Transcript, Hearing November 30, 2016
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: November 30, 2016
© Copyright Reserved
Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
Attendees and Location
140 Promenade du Portage
- Chairman: Jean-Pierre Blais
- Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting: Judith A. LaRocque
- Commissioners: Yves Dupras, Stephen Simpson, Linda Vennard
- Legal Advisors: Rachelle Frenette, Valérie Dionne
- Secretary: Lynda Roy
- Hearing Managers: Julie St-Pierre, Pierre-Marc Perreault
--- Upon resuming on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 9:05 a.m.
3461 LA SECRÉTAIRE: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait.
3462 Order, please.
3463 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bonjour. Good morning.
3464 Alors, Madame la secrétaire.
3465 THE SECRETARY: Good morning, everyone. We will start this morning with Item 9 on the agenda which is a presentation by Media Access Canada.
3466 So when you are ready, please introduce yourselves first for the record. And you have 10 minutes for your presentation -- 15. I’m sorry.
3467 MR. TIBBS: Thank you, Madame Secretary.
3468 For the record, my name is Anthony Tibbs. I’m Chair of the Board and the Acting CEO of Media Access Canada.
3469 MAC, on behalf of the Access 2020 coalition, represents a variety of national disability organizations, some of which are here today, with the objective of achieving full accessibility of media and communication services by 2020. We are one clear voice for accessibility in media.
3470 To my immediate left is Lisa Anderson-Kellett, member-at-large for the Canadian Association of the Deaf. To Lisa’s right is Glen Martin, Executive Director of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. To my right is the President of Disabled Women’s Network of Canada, Cameron Hutchinson, and to her right is Kim Kilpatrick of the Canadian Council of the Blind.
3471 In the back row, on the left, is our researcher, Haylea Ostafichuk and to her right, Beverley Milligan, both of Analysis and Research in Communications, our consultants of record in this proceeding.
3472 This is the International Week of Persons with Disabilities and hundreds of delegates are in town to participate in those activities. Minister Qualtrough is having a conference today, so we would like to recognize and thank the panel for their participation today.
3473 Commissioners, Commission staff and members of the audience, good morning.
3474 It is a rare occasion and therefore a key measure of policy-making success that we are here today to support the renewal of television licence held by large English-language ownership groups including Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc., Rogers Media Inc., and the English-language service Shaw Communications Inc.
3475 We support these organizations because, with the exception of Sundance and IFC, all four have complied with the accessibility conditions on which their broadcast licences depend.
3476 We feel that instead of a conditional support for Sundance and IFC, we publicly request they bring their conditions into compliance.
3477 We were pleased to learn that for all the others, conditions of licence were met, and in some cases surpassed the set-out conditions.
3478 It is also very important to note the work of the English Broadcast Group, or EBG, who self- identified as non-compliant for real time captioning quality due to faulty measurement tools. EBG then undertook, under the guidance of the CRTC, to resolve these issues in partnership with the Canadian Consumer Accessibility Alliance.
3479 Correcting the measurement of real-time captioning quality standards is ongoing and, therefore, was not considered in our coming to the decision to support the applicants and won’t not be discussed in this presentation except to say that we are hopeful and fully supportive of the consultations and research that are currently in place to resolve these issues.
3480 MS. ANDERSON-KELLETT: Hello. Today, hundreds of disability organizations from across the country are here in Ottawa to discuss the creation and implementation of a National Disability Act. We believe this consultation should include the CRTC because of its success in implementing pioneering policy and the resulting regulations now in place to ensure accessible media for Canadians with disabilities.
3481 For broadcasting, this means two things including 100 percent captioned broadcast day, four hours of descriptive video per week, and all of prime-time evening television described by or before 2019.
3482 For us, the most important requirement is that the accessible integrity of all content broadcast must remain in tact when transcoding for other media delivery systems such as over the world-wide web. For example, internet -- I wanted to provide a personal story.
3483 During the federal elections I very disappointed and frustrated and felt left out of the process because I couldn’t watch the federal platforms, the debates for the different parties. I wasn’t able to access it with an app or on my computer; there was no captioning available; there was no person providing sign language interpretation. So in those instances I would like to see closed captioning.
3484 I was required to go home and watch it on television so I didn’t get the same accessibility as other Canadians. I wasn’t able to access it on the go or outside of my home.
3485 So what I would like to see is -- what I would like to see is what is available on television should be paralleled all across the internet -- media, video browsers -- for example, CBC, CTV, Global, Shaw Free Range, their apps, everything needs to be integrated with captioning on-line.
3486 The Commission, the CRTC, is recognized around the world for its innovation and leadership in ensuring accessibility in broadcasting regardless of how it is distributed, and we want them to continue with this leadership.
3487 The Commission has set the bar in accessible policy design and implementation. As such, all of us have learned by trial and error. All stakeholders, disability organizations, broadcasters, government, manufacturers, and others, have worked together, and we are all pioneers. But none of this would have happened without the guidance and regulatory policy framework provided by CRTC staff and Commissioners, and we need that to continue now more than ever. Thank you.
3488 MS. HUTCHINSON: It is important to note that conditions of licence for accessible media works. That’s why we are here today supporting Canada’s large English broadcasters, because it works. Accessibility in broadcasting is not driven by market forces. We know this because we all have the scars from this journey to show it.
3489 Even with overarching policies, we still face caption-quality issues and, in the cases of description, compliance by program-repetition challenges.
3490 We have learned that succinct and innovative policy provides for 100 percent access to Canadians with disabilities, as well as new immigrants, sports bar and sports club patrons, and even those who just don’t want to wake up their partner while watching a late show.
3491 Further, what we call “the multi-media experience”, which is full of accessibility, transcends the notion of need to quality-of-life for all Canadians. As the president of an organization that represents women, I can tell you that multi-tasking is an every day experience, be it taking care of a parent or a child. So being able to hear a described program or “watch” a captioned program is not just about being deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or having low vision; it is part of a multi-media service called broadcasting, and we all use it.
3492 As a woman with over 30 identified disabilities, some of which you can see and some not, I can tell you that I need descriptions and captions, as do others with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, to grasp a program in a way that I, and they, might not have otherwise understood it.
3493 So while we support our broadcasters for meeting their conditions of licence, we’re also here to ask the Commission to build the policy framework for the last mile of access in Canadian broadcasting to achieve 100 percent by 2020.
3494 As the CRTC chair recently stated at the Canadian chapter of the International Institute of Communications,
3495 “In the CRTC’s case, trust is something bestowed upon us, by the public, as a result of doing good work. It’s the by-product of doing the right thing.”
3496 One hundred (100) percent captioned and described content across all delivery systems existing now and in future “is the right thing”, and we are trusting the Commission to lead the way.
3497 MS. MARTIN: Section 3(1)(p) of the Canadian Broadcasting Act reads:
3498 “Programming accessible by disabled persons should be provided within the Canadian broadcasting system as resources become available for the purpose”.
3499 How do you decide that resources are available for that purpose?
3500 According to the recently published CRTC monitoring report, private conventional, discretionary and on demand broadcasting had revenues of 6.06 billion in 2015.
3501 If a broadcast day is 18 hours and you subtract foreign content and Canadian content funded by CMF, along with repeats and programming in prime time, original content in need of description in 2019 will be, for most, live programming like news and current affairs.
3502 We note that some studies have been done on user preferences as they relate to programming genre and descriptions, especially in live or live-like programming. But more user preference research must be done in this area to support the Commission and broadcasters in quality descriptions and live programming. MAC has and will continue, through all of its member organizations, to support a consultative process in this area to bridge the gap to 100 percent descriptions.
3503 Now coming back to the 6.06 billion in revenues last year and the Broadcasting Act, what is broadcasting anymore? Well, I think we can all agree it is just one piece of the broadband puzzle of competing revenue lines in Canada’s large media companies. Broadcasting just happens to be one department that is regulated. So it really isn’t 6.06 billion, but the entire revenue of these media companies we need to consider when assessing resources available for that purpose.
3504 The accessibility discussion going forward is about making content accessible regardless of what department in the organization programs or distributes it, be it regulated broadcasting, web or other systems currently being stated. In a vertically integrated Canadian media industry, broadcasting, as a revenue line, cannot be separated from IP, BDU or other revenues. It starts with content and this content makes its way to each and every user using the device of their choice.
3505 So for us it boils down to two questions. First, are resources available in Canada’s media industry to ensure all content distributed over our regulated infrastructure is both captioned and described?
3506 We believe the resources are available. If the media industry disagrees, we challenge them to provide detailed evidence as to why not. Convince us by providing an in-depth content and programming grid audit that determines how many times content is shown, repeated, sold and re-sold, across all distribution venues to determine the number of hours where DV and CC are already provided and to look at dedicated on-air sponsorship revenues from CC or DV advertising.
3507 This leads to the second question. Will the large vertically integrated companies mirror the innovation shown by the Commission in the last four years and commit to a 100 percent media day by 2020?
3508 We want to remind the Commission that it is not about the cost to provide accessibility; it is about having the available resources. So if there is a dividend provided to shareholders, there are available resources for the last mile.
3509 MS. KIRKPATRICK: In order for us to support the application today, we commissioned an accessibility gap analysis to identify the last mile of accessibility in Canadian broadcasting. A by-product of that was confirmation of compliance to accessible conditions of licence. Again, we congratulate the media companies here today.
3510 The last mile is more like a kilometre, because we are almost there. With the introduction of all prime time descriptions by 2019, along with U.S. daytime descriptions, repeats and other content delivered already captioned and described, we can get there. We just need a little more.
3511 Our accessibility gap analysis indicated a couple of overarching trends among all applicants, and we believe that is where more work is needed. These trends include:
3512 A) Ensure original DV, descriptive video, is created weekly and not the same program shared across multiple licences.
3513 B) Until descriptive video is 100 percent, ensure programming on the web, in print, on billboards and all other advertising media have descriptive video, DV, indicated.
3514 C) Request a web accessibility audit report annually for each licence.
3515 D) Have licences currently excused from meeting the existing and future conditions of licence propose a plan for compliance. This is especially important for licences owned by the large vertically integrated companies, where a single licence may not have the available resources for that purpose, but the company in its entirety does.
3516 As we have stated over and over again, the privilege of becoming a vertically integrated company must require 100 percent accessibility to balance the scales of public good, public trust and doing the right thing.
3517 MR. TIBBS: We support the licensees in their renewal and trust the Commission and broadcasters will work with us on getting through the last mile of accessible content in broadcasting by 2020. To do this, we are asking the Commission and the Canadian broadcasting industry to work with us in filling the gaps.
3518 It means requiring licensees with accessibility exemptions to comply with existing requirements, defragmenting, if you will, the special exemptions back to compliance. It will require a 100 percent described broadcast day and it will demand action to insulate CRTC accessibility requirements and conditions of licence from the exciting, but unregulated delivery systems of the future, by leveraging all licences, be they broadcast or BDU.
3519 Further, as technological innovations continue to merge telecommunications and broadcasting, much like the ownership charts of Canada’s vertically integrated media companies, accessible policy must be leveraged across that divide to ensure 100 percent access to media for all Canadians now and in the future.
3520 All of us are here today to celebrate and support accessibility for Canadians with disabilities, and we want to help each and every one of Canada’s broadcast licensees in achieving 100 percent by 2020.
3521 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
3522 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much all of you for being here.
3523 Let me just take a second to reintroduce the panel to you so you know who you’ll be having a conversation with. To my far left is Commissioner Vennard, who’s the Commissioner for Alberta and Northwest Territory. To my left more immediately is Commissioner Simpson, who’s the Regional Commissioner for British Columbia and Yukon.
3524 To my immediate right is our new Vice-Chair of Broadcasting, Ms. Judith LaRocque. And to my far right Mr. Yves Dupras who’s the Regional Commissioner for Quebec. And of course I’m Jean-Pierre Blais, the CRTC Chair.
3525 So welcome again. Commissioner Dupras will start our questions.
3526 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you. Good morning.
3527 I read this morning and in your intervention I saw that you say that the condition of licence for accessible media works, but that there is still some problems.
3528 You refer to the fact that the licensees do not clearly indicate the presence of DV programming everywhere in their programming grid; that there are instances where closed captioning is still offered with a delay, making comprehension difficult; and also a recurring pattern that the majority of the description video programming was primarily American, which indicates little Canadian-produced description video content.
3529 So I understand in connection with described video and audio description that you recommend the Commission impose requirements that all of the promotion the broadcaster do in any media indicate if the program is available with described video and audio description.
3530 Can you tell us more about the experience of Canadians with disabilities trying to find accessible programs?
3531 MR. TIBBS: Right now it is a little bit difficult oftentimes to know whether or not a particular program will be available with description.
3532 In terms of description itself, AMI or Accessible Media Inc. has stepped forward and created an online DV guide which attempts to provide a central place for people who are blind or who have low vision to find which programs will be available with description and when. But that’s essentially each of the licensees relying on a third party to, seemingly out of the generosity of their hearts, provide that information to Canadian consumers.
3533 And we don’t know whether that will always be there or whether that service will continue. But that’s really the only guaranteed way now to even learn of this. Often it isn’t promoted. Even if captioning is indicated, often there’s no way to determine whether or not described video will be available.
3534 Kim, do you have anything more to add to that?
3535 MS. KILPATRICK: Yes, I feel the same thing, that you have to look in several different places to find the content. And sometimes you don’t know if it is available until you start watching the program; they might announce it at the beginning. But it really is hard to determine and sometimes I stumble upon it accidentally as I don’t feel it’s promoted in the same way closed captioning is promoted, which I think is good that closed captioning is promoted. But I think audio described or DVS or DV is not always as promoted. And it stems from the misguided thought that blind people don’t actually have an interest to watch TV, you know?
3536 But DV helps immensely, immensely. Imagine watching an action movie and you hear dialogue and then the last 10 minutes is nothing but music and you have no idea what actually happened at the end of that movie. That’s a really concrete example of not being able to access something that everybody else does. So I really -- I’m excited whenever I have DV and when I can find it.
3537 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Yes, you want to add something?
3538 MS. HUTCHISON: In the area that I live in I have no access to scheduling at all. So I have no TV schedule. And as a brain-injured person I can’t find out any programming or whether there is described video or closed captioning. So I have no access to any of the licensees’ programming, when it’s on, when it’s not on, or any of the resources that are available. Thank you.
3539 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And can I ask you where that is?
3540 MS. HUTCHISON: I live in Irricana, Alberta.
3541 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Pardon me? The first, you said?
3542 MS. HUTCHISON: Irricana, Alberta.
3543 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay.
3544 MS. HUTCHISON: Thank you.
3545 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: But ---
3546 MS. MILLIGAN: Excuse me. Can I just ---
3547 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes.
3548 MS. MILLIGAN: --- also add that part of what we’re asking for is not only that we see DV indicated certainly on programming grids, on the web, but in a perfect world, until DV is 100 percent, we’d like to see it on the billboards, right up there, indicating right up there beside the channel that it is DV so that people can plan to watch a program rather than stumbling on it.
3549 And also, as we are moving into distributing and -- you know, the wild, wild west of distributing content, we’d like to be able to know where to find it there as well. And certainly if a large company who has content and it’s distributed over broadcasting and it’s, you know, either simultaneously or later distributed in all of these other non-legacy venues, that they be indicated as well.
3550 MS. KILPATRICK: Can I just add one good example? The CBC Television app on my iPhone, if you turn video description on, anytime any program I put on that using my iPhone, if it is described it comes on. So something, you know -- that means that I’m not searching around. And they did a very good job of that. So other companies should -- you know, could learn from that example too.
3551 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. But in your view, is discoverability of accessible program better now than it was before? And what has changed?
3552 MS. KILPATRICK: “Before” meaning? When I was a kid there was none.
3553 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: No, but I mean ---
3554 MS. KILPATRICK: It was my family and half the time they would say something like, “Just wait; I’ve got to figure it out” and then you would wait 10 minutes.
3555 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: I mean five years ago.
3556 MS. KILPATRICK: Yes, it is improving and it has improved. And the quality of it also has improved in terms of the way it’s described. And people are doing a better job and it’s very good when it happens. So yes, I think it is improving; it has improved. I’m hoping for more live events described.
3557 I noticed that in the U.S. this past year they had Olympics described but we did not have that in Canada. So things like that I think would be really great because those are events you watch all together with people. And it’s nice not to have to call on people around you to describe and also not to -- if you’re by yourself you can still enjoy the content.
3558 But Anthony might also have something?
3559 MR. TIBBS: Over the last number of years certainly the availability and the content of described video, at least, has increased significantly. As I understand it, most of the Canadian-produced drama programming at least is coming with description now from source, which makes life easier.
3560 There are still gaps. Live programming is one and that’s a specific example. But also news programming and the like, there are often elements of those that are inaccessible. So there are still gaps but it has improved.
3561 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. And talking about that -- so you’re saying that what would be programs of national interest like a drama or Canadian documentaries, that would be well-covered with described videos, and it would be more light programs you’re saying, shorter programs like news, what you just said?
3562 MR. TIBBS: Well, one of the issues that still remains, and part of this last mile to get to 100 percent, are news programming where oftentimes -- an example would be stock numbers that they put up about market results. Oftentimes it’s just here are the numbers for gold and the like these days and those aren’t verbalized and there’s no description. So that part of it is entirely inaccessible. That’s an example. But those are the last-mile issues that we still need to address.
3563 The bigger issue overall that we face right now though is that with this proliferation of mediums and with this proliferation of different modes of accessing this content in the first place, oftentimes accessibility, even if it existed in one form, doesn’t carry over to the others. And that’s the real issue that we need to address.
3564 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you.
3565 Mme HUTCHISON: Il y a un autre grande gap et j'habite dans hors Québec. Alors, il y a une grande difficulté pour moi d'avoir "programming" en français. J'ai pas d'accès à Irricana. J'ai pas une station en français, pas même CBC en français à Irricana. Mon "provider" de câble, ils ont les quatre "broadcasters" ici mais ils n'ont pas une station en français.
3566 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et qu'en est-il du satellite par exemple, ça serait pas une option pour vous dans votre... dans votre coin?
3567 Mme HUTCHISON: Non, et no TV Guide aussi.
3568 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Parce qu'avec le satellite, c'est possible d'avoir la programmation en français.
3569 Mme HUTCHISON: Oui.
3570 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et j'imagine que c'est un petit système qui est dérèglementé dans votre coin. Combien il y a d'abonnés à ce système-là? Avez-vous une idée?
3571 Mme HUTCHISON: C'était une bonne idée d'avoir un système français. À cause pour moi, français est ma langue secondaire mais pour avoir une opportunité pour habituer mon oreille, c'est beaucoup difficile.
3572 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Thank you for that.
3573 Also, you mentioned a few instances where closed captioning delays were still problematic. As you know, monitoring is made on a complaint basis. Do you know if those delays were reported to the broadcasters or to the Commission?
3574 MS. HUTCHISON: For me, either in French or in English the captioning on our cable provider is horrible. Horrible. We don’t have it in French anyway, but the captioning is really bad. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to report it.
3575 MS. MILLIGAN: Hi. I think I can maybe give some insight to your question.
3576 Whenever there are caption delays -- well, caption delays continue, yes, for a whole bunch of reasons. There’s technical reasons, there’s -- nobody intentionally, you know, tries to delay. They’re doing what they can do. And a lot of it has to do with technical.
3577 One of the issues that has come up as a result of -- we referred earlier to the EBG CCAA consultations. And there was a study that came out of that, delay being one of those studies.
3578 And one of the things that has happened in the analog to digital transition is we’ve seen the way in which a real-time captioner who is captioning from a remote location is now interfacing to the broadcaster through the Internet rather than a dedicated landline. That has been, in our view, a fairly bad decision although I’m sure there’s cost savings. And that’s one thing that needs to be looked at in terms of, you know, was that the decision. But there other reasons for delays.
3579 Now with respect to whether or not people complain, we get complaints all the time at Media Access Canada. We find that a lot of people don’t necessarily -- as hard as we all try, and I know that the Commission does try very hard as well through its website and through other resources -- to encourage people to give feedback.
3580 We tend to, in our organization sitting here today, along with all of our members, are usually the first to hear from these people unless it becomes a passion for them. And we try our best to, by sitting here today and by helping each and every individual that reaches out to us, to put together them with a broadcaster.
3581 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yeah. But do you know if the broadcasters are adequately responding to complaints?
3582 MS. MILLIGAN: You know, they are amazing at responding to complaints. They really do try hard. That doesn’t correct lag time. But there are other complaints which they can control immediately. They will if they can get to source and fix it, but lag time is an overarching large challenge that we are working. And we have actually the next two years of consultations to work towards trying to resolve in consultation with these broadcasters, which is why it’s not something we, you know, put a lot of weight on in our presentation today.
3583 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. So in terms of the complaint process, there’s nothing that you would suggest we do to make it better?
3584 MS. MILLIGAN: Well, what we’ve stated and what we continue to believe is that the complaint process for Canadians with disabilities remain squarely with the CRTC and not to any other third party. That anything accessibility that the CRTC, if it gets accelerated to that, that the CRTC be the organization that we pick up the phone and call or go on the web to fill out our complaint to.
3585 We believe the CRTC knows the issues. They’re familiar with the issues. It’s taken years of being before the Commission to build this tremendous policy framework. And the infrastructure is there, the knowledge base is there, and so we want to continue that.
3586 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you. Do you have anything to add? Because this concludes my questions. Thank you.
3587 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice-Chair of Broadcasting, please.
3588 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Good morning, and thank you for your presentation this morning.
3589 We just heard that the broadcasters are quite amazing at responding to concerns. When we were in Laval last week we heard something quite different. We heard that concerns to broadcasters were pretty well immediately referred to the legal branch, and that what citizens really wanted was simply to be referred to a technician who could fix the problem.
3590 And that this resulted in quite a bit of frustration as of course the legal services branch went through its paces and took its time, you know, took whatever steps it deemed necessary to get a handle on the situation before really approaching the citizen and explaining the situation.
3591 And I think that there was quite a bit of resonance in the room that the broadcasters were listening and figuring out that this was maybe not the best way to assist consumers in their plight.
3592 Have you had the same type of situation? It sounds like you haven’t and it sounds like things are quite good in your world.
3593 MS. MILLIGAN: Generally we hear from people when they’re tremendously frustrated, and I think that when an individual reaches out to a broadcaster or to a line where somebody answers, you know, where an operator comes on and says push this and push that and so on and so forth it’s not in any way dealing immediately with the issue. And they’re in the program. I think that’s a reality for Canadians with disabilities as it is a reality for everybody.
3594 Now, when we hear from somebody, our experience -- first of all -- we know who to call. We have the background. So to be fair, thank you for correcting us. It’s very frustrating for Canadians with disabilities and they reach out to us. And then we’re able to navigate for them through.
3595 And I guess that brings us back to how important it is that nothing really change in terms of the Commission being the first place for a Canadian with a disability to be able to go to.
3596 MS. KILPATRICK: I’d like to say that the -- sometimes the websites are very inaccessible and they’re confusing, trying to figure out, you know, phone plans or internet plans, or usage, what I’ve used before.
3597 I also do find that sometimes when I call, people don’t know about the technologies I use and they don’t seem to be that open sometimes to -- I’ll give you an example.
3598 I heard recently that Bell Fibe had a new app for the fourth-generation Apple TV. And I did call Bell and ask them how accessible that was, because I wouldn’t to get a service until I made sure it was, and asked if I could test it for them because I have Apple TV -- I don’t have Bell Fibe -- and they basically said no, I had to buy it or not buy it.
3599 And things like that do happen and, of course, a lot of people don’t know where to go with that. They may just stop using services because they find them really frustrating in terms of accessibility or change to another provider that has Symbol.
3600 I recently changed from a big company’s internet service to a very small local one because I found their website was so much easier to navigate and my usage table was easy for me to read.
3601 So I guess I don’t want to give you the false impression that it’s great-great all the time with them. There are times when it is and there are times when it’s kind of, yeah, frustrating and that they don’t -- they say, “We have an accessibility page,” and sometimes you look there and there isn’t really anything much on it. So yeah, I don’t find it the greatest sometimes.
3602 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Thank you very much.
3603 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson?
3604 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good morning. Nice to see so many familiar faces.
3605 I’m pretty heartened and grateful for your comments regarding the spirit in which both your communities and the broadcasters are at work on a very willing basis to try and get as far down this last mile as possible and I really want to commend all of you, broadcasters included, for doing what you’re doing because, you know, will always has to come before way and, to me, that’s an important milestone.
3606 But on the subject of will, what got everybody to the table is because broadcasting is regulatorily captured. And the production community is not and I’ve always been an advocate, or at least a squeaky wheel, with respect to progress being made at the source of the content as opposed to the broadcasting of it.
3607 And as you have your national congress here this week, I’m wondering if discussions are being held with the production communities and, if so, how they’re going because it’s been my impression over the years that the creative communities have a -- their needle is fairly high up on the social responsibilities scale compared to corporations and I’m wondering if that needle is moving at all toward getting them to do more to caption programming as well as described video before it’s released to the broadcaster because, you know, I get a sense that technologically we may be reaching some hurdles that can’t be jumped and so I would like someone to comment on that, please.
3608 MS. MILLIGAN: Hi. So we’ve, for many years, asked and encouraged the broadcasters in the procurement policies and in their licencing agreements to simply put one sentence, “Deliver a captioned and describe master.” And there you go.
3609 If that’s there, then the producer builds it into their budget and it ripples through. Be it to CMF or whatever funding that they source in order to produce that program; it’s a line item.
3610 So it all really sits with the broadcaster. Be it a procurement policy, be it how they receive the real-time captioning, and everything else, it all rests with the broadcaster. And therein is the opportunity for those obstacles going forward.
3611 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In Canada -- I’m not in possession of the data that tells me how much Canadian content comes to the broadcaster described or captioned but in this country we have funding programs that are also regulatorily captured. Has that been an avenue that you could convince policy-makers, if not broadcasters, to try and pursue as a condition of funding?
3612 MS. MILLIGAN: If I’m not mistaken, you’re referring to something like ---
3613 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: CMF, Telefilm, and that sort of ---
3614 MS. MILLIGAN: --- the CMF and ---
3615 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
3616 MS. MILLIGAN: So at this point, CMF -- we’ve -- we have reached out to CMF. We’ve reached out to anyone and everyone that we think potentially could be funding to educate them on captioning and on description.
3617 CMF now requires the broadcaster -- the producer to close-caption and it is an automatic line item. Last check with CMF is that unless a producer asks, requests that the funds for description -- it will not -- the funds will not be provided. But if in fact the producer does, it will.
3618 So again it rests with the broadcaster in the asking for a delivered master both captioned and described, and everything ripples from there.
3619 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. Last question, as an extension of the last question -- that’s redundant.
3620 With respect to the condition that you mentioned that exists at CMF now regarding captioning of Canadian productions, would that or does that or can that also extend into co-productions where Canadian funds are comingled with foreign funds to produce a co-produced program? Can that condition of captioning extend into co-productions?
3621 MS. MILLIGAN: That, I don’t know what CMF or other funding organization’s views on that.
3622 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
3623 MS. MILLIGAN: But again, if we really focus on the broadcaster and have them, in their procurement, require it, it ripples through so we don’t need to have all of that information. It just -- it’s the single point that will ripple through.
3624 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I’m having déjà vu over telecoms, there being the existence of handsets for people with disabilities but the telecoms have a failure to ask for them. Is that the scenario?
3625 MS. MILLIGAN: Yeah.
3626 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thanks.
3627 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. That completes our questioning for you this morning. Thank you very much for participating the hearing; it was very useful, always is. And thanks again.
3628 So Madame Secretary, we’ll take a five-minute break and then resume and call the next appearing panel, which is Telus. Thank you.
3629 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 9:52 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 9:57 a.m.
3630 LA SECRÉTAIRE: À l’ordre, s’il vous plaît.
3631 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: À l’ordre, s’il vous plaît.
3633 Alors, Madame la secrétaire.
3634 THE SECRETARY: We’ll now hear Item 10 on the agenda, Telus Communications.
3635 Please introduce yourselves for the record. You have 10 minutes.
3636 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Thank you very much.
3637 Good morning Mr. Chair, Madame Vice-Chair, and Commissioners. Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the renewal of the television licences held by large English-language ownership groups, all of which are vertically integrated.
3638 My name is Ann Mainville-Neeson and I am the Vice President, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs at TELUS.
3639 With me today, starting to my left, is Diane Devries, Vice President of Media Buying at Cossette, one of Canada’s largest full service media agencies which offers strategic and channel planning services, media buying of all forms of marketing and promotion, as well as research and analytics. To Diane’s left is Denise Bombier, Director of Marketing Communications at TELUS. On my right is Lecia Simpson, Director Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs at TELUS.
3640 The media groups for which licences are being renewed in this hearing operate Canada’s top programming services. Each of these groups has made a strong case in support of the renewal of their licences. And we agree; these are great services. They provide content that Canadians want to watch. In particular, they provide content that our Optik TV subscribers want to watch and that’s why we pay handsomely for the rights to distribute these services on our distribution platforms.
3641 That’s our business -- to provide our subscribers access to the best content available on the platform of their choice in a way that provides the best customer experience.
3642 We remain committed to providing this service to consumers in the Canadian market. However, the landscape has changed significantly. When TELUS first launched its TV service, media companies were generally independent media groups. They were large media groups to be sure, but their business models were clearly focussed on the best interests of their programming services.
3643 Today, vertical integration muddies that clear focus by injecting new incentives and opportunities to advantage affiliated services within the vertically-integrated entity, to the detriment of competition and consumers, but sometimes also to the detriment of the programming services themselves.
3644 On Monday, we heard Mr. Rick Brace from Rogers speak about the unfortunate demise of the streaming service Shomi, which was a joint venture between Rogers and Shaw.
3645 Mr. Brace spoke of the many challenges faced by the streaming service but noted that they:
3646 “…went to a lot of effort to get distribution on a broad basis.”
3647 This statement is striking because it doesn’t quite align with the facts surrounding the launch of Shomi. The Commission may recall that Shomi was initially launched on an exclusive basis to Rogers and Shaw Internet and television subscribers. These two vertically-integrated companies refused to make the Shomi service available to subscribers of competing distributors, citing an inexplicable “beta phase” as the rationale. This exclusivity of the Shomi service to Rogers and Shaw subscribers lasted for nearly a year, despite numerous concerns raised by various parties with the Commission as early as October 2014.
3648 The launch of the Shomi service stands in contrast to the launch of CraveTV. In the case of Crave, Bell Media ensured that the launch of its streaming service would occur in partnership with as many distributors as possible. It did so by giving ample prior notice to distributors and negotiating reasonable terms for the distribution of the service in a timely manner. As a result, CraveTV was broadly available to consumers immediately at launch and today Bell Media boasts over a million subscribers to the service.
3649 The different launch strategy of these two streaming services highlights an important point about the concerns related to the incentives and opportunities stemming from vertical integration -- just because they can, doesn’t mean they will; and just because they haven’t, doesn’t mean they won’t.
3650 Not all VI entities will act on the incentives to foreclose competition, and even if they do, they may not do so all the time. But when a VI entity does act on those incentives it can have a significant impact on shaping the landscape of broadcasting and communications services offered in Canada.
3651 In this hearing, TELUS has raised a few other examples of conduct by VI entities which can be detrimental to competition and ultimately consumers.
3652 In particular, TELUS has noted some important concerns relating to the use of advertising availabilities.
3653 TELUS has noted a surprising number of ads for its VI competitors airing on their affiliated media properties. This “flooding” of advertising for affiliated services is devaluing the advertising availabilities that are sold to competitors. VI entities are uniquely positioned to be able to inflate its advertising spend because for them “purchasing” advertising on their own services is a pocket-to-pocket transaction, and also because they can give themselves bonus advertising from “unsold” or so-called “remnant” advertising. Not to mention that their programming promotions have also been pulling double duty, for example by reminding consumers that that great new show that’s being showcased can also be watched on their smartphone with a Bell mobile subscription.
3655 MR. DEVRIES: At the request of TELUS, Cossette conducted an analysis to estimate the dollar amount and volume of advertising activity that Bell and Rogers were reporting as television ad spend and see if they correlated to the actual weight levels seen in the
3656 marketplace. Cossette undertook this analysis in relation to the mobile services category. We looked at calendar year 2015 and first quarter of 2016. The analysis was based on comparing industry Nielsen data spend levels and comparing them to the absolute media weight levels seen in the marketplace and then identifying the delta between the two. The results showed a significant variance in which Bell appears to be under-reporting their spend levels within the mobile services category.
3657 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Cossette’s analysis appears to indicate that Bell is giving itself an ad placement on its own channels while not fully reporting this advertising spend to Nielsen, the industry aggregator of reported media expenditures. This raises anti-competitive concerns.
3658 While Bell Media indicates in its reply that “additional inventory may be provided to Bell Canada or other clients based on their spending as a ‘bonus’”, there is no way to determine whether TELUS and other competitors to Bell are receiving equitable “bonus” advertising if Bell doesn’t fully disclose how much advertising it has itself purchased on its own media properties.
3659 Bell Media also further suggests in its reply that TELUS could resolve its concerns by simply launching its own programming services. This somewhat cavalier response fails to acknowledge the element of public trust associated with many of Bell Media’s programming services. Bell Media operates two over-the-air television networks which have been granted use of the public airwaves, and it has also benefitted from long-standing regulatory protections for these local television stations and for many of its specialty services.
3660 But in any event, it’s hardly a solution to the concerns expressed by TELUS to suggest that Bell’s abuse of its own advertising availabilities should be countered by similar abuse by competitors. Surely, this would not be seen as a viable solution by many other smaller telecommunications providers.
3661 TELUS has also raised concerns relating to the visibility of competing communications services providers in newscasts on VI media properties. To be clear, this issue is not being raised in relation to so-called “hard news” stories. In this regard, TELUS believes that Canadians are well-served by the various news outlets of all Canadian broadcasters. However, in relation to “soft news” items, it would appear that vertically-integrated companies are giving themselves preferential access to their own newscasts and subjecting competitors to an undue disadvantage.
3662 As noted in our submission, TELUS Days of Giving was previously regularly covered by local newscasts, but these events have rarely been covered since the stations were purchased by TELUS competitors. TELUS-sponsored charities have also reported to us of having been asked by the local news service to remove any TELUS branding and to refrain from mentioning any contribution from TELUS when being interviewed by a vertically-integrated news outlet.
3663 By contrast, Bell, for example, does not strip its own brand from the reporting on its own “Bell Let’s Talk” campaign in support of mental health. On the contrary, the event was given special reporting across all its news properties and the Bell brand ran as a banner throughout the newscast.
3664 Current measures are inadequate to address these concerns. The Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council can only handle complaints on a case-by-case basis and only involving specific comments made in any particular broadcast. They are not equipped to handle allegations of bias in regards to decisions of what did not air or to investigate bias on a corporate level.
