a leader in the media landscape and that this opportunity is one that is -- you know, it's approaching the cutting edge and it's one that we need to seize as a country and as a generation.
9928 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: I think you've got experience in curating. Could you explain to me how it works? What do you do when you curate some YouTube stuff or whatsoever, stuff that comes online?
9929 MR. O'DOHERTY: Absolutely. So our Global Gallery basically has a submission process and there is basically like a web form that you fill out and you link to the video and then we have a team of volunteers who go through and make sure that it's appropriate and they might add additional information. If it belongs in more than one category for example they might add tags or they might fit it into a specific program and then basically, yes, it gets reviewed and approved and then it would basically channel into the output that would go into based on the needs for that particular piece of media and the programs that we are operating.
9930 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much.
9931 My last question: Why would Canadians want to pay to see Dolobox while they already have a license, a Cat B licence? They could be on-air right now, but they decided to apply to the 9(1)(h) mandatory distribution. So why would they need that distribution to reach young adults?
9932 MR. O'DOHERTY: I think the opportunity to extend into the homes of 10 million Canadians, especially more marginalized populations and First Nations communities, really represents a levelling of the playing field and making a more accessible conversation and a more accessible platform and so mandatory carriage I feel like fits what we are trying to do and the vision of a very inclusive conversation encompasses that.
9933 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much.
9934 MR. O'DOHERTY: Thank you.
9935 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those are our questions.
9936 Again, thank you for much for participating by, in this case Skype, which is a very 21st Century, so I feel very much in the 21st Century, contrary to what one might read.
9937 So thank you. Thank you for your participation.
9938 MR. O'DOHERTY: Thanks.
9939 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now go to the next intervener.
9940 THE SECRETARY: I will now invite the person representing Plasma Management & Productions Inc. I am not sure if they are here. I believe they are.
9941 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome, Mr. Flex, to our hearing.
9942 MR. FLEX: Thank you very much.
9943 THE CHAIRPERSON: I would just ask you to press the red button there so we can hear you and you can go ahead with your presentation.
9944 MR. FLEX: Thank you.
9945 Good morning. My name is Farley Flex and I would like to begin by thanking the Commission for this opportunity to intervene on behalf of Education Through Media in their effort to make Dolobox TV accessible to a young Canadians and those who are young at heart.
9946 I have been in the entertainment industry since my mid teens, which is when I first defined my interests, personality traits and skill sets, the result of which has allowed me to become the manager of Maestro Fresh-Wes, Canada's number one hip-hop artist, recording artist; launched FLOW 93.5, Canada's first black-owned and operated commercial radio station, for which I commend the Commission on your vision in approving; and my role and responsibility as a Canadian Idol judge for six years, the most viewed television show in Canadian history; and my current capacity as founder of Reality Education and Applied Life Skills Corp., a not-for-profit entity that owns and operates a program called "R.E.A.L. School", a youth and community engagement program.
9947 "R.E.A.L. School" utilizes pop culture to assist young people in recognizing and activating their interests, personality traits and skill sets, thus allowing them to become leaders in their own lives and to become productive members of society.
9948 I am appearing here today because I know that Dolobox TV is a natural extension of my efforts and will give young people a relevant platform for engagement, inspiration and aspiration.
9949 We are currently in the area of multi-platforming and multi-screen viewing and interactivity. What sets Dolobox apart is this. YouTube's "broadcast yourself" tagline has lowered the barrier to entry so low that television has become the ultimate validation of success. In short, kids want to be on TV. It's where the Grammys are, is where the Oscars are, it's where the Super Bowl is and it's where the stars are.
9950 My goal is to discover talent on both sides of the lens and to work with Dolobox TV in creating opportunities for young people to get maximum performance out of their tremendous potential.
9951 I dare say from experience that this approach to youth engagement actually saves lives. Dolobox will engage youth, whether marginalized or privileged, First Nations or African Canadian, able-bodied or physically challenged, straight or LGBT through the massive appeal of pop culture, which I define as music, sports, multimedia, fashion, social justice and entrepreneurship.
9952 The partnerships that will evolve with not-for-profit organizations like mine or Boys and Girls Club or YM or YWCA, or taking it global for that matter, and organizations like Free the Children and so many more completely validate what I know would be a wise decision to make Dolobox available to all Canadians.
9953 Dolobox takes the mountain to Mohammed by creating a two-way highway of access directly to the passion within the hearts and minds of the very youth that some claim are hard to reach. They are in fact easy to reach. It is simply a question of language, the language we choose to speak to them in, which is their own language.
9954 Dolobox will be able to address topics that mainstream television is afraid to touch. Unfortunately, these are the very issues that matter to young people.
9955 Last, offering a not-for-profit organization in the form of a media outlet that boasts inclusivity and opportunity for youth can in no way be a bad thing unless it is only available to some and not all.
9956 Thank you and I would be happy to field any questions you may have.
9957 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Flex.
9958 Commissioner Poirier will have some questions.
9959 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much.
9960 You said TV or this kind of channel could save lives.
9961 MR. FLEX: Absolutely.
9962 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Could you comment on this?