3665 While TELUS fully acknowledges that there are policies asserting journalistic independence already in place, local stations may be receiving mixed messages in regarding “soft news”. Especially in light of the constant threat of closure, local news operators may well take it upon themselves to promote the interests their corporate owner in an effort to show its value to their headquarters.
3666 TELUS is pleased to note, however, that most recently launched of its TELUS Internet for Good program was covered by the CTV Edmonton news and that was shown on the local CTV Edmonton station.
3667 In conclusion, the measures proposed by TELUS in its submission in this hearing are reasonable and proportionate to the potential harm which may result from the incentives and opportunity stemming from vertical integration. TELUS is not seeking any special treatment. It is merely seeking a solid competitive landscape in which it can compete to provide customers with its own value proposition based on consumer choice and best overall experience.
3668 Thank you for your time and we’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
3669 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
3670 So I’ll be asking a few questions. Perhaps I can -- well, the fact that you’ve used your time in the oral phase of the hearing to make certain points brings me to ask questions on that because presumably you think that’s the more important points that you want to bring forward.
3671 Your points about Shomi, in a sense isn’t it a bit of water under the bridge? And in a sense, the market has actually punished Rogers and Shaw. So why raise it?
3672 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: The point of raising it is simply to show that there is that incentive and it has been at work. To the extent that there is any doubt that there would be that incentive, an opportunity that would actually work against the best interest of a programming service, this is a case in point. Therefore, we actually haven’t proposed any specific conditions of licence; it’s just merely an interesting point to make on the fact that these incentives are real and they do work against programming services and against innovation, all competition, and ultimately consumers.
3673 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your point about the local avails and being flooded by related entities struck me as interesting in the following context.
3674 I’ve been following the discussions of the Heritage Committee on the health and media sector and there’s certainly a lot of noise coming from that committee by witnesses about this massive shift from traditional broadcasting and print platforms to digital platforms like Facebook. Yet, it seems you’re very concerned about advertising on platforms some would say aren’t valuable anymore.
3675 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: I would definitely not say that television advertising is not valuable, and there’s no doubt that it fits within a large mix. And perhaps I can ask my colleague Denise to address that.
3676 MS. BOMBIER: Hi. Yes, television remains a very important of our media mix because of its ability to reach a mass audience. So when we’re planning something, a campaign where we’re promoting a product or a service, we need the ability to use television to get the reach. And with the programming that the broadcasters offer we are able to reach that audience in a very effective way.
3677 So television used in conjunction with other mediums such as Facebook, online prints, and other mediums is a very effective way to have an overall campaign that is effective.
3678 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’ve heard a lot in this hearing about the threat to the economic model of broadcasters both on over-the-air and on speciality because of the decline of advertising revenue. Do you think that argument is overstated?
3679 I think I should ask the person from Cossette this question since she’s the expert on advertising.
3680 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Happy to hand it over to Diane.
3681 MS. DEVRIES: I do think it is somewhat overstated. Demand on television and traditional advertising no question has declined a little bit. We’ve seen movement of advertisers away from traditional testing the waters on the digital platforms and coming back to television depending on, you know, if they’re launching new products. It serves a purpose. It serves a very good purpose, as Denise has pointed out.
3682 Do I think that they’re in trouble because of what’s been happening with social media, et cetera? I think that they need to evolve and they need to adapt. And technology and all the other, you know, developments that the broadcasters are doing are moving things in the right direction in order to keep the business viable from an advertising perspective.
3683 THE CHAIRPERSON: But they remain important to deliver big audiences?
3684 MS. DEVRIES: Absolutely.
3685 THE CHAIRPERSON: And therefore they have value?
3686 MS. DEVRIES: Yes.
3687 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if they shift appropriately they will be able to continue to have revenue streams to support their businesses, correct?
3688 MS. DEVRIES: I think so.
3689 THE CHAIRPERSON: The whole issue of soft news and covering very valid social activity, and support and the social responsibility of broadcasters among other corporate social activities; interesting. But I’m wondering what you think we should do about it in concrete terms?
3690 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, we did suggest a variety of conditions of licence that could be imposed. And we picked these or we found these in earlier CTV licensing decisions when initially it became vertically integrated a long time ago.
3691 And so the crux of it is establishing first of all campaigns that ensure that the public and their own employees are well aware of their commitment to journalist independence, and we have no doubt as to their commitment to it. It’s about the trickle-down effect to make sure that consumers and, you know, that local employee in that local news station is also very aware that there will be no negative repercussions if they allow, you know, some charity to talk about the great funding they got from TELUS.
3692 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Do you put all the three Applicants seeking renewal in the same boat? Is this an issue mostly -- because the example you gave is one dealing with Bell Media. Is your view the same for Rogers and Corus?
3693 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Absolutely, to the extent that we use Bell as an example because they are a prominent news service. However, the incentive and opportunity is there for all of them. And to the extent that they are offering news, then this is something that should apply to them.
3694 There’s no difference in the incentive and opportunity that exists for each of them. They have a vested interest in promoting their own distribution services, their network access services because that’s a much bigger business.
3695 In our submission we provided a chart that shows, you know, the difference, the huge delta between the revenues generated on the programming side and the revenues generated on the distribution side. There’s, you know, a huge difference there. That creates the incentive that all of the vertically-integrated companies have.
3696 THE CHAIRPERSON: When Bell Media appeared I asked Ms. Freeman how she felt the independence of her newsroom was working after some unfortunate events a few years back. She felt quite confident -- at least what I heard from her testimony -- that the independence is working. There’s very little interference from the executive suites into what news is reported. In fact, she’s so confident of that she thinks that it would be admissible for the Commission to codify through condition of licence the principles of independence.
3697 Is that not sufficient to address your concerns that in fact it’s the news folks, whether it’s hard news or soft news, that are making the day-to-day decisions on the ground as to what should or should not be newsworthy?
3698 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Certainly the condition of licence that you’ve proposed is a step in the right direction. Does it address all of the concerns? I’m not sure that it does because the condition of licence ultimately is seen by the regulatory people and, you know, various people within the Bell organization but it doesn’t necessarily trickle down to that local station that will see the Bell Media licence.
3699 Therefore, I think it’s appropriate to have some type of program that ensures that there is more -- an awareness campaign within the companies and certainly also an awareness campaign for consumers. Consumers are our best means of ensuring that -- I have no doubt as to the intention and the integrity of these news services but consumers can, if they’re aware of a place where they can complain, can just ensure that this is in fact happening. And that they monitor for -- you know, they assist in the monitoring.
3700 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Getting back to advertising availabilities, again there I’m having difficulty figuring out what concrete steps the Commission could or should take to address the points you’re raising.
3701 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, we’ve proposed some conditions of licence there as well to assist and a lot ---
3702 THE CHAIRPERSON: You will agree with me the monitoring of those would involve a great deal of labour on our part.
3703 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Which is why generally monitoring can be left to on a complaints basis to the extent that if the reporting provides to the information that would be needed in order for a complaint to be mounted. If in fact, you know, TELUS or any other company finds that they are being disadvantaged -- and right now it’s been extremely difficult to attempt to find the information that would buttress the case that we are making.
3704 We hired Cossette, you know -- and I think Diane can speak to this -- but there are gaps in the information that we’re able to provide to make the case. And that’s why we’re asking for additional reporting so that we can at the very least test some of these -- the goodwill, I’d say.
3705 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The written record of course covers a great deal on the competitive safeguards and the Wholesale Code whether conditions of licences should be maintained or not while the matter is pending is before the court. Do you have anything to add on that?
3706 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Simply that I just don’t see a need to do any housekeeping at this time while things are still undetermined.
3707 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because depending on events things can be tidied up at that point; is that correct?
3708 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yeah, exactly.
3709 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again I go back to my comment earlier about what you choose to raise in your oral is informative, I think, in a sense. And I note that both the CCSA yesterday and yourselves today have not at all mentioned Rogers’ proposal for 9(1)(h) distribution for regional service. And I was wondering if we should -- it seems very different from the 9(1)(h) hearing a few years back, and I was wondering if we should draw a conclusion that your degree of objection by not raising it in your oral indicates that it might not be your highest hill to die on.
3710 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Certainly there is priorities to be made when you only have 10 minutes for an oral statement. However ---
3711 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you decided to talk about Shomi, a service that’s going to disappear in a couple of days.
3712 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Because it’s a good ---
3713 THE CHAIRPERSON: There’s a few paragraphs there you could have used?
3714 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Because it’s a good example of the points we wanted to make on vertical integration. The OMNI services is not a vertical-integration issue and would have required some type of transition which I think our written statements are very clear on this.
3715 In this era of choice, consumers are looking for a basic service that is not only low-cost but what they really want to receive in their homes. And the more we add to that, it’s very difficult to explain to a consumer that this is, in fact, the best deal you can get, you know, the skinny basic or what we call our “light service”. This the service that you have to buy in order to be able to get the other services that you would like. The more we add onto that, it’s a difficult case to make to our subscribers. And the cost is not the issue.
3716 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But you operate in territories, heavily urban territories, where the multicultural, multi-lingual diversity is quite present. You don’t think that’s a value added?
3717 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: It certainly is a value added and we hope that there’s a way to fund that business case because those OMNI services are clearly distributed already as part of the basic package because they’re over-the-air stations.
3718 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. As I understand it, there would be a switch out?
3719 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: We certainly offer a variety of multilingual services to address those markets, and I would hope that OMNI and all of those services continue to be in the mix. I’m just not sure that it should be something that is required of all subscribers.
3720 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. The argument that this serves a public interest of an underserved community -- a bit like the 9(1)(h) services for various disability groups; the 9(1)(h) status for emergency alerting, which is another public-interest objective; the 9(1)(h) status for Aboriginal programming through APTN; the public interest of having minority community services for official language communities, also of public interest -- you don’t find that the Act points us in the direction of ensuring that there’s multicultural services in the various communities?
3721 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Certainly the Act has many objectives and all those that you’ve mentioned are very clear in the Act. And so is multiculturalism. But the idea of having -- when we have to set priorities, which languages? The list could be endless. And ultimately it may not be able to be supported by a broadcasting which, if frustrated by consumers, they’re going to go elsewhere. And so it’s all about the priorities.
3722 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. But the service here is in the spirit of our ethnic policy and it’s a broad service obligation -- lots of languages, lots of communities -- and in fact may result in actually having news and information services in third languages that would help new Canadians to integrate into Canadian society.
3723 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: We’re certainly not objecting to the rationale for the service. It is no doubt a very important service. Perhaps it’s the tools that is the most difficult thing for most distributors. We’re, you know, on the front lines here, hearing our customers that are saying, “Well, wait a sec; I thought I remembered the CRTC saying we could get choice and what you’re offering here, I don’t want all these services.”
3724 That’s what we’re hearing on the front lines and that makes it very difficult to be able to now go back to our customers who will call us back and say, “Wait a sec; what is this now?”
3725 It’s not the 12 cents. It’s not the -- it’s that addition ---
3726 THE CHAIRPERSON: You’re offering your skinny basic at 24.99, I believe, right?
3727 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: It depends on the region.
3728 THE CHAIRPERSON: You’ve gone as high as you can, correct?
3729 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Yeah.
3730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps that’s the answer to your consumers, is to lower that price point?
3731 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Certainly. And I’ve just said, it’s not the cost of the programming. And we’ve said so in the Let’s Talk TV hearing as well. The cost of the basic service is mostly related to the underlying infrastructure. Our low-cost basic service includes the video on demand, includes access to apps, includes all kinds of different services, high-quality signals. So that’s the infrastructure that makes up the cost of the basic service; it’s not the programming.
3732 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, thank you.
3733 I believe my colleague Commissioner Simpson has some questions for you.
3734 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you. We have a jam-packed agenda today so I’ll just ask a couple of quick questions, if you may. It’s not every day that we have an ad agency in front of us and that’s like the cherry on the top of the sundae.
3735 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Absolutely.
3736 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: First question is, there’s all this speculation of declining revenues in television as a whole. And we do see aggregate numbers of ad spend into the Canadians television system.
3737 But I’m curious, as a senior executive in the media department -- and I’m assuming that the Media Directors Council is still alive and well -- whether television, both specialty and conventional, as a percentage of your overall ad spend is holding its own, rising, or declining?
3738 MS. DEVRIES: As a percentage of our overall agency ad spend it has declined a little bit.
3739 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, is that because television isn’t what it used to be or is it because there’s too many new sources of opportunity for bias?
3740 MS. DEVRIES: Well, obviously the proliferation of all the platforms, the digital platforms, a lot of advertisers wanted to jump on board and try them out. And you know, there’s cost advantages to going down that road. As I kind of mentioned earlier, we’ve seen clients go heavily down in that direction and we’ve seen clients actually come back after seeing the results of, you know, perhaps digital, going too hard in one particular area. There’s a balance. And Denise pointed that out as well. Television has to be accompanied by video. You can’t go one way or the other; they complement each other. And that needs to remain.
3741 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And in terms of viewership decline, we see it on an overall basis, but our recent monitoring report indicated that time spent by older Canadians, older being let’s say 50 plus, is actually on the increase. Is your buy to that group on the increase as well or are you still buying 18 to 49?
3742 MS. DEVRIES: No, we buy against multiple targets. Actually, 18 to 49 is -- again, depending on the brand, on the advertiser, and the message, we could be still buying television against millennials, 18 to 24s. We buy against adults 24 to 54 or 55 plus.
3743 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So there’s a good-news story somewhere in television.
3744 MS. DEVRIES: Yes, absolutely.
3745 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: With respect to, just in closing, the activity that TELUS asked you to engage in, when you were doing your calculus for ad spend, were you netting out interstitials on -- because I assume you were looking at speciality advertising as well as conventional?
3746 MS. DEVRIES: Yes.
3747 THE CHAIRPERSON: Those (inaudible) of interstitials, were they netted out of the totals that you were calculating?
3748 MS. DEVRIES: Sorry, can you maybe ---
3749 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: What are interstitials?
3750 MS. DEVRIES: When you say “interstitials” you’re talking about, like ---
3751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, 14 minutes versus 12. You know, specialty is restricted in terms of the number of minutes per hour. And the regulatory bargain that we struck was that those two minutes could be consumed by BDUs to market services and community interest information to fill those two minutes because they weren’t able to do it with paid advertising.
3752 So what the pattern has been, up until recently has been that the ads that were run were specific to the BDU service. But I’m curious as to whether when you saw a Bell ad, for example, whether you knew that was an interstitial because it was for a Bell BDU and you netted it out of the totals?
3753 MS. DEVRIES: Right. So the exercise that we actually undertook was for -- we looked specifically at mobility as a category. So when we did the analysis we looked at that category only. We certainly have the ability with the tools that we use to find out exactly what you asked for; we could find that as well. But the exercise here was for mobility because of TELUS’ interest in that category.
3754 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Just out of curiosity, is there the possibility that sometimes other services of a VI might slip into those interstitials as opposed to a straight BDU? Who knows?
3755 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: We have no way of knowing that.
3756 MS. DEVRIES: There’s then opportunity, yes.
3757 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: When it was calculated, were you going strictly on the buy amount or did you calculate bonuses as well or were bonuses netted out?
3758 MS. DEVRIES: So the calculation was based on looking at Nielsen expenditures and correlating those to weight levels that we saw in the marketplace again against only -- we looked at mobility for the exercise for today.
3759 So Nielsen showed an expenditure of X and that tool, called CMR, actually deep-dives into actual ad placements by show and aggregates the GRP levels against that particular unit.
3760 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
3761 MS. DEVRIES: And we looked at what the gap was on the volume of GRPs relative to the reported amount and there’s a variance there.
3762 Unfortunately, you can’t calculate within that variance how much would have been considered a remnant, but the GRPs actualized versus the Nielson report certainly showed a variance so one could hypothesize that that is the case.
3763 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: And to be clear, a GRP -- because I certainly didn’t know this before ---
3764 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Gross rating point.
3765 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Exactly.
3766 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I know.
3767 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: For the record.
3768 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, thank you.
3769 The last question, and it goes back to you, Ms. Mainville-Neeson. As a BDU, would you consider a spot that goes to an interstitial that is not promoting the nuts and bolts or the hardwire or the offer of a service but promotes a programming service that’s on your BDU; is that kosher as an interstitial? If you were to say Vikings now on such on such service on TELUS, is that something that crosses a line or is it within the realm of ---
3770 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, the interstitials are intended -- just like the local avails in the U.S. services that are used by BDUs to promote their own, whether it’s community programming or their BDU services -- are intended to promote the programming on the BDU service.
3771 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. I’m just trying to understand whether it’s actually starting to promote the broadcaster as opposed to the distributor.
3772 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: Well, to the extent that ---
3773 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: When they’re one in the same is ---
3774 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: In a perfect world the broadcaster and the BDU are working together in partnership, right. And so most of the time TELUS as a BDU Optik TV wants to promote the programming. That’s what catches the hearts and minds of our consumers, right? It’s the Vikings program that is exciting, it’s ---
3775 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you don’t get the same financial benefit of that program promotion as the owner or the broadcaster of that program.
3776 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: We benefit from the popularity if consumers ---
3777 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Oh, sure.
3778 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: --- will then subscribe to the History Network or wherever it is that Vikings is airing; we benefit from that.
3779 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I understand. But there’s benefits in the advertising and ownership of the program that you don’t enjoy.
3780 MS. MAINVILLE-NEESON: That’s true.
3781 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thanks.
3782 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I believe those are our questions.
3783 And I know we took a short break earlier but we will take another break, mid-morning break right now. So we’ll be back at 10:45. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 10:31 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 10:45 a.m.
3784 THE CHAIRPERSON: A l’ordre, s’il vous plaît. Order, please.
3785 Madame la secrétaire, s’il vous plaît.
3786 THE SECRETARY: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
3787 We’ll now hear Item 11 of the agenda, which is Forum for Research and Policy in Communications. Please introduce yourselves for the record first, and you have 10 minutes.
3788 MR. FRENKEN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the Panel, members of staff.
3789 My name is Sjef Frenken. With me today are Al MacKay, Mark Bourrie, Monica Auer, and Doug Wilson. If you want to have further particulars about their background and experience, you may find it on our website www.frpc.net. Make sure it is .net otherwise you may wind up at the Frontenac Rifle and Pistol Club.
3791 Thank you for inviting the Forum to appear before you today. As you may recall, the Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established to undertake research and policy analysis about communications.
3792 The Forum’s written intervention sets out our evidence, analysis and recommendations about the applications you are considering.
3793 Neither our positions nor our recommendations have changed. Today we wish to address three key issues raised by the evidence and discussions that you already have had in your November 22nd hearing and the first two days of this hearing.
3794 MR. MacKAY: Good morning. I’m here to talk a bit about local news.
3795 The old adage says that all politics is local and so is the most essential journalism. Whether it is reporting that holds local public figures to account, the coverage of events, or stories that connect diverse communities in the market, local stations over time have established a bond of trust with viewers who rely upon them for solid, responsible reporting about what’s going on in their communities.
3796 Without this trust, you have nothing, especially in today’s social media environment where, as President Obama has said, if everything is true nothing is true.
3797 However, as you know, this bond has been strained for the past decade as broadcasters have cut costs to deal with new challenges and newsrooms have had fewer resources with which to do their work.
3798 Eroding this trust has meant not just the loss of actual news coverage, but since 2008 the loss of more than 1,600 full-time jobs in these communities.
3799 These are skilled jobs in the editorial, technical and production departments that provide employment opportunities as per section 3 of the Act, and jobs which add to the economic base of the communities served by the licensees.
3800 It’s our opinion of the 14 categories of programming provided by Canadian broadcasters, the one that’s absolutely essential to the public interest and vital to a civically engaged society is news. Survey data from the Talk TV hearing underlined the high importance Canadians place on local news and local programming.
3801 Without good journalism, good citizenship is in peril. Without employment opportunities to practise the craft, journalism’s future is jeopardized.
3802 Looking to the outcomes of this renewal process, we have two very simple recommendations for you.
3803 First, the Commission should prohibit Applicants in this proceeding from reducing their expenditure on local news below their 2015 expenditure levels, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of their gross revenues.
3804 And second, the Commission should require that Applicants in this hearing to broadcast, by condition of licence, a defined amount of original Category 1 news produced by their individual stations each week.
3805 Dealing with our first recommendation, Regulatory Policy 2016-224 allows vertically-integrated broadcasters to allocate up to $67 million to their stations’ local news from their BDU operations.
3806 Local news operations will be strengthened if the vertically-integrated licensees add this additional money to their current local news expenditures in order to hire more reporters and expand local news coverage. But if the LPIF experience is evidence, this this will only happen if these expenditures are added to existing budgets. The Commission therefore needs to ensure there is public documentation of the use of these funds, and these requirements should be set out by condition of licence.
3807 As for the amount of any Local Programming Expenditure, or LPE, requirement, the Commission’s data shows that TV stations’ 2015 Category 1 news expenditures amounted to 21 percent of BCE’s TV stations’ revenues in 2014, 26 percent for Corus and 16 percent for Rogers – the English-language groups. If lower LPE levels are set as a percentage of TV station revenues, local operations will not be strengthened.
3808 The situation in Quebec raises concerns above and beyond LPE, and we would be happy to comment on that in the response phase on December 9th.
3809 Moving to the exhibition issue. Before policy decision 2016-224, news consisted of newscasts, newsbreaks, and headlines. That is, Category 1 news as defined by the Commission’s television program categories description.
3810 But news can now include Category 2a
3811 programs. The Forum, as you know, strongly opposed this change in its reply to the 2015-421 proceeding. And here’s why.
3812 It will not ensure that broadcasters maintain or increase their actual newsgathering, crews on the ground capacity. It will not ensure that they maintain or increase their presence in all the communities they service, include those outside the major urban centres.
3813 It will not ensure that local television stations adequately fulfill the responsibilities that are expected and required of them in communities they’re licensed to served and in which they draw revenues under the CRTC’s local advertising policy.
3814 The redefinition could benefit broadcasters, they could replace actual news gathering and on-the-street reporting with less costly talk and panel shows. Of the two categories, however, programming that simply talks about news or analyzes the news does not provide the community with actual news, and that’s what the citizens need.
3815 Nothing prevents broadcasters from carrying both locally-reflective news and locally-relevant non-news programs and Doug Wilson’s report in our intervention supports our view that the circumstances of Canada’s largest communications companies permit them to do both.
3816 Moving to exhibition, Decision 2016-224 says that all licensees must broadcast a minimum level of local news, adding that local television stations may meet the requirement of locally-reflective news by offering seven-day-a-week original local news coverage distinct in the market.
3817 However, in an earlier Decision, 2016-8, the Commission said clearly it will only enforce specific
3818 conditions of licence. It has said it cannot enforce mays, mights, expectations or commitments.
3819 Therefore, by means of this licence renewal process, it is our view the Commission must clearly stipulate what TV stations will provide in terms of original local news distinct to the market through conditions of licence for original Category 1 news.
3820 We believe at least 60 percent of these news hours should be locally reflective, picking up on the precedent set in 2016-224 community TV requirement policy that 60 percent of the programming provided by BDU-run community television stations be locally reflective. We can further elaborate on how we reached that 60 percent figure for locally-reflective news programming in questioning, if you wish.
3821 To conclude on the news issue, in recent speeches, Mr. Chairman, you have said the Commission’s role now is to focus on outcomes rather than making rules, and that it should leave outdated concepts behind.
3822 On-the-ground reporting is not an outdated concept. It is the foundation of solid journalism, of newscast programs. Provided with that hard-news coverage, the public can be involved and engaged in all aspects of the life of their community.
3823 Requiring Canadian broadcasters to preserve, and indeed to strengthen, their news service is the most basic way for broadcasters to meet their community responsibilities. It helps ensure that Canadian citizens can more fully participate in their democratic lives, an objective that you have underlined as a key element of the Commission’s mandate. As you said the other day in Laval, Mr. Chairman, “It’s a question of citizenship.”
3824 MS. AUER: Our second issue involves content created by Canadians. Figure 1 in our written intervention showed that in the past seven years the gap between private TV stations’ foreign and Canadian programming expenditures has decreased, in part because broadcasters have reduced their spending on foreign acquisitions. But the gap is shrinking.
3825 The CRTC’s decision to replace the requirement that private conventional TV stations devote 55 percent of their broadcast year to Canadian programming with a requirement for 3 hours a day, or 17 percent over the year, allows broadcasters to focus their resources on high-quality homegrown drama.
3826 Maintaining current requirements for CPE and PNI gives broadcasters the impetus to devote significant resources to programs that reflect the Canadian experience.
3827 The Commission’s audience data show that after sports and news, Canadians most enjoy drama. But its data also show that very little of this drama is Canadian. Why would Canada so abandon the field in such a critical genre to foreign providers?
3828 The problem, in our view, is that the CRTC’s current TV regulations and its current conditions of licence are silent about, and therefore do not result in, original, first-run drama created by Canadians.
3829 Our cultural system and our Canadian society need more content created by Canadians for Canadians. Requiring more first-run drama will bolster business and employment opportunities, raise audience interest, and strengthen our society, the classic win-win-win.
3830 But the only way to achieve this is to amend broadcasters’ current conditions of licence to require expenditures on, and exhibition of, original, first-run drama.
3831 Our third and final issue involves accountability. The CRTC has published and continues to publish extensive data about broadcasters’ financial performance, which are useful. We are recommending that the forms that collect the data should be updated to collect information about, among other things, the staffing, programming expenses, and studio capacity of individual stations and of central-casting hubs.
3832 We are also suggesting that the Commission provide more data about the programming performance of Canada’s TV programming services. Section 3 of the Act is silent about financial performance, yet is nearly verbose when it comes to programming. Yet, without current or historical data about programming from broadcasters’ TV logs, it’s impossible to evaluate how Parliament’s objectives are being met.
3833 Our written submission also noted the lack of data about broadcast journalism in Canada. We therefore asked Dr. Bourrie to examine the availability of journalistic TV resources.
3834 MR. BOURRIE: While very few statistics about newsroom staffing changes have been published, I was able to determine that TV stations are losing their capacity to cover small communities in the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, and the Prairies. Some stations now rely on freelancers; others no longer have studios, including stations in Wingham and Pembroke.
3835 As for political coverage, TV station membership in the Parliamentary Press Gallery has increased but is declining in the provinces. There are no private TV members in the PEI and Nova Scotia press galleries, and Newfoundland doesn’t have a press gallery at all.
3836 The problem is that TV stations are cutting their journalistic resources at the same time that many newspapers, on which TV has traditionally relied to identify stories it could cover in greater depth, are cutting back.
3837 Online news services are not yet filling these gaps. 2016-224 concluded that these are not yet providing “accurate and timely information about local and municipal events … in smaller communities …” -- paragraph 21.
3838 MS. AUER: The Forum is suggesting that the CRTC ask broadcasters specific questions about journalistic presence in the annual returns process, and publish the results in its annual statistical and financial summaries.
3839 MR. FRENKEN: Commissioner MacDonald recently addressed the Ontario Association of Broadcasters and said among other things, that “times change, innovation happens, and technology marches forward. We can’t stop it; we certainly shouldn’t ignore it; so our only choice is to adapt to it.”
3840 And the Forum entirely agrees with the proviso that any adaptions must implement Parliament’s broadcasting policy for Canadians as it currently stands because that is the law.
3841 MS. AUER: The renewal of the licences before you offers a significant opportunity to strengthen Canadian television for Canadians and to meet their concerns.
3842 In our view, the measurable result of this process should be more hours of original, first-run content created by Canadians, and more hours of original, locally-reflective news for all of the communities served by TV stations.
3843 Yet, as Decision 2016-8 showed, this can only be achieved with clear conditions of licence for minimum levels of expenditures on, and exhibition of, original content. And in turn, Parliament and Canadians will only know of these achievements if the data describing them are also reported.
3844 Thank you for your time. We’d be happy to respond to your questions.
3845 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. Commissioner Vennard will start us off.
3846 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning and thank you for appearing before us here today. Many of the questions that I was planning on asking you, you’ve answered already.
3847 I note in your written submission, which is quite thorough and quite lengthy, that you provided us with 32 recommendations. And we thank you for your time and attention and the level of detail that you went to on those.
3848 In your written submission you responded to the applications and you also provided us with a number of process recommendations in terms of what I consider to be about three areas.
3849 The form itself, you gave us some pointers on that.
3850 You talked about the system to the level of suggesting that we hold a public -- we consult the public to see what sort of systems might be out there for us to update our systems and make things more manageable.
3851 And you also referred to the information itself and gave us a number of recommendations on that as well.
3852 In the last part of your oral, you offered us some suggestions for the type of information. So it’s the last that I first want focus on.
3853 In your view, what is the most important information that we should be looking at getting that you were not able to find or you think we need to collect? In other words, how can we improve our reporting system?
3854 MS. AUER: I think at the level of the annual return. It provides an excellent mechanism for broadcasters to inform the Commission about how well they are doing. But it lacks information, for instance, about the number news bureaus that are being maintained. This means, for instance, that the Commission is unable to actually effectively assess whether or not journalistic presence is able to be used effectively by broadcasters in the public interest.
3855 Other recommendations would include, perhaps, more detailed expenditures on the types of local programming that are being done. For instance, we do have the broad category of station-produced programming for Category 1. However, it’s not clear with the new policy how we’re going to now deal with expenditures that distinguish between locally-reflective and locally-relevant or indeed reflective in general or, you know, relevant in general.
3856 As well -- and I’m just getting a little bit lost in the weeds here because of too much espresso this morning -- however, one of the last things, then, would also be a clear tie, I guess, between the section 3 objectives and, to the extent possible, the return itself and the data being collected there.
3857 For instance, we now have a system in television that is largely based on central casting. But the categories of reporting in the annual return don’t refer to central casting hubs; they refer to network operations. If you are a TV system that only has O&Os and no affiliates, the network operation category no longer works.
3858 What happens in the end, we suspect, is that the station-produced programming expenditures are including hub or central-cast hub operations. And therefore, we may have a misunderstanding exactly of what’s happening and what different stations actually have in terms of resources.
3859 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So from this could I summarize it -- and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but -- by saying that you think it would be helpful for us to have much clearer definitions and also clearer reporting categories?
3860 MS. AUER: I think that’s fair to say. And of course, we’ve also suggested that the Commission have a kind of public process on this. And this would be one of the times that it might be appropriate, for instance, for the Commission to have kind of a colloquium rather than have the formal standard, “Here’s a Notice of Consultation; we want your views,” get people in the same room together.
3861 Because it turns out that broadcasters do deserve a great deal of sympathy for trying to ensure that they properly report everything that’s needed from them. So perhaps there can be a bit of give from groups like ourselves, which really need more data, and groups like broadcasters, which have their own constraints but may be able to meet us part way. In other words, it should be a reasonable effort. It shouldn’t be a sanctioning or penalizing exercise.
3862 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
3863 I just want to move on to some of the responses to your application, the applications. And you used kind of an innovative way of organizing your own data and material, which was a report card method. And would you like to just tell us some of the highlights and the lowlights of both your method, whether or not you think it worked well, and also how the results ended up being?
3864 MS. AUER: The new approach that the Commission has adopted in the last 15 years to deal with very large undertakings has been innovative itself.
3865 The drawback, of course, is that there are a lot of files involved. We added up some 100 megabytes of data and some 400 different files. And again, because of too much coffee or too little, our analysts were getting a little lost in the weeds.
3866 So we decided to think, “What are the main things that we would like to see happening in the system in terms of a renewal process?” And the first thing is that there has to be a distinction between past performance and the future plans. It would be really good to know whether or not broadcasters have actually lived up to their commitments, any conditions of licence from the past.
3867 So we chose a number of indicators, then, to reflect past performance and then we reflected those in the future.
3868 Our approach in the future was somewhat different. We were essentially looking for any data. A great deal of information was filed but some of it was not specific enough for us to figure out in 2022, if that’s when the licences will actually expire, what will be the result for the system? For instance, if we’re simply looking at CPE as expenditures, how much more money or how many more resources will be available in the system as a result of these applications if they are approved as is?
3869 Secondly, then, if we could infer from that, how many hours of new Canadian programming will be available?
3870 You’ve just heard this morning from a number of organizations interested in accessibility issues. How will accessibility have changed and strengthened in 2022? How many hours of -- we could go on through the section 3 list. Parliament set out its objectives; those are the objective we were looking for.
3871 We tried to make it very simple. If there was no discussion of an issue we scored it a zero. If there was some discussion, even if we didn’t like the discussion, we gave it a one. If there was something really good -- “Here’s our plan; here’s where we want to be in 2022” -- we gave it the highest mark possible -- that was two -- and then we summed it up.
3872 I certainly recall that Corus in particular did some excellent descriptions of its many successes in programming and I thought that was laudable.
3873 Overall, I think there was a very clear lack of information. Either I was incapable of finding it or it wasn’t presented in a way that I understand -- and that would be my responsibility, not broadcasters. But in any event, in the end it was very difficult for us to figure out what the broadcasters were actually proposing. And so the result might not have been, you know, high marks across the board. To the extent that that might be because of the process itself or because of the time constraints, we don’t know. We gave it a shot to try to see whether we could evaluate the broadcasters against each other.
3874 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And from that process that’s how you determined what the CPE levels should be? From that process -- from your process, your methodology, that’s how you determined what the CPE levels should be?
3875 MS. AUER: We looked at what the impact of the broadcast applicants’ CPE projections would be and it seemed to us that in absolute terms expenditures might be decreasing over the term. So even if the percentage is staying the same, which we supported because that seemed to be the Commission’s reasonable conclusion from the LTT proceeding in 2014/15, it’s not clear to us that it’s actually having the demonstrable effect of strengthening programming.
3876 There’s no requirement in the Act that says, “You must continually strengthen programming,” but one would hope that we’re simply not preserving something; we’re trying to build an endeavour for the nation, if you will.
3877 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Now, having said that, what would you suggest is the appropriate level for the CPE?
3878 MS. AUER: I think that organizations such as CMPA, ACTRA, and the other guilds have even more experience that the forum in providing you with their informed analysis and recommendations about an appropriate CPE level. All we’ve done is say, “Fine, if you accept the current percentage and let’s say, hypothetically, you don’t tie it to previous years’ expenditures in absolute terms, then it looks like you may see a decline.”
3879 So the Commission, I suppose, could exercise its discretion in setting a condition of licence that’s tied not only to percentage of revenues but then has a floor beneath which broadcast applicants shall not fall. In other words, you can at least maintain.
3880 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: As I understand your submission, you’re not for standardization of the level?
3881 MS. AUER: I think section 9 of the Act speaks to the individual circumstances of the licensees. And I whole-heartedly support the idea that every condition of licence should be tailored to the circumstance of the licensees. I think, although I don’t want to dip too much into history, we saw a problem emerge in the eighties when we started to see what was loosely called the Kids Code, the children’s code for advertising, and the Gender Portrayal Code -- and I think there was one more but I can’t recall what it is -- applied to every broadcaster.
3882 So rather than tailoring to the circumstances of the licensee, we saw the first introduction of conditions of licence that were standard for every broadcaster. And I guess my concern is I don’t know how tightly that is now hewing to the section 9 powers of looking at the circumstances of each individual licensee.
3883 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that.
3884 I want to move on to another section. But before we leave this section is there any other recommendation that you would like to highlight for us?
3885 MS. AUER: With respect to?
3886 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: To any of your 32 recommendations.
3887 MS. AUER: They’re all really, really important.
3888 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you for that. And thank you again for putting that much effort into setting them out for us.
3889 The last point I want to bring up is that you support the OMNI application for the 9(1)(h) mandatory distribution. Would you like to walk us through your rationale, your thinking, your logic for that, please?
3890 MS. AUER: I’m now going to have to pull out my detailed mock questions where I came up with a brilliant response to that precise question.
3891 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Well, isn't it a good think I asked you?
3892 MS. AUER: Yeah, I was really prepared for all those other questions too.
3893 I think the starting point for me would be not simply the Broadcasting Act, because we know that section 3 has a huge set of objectives in it, but I would divert then to the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, which actually requires -- places a slightly different onus on the -- I think, all regulatory agencies, including the Commission.
3894 For instance, when we look at section 3(2) of the Multiculturalism Act, we note that it requires all federal institutions to be responsible to the multicultural reality to ensure that Canadians of all origins have an equal opportunity to obtain employment in the sector. It would like agencies to promote policies that enhance the understanding of and respect for the diversity of members of Canadian society, and collect statistical data.
3895 So I think, when I'm looking -- when we are, when the forum was considering the 9(1)(h) application, we were very well aware of the Commission's past proceedings and its high expectations for 9(1)(h).
3896 And we noted, for instance, that the Commission had criteria in 2015-86 stating that, you know, licensees must broadcast a specific number of original hours of programming every day. It doesn’t have to be first run, but it should at least be original. And in the case of news, for instance, there should be a live broadcast facility as well as news bureaus in at least three regions other than the live broadcast facility.
3897 So there are a number of jumps and hurdles thorough which the 9(1)(h) application would have to jump. And it's not entirely clear to me that this specific 9(1)(h) application has actually met all of the Commission's requirements. And I think that is a deficiency.
3898 The Commission, I suppose, has the authority either to ask Rogers to respond and to make amendments to its application, or alternatively, it could simply require Rogers to ensure that OMNI reinstates the programs of original Category 1 news that it has already cut over the past several years until the Commission has had an opportunity to re-evaluate its ethnic broadcasting policy and decide how it wishes to go forward.
3899 If, for instance, OMNI had a short-term licence that would take it to just past the issuance of a new ethnic broadcasting policy, but it also reinstated local news, interest would be served of the Canadian public in general, of ethnic communities in particular who would like to have news back rather than simply talk shows, and it would ensure that there is perhaps not the perception that the Commission is already picking winners and losers.
3900 In other words, granting a 9(1)(h) application right now, and then doing the policy might suggest that one applicant has a head start over all others. And the fact that Rogers has already chosen to reduce a number of key parts of its programming -- and you've heard from another of parties and organizations, you’ve had applications before you contesting these cuts -- implies to me that there might well be concerns about whether this particular Applicant for a 9(1)(h) service is truly committed, truly committed to providing the service that the Commission would like to licence.
3901 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And what do you see as the deficiency? You mentioned deficiency, that in your view, it was deficient in some way. Can you outline what that would be?
3902 MS. AUER: Well, as I recall -- and I may -- might be wrong -- but I think Rogers' OMNI stations are currently operating out of four different cities: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto. They were originally licensed in Calgary and Edmonton to provide clearly local service, and then greatly either shut the studios there altogether and relied entirely on independent productions, which led them to the 2014 hearing here.
3903 So we have not seen any news out of there. And now what's being proposed is four newscasts, national newscasts, out of Vancouver and Toronto. And while we obviously would support the reinstatement of news out of the centres, I'm wondering what's happened to the prairies, why there can't be, for instance, a third -- if we want to call it a bureau or an originating hub -- there?
3904 In other words, whatever is happening with the 9(1)(h) application, it seems to me it's -- it is on the right track. Is it sufficient? I don't know. You’ve already heard others, including PIAC on behalf of several others, the Coalition, suggesting that, you know, there may be other applicants.
3905 The issue is that we're now into a multi-year delay in getting news reinstated. In our view, news is the -- if you view a broadcaster's entire operations like a house, you know, you could have one room for the mobile, one room for over-the-air, one room for specialty, the room that is the over-the-air TV stations is sitting on a foundation that is not just cracked, it's got holes on the side of it. The water is pouring in underneath that room. That room's going to fall right into the basement soon.
3906 So what can be done until the Commission has decided whether it needs to change the policy to rebuild that room and strengthen the foundation and give ethnic communities across Canada the news to which they're entitled?
3907 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: So in your view -- so for these reasons, you support the application because it may not be the ideal solution to serve these communities, but it is what we have in front of us?
3908 MS. AUER: I think it would be fair to describe our approach this as very highly conditional support. Rather than saying, "Deny it until we get what we want," we prefer to say, "You could -- this application could be terrific if." I don't think it is terrific now.
3909 I think Al would like to say something as well on that point.
3910 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Do you consider it to be ---
3911 MR. MacKAY: I just think anything ---
3912 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Do you consider it to be ---
3913 MR. MacKAY: --- that you're going to ---
3914 COMMISSIONER VENNDAR: Do you consider it to be exceptional? Would you consider OMNI to be exceptional, that it's providing a -- something exceptional?
3915 MS. AUER: I'll just answer that, but I know that Al wanted to respond as well to your last question.
3916 I think the intent of the service to provide Canada's ethnic communities with some level of service equivalent to the types of mandatory services that are now available to English and French-language speaking communities is vital. Is this the service that will do it? Is this the application that will do it? I'm less sure about that, because it's not clear to me what might be done to improve it. We know what ought to be done through condition of licence, but that's really within the Commission's discretion.
3917 Al, you wanted to respond?
3918 MR. MacKAY: I just wanted to underline that any commitments that would be made in connection with this expansion to a national service would clearly have to be codified under condition of licence because the last time there was a reduction in service in OMNI in their news programming, there were a number of intervenors, including ourselves, who came forward and said, "Well, really, that licensee should come forward and address the concerns, having migrated from hard news programming to more panel and talk shows."
3919 And the Commission's decisions that time was these commitments were not conditions of licence, and therefore, they couldn't be enforced. So I would just underline the element of condition of licence for any commitments that would be made in this.
3920 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
3921 MR. MacKAY: That's the only way that you can ensure that the yardstick will be met.
3922 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you.
3923 I don’t have any more questions, and so I'll pass you back over to my colleagues and once again, thank you for appearing before us.
3924 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. It appears that there are no other questions for you, so thank you very much for having appeared. Thanks.
3925 MS. AUER: Thank you for the opportunity.
3926 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la secrétaire.
3927 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will now invite Unifor 723 to take place. And just for the record, Mr. Chairman, we'll hear Unifor item 13 after lunch, so immediately after Unifor, we'll hear ACTRA.
3928 Go ahead, gentlemen, when you're ready. Please introduce yourselves for the record first. You have 10 minutes.
3929 MR. CONTARIN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, and Commission staff.
3930 I’m Angelo Contarin, the President of Unifor Local 723M.
3931 Accompanying me today, on my right, is Rinaldo Boni, 723M Vice-President representing OMNI; and on my left Joseph Nieforth, our consultant on CRTC matters and a former 723M member.
3932 Thank you very much for this opportunity to present these remarks to you today.
3933 Unifor 723M is a composite union local representing employees at Bell and Rogers locations in Toronto.
3934 We are deeply committed to our profession and the audience we serve. Our commitment can be seen in the issues reflected in our Part 1 applications filed in 2013 and 2015 when programming was cut at OMNI in those years. Our local does not hesitate to become involved in matters fundamental to broadcasting and the citizens we serve over the public airwaves.
3935 The Broadcasting Decision 2013-657 resulted in the Commission requesting that Rogers align the OMNI licences to the renewal cycle of its other television services. It also put the company on notice for shortcomings in its replies to the Commission on programming and its advisory councils.
3936 When the OMNI licences were renewed in 2014, a condition of licence reinstated the advisory councils. Unfortunately, the issue of local programming was categorized as an expectation of licence and enabled Rogers to eliminate local news programming on its OMNI stations.
3937 It was in that time frame that Unifor 723M expected a call for a submission on a new Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, which had been scheduled in the Commission's three-year plan. We were disappointed when that review was slipped off the agenda for it could have addressed the economics of today's industry.
3938 It was the elimination of local news programming that resulted in our Part 1 Application of 2015. This application had the backing of many community groups and individuals that supported third language newscasts. These groups represented thousands of concerned citizens who sought the reinstatement of third language news.
3939 The denial of the application served to remind us that the policy regime of the Commission, whether through the Ethnic Broadcasting Policy or other such statements, are inadequate for enforcement purposes.
3940 This has led to a situation where a large vertically integrated corporation has lost local presence in the four large markets its brand serves.
3941 Nothing serves as a better example of the loss of presence for third language communities than the 2015 Canadian General Election.
3942 In our Part 1 submission to the Commission, we warned that 2015 would be the first Federal election since the founding of CFMT in 1979 not to receive immediate on-air coverage. This Local further contended that the civil and political rights of Canadians would be affected by their inability to seek, receive, and impart information as per the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Canada is a signatory.
3943 Where Canadians of English, French, and Aboriginal backgrounds could expect daily coverage, third language viewers were left scrambling to get authentic professional coverage of the issue in their native tongue. As a result, those Canadian citizens had their rights impaired.
3944 Coverage on OMNI was reduced to magazine style talk shows with talking heads distilling current events. The live hits from Ottawa were gone because Rogers shuttered the bureau in the capital.
3945 This Ottawa bureau had existed since the approval for a rebroadcast transmitter in Ottawa in the 1990s. The number of reports used in OMNI news programs would be too numerous to mention here. Almost every day something was sent down the line to Toronto covering the business of the nation.
3946 Rogers, along with its move to eliminate newscasts, abandoned their long-term commitment to maintain a news bureau in Ottawa under OMNI journalistic independence.
3947 Any reports that come out of Ottawa for use in OMNI magazine shows are not under separate control of OMNI third language producers. They are packaged by a single Rogers editorial team in Ottawa.
3948 It is our understanding that a worse situation exists with the Vancouver station and its axed Victoria bureau. Rogers does not have a television news presence in Victoria and barters reports with another broadcaster.
3949 Again, these long-term commitments were expectations and were not enshrined as conditions of licence.
3950 Getting back to our point on the 2015 General Federal Election, we assert that the loss of third language newscasts was akin to any English or French community in this country losing a primary information system. That mattered in the ability of Canadians to make an informed ballot choice and to immediately know how their vote counted on Election Day.
3951 MR. BONI: Good morning Members of the Committee. On a positive note, OMNI local newscasts in language are considered by many, many people to be a longstanding commitment to ethnic communities.
3952 They go one step beyond from the regular mainstream French and English local newscasts in Canada because they deliver the local news in a different language.
3953 To new Canadians and others who don't speak English or French and they are not bilingual, to older generations and seniors of immigrants, OMNI local newscasts in languages are essential and sometimes they’re also vital. For example, during the 2009 N1H1 pandemic, OMNI newscasts informed foreign language households across the land, especially in Alberta, about how to protect themselves.
3954 There is an audience for OMNI news. There was always an audience. And that matters to Canada and to our Canadian heritage. We are all entitled to information. How is it possible to leave this particular audience in the dark?
3955 I moved to Canada from Italy in the eighties, when parliament enacted the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, a law that aims to preserve and enhance multiculturalism in Canada. Back then I applied to work at OMNI in the advertising and sales commercial department as a producer because OMNI represented me, who I am.
3956 Ted Rogers had the vision to invest in a broad community engagement reality and support the culture of millions of Canadian from many ethno-cultural groups.
3957 It is true that OMNI broadcasts in over 30 languages also thanks to the talent of many independent producers. No other network in the world can claim that. We need Rogers to return the original local newscasts produced in Cantonese, Italian, Punjabi, and Mandarin, to Canadian ethno-cultural groups.
3958 And why not the Portuguese group? There is just about 400,000 Portuguese-speaking people just in the GTA alone so the Portuguese newscast was part of the major five networks.
3959 Today more and more newcomers arrive in Canada. They enrich our multicultural tapestry. We need these new neighbours. They make our country strong.
3960 The return of daily local language newscasts on OMNI will be greatly embraced by everyone and will create much needed employment opportunities for journalistic professionals, writers, researchers, producers, directors, cameramen, editors, anchors, and a great diversity of talented women and men alike from many
3961 minority groups, who for many years contributed to the success of high quality daily newscasts.
3962 Finally, for new Canadians the local language newscasts is a bridge to Canadian identity. So this link has been disconnected; please, let’s find a way to reconnect it. Thank you.
3963 MR. CONTARIN: This leads us to how Rogers proposes to restore the local presence that it cut in 2015. That would be the 9(1)(h) application for the four OMNI Regional feeds.
3964 There is no question 9(1)(h) application does push the boundaries of the Commission's regulatory policies. There’s also the matter about what this application portends for the future of the over-the-air service. However, our Local has to be practical in these matters. As a local union, we have the duty to encourage conditions that will benefit our members and Canadians alike.
3965 There are no indications that Rogers seeks a buyer for OMNI or to return the licences so we have to believe their commitment to turn the operation around with the 9(1)(h) application. We have seen firsthand the
3966 impact of cuts on the livelihood of our departed members and don't doubt a rejection will detrimentally impact the current operation.
3967 Unifor 723M does not see any white knight coming in to recover the lost third language newscasts without some fundamental change in the OMNI situation. This, in our opinion, can be accomplished by approving the 9(1)(h) application, attaching strong conditions of licence, and establishing an adequate cost for distribution that does not overly reward Rogers or burden the consumer.
3968 As the numerous interventions filed for of our Part 1 application revealed, there is considerable support for the return of third language newscasts among our ethnic communities. Rogers, in their filings for thousands of interveners in this renewal process, has found the exact same public response that we submitted.
3969 The supporting interveners are aware that Rogers, as an established ethnic broadcaster, is in the best position to restore local presence to ethnic communities through newscasts.
3970 We agree that mandatory basic carriage is the best option under the current circumstances. However, due to the extraordinary nature of this application there needs to be strong conditions attached to establish precedent and set a high bar for approval.
3971 Local 723M does note that Rogers made no mention that it was considering newscast cuts at its 2014 submissions for licence renewal. Less than a year after being granted renewal, the corporation ended newscasts to the Italian, Punjabi, Cantonese, and Mandarin communities.
3972 The absence of conditions of licence governing Category 1 broadcasts enabled Rogers to eliminate the newscasts as a cost cutting measure. That aspect of local presence was thus lost for the remainder of the licence term.
3973 It is now incumbent upon the Commission to ensure that situation is not replicated should it approve the 9(1)(h) application. Given the events that unfolded after the last licence renewal, Unifor 723M believes the commitments Rogers has given to Commission in its supplemental brief should become conditions of licence.
3974 The items that need to be condition are: a timeline for restoring daily Rogers-produced newscasts in Italian, Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi; a schedule that is 80 percent ethnic programming; 50 percent of the schedule is third-language; 40 percent of annual revenue is expended on Canadian production; retain the daily local Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi current affairs programs; local in-house production is returned to all OMNI OTA stations; a 10-hour minimum on local programming for each region, with a particular emphasis on local presence; Ottawa and Victoria news bureaus under direct OMNI journalistic independence.
3975 If a situation arises, then the Commission can respond with the powers granted in Section 12(1) and 12(2) of the Broadcasting Act. There would be no question of hand wringing over the time-consuming processes, whether this policy or that can be enforced. The answers would be clearly stated as conditions of licence.
3976 Failure to set rules now to hold Rogers accountable for OMNI will hamper the ability of the CRTC to administer justice in a timely manner.
3977 Unifor 723M is deeply concerned about the future of OMNI in the case the 9(1)(h) application is rejected.
3978 Additionally, Rogers is now on record as requesting further cuts to its regulatory obligations by requesting OTA stations serve fewer language groups, reduce Canadian content requirements, the removal of the
3979 16 percent cap on single-language programming, and the abandonment of original described video.
3980 Our primary goal is not to see OMNI OTA stations further degraded if Rogers is denied the 9(1)(h) application.
3981 Very briefly, Unifor 723M supports the 9(1)(h) application because we believe it’s a practical solution to the OMNI situation and the most immediate way to return local newscasts to the affected third-language communities.
3982 There is the opportunity here to attach meaningful and enforceable conditions of licence to the OMNI Regional services that would preserve local presence. Rogers has offered a series of commitments that can guide the CRTC in setting the terms of licence. They should be in a form that can be enforced under the Broadcasting Act.
3983 As you can see we care deeply about the health of our profession and the people we serve. Unifor 723M is truly interested in strengthening the ethnic broadcasting system and recognizes that presently there really is only one group that has the capacity to accomplish that aim. With safeguards in place, that is OMNI Regional.
3984 We wish to thank you, your staff, and the opportunity to present to you today.
3985 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. I’ll put you in the hands of le Conseiller -- Monsieur Conseiller Dupras.
3986 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you.
3987 Good morning.
3988 MR. CONTARIN: Good morning.
3989 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: I understand that what you’re looking for is to see the return of the daily local newscast to the OMNI station and this is why you support the 9(1)(h) Application; however, I mean the criteria that we use to prove service as a 9(1)(h) is not necessarily tied to economic need.
3990 And therefore, I would ask you, since such a service to be on 9(1)(h), must fill an exceptional need in the broadcasting system, how would it fill such an exceptional need, the proposal that Rogers is doing -- is putting forward with the OMNI Regional service?
3991 MR. CONTARIN: Well, at this time there’s not enough money to support the ethnic broadcasts and Rogers is losing money on a yearly basis. As you’ve heard in the previous interventions and submissions in the last few days, we need a solution now.
3992 If we were to wait for monies that were diverted from the community channels, that’s not enough to cover the expenses; that would be $3 million; they’re still losing money.
3993 So the way we’re looking at it is the fastest way to get these newscasts back on the air is through 9(1)(h); that would be a guaranteed 12 cents or 11 cents, or whatever the case may be. And in that case, they can reinstate these newscasts and that would serve the citizens of this country.
3994 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And it is the news programming that would make this new regional service exceptional, if I understand well?
3995 MR. CONTARIN: Yes, I think it’s exceptional because the third-language communities have the same rights as the English and French communities. We’re all citizens of this country and we’re all -- we all due to have the same news coverage as any other citizen in English and French or Aboriginal. And I think that’s exceptional.
3996 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And aside the news, would -- what they’re proposing with the OMNI Regional in addition to news and their programming over and above the news, would make the service also exceptional?
3997 MR. CONTARIN: Again, it’s the same argument. It will serve third-language communities with information, with a chance to voice their concerns. It will give them a voice.
3998 I know that I’ve been with ethnic programming since the beginning of my career. I’ve seen the programming decline, you know, quite a bit over the last 10 years. I know many senior people, my parents included, that rely on this service because they hear the information in their language -- and the arguments in their language of their heritage.
3999 Many new Canadians coming into this country who may not be familiar the Canadian way of life, it also gives them an opportunity to -- or for Rogers and for the OMNI stations to make them feel at home. We have things -- we used to have programs, for instance, on how to obtain your driver’s licence, on how to -- you know, how to deal with Canadian winters, everything to make you feel comfortable in Canada.
4000 So I think that that, that’s exceptional, to bring some -- you’re bringing somebody and you’re informing them on the lifestyle of Canada in their native tongue and that’s -- I think that’s exceptional.
4001 MR. BONI: I’d also like to add something.
4002 MR. CONTARIN: Sure.
4003 MR. BONI: I really like the word “exceptional” because OMNI, it is exceptional.
4004 I mentioned we broadcast in over 30 languages, but it’s actually 44 languages; I have a list of all, one-third of the languages spoken in the world that we broadcast. I think there are more official -- 150 languages recognized by ONO but it is exceptional. Who other station does that? There is one station in Australia that broadcasts in five language.
4005 But OMNI-1 and 2, you know, we are talking about a fantastic variety of languages. And I don’t know if any of you ever watch a show on OMNI rather than English but, you know, it’s -- OMNI-1 and OMNI-2, we have the privilege to broadcast in, you know, so many languages.
4006 I mean my goodness, I’m not going to read them all but -- and when a newcomer comes to Canada from, I don’t know, Hindu, Urdu, the Gujarati, Macedonian, Pajtu, Somali -- there’s so many, they do rely on OMNI, and not just for how to take care of the winter in Canada but also -- beside the 9(h)(1), also, when it comes down to election time, there are news and information available to the public in such languages.
4007 Yes, so it is exceptional and considered such.
4008 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. But I mean the OMNI OTAs are distributed on the basic service in the large markets. And they’re also discretionary services with ethnic programming. I mean how -- what does it make -- what will it add and why should we consider granting a licence to such a service with such mandatory distribution?
4009 MR. CONTARIN: There are other discretionary services available. They come at a cost. For many of our viewers, the other thing is that they’re not technically -- well, they’re technically challenged. So the internet, their phones, and so forth, sometimes it’s out of the picture; they rely on pushing that one channel and getting their information the television.
4010 And what’s very important is that they want a trusted news source.
4011 When they, you know, get information from Twitter or from whatever other source, it’s not always the right information. So they need a trusted source that they can rely on that when they go there they get their news.
4012 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And in its present form, I mean, is it still a valuable service?
4013 MR. CONTARIN: In its present form?
4014 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: What’s offered on OMNI, OTAs without the local news ---
4015 MR. CONTARIN: No, I don’t think it is at all. Right now their news magazine style shows are -- I mean, it’s good to have them as a complement to the newscasts because you can zero in on a specific topic, but it’s not a newscast, per se. So we’re not delivering -- like I said, the election is a perfect example. We’re not delivering the newscasts of what’s happening today in our local community as they’re getting from the English and the French channels.
4016 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. On another matter, City Montreal seems to express concern that Rogers is asking to remove certain conditions of licence.
4017 MR. CONTARIN: M’hm.
4018 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: But as you know, they’re proposing for their television station to offer 14 hours or local programming in the large market, of which 6 hours would be locally-reflective news and which would consist also at 11 percent of their CPE.
4019 Do you think those levels would be enough to ensure appropriate reflection?
4020 MR. CONTARIN: I think as a start, yes.
4021 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And why would we need another condition in Montreal that is to keep what’s existing and not have that in the other City stations?
4022 MR. CONTARIN: I’ll pass that on to -- okay. This wasn’t really part of our submission and you’ll probably hear The National deal with this one later.
4023 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Then we’ll deal with them a little bit later.
4024 Also, for Ottawa you’d like to maintain the news bureau. But as you know, in our local TV policy we decided not to require local presence since we think that expenditure and exhibition requirements would be enough.
4025 So why do you think we should make an exception for OMNI in Ottawa?
4026 MR. CONTARIN: Well, right now we don’t have a bureau in Ottawa; we just have one that’s not under journalistic independence. So the same news that’s coming from Ottawa is going to City TV, to the radio stations, to whatever sources. I think it has to be under direct OMNI journalistic independence to be valid.
4027 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: And to do local-reflective news would not entail that they take the proper means to do that? There’s a need for a condition of licence for a bureau?
4028 MR. CONTARIN: Well, we think that would help, yes. Otherwise there’s no reason why they would do it.
4029 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay.
4030 MR. CONTARIN: They would just maintain the status quo.
4031 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. On a technical -- I have a technical question since you’re local employees of stations that produce news.
4032 As you know, the Commission established new requirements for locally-reflective news and this means that we will now ask broadcasters to separate the news programs between the locally-reflective segment and the locally-relevant segments and their program law. But broadcasters are telling us that this is almost impossible to do or it’s very expensive to do. Do you have any views on that?
4033 MR. CONTARIN: I don’t right now; I’m sorry.
4034 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Well, this is the extent of my questions.
4035 MR. CONTARIN: Thank you.
4036 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you very much.
4037 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are all our questions for you today. Thank you for participating in the hearing.
4038 MR. CONTARIN: Thank you very much for listening to us.
4039 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mme. la secrétaire, s’il vous plaît?
4040 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will now invite the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists to take place, please.
4041 Please go ahead when you’re ready. Introduce yourselves for the record first and you have 10 minutes.
4042 MR. WADDELL: Good morning Commission. Thank you, Mr. Chair, Madame Vice-Chair, Commissioners, and Commission Staff.
4043 My name is Stephen Waddell. I’m the National Executive Director of ACTRA, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.
4044 With me today in the first row, Yannick Bisson, ACTRA member and award-winning star of the period drama series “Murdoch Mysteries”; Jean Yoon, ACTRA member and star of “Kim’s Convenience”, a sitcom about a Korean-owned convenience store in Toronto; and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, ACTRA member and Jean’s co-star on “Kim’s Convenience”.
4045 In the second row behind us are Mario Mota, Consultant and author of the expert report attached to our intervention; Elliott Anderson, ACTRA’s Director of Public Policy, Research and Communications; and Sara Morton, our Regulatory Consultant.
4046 We’re here on behalf of the 23,000 professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada who help bring Canadian stories to life in film, television, sound recording, radio, and digital media.
4047 We’re honoured to have the opportunity to appear during this proceeding regarding the licence renewals of the major private English-language broadcast groups. Its outcome will have a significant impact on Canadian broadcasting for years to come.
4048 Most concerning is the substantial negative impact any reduction of investment in Canadian content may have; the impact on our members, who already work in a highly precarious industry; and the impact across the country on Canadians who will have even less access to homegrown Canadian programming.
4049 ACTRA, together with the CMPA, WGC, and DGC, commissioned Mario Mota to evaluate the CPE and PNI rate proposals of Bell, Corus, and Rogers, and quantify their impact during the next licence term.
4050 The Mota Report concluded these proposals will collectively reduce spending on Canadian programming and PNI by almost $100 million annually over the next licence term, in addition to the large decrease in PNI spending during the current term. The impact on Canadian programming and the Canadian broadcasting system will be devastating.
4051 In our view, this would be regressive, contrary to the Commission’s objective to provide stable and secure funding for the creation of Canadian programming, and contrary to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
4053 MR. BISSON: Thank you, Stephen.
4054 Messieurs, Mesdames.
4055 ACTRA, and many other parties, want more -- not less -- quality Canadian programming.
4056 “Murdoch Mysteries”, in which I play Detective Murdoch, is just one example of quality programming that viewers in Canada and around the world want to see. Our series attracted an average audience of 1.4 million Canadians per week in season 9 and is doing the same in season 10 currently. It’s also seen in over 110 countries.
4057 “Murdoch Mysteries” is unique not just in Canada but around the world, and it’s the product of talented performers and creators who have chosen to live and pursue our craft here, despite the fact that making a living as a Canadian actor is not easy.
4058 Unique Canadian programs don’t make it into Canadian homes by accident. As working Canadian performers, we know that ensuring Canadian stories are seen and heard in the shadow of Hollywood can be challenging.
4059 Canadians have shown us, time and time again, that they want Canadian programs made by Canadian talent, but they need to have the opportunity to see them. And that is a role we believe this Commission has to play.
4061 MS. YOON: Thank you, Yannick.
4062 The Broadcasting Act clearly outlines the role of the CRTC, which includes the obligation to safeguard, enrich, and strengthen the cultural and social fabric of our country and encourage the development of Canadian expression. This is a hugely important responsibility.
4063 As Yannick mentioned, quality Canadian programs don’t make it on our screens by accident. “Kim’s Convenience” started as a stage production, went on to a nine-city national tour, and is now a successful half-hour family comedy airing on CBC. The transition to television has allowed us to bring our story to a national audience that can now watch a show that mines the comedic complexities of contemporary urban Canadian experience.
4064 So many more Canadian stories are bursting to be told, but only if the Commission fulfills its role as set out in the Broadcasting Act. Successful and compelling Canadian television is the result of the public policy vision laid out in the Act, a vision the Commission has an obligation to uphold.
4065 When Canadian Program Expenditure requirements were introduced, they were expected to grow and to support even more Canadian programming. But as we know, broadcaster revenues, and along with it, Canadian Program Expenditures, have declined during the current term.
4066 We believe increasing expenditures on Canadian programs and programs of national interest is urgent and necessary to ensure Canadians have access to a healthy quantity of diverse and compelling Canadian programming during the new term.
4067 Thank you. Paul?
4068 MR. SUN-HYUNG LEE: Thank you, Jean.
4069 Investment in Canadian content remains a priority, but we believe there is still a need for exhibition requirements. Specifically, we propose that two hours in evening prime time be devoted to independently produced programming or programs of national interest.
4070 This requirement would ensure that Canadian content can be found on television when most Canadians are actually watching. Without this requirement, programs like our show, “Kim’s Convenience”, might not be programmed in prime time nor discoverable by audiences.
4071 Now, when our show debuted in the prime time 9:00 p.m. slot this October, we were thrilled to learn that over 800,000 viewers watched our first episode. And if you include the DVR viewing, over a million Canadians watched our debut.
4072 This success was due to outstanding promotion of CBC of our show and because they gave us a shot by scheduling us during a time period when Canadians are watching television.
4073 If private broadcasters are not required to do so, who knows when their required Canadian content will air each day, or even in which season.
4075 MR. WADDELL: Thank you, Yannick, Jean, and Paul.
4076 We believe status quo rates of CPE and PNI will result in a decrease in expenditures on Canadian programming and PNI. In our view, broadcasters can and should exceed their historic spending levels. Historical spending should be a minimum, used to determine a higher and achievable spending level that will ensure Canada continues to have strong broadcast and production sectors that create a healthy quantity of high quality Canadian programming.
4077 We propose that broadcasters be required to maintain reasonable CPE requirements of at least 30 percent. Further, the significant decline in PNI expenditures must be addressed by setting the PNI rate at a higher level and increasing it over the next licence term. We propose a starting PNI rate of 8 percent, which is slightly below Corus’ current PNI rate.
4078 ACTRA supports Bell’s recommendation that standard rates of CPE and PNI should apply to each big broadcast group. As standard rates are most fair where the asset mixes are similar, such rates may need to be adjusted if asset mixes change.
4079 The Commission has usually also required that a percentage of PNI expenditures be allocated to programming from an independent producer. We note that a clearer definition of “independently-produced” may be needed.
4080 Regarding the relief from other licence conditions requested by the Applicants, we encourage the Commission to decline such relief. Should the Commission approve these requests, our view is that it would be necessary to increase other obligations to ensure contributions to the system are maintained.
4081 To address the continuing gap between domestic and foreign programming, we recommend that all broadcast groups be required to achieve no less than predominant use of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming by the end of the new term.
4082 Finally, with respect to the length of the licence term, while terms of five or six years have been discussed, we support a shorter term consistent with the Commission’s recent decision to limit BDU licence terms to one year.
4083 In conclusion, ACTRA recognizes that this is a time of challenge for the broadcast industry and we support allowing broadcasters some flexibility. However, it must not come at the expense of achieving the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and Canadians’ ability to see high-quality, distinctive entertainment programming on their television and other screens.
4084 Thank you for considering our views. We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have. Thank you.
4085 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for being here. And Commissioner Vennard will start us off.
4086 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good morning. Thank you for coming to talk to us today.
4087 ACTRA supports Bell’s recommendation for a standard rate, the same or a similar rate of CPE should apply to each big broadcaster group. You have suggested that 30 percent would be the rate that you would recommend to us?
4088 MR. WADDELL: Yes, we recommend that the current CPE levels be maintained. Our essential point here is that the current obligations on the broadcasters which flow out of the decisions in 2010 should continue. That what we’ve seen as a result of the good decisions which the Commission then, and then subsequently in the Let’s Talk TV process, have resulted in some terrific programming being produced such as, well, “Murdoch Mysteries” obviously has been on for 10 seasons and continues. And “Kim’s Convenience” which is new to the broadcasting schedule and brings an entirely new perspective to Canadians and talks to Canadians about Canada and tells Canadians stories.
4089 So in order to do that, you’ve got to have a consistent level of expenditure, and particularly in PNI, which is our issue with respect to at least maintaining and we hope increasing the level of expenditure in PNI.
4090 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. You also stated that implementing the CPE and the PNI rates proposed by Corus and Bell would have a significant negative impact on the system, and you consider that the proposals by Bell and Corus if approved would result in a significant reduction in overall spending as well.
4091 And I know that there were some issues from your point of view, including in the report on numbers and arriving at these different figures and so on.
4092 MR. WADDELL: Right.
4093 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’m well aware of that.
4094 But from your point of view, what would be the appropriate level to impose on Bell and Corus should we decide not to impose a standardized CPE, a standardized or similar CPE?
4095 MR. WADDELL: Well, I ---
4096 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Or are you able to even answer that question?
4097 MR. WADDELL: Let’s have Mario answer.
4098 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
4099 MR. MOTA: I’m trying to think that through. Certainly, if you're going to maintain on the discretionary side, you already have current levels. I would assume you'd just reapply those. There's no averaging or historical analysis required. I do realize in the group environment, you can move money around, so maybe those number change. That's an incredibly complex exercise to go through. We don't have complete data to do that, unfortunately.
4100 I'm not even sure Commission staff can do that, which is one of the reasons why, when the idea comes out of having a floating percentage, like PNI, that starts at 2.5 like Rogers did and ultimately ended up at 5 becomes incredibly complex to model. When you have a moving target like that, it's impossible. So for me, the principle in public policy is if you can't measure it, don’t do it.
4101 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So you're not going to comment on what rates you would suggest for Bell and Corus?
4102 MR. MOTA: Well, the analysis that I've done is based on the data that we have available to us. The Commission has the complete set of data to do that analysis. Our main point in our analysis is maintaining existing levels, as the Commission said in Let's Talk TV and as the Commission said in the letters to the broadcasters seeking their licence renewal applications, the direction to the broadcasters were, "We intend to maintain current levels."
4103 Maintaining current levels does not mean five percent for Bell Media. It does not mean five percent for Shaw Media and Corus combined, because the composition of the groups have changed. So you have to redo the analysis. This is the Commission's own policy. We're not making this up.
4104 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm. M'hm.
4105 MR. MOTA: So when Astral joined with Bell and when Teletoon was absorbed by Corus, the Commission did that analysis. There's a new group of services. You take that new basket of services, you look at historical spending for three years back, you come up with a figure. That's what you did with Astral and Bell. That's what you did with Teletoon. We support that.
4106 That's what we tried to do, but as you can see in my report with footnotes as long as almost a page long, we have limitations to what we can do. So the numbers we've come up in our report are really a starting point for a conversation. These are minimums. I realize some of them could go down.
4107 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: M'hm.
4108 MR. MOTA: Some of them could go up. In fact, with Corus, I attempted to start doing some reanalysis of the Corus PNI number, because as you know, Corus filed new numbers on October 26th. That's not a lot of time for me to do the work, but I started to do the work, and honestly, the number went from eight to nine. So in my report, it says "Eight PNI average." Based on the data I have, it bumped up to nine.