9963 MR. FLEX: elaborate? Certainly.
9964 My passion to work with youth and to truly juxtaposition my "celebrity" with my community service was born out of recognizing that many marginalized youth, whether it be First Nation's youth -- and I have been on north of at least 60 Reserves in this country working with people who are living vicariously through what they see in media and often times what is purported or propagated by media is the negative.
9965 I will give you a quick example. I was speaking in the Northern B.C. in the Musqueam First Nation and after offering a 45-minute speech on inspiration, or that I meant to be inspirational, a young man, when he came for an autograph, asked me what kind of gun do I have? And the reason he asked that question was because his association with black men and hip-hop is they all carry guns.
9966 So when you think about these kinds of things it's really all about the messaging and the balancing of the playing field in terms of defusing stereotypes and de-marginalizing information -- and the impact of information on the marginalized. It is so important.
9967 And the connection to saving lives goes to my work in parts of Nova Scotia, parts of the inner-city communities in Toronto, all the Reservations that I go to where we inspire young people through pop culture to find themselves and become leaders in their own lives.
9968 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Yes. But Dolobox already has a licence, a Cat B licence -- I know maybe you are not aware of all the issues Cat B has to face, but it's not on-air. They have had that licence for quite a while, so doesn't mean it's not a need, a real need for Canadians because it's not on-air and it could have been.
9969 MR. FLEX: Actually, I think it's quite contrary to that, with great respect, because if you look at the mandate of the organization and the young people that they would really, truly like to reach, it's about those who don't have access. Those who have access and are living "privileged lives" can by choice or by virtue of their economic status access anything they want to access on television. But you go to remote communities in this country and you talk to young people who are on the Internet surfing to be part of the in the know and the cool factor I call it, they don't have access to the positive things that Dolobox might offer. And if they are in a Cat B circumstance where they have to pay for the service or its unavailable to them, quite frankly, then that limits their potential for, again, fulfilling that very potential.
9970 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: And my last question, imagine we accept Dolobox is being distributed with the 9(1)(h) article in the law, do you think all Canadians would be supportive of paying to get that channel?
9971 MR. FLEX: I absolutely do. Thankfully I am a well-traveled person and I work with communities en masse and, you know whenever we have youth symposiums or youth initiatives in towns, it's not just parents, it's adults who understand that the impacts on youth of various aspects of media or any deficiencies they may have, including parenting in their upbringing, cause community problems. Community is a whole word. It's not one segment of community, it's the entire community.
9972 So what happens to young people who grow to be adults, you know, we can look at -- there are statistics that show that what leads to incarceration, what leads to substance abuse, what leads to all these dependencies that people inherit that, quite frankly, are a burden on the Canadian government.
9973 So I really believe that all Canadians see the benefit in making sure the youth have an equal playing field for opportunity and their own definition of success.
9974 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Flex, for participating in this hearing.
9975 MR. FLEX: Thanks for having me.
9976 COMMISSIONER POIRIER: We appreciate it. Thank you.
9977 MR. FLEX: Thank you.
9978 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions and thank you for participating in the hearing.
9979 MR. FLEX: Thank you.
9980 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now move to the next intervener, which I believe is via videoconference.
9981 THE SECRETARY: The next interveners, Mr. Chairman, will be in support of Accessible Media and our next presenter is Ms Ness Murby and she is by videoconference from Vancouver I believe.
9983 MS MURBY: Hi, good morning.
9984 THE SECRETARY: Good morning.
9985 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms Murby. Can you hear us?
9986 MS MURBY: Yes, quite well.
9987 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Good. Great.
9988 Please go ahead. You have 5 minutes to make your presentation.
9989 MS MURBY: Good morning. My name is Vanessa Murby, although I'm known to most as "Ness". I am married, with two dogs and I live in Vancouver B.C. I compete in sports internationally, now for Canada, and have lived overseas for most of my life. I enjoy getting into a good book, watching series such as "Law & Order" and "CSI" and I really love a good evening movie. I'm pretty artistic and computer savvy and, oh -- whilst the sunglasses may be otherwise interpreted as a bold fashion statement -- I'm blind.
9990 So where to start?
9991 I have been an avid AMI watcher for just over a year now. It's hard to believe for me, but I was informed about the channel by the cable guy. I knew from the beginning that this was going to be something special. Since then, the AMI proportion of my overall television watching has steadily increased, to the point where most of what I and my spouse watch is on AMI.
9992 I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to speak on behalf of such a deserving service as AMI.
9993 Often self-referred to as a "blinkie" -- blind person -- yes, us Australians feel the need to colloquialize everything, with a good accent -- so there is a separation between the "blinkies"; "partials" and "totals" and then there is the rest of you, "sighties". So allow me to shed a little "blinkie" perspective.
9994 Have you ever sat by yourself at lunch, day after day, year after year, because you have been been classified as a nerd for sitting in the front row; pretended you had read the newspaper and knew what story your colleagues were talking about just so you could participate; been told you can't do something over and over again because the person who is telling you couldn't fathom being able to do it themselves if they were in your position?