4109 The other factor that bumped up the number and changed some of the numbers is -- rightly so, Bell pointed out in its reply that I included LPIF revenue, which was an oversight. When you pull those out, a lot of numbers go up, they don’t go down, because if you take the revenue number down, but the CPE or PNI level's the same, obviously, that percentage can only go up.
4110 In most cases, it's a rounding error -- it's a rounding issue, but if you're at .5 and you went to .8, then that rounds up, or if you were at .3 and you went to .6, it rounds up instead of down. So those kinds of things are what you're -- you know, you're going to have to do with the ---
4111 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: But when you're relying on numbers that are moving and it depends on what you put in and which ones you use and so on, how do you arrive at the conclusion that there would be a significant negative impact, and what would that impact look like, and how did you arrive at that?
4112 MR. MOTA: Well, the $100 million number that Stephen mentioned is not in my report. I honestly don’t know where that came from. But what I can tell you is, we did a one-year limited snapshot analysis, because I wanted to do an analysis based on real revenue numbers. If you look at the financial projections filed by the broadcasters, they're just that; their projections, their guesses, their best guesses. You heard Barb Williams say from Corus the other day that they would be very lucky if they can project out six months, given the changing environment.
4113 And the reason why I say that is, I don’t want to use a four-year -- I don't want to come up with my own projections, and I quite frankly don’t trust the broadcaster projections, and I don’t think the Commission should either, for a couple of reasons.
4114 If you were to -- I don't know if the Commission does this analysis, but I do. If you were to look at the financial projections filed in the 2011 licence renewal proceeding for these broadcast groups, you will see -- and you compare them to actual results -- if you combine Bell, Corus, and Shaw Media alone, they were $800 million off the mark in revenue. So they overestimated revenue by $800 million.
4115 So if the Commission was using those projections to base whatever percentage it opposes in CPE or PNI -- because the output dollar that you run in through that formula, through the revenue formula -- makes you feel comfortable, that this is a comfortable number, the Commission can live with a growing CPE number or a number that's -- that accumulates to this number, but you don’t reach those revenue targets, then you’ve missed the mark on the other stuff.
4116 So my caution -- you know, and I spent many years at Decima Research, I spent time with some of the most brilliant statistical minds I've ever met. My caution to you is, forecasts are just that. They -- honestly, in today's environment, you might as well put up a dartboard over there and put 1 million, 5 million, 10 million, and I'll start shooting darts and it's anybody's guess where we're going to be at.
4117 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, but in the end, you have a position that there's a -- there will be a significant negative impact on the system?
4118 MR. MOTA: Oh, yes. If you add up -- if you look at the numbers in some of the tables, if you just look at the one-year analysis, you're looking at -- yeah, I don’t have the number before me, but it totals to, you know, in the dozens of millions. So you extrapolate that over a licence term, you're well into -- you're potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in decline over the licence term. That's using today's real revenue numbers. It's not based on forecasts.
4119 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4120 MR. MOTA: I could appreciate the forecasts are useful. They're -- you can -- you need to have a sense of where people think things are going, but you know, just on the hard evidence that I have and looking back at what projections were back then and what we saw today, that's a dangerous -- a dangerous ---
4121 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And it's a complicated process, too. The composition has changed and the projections are only that, just projections. So I can appreciate that.
4122 MR. MOTA: It's complicated -- it's certainly complicated, even on -- for the Commission it's complicated. We don’t -- it's even more complicated for us, because we don’t have ---
4123 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
4124 MR. MOTA: --- the complete set of data. And I would have come here with a revised report with revised data, but there's still pieces of the puzzle missing. We asked for data in the report. We haven't seen it yet, so it's impossible to really come up with concrete numbers.
4125 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. I have a few more questions for you here. One of them would be, do you think that it would be useful to divide the PNI report to reflect library footage versus original first-run programming, to split that up?
4126 MR. MOTA: Absolutely. I think -- I'm going to meet with the Writer's Guild later this afternoon, and I think that's a very, very big issue for them. If I could just speak to that point briefly ---
4127 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
4128 MR. MOTA: --- the original first-run new commissioned, you asked for data in this proceeding to get a picture on that. It's a bit frustrating for us, because we raised this issue with staff, Commission staff, four years ago.
4129 So the very first PNI report that came out, what flagged it for me was, I was looking at Shaw Media, and you -- there's -- I don't know if you’ve seen those reports, but the first table is an original first-run number. It's broken down by region. So that is supposed to be an indication of original first-run spend.
4130 The second table is a total PNI spend in those group reports. When I was looking at the Shaw Media report, the numbers were the same, and I said to myself, "It's impossible. You can't have a total PNI number that's going to match your original first run, because I know for a fact, 100 percent of Shaw's PNI spend cannot be original first run."
4131 We know there's -- even in the appendix to the report that lists the types of programs, you'll see, there are programs there that they're allocating to PNI that are seven, six, eight years old. They're repeats. They're library.
4132 So it's just not possible the number could be the same. We raised this with Commission staff and they acknowledged the concern. They looked into it. We were told that they investigated the matter. It turned out that the broadcasters were not reporting consistently, and we were told the problem was solved, that we're all on the same page now.
4133 But here we are later, four years later, and it -- the notice comes out and we realize, apparently the problem was not solved. So we're no further ahead. Unfortunately, we would have liked to come to this proceeding collectively, as a creative community who engages me to look at these numbers every year to say, "We know what the numbers are. We think there's a problem, and here's the regulatory solution," or, "There is no problem. We're fine. We trust the broadcasters are doing enough original first run."
4134 Unfortunately, we can't come to you with anything because the data doesn’t tell us anything consistent.
4135 COMMISSIONER VENNDARD: Okay, duly noted.
4136 The groups all stated that original production is a major part of their business strategy, and it would appear that it only makes good business sense for the groups to have original programming on their services. Why should further regulation be required on something that the groups would argue they are doing anyway?
4137 MR. WADDELL: Well, further regulation is required in order to ensure that the broadcasters produce programming that is distinctive in the absence of regulation, in the absence of requirements that we’ve seen, that the commitments by the broadcasters to production in the pat have declined.
4138 And so we believe that broadcasters and others must -- that regulation is the basis upon -- the foundation in this country upon which the entire structure is built and should continue to be so.
4139 I mean, that’s our basis position with respect to regulation, that there’s a new to maintain regulation and enhance requirements on broadcasters and others to produce.
4140 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4141 MR. MOTA: Commissioner, if I could just add?
4142 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Sure.
4143 MR. MOTA: You start from a premise that the broadcasters say we are doing enough. But don’t see the data to show that that’s in fact the case. You’re talking about different definitions they all use; they’re all using probably different amortization schedules. So you know, we need to see a common standardized approach to what is original to be able to measure whether in fact that claim is accurate or not.
4144 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Point taken.
4145 But I also point out that you’ve made an assumption also about the significant negative effect without really being able to point at numbers. So I think there are assumptions going all over the place here and we need to -- you know, and this is one of the things that we’re looking at.
4146 This brings me around to my final question for you. It’s that you submitted that Commission should define “independent production” more clearly. And I would ask you what sort of definition would you propose for that?
4147 MR. WADDELL: I don’t have a specific proposal for you. I know that you discussed this with Reynolds Mastin and the CMPA yesterday quite extensively. You know, they’re well-positioned to be able to give you advice on that issue.
4148 We just know that with respect to independent production and sustaining independent production in this country is important, that, as discussed with my colleagues, you know, it just provides more doors to knock on in terms of trying to get new Canadian production produced. There are limited doors in respect of the broadcasters. Having independent producers -- a number of independent producers and a healthy and independent production sector is important.
4149 In our view, the way forward for Canadian production and the way forward with respect to distinctive and high-quality Canadian production is to be the creator at the centre and give the -- just as it happened with “Kim’s Convenience”, which was developed out of a play, you know, let the creator create; sustain creators in this country. And then from there they will be able to go and knock on the doors of independent producers who will then be able to talk to broadcasters and other exhibitors and try and, you know, get their product financed and produced.
4150 So that’s really why we’re hoping to be able to sustain and enhance the independent production sector in this country.
4151 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you. Those are all my questions.
4152 Does anybody have anything further they would like to have added to the record? No?
4153 MR. BISSON: I’ve been involved in this industry for over 30 years and had the opportunity to work on productions that exercised a 6 out of 10 model or 10 out of 10, the first one being a show called “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye”. You may never have heard of it. It floundered a terrible death after a couple of years.
4154 The 10 out of 10 show that I’m currently working on uses all Canadian creative, is broadcast throughout the world, and it is a success after 10 years. I think Canadian creative and Canadian opportunity and outlet and a higher percentage of Canadian-created hours in primetime, is the only successful model and cultural successful model.
4155 MS. YOON: I’d just like to add that in the 10 out of 10 model we as Canadians get to be the heroes. When we create original Canadian programming we are the heroes. We’re not the supporting case. We’re not the background. Our stories are in the foreground and we can bring everything that we have -- our histories, our personal histories, every experience that we’ve ever had -- and know that boom, it’s part of the material that we bring.
4156 When we’re working on an American show, we’re always having to check ourselves because we are not Americans; we’re Canadians. And the more Canadian programming that is produced here, it means more Canadian artists that aren’t going to LA. It’s just expected in our industry that you reach a certain point that you have to move. I don’t want to move. My family is here. My parents are here -- they’re elderly -- and I love this country. I don’t want to move. I haven’t had to move yet and I’m really grateful that now I have a job so I’ll have a -- a real job. Thank you.
4157 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you very much for that. I appreciate your passion, for sure, and good luck to all of you with your productions.
4158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for being here. In fact, I’d admire the work of both “Kim’s Convenience” and the “Murdoch Mysteries Series”. I watch and admire your work in it.
4159 But I’m struck that this panel, which is dealing with the private sector renewals, have featured actors from -- and I get Murdoch at one point had City as a partner -- but that you’ve chosen CBC productions or actors from the CBC production to come to the table, not to diminish in any way the word of the CBC. But it’s just an odd situation, don’t you think?
4160 MR. BISSON: Well, I would say that that’s a perfect example of what does work in primetime in Canada and abroad. You have a show that is located in Canada, is created by Canadians, shot here, and it is aggressively viewed by Canadians. We routinely are in the top 20 in terms of ratings.
4161 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m not disputing that. But were there no examples from the private sector broadcasters? Why do we have public broadcaster examples?
4162 MR. BISSON: Well, how many are there? Does anyone know? Not many.
4163 MR. WADDELL: I think that’s the point. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for making that point.
4164 THE CHAIRPERSON: It still goes to relevance, however.
4165 MR. WADDELL: All of these performers have worked ---
4166 THE CHAIRPERSON: I realize that. But still, we are not in the CBC renewal here; we’re in the ---
4167 MR. WADDELL: I understand.
4168 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- broadcasters, the private broadcasters.
4169 MR. WADDELL: Right.
4170 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you’ve chosen to bring actors that aren’t from those series to make a point, which makes it very difficult for us to ask questions about how their relationships are with the private broadcasters, does it not?
4171 MR. WADDELL: Well, as you pointed out, “Murdoch Mysteries” did begin on Rogers.
4172 THE CHAIRPERSON: A number of years ago.
4173 Now, in your presentation ---
4174 MR. WADDELL: It’s still relevant.
4175 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- Mr. Waddell, you pointed out our duty to respect what Parliament has told us to do, and you quote from the Broadcasting Act indirectly and what parliamentary duties.
4176 I’d like to have your view about your perspective on us having to have very strict conditions of licence in light of two sections of the Broadcasting Act. First of all, section 3(1)(s), which says:
4177 “[P]rivate networks and programming undertakings should…”
4178 And I think this is the point:
4179 “…to an extent consistent with the financial and other resources available to them…”
4180 That is the private sector. And it goes on:
4181 “…contribute significantly to the creation and presentation of Canadian programming, [et cetera].”
4182 So on the one hand that section. And section 5(2)(g) of the Broadcasting Act that says, when we’re doing our duty as assigned to us by Parliament, that:
4183 “The Canadian broadcasting system should be regulated and supervised in a flexible manner…”
4184 And then it has to be “sensitive to the administrative burden” to the broadcasters. I’m paraphrasing here.
4185 How consistent is your position, in this proceeding, with those particular provisions?
4186 MR. WADDELL: Well, I think that we have said that we have said that the Commission needs to be flexible in the application of the regulations. But regulation is important in order to require the level of expenditure necessary to be able to sustain and grow the industry, and particularly the production industry, so that Canadians have an opportunity to see high-quality, distinctive Canadian programming.
4187 So you know, I think our position is consistent with those provisions of the Act. We recognize that there are obviously financial implications, that we are seeing a decline -- not a large decline but a decline -- in revenues to the broadcasters as a result of decreasing ad revenue, decreasing viewership and so on. We recognize those facts.
4188 But in our view, in order to sustain viewership and audiences, you need to put on programming that Canadians want to watch. And that’s the imitation American programming; it’s not simulcasting on a constant level in primetime American programming. It’s creating and sustained and exhibiting distinctive Canadian programming, Mr. Chairman.
4189 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. My final question. You are advocating for two hours of quotas in the evening primetime period and you’ve mentioned that it has to be independently-produced programming? Why does it have to be? If it’s a great idea and a great show that Canadians want to watch, why does it have to be produced by the independent production sector?
4190 MR. WADDELL: We support the independent production sector, as I said earlier, Mr. Chairman.
4191 That’s not to say that the broadcaster shouldn’t have, if I can use the phrase, more skin in the game as well, that if they’re looking for more equity in productions they should provide as much equity as possible. We definitely support broadcasters being involved in production as well.
4192 So we just want to see -- I mean, basically we want to see more production of distinctive Canadian ---
4193 THE CHAIRPERSON: So if the quota were two hours in evening primetime of PNI programming, you’d be happy with that even if it’s not necessarily independent?
4194 MR. WADDELL: We’d be happy with two hours, yes, Mr. Chairman. That’s ---
4195 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whether or not it’s produced by the independent production sector?
4196 MR. WADDELL: We’d be happy with two hours in primetime; that would be terrific.
4197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, we’ll see while we deliberate whether that’s rational and feasible. But I understand it’s not necessarily linked to independent production, per se?
4198 MR. WADDELL: Well, I don’t want to restate what I already said but, yeah. I mean, we support the independent production sector. I mean, that’s who we negotiate with. That’s where -- you know, we talked about the doors, and so on and so forth, to production. But you know, we also support broadcasters getting involved in production as well and certainly getting equity in the game.
4199 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure. I appreciate that.
4200 MR. WADDELL: Yeah.
4201 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, well, thank you very much for your appearance.
4202 MR. WADDELL: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
4203 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take an adjournment that this point and come back at 1:30. Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 12:24 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:34 p.m.
4204 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please. And if the secretary will get to her mic fast enough.
4205 Now Mme. la secrétaire.
4206 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We’ll now hear the presentation from Unifor, which was pushed to this afternoon. Please introduce yourselves for the record and you have 10 minutes. Thank you.
4207 MR. LAW: Thank you, I will.
4208 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My speaking notes say that I’m joined by Jonathan Ahee and Angelo DiCaro, my colleagues, but they couldn’t land because of the fog. With your permission, I asked Mr. Contarin from our Local 723M in Toronto to join me.
4209 I’d like to address the local news issues raised in the Group Licensing Notice and more briefly the 9(1)(h) application.
4210 In this proceeding the Commission has the opportunity to set Conditions of Licence requiring licensees to live up to the letter and spirit of Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2016-224. There is a broad policy consensus shared by everyone, I believe -- including the Commission, the Heritage Minister, and the Heritage Parliamentary Committee -- on the importance of local news to our democracy at every level of government and society.
4211 We don't think that the broadcasters’ identical requests on weekly minimum exhibition of local news, and the expenditure required to support that minimum, come anywhere close to meeting the spirit of 224.
4212 Yesterday, Bell Media explained very clearly how the broadcasters arrived at the proposal for the minimum of six and three segment hours of local news.
4213 First, they said that minimum local news exhibition is a subset of minimum local programming exhibition which is 14 or 7 hours depending on the size of the market. Therefore, the reasoning went, the calculation of minimum news exhibition begins with these 14 or 7 figures.
4214 Secondly, they said, using the large markets as an example, you recalibrate the 14 hours to 10 on account of the fact that we are going to measure local news in programming segments and not full broadcast hours. And that’s a discount figure of 25 percent.
4215 Thirdly, the reasoning went, Bell Media estimates, at least for CTV, that 60 percent of actual local programming is actually local news. Therefore, 60 percent of 10 segment hours equals 6 segment hours of local news.
4216 Finally, Bell Media explained that the 11 percent of revenue figure for expenditure is what it takes to fund those six segment hours, or three segment hours for smaller markets, across the broadcasters’ local news stations from coast to coast.
4217 In our view, here are the problems with that approach.
4218 There is no policy reason, in 224 or elsewhere, why minimum local news hours, that is the six segment hours, should be established as a 60 percent subset of 10 minimally required local programming segments hours.
4219 We somewhat reluctantly accept Bell Media’s legal argument that the minimum exhibition of loca1 news should not exceed the minimum exhibition of local programming, given that the Commission has just reaffirmed those 14 and 7 numbers.
4220 But so long as we respect that 14 and 7 ceiling on how high we can set the minimum segment hours of local news, there is no further logic to the argument that standards for local news should be a discount of minimum local programming requirements that are actually exceeded by broadcasters.
4221 Rather, if we’re going to use this “discount” method of establishing the minimum threshold for local news, the 60 percent discount should be based on the actual local programming hours since the whole point of the 60 percent is based on “what local news we actually broadcast as a percentage of our actual local programming.”
4222 The chart at page 10 in our brief demonstrates that the actual local news hour -- and each “hour” is being measured as 60 programming segment minutes -- that those actual local news hours, as reported by the broadcasters in their filings, are mostly far in excess of 6 and 3, in fact, in the metropolitan markets, an average of 85 percent in excess.
4223 Furthermore, the Commission ought to look behind the broadcasters’ key figures and satisfy itself that those figures are reliable for the purpose of robust regulatory standards supporting local news
4224 So first of, all the 25 percent discount figure, which establishes programming segments as a proportion of broadcast hours, that needs to be verified.
4225 Two, the 60 percent figure. A 60 percent discount establishing local news as a portion of local programming. The Commission needs to be satisfied that Bell Media's 60 percent figure is the right figure for each broadcaster, over an appropriate period of time, and not an across-the-board figure for all broadcasters. We’d actually prefer a more straightforward approach to setting the minimum weekly exhibition of local news at 100 percent of historical levels at each station.
4226 Thirdly, the 11 percent expenditure figure. Now, that’s the figure that needs to be tied to what it actually takes a broadcaster to support an appropriate minimum of local news segments. Whatever the right figure is, the Commission ought to look behind it. We should all be uncomfortable with the fact that all of the broadcasters are reporting the exact same percentage figure to support different groups of broadcasting stations across the country, with different labour costs.
4227 In Unifor’s view, the Commission should also consider that the relationship established by the Commission in 224 between the expenditure figure and a percentage of the previous year’s revenue, is not ideal in an environment in which conventional TV revenues are declining. Accordingly, we would support adjusting the percentage-based expenditure figure that you arrive at, within the five-year licence term to make sure we keep the level of absolute spending firm.
4228 Moving on from the exhibition and funding of news, we wanted to comment on quality.
4229 In the appendix to our brief, we charted a 10-percent decline in staffing levels experienced at Unifor-represented local stations at Rogers, Bell Media, and Global over the last two years. And that’s not including the massive layoffs at OMNI. Reduced staffing will affect quality.
4230 The Commission’s own aggregated data up to August 31, 2015 shows a steep decline in Rogers’ staffing of local stations. Bell and Shaw filed data indicating their staffing levels have been steady over the last four years.
4231 This is difficult to square with our own experience of layoffs in the editorial and operational staffing categories, so we recommend that you require updated data from the Applicants and ask them to break down the staffing into the same categories we used in our appendix.
4232 In our view -- it is our view, I should say, that the Commission ought to impose conditions of licence that guard against the opportunity for broadcasters to cut local television costs and quality in the future by doing one of these things: expanding the use of Category 2a current events talk shows, which I think that one of the broadcasters indicated is far cheaper than doing local news; using less original programming instead of more; or expanding the use of centralizing and Toronto-based anchoring, which are strategies that run cross-stream to the reality that the Commission's definition of "local reflection" says that local news must be produced by the station's staff or by independent producers specifically for the station.
4233 Fourthly, is the opportunity to cut costs by allowing broadcasters to regard local presence -- bureaus, local reporters, local editorial control-- as nice-to-haves, aspirational goals rather than what they are; and they are the core of local news.
4234 Unifor submits that the Broadcasting Act allows the Commission, even arguably requires it, to set conditions of licence according to the circumstances and resources of each broadcaster.
4235 It may be that giving them flexibility, or mere expectations, on points some of these points that we have raised could be tolerated in the case of struggling independent stations.
4236 But that flexibility is neither tolerable nor necessary for VI-owned stations, VIs that the CRTC, the Commission, allowed to come into existence on the express understanding that they were going to deliver for viewers, consumers, and citizens.
4237 Finally, we endorse the FRPC's position on annual monitoring. We appreciate that the Commission has indicated in Decision 436 that it intends to issue a further BNOC to discuss monitoring requirements but this proceeding provides the right opportunity to link vigilant, annual monitoring requirements to conditions of licence.
4238 A couple of words about OMNI. As the Commission knows, we’ve been deeply engaged on this file for some time. This application from Rogers is by far the best solution out there for local third-language news. In fact, we believe Rogers is not asking for enough money, subscriber fees, to support it. For three cents a month more, we can restore the level of free over-the-air local news programming to these four major linguistic communities that English and French-language communities are fortunate enough to take for granted.
4239 Local third-language news is of national and regional political importance. The elimination of those OMNI newscasts in 2015, the nation's only free newscasts in Italian, Punjabi, Cantonese, and Mandarin, impacts 1.5 million Canadians who identify these languages as their mother tongue. Of those 1.5 million Canadians, a 2014 study previously submitted by Rogers indicates that 25 percent of them consume OMNI television; further, about 30 percent of them -- and we’re talking 450,000 people here -- choose to consume news in their mother tongue.
4240 Because of that, we believe the case for exceptional content is a no-brainer. Without local third language news, we might as well capitulate to foreign cultural programming for these communities; and then we have to candidly admit to these communities that they will have to pay significant subscriber fees for their local news in their language, if they can get it at all, while first-language communities do not.
4241 We don't unconditionally support Rogers' application. We urge important licence conditions be put on the Applicant, whether it's at 12 cents or 15 cents. So these are at paragraph 26 of our brief and I’ll simply refer you to that paragraph.
4242 Commissioners, in the end, if you were to deny the 9(1)(h) Application, which, candidly, we would find disappointing, the second best solution, if there can be one, would be to impose all of the local TV expenditure and exhibition requirements that the group-licenced stations would have along the lines -- ideally, along the lines that we’ve proposed in this hearing.
4243 If you do neither 9(1)(h) nor this -- what I’m calling the second-best solution, we don't think there is a third best solution. In that case, we believe Rogers shouldn’t hold the licence anymore because the conditions would be so weak and news would not be coming back onto the airwaves.
4244 The Commission, in that scenario, ought to open up licences to all -- licensing to all comers and see if there is any programming model worth licensing at all as an OTA station with the privileges of basic cable package.
4245 Thanks -- thank you for considering our views and we’re happy to answer questions, of course.
4246 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for being there, gentlemen, notwithstanding the fog. And I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner Dupras.
4247 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Thank you.
4248 Good afternoon.
4249 MR. LAW: Good afternoon.
4250 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: I asked questions to Unifor 723 earlier today. Do you have different answers to these questions? Were you there to listen to ---
4251 MR. LAW: Yes, I was. So you asked a number of questions.
4252 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes, well ---
4253 MR. LAW: Were you referring to the question that they deferred to me or something else?
4254 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Well, when -- OMNI Regional, how exceptional is it? You say it’s a no-brainer.
4255 MR. LAW: Yeah.
4256 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Can you further explain your affirmation?
4257 MR. LAW: I do quite passionately believe it’s a no-brainer. And of course the criteria for exceptionality is in your decision, which I’ve got here; I’m just trying to remember the number. Hang on a second; sorry -- Decision 372. That identifies a number of -- you know, the exceptionalities expressed in two or three different bullet points.
4258 And our response to that is, as I said at the top of our remarks, local news is so fundamental to our democracy that that itself, the ability to bring local news from the third-language communities’ perspective to third-language communities in their language is something, from a policy and legal point of view, highly desirable and meets that exceptionality test.
4259 The paragraph that is quoted from 372 actually contemplates ethnic or third-language content as being an example of exceptionality. And when you compare it to, perhaps, some of the communities that are access -- that are able to access their programming through 9(1)(h), like the Aboriginal community and the minority English and French communities, it seems to be, you know, absolutely a comfortable fit on that level. And that’s why we think it’s a no-brainer.
4260 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: But they you would have markets in which you would have two services; you would have the OMNI Regional and you have the OMNI OTA providing the same service?
4261 MR. LAW: Well, my understanding of it is that the news is going to be a feed from OMNI Regional and that is really -- you know, there are a lot of important things that OMNI programming brings, whether it’s through the OTA Licence or through this Regional service. And Mr. Boni from Local 723 was talking about some of the non-news programming and how important that is.
4262 We think that the local news is at the core. We think that a lot of the other things that Rogers put in their application are, you know, very complementary to that, but we think the news is at the core.
4263 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. And you’re aware that for the rest of the programming the understanding is that they would mirror the programming of the OTAs?
4264 MR. LAW: Yes, that’s my understanding.
4265 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: So finally, the distinction that would make it exceptional would be the local news segments?
4266 MR. LAW: Yes.
4267 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. I heard your presentation on the amount of local-reflective news. I mean, we asked the parties to suggest to us what should be a percentage of their local programming, what should be local reflective, and 60 percent is what Bell, for instance, has proposed to us. You don’t find this satisfactory?
4268 MR. LAW: Because it’s 60 percent of an artificially low minimum. It’s not 60 percent of what they actually broadcast.
4269 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: I understand ---
4270 MR. LAW: I think once they -- their logic is that once you buy into the idea that you’re starting from 14 and 7 when the real numbers are north of 14 and 7, then 60 percent makes sense; I could see that logic if 14 and 7 was what they were actually broadcasting. My impression of your decision last June was that we wanted to protect the actual news that was being broadcast and not let it deteriorate further in terms of quality or quantity.
4271 And what this very generous allowance that's being urged upon you in terms of a gap between what's minimally required and what's actually being broadcast, it's so large, it's simply -- especially in a industry where conventional revenues are -- TV revenues are declining, it's almost a setup to start cutting back local news sometime in a five-year licence period because the gap between what you're required to put out and required to spend is so enormously different from what you're actually doing in 2015-2016.
4272 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yeah, well, they say it's a minimum threshold and they also say that local programming is what distinguishes them, that they're counting very much on it to have the eyeballs and set their prime time -- you know, have their audience ready for prime time, so they count very much on their local programming and news to get the viewers.
4273 So -- but you're fearful that if this threshold is accepted as they propose, that they will reduce it to that level nonetheless?
4274 MR. LAW: Well, I'm not speculating that they'll reduce it all the way down because it's a long way down to the minimums they're supporting, but there's a lot of room to move. If their actuals, in terms of news, are -- in the metropolitan markets are 85 percent above what they're proposing, that's an awful lot of cutting that can be done without violating any condition of licence. And it's a -- five years is a long period of time to give them that kind of enormous room. That's our view.
4275 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. CITY Montreal, I asked the question earlier to Unifor 723. They told me it would be your group that would answer this?
4276 MR. LAW: Actually, we're not able to do that. We don’t represent employees in -- at CITY in Montreal, so we're not familiar with the situation.
4277 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. And I've also asked this morning about local presence, how -- I mean, as you know, we didn’t decide it that it was necessary to impose local presence, since -- I mean, news gathering entails keeping facilities or a news-gathering capabilities in the market. What do you think is going to happen if the Commission imposes conditional licence for locally-reflective news but no conditions of licence for local presence? What are you trying to protect against?
4278 MR. LAW: We're trying to protect against cutting jobs and quality and more centralization. There's a passage in your 224 decision -- I think it's at paragraph 60 -- which says, "We're going to let -- we're going to keep local presence as expectations, but we're going to -- but we can do that because we're going to have really demanding standards for exhibition and expenditure."
4279 The broadcasters that come to you with a request for very loose conditions of licence on expenditure and exhibition, very low minimums, which would then allow them to have a lot of room to cut. So the -- you know, I think the reason why you were probably comfortable as the Commission in saying, "We're going to make local presence an expectation" was because the -- you contemplated the minimums for exhibition and expenditures to be so tight. They're not, at least not in the proposal that the broadcasters are making.
4280 So there's a relationship between the two, and it's -- and five years is a long period of time. So that's why we've urged you to make for the groups, which are, you know, well, much better funded as being members of VI groups than the smaller stations. That's why we've urged you to, for this group, to convert expectations of local presence into conditions, because they could afford it, frankly.
4281 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay, thank you. And you also say that the Commission should impose a condition of licence that guards against the opportunity for a broadcaster to cut local television cost and quality by expanding the use of Category 2a), current events, talk show, and so on. So what is it you propose, more specifically?
4282 MR. LAW: Well, you -- your decision in the spring expressly said that local -- Category 2a) talk shows could be considered part of news. What's a little bit alarming about that, for us, is how much -- how cheap it is to produce these 2a) programs. If it was expensive, we wouldn't be worried about it and we wouldn't see that as an area where you could, you know, you could cut your costs by, you know, increasing talk shows, which are not news -- let's face it, it's opinion, not fact. We need fact. Opinion can come later.
4283 So if you were -- I think what we're asking you to do is put a limitation on the ability to resort to 2a) programming to replace 1 -- Category 1 programming.
4284 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay, or to put a minimum of Category 1?
4285 MR. LAW: Pardon me?
4286 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Or to impose a minimum of Category 1?
4287 MR. LAW: Well, I -- that's another way to attack it, but whatever the case, I think we have to put a bit of a circle around the ability to expand 2a). We haven't seen a lot of it. What -- we saw it at OMNI and it was a desperation move once they took the news off. If any of these broadcasters get desperate in the next five years in terms of their English or French-language local news, that's an obvious place to cut costs. You just replace news with talk shows. You replace fact with opinion.
4288 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: M'hm.
4289 MR. LAW: You replace journalism with talk shows. That's not something that we think that the Commission should put at risk over such a long licence period.
4290 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay, thank you.
4291 And again, I have technical question I asked this morning -- Unifor 723 wasn’t able to provide a response -- that we may ask a broadcaster to separate news program between the locally-reflective segments and the locally-relevant segments in their program logs.
4292 Do you have any views on this?
4293 MR. LAW: Is that that same issue that the broadcasters were talking about in terms of how difficult it is to track segments?
4294 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Yes, exactly. They say they were either -- or very ---
4295 MR. LAW: I'm glad you asked that.
4296 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- expensive to do.
4297 MR. LAW: Yeah. I'm glad you asked that question because I asked for feedback last night by email from our locals and got quite a bit of it.
4298 The general direction was, our programming is repetitive enough in its formats and its focus that, you know, it's not that difficult to track because it's so repetitive. On the other hand, that argument probably runs, to a certain degree, in support of what the broadcasters, which are telling you, which was, "Why don't we do it by sampling?"
4299 So there's probably, you know -- I think on one hand, I think they might have been exaggerating how much work it is. On the other hand, if things are really repetitive, some sort of balance between collecting it every week and finding appropriate sampling might be the way to go.
4300 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay, and on the cost of this, have you any idea what it would entail? They said, I think, that they were ---
4301 MR. LAW: It was 1.2 million.
4302 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- broadcasting 331 hours per week and it was -- the cost associated was like -- was 1.6 million.
4303 MR. LAW: Yeah. I don't think we have access to the kind of information or data to work up a model that affirms or contradicts that, sorry.
4304 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. So which way would you go, in terms of counting the local reflective segments?
4305 MR. LAW: Well, I mean, I think the Commission has said that you're going to be counting segments one way or the other. I think ---
4306 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: But the sampling, is that something that you ---
4307 MR. LAW: I think ---
4308 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: --- think is a -- is not a good solution?
4309 MR. LAW: If the sampling is frequent enough that, you know, the Commission feels that there isn't an opportunity -- you know, first of all, that there's not an unacceptable statistical variance, for one, and two, that there's no opportunity for manipulation, then some sort of balance, I think, could be struck.
4310 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Well, thank you.
4311 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your time.
4312 Vice-Chair LaRocque, please?
4313 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Thank you. In view of the concerns that you raised, are you advocating for a shorter-term renewal than a five-year renewal?
4314 MR. LAW: I wasn’t under the impression that that was up for debate, but I think that there is -- you know, when we negotiate labour contracts, there's things that are symbiotic; term of contract, and certainty of terms, is always a relationship. If you're going to have a longer-term contract and more risk, you're looking for more certainty, more protection, more -- from the employer's point of view, more flexibility, right?
4315 So if it's going to be five years, that's why we've urged you to be, you know, very tight on the exhibition expenditure and to do something about local presence as well because five years is a long time in the environment we’re in.
4316 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Thank you.
4317 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe those are our questions for you. Thank you very much.
4318 MR. LAW: Thank you.
4319 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire?
4320 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4321 I will now invite the Directors Guild of Canada to take place.
4322 And just for the record, Mr. Chairman, we’ll then hear after the Director’s Guild the Conseil Provincial du Secteur des Communications. And the two items, 17 and 18, which were video conferences will be heard tomorrow instead. So I would ask that parties be ready to present as such. Thank you.
4323 Go ahead, gentlemen, when you’re ready. You have 10 minutes.
4324 MR. SOUTHAM: Thank you. Good afternoon Mr. Chair, Commissioners, and Commission staff.
4325 My name is Tim Southam. I’m a Canadian director working in Canada and internationally, and I am President of the Directors Guild of Canada. With me today is David Forget, Director of Policy at the Directors Guild of Canada.
4326 We appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today.
4327 The Directors Guild of Canada fully supports the Commission’s Group-based framework confirmed in the 2015 Create Policy.
4328 Canada’s largest broadcasters should be held to invest in and deliver the highest quality Canadian content including fiction, news, and current affairs across a range of platforms over the next licence term. As a matter of public policy, these Canadian programs should also include a significant contribution from the Canadian independent production sector.
4329 Our remarks today focus on three key areas. One, large station group investment in Canadian programs and the $440 to $500 million at stake at this hearing; two, a feature film strategy for Canadian television; and three, the Create Policy’s Canadian certification pilot project.
4330 MR. FORGET: Since 2010, the Commission has consistently applied and confirmed its approach to CPE. Indeed, the Commission stated that Corus, Shaw, and Bell were each required to meet a minimum group CPE level of 30 percent in their last licence renewal decisions.