9995 How about having someone refer to you rather than speak to you when you are standing right there or, better yet, had someone yell every statement at you? Wrong disability, I'm blind.
9996 Been refused seating at an event, play or movie because the sound of someone whispering descriptions to you was deemed disruptive?
9997 Ever regularly pretend to watch TV with friends just to maintain a "normal" friendship, thinking there went a useful 2 hours of my life when you realise all you got was a few characters names and some out of context conversation? What about turning on the TV and having to piece together random clues to figure out what you are actually watching?
9998 Have you ever thought what it would be like to experience the world through different eyes? AMI does.
9999 People with vision loss face challenges that are not always obvious. AMI provides perspective to the challenges we face as individuals and collectively. AMI is educating, exploring and expressing.
10000 I personally have four, soon to be five degrees: Industrial design, Massage, Master sports trainer, ESL and currently completing my specialist in sports nutrition. I am unemployed and I know I'm not alone. In the "blinkie" community we face an array of barriers and/or misconceptions that keep way too many of us unemployed or underpaid.
10001 AMI actually tackles these challenges and they provide educational and informative content to help not only the visually impaired feel more confident, but also the potential employers become more comfortable and accepting. By opening up discussions AMI creates a safe and motivating environment for all the content and/or participate to gain some exposure and insight. AMI is combating the misconceptions.
10002 Trying to forge an identity when you are visually impaired can often result in social constraints of interacting as it's extremely skewed and daily tasks require adapting. As a consequence, there are increased risks of isolation as individuals with disabilities become just that, stand alone, stand out and stood over.
10003 AMI broadcasts an array of shows that span across many areas of interest and as I watch the various programs, it is clear that AMI creates a sense of community, they create a sense of belonging, that I belong to something more. This is something that others may take for granted, I certainly don't. AMI's inclusivity allows me to experience things vicariously as well as be inspired and enabled to do things myself. It also informs and empowers us on current issues affecting us and how to deal with them or simply know that we are not alone in facing them.
10004 Born in Australia, I have lived in the U.K., Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan and Canada. In addition to residing in these countries, I have visited several others including New Zealand, China, Spain, Bali, Turkey, France and the U.S. In not one of these countries did I experience the provision of mainstream accessible media to people with disabilities equivalent to that of AMI.
10005 In Australia there was an underground network for downloading audio described movies, content through connections in the "blinkie" community abroad. However, that wasn't optimal, as downloading was slow and the files themselves were only audio files whereby the audio and the description had been separated from the video. This meant that no "sightie" in their right mind wanted to sit down and watch a movie with you. Additionally, the selection was outdated.
10006 Prior to AMI, in all my travels I haven't experienced a channel dedicated to accessible media. AMI makes content available for the now from the now.
10007 Plus, try to imagine never being able to know what's on TV? AMI has also made the television guide accessible. I can actually plan what I'm going to watch. This is an independence that wasn't afforded the visually impaired of Canada until now.
10008 I started internationally competing in sports in 2006 and I am now a member of Team Canada. I hold the Powerlifting World Record and have done so for four consecutive years. I also recently started competing in athletics for British Columbia and now hold the Canadian National record.
10009 I say this because in all my life the idea of sport meant playing sport as I could never find enjoyment in the watching of sports due to the lack of description.
10010 Imagine as a child in Australia growing up, my parents and my sister saying, "Sit down, let's watch some tennis". What does that mean to me? "Plop, ugh; plop, ugh", these sounds of people hitting the ball and reaching for it. Audio Description in sport gives the listener a clear and descriptive commentary that transforms the enjoyment of live sporting events.
10011 Prior to AMI I only had access to described video coverage on the audio network, an online radio station that broadcasted one sport, Goalball. AMI's coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games provided athlete interviews, opening and closing ceremony descriptions, as well as sport-specific event coverage. This is a huge step forward in audio description of sports coverage and equality. This was a step made by AMI, and AMI alone.
10012 AMI affects far and wide. Being able to enjoy accessible programs has made a huge difference to my life, but not only has it changed my life it has also changed the lives of the people around me. I can watch programs with my loved ones without wondering how much it's going to affect their viewing experience. This is huge! Not having to ask them to take time out to describe to me, they don't have to offer, they actually get to relax.
10013 I have been so impressed with the support and initiatives that AMI affords that I find myself promoting it to the people around me. I have found that many people have started tuning to AMI whether having a disability or not because of its informative and inspiring affect.
10014 "Sighties" have mentioned to me that they enjoy the opportunity to multitask away from the TV without missing out on a storyline, that they hear details they themselves didn't notice.
10015 AMI plays an integral role in the link between worlds within the nation of Canada.
10016 My name is Ness and I'm a blind Para-Athlete -- with sights set on Rio 2016 -- living in Vancouver B.C. I'm married and we live with my guide dog Lexington and my retired seeing eye dog Verdi.
10017 We are AMI watchers, supporters and enthusiasts because AMI makes our lives better. AMI makes a difference, AMI makes "THE" difference. Please consider the immeasurable positive impact AMI has on the people of Canada and extend their licensing.
10018 Thank you.
10019 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. It's Jean-Pierre Blais here, the Chairman.
10020 First of all, I wanted to thank you for presenting a very compelling and, I must say, entertaining intervention. That's very good, but it doesn't take away from the seriousness of the issues you have raised and you face.
10021 I just have one question for you, because your presentation has been very, very clear. I take it from your comments in your presentation that this service is unique in all your travels in your paralympian activities.
10022 This is something that you are not crossing in any other jurisdictions; is that correct?
10023 MS MURBY: Yes, that is correct. I have travelled far and wide and there is no television service that I have come across that actually has a channel dedicated to accessible media, whether it be simply for the blind or talking about disabled issues.
10024 This is the first time and I am very proud to say that it is only in Canada.
10025 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And I take it when you have discussions with the fellow athletes from other jurisdictions, you must speak of this and they must be a bit jealous of it?
10026 MS MURBY: Incredibly so actually.
10027 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, that's good. That actually puts a very human perspective on this issue and we very much appreciate your participation in the hearing and wish you best of luck in the upcoming Games.
10028 Thank you.
10029 MS MURBY: Thank you very much for you time.
10030 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
10031 We will now go to the next intervener, Ms Clelland.
10032 MS CLELLAND: Clelland.
10033 THE CHAIRPERSON: Clelland, okay.
10034 Please go ahead.
10035 MS CLELLAND: Thank you very much for inviting me here today, I very much appreciate it.
10036 My name is Dawn Clelland, I am the mom of two children, one who is blind and the other one who is sighted, and I am also the President of VIEWS, which is the support and advocacy group for children who are blind or have low vision in the Province of Ontario.
10037 As the very lucky mom of two 15-year-olds, a son and daughter, I have come to realize that accessibility, or the lack thereof, is everybody's issue and it affects everybody. It is a family and a community affair.
10038 My daughter is smart, courageous, funny and inspiring. Actually, when I listened to this lady I got kind of choked up because she reminds me of mine. She works hard at everything she does and in school, earns 80s and 90s.
10039 Alyssa will tell you that she can do anything and, for the most part, that's absolutely true. She wakeboards, she water skis, she skis down black diamond slopes, if you can imagine, with just somebody telling her -- guiding her and telling her which way she needs to go. She plays Nintendo better than me, which isn't really saying too much, and she does it just by feeling the motion of the hand-held device and listening to the sound of the game.
10040 Awed camp leaders say that she climbs vertical gyms better than the jocks. She composes the most beautiful songs, with one of my favourites being her first which she wrote when she was only 11 years old when somebody said they felt sorry for her because she was blind. It's actually the words that move me. She wrote:
"Don't feel sorry 'cause I'm blind. All of the loss is in your mind. Don't feel bad, 'cause I don't see. It really does not bother me."
10041 She is one of the happiest people I know and it's impossible to rub shoulders with Alyssa and leave anything less than inspired. Actually, her Grade 7-8 principal said that he is a better person because he got to know Alyssa.
10042 Since my two children were born I have been blessed to witness the beautiful miracle of my children's growth. I have participated in this drama by teaching my daughter hands on, skills, abilities and techniques to make the world accessible to her. She has wonderful teachers who have shown her how to create and expand on skills, using her remaining senses, enabling her independence.
10043 The only sector I have found totally impossible has been the watching of television or movies. I cannot describe things fast enough. I get distracted by the action and I forget to share. I talk through the words describing the action and then I lose the story line myself. She gets frustrated and bored. There is nothing that I can pre-teach or pre-learn to make this an easier or an enjoyable experience for us.
10044 I feel terrible for Alyssa, as blindness becomes an exceptionality of confusion and isolation. She knows something is happening, she can hear it, she just doesn't know what it is, so she is always filling in the pieces. But there are a million pieces, she is certain to get many wrong. Each piece contains information essential to the one which follows.
10045 Alyssa hears everybody laugh and doesn't understand why. The story she heard wasn't funny but, then again, she didn't see the hand gestures, the facial expressions, nor the body language. She was so busy trying to understand the action that she completely missed the story. She's the only one who doesn't get it. She asks what's happening, but the story has moved on and we, her family, cannot keep up with it as we are just learning the story line as well, not knowing what connections are important. We all feel very exhausted and mentally frustrated.
10046 This is not fun for any of us, so we stopped watching television. But that's not fair, because her brother, like every other boy his age, loves TV. Instead of being that relaxed, lazy thing that families get to share together, it splinters our family's activities, with us parents being pulled and torn.
10047 Watching my daughter's frustration due to television inaccessibility and the social challenges it has brought has been a very difficult issue for me. She hears friends talking about popular TV shows but she has nothing to share because she never saw the same show as everybody else.
10048 The show Alyssa saw, she created in her head based upon what she heard and it was a terrible show which made no sense. She had nothing to share and she would listen carefully, ask questions and begin to understand some of the nuances as she was seeing the show in retrospect through somebody else's eyes, maybe finally laughing herself.
10049 Where television was concerned, she was always the student learning from others, no matter their age, as everybody else always has the remainder of the information she was missing. It was upsetting to see this dynamo diminished in this manner.