4331 In the Create Policy, and in the call for comments issued for this proceeding, the Commission stated that it would maintain existing CPE and PNI requirements.
4332 The Directors Guild of Canada fully supports this approach. We note that the Commission issued a working document for discussion at this hearing on November 2nd. Among the issues raised are CPE and PNI expenditures, and whether adjustments should be made given changes in the market.
4333 The submissions that we heard earlier this week do not support reducing CPE and PNI obligations. On the contrary, the evidence supports maintaining a minimum 30 percent CPE obligation and existing PNI rates.
4334 Here are some of the things we heard.
4335 From Rogers, traditional media is the main source of revenue and profit and will continue to be over the next five years; legacy services will remain viable over the next five years; over-the-air will see a decline but is on very good, solid grounding over the next five years; as a matter of principal, all station groups should have a CPE of 30 percent.
4336 From Corus, broadcasting is the only sustainable platform for Canadian content; consumption of TV content is up; TV is still a great return on investment medium for advertisers; Global is a powerful promotional platform.
4337 The removal of genre protection has allowed services to move in the direction they want, which has in turn has resulted in the creation of an abundance of high quality programs that Canadians want to watch.
4338 And we have heard in this room that Bell agrees with Rogers' and Corus' analysis of the future TV ecosystem. There are also new shifts and challenges in the Canadian media environment that the broadcasters also discussed. However, we see no grounds or financial indicators in the broadcasters’ applications, in their oral submissions, or in the CRTC’s 2016 communications monitoring report that support changing the stated course for program expenditures.
4339 The Commission’s existing minimum group CPE obligation is 30 percent. However, the English-language large station groups have proposed to reduce their Canadian programming expenditure requirements below the 30 percent benchmark. Corus has proposed a group CPE of 26, and Bell 27, while Rogers confirmed its proposal for a 30 percent group CPE. And we applaud them for this. They did also state in their application that they would accept a group CPE of 28 percent.
4340 These proposals represent a significant drop in overall spending on Canadian programs by the large station groups of 7 to 13 percent each year, which is well below existing broadcaster CPE spending.
4341 We have recalculated the impact of Bell, Corus, and Rogers’ CPE proposals, which we have on hand and can file with the Commission’s approval. The requests will result in a loss of approximately $440 to $500 million on Canadian programs over a five-year licence term. This is a significant loss for the creation of unique and original Canadian programs for Canadian audiences to enjoy.
4342 The broadcaster proposals to reduce CPE should be denied. They should be required to continue to meet their existing CPE requirements of 30 percent.
4343 With regard to CPE flexibility for conventional stations, this is a fundamental part of the group licensing framework. It is intended to ensure that a minimum level of CPE spending is maintained on conventional television.
4344 These over-the-air stations still hold an important and unique place in Canadian broadcasting. They continue to draw the largest audiences within the regulated sector, and are available for free to all Canadians.
4345 This 25 percent limit on CPE flexibility should be maintained. There is currently sufficient flexibility built into the system for the large station groups.
4346 Turning to programs of national interest, the same transpires here. The Commission stated that PNI rates would be maintained yet Bell and Corus both proposed to substantially reduce their PNI obligations and establish a PNI obligation of 5 percent for all groups. Taken together, their proposals amount to a loss of about $210 million for PNI spending over a five-year period, or 42 million annually.
4347 This is a significant loss of investment in Canadian programs that the Commission has deemed important to the system, including drama, feature films, and long-form documentaries.
4348 Bell and Corus PNI proposals should be denied, and existing PNI obligations maintained consistent with the Create Policy. That said, if a standard PNI rate is to be established, we propose that it be based on the last three years of PNI expenditures and attributed across the station groups.
4349 MR. SOUTHAM: Turning to independent production. Under the current rules, 75 percent of PNI contributions must be allocated to independently produced Canadian programs.
4350 To further strengthen this requirement, the Directors Guild of Canada recommends that a portion of PNI spending be directed to original, first-run Canadian programs.
4351 The Commission has asserted that these productions add more value to the system than excessive repetition and recycling of content. The Directors Guild of Canada agrees.
4352 However, under the current PNI rules, there is no obligation for broadcasters to air any original first-run PNI programs. We therefore propose that 75 percent of PNI spending allocated to Canadian independent productions be spent on original first-run Canadian programs.
4353 Feature film and long-form documentaries are important components of Canadian television. Studies consistently show that television is the most important platform for discovering and experiencing feature-length programs.
4354 Canadian feature films have put Canada on the map, they contribute to building Canada’s reputation internationally, and are the most potent incubators of Canadian creative talent. The Canadian government contributes extensive resources to the production of feature films through Telefilm, the CMF and tax credits.
4355 We note, however, that broadcasters have made minimal proposals to invest in feature-length productions.
4356 We therefore recommend that the Commission adopt a strategy for feature length productions, which should include an increase in PNI spending by one percent for feature films and long-form documentaries, which will amount to about $30 million per year; and Bell’s TMN and TMN Encore should be required to meet the minimum CanCon exhibition requirements for discretionary services of 35 percent each year.
4357 Finally, we wish to address the Create Policy’s Canadian certification pilot project. We fully appreciate that the Commission is seeking new ways to stimulate Canadian production in the new digital economy.
4358 However, the pilot project omits to list the director as a key creative contributor.
4359 This raises serious concerns for the Directors Guild of Canada. The director is the creative voice that makes a story three dimensional, and is an essential component in the authorship of any production. For example, if one were to give the same script to five different directors, say Sarah Polley, Xavier Dolan, David Cronenberg, Patricia Rozema, or Clement Virgo, one would end up with five radically different films. Each would be infused with the voice, perspective, and the creative vision of five individual directors.
4360 We urge the Commission to revisit its pilot project and add the Director to the list of creative positions which must be filled by Canadians.
4361 In closing, the Directors Guild of Canada believes that the Commission got it right with its Create Policy by putting Canadians and Canadian programming at the heart of its policy.
4362 Existing Canadian Production Expenditure and Programming of National Interest obligations should be maintained, as well as certain targeted mechanisms that strengthen Canada’s independent and creative production communities.
4363 We appreciate this opportunity, and would be pleased to respond to any questions you may have.
4364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, gentlemen. I’ll put you in the hands of Commissioner Simpson.
4365 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Who is presently having a drink of water. And welcome to “Reality Hearings: Unscripted”.
4366 I have to say that if you choose to abandon your calling as directors you could certainly pick up as writers because this is a pretty clear document and makes it very easy for me. Thank you. So I don’t think I have got a lot of questions.
4367 I would like to start out with your referencing to the Broadcast Act. I just want to make sure that -- your footnotes indicate section 1, section 3.1, 4 -- sorry (i) and (v) in paragraphs. And so I presume you’re relating to the safeguarding and enriching clause in that first section and in that first section and in the fifth section you’re talking about contributions to the independent production sector? Is that correct?
4368 MR. FORGET: Yes.
4369 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. While we’re talking independent production, there’s been a lot of discussion -- or a lot of questions, at least, on our part -- to various groups representing the production and creative community regarding whether there may be a need to tighten, change the definition of independent productions with respect to whether there’s a difference in your mind or in your view between independent, original first-run and first-run commissioned and whether that has a significant difference to your point of view.
4370 MR. FORGET: Yeah, that’s a good question.
4371 When we looked at this, you know, we took a step back at the objective, which is to have new programming. And it’s our view that original first-run is a broader definition than commissioned. And so the example I would give is a feature film doesn’t make its first appearance in life for an audience on a TV screen, notwithstanding that that’s where most Canadians are going to watch it ultimately. So it’s not necessarily something that would fall in, in every case, in a commissioned category. But for original first-run we should count that because it’s new to the TV system.
4372 And similarly, as we go on, there could be other examples of shows that, say, premiere on Crave and then migrate to the conventional TV system to be made available. That’s new to the system too.
4373 So we wanted a definition that was broader and so we used the original first-run rather that the commissioned.
4374 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Which is your preference?
4375 MR. FORGET: Yeah.
4376 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, thank you.
4377 On the math on page 1, the 450 to 500 million potential dollars that are at stake in this hearing, where did the math come from? I don’t see an asterisk.
4378 MR. FORGET: It’s a big number.
4379 The math -- we took a simple approach, which was to take the revenue projections provided by the three Groups and we did two models.
4380 The first model was looking at the world at 27, 26, and 28, as the case may be. Because, you know, Bell was proposing 27; Corus, 26; Rogers, 28. We ran the numbers, based on their projections, accordingly. And then we did a second modelling on the 27 across the board, which was Bell’s proposal.
4381 And so that’s why there’s a range, because depending on which one you use the denominator is different. So that was our methodology.
4382 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. That’s exactly what was sticking out to me. Because as you start backing into the numbers starting with the percentage of regulatory requirement, then you start backing into revenue projects, and then from there the sliding scale of even what happens if status quo is maintained at 30 percent. You know, if revenues goes down that percentage stay fixed but the actual contribution in dollars goes down.
4383 MR. FORGET: Yes.
4384 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And it sort of brings me to my next point and it really I think it’s just -- it’s not a question but an opportunity for you to comment.
4385 Given that you’ve run the numbers and, as you say, you know, there’s a lot of zeros here, one of the things that’s been bothering me is that some broadcasters have been conveying the general lack of confidence not just in the revenue figures going forward -- and they’ve been fairly cautious about their projections -- but they’re just generally saying that the way things seem to be shaping up -- television, the legacy television industry -- which includes conventional and specialty -- is a pedestal that they don’t feel they can rest all their weight on anymore and they have to start looking at other screens and opportunities.
4386 So the question is, do you find it problematic that they are anticipating further decline in revenues pessimistically and not having as much optimism? And then on top of that they’re also wanting to take their percentage of contribution down on top of that when the revenue forecasts are already going to predictably forecast a decline in spend?
4387 MR. FORGET: Yes. I’ll let Tim answer. But the one comment -- Corus is actually projecting an increase to their revenue; that’s the number that we used.
4388 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Well, yeah. But it’s in a segment of the industry.
4389 MR. FORGET: Sure.
4390 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But you know, the biggest cost items are in the area that’s in decline.
4391 MR. FORGET: Tim?
4392 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, like the Commission we feel we are in a huge paradigm shift. We’re actually probably in sort of the two-year sweet spot, a historically very important moment in broadcast history where we have a reasonably robust linear environment and we’re anticipating, with some degree of accuracy I would say, a very dynamic digital environment.
4393 And so we’re probably as content creators in a place where we can ensure our survival in the digital environment by leveraging a still relatively robust linear environment for investment purposes, which is why we’re so keen to retain the 30 percent environment for investment in Canadian content provided by the linear environment. We feel that we have to create an archive going into the digital environment that can be sold worldwide. And as country we’re maybe running a bit of a deficit on that front.
4394 And so we do have a five-year window, I believe, to create that inventory of dynamic, unique, highly-fundable shows which are going to have to defend themselves on a title-by-title basis in a much less secure environment.
4395 And so we can’t be casual about how we treat the linear environment now. I feel we do have to be in this together -- so it’s a percentage; if revenues do go down our piece of that goes down commensurately -- but at the same time recognize that the linear environment is still robust enough for us to create a strategy, as a country, around the creation of original, unique programming going forward, and a template for creating that programming as investment sources shift to the digital environment.
4396 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. What I’m trying to, I guess, discern out of all of this is whether you have -- and granted what you said about Corus’ projections are -- they’re not optimistic but they’re realistic, but they are relatively -- they are progressing forward. But still, notionally what I keep reflecting on is that if they had their druthers, the percentage of contribution would be -- it would decline and therefore so would the spend and that’s the part I’m having trouble with. Because to me it signals that while they’re believing that the balance sheet will maintain the status quo, they want to hedge their bet with less spend on their regulatory obligations.
4397 MR. SOUTHAM: I suppose our question is, if we’re framing this in percentage terms, are we not participating in that uncertainty along with the large Groups? And is there not already an inherent flexibility in framing this in percentage terms?
4398 Is there a tipping point we don’t know about where a fixed cost becomes so overwhelming that they cannot invest in original programming in Canada? Is there something we missed?
4399 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
4400 MR. SOUTHAM: But as long as it is framed in percentage terms, are we not, in a sense, co-travellers, in this uncertainty?
4401 And furthermore, almost everything we’ve heard has been if not optimistic, at least very stable. We haven’t heard a lot of alarms go off around projected revenue for the next five years. And if we’re to say the next 10 years are far more uncertain, should we not please, you know, leverage what we have now to create a strategy, a robust strategy, for Canadian content creation going forward.
4402 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
4403 MR. SOUTHAM: And obviously we’ve retreated from a quota system. Almost none of the intervenors here are talking now about quotas; some are. But we certainly are still talking about how to aggregate investment for Canadian programming at a time when we’re clearly in a bit of a shift.
4404 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Thanks for that. In terms of following the herd, as it were -- and I’ll let -- we’ll deal with the -- being left at the door with respect to pilots for the end of this discussion. But with respect to what we heard yesterday from CMPA, you know, I’m always very appreciative of the positive nature of CMPA of going forward when, you know, things like Terms of Trade have -- you know, that part of their life has changed dramatically.
4405 And I guess I have to ask you, as a subset of that production industry -- not a subset, you know, a leader in the directorial area of the production industry but, nonetheless, a subset -- how you react as a guild to the notion that going forward following that heard may involve different kinds of partnerships in absence of Terms of Trade, and where does that leave the Director’s Guild?
4406 You know, does this -- is this strictly in the domain of the independent producer or do you guys feel ---
4407 MR. SOUTHAM: No. I mean there ---
4408 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- that you can value yourself in?
4409 MR. SOUTHAM: No, we have disagreements with the producers over issues like certification and what actually is a Canadian program ---
4410 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4411 MR. SOUTHAM: --- what those elements may be.
4412 But on the issue of Terms of Trade, we were historically, and are still, in spirit, very supportive of the need of the smaller producers in that constituency to have a playbook that’s more reliable than the one that they -- we feel they currently have.
4413 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
4414 MR. SOUTHAM: And the reason, it is selfish; it is that we, as creators of projects, as sometimes writers of projects, and certainly as individuals looking for jobs, need as many doors to knock on as we can. And Canada’s unique in that the number of broadcasters hasn’t increased but the number of producers does fluctuate; and we find that we do better when have more producers.
4415 And obviously we would like the producers to be operating in conditions of maximum stability economically and, you know, you raised Terms of Trade. Terms of Trade seem to be -- at least that model seemed to be one way to provide smaller producers with that stability. There may be another model but we’re generally supportive of the independent production community because it offers diversity.
4416 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. The questions that I had earlier in this week had a lot to do with another -- not phenomenon but an evolution that we seem to be seeing in certain segments of the production industry.
4417 And again, it may not affect you directly but I’d like you to comment on it, that -- going back to the notion of “what is an independent producer?” and how that -- by percentage, that independent production community has to receive a certain amount of the spend of regulated requirements to programming, the question is that there seems to be a shift not unlike what we saw with Alliance Atlantis where independent producers may becoming more contractors to produce components of the show as opposed to be the independent producer of the show.
4418 And I’d like you to comment on whether that’s perception or a potential reality.
4419 MR. SOUTHAM: You mean that the producers would be service producers for another owner ---
4420 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4421 MR. SOUTHAM: --- as opposed to actual owners of the program?
4422 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4423 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, obviously that has a knock-on effect to us as rights holders and what we’re selling so we have a vested interest in those rights remaining as close to the creator as possible for as long as possible through development and early -- you know, early production.
4424 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
4425 MR. SOUTHAM: And the assigning of those rights really matters ---
4426 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm.
4427 MR. SOUTHAM: --- a great deal to us. Also, it’s very important to draw a distinction between Canada and the U.S. in this respect. It is true that many content creators in the US get a little bit happy when a broadcaster owns -- is seen to own the show because there’s a perception that that show will stay on air a little longer because they have a vested interest in recouping -- they have an opportunity to recoup elsewhere from that production.
4428 But in Canada we only have three larger broadcast groups and so the greater issue here is diversity, diversity of ownership, diversity of opportunity. And this goes fundamentally to our larger point, which is we believe Canada’s completive edge as creator of content providers doesn’t lie in scale.
4429 We probably don’t have the marketing muscle to impose our titles worldwide but where we may have a really significant competitive advantage going forward is in the uniqueness of our shows, the unique voice of our shows.
4430 And having a healthy diversity of producers with vested interests in local or diverse voices in programming is a good thing. It would -- it caters to our view that Canada will succeed on the back of a strong diversity of voices and programming.
4431 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M’hm. Just a couple more questions and then I’ll hand it back to the Chair.
4432 You’ve been very clear on CPE, on all the aspects of CPE PNI, except for one area which I’d like a little greater understanding on, and that has to do with your point of view that you’ve raised that there are no obligations presently with respect to the airing of first-run PNI programs and that you’re proposing 75 percent of the PNI spend to be allocated to original, first-run.
4433 And I’m -- I understand why you’re proposing that but have you looked at what, to use your term, the “knock-on” would be to PNI in general if that was to be put in place?
4434 MR. FORGET: We began with the premise that new programming is more valuable to the system than reruns. And I think that on that, if I -- I believe we’re on common ground. And so that’s what was driving it.
4435 The fact that there is no specific requirement for that, it prompted us to raise the point and suggest that maybe there should be. And when we looked at -- notwithstanding there may be different reporting methodologies, when we looked at the track record of the three broadcaster groups, we saw, generally speaking, a high ratio for Bell, a low ratio for Corus, and with Rogers somewhere in between.
4436 And so once again, that prompted us to think in terms how much -- to answer -- I think a more direct answer to your question -- we looked on the knock-on effects but I think, if you look at the system -- and almost -- I can’t think of very many players in the system who wouldn’t value new, original material, including, most of all, the audience, over reruns.
4437 So I mean, you know, reruns have there place. There’s many hours to fill in the day. But ---
4438 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So did your “aha” moment regarding this notion come from genre removal and that a lot of programming can be more easily bicycled around to different broadcast assets of the VI ---
4439 MR. FORGET: I take just a ---
4440 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- because they work within ---
4441 MR. FORGET: Yeah.
4442 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, without breaking the genre rules because there aren’t any?
4443 MR. FORGET: That’s a good question. I think two things, one was the Create Policy and the discussion around the value of new, but also the impression that we have that in the first instance in the Group licence framework, there was an intention, if not an outright requirement, that, you know -- I wouldn’t say -- implicit might be the wrong word but it was understood that we’re talking about new material here, not exclusively.
4444 So in thinking about this process as, you know, following on the last five-year term, we were looking for places where the Create Policy and the group-licence framework could be enhanced and, you know, we came on this to say, “This is a way to make sure there is more or, at the very least, a minimum standard of new programming for PNI, PNI being, from our perspective, the highest-impact programming in the system.
4445 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: You’d mentioned earlier -- and this is my last question and then I’ll hand it back to the Chair. I’m thinking pilots here for a second.
4446 You had mentioned, you know, no matter how good your talent pool is and your creative inspiration for new ideas to go into production, one of the scale problems I’ve heard a lot about over the years is that if you go to the States, you can do 10 pilots with the idea of one of them going to air whereas in Canada you do one pilot and it’s got to figure out a way to get to air.
4447 And I’m just wondering if that is still a reality or is it just an anecdotal statement that best describes the scale problem?
4448 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, there’s an additional -- I think there’s been additional thinking.
4449 I think everybody still agrees that -- believe me, I’m in the business of trying to get only my show produced so from my point of view playing the law of averages is not going to work for me. I want you to do my show.
4450 But nobody has a crystal ball. No one has a crystal ball. We saw Big Data fail spectacularly in another forum just a few weeks ago. And in fact, it prompted me to ask many, many basic cable providers south of the border how they felt about Big Data for their own business purposes. And the answers were, as you might expect, a little vague.
4451 The law of averages seems to work, initiating many projects to pull one out appears to be something that could work here as well if we were to adjust our expectations in terms of the scale of the projects.
4452 So what is the winning formula for Canada? Well, for us it really is ultimately -- and what is the discoverability, you know, what’s the asset that’s going to provoke discoverability in the digital environment, the non-linear environment? We feel strongly based on research you’ve done, that the CMF has done, that uniqueness of voice is our greatest competitive advantage in a relatively low budget environment across the board.
4453 It would allow us to try a number of projects and find out which ones work on those menus in the digital environment. And that because word-of-mouth appears to be, you know, the strongest component of discoverability so far -- at least according to the CMF’s study -- that Canada would be well placed to succeed in a digital environment where we put a number of titles into that environment that were sufficiently unique, sufficiently differentiated, and sufficiently unlike productions made in the U.S. as to warrant some kind of recognition, even on a national basis. Much like, for example, our colleagues in Scandinavia, or in the UK, or in other countries which are struggling with the same issues, albeit presumably with a language advantage in some cases.
4454 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Not to open up the can of worms on the six to ten point rating system, but do co-pros or a greater percentage of co-productions also proportionately increase the batting average of pilots getting to production?
4455 MR. FORGET: You’re talking about treaty co-productions?
4456 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4457 MR. FORGET: Yeah, they do.
4458 And the reason that co-productions have worked within the paradigm of our system well is the notion of reciprocity. Sure, you’re partnering so the scale -- the resources might go up. They usually do. I mean, this is sort of the threshold under which it’s not worth making a co-pro.
4459 And you allow a sharing and a collaboration, but most of all what it provides is that the Canadian producer or the Canadian rights holder has access to the alternative market. And in the case of say a co-pro with France -- I was going to say U.K. but that’s kind of questionable now -- you have access to the EU market too. You’re treated as a national in all of those countries, and it’s an advantage in jurisdictions like ours that have rules around spending for domestic content and so on.
4460 So there’s a whole toolkit of things that conspire together to make those projects more valuable to both systems, and has allowed for a bit of expansion in the scope and the wherewithal that you have to do it. So yeah, it is a good strategy.
4461 MR. SOUTHAM: But to not also not open the can of worms, I’m with you. We understand this hearing is not for that. We nonetheless do draw a very strong distinction between the flexibility inherent in a co-production treaty and altering the certification, you know, system for programs designated as Canadian only.
4462 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.
4463 MR. SOUTHAM: And have very strong views on certification.
4464 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah, that’s great. Thank you. Those are my questions.
4465 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Just two points of clarification.
4466 When you talk about 70 percent of PNI spending allocated to original first-run, you mean 75 percent of 75 percent so it’s 56 percent, correct?
4467 MR. FORGET: That’s exactly right.
4468 THE CHAIRPERSON: And PNI is a floor not a ceiling, so assuming -- I know that you don’t like five percent, but assuming it’s five percent. So it’s 75 percent of 75 percent of five percent, or if they decide to go above five percent it’s 75 percent of 75 percent of that new number?
4469 MR. FORGET: Okay, that was a lot of numbers.
4470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4471 MR. FORGET: But, yes, I think that’s exactly right.
4472 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it would grow above ---
4473 MR. SOUTHAM: The latter.
4474 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why? Because what it would do is actually somebody who would go above and beyond their PNI are still meeting the floor you’re proposing in terms of first-run, would still subject to have to -- when they’re trying to do good PNI, granted through perhaps an amount of rerun but some that might be original -- they’d still have to meet 75 percent?
4475 MR. SOUTHAM: You know what is interesting? Rerun actually would work for features. I mean, what feature filmmaker wouldn’t want to see their film go into some form of rotation as is the case, for example, on pay television? So I think your point is well taken. We hadn’t considered it.
4476 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Maybe in your final reply you can think about it because I get now that it’s 56 percent, but 56 percent of the floor or of the actual is the question.
4477 MR. FORGET: We’ll try to think more optimistically about PNI.
4478 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, there you go.
4479 MR. SOURTHAM: Our first response was just pure greed.
4480 THE CHAIRPERSON: In the Create Policy the Commission -- I’m getting back to your pilot project. The Commission said it was open to considering other proposals for pilot projects. And I take your point, and I don’t want to go back into the long debate that’s occurred within the Berne Convention member states as to who the author of a film is or television production.
4481 But assuming -- and so we said the list was not limited, and I’ve said this to other people and we’ve said it publicly. Assuming that we created -- I’m putting to you could we create to meet your concerns two new pilot project categories, number three and number four. Number three would be exactly like pilot project number one in every, shape, or form except instead of a screenwriter it’s a director; and pilot project number four would be exactly the same thing as the two million per hour aspect, but again we replace screenwriter by director.
4482 The thought here being that if you have a director with star status, and there are and you’ve mentioned some of them, that we could on a pilot basis try leveraging that star power for discoverability and promotion.
4483 MR. SOUTHAM: We’re really looking forward to considering that, and would love to know how we can respond to you on that at a later date.
4484 THE CHAIRPERSON: This is it.
4485 MR. SOUTHAM: Oh, this is it? You know, I think my first response would be somewhat less flexible, to use an already well-used term.
4486 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, the Act uses the word “flexible”. There’s nothing wrong with it.
4487 MR. SOUTHAM: It’s a great term. We believe the system already has a great deal of flexibility. Our great concern is that -- and you know our concern -- so in a sense I’m avoiding the direct question by coming back with the strongly felt and strongly expressed by our membership view that authorship is both a writer and a director with a suitably Canadian cast in collaboration with a Canadian producer.
4488 And that we would hope to expand the definition of authorship from the current, you know, sort of suggested -- and I know it’s not set in concrete, and we were told that immediately because we immediately began to come and see you and your staff after the Create Policy was announced.
4489 That the feeling was very strongly that those components were sort of sine qua non requirements of the definition of a Canadian production and that voice was distributed equally across those three major creator classes, and gave definition to the Canadian production period in as much as all the Canadian investment, including the public component or the CMF component, you know, came from Canada and that the show was designated as a Canadian production.
4490 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4491 MR. SOUTHAM: So that doesn’t apply of course to treaty co-productions; it doesn’t apply.
4492 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, which is the point. Yeah, we treat them -- deem them to Canadian, not only in Canada but in the foreign markets.
4493 MR. SOUTHAM: Our great concern is that either one of those categories could be left completely by the wayside under a model which one of the four models becoming predominantly attractive to our colleagues in the production community.
4494 THE CHAIRPERSON: It was actually solely a pilot project, and we did point out that it would only work if other parts of the systems came along. And CAFCO and CMF have not moved because Heritage is studying it so we have zero projects under that pilot projection. Great innovation for Canada; don’t you think?
4495 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, we’re not as change averse as it’s been suggested.
4496 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I know you aren’t.
4497 MR. SOUTHAM: Many of our members work well outside of all of these concerns.
4498 But in terms of the Canadian project, there is a certain orthodoxy to our views on what a Canadian program is.
4499 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4500 MR. SOUTHAM: And certainly the director’s voice is a critical piece of that.
4501 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don’t know if Bay of Love and Sorrows was a bestseller but assuming it was ---
4502 MR. SOUTHAM: It was not, believe me.
4503 THE CHAIRPERSON: But let’s assume.
4504 MR. SOUTHAM: It changed my life in many ways.
4505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let’s assume it was for a moment ---
4506 MR. SOUTHAM: Not all of them great.
4507 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and you were to find financing to do an adaptation where you’re the director on it, and it gets made and produced and is a model for others.
4508 Just doing that as an exceptional pilot project doesn't mean the whole system comes crashing down, does it?
4509 MR. SOUTHAM: We're engaging with the idea behind the pilot and for that matter the alteration and certification for the Canadian Independent Production Funds as an expression of a philosophy, born of research, evidence-based, and we're engaging with it at that level, which is to say if this is a template for thinking about Canadian content or Canadian authorship, we'd like to, at a very theoretical level, come back and say we believe the definition of Canadian authorship should be expanded to permanently include the director.
4510 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, which would be a change of policies for a number of years and another places. All this was, the pilot projects, was a mean of experimentation ---
4511 MR. SOUTHAM: We understand that.
4512 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- which apparently the creative class doesn't seem to want to experiment.
4513 MR. SOUTHAM: Well, we've been impelled to engage with a very -- a radical new and compelling idea and I feel very proud that we have engaged with it as Canadians. I feel grateful to have been stimulated to do so.
4514 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, good for the spirit of that. It's maybe not universally embraced. Let's put it that way.
4515 So thank you very much. Those are our questions.
4516 MR. SOUTHAM: Thank you very much.
4517 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4518 Alors, Madame la secrétaire.
4519 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
4520 Alors, j'inviterais maintenant le Conseil provincial du secteur des communications à prendre place, s'il vous plaît.
4521 LE PRÉSIDENT: Re-bonjour. Ça fait à peine une semaine.
4522 M. LABELLE: Ça fait à peine une semaine effectivement.
4523 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc, vous savez comment faire. Présentez-vous et puis vous avez votre présentation à faire pour 10 minutes.
4524 M. LABELLE: Vendez-vous des abonnements?
4525 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça prend au moins trois comparutions sur une période de deux semaines pour avoir un café gratuit.
4526 M. LABELLE: Parfait. Merci.
4527 M. LABELLE: Monsieur le président, Mesdames et Messieurs les conseillères et les conseillers, bonjour. Mon nom est Richard Labelle. Je suis vice-président, secteur radio-télé du Conseil provincial du secteur des communications au SCFP.
4528 Je vais laisser les gens qui m'accompagnent se présenter, si le voulez bien.
4529 MS. LECLAIR: Bonjour. Hi. My name is Anne Leclair. I've been a reporter with Global Montreal for close to 20 years. I am also the President of the Union of Global Montreal Employees.
4530 M. DROUIN: Bonjour. Je m'appelle François-Matthieu Drouin. Je suis conseiller à la recherche et économiste pour le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique.
4531 M. LABELLE: D'abord, nous tenons à verser en preuve ou une preuve supplémentaire au dossier. Il s'agit d'une étude sur l'information locale au Québec produite par Influence Communication et nous ferons parvenir dès que possible, avec plaisir, une copie électronique à Corus pour que le groupe puisse la consulter.
4532 D'entrée de jeu, il est important de souligner que nous appuyons le renouvellement des licences détenues par Corus Entertainment Inc. Nous avons cependant quelques remarques à faire sur la question de la programmation locale, ainsi que sur les dépenses en contenu canadien du groupe et de ses obligations de diffusions.
4533 Le processus en cours est la première occasion pour le Conseil d'évaluer les conditions de licences selon l'approche par groupe.
4534 Depuis la publication des premières licences visées par cette approche, le monde de la radiodiffusion s'est encore consolidé avec la fusion de Bell-Astral et l'acquisition récente de Shaw par Corus.
4535 Donc, c'est la première fois que le Conseil renouvelle et émet des conditions de licence pour ce nouveau groupe de langue anglaise.
4536 Ce groupe demande une exigence moyenne de dépense en émission canadienne atteignant 26 pour cent des revenus du groupe. Et pour les stations traditionnelles de Global, Corus propose que l'obligation de dépense en contenu canadien atteigne 27 pour cent de leurs revenus bruts.
4537 Nous croyons qu'il s'agit d'un pas dans la bonne direction compte tenu des conditions de licences actuelles de Corus.
4538 Toutefois, il serait souhaitable de maintenir, peut-être à long terme ou à moyen terme, le pourcentage historique actuel de 34 pour cent comme constaté au cours des quatre dernières années.
4539 C'est aussi la première fois que le Conseil va déterminer de nouvelles conditions de licences à partir du cadre politique relatif à la télévision locale et communautaire.
4540 Il nous parait utile de faire part de notre opposition à certaines orientations adoptées dans ce cadre et de proposer quelques ajouts à la règlementation et aux conditions de licence de Corus.
4541 Le Conseil souhaite que toute la programmation soit de pertinence locale. Nous concevons mal comment cette nouvelle définition permettra une meilleure évaluation du respect des obligations des titulaires en matière de programmation locale, puisqu'elle est moins restrictive que la précédente.
4542 Nous voyons plutôt que cette nouvelle définition permettra d'élargir le concept de programmation locale à un point tel où toute programmation pourra être considérée comme locale.
4543 Nous sommes préoccupés par le fait que le temps d'antenne réservé à la programmation locale et aux nouvelles locales soit envahi par de la programmation réseau.
4544 À cet effet, nous suggérons de circonscrire la programmation locale à celle produite et diffusée par le personnel de la station locale et celle reflétant les besoins et les intérêts propres à l'auditoire.
4545 Le Conseil serait donc en mesure de quantifier le rendement à l'égard du reflet local tout en atteignant les objectifs de la loi.
4546 La station de télévision traditionnelle de Global à Montréal a une obligation de diffusion de 14 heures de programmation locale par semaine.
4547 À cet effet, nous demandons au Conseil qu'il maintienne la condition de licence obligeant la station de Global à Montréal de diffuser 14 heures de programmation locale par semaine.
4548 Il faut ajouter à ces 14 heures la diffusion de 10 heures d'émissions locales découlant de l'imposition d'avantages tangibles lors de l'acquisition de Canwest par Shaw en 2010. À cette époque, Shaw s'était engagé à poursuivre la diffusion de ces heures additionnelles au-delà de l'an prochain.
4549 Nous estimons que les avantages tangibles exigés de Shaw étaient une façon de rendre à la société une partie de la valeur de cette transaction réalisée dans le cadre d'un processus d'attribution de licences non concurrentiel.
4550 Partant de là, ne serait-il pas logique que ces avantages demeurent permanents? II nous semble que ce serait d'autant plus pertinent puisque Corus et Shaw sont sous le contrôle de la même personne.
4551 En ce qui concerne les nouvelles locales, le Conseil souhaite qu'elles soient un reflet de la réalité locale et nous sommes entièrement d'accord avec cette approche.
4552 Les bulletins de nouvelles de la station Global à Montréal en fin de soirée et en fin de semaine sont considérés comme de la pertinence locale, ce qui en fait de la programmation locale.
4553 Par contre, nous constatons que la majorité du contenu vient d'ailleurs que de la grande région de Montréal et ne représente pas un reflet de la communauté minoritaire de langue anglaise à Montréal.
4554 Nous croyons aussi que l'information basée sur des faits est primordiale. Comment interpréter ou analyser une situation que l'on ne connaît pas ou dont on n'a pas été témoin?
4555 L'intérêt des communautés serait mal servi si les télévisions abandonnaient les nouvelles locales factuelles pour ne présenter que des émissions de catégorie 2(a), soit l'analyse et l'interprétation.
4556 C'est pourquoi le Conseil devrait imposer une limite à la diffusion d'émissions de cette catégorie qui peut être comptabilisée.
4557 Nous tenons à souligner qu'en matière de nouvelles locales, les reprises n'ont pas leur place. En effet, comme mentionné dans notre mémoire, elles ont plutôt un effet dévastateur sur la qualité de la programmation locale.
4558 Compte tenu de la transformation rapide du système de radiodiffusion, de l'évolution des besoins des consommateurs, de la mise en œuvre de plusieurs nouvelles politiques règlementaires du Conseil et de la consultation de la ministre du Patrimoine, nous croyons que le Conseil jouerait de prudence en renouvelant les licences pour une période de trois ans.