10050 AMI's descriptive video service has completely changed this experience for our family. Alyssa can understand the action. She can laugh with her friends and family. She is no longer walking away creating her own story. She can enjoy the same one everybody else experienced.
10051 And I can too. When we watch AMI, I don't feel inadequate anymore and it has become something we can enjoy together as a family, as it is supposed to be.
10052 As a mom and President of VIEWS, it's exciting to have programming designed for our children.
10053 AMI walks the talk on accessibility, with a building easy to navigate, everything tactile and high colour contrasting, enabling independence.
10054 Alyssa says, "I love the way AMI describe things. They use very clear, concise, descriptive words to describe the action and they do not talk when the actors are speaking, which ensures that I get all of the information when it is happening. Often, descriptive video uses too many words and speak over the actors."
10055 This is extremely useful for the sighted viewer as well as it helps us garner the language essential to enable a blind friend, a student, colleague or child to "see."
10056 She also spoke about how relevant the information on AMI is to her as a blind Canadian. There is information on what's happening throughout the country, along with the essential accessibility features for people who are blind or have low vision.
10057 Alyssa prefers AMI radio to CBC or other talk radio stations because there are fewer sound distractions, thereby causing less confusion. Other talk stations have too many people talking and too many voices to keep track of. AMI has the one person talking and they provide information, such as stories and current events, which are relevant for all Canadians.
10058 AMI is connected with the blind community on a very real level, showcasing visually impaired and blind athletes, musicians and change-makers, empowering the viewer, whether they are blind or sighted. They hire people who are blind, provide scholarships and support any and all programming for the blind.
10059 This connection provides them many opportunities to converse with their target audience, thereby enabling them to create meaningful programs.
10060 For the very low cost of 20 cents per month, this is the best money we will ever spend.
10061 I implore you to allow this essential programming to continue and encourage it to grow and develop. Blindness is only disabling when fundamental services are not available.
10062 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for that testimonial, which is very compelling, very valuable in our process because it puts a human face on what we do.
10063 I just have one question for you.
10064 Throughout the regulatory renewals of licences, we do require mainstream conventional broadcasters to also have services to describe video.
10065 Could you address why we need this on top of that? I mean there's already a lot in -- well, maybe there isn't a lot in the system.
10066 MS CLELLAND: There isn't a lot.
10067 THE CHAIRPERSON: There isn't a lot in the system and it's not meeting the needs?
10068 MS CLELLAND: Well, actually there's a lot of reasons why it's not enough.
10069 Imagine if you couldn't see. Imagine how isolating that is. How do you find out information which is going on in other parts of the country? How do you know what is accessible and how to find the accessible locations if you go to any kind of venue? How do you actually know what's on the other stations? There's nothing that tells you that. There's no accessible way of finding out.
10070 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
10071 MS CLELLAND: The other thing is, I think, what is the percentage that you require as CRTC for other radio stations to have that -- is accessible?
10072 I know that we struggle to find any channels which are accessible for Alyssa and for ourselves as well, because, quite frankly, in our family accessibility, is it working for everybody? If it doesn't work for my daughter, then, you know, it's not much fun for me.
10073 So the reality is there isn't enough. And you know why? You actually do bring up a very, very good perspective. We do need more. I mean it's only appropriate that it's accessible for all.
10074 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, you're very clear. Thank you.
10075 MS CLELLAND: Thank you.
10076 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate you participating in this hearing. Thank you.
10077 MS CLELLAND: Thank you very much.
10078 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now go to...?
10079 THE SECRETARY: To Mr. Jan Zawilski, who is on the screen right now, appearing by videoconference from Montreal.
10080 Good morning. Can you hear us well?
10081 M. ZAWILSKI : Bonjour.
10082 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Bonjour.
10083 LE PRÉSIDENT : Bonjour.
10084 M. ZAWILSKI : Oui, je vous entends bien.
10085 LE PRÉSIDENT : Vous nous entendez. D'accord.
10086 M. ZAWILSKI : Bonjour, tout le monde.
10087 LE PRÉSIDENT : On vous entend et on vous voit très bien. Donc, je vous en prie de faire votre présentation.
10088 M. ZAWILSKI : Si vous me voyez bien, bien, je ne peux pas dire le contraire, mais ça, ça fait partie de la présentation.
10089 LE PRÉSIDENT : Je voulais faire part de notre expérience de notre côté. Donc, on comprend.
10090 M. ZAWILSKI : Non, je vous vois un petit peu au loin là. C'est ça.
10091 M. ZAWILSKI : Je vous remercie et je remercie beaucoup le CRTC de m'accueillir ce matin.
10092 Si je me suis déplacé de Drummondville à Montréal pour une présentation de cinq minutes par vidéoconférence, c'est parce que je crois beaucoup dans l'application d'AMI-tv pour la mise en place d'un service francophone de vidéo description à travers le Canada.
10093 Moi, je considère que c'est un service essentiel pour les personnes comme moi qui ont une déficience visuelle et que c'est à peu près temps que ce service-là se donne aussi en français dans un pays comme le Canada.
10094 Moi, ici aujourd'hui, je témoigne comme un utilisateur de ce service-là. Je veux parler brièvement de mon expérience.
10095 Premièrement, je vais avoir 60 ans le mois prochain. Je suis à la retraite depuis un peu plus de trois ans. J'ai travaillé toute ma vie pour faciliter l'inclusion et la participation sociale des personnes handicapées.
10096 J'ai travaillé, entre autres, dans la fonction publique du Québec à l'Office des personnes handicapées du Québec, et je suis un des co-auteurs de la politique « À part égale », qui était très avant-gardiste pour ce temps-là, 1984, et dans cette politique-là, dans le chapitre sur la culture, on mentionnait déjà le concept de vidéo description.
10097 Je ne sais pas si c'est le terme qu'on utilisait, mais on mentionnait ça comme un des objectifs au niveau culturel pour permettre aux personnes handicapées d'avoir plus accès à la télévision puis tout le côté audiovisuel.
10098 Donc, en 1984, on était très avant-gardiste, et je suis très content de voir qu'en 2009, il y a eu l'implantation de ce service-là au Canada pour la communauté anglophone.
10099 Je reste quand même très impliqué dans le domaine des personnes handicapées. Tout récemment, je suis devenu co-président du Comité pour les personnes ayant une limitation fonctionnelle du Nouveau parti démocratique. Donc, je m'implique politiquement pour continuer de faire avancer la cause des personnes handicapées. Puis, occasionnellement, je travaille comme consultant dans ce domaine-là à cause de quand même l'expérience importante que j'ai acquise.
10100 Comme je vous dis, moi, j'ai une déficience visuelle, qui est apparue à l'âge de six ans quand je suis allé à l'école, et j'ai dû m'adapter toute ma vie avec cette déficience visuelle là, et ce n'est que dans les 10... mettons les 20 à 30 dernières années que la société commence à s'adapter aux personnes qui ont des limitions fonctionnelles, et la mise en place de ce service-là à travers le Canada en 2009 a été comme un acquis, un gros acquis pour nous.
10101 En fait, ça été comme un cadeau du ciel pour moi, parce que depuis l'âge de 50 ans, j'ai quand même perdu pas mal de vision. Je ne fonctionne pas avec une canne, mais c'est presque rendu là.
10102 Donc, j'ai toujours regardé la télévision depuis l'âge de... un très jeune âge, et je devais, bien sûr, m'approcher de la télévision, mais quand même, je pouvais avoir accès à pas mal tout. Des fois, je manquais le non verbal quand ça allait vite.
10103 Mais depuis l'âge de 50 ans, c'est sûr que je m'intéressais moins à la télévision, ayant perdu quand même pas mal de vision, et, comme je vous dis, ça été un cadeau du ciel quand j'ai pu avoir un poste... Je suis parfaitement bilingue. Donc, je n'ai pas eu aucun problème pour suivre toutes les émissions à AMI-tv.
10104 C'est bien fait, comme l'intervenante avant moi l'a décrit. C'est fait de façon professionnelle. Même, je dirais que ça nous permet, nous, aux personnes qui ont une incapacité visuelle, d'avoir même plus d'informations que les gens voyants qui n'ont pas ce service-là.
10105 Par exemple, ça nous rappelle le nom des personnages dans un film, nous les ramène. Donc, ça nous amène à même suivre un peu plus. C'est sûr quand il y a beaucoup d'actions ou le non verbal, ça, c'est des choses que j'ai de la misère à suivre. Donc, ça m'aide beaucoup.
10106 J'ai essayé d'imaginer ça pour vous. C'est comme pour vous regarder une partie de hockey sans avoir de commentaires. Il y a certains d'entre vous peut-être qui seraient capables de suivre une partie au complet, mais je pense que vous trouveriez ça pas mal dur à la longue de regarder une partie de hockey sans avoir de commentaires là, de la descriptions ou un colour comment comme on dit. Donc, je pensais à ça comme image.
10107 Donc, c'est un service que je considère essentiel, pas juste la programmation là, c'est-à-dire les films et les téléromans, mais il y aussi... comme l'intervenante auparavant mentionnait, il y a toute la production originale d'AMI-tv qui décrit ce qui se passe dans la communauté, de façon at large là dans sa communauté, mais qui aussi donne des...
10108 Il y a des émissions d'informations très utiles qui me permettent... Bien que je suis bien connecté dans le milieu, toujours bien connecté dans le milieu, puis je suis assez au courant de ce qui se passe, mais j'en ai quand même appris pas mal en regardant certaines émissions où on va parler de réadaptation, d'aides techniques, de culture, de sports, pour personnes handicapées, même ce qu'on appelle des role models.
10109 C'est très important pour les gens de voir que même si on a des incapacités là, on a aussi beaucoup de capacités. On est capable de s'épanouir et faire notre marque dans la société. Donc, ça nous donne ce côté-là que je trouve très intéressant.
10110 Comme j'ai dit dans ma lettre que je vous ai adressée, je regarde en moyenne une heure, une heure et demi par jour de ça, puis, bien sûr, si j'ai un accès au côté francophone, c'est sûr que je vais en regarder davantage.