4559 En outre, nous suggérons au Conseil, dans le cas de licences plus longues, de les renouveler mais avec des conditions plus sévères.
4560 Je vous remercie de votre attention et nous sommes disposés à répondre à vos questions.
4561 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien. Je vous mets entre les mains de... ah, non, avant de faire ça, il y a une question procédurale parce qu'on est dans une autre audience ici pour votre rapport sur l'influence communication.
4562 M. LABELLE: Oui.
4563 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pouvez-vous dire... nous expliquer pourquoi vous avez pas pu le déposer au dossier public de l'instance plus tôt?
4564 M. LABELLE: C'est-à-dire de la semaine passée ou de cette semaine?
4565 LE PRÉSIDENT: Depuis la clôture du dossier public qui était y a plusieurs...
4566 M. LABELLE: En fait, je vais vous donner la même réponse que je vous ai donnée la semaine dernière.
4567 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c'est un dossier... c'est une instance séparée. Donc faut que vous répétiez malheureusement.
4568 M. LABELLE: Bon, alors comme je l'ai pas dit la semaine passée d'abord, alors c'est un problème tout simplement de logistique entre nous et la firme à qui nous avons commandé cette étude-là.
4569 Y a eu des rajustements, des choses un moment donné qu'on a demandées à la firme de réajuster, pas pour fausser les données ou les changer ou quoi que soit là, mais c'était surtout dans la présentation et tout ça. Et ce qui fait que ça l'a occasionné des délais justement pour avoir l'étude finale en main.
4570 LE PRÉSIDENT: D'accord. Donc on va prendre votre requête en délibéré. Merci.
4571 M. DROUIN: Je dois admettre que depuis la semaine passée, j'ai appris et j'ai fait parvenir l'étude à Corus et aussi j'ai écrit au CRTC pour dire qu'on allait la déposer.
4572 LE PRÉSIDENT: Excellent. Merci, et puis c'est bien important d'en fournir une copie à Corus pour qu'ils puissent en prendre connaissance et faire valoir leur point de vue à ce sujet.
4573 Donc je vous mets entre les mains de Monsieur Dupras.
4574 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci. Bon après-midi. Alors seulement que deux questions en rapport avec votre présentation cet après-midi.
4575 D’abord, vous voulez que les avantages tangibles qui ont été donnés par Corus pour CKMI à Montréal soient reconduits. Comme vous savez, des avantages tangibles, c’est pour une période de temps limitée. C’est habituel que ça ait une fin.
4576 Qu’est-ce qui justifie que la valeur de ces avantages tangibles-là soit reconduite?
4577 M. LABELLE: Je pense que d’abord c’est dans l’intérêt public. C’est comme si vous me disiez que j’achète une auto, que je vais avoir droit à quatre pneus d’hiver gratuits, puis après six mois, vous me dites que je ne les aurai plus. Vous avez quand même fait de l’argent avec cette auto-là.
4578 Quand il y a des transactions de ce genre-là où on promet des avantages tangibles, est-ce que c’est… je vais poser la question peut-être bêtement là; est-ce que les avantages tangibles dans le fond c’est un « nanan » que les entreprises vont donner au Conseil ou au public pour s’assurer que la transaction va être bien acceptée et conclue. Puis qu’une fois que l’affaire est dans le sac, bien après dire, on peut évacuer ça. Puis à ce moment-là, le public en sort perdant.
4579 Pourquoi le public aurait droit à 10 heures d’avantages tangibles puis que tout d’un coup on décide de lui retirer?
4580 À ce que je sache, la transaction, elle, elle demeure en place.
4581 Si on disait, écoutez, je fais une transaction. La transaction va durer cinq ans. Donc, les avantages vont suivre la transaction puis après cinq ans, il n’y aura plus de transaction donc il n’y aura plus d’avantages. Bien là, c’est un peu comme d’aller chercher le meilleur des deux mondes. C’est-à-dire les entreprises vont s’acheter, vont promettre des avantages tangibles. Et ces avantages-là, tangibles, pour les entreprises, j’entends pour le consommateur pas pour les conditions, bien ils restent eux autres, ces avantages-là tangibles.
4582 Les entreprises en tirent un bénéfice qui ne dure pas seulement cinq ans mais qui va durer tant et aussi longtemps qu’ils ne décideront pas de vendre ou de se départir de leur actif.
4583 Alors, pourquoi à ce moment-là promettre quelque chose à courte durée quand le bénéfice pour ces entreprises-là, lui, reste?
4584 Alors nous, on pose la question en disant, il ne serait pas logique que quand il y a une transaction qui implique deux grosses corporations et que la corporation dit, écoutez, moi, je suis prêt à donner un peu plus parce que je suis conscient aussi que j’ai un rôle comme bon citoyen corporatif. Je suis conscient aussi que j’ai une responsabilité envers le public que je desserts. Alors, pourquoi je donnerais quelque chose pour… pourquoi je donnerais d’une main ce que je vais retirer de l’autre?
4585 Et quel est l’intérêt du téléspectateur, de l’auditeur, du citoyen qui dit, ah, c’est intéressant, j’écoute maintenant plus de contenu local, par exemple, et Oops! Tout d’un coup on me le retire.
4586 Alors, le public… on prend le public canadien pour quoi? Je veux dire, pour des gens à qui on peut faire gober quelque chose puis qu’on va le retirer puis qu’ils ne diront rien? Après, on va s’inquiéter après, bon ben, peut-être des baisses soit de revenus, de cotes d’écoute et tout ça.
4587 Si vous me donnez quelque chose que je trouve intéressant. À Global, à Montréal, entre autres, l’avantage tangible, je pense que c’est l’émission du matin, si je ne m’abuse. Alors, si les gens aiment l’émission du matin, bien pourquoi on ne la maintiendrait pas si les gens aiment ça, écoutent ça, trouvent ça intéressant et tout?
4588 Et que du jour au lendemain, on leur dit, bon, on vous enlève ça. Et là, bien le show, il va venir de Toronto. Puis ça marche comme ça puis c’est comme ça.
4589 Puis nous, bien pendant ce temps-là, on va continuer de toute façon à garder les avantages tangibles que la transaction nous a procurés comme entreprise. Voilà.
4590 M. DROUIN: Je vais me permettre de rajouter rapidement qu’au niveau de ces avantages-là pour Corus, en fait, je me permettais de lire et d’écouter leur présentation. Ils disent que grâce à l’acquisition de Shaw, une acquisition inter-entreprises, bien ils ont dégagé des économies d’échelle suite à cette acquisition-là.
4591 Alors, on voit que pour l’entreprise, les avantages sont encore là. Est-ce qu’on pourrait redonner à la communauté une portion de ces économies d’échelle?
4592 Alors, c’est ça qu’on amène avec le mémoire, notre positionnement.
4593 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Bon, comme vous savez, il y a une politique sur les avantages tangibles là et est-ce que vous ne trouvez pas que c’est mieux d’en avoir un peu… pendant un certain temps que pas du tout?
4594 M. LABELLE: Oui, entre rien du tout…
4595 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Sinon, on ne devrait pas en demander à personne?
4596 M. LABELLE: C’est sûr si je suis dans le désert puis vous m’offrez une bouteille d’eau ou bien j’en n’ai pas du tout, je vais prendre la bouteille d’eau même si je sais qu’elle va arriver à échéance un jour. Ça, c’est clair.
4597 Mais on n’est pas dans le désert. On est dans des entreprises qui font de l’argent. Je comprends qu’il y a peut-être une réglementation mais ça, des règlements, ça se change comme des lois, comme n’importe quoi et il n’y a rien de coulé dans le béton. On le sait, la chose évolue.
4598 C’est tout simplement de dire que quand il y a un gain tangible pour une entreprise dans une transaction, pourquoi la communauté n’aurait pas une partie de ce gain-là en termes de contenu qu’on va lui offrir.
4599 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais elle l’a eu justement pendant sept ans.
4600 M. LABELLE: Elle l’a eu mais c’est ça. Pourquoi ça ne durerait pas aussi longtemps que les avantages durent pour l’entreprise? Voilà.
4601 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Maintenant, avec la proposition qui est… bien qui est l’approche de groupe, qui est 14 heures de programmation locale, vous voulez garder ce 10 heures-là. Qu’est-ce qui fait que Montréal, en termes de programmation locale, a besoin de plus d’heures que les autres marchés?
4602 M. LABELLE: D’abord, on se fie à l’historique. Il y a un 14 heures, plus un 10 heures de programmation-là tangible comme telle.
4603 Et il ne faut pas oublier aussi qu’on est dans un marché assez important. C’est un grand marché, Montréal. Ce n’est pas considéré comme un petit marché. C’est un grand marché et il y a une communauté non seulement anglophone, parce que si on prend la définition de Statistiques Canada, on considère qu’un grand marché ce n’est pas seulement, par exemple, des anglophones; c’est les gens qui sont capables de comprendre la langue.
4604 Il y a beaucoup de francophones aussi qui écoutent une station comme Global ou d’autres stations anglophones. J’en suis, moi, personnellement.
4605 Et donc, Montréal, on parle quand même de la deuxième plus grande ville au Canada, en tout cas, à moins que mes statistiques…
4606 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais quand on se compare, par exemple, à Toronto puis avoir 14 heures de programmation locale…
4607 M. LABELLE: Je vais laisser ma collègue.
4608 MS. LECLAIR: So in English, if you don’t mind.
4609 What is distinct about our audience in Quebec is that it’s an English minority. If you look at other stations, other Global stations around Canada, they’re not in a minority situation.
4610 So I think that’s what makes it important for the English community in Montreal, in Quebec, to have as much local news as possible that reflects their reality.
4611 COMMISSIONER DUPRAS: Okay. Thank you for this.
4612 M. DROUIN: Je vais me permettre aussi de rajouter, on a produit… le SCFP, en fait, a commandé une série de deux études à influence communication et quand on s’intéresse à l’étude en tant que telle, on apprend que Montréal, en fait, est un désert d’information locale. On apprend qu’en termes d’information locale, dans toutes les nouvelles, on a 1 pour cent.
4613 Si on diminue encore, on va être en bas de 1 pour cent d’information locale sur la métropole du Québec, une métropole culturelle. C’est très peu.
4614 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous parlez des nouvelles anglophones?
4615 M. DROUIN: Je parle de toutes les nouvelles…
4616 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Par rapport à toutes les nouvelles dans le marché?
4617 M. DROUIN: Je parle de toutes les nouvelles dans le marché du Québec.
4618 M. LABELLE: L’étude parle de ce qu’un Montréalais, tout média confondu, reçoit dans sa ville en termes d’information locale. Parce qu’il ne faut pas se le cacher, je veux dire, il y a beaucoup d’information type-réseau dans les bulletins supposément locaux des grands réseaux montréalais et tout ça.
4619 Et l’étude, ce qu’elle nous a démontré c’est que la région de Montréal est le parent pauvre de l’information locale. Les Montréalais apprennent très peu de choses sur ce qui se passe dans leur propre ville, à moins d’une déclaration spectaculaire d’un maire ou d’une grosse affaire qui va se passer.
4620 Mais demander aux gens, par exemple, qui sont desservis par Global et qui restent à Laval, à Longueuil, et dans tout le périmètre, s’ils entendent parler de ce qui se passe dans leur communauté, c’est zéro, zéro, zéro.
4621 Alors, on va cibler des choses qui finalement vont finir par devenir une nouvelle-réseau mais… puis à part du Pont Champlain là…
4622 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, je comprends. Mais il n’y a pas seulement la télévision non plus comme source de nouvelles.
4623 M. LABELLE: C’est tout média confondu.
4624 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Tout média confondu.
4625 M. LABELLE: L’étude parlait de tout média confondu.
4626 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Vous voulez en plus que ces 24 heures par semaine de programmation locale soient entièrement dédiées à la nouvelle locale, le reflet local.
4627 Ensuite, vous ne voulez pas qu’on puisse compter les reprises; que tout doit être produit à l’interne. Et vous voulez limiter aussi le recours à la Catégorie 2(a) qui est les émissions analyses, interprétations.
4628 M. LABELLE: C’est qu’on ne veut pas nécessairement l’empêcher, la Catégorie 2(a) mais on veut la limiter. Parce qu’il n’y a rien de plus facile que de prendre deux personnes, de les asseoir sur une chaise puis qu’ils vont commencer à commenter ce qu’ils ont lu dans le journal puis qui n’aura même pas été produit par la station locale, entre autres.
4629 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Non, je comprends.
4630 Mais là, ce que je comprends c’est que vous voulez mettre 24 heures de nouvelles locales. Et donc, il ne resterait rien pour les nouvelles de pertinence locale.
4631 Est-ce que vous ne pensez pas que les citoyens de Montréal anglophones puissent être intéressés par d’autres nouvelles que ce qui touche leur communauté spécifiquement?
4632 Mme LECLAIR: Bien, ce que nous, on dit, c’est que le 24 heures de nouvelles locales, c’est pas mal ça qu’on fait déjà. C’est basé sur l’historique. On fait très peu de catégorie 2(a). Oui, c’est…
4633 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais le… d’abord le 24 heures que vous faites maintenant c’est parce que c’est une condition que vous le fassiez?
4634 M. LABELLE: C’est une condition puis c’est un historique aussi parce que quand la station de Global est venue au monde, en fait, tout ce qu’elle faisait et tout ce qu’elle a fait depuis ses débuts, ça été justement de la nouvelle locale et rien d’autre.
4635 Alors, c’est un contexte particulier par rapport à peut-être d’autres réseaux mais dans le contexte très précis qui nous occupe de Global, Montréal, on se réfère à l’historique tout simplement.
4636 Mme LECLAIR: Et Corus est très fière d’en faire un peu plus que ça et quand ils disent qu’ils en font plus, il y a des reprises là-dedans. Donc nous, on se base sur un 24 heures qui existe déjà, qu’on pense qui devrait être maintenu.
4637 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et est-ce que vous trouvez que c’est équitable entre les différentes stations à Montréal que CKMI a des obligations plus onéreuses que les autres?
4638 M. LABELLE: Ben jusqu'à maintenant en tout cas, ils sont capables de les remplir ces obligations-là. J'ai lu dans un document hier, ben en fait de Corus et ça nous intrigue un peu beaucoup parce que là y avait une suggestion de six heures de... i s'enlignaient un peu avec Bell, de reflet local.
4639 Alors évidemment, on a une préoccupation de dire est-ce que là le but c'est de passer de 24 à six. Je vous dirais que c'est une... attention à la marche-là parce que c'est une marche assez descendante et assez brutale, merci.
4640 Et actuellement, comme dit ma collègue, l'obligation est peut-être de 24 heures mais dans les faits, il s'en fait 27. Alors... parce qu'on compte les reprises aussi là. Y a des reprises là-dedans, aussi là-dedans.
4641 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Mais quand vous parliez tantôt de 27, c'était que de la nouvelle locale? C'est pas de la nouvelle de pertinence locale là mais de reflet local seulement pour les 24 heures en question?
4642 M. LABELLE: Y a de la nouvelle de pertinence locale mais pas de reflet local parce que tous les bulletins de fin de semaine et de soirée sont pas vraiment des bulletins de reflet local parce qu'y a un journaliste pour couvrir tout le territoire de Montréal au grand complet. Alors évidemment, y a beaucoup de nouvelles qui arrivent de Toronto et de l'extérieur.
4643 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Vous avez combien d'heures de reflet local par semaine, purement reflet local?
4644 Mme LECLAIR: On a essayé de calculer et j'avoue que c'est pas facile à calculer. C'est vraiment des segments mais notre bulletin de fin de soirée et de fin de semaine est animé maintenant à Toronto, assemblé à Toronto. En gros, je vous dirais qu'y a à peu près trois quarts du bulletin qui vient d'ailleurs. Donc c'est pas de pertinence et ni de réflexion locale en ce moment. Et nous on pense que ça serait important que ça le soit.
4645 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et quand vous quantifiez ça par semaine, avez-vous une idée du chiffre?
4646 M. DROUIN: Je me suis posé la question. Le document est arrivé assez tardivement de la part de Corus, puis je me suis posé la question de comment on pouvait le quantifier bien sûr, mais comment vous fournir un chiffre parce que le SCFP convient ou le Conseil provincial, ben vous le savez on vient avec des preuves terrains de qu'est-ce qui se passe réellement.
4647 Puis qu'est-ce que j'ai constaté m'a inquiété parce qu'on propose en partant six heures de nouvelles de reflet local, alors qu'on sait qu'on a en termes de production locale, de programmation locale, on sait que c'est assez élevé. Pis on sait aussi que y a au moins un 14 heures là-dedans qui serait des nouvelles.
4648 Alors, j'ai demandé à mes collègues comment on pourrait répondre à cette question-là et on a commencé à regarder les bulletins d'information, qu'est-ce qui pouvait être un reflet local ou pas.
4649 Je pense que Anne pourrait continuer à en parler mais qu'est-ce qu'on a constaté c'est qu'à travers ça, par exemple sur un bulletin d'une trentaine de minutes, on pouvait arriver à cinq minutes de reflet local dedans. Alors, est-ce qu'on est capable de vous dire si on fait plus que six ou moins que six, j'suis capable de vous dire que ça m'inquiète le nombre six en partant. C'est pas assez.
4650 Ceci étant dit, pour arriver avec un chiffre, on pourra peut-être vous revenir. Mais encore une fois, si on considère un segment de 30 minutes comme du reflet local et qu'en réalité y a juste cinq minutes, y a un questionnement qui doit se poser.
4651 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Est-ce que c'est la base qu'on devrait prendre pour faire le calcul, cinq minutes sur 30 minutes?
4652 Mme LECLAIR: Ça serait la base pour nos bulletins de fin de soirée. Corus a un nouveau modèle qui s'appelle MMC, "multi-market content". And in a nutshell, the newscast that used that format are the late evening and weekend newscasts and typically, we have one reporter reporting for that newscast locally and the rest is really not a reflection of the English minority in Quebec. You will have, you know, the second story and some of the newscast comes from New Brunswick, can come from all over the country which is, in our view, clearly not local news.
4653 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: O.k. Eh bien, je vous remercie beaucoup.
4654 M. LABELLE: Une chose que j'aimerais ajouter parce que la question a été posée. Vous l'avez posée à plusieurs reprises. Les compagnies vous disent toutes que c'est pas capable... on n'est pas... c'est impossible de comptabiliser le reflet versus, par exemple, et tout ça.
4655 Moi j'suis pas très, très d'accord avec leur affirmation parce que, j'veux dire, je travaille dans une salle des nouvelles personnellement, elle aussi. On a ce qu'on appelle un "cue sheet". Un "cue sheet" là, c'est le "lineup" de notre bulletin de nouvelles. Et dans le "lineup" là, c'est marqué le nom du reporter. C'est marqué le nom du sujet.
4656 Pis maintenant on a un système qui s'appelle iNews qui est répandu dans pas mal toutes les salles des nouvelles je vous dirais à travers le Canada ou presque. En tout cas, quand on travaille avec Avid, on se retrouve avec iNews. Et dans iNews là, tout est codifié au complet.
4657 Par exemple, moi je vais donner une cote par exemple-là qui va être pour la journée, le numéro du reporter, par exemple si le reporter a son numéro, le numéro de son topo, son premier, son dixième, son cinquième topo. Je vais être même capable de codifier si ce que je vais monter ça va être soit pour une converse qu'i va faire en direct ou pour un reportage qu'i va faire lui-même, si c'est un son ambiant qui va être lu par "linker" ou ben non qui va être pour un direct. On a toute une codification au complet.
4658 Ça ressemblerait à une grosse feuille Excel là dans le fond-là mais électronique, et moi je pense qu'on serait capable d'ajouter une colonne pis que vis-à-vis chaque reportage, on serait capable de dire si c'est un reflet local ou une pertinence locale.
4659 Pour moi un reflet local c'est par exemple on parle des gens chez-nous là, qu'est-ce qui se passe à Montréal, et la pertinence locale, je vous donne un exemple. Pour moi-là, parce qu'il faudrait que ça soit bien défini pis dire pour pas que les gens commencent à interpréter ce que c'est qu'une pertinence pis un reflet.
4660 Y a un tremblement de terre à Haïti, pis y a deux Montréalais qui s'en vont donner de l'aide aux gens pour des secours à Haïti, pour moi c'est pas du reflet local. C'est de pertinence locale parce qu'on parle de deux Montréalais, dire bon, pis tout ça. Les gens peuvent peut-être juste trouver ça intéressant, versus par exemple y a un tremblement de terre à Montréal et là ça touche la communauté directement et ça ça devient un reflet local comme tel.
4661 Et ça dans les "cue sheet" là, pis dans iNews, c'est quelque chose qui selon moi... et chus pas un expert en informatique mais j'sais comment on peut, par exemple, créer des codes dans un fichier Excel. Selon moi, c'est quelque chose effectivement qui pourrait être faisable.
4662 Et je vais faire une boutade-là. Je vous dirais si vous disiez à toutes les entreprises demain matin que s'ils le font, ils vont avoir un beau crédit d'impôt de 2$ million par année, probablement que dans une semaine i vous répondraient on a trouvé la solution pis on est capable de le faire.
4663 Moi je pense que y a pas une volonté des entreprises de le faire parce qu'ils veulent pas s'empêtrer dans toute la paperasse au complet, mais moi je pense que technologiquement là, pas mal tout est faisable et de plus en plus.
4664 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et juste pour finir là-dessus, qu'est-ce que vous pensez de la proposition de Bell d'y aller par échantillonnage, qu'on puisse de temps à autre leur demander leur registre pour faire la vérification plutôt que continuer tout ça sur une base annuelle?
4665 M. LABELLE: Ben i faudrait que l'échantillonnage ce soit un peu comme un inspecteur qui se présente dans une charcuterie pis qu'i annonce pas à l'avance quand est-ce qu'i se présente. Parce que sans ça, si à l'avance on sait déjà les dates, moi je me souviens quand y avait les périodes de BBM parce qu'on est maintenant à l'année longue en période de BBM, mais quand y avait des périodes précises de BBM, tout le monde pourrait vous dire que, ah, les meilleurs films quand est-ce qu'on les voyait, quand on était en période de BBM.
4666 Les BBM duraient mettons quatre à six semaines. Pendant quatre à six semaines-là, on avait tous les meilleurs films, pis une fois que la période de BBM était terminée, ben là on repassait les vieilles reprises-là.
4667 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui, mais c'est aléatoire. Comme vous savez, c'est aléatoire là. C'est des temps déjà passés.
4668 M. LABELLE: Oui, absolument.
4669 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Pis c'est des méthodes que le Conseil a déjà employées dans le temps pour... ben jusqu'ici encore là pour vérifier de la qualité de la programmation par exemple.
4670 M. LABELLE: Ça pourrait être une formule efficace parce que ça forcerait les diffuseurs à ce moment-là à se... à se soumettre aux règles 24 heures par jour et 365 jours par année parce qu'il saurait pas à l'avance quand est-ce qu'il va avoir la visite de quelqu'un pis qui va dire, tiens, j'veux que tu me sortes telle semaine, telle semaine de façon aléatoire.
4671 Alors, à ce moment-là, i aurait pas la tentation de dire, ah, je vais être fin pis là je vais faire des belles choses pendant une période parce que je sais que c'est que ça compte, pis le reste du temps, ben je vais y aller un peu plus mollo à ce moment-là.
4672 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci beaucoup. Bonne journée.
4673 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Vous savez, du côté de la radio, on a 40 ans d'expérience à faire ça parce que justement, lors des périodes de BBM, c'est le moment auquel on demandait particulièrement au Québec pour les rubans témoins, et c'était assez surprenant que la musique vocale de langue française prenait le bord et puis la musique anglophone était au... donc on a quand même une... on peut pas nous prendre pour des valises disons.
4674 M. LABELLE: J'ai été animateur de radio moi-même. Alors, j'sais comment ça fonctionnait aussi.
4675 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l'époque.
4676 M. LABELLE: Et y avait des logs aussi assez précis parce qu'on devait payer des redevances aussi, si vous vous souvenez, pour les artistes et tout ça. Alors, y avait des moyens de comptabiliser pis de tout décortiquer ça au complet.
4677 LE PRÉSIDENT: Effectivement, et si je ne m'abuse, y a de la musique aussi dans les productions télévisuelles qui sont assujetties à des tarifs.
4678 M. LABELLE: Oui, absolument parce qu'on peut pas utiliser n'importe quelle musique. Moi si j'ai... si par exemple ils veulent faire un commercial local puis utiliser une musique, il faut qu'i payent des droits là-dessus. Faut que ça soit enregistré et inscrit.
4679 Alors, c'est pour ça que dire tout est possible j'pense contrairement à certaines affirmations.
4680 LE PRÉSIDENT: Excellent. Merci beaucoup pour votre comparution.
4681 M. LABELLE: Merci.
4682 THE CHAIRPERSON: We'll take a short afternoon break until 3:25. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 3:11 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 3:25 p.m.
4683 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît. And as the secretary gets to her mic, I'm going to ask her to announce the next intervenor.
4684 THE SECRETARY: À l'ordre. Next presenter is Fairchild, Fairchild Television Limited. Please introduce yourselves first for the record, and you have 10 minutes. Go ahead.
4685 MS. SEPHTON: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Madame Vice-Chair, Commissioners, and CRTC staff. My name is Connie Sephton. I am Director of Corporate Affairs at Fairchild Television Ltd. With me is Andree Wylie, Fairchild's broadcast consultant. Our president, Joe Chan, sends his regrets that he is unable to attend today's hearing. He's currently in Hong Kong managing some family matters, as his wife recently passed away.
4686 We thank you for the opportunity to appear at this hearing.
4687 Fairchild is the licensee, since 1993, of two national ethnic specialty services: Fairchild TV or FTV, 100 percent in Cantonese; and Talentvision or TTV, 85 percent in Mandarin and 15 percent in Korean and Vietnamese. Fairchild's predecessors provided these services to Canadians of Chinese heritage beginning in 1982. Fairchild is also the licensee of FTVII, more than 40 percent in Cantonese.
4688 Fairchild is appearing today, first and foremost, to oppose the renewal of the OMNI local stations licensed to Rogers Media Inc. based on the proposed amendment of the condition of licence prohibiting the provision of more than 16 percent of each OMNI station's programming in any foreign language during any broadcast month.
4689 Fairchild is not otherwise opposed to the renewal of the OMNI stations as filed but "without the approval of the OMNI Regional 9(1}(h} application", at pages 28 to 30 of Rogers’ Supplementary Brief.
4690 Fairchild will have as well a few comments on the appropriateness of hearing Rogers' application for a multilingual service with 9(1}(h} status in this regulatory process.
4691 The OMNI renewals: A limitation of the number of hours that the OMNI stations could broadcast in any one third language existed when Rogers acquired them. Nevertheless, Rogers has repeatedly requested its deletion or amendment. And the Commission has, wisely and repeatedly, denied such requests, as recently as July 2014, in Decision 2014-399.
4692 The Commission's repeated denials were based on the very reasons expressed for the initial imposition of the limitation: 1) to ensure that the OMNI stations satisfied their broad multilingual mandate by providing, as local stations, programming to a number of distinct third-language groups; and 2) in recognition of the number of discretionary specialty services, such as Fairchild's, already licensed to provide third-language programming.
4693 Out of approximately 540 broadcast-hours in a month, an OMNI station may currently devote approximately 87 hours to programming in Cantonese and 87 hours in Mandarin, for a total of approximately 174 hours of Chinese-language programming for the many Canadians of Chinese heritage familiar with both Cantonese and Mandarin.
4694 By the same calculation, with the alternative 30 percent cap proposed by Rogers, each OMNI station would have the flexibility to devote approximately 162 hours of programming in any broadcast month in Cantonese and 162 hours in Mandarin, potentially as much as 330 hours in a Chinese language, or some 60 percent of its broadcast hours and, as described in its oral presentation, to create blocks of programming more easily sold to advertisers.
4695 It is worth noting that the OMNI stations have a requirement to broadcast a minimum of 50 percent, or 270 of their broadcast hours, each month in third-language programming, but they can exceed that minimum at their discretion, in any broadcast month.
4696 Rogers' justification for its request, in its Supplementary Brief and in Appendix D of its application, is that the 16 percent condition of licence limits its ability to derive revenues from Canada's largest language groups -- Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi -- and therefore limits its competitive position.
4697 In Decision 2014-399, at paragraph 126, in denying Rogers' request, the Commission emphasized that Rogers had failed to provide a clear indication of the extent to which the amendment applied for would change the number of hours dedicated to different language groups or would affect the ethnic third-language Category A specialty services licensed to serve particular ethnic groups.
4698 Nothing in the material filed by Rogers provides any clarification with respect to either of these two questions. In Appendix D of its application, Rogers boldly asserts, without more, that:
4699 "Discretionary services such as Fairchild do not require protection from OMNI television stations".
4700 The impact of Rogers' proposed amendment of the 16 percent condition of licence on FTV and TTV is difficult to quantify exactly, but it can certainly be reasonably evaluated. Fairchild did evaluate it in its written intervention, to which Rogers filed no reply. Fairchild can only summarize it here.
4701 FTV and TTV, as independent broadcasters, are affected, like Rogers, by competitive pressures, by declining advertising revenues and by changing consumer behaviour in the face of new technologies.
4702 FTV and TTV will be affected by the recent removal of the long-held regulatory protection of a buy-through with respect to BDU distribution.
4703 Fairchild -- FTV and TTV have been affected competitively by the proliferation of services in Cantonese and Mandarin licensed, 7 of which are distributed, and of 18 foreign language services in Cantonese and Mandarin authorized and distributed in Canada.
4704 FTV's and TTV's ability to sell national or local advertising is limited by condition of licence. The OMNI stations' is not.
4705 FTV and TTV are sold by BDUs at premium retail prices but it is a struggle for Fairchild to maintain its share of subscriber revenues.
4706 According to the CRTC Financial Summaries for the period 2011 to 2015, FTV's PBIT dropped from a modest 18.1 percent in 2011 to a low of 4.2 percent in 2015; TTV's from 16.3 percent in 2011 to 12.6 percent in 2015.
4707 Fairchild has onerous Canadian requirements, some of which exceed those proposed for the OMNI stations.
4708 In 2014 to 2015, FTV and TTV combined devoted 71.6 percent of the services' total Canadian hours to news, current affairs and information programming, 40 percent of which to news. Rogers is simply misinformed when it asserts that no ethnic Category A service is providing daily Canadian news in Mandarin or Cantonese. Fairchild does.
4709 Despite declining revenues, Fairchild increased its combined yearly expenditures on Canadian programming on FTV and TTV from $10.5 million in 2011 to $10.8 million in 2015.
4710 Fairchild cannot maintain its programming performance and its financial integrity if Rogers' OMNI stations and transmitters -- available in every metropolitan center in English Canada and with guaranteed access by regulation to BDU distribution -- are allowed to provide programming in a Chinese language to the level proposed by Rogers.
4711 For all these reasons, Fairchild is opposed to any amendment of the 16 percent condition of licence on any OMNI stations.
4712 The 9(1)(h) application: Fairchild has not intervened in support or against the programming merits of Rogers' 9(1)(h) application. We will not do so today. Fairchild has, however, expressed to the Commission, in a letter dated July 16, 2016, five ethnic licensees, and in its written intervention, its concern with respect to the process in place for the consideration of the application.
4713 In its reply, Rogers characterized the concern expressed largely as a complaint of lack of notice. Rogers misses the point.
4714 The filing of an application by a vertically-integrated ownership group for a new multilingual service with 9(1)(h) status, intermingled with its applications for the renewal of existing multilingual local TV stations is, in Fairchild's view, novel, precedent-setting, and unfair to third-language Canadians and to ethnic broadcasters and other interested parties, including other BDUs.
4715 Its approval would have an economic impact on consumer choice. Its approval has the potential to reduce, not to increase, the number of voices in the system, in an age of massive industry consolidation.
4716 In Fairchild's respectful view, such an application should only be heard in a dedicated CRTC proceeding which is transparent, open to all interested parties, and properly framed and communicated to the public by the Commission for the very purpose.
4717 In its reply to interventions at paragraph 72, Rogers argues that there are precedents for the approval of an application for 9(1)(h) status in CRTC proceedings not dedicated for the purpose. Rogers cites APTN and the Weather Channel as examples. No other licensed broadcaster devoted its service to Aboriginal or weather programming at the time. There are, however, a number of Canadian broadcasters devoting their services to multilingual programming. This difference alone raises, in our view, questions of procedural fairness.
4718 The Commission put the large ownership groups, including the licensee of the OMNI Stations, on notice that it would focus, at this renewal hearing, on requirements for the provision of local information programming on local TV stations. In Public Notice 2016-224, the Commission announced a new policy aimed at allocating additional resources for the purpose by rebalancing the use of the funds available in the broadcasting system for community programming. The Commission invited licensees to put forward their proposals in response to this policy.
4719 Rogers has clearly stated that it does not intend to redirect any of its local expression contribution to its OMNI stations. The 9(1)(h) application is put forward as an alternative to the Commission's policy. Improvement would be instead a) at the expense of existing ethnic broadcasters, as outlined above; or b) at the expense of all BDU subscribers, through the levy of a -- or two in any parts of Ontario -- regulated wholesale fee, a levy projected to exceed
4720 $15 million yearly, and, in Rogers' own BDU territory, potentially through the levy of an unregulated -- or two in many parts of Ontario -- mark-up for the one or two over-the-air OMNI stations already received by subscribers without payment.
4721 Fairchild understands that the retail price of services on the skinny basic is constrained by the regulated cap of $25 imposed by the Commission. However, this constraint is limited to the extremely few BDU subscribers -- less than 1 percent -- who have opted for the skinny basic.
4722 Fairchild has been an ethnic broadcaster since 1993. As an ethnic broadcaster, we continue to urge the Commission, if it is open to granting 9(1)(h) status for a multilingual service, to hear applications in a hearing dedicated for the purpose so that the best and most innovative proposal put forward is licensed. Such privileged status should not be granted, in our respectful view, for the purpose of providing economic relief to a verticallyintegrated licensee with an alleged financial difficulty in meeting the Commission’s expectations in some of its several local TV stations and licensed services before the Commission for renewal.
4723 We thank you for your attention, and will respond to any question you may have to the best of our ability.
4724 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Mr. Chan is, of course, very well represented today by you two here at the table so thank you for being here. And I’ll put you in the hands of our new Vice-Chair, Madame LaRocque.
4725 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Thank you very much for a very clear presentation, which is always helpful to the Commissioners. I only have a few questions.
4726 In an environment where several other discretionary services are already available to Canadians on multiple platforms, what, in your view, does a new OMNI 9(1)(h) discretionary service fill or not fill in terms of needs of the community?
4727 MS. SEPHTON: Madam Vice-Chair, we’re not prepared to discuss the programming merits of the OMNI 9(1)(h) application. We believe that should be discussed in a separate dedicated hearing and, you know, even the needs of it and how we should be -- or how each interested party should be providing their comments in or, terms of the needs, should be discussed in that separate dedicated hearing.