10111 Donc, je vous incite fortement à accepter l'application d'AMI-tv pour cette chaîne de télé française qui va offrir un service de vidéo description puis de sous-titrage aux personnes francophones dans le Canada.
10112 Un dernier commentaire. Je dirais si... Je considère que c'est un service essentiel, et on n'accepterait pas que Radio-Canada diffuse juste en anglais au Canada. Puis je ne pense pas qu'il faut accepter qu'AMI-tv diffuse juste en anglais.
10113 LE PRÉSIDENT : Je m'excuse...
10114 M. ZAWILSKI : Je pense que le temps est...
10115 LE PRÉSIDENT : Pour conclure...?
10116 M. ZAWILSKI : Merci.
10117 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui. Merci. Oui, c'est ça, il faut...
10118 M. ZAWILSKI : C'est beau.
10119 LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est beau.
10120 M. ZAWILSKI : J'ai conclu.
10121 LE PRÉSIDENT : Monsieur le Vice-président a peut-être une question pour vous.
10122 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Merci, Monsieur Zawilski. Vous avez clairement plaidé la cause de l'équité entre les deux langues officielles. Quant au match de hockey, même avec des commentateurs, des fois, il reste très platte depuis quelques années à Montréal.
10123 Ceci étant, mis à part AMI en anglais, y a-t-il une manière pour un francophone de regarder la télé, un francophone qui a une incapacité visuelle?
10124 M. ZAWILSKI : C'est-à-dire ça dépend du niveau de vision. Moi, je me rapproche toujours de la télé, et donc, je suis capable de voir pas mal ce qui se passe, mais quand il y a beaucoup d'actions ou quand il y a le non verbal, je ne le saisis pas.
10125 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Alors, dans le marché francophone, il y a...
10126 M. ZAWILSKI : Dans le marché francophone...
10127 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Oui.
10128 M. ZAWILSKI : ...il y a très peu de vidéo description. Ça demeure... Je pense que ce n'est pas... Bien que je prône une approche inclusive à long terme, c'est-à-dire que toutes les émissions, on devrait pouvoir, avec une puce dans la télévision... c'est déjà, je pense, le cas pour le sous-titrage et semble-t-il que c'est le cas pour la vidéo description là. Je pense que toutes les émissions devraient donner ça, mais je pense qu'on n'est pas rendu là, comme l'intervenante a indiqué.
10129 Puis aussi, il y a toute la question d'avoir dans un lieu central la programmation, et ce service-là, AMI-tv le donne. Ils l'offrent par leur site Internet. On peut aller voir qu'est-ce qui est accessible du côté anglophone. J'ose croire qu'on aurait la même chose du côté francophone, c'est-à-dire la grille horaire de pas juste les émissions présentées à AMI, mais aussi ce qui est présenté sur les autres chaînes.
10130 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Je comprends.
10131 M. ZAWILSKI : Ça prend ça. C'est un service que je considère essentiel.
10132 CONSEILLER PENTEFOUNTAS : Merci beaucoup d'avoir pris le temps d'être parmi nous aujourd'hui. Merci encore.
10133 M. ZAWILSKI : Merci.
10134 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci. Votre position est très claire. Donc, merci d'avoir participé à notre audience.
10135 Nous allons maintenant passer à la... We will now go to the next intervener.
10136 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Michael Petosa.
10137 M. Petosa va faire sa présentation bilingue. Alors, quand vous êtes prêt, appuyez seulement sur votre petit bouton en avant de vous et vous pouvez débuter votre présentation.
10138 M. PETOSA : Bonjour à vous tous. Hello to everyone.
10139 Mr. Commissioner, messieurs et mesdames les Commissaires du CRTC, mon nom est M. Michael Petosa. Je suis natif de Montréal, où j'ai fait toutes mes études. J'ai un baccalauréat en traduction et en arts, je suis musicien, et je suis, tout comme vous, une personne qui aime regarder -- en grosses lettres, entre parenthèses, entre apostrophes -- la télévision.
10140 I'm a person who loves watching his TV programs. Whether it be "NCIS," "Blue Bloods," "CSI New York," "Law and Order," I love all those shows. And what AMI brings to us, what it brings to me is that possibility to know what's going on on the screen.
10141 Now, the TV, what it is, ce qu'est la télévision, c'est une boîte avec un écran, c'est les yeux sur le monde. TV has brought plenty to us, you know, in '69, the first man on the moon, Hockey Night in Canada. I like to watch my hockey games on RDS, whether it be in French most of the time. I'm a Montréal Canadiens fan.
10142 And when the Expos were there, I used to watch the baseball games. Now, just recently, I've heard that AMI offers the Blue Jays games. Now, seeing as how Canada has lost their Montreal Expos, I often turn to AMI to watch a Blue Jays game.
10143 Now, AMI also offers us old shows -- not old shows, I don't like that word -- offers us interesting sitcoms that bring back very good memories, de bons souvenirs, comme "All in the Family," "Magnum P.I.," "CSI New York." Whether I'm seen it before or not, AMI has rendered that for me really accessible.
10144 And someone spoke to me about AMI and I go -- well, actually, no, the person didn't actually speak to me about AMI but spoke to me of the fact that "All in the Family" was on this special channel. So I turned it on and there it was. Now, I laughed when it was time to laugh. I was sitting on the edge of my seat. You know, when you watch "CSI" and there's a scene playing before you where you're chewing off your fingernails almost to the knuckles, and, you know, it's explaining to you what's playing before you.
10145 I've also accessed AMI on the Internet. So what the TV Guide is to the seeing eye person, the DV Guide is to the visually impaired. I truly and honestly believe that AMI -- et si je peux le dire en français, AMI-tv, c'est un ami pour tous. Even though AMI, A-M-I, means Accessible Media Inc., I can honestly say that AMI is a friend to each and every one, whether it be visually impaired, whether it be a person who can see.
10146 And I truly appreciated the presentation of Ness, I think who is in Vancouver, and Ms Clelland, Dawn Clelland, and the one preceding me.
10147 Je crois sincèrement qu'AMI-tv, autant en français qu'en anglais, a sa place sur les ondes. Et pourquoi? Je sens nécessairement qu'il vaut mieux écouter quelque chose qui peut être intéressant et non pas -- comme moi, je suis natif du Québec -- et qu'on écoute carrément des niaiseries qui vont être dites à la télévision, autant des sacres qu'on entend sur les ondes. On n'a pas besoin de ça, vraiment pas. Vraiment pas. Des blasphèmes et puis des... Je trouve qu'AMI-tv vraiment a sa place.
10148 Et je fais aussi partie de leur sondage. Ça m'a été présenté. Je réponds aux questions.
10149 Et ils sont vraiment accessibles. Et la technologie étant ce qu'elle est aujourd'hui, je peux remercier la technologie de ce qu'elle est aujourd'hui, parce que moi-même, j'ai mon propre portable qui me parle avec le logiciel Jaws. Je me suis procuré tout dernièrement un iPhone 4S qui a voice-over.
10150 Donc, vous voyez, AMI-tv et la technologie, on est vraiment... on marche vraiment main dans la main.
10152 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation. C'est Jean-Pierre Blais, président du CRTC.
10153 M. PETOSA : Oui, Monsieur Blais. D'accord.
10154 LE PRÉSIDENT : Monsieur Petosa...
10155 M. PETOSA : Petosa, oui.
10156 LE PRÉSIDENT : ...j'ai rien qu'une question pour vous.
10157 M. PETOSA : Allez-y.
10158 LE PRÉSIDENT : Et puis, étant donné que vous avez accès à la fois au marché anglophone et francophone, de votre habilité...
10159 M. PETOSA : Oui. Exactement, oui.
10160 LE PRÉSIDENT : ...à votre avis, est-ce que vous trouvez que le marché francophone ou anglophone est mieux ou moins bien desservi par rapport aux besoins de votre communauté?
10161 M. PETOSA : Je trouve que l'anglophone est beaucoup mieux servi que le francophone. Je suis honnête avec vous. Je sais que le côté anglophone est beaucoup mieux servi sur tous ces points-là.
10162 Comme disait un des intervenants before me -- one of the interveners before me said that if I can -- I'll try to search my memory -- mentioned how much -- oh yeah, how much we have descriptive video on different channels. I'll give you an example.
10163 "W5" on Saturday night, right before -- now, "W5" says that this program can be seen in descriptive video.
10164 Et du côté francophone, il n'y en a pas de ça. On n'entend jamais dire, que ce soit Radio-Canada, que ce soit Canal V, que ce soit Canal Vie ou Zeste, genre Food Network en français si vous voulez, jamais qu'on entend dire que ce programme est en descriptive video.
10165 LE PRÉSIDENT : C'est très clair. Votre présentation est très complète, et on vous remercie d'avoir pris le temps de participer à nos audiences. Parfois, on n'a pas toujours le point de vue des gens, des individus au Canada, et donc, c'est toujours très utile pour nous.
10166 M. PETOSA : Si je peux me permettre, je tiens à vous remercier, vous le CRTC, les membres du CRTC d'avoir permis... Parce que je viens de Saint-Georges-de-Beauce. Je demeure là présentement, et j'ai comme câblodistributeur Cogeco Câble. Et j'avais entendu parler d'autres, TAC-TV avant, et puis maintenant, c'est AMI-tv, and I really do appreciate it.
10167 Et puis, j'apprécie le fait que vous ayez permis à des personnes telles que moi-même et telles que monsieur Zawilski, puis les autres, de pouvoir venir vous donner... Parce que ce sont nous, les consommateurs qui font que la télédiffusion et la radiodiffusion sont ce qu'elles sont aujourd'hui.
10168 LE PRÉSIDENT : Et on apprécie beaucoup que vous soyez là parce qu'on ne pourrait pas faire notre boulot si les Canadiens ne participaient pas à nos instances.
10169 M. PETOSA : Voilà!
10170 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci encore.
10171 M. PETOSA : Merci beaucoup.
10172 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so we will be adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1237, to resume on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 0900
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