4728 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: So I’m going to try again and we’ll see if I have any more luck with this question. But if you’re not prepared to discuss the OMNI 9(1)(h) application, then I suppose that you would not be able to help us to understand what constraints, if any, we should recommend if we did go ahead with this?
4729 MS. SEPHTON: Constraints in terms of?
4730 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Of the OMNI 9(1)(h). You’ve mentioned in your presentation that you feel you have, you know, quite a few constraints on you in terms of your conditions of licence. And I was just wondering if you had any thoughts on how one might apply some constraints to that proposal?
4731 MS. SEPHTON: And what we discussed in terms of constraints were based on the renewal of the existing OMNI OTA license. And we’re not prepared to discuss the programming merits of the 9(1)(h) application.
4732 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Have you ever considered -- has Fairchild ever considered bringing your own application for a 9(1)(h)?
4733 MS. SEPHTON: Fairchild was aware when the Commission was hearing the 9(1)(h) status -- the 9(1)(h) hearing. There was no indication to us that as a single-language licensee -- there was absolutely no indication for us to even think of applying something like that, especially when we’re considering -- the Commission was talking about consumer choice, talking about not forcing consumers to pay extra, you know, subscription fees to any service like that. It was not in our radar of, you know, evaluating that option.
4734 However, if there is a clear indication, if there is a clear call, you know, coming out of this that the Commission would consider that, I mean, I am very sure that Fairchild will take that very seriously and propose something to the Commission for consideration.
4735 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Well, Mr. Chairman, the remainder of my questions really touched more on the 9(1)(h) application.
4736 So I thank you for your time and I do believe that there was a lot in your presentation that will assist us. So thank you very much.
4737 MS. SEPHTON: Thank you.
4738 THE CHAIRPERSON: And I’ll just give you a last opportunity to address the 9(1)(h) aspect of the application. You do not want to?
4739 MS. SEPHTON: Well, there’s one thing I’d like to add to this. Rogers thinks that it is the only, I would say, Applicant who can do such a service. I’m not sure, you know, after operating OMNI, you know, at a loss for so many years, you know, whether that would be really true for them to state that they are the right and the only one who can do that. Fairchild has been providing services for more than 20 years to the ethnic community.
4740 We know the Chinese market much better than, like, a multi-language sort of broadcaster. I’m sure the other speciality licensees, including Telelatino, APTN -- they will feel the same too, and I just doubt that it is correct that Rogers asserts that they are the only one to do it right.
4741 THE CHAIRPERSON: Were we to do more of a call that like you’re suggesting that we should rather than considering it as part of this proceeding -- even though this aspect was part of the published proceeding -- would Fairchild be applying for a 9(1)(h) service to serve the multicultural communities?
4742 MS. SEPHTON: As I indicated, if there is a clear indication that the Commission would consider something like that we would love to put forward some sort of ---
4743 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you have nothing ready to go now?
4744 MS. SEPHTON: We are a single language licensee so far. You know, without a clear indication from the Commission -- we’re not as greedy; I mean, the 9(1)(h) status is something that we think is a rare -- it’s really a privilege, the status.
4745 And we hear the Commission loud and clear that, you know, consumer’s choice is what you’re looking at. We don’t want to force upon a single language service at the 9(1)(h) status but, you know, if a multilingual ---
4746 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, my question is ---
4747 MS. SEPHTON: Yeah, if we ---
4748 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- (inaudible) a broad service.
4749 MS. SEPHTON: We would definitely -- you know, that’s certainly something that we would consider.
4750 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you don’t have that ready to go?
4751 MS. SEPHTON: Not at the moment.
4752 THE CHAIRPERSON: And when this application became public you didn’t think it would be a good idea for you to put one forward?
4753 MS. SEPHTON: It was June, right, when it first -- so I guess, you know, even though there might be some thoughts it was based on the fact that we felt that, yeah, if that type of service is granted 9(1)(h) status the current specialty services would probably do a better job. That was to the extent where we thought of it.
4754 But, you know, from June until now there’s a few months. I mean, and there’s no call. I’m not sure how proper, you know, through this renewal hearing that we would put in an application like that. I mean, you know ---
4755 MS. WYLIE: Yes. If I may add, Mr. Chairman. June was when it was suddenly known that this was put forward. In fact, even people with experience had trouble finding it in the -- had it not been for the newspaper because, you know, it was a renewal of applications.
4756 And then a month later, five national broadcasters together showed their concern with this. And even getting that signed letter by five national broadcasters is difficult. The Commission rejected the objection in August and three months here we are at hearing.
4757 It’s not reasonable to conclude that any previous knowledge of Rogers’s intention would not have raised an interest in national ethnic licensees.
4758 Now from a procedural point-of-view, any broadcasting lawyer would advise his or her client that it’s futile to file an application even if it were possible to create such a thing, which would probably require a coalition. It’s futile to file it. What if it’s in competition with an application that’s already gazetted?
4759 You know, the Commission through the years had steadfastly said that it would not consider that as one reason alone for not hearing a gazetted application. So it’s not an easy thing to respond to “Why didn’t you file?”
4760 There was a discussion yesterday, for example, whether a call for an ethnic 9(1)(h) application would create a long period when there’s an urgency to have service. And our reaction is surely if the Commission were to approve the applications before it it would have been done without a review of the ethnic broadcasting policy.
4761 So I found it quite bizarre that, you know, a period of two years was put into question because if it can be approved without a review of the policy without an opportunity for others to apply, surely it would not to be reviewed before there’s a call. The applications put forward would show to the Commission what is possible, and what can be innovative, and what can be -- so that hopefully helps, you know, the expectation that small licensees will manage to put a coalition together, put an application together for the Commission which is worthy of your review.
4762 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So when did you become aware of the Rogers -- I realize the point that it might have been there.
4763 MS. WYLIE: Same. I hate to say that had it not been for the newspaper.
4764 THE CHAIRPERSON: But when was that?
4765 MS. WYLIE: Well, it was the day that the Gazette came out.
4766 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So that’s the day when ---
4767 MS. WYLIE: And then I thought, well, don’t worry, it’s not gazetted. There’s was an article in the newspaper. None of the national licensees ---
4768 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you recall roughly around what time that was ---
4769 MS. WYLIE: Well, the day ---
4770 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- of the Gazette?
4771 MS. WYLIE: Fifteenth of June.
4772 THE CHAIRPERSON: In June. So you were aware in June.
4773 MS. WYLIE: And then 15th of July we had put a ---
4774 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4775 MS. WYLIE: Decided to get together ---
4776 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you came aware of the application in June; is that correct?
4777 MS. WYLIE: Pardon me?
4778 THE CHAIRPERSON: You became of the application in June?
4779 MS. WYLIE: Yes.
4780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4781 MS. WYLIE: And we objected to it being heard.
4782 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure.
4783 MS. WYLIE: But we were told that you would hear it for reasons that I think we understand. But the idea that any of the national licensees could have put an application forward in that time I don’t think is reasonable.
4784 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Legal, please?
4785 MS. FRENETTE: Mr. Chairman, I do have a question.
4786 If the Commission were to grant Rogers’s 9(1)(h) request as part of this particular proceeding, do you believe that this would constitute an error of law? And if so, why?
4787 MS. WYLIE: We’re not prepared to say that. We have put forward to the Commission in many ways, in many words that we consider it procedurally unfair. You know, procedural fairness can be an error of law or not but we’re certainly not prepared to use such words, no.
4788 MS. FRECHETTE: Would you be ---
4789 MS. WYLIE: We do consider, however, that when there were so many licensees for so many years providing this type of programming for a vertically integrated corporation of $13 to $15 billion revenue a year, to think that it should use this method to relieve the fact that it may be losing money in one small part of its operations without an opportunity for people to compete with the possibility offering the services is what we put forward.
4790 MS. FRECHETTE: I understand that you might not be prepared to provide that answer currently, but would you be prepared to offer any such answer as part of an undertaking?
4791 MS. WYLIE: I am not.
4792 MS. SEPHTON: We’re not either.
4793 MS. WYLIE: We’re just asking the Commission to look at the procedural fairness of this considering the size of the operations and so on.
4794 And the fact that -- Connie can speak to that better than I, of course -- but this service provides an hour of news every day in Mandarin and in Cantonese. And one half hour is national, one half hour is local with crews. And to think that the Rogers Corporation can’t find a way to make this work when they have CTV stations as well and so many resources -- Connie can say how she manages to do it -- but it is to us not really -- it’s difficult to understand.
4795 And therefore, to do it in this manner as a relief for financial problems is not in the face of the other licensees that operate in the system, is not fair, just reasonably not fair.
4796 MS. FRENETTE: Those are all my questions, Mr. Chairman.
4797 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions. Thank you.
4798 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire?
4799 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le Président.
4800 We will now hear -- our next presenter is the Writers Guild of Canada. Please come forward to the presentation table.
4801 When you’re ready please go ahead. You have 10 minutes.
4802 MS. PARKER: My name is Maureen Parker and I am the Executive Director of the Writers Guild of Canada.
4803 With me today is Neal McDougall, the WGC’s Director of Policy on my left, and Andrew Wreggitt, a screenwriter and WGC Council member to my right. Also with us is Mario Mota of Boon Dog Professional Services.
4804 Before we begin our presentation we’d like to show you a short video that we put together just showing you what our members do.
4805 So could we play the video?
4806 (VIDEO PRESENTATION)
4807 MS. PARKER: Thank you. We believe this video goes to the heart of why we’re here today. At the foundation of our broadcasting system sits the Broadcasting Act and at the centre of that Act is the desire to create and present a sufficient quantity and quality of Canadian programming for the benefit of Canadian viewers.
4808 Starting with a group-based approach and continuing through the Let's Talk TV, the Commission has increasingly emphasized spending requirements as the way to achieve this objective. Unfortunately, however, Corus and Bell continue to propose CPE and PNI levels that are very clearly lower than what the group-based policy intended, and in many cases lower than what they’re spending now.
4809 Only Rogers proposes spending requirements that are generally in line with the group-based policy, and for that, we applaud them. But Corus and Bell have argued that the new regulatory framework, combined with increased competition from unlicensed services, requires regulatory parity, and makes historical analysis irrelevant.
4810 The argument about history is interesting. Corus and Bell say that historical spending was rooted in genre exclusivity, and with the elimination of that policy history has no role. But Bell said yesterday, “Everybody's path is a function of where they start.” They were talking about the unique asset mixes of Bell, Corus, and Rogers. And what is an asset mix other than a group of services that have an acquired identity over time? An asset mix is history, and Corus and Bell cannot appeal to history when it suits them, but then ignore it when it doesn't.
4811 Bell can't propose an industry-average CPE for discretionary, which itself is based on historical spending, but then a lower common denominator for conventional and PNI. Corus can't talk about their focus on women's and children's programming based on their historic brands and asset mix, and then argue that none of that matters for CPE and PNI purposes.
4812 Broadcasters have great flexibility on where to spend CPE and PNI within their group of services. Other than the limit on moving spending between OTA and discretionary, the primary flexibility they don’t have is the flexibility to spend less on Canadian programming and PNI overall. So let’s be clear, that’s what they’re asking for -- less.
4813 Corus and Bell also talk about competition from unlicensed digital services. But while we understand the pressures coming from digital, parity arguments don’t address that. Having parity as between groups doesn’t affect parity outside of the groups. And flexibility only helps them compete with digital if their vision of competition is doing less Canadian programming and PNI.
4814 Bell and Corus emphasized that CPE and PNI are a floor, not a ceiling. But that cannot be the reason to lower the floor. If both groups intend to commission programming at current levels, then they don't need a lower floor.
4815 Last year the Commission said it would maintain existing spending levels, and we respect that decision. But we ask that broadcasters respect it too.
4816 Over the years, the private English-language broadcast groups have asked for greater spending flexibility and they got it. They asked for lower exhibition requirements and they got it. They asked for the end of genre exclusivity and they got it.
4817 They can already spend 70 percent of revenues on things other than CPE and over 90 percent on other than PNI. The percentage-based spending requirement already adjusts to any declines in revenue, so a drop in the percentage itself would be a double-whammy. We have one pillar of support for CanCon and PNI, and that too is now being challenged. How much lower can we go and still survive as an industry?
4818 We ask the Commission to set broadcasters’ spending obligations at a level no less than their historical spending under their new group composition.
4819 MR. McDOUGALL: In the group-based policy of 2010, the Commission said that at the heart of the Canadian broadcasting system is:
4820 “…the ability of the system to continually create attractive new Canadian programs.”
4821 In 2015, in the Create policy under Let's Talk TV, the Commission said that it:
4822 “…is of the view that original first-run Canadian productions add more value to the system; the excessive repetition and recycling of programming appears to do little to achieve the objectives of the Act.”
4823 In apparent pursuit of this goal, the Commission has referred to emphasis on “original, first-run” programming, and has asked broadcasters to report on the amount of CPE and PNI that is “original, first-run” and “new commissioned”.
4824 During this proceeding, however, it has become clear that broadcasters do not define these terms consistently when it comes to spending, which makes it impossible to compare them to each other. Further, the closer we look at this issue, the more we question how an amortization-based reporting system, which by definition reports some of last year’s cash outlay as this year’s expenses, can adequately express “new” spending in the broadcasting system.
4825 Nevertheless, we believe it’s important to understand what broadcasters mean by “original, first-run” and “new commissioned”, and what percentage of their annual spending is on new production versus library content.
4826 MR. WREGGITT: Every dramatic program begins with a writer and a blank screen.
4827 Spec scripts, pitches, and concept documents are often unpaid materials that are needed to trigger broadcaster development orders. The very first skin in the game is provided by the hard work and vision of the content creators, the screen writer.
4828 Once the show is green-lit for development, a substantial broadcaster investment in script development is essential to quality programming. A success story like "Orphan Black" is the result of a long and dedicated script development process, coupled with effective and well-financed execution and determined distribution, both domestically and internationally.
4829 Canadian creators are talented, innovative, and outward looking, but television is a collaborative medium, and for Canadian content to penetrate the international marketplace, creators need the enthusiastic and dedicated investment of broadcasters.
4830 MS. PARKER: Development is an essential component of the content creation process, especially in PNI and drama in particular. Yet, despite its importance, in our experience, broadcasters are increasingly stepping back from financing development. This pushes many of the development costs onto screenwriters, and as such, we think it's time to look at a minimum broadcaster development spending requirement. But before we can propose what the amount should be, we need to see the data on where those numbers stand now.
4831 MR. McDOUGALL: We have appended to this presentation an example of page 2 of the aggregated annual returns for Bell Media. If we take the numbers in the report at face value, we find that for the Bell Group, 1.2 percent of PNI spending, on average, was dedicated to development over the past four years that we have data. For Corus and Shaw groups combined, the number was 2.4 percent, and for Rogers, it was 0 percent.
4832 Clearly, the broadcasters, it seems to us, are not filling out the forms correctly. If so, we ask the Commission to require broadcasters to file correct data by the deadline for undertakings, such that intervenors can respond to this information in our final replies, should the Commission decide to have a final reply phase.
4833 We thank you for your time and would be happy to answer any questions.
4834 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4835 Commissioner Vennard?
4836 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good afternoon. Thanks for coming to talk to us today.
4837 I have about three different areas that I'd like to discuss with you today. The first one is the whole concept of standardization, and we can move through this one quite quickly. I'd just like you to clarify your position. You're not opposed to standardization -- and here I'm talking about CPE and PNI -- but you disagree that all designated groups should be treated identically. So you're not opposed to it, but you ---
4838 MS. PARKER: No, we are.
4839 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Right.
4840 MS. PARKER: We are opposed to it in the sense that everyone has to have the same PNI and the same CPE, the PNI in particular. That's really our area of concern. And what we're really talking about here is assessing PNI, based on the new groups. That's what we're talking about. The groups have changed. The composition of the groups have changed, and we think you have to go back and look at that, look at the spending of those particular groups and then set a PNI. It’s not five percent. Five percent is too low.
4841 And we're not asking for an increase. We're simply reflecting the Commission's own policy. We've listened and respected the Let's Talk TV directions, in which we do not come in looking for more money. We're simply looking for a recalculation of PNI, based on the new groups.
4842 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, point taken.
4843 You also submitted Mr. Mota's report along with your intervention, and we had a discussion earlier today on some of the different issues about that. So I don't think we really need to revisit that, unless there's -- anybody has anything further to add?
4844 MR. McDOUGALL: Yeah, I think we would like to, because we were concerned that there might be the impression that some of the data issues that we're facing, some of which we mentioned in our oral submission and some of which were touched on in the report, mean that we can't be sure whether the proposals put forward by the broadcaster result in a reduction in CPE and PNI.
4845 We wanted to just be as clear as we could that that's not true. It's very clear from the proposals that, you know, what they're putting forward, in particular, since they are lower percentages, that we're going to get less spending.
4846 So I don't know if, Mario, you want to expand upon that a little bit, but we want to be very clear on that point.
4847 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Thank you.
4848 MR. MOTA: I would only just boil it down to a very basic level, and the point is this: you can't take a group of services that are at 12 percent PNI today, combine them with a group that are at 5 percent today, and somehow do the math and end up at 5 without seeing a significant decline. So that's the point I was trying to get across, that they're -- we may not have all the data, but the data that we do have and the numbers that we ran, they're not made-up numbers, they're real numbers, and at the end of the day, any way you do this ---
4849 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4850 MR. MOTA: --- results in a very significant multi-million dollar decline every year of the next licence term.
4851 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, that's good. That's about all I want to discuss with you on that one, because I think that your position is clear, and based on the information that you have and the data that you have, would that be a fair comment to make?
4852 MS. PARKER: Yes, we have absolutely noted a decline, and that's in our written submission as well as Mario's analytical report.
4853 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Thank you very much for that.
4854 I want to move into something that we have heard about -- a little bit about and it was also on your short video, and that is the idea of the script and the concept development. And I'll just quote what you wrote on page 4 of your submission. You said,
4855 "The WGC believes it is time to make minimum spending by broadcasters on script and concept development a regulatory requirement. We propose that the Commission require, by condition of licence, that a minimum amount of broadcaster spending be directed to script and concept development activity."
4856 And that is a pretty clear position, but we have to look at things differently here, and so my question to you is, can you please explain this and how would that work? We have to make things work here, not just the (inaudible).
4857 MS. PARKER: Absolutely, absolutely. So in terms of making television production, there's a lot of work that goes up front that you don’t -- that makes that video or that production, and that work is done by screenwriters, and it can take a number of years to get that made. And Andrew can speak to that specifically.
4858 But what I'd like to just say about the process itself -- we'll talk about that and the length of time and what's required and rewrites and new drafts and bibles and pilots, et cetera -- is, the broadcaster is not funding that development. Now, in some cases they do for some writers, but we know, from speaking with our members as their union, that a lot of that work is not funded, and it's not paid by the producers and it's not paid by the broadcasters. We're working for free, and over a number of period of years. That's just not a sustainable position for us.
4859 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4860 MS. PARKER: And we do believe ---
4861 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: But when you're talking about your process, our perspective is regulatory, so ---
4862 MS. PARKER: Yes.
4863 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And we have to be very practical and pragmatic, so when you're speaking of your process, I mean, we get that. But what is your suggestion for a solution for that? How do you see a regulatory intervention? At what point? What are -- how do you see that?
4864 MS. PARKER: We see that very ---
4865 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: We get that.
4866 MS. PARKER: Yeah, okay, I'll move on from that, yes.
4867 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: We get the way it goes, yeah.
4868 MS. PARKER: We see that the CRTC could impose a minimum spending requirement on each of the broadcast groups and allot it towards development. And Neil's last page of our presentation, we -- you do collect that data, you know. You do collect what the broadcasters are spending ---
4869 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, but let's ---
4870 MS. PARKER: --- on development.
4871 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: --- assume for a moment that the data is all there, and let's assume that the funds are all there too, that there's money there somehow. How would that work in terms of us and a -- what do you -- what would you be asking of us? How does that -- how would that process work?
4872 MS. PARKER: No, we're not asking you to make the fund. We're asking you to regulate Bell and Corus and ---
4873 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: How would they -- how would those funds be disbursed? To whom?
4874 MS. PARKER: Well, they already do development in their own industries, in their own broadcast group. So this time, if they wanted to hire Andrew, they could, for example, with that development allotment, perhaps pay him. And perhaps he could work longer on that script to get a higher quality script.
4875 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What would CRTC’s role be in that?
4876 MS. PARKER: Just allotting the fund.
4877 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I mean, I totally get it.
4878 MS. PARKER: And reporting the data. And actually, that’s what we’re asking for first. So let’s be clear on that. We first of all need to see the data on what they’re spending on development because it’s not there; it’s not in your reports. So after we look at the data we would like to then determine what do we think of that? Is it too low? Is it too high? Is it working perfectly?
4879 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, but we’ve moved on from that. And what I’d like to talk about is how you perceive a regulatory process for what you’re asking for. Because I can’t visualize what that would be like.
4880 MR. McDOUGALL: Sure. I think the intention is that it would be very similar to PNI or CPE, that you have a concept that broadcasters have to spend a certain amount of money on something, right? And with PNI it’s a certain type of programming. PNI already includes development spending so that’s already within that.
4881 So it’s kind of like if you can think of it as CPE is one level of broadcasters have to spend on that thing, and then PNI is a subset of that; within CPE there’s PNI and they must also spend on that. And then you could look at it -- we focus on PNI; it could CPE as well -- but you could look at it then as a subset of PNI, a certain amount of that must be spent on development.
4882 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay, so let’s just use an example to try and put some boundaries around this. Let’s say there is -- out of somewhere comes, say, a million dollars for a script in concept development. What happens to that money? Where does it go? You’re the ones who made that suggestion that there would be -- that it’s time to regulate this. So what I’m trying to explore is what does that look like? How do we do that?
4883 MR. McDOUGALL: Well, I’m not sure if I’m clear on where that money comes from.
4884 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Let’s say it just magically appeared out of somewhere, okay? Because that part of it is a different question to what you’re saying, which is what I’m thinking about here in saying you’re suggesting that this should be regulated. And I’m saying “how”; how is that does?
4885 MR. McDOUGALL: I mean, the main way I can think of explaining it is the same way that PNI does, that the money, I guess in this case, like it does for PNI, the money is broadcaster revenue. So that’s where the money comes from; the broadcaster gets a revenue. And there’s a regulatory requirement that a certain percent of that -- and to be clear, in the overall scheme of things it would be a small percentage. So we’re talking about a percentage of PNI. You know, part of the idea of development is that it’s not as expensive as production.
4886 But the broadcaster looks just like they do with PNI. They look at their revenues from last year and they say, “Well, I have to spend X percent of this on development next year.” And so they spend it on development and like PNI they report that they spent it on development.
4887 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So what you’re saying is that this imaginary million dollars would go to the broadcaster, a broadcaster, any broadcaster and from there they would be the ones in control of it, they would be the ones that would decide who gets it? Is that what you’re suggesting?
4888 MR. McDOUGALL: That’s right. Because the money doesn’t go to them; it’s their money.
4889 MS. PARKER: That’s right. So we’re looking for -- when we gave our oral presentation we quoted the figures that the broadcasting groups had put down in terms of their development spend. For example, Rogers put zero down. Now, we know that Rogers spends more than zero.
4890 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, but that’s not the issue. The issue ---
4891 MS. PARKER: No, I’m getting to your point. I’m sorry. I’m just trying to say that they report separately on their development spend. So whatever their ask or requirement is -- because it’s not a magical sum; you’d have to regulate it. So that regulation would require each of them to put development into ---
4892 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: But you’re also asking for the regulation of the disbursement of that money too.
4893 MR. McDOUGALL: No, I don’t ---
4894 MS. PARKER: No, no.
4895 MR. McDOUGALL: I don’t think we are.
4896 MS. PARKER: No, no, we’re not asking you for that at all. The choices would be made by the broadcasters. We’re not micromanaging this. We’re just saying we have to put more money in development because right now they’re not allocating enough. And that is very key to successful programming.
4897 So no, we’re not -- we’re just simply saying we need a regulatory requirement like PNI or CPE dedicated to development ---
4898 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: That a certain amount of money is earmarked?
4899 MS. PARKER: Right.
4900 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: And how would we define that? I mean, part of some of these reporting issues and so on are, you know, the problem with definitions. So how would that be defined? How would that be defined?
4901 MR. McDOUGALL: So I think that’s always a potentially issue. Any time you have any regulatory concept you have to define it and it’s always possible for you to define it broadly or more specifically. You know, it’s almost an issue that never goes away.
4902 But I think, you know, the starting point is, line number 10 in the aggregate annual expenses report that we appended to the oral submission lists:
4903 “Script and concept development for programs (not telecast).”
4904 So broadcasters are already reporting that amount. Presumably there’s a definition around that. We would love to know, if there’s more precision to that definition, what is it; that would be great. To us, “development” means writing, you know, and there’s some stages of writing which I’m sure we could -- you know, we’d have to decide how deep into that we want to go.
4905 But there’s already category there that broadcasters are doing now. And then line 23, which is included within “programs telecast” is for program development. And it’s our understanding that that’s the same concept. So the two things are “not telecast” and “telecast”. That would be our understanding.
4906 Of course, if that understanding is wrong we’d like to be corrected, but that’s the idea and it’s writing.
4907 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. So just to confirm what you’re saying here, that you basically want another line item for script and concept development. And that would be paid by the broadcasters, under control of the broadcasters, and this would solve issues that you have?
4908 MS. PARKER: Well, that the entire industry has in terms of quality content. You can’t make a great show if you have two weeks to get your scripts together in production. There’s a lot of work that goes on before a production goes into green light. And that is where, of course, screenwriters work. And we need time, time to make those programs, and ---
4909 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: But if that is the issue, do you think the broadcasters would actually solve that issue of paying people?
4910 MS. PARKER: They could solve it by putting money in it. They could solve it by paying for it.
4911 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, but any problem can usually be solves by just throwing money at it but it has to actually solve the problem.
4912 MS. PARKER: Well, we do believe -- Andrew, would you like to take this, how money ---
4913 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I’m having a hard time understanding how just another line item would actually solve this problem of what you’re talking about. It seems to me like it might be an industry problem. It seems to me like this is a business problem.
4914 MR. WREGGITT: In terms of development, when you -- first of all, as I said in the oral, there’s an investment by -- a lot of screenwriters do a lot of work for free just to get to the stage of development. Then after you get that development there are occasions where a show is -- there’s not enough development money spent on it early in its life to allow it to become a success.
4915 So I guess what we’re asking for is that broadcasters spend more time and energy and money on the development stage and allow some of these shows to -- “Orphan Black” was a great example because that was a show that -- I believe all of the scripts in their first season were written before they went to camera. That just doesn’t happen in most shows. But that show was a big success and, you know, we like to think part of that reason was that investment was made by the broadcaster in that particular case.
4916 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. Well, I’ll just leave that alone and move on to something else that you just mentioned.
4917 You mentioned it a number of times in your intervention and alluded to it right now, which is the idea of brands and branding. So how would that fit in with what you’re asking? What would you like to see in terms of the script and the concept development?
4918 MS. PARKER: Well, we don’t see them as really connected. I mean, we’re not going to be writing women’s drama for Corus, you know? Corus has the right, of course, to acquire or commission the type of programming they want. So branding really isn’t connected to what we do.
4919 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4920 MS. PARKER: They just buy what they want, or they hire Andrew to ---
4921 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Let me explain how I connected them.
4922 When I think of this -- and it would be basically another fund or a line item, or call it what you will. It’s another piece of money that you’re suggesting that we should regulate be paid into something for some purpose. And of course we would need to have much more details than that around that.
4923 Now, would the purpose of that be to support individual writers, to support people that who are writing a series? Would that not be the broadcasters once again, you know, picking the winners, the losers, who gets it?
4924 MS. PARKER: Well, I think that we have a basic misunderstanding here so let me just be clear on this.
4925 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah, I think we do.
4926 MS. PARKER: So we are proposing that this regulated minimum spend for development come out of the money that’s already there out of the PNI, will determine the amount, and then that this is the broadcasters. So the broadcasters will spend it on the projects they’re working on.
4927 So let’s say Bell is now going to be working on -- gosh, what do they have? Saving Hope. So they’re working on next season of Saving Hope. They could take some money out of their own development pot and allocate that to Saving Hope. We’ll give them another month to write four more scripts. There’s no fund. We’re not putting an individual application.
4928 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: What is it that you want us to regulate?
4929 MS. PARKER: We want you to ensure that some money is dedicated to development. Out of a little piece of the PNI that you say, look there’s not enough development going on in this country so could you, and please make sure it’s done -- and we find the way to get things done around here -- is to regulate them.
4930 MR. McDOUGALL: So just I guess on that point, we would describe PNI as a regulated amount. So that doesn’t mean that we’re asking the money to come from somewhere, it’s a regulated amount and so we’ll say PNI is regulated spending. It’s the same idea.
4931 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay. But you want us to clearly regulate the spending of some amount of money on -- okay.
4932 Okay. That brings me around to my third and final point, which is just basically to do with children’s -- was there anything else that anybody want -- no, okay -- children’s programming.
4933 What further support, if any, would you like to see given to the creation of Canadian children’s programming?
4934 MR. McDOUGALL: It’s not something that we’ve taken a specific point of view on. I guess, you know, one of the challenges -- going back to the brands question -- is that by in large of the English language private television groups there’s only one group that does that. So short of requiring other groups to do that even though they don’t do it, it’s kind of a Corus specific issue.
4935 So beyond that, we haven’t looked at the levels. I understand that the Commission has put in place increased monitoring tools for children’s programming, and we appreciate that. It’s something we’ll be looking at very closely go forward. But we don’t have a proposal on the table for you today.
4936 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Okay.
4937 I have no further questions. Is there any final comments that you’d like to make, anybody want to make? No, okay. Thank you very much.
4938 THE CHAIRPERSON: So maybe I can help here.
4939 And, you know, Ms. Parker, we’ve known each other a number of years.
4940 MS. PARKER: Just a week.
4941 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just a week. Oh, for politeness purposes I’m supposed to say just a week but it seems a longer than that. And you’ve always been quite clear and articulate and principled in your positions.
4942 So I take it what you’re saying is that at the end of this proceeding we will issue a decision that will include conditions of licence for the groups or the licences with respect to both CPE and PNI. And what you’re saying is for the health of the broadcasting system as a whole and the production-creation cycle that we, the Commission, should create a sub-slice of that percentage and require it to be spent on development; is that correct?
4943 MS. PARKER: Correct.
4944 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. And help me understand why you want it associated with CPE and PNI. I would have thought that the Writers Guild would have more concern with respect to PNI than CPE; is that correct?
4945 MS. PARKER: Yes.
4946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4947 MS. PARKER: Sorry, we should be clear it is PNI.
4948 THE CHAIRPERSON: PNI because you wouldn’t want that slice ---
4949 MS. PARKER: No.
4950 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- for instance to be for development of concepts in reality television?
4951 MS. PARKER: That’s absolutely correct.
4952 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.
4953 MS. PARKER: Yes, PNI only.
4954 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I’ve been around a long time so I almost could write the submissions.
4955 MS. PARKER: You could.
4956 THE CHAIRPERSON: There you go.
4957 MS. PARKER: Come on over.
4958 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so you wanted to make sure that there’s healthy ecosystem, that there’s a development. And do you have a definition of what you consider to be development that would be helpful for us to articulate that condition of licence?
4959 MS. PARKER: Well ---
4960 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or something you could point in an existing ---
4961 MS. PARKER: Absolutely. We have a collective agreement with independent producers in which we’ve define the different stages of development and they’re industry-accepted definitions.
4962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
4963 MS. PARKER: So things like concept and bible and pilot and all those things.
4964 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, yeah.
4965 MS. PARKER: And all of that is done by a writer.
4966 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course, yes. And it’s the writer cost associated with that.
4967 MS. PARKER: That’s correct.
4968 THE CHAIRPERSON: And there may be multiple writers or different writers but you want the writers to be supported.
4969 MS. PARKER: That’s absolutely correct. And what we’re finding is that when our members take pitches with the broadcasters it used to be that you didn’t need a bible, a pilot, two scripts.
4970 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, yeah.
4971 MS. PARKER: And so, you know, we were prepared to invest on that on spec. But now with such a large order before they’ll make a decision, it could be months and months of work.
4972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4973 MS. PARKER: Right?
4974 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you’re finding that the balance -- because you’re obviously bringing to the table sweat of the brow, but sweat of the brow at one point means lost revenues elsewhere ---
4975 MS. PARKER: Absolutely.
4976 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- lost opportunities.
4977 MS. PARKER: Yeah.
4978 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you’re saying for your subset of groups of the writers you would want some support through our regulatory action through conditions of licence.
4979 MS. PARKER: Yes. And we do think it will make better television, you know, this isn’t just oh, pay us.
4980 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4981 MS. PARKER: This is if we can concentrate and focus on what we’re doing and not take three other jobs to pay the rent, it should create better programming.
4982 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And I think our Create decision acknowledges that the development part of the cycle is key, along with the actual production and the promotion and discoverability ---
4983 MS. PARKER: Yes, it does. We’re just taking it a bit further.
4984 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, by requiring ---
4985 MS. PARKER: By requiring -- asking for money, yes.
4986 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Well, you’re not asking for money you’re asking for of the money that’s in the system ---
4987 MS. PARKER: That’s correct, we’re not asking for money. Yes, you’re right.
4988 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- you would want it.
4989 And it is a percentage of the floor amount. It’s a bit the same question I asked of the directors. It’s a percentage of the floor amount?
4990 MS. PARKER: I don’t know the answer to that. Neal?
4991 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, when I was asking 75 percent of 75 percent, yeah.
4992 MR. McDOUGALL: Yeah, that would be better. I think, you know, it’s tough to answer that question because ---
4993 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, let’s say they decide to go -- the minimum is, let’s say, five percent PNI and they decide to do six or seven. Are you asking for that percentage to be on the five percent or on the actual spend?
4994 MR. McDOUGALL: They probably would be spending script and concept development on the extra part anyway.
4995 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4996 MR. McDOUGALL: So it would seem cleaner to keep it all together.
4997 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4998 MR. McDOUGALL: But, you know, of the floor would be better than we are now.
4999 MS. PARKER: Yes, it would ---
5000 THE CHAIRPERSON: So your position. And your point is you can’t help us come to an exact percentage because there’s a data gap?
5001 MS. PARKER: Right.
5002 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Which is something we can ask the three groups when they appear at the reply stage to help us out on this.
5003 MR. MOTA: If I could clarify, Mr. Chair. We’re not suggesting -- the number may be built into the PNI in the reporting. It’s supposed to be broken out. If you look at line 23 there are zeros across the board.
5004 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5005 MR. MOTA: So there’s a disconnect there. And we’re not saying that the money isn’t built in somewhere else; we’re just asking for clarity so we can do the math and maybe come back to you with what might be a proposal.
5006 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, in the reply. But what you’re saying is you need -- and you don’t have a sense of what a normal standard would be in a scripted series based on your knowledge of what an appropriate amount for development might be?
5007 MS. PARKER: I could do that.
5008 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah, you can do that as an undertaking?
5009 MS. PARKER: Yeah, I could do that. Sure, yeah.
5010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Because we might end up not being able to come up with a number, but there should be an industry norm. Telephone is involved or ---
5011 MS. PARKER: Well, you know, I’ll go through the agreement and pick out those and multiply by the number of ---
5012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So you could give us maybe based on a sample?
5013 MS. PARKER: Yes, I think we could do that.
5014 THE CHAIRPERSON: And come back to us and tell us what that might be?
5015 MS. PARKER: Yes.
5016 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. For the 9th; is that doable?
5017 MS. PARKER: For the 9th? That’s doable, isn’t it, Neal? What? Well, apparently I’m doing it. We’ll see about that.
5018 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5019 MS. PARKER: Anyway, yes, that’s fine.
5021 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, good.
5022 As I said earlier, Ms. Parker, we’ve known each other for a while. And, you know, there’s an expression in Australia in sports -- and you may not be a fan of sport -- but they say, “You play the ball, not the man.” I think that’s also true on the regulatory field. And I am wondering if Mr. Denis McGrath is a member of your leadership team at the Writers Guild.
5023 MS. PARKER: Yes, he is.
5024 THE CHAIPERSON: And does he speak for you when he makes comments?
5025 MS. PARKER: At times.
5026 THE CHAIPERSON: You know, in a post-truth era, I guess it’s normal to have rude comments and hear defamatory statements about public figures. I guess I have to live with that. It’s become the norm, but we’ve known each other for a number of years. And when you say to a regulatory official that they’re not listening, that raises a legal issue.
5027 So for the record, do you think your WCG’s position has been heard in this proceeding so far? Are we listening? We may not agree in the end with your position, but are we at least listening?
5028 MS. PARKER: I would say it’s a very convivial discussion. We would like to talk to you more about, you know, the percentages.
5029 THE CHAIPERSON: Sure.
5030 MS. PARKER: And but yes, I think we’re having a nice little chat.
5031 THE CHAIPERSON: Good. Well, perhaps Mr. McGrath is not helping you as much as he thinks he is.
5032 MS. PARKER: Well, I will say that Denis does speak the truth in some cases, and I would never want him to be told not to have his free voice.
5033 So while I appreciate your concern…
5034 THE CHAIPERSON: …free voice apparently includes truth, error, you can say anything.
5035 MS. PARKER: Well, apparently, you can and gosh knows people say stuff about me too, so…
5036 THE CHAIPERSON: There you go.
5037 MS. PARKER: So we will explore this further with the licensees in the Reply stage and so thank you, but I think I understand your position and helped clarify it for everyone here today. And thank you very much. Thank you.
5038 MS. PARKER: Okay. Thank you very much.
5039 MR. McDOUGALL: Thank you.
5040 THE CHAIPERSON: Madam Secretary.
5041 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
5042 J’inviterais maintenant l’Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec, l’ARRQ, la Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma, la SARTC, et l’Union des Artistes, l’UDA à vernir présenter.
5043 Mme FOURNIER: Bonjour, Monsieur le président, membres du panel. Je m’appelle Caroline Fortier et je suis la directrice générale de l’Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec. Je suis accompagnée de Yves Légaré, directeur général de la Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma.
5044 L’univers de la télévision francophone possède ses propres caractéristiques. C’est un secteur nécessitant des mesures qui prennent en considération son caractère distinctif.
5045 Nous sommes d’accord avec le principe d’une approche par groupe au renouvellement des licences des grands groupes de télévision du secteur privé. Elle permet au Conseil et au public d’examiner l’ensemble des services d’un groupe au même moment, et au Conseil d’harmoniser ses exigences en matière de contenu canadien et d’émissions d’intérêt national entre ces différents groupes.
5046 Cela dit, l’approche par groupe proposée dans la politique réglementaire CRTC 2010-167 pour le milieu anglophone doit être adaptée aux caractéristiques particulières de la télévision francophone qui diffèrent de celles du milieu anglophone.
5047 Considérant, entre autres, la variabilité dans les dépenses sur les émissions canadiennes et dans les émissions d’intérêt national diffusées par les services francophones de chaque groupe, nous proposons des exigences au cas par cas. Ainsi, nous nous opposons aux transferts de crédits de chaîne en chaîne comme prévus dans la politique réglementaire 2010-167 et nous recommandons une approche distincte pour l’ensemble des services de langue française.
5048 Aujourd’hui, notre intervention ne concerne que le renouvellement de la licence en lien avec le service facultatif de langue française, Télétoon. Dans ses demandes de renouvellement, Corus Entertainment propose de regrouper les services facultatifs de langue française Historia et Série+ dans un groupe désigné comprenant uniquement ces deux services. Les deux services anglais et français de Télétoon conserveraient une seule licence et demeureraient dans le groupe désigné de langue anglaise de Corus.
5049 En fait, dans sa présentation, Corus ne fait aucune distinction entre Teletoon anglais et Télétoon français tout en maintenant que les deux chaînes devraient demeurer sous la rubrique d’un seul service bilingue.
5050 Selon la proposition de Corus, 91 pour cent des obligations en matière de DÉC concernant Télétoon français pourrait être transféré à Télétoon anglais, à tout autre service de langue anglaise de Corus ou même aux stations de télévision Global.
5051 C’est pourquoi nous nous opposons aux transferts de crédits de chaîne en chaîne dans le cas de Télétoon.
5052 L’ARRQ, la SARTEC et l’UDA considèrent que Télétoon français et Teletoon anglais devraient être scindés en deux services et que le Télétoon de langue française devrait être assujetti à des exigences réglementaires comparables à celles présentement en vigueur pour les deux ensemble.
5053 Dans le paragraphe 56 de la décision CRTC 2013-737 approuvant la prise de contrôle des deux services de Télétoon par Corus, Corus s’est engagée à accepter l’imposition d’une condition de licence exigeant le maintien de la séparation entre le personnel décisionnel responsable de la programmation de Télétoon et de ses autres services, en plus de garder son bureau de Montréal responsable du signal de langue française de la programmation originale de Télétoon.
5054 Corus n’a pas respecté cet engagement. Aujourd’hui, la programmation de Télétoon français est établie dans les bureaux de Corus à Toronto et, par conséquent, tous les documents en rapport avec le renouvellement de sa licence ont été disponibles uniquement en version anglaise.
5055 Corus affirme que “The maintenance of separate decision-making personnel is not required in an environment where genre exclusivity has been eliminated.”
5056 En fait, il n’y a aucun lien entre le maintien d’un personnel décisionnel responsable de la programmation de langue française à Montréal et l’abolition de l’exclusivité de genres par le Conseil.
5058 M. LÉGARÉ: À l’heure actuelle, les deux chaînes de Télétoon continuent à être très rentables. Leur marge BAII dépasse de façon importante la moyenne des services spécialisés et payants anglophones et bilingues. Et la part de marché de Télétoon français dans l’ensemble des services francophones tourne autour de 2,3 à 2,5 pour cent, ce qui témoigne de l’excellente écoute dont elle jouit.
5059 Par le passé, Télétoon a souvent prétendu qu’il n’était pas un service pour enfants et la démographie de son auditoire le confirme. Rien dans l’actuelle définition de sa nature de service n’indique que Télétoon soit orienté vers les enfants ou la jeunesse. Depuis ses origines dans la décision 96-598, Télétoon se définit comme un service pour tous.
5060 Selon la réplique aux interventions de Corus, ce n’est pas la rentabilité des services francophones et anglophones qui constitue un obstacle à leur séparation, mais les défis associés à la production et à la création du contenu animé en français.
5061 Or, advenant la séparation de ces deux services, rien n’empêche la mise en commun de ressources en ce qui concerne le financement d’émissions et de frais partagés. Les producteurs pourraient continuer à vendre leurs projets aux deux services comme ils le font aujourd’hui.
5062 Ce que Corus semble vouloir éviter, c’est de se départir des économies d’échelle et des coûts moindres, inhérents à l’offre de deux services spécialisés intégrés et basés à Toronto, diffusant presque uniquement de la production originale anglaise aux dépens d’un service distinct en français.
5063 Pourtant, elle a les moyens de mettre sur pied un véritable service francophone autonome de qualité qui fonctionne bien pour les créateurs de langue française. Ce n’est pas le cas à l’heure actuelle.
5064 Lors de l’instance menant à la décision 2013-737 Corus a proposé une exigence en DÉC de 31 pour cent pour Télétoon qui correspondait, selon elle, aux exigences en DÉC harmonisées pour les autres services spécialisés de catégorie A au sein de son groupe désigné.
5065 Dans la décision ultime, le Conseil a imposé une condition de licence de 34 pour cent de DÉC. Or, à l’heure actuelle, Corus propose de fixer à 26 pour cent l’exigence moyenne de groupe en matière de DÉC, ainsi qu’à 27 pour cent les exigences individuelles en matière de DÉC pour ses stations de télévision et ses services facultatifs de langue anglaise, dont Télétoon.
5066 Parallèlement, en 2013, Corus proposait que le Conseil établisse pour Télétoon une exigence de dépenses en ÉIN de 26 pour cent et dans la décision 2013-737, le Conseil a imposé cette exigence. Aujourd’hui, Corus propose de fixer l’exigence minimale du groupe à seulement 5 pour cent, sans aucune obligation particulière pour Télétoon.
5067 Considérant la rentabilité de Télétoon et l’importance de la production originale de langue française pour la télévision francophone, l’ARRQ, la SARTEC et l’UDA recommandent un seuil de DÉC de 34 pour cent et un seuil de dépenses sur les ÉIN de 26 pour cent, comme le Conseil les a imposés dans la décision 2013-737. Ces exigences devant s’appliquer à la chaîne Télétoon de langue française à elle seule.
5068 Nous proposons également de retenir au cours de la prochaine période de licence, à tout le moins les conditions actuelles de la décision 2013-737 telles qu’amendées et présentées dans notre intervention écrite du 15 août dernier. Cela comprendrait une condition voulant que le titulaire consacre à l’investissement dans les émissions canadiennes de langue française ou à leur acquisition au moins 9 pour cent des revenus bruts de l’année précédente de l’entreprise.
5069 À l’heure actuelle, les émissions d’animation diffusées à Télétoon français sont produites presque uniquement en anglais. Pour les services francophones, une obligation en matière de dépenses sur les émissions canadiennes ne signifie pas grand-chose, à moins qu’elle ne soit assortie d’une obligation minimale de diffuser des émissions originales en langue française.
5070 L’ARRQ, la SARTEC et l’UDA visent à assurer une transition favorable à la pérennité de notre télévision. Si le Conseil croit que le paysage audiovisuel se transforme aussi rapidement que les requérants le prétendent, il devrait renouveler la licence des deux Télétoon pour une période n’excédant pas trois ans.
5071 Monsieur le président, cela complète notre présentation et nous répondrons avec plaisir aux questions que vous pourriez nous adresser.
5072 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien et rebonjour.
5073 Je vous mets entre les mains de Monsieur Dupras.
5074 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci et bonne fin d’après-midi. Merci d’être là.
5075 Je trouve que votre présentation est très précise. Elle nous dit clairement ce que vous pensez et ce que vous souhaiteriez.
5076 Toutefois, vous avez eu la chance d’écouter ce que Corus a pu dire à l’égard de Télétoon, que ce n’était pas possible d’offrir un service francophone d’animation sur une base autonome, entre autres, parce qu’il n’y a pas de revenus de publicité possible, c’est uniquement des revenus d’abonnés. Que dans le groupe, ça ne contribue pas plus que 20 pour cent des revenus. Que le nombre de maisons de production d’animation n’est pas tellement élevé pour ce qui est d’avoir des fournisseurs fiables pour alimenter. Que, aussi, il y a un avantage d’être dans la même chaîne pour les producteurs de langue française. C’est-à-dire que leur produit peut peut-être bénéficier aussi de d’autres marchés à cause justement de son association avec le groupe anglais.
5077 Est-ce que ce que Corus a dit vous a convaincus?
5078 M. LÉGARÉ: Bien d’une part, peut-être on manque de données précises pour confirmer ce que Corus nous dit.
5079 Lorsqu’on parle de 20 pour cent, on n’a pas les chiffres. On n’a pas pu établir justement de profil exact parce que les revenus ne sont pas détaillés.
5080 D’autre part, lorsqu’on parle des revenus publicitaires, Télétoon ne s’adresse pas qu’aux enfants. C’est-à-dire, l’attente du CRTC est que pendant le jour, il y a à peu près 31 heures dans la semaine qui soient consacrées aux enfants de moins de 12 ans. C’est une attente, premièrement.
5081 Deuxièmement, donc, il reste une partie des émissions qui sont destinées à un public auquel la publicité peut être effectivement offerte. Donc, il y a des revenus publicitaires qui peuvent venir aussi mais on n’a pas de détail là-dessus.
5082 L’absence de maisons de production francophone, je pense qu’il y avait quand même… il y a quelques maisons qui en font. Il y a quelques maisons qui en ont fait par le passé et on ne voit pas pourquoi il y aurait incapacité des maisons de production de fournir des productions à Télétoon en soi.
5083 Le problème, de toute façon, il est pas nouveau. C’est-à-dire, il y a plusieurs années la SARTEC et l’UDA avaient publié une étude sur la production d’animation et on s’était rendu compte que sur une période de 10 ans avec un volume de production de $700 millions, seulement 2,5 pour cent de la production était en langue française.
5084 Et à l’époque, justement on s’était inquiété de la chose et on avait fait le tour des diffuseurs. Or, le diffuseur principal au niveau de l’animation est Télétoon; Télétoon qui a l’habitude d’accueillir peut-être plus facilement des projets de langue anglaise que des projets de langue française.
5085 Et ce qu’on souhaiterait justement dans ce que nous demandons c’est que la production de langue française qui est très, très faible puisse être accrue en tant que telle.
5086 On propose donc des solutions qui nous apparaissent régler un problème qui date depuis longtemps et pour lequel on a demandé par le passé certaines choses. On a demandé plus d’heures de production, plus de demi-heures par année. On a demandé, effectivement il y a quelques années aussi, de scinder Télétoon en deux services.
5087 Ces solutions-là n’ont pas été appliquées mais la situation de la production francophone n’a pas changé non plus.
5088 Mme FORTIER: Si je peux intervenir, je pense que Télétoon ne manque pas de… en fait, la publicité ne manque pas à l’antenne de Télétoon. Et si je me rappelle bien, dans le contexte de l’interdiction de la publicité, c’est de la publicité destinée aux enfants.
5089 Or, dans des programmes même d’enfants très jeunes, il y a de la publicité, de la publicité pour des cartes Visas, de la publicité pour du savon à linge, de la publicité pour toutes sortes… parce qu’on sait qu’il y a du « coviewing » surtout chez les jeunes. Mais il n’y a pas d’absence de publicité.
5090 Alors, je pense que quand Corus prétend ou si vous avez compris qu’il n’y avait pas de publicité sur la chaîne Télétoon, je pense qu’il faudrait réajuster un petit peu la compréhension à cet égard-là.
5091 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Il n’y a pas de revenus de publicité significatifs; du moins c’est ce qu’on a cru comprendre de leur…
5092 Mme FORTIER: J’aimerais ça voir les chiffres.
5093 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Oui.
5094 Maintenant, si le Conseil décidait quand même de garder les deux dans une même licence, à ce moment-là, les mesures réglementaires que vous suggéreriez, ce serait quoi? Ce serait un… excusez-moi, un DÉC et un ÉIN…
5095 M. LÉGARÉ: Oui.
5096 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: …séparés pour le côté francophone du service?
5097 M. LÉGARÉ: D’une part, la scission des deux services est de l’ordre des moyens. Ce n’est pas ce que nous… ce que nous souhaitons davantage c’est qu’effectivement on augmente la production de langue française.
5098 Et donc, effectivement, s’il y avait des exigences plus fortes en matière de production de langue française, ce pourrait être une solution qui serait intéressante.
5099 D’autre part, il y aurait peut-être aussi un intérêt à avoir des comptabilités différentes pour les deux services, c’est-à-dire là, présentement, on est un peu dans le vague. On n’a pas de données précises. On n’est pas capable de fonder nos propositions sur justement des chiffres.
5100 Et donc il serait intéressant à la fois donc d’avoir des exigences supérieures et des comptabilités distinctes pour les deux services, même si les services étaient maintenus tels quels.
5101 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Et les obligations de dépenses seulement à l’égard de production originale de langue française ça, ça vous satisferait?
5102 Mme FORTIER: Bien, présentement, je pense que c’est 9 pour cent et si je me souviens bien, madame Courtemanche avançait que c’était potentiellement même 14 pour cent.
5103 Donc, si on peut aller jusqu’à ce qui est déjà déclaré, ce serait encore mieux mais en tout cas, minimalement maintenir les conditions de licence actuelles.
5104 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Est-ce qu’il y a d’autres exigences que vous auriez; par exemple, il y avait un bureau à Montréal. Il y avait des décisions qui se prenaient à Montréal. Est-ce que c’est quelque chose que vous demandez qui soit réinstauré?
5105 M. LÉGARÉ: Effectivement, au niveau de l’accueil des projets, c’est sûr qu’un bureau à Toronto ne facilite pas la production de langue française comme telle.
5106 On ne pense pas que justement les contacts vont être établis facilement, que l’ouverture aux projets francophones va être très grande avec un bureau à Toronto.
5107 C’était, à l’époque, un engagement. Ça devrait être maintenu à ce niveau-là. Il faudrait qu’il y ait des personnes décisionnelles à Montréal également.
5108 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Aussi, ce que vous dites, si je comprends, c’est que vous voudriez que Télétoon soit exclu du groupe de Corus, de sorte que si la flexibilité est permise, il ne puisse pas y avoir de flexibilité de faite avec Télétoon? Est-ce…
5109 Mme FORTIER: En effet. Oui.
5110 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Parce que vous dites, bon, c’est un service qui veut demeurer bilingue parce qu’il se base sur un genre pour se dire que c’est la forme, la structure qu’il doit avoir pour que ça fonctionne. Et donc, à ce moment-là, qu’il devrait être régi selon des conditions différentes et qu’il ne pourrait pas bénéficier de l’approche par groupe, finalement.
5111 M. LÉGARÉ: Sur l’approche par groupe, que ce soit pour les diffuseurs francophones, les diffuseurs anglophones, on a la même position, c’est-à-dire pas de transfert.
5112 Et c’est encore plus souhaitable dans le cas de Télétoon, compte tenu justement que c'est un service bilingue et que y a... Corus a vraiment beaucoup d'autres services, et on pourrait noyer les dépenses... transférer beaucoup de dépenses dans les autres services et il restera que des miettes pour Télétoon francophone en tant que tel.
5113 Mme FORTIER: Déjà qu'on vise un marché international, ce qui en soit est pas une mauvaise chose, mais ça donne une couleur aussi à la production, à la programmation. Et donc quand on peut en plus transférer les dépenses dans d'autres services, disons que ça milite pas vers la production locale francophone.
5114 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Je comprends. Écoutez, j'pense que votre position est claire. On aussi le dossier de Montréal qui, on m'a dit, converserait dans cette audience. Et je vous remercie beaucoup pour votre contribution.
5115 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc c'est important pour vous de voir que les dossiers sont croisés lorsque vous faites vos commentaires à la fin du processus parce que la preuve dans chacune des audiences, bien que distinctes, sont partagées. Donc allez voir dans chaque dossier. Je sais que vous avez participé dans le deux mais néanmoins, d'accord?
5116 Mme FORTIER: Merci.
5117 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
5118 M. LÉGARÉ: Merci.
5119 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire, s’il vous plaît.
5120 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci, Monsieur le président.
5121 We’ll now hear the last presentation of the day, which is Ms. Susan Brinton from Women in Film and Television Vancouver. Please come forward.
5122 MS. BRINTON: Thank you for allowing us to be the last presentation.
5123 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve come a long way.
5124 MS. BRINTON: We’ve come a long way.
5125 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve come a long way.
5126 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’re happy to accommodate your travel schedule but we apologize that it is so late in the day for you. But thank you for being patient with us, thanks.
5127 MS. McGOWAN: Thank you.
5128 MS. BRINTON: Thank you.
5129 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please, go ahead.
5130 MS. BRINTON: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chair, Commissioners, staff, ladies, and gentlemen that are left.
5131 My name is Susan Brinton and I’m a media consultant based in Vancouver. I have been in the Canadian broadcasting industry for more than 30 years as a senior broadcasting executive and a senior public policy advisor for television. I have a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) degree and a Masters degree in Communication from SFU.
5132 I’m here today with my colleague Sharon McGowan. Sharon has been working in the Canadian film and television industry for four decades and has produced feature films, television movies, and documentaries. She has an MFA in Film Studies from the University of British Columbia and is currently an Associate Professor teaching film production at UBC.
5133 MS. McGOWAN: We are here to represent the Board of Directors of Women in Film and Television Vancouver and WIFTV’s Advocacy committee.
5134 WIFTV is a professional association with over 400 members from all aspects of the industry. Our main objective is to further the artistic and professional development of women in Canada’s screen-based media production industries.
5135 WIFTV filed a submission to this public hearing as we are deeply concerned by persistent gender inequality in the production of Canadian television programming and the lack of concerted action by the Commission and Canadian broadcasters to rectify this long-standing problem.
5136 Over the past five years, the research organization Women in View has released an annual report illustrating that, despite graduating at almost equal levels from public training programs, women are vastly under-represented in key leadership positions in Canadian independent productions that are commissioned by broadcasters.
5137 Cursory research reveals that women are also virtually absent in the majority of other well-paid crew positions with the exception of those that are highly gendered such as hair and makeup. For racialized and Indigenous women the situation is exponentially worse.
5138 As detailed in our submission, the latest statistics from Women In View's 2015 Onscreen Report find that the Canada Media Fund invested almost $100 million in 29 English drama TV series in 2012-13. Women numbered 14, only 17 percent of the directors of these shows and they directed only 11 percent of these episodes.
5139 Seventeen (17) of the 29 series representing a public investment of almost $40 million employed not a single woman director on any of their 151 episodes.
5140 Women writers were at 38 percent, which is a little bit better, although they had only 34 percent of the actual writing credits.
5141 Not a single one of the 293 episodes employed a female cinematographer. This pattern has been consistent over the three years that Women in View has reported.
5142 MR. BRINTON: This situation is not acceptable. It is particularly unacceptable when the mechanisms for addressing this inequity are built into the mandate of the CRTC.
5143 Section 3.1 of the Broadcasting Act states:
5144 “…the Canadian broadcasting system should…through its programming and the employment opportunities arising out of its operations, serve the needs and interests, and reflect the circumstances and aspirations, of Canadian men, women and children, including equal rights…”
5145 As two lawyers from the CMPA stated yesterday, the language of the Broadcasting Act is very precise. Each word has meaning. Every single word. “Women”, “equal”, “rights”.
5146 The Commission appears to be choosing which elements of the Broadcasting Act to enforce. Earlier today we heard the Chair review the policies the Commissions has put in place to support official language minority programming, multicultural, and Aboriginal programming.
5147 Despite the clause in the Broadcasting Act, there have been no Commission policies to support Canadian women’s aspirations and rights to equal opportunities in the productions that are triggered by Canadian broadcasters and in the creative personnel who receive employment through these productions.
5148 We believe the Commission needs to commit to gender equity policies in all its dealings with the Canadian broadcasting industry and in particular we are targeting at this point, as a starting point, Programs of National Interest.
5149 PNI television programming for broadcasters is predominantly created by Canadian independent production companies. But let's be very clear. It is the broadcasters who are green-lighting these productions.
5150 Canadian broadcasters are the gatekeepers to over 300 million in Canada Media Funding every year. And the broadcasters are in control of who is hired for key creative roles in the projects they license. As Media Access Canada pointed out this morning, if the broadcasters require it, it will be done.
5151 At the same time, broadcasters are of course risk adverse. In terms of Canadian content programming, large integrated media companies with shareholders looking at the bottom line, will only do what they are required to do. We all know that.
5152 Therefore, the Commission needs to step in and require gender equity in PNI programming as a standard condition of licence for all the broadcast groups at this hearing.
5153 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve refined our recommendations from our original submission and I offer them here.
5154 We ask the Commission to require Canadian broadcasters to, number one, within three months of the conclusion of this hearing, file a three-year plan to achieve 50/50 gender equity across its PNI programming by 2020 for women writers, producers, and directors, and to implement this plan beginning in the 2017-18 broadcast year.
5155 Number two, implement accurate metrics that track and compare male and female participation as producers, directors, and writers both annually and over the three-year period, and monitor female participation in the five key creative roles of producer, director, writer, cinematographer, and editor.
5156 And number three, present an evaluation report of the three-year plan in 2020.
5157 Women represent more than 50 percent of the population in Canada, more than 50 percent of the consumers and taxpayers, and more than 50 percent of the public that the CRTC serves.
5158 We believe that closing the gender gap must be a high priority for the Commission. We believe that it is time for the CRTC to step up and deliver on its mandate to promote equal rights and equal opportunities for women in the Canadian broadcasting system. And we ask that you do this now, at this licence hearing.
5159 MR. BRINTON: Your support and commitment to this issue is vital as the resistance to gender equity is powerful. For example, two of the three main broadcasters being reviewed at this hearing did not even comment on our submission, choosing to ignore the issue of gender equity altogether, both in their applications and in their responses.
5160 Rogers, the one broadcaster who did mention our submission, said that this hearing was not the appropriate venue for this discussion.
5161 We strongly disagree. This is a broadcaster licence renewal hearing, the main opportunity for public consultation and discussion of Canadian broadcasters' performance. We urge the broadcasters to respond to our presentation at the reply stage of this hearing.
5162 We have a prime minister promoting gender equity, both in his cabinet at home and in his initiatives abroad. Yet even the Commission itself denied our request to appear and we had to struggle through three levels of bureaucracy in order to appear before you today and have our voices heard. We have to question why the Commission does not consider gender equity to be an important issue in our broadcasting system.
5163 We believe that it's not only possible, but essential, for Canada's screen-based industries to become more gender-balanced, culturally diverse, and inclusive. Any cultural industry that depends on talent, imagination, and originality for its success must draw upon the creative potential of its entire population. Building a more inclusive industry means building a better industry.
5164 As the recent CUES report noted:
5165 "Key to understanding the issue of gender inequality is an analysis not just of discrimination against women, but of systemic advantage of men. Gender inequality in the film and television production industry is a systemic problem that affects women. Nonetheless, as this body of research clearly shows, the issue is not one created by women. Consequently, solutions to an issue of considerable economic and social significance require an industry-wide effort."
5166 We call on the Commission to do its part.
5167 That concludes our presentation and we would be pleased to answer any questions you
5168 may have.
5169 Thank you.
5170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for that. I'll put you in the hands of our newly-appointed Vice-Chair, Ms. LaRocque.
5171 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Thank you very much, and I know you've come a long way, but clearly, from your presentation, we still have a long way to go. So I think -- I want to congratulate you on the quality of your presentation and the clarity of it. And it's very clear where you stand and it's very clear what you're asking of us. Nonetheless, I still have a few questions for you.
5172 I mean, your proposal is essentially for the Commission through the broadcasters to influence the activities of the production industry. And I just wonder if we go ahead with your proposal, wouldn't the Commission be accused involving itself too much in the broadcasters' freedom of expression? And if not, why not?
5173 MS. BRINTON: Broadcasters have a lot of flexibility in what they do in their PNI programming. We've heard that a lot over the course of this hearing. They have the ability to choose whatever projects they want to be involved with, but it's very clear that they also dictate who the key creative people are on the projects that they licence. When they meet with independent producers and they decide on a production and they agree to green light it, it -- they look at the key creative list, they influence the key creative list.
5174 We know that broadcasters provide a list of acceptable directors and acceptable writers, and this is where the problem exists in the risk-adverse nature of broadcasters. There's an approved list and if you are not on that list, you are not getting work. And it is our absolute belief that if the Commission does not require broadcasters to be responsible for the programming they air, including PNI, and absolutely take a position with the broadcasters that they have to balance their programming across a term such as three years to include a balance of women in positions of directors, writers, and producers, we don’t consider that actually all that much more difficult than what some of the requirements are in terms of official language minority production or any of the other policies that the Commission is doing.
5175 We're not asking for more money. We're just simply asking, if they become aware, you know, that this is something that's required to be done, and if the commitment is at the CEO level -- which is what the Commission has to get across by virtue of requiring it -- that commitment will come down to the production people that would be happy to take more risks if higher up they can have the case.
5176 So we need the Commission to tell the broadcasters, "You're responsible for the programming you air, whether or not it's made by independent producers, and you have absolutely the ability to control who is in those key creative positions."
5177 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: What you're asking for is essentially cultural change, profound cultural change within the whole ecosystem, frankly. And I was just wondering, have you had any conversations with the broadcasters? I mean, I was asking my colleague, Jean-Pierre here, and the heads of the major private and public broadcasters are all women.
5178 MS. BRINTON: Yes, and I think to that we can thank employment equity, to be honest. But the Commission doesn’t have control over employment equity in the independent production sector, and neither does, quite frankly, the Employment Equity Act, because most of these companies have under 100 employees.
5179 And so what I don’t want you to have the impression is that it's the independent production community's problem, because it isn't. You’ve -- you know, we've seen articles written by producers going, "We've tried to get the broadcasters to take on projects done by women and they won't take the risk."
5180 It's the broadcasters that trigger production every single time. It's their envelopes at the CMF that fund them, right? So we want to see the broadcasters be required to do it, and we just don’t see any other way for it to be achieved.
5181 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Well, I think, frankly, that it takes a multi-pronged approach.
5182 MS. BRINTON: Yes.
5183 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: It doesn’t ---
5184 MS. McGOWAN: It takes more than a village.
5185 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Yeah. One thing isn't going to make it the change that you're looking for. It's going to have to be, you know, attack it from many levels.
5186 MS. BRINTON: Trust me, we have been attacking it from many levels. We've had meeting with Telefilm. Sharon has been part of the Telefilm's gender equity panel that just recently made an announcement about their initiatives. We've been working with the Canada Media Fund as well, and they are looking at implementing gender-specific advancements in their guidelines for the next fiscal year.
5187 MS. McGOWAN: Yeah, and we've been working with the NFB. That was our first breakthrough.
5188 MS. BRINTON: The National Film Board, yes, was the first one that we worked with who committed to 50/50 funding.
5189 MS. McGOWAN: Yes, with one meeting before the Liberals were elected.
5190 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: How long ago was that? About a year?
5191 MS. McGOWAN: A year and a bit, yeah. And they're preparing to do their first annual report on how far they’ve come with gender equity within the NFB, because part of their commitment was to make a public report every year on their statistics and how they were doing.
5192 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Yeah. Just to understand whether the Commission is the right place or not -- and essentially, you're asking us, through an indirect means, by imposing either an obligation or a condition on broadcasters, when at this very moment the CMF is undertaking a fairly extensive gender-equity review that will arguably directly have more influence on -- over the activities of the production industry than we could.
5193 MS. BRINTON: You know, we attached a chart to the back of ---
5194 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: I saw it, yeah.
5195 MS. BRINTON: --- of our submission, kind of for this reason, because that quote and that clause in the Broadcasting Act is about programming and the employment opportunities arising out of the programming. It includes women and it includes equal rights. And if you look at that chart, all the elements listed in that clause, there's a significant gap. If you can do policies that relate to multi-cultural linguistic duality and Aboriginal peoples, and you can have policies for that, and you are telling us that the CRTC's mandate does not include equal opportunities and equal rights for women? We have a problem with that.
5196 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: I don't think I'm suggesting that at all. I think it goes back to my original point that you need a multi-pronged approach, you know?
5197 MS. BRINTON: Oh, we certainly ---
5198 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: And ---
5199 MS. BRINTON: Trust us, we agree with that.
5200 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: --- if the CMF is taking a leadership role, I mean, sometimes it's good to gravitate to where that leadership role is being taken, and if this case, the CMF. Just as one of your, you know, one of your prongs.
5201 MS. BRINTON: Sure. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.
5202 MS. McGOWAN: We've been there. But we feel that the Commission has its role to play as well.
5203 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Would it not be prudent for us to wait until we see the results of the CMF work, prior to making a policy decision in this regard?
5204 MS. McGOWAN: I think the time for prudence has past. I think this is an appalling civil rights issue and a human rights issue. We have a situation where we have publicly-regulated airwaves and broadcasting and we have a situation where women and girls are vastly underrepresented at every level. It’s shocking in this day and age.
5205 I thought when I started in this industry -- I started in the seventies when the CRTC was first kind of starting to say more women should be put on the air. I went to broadcasting school. And I was told by my teachers that I’d better learn to write because women were never going to be on screen; they were never going to be on the radio reading the news; they were never going to be on television. Because people didn’t trust women’s voices; they didn’t believe what they were saying; they didn’t like looking at them; they didn’t like hearing them.
5206 And the CRTC made a ruling and said that -- the equitable portrayal started to come out and said, “We have to put more women on the air.” Well, you see what’s happened.
5207 You have a lot of power here. You changed my life. And I want you to change the life of the young women that are coming up behind me. The ones that I’m teaching that are falling off the cliff every year after they graduate. This can’t go on any longer.
5208 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Could I ask you -- I notice in your recommendation that you’re looking at really a three-year cycle with implementation starting in ’17/18 and then the report coming up in 2020. But you know, in view of the normal development cycle for production, is three years a reasonable period of time? I mean, most things for ’17/18, maybe even ’18/19, are being developed right now; their concepts are being developed right now.
5209 MS. BRINTON: Well, it’s a starting point. And I think that’s why we don’t want to open a five-year window. And as Sharon said, you know, we don’t want to wait for this. And we think that if there are projects that are in development now, they can start at least looking at women directors and women producers. And they may expand their writing rooms to include more women as they’re progressing through the series.
5210 I mean, we would love that the Commission brings this up with the broadcasters in the reply stage. That would mean a lot to us. That would be an indication that this is something that you are serious about. And then they have an opportunity to say what their implementation timeframe could be in terms of where they are in the development, where they are over the three-year cycle.
5211 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Right.
5212 MS. BRINTON: And you know, we’re not asking for the impossible. We’re prepared to be -- you know, it doesn’t have to be 50/50 every year. It could be 40/60. But it’s more important that over the three-year term that it balances at 50/50.
5213 And part of the thing is once it’s in their heads it happens. You know, part of it so much is just an awareness of, “Oh, my gosh; we should be looking for more projects from women. We should be looking for that woman director that we may not be seeing,” you know? “We should be out there more.”
5214 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Can I ask just one last technical question? In your first recommendation to the Commission you ask for us to look at the categories or woman writers, producers, and directors.
5215 MS. BRINTON: Yeah.
5216 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: But in the report you’d like us to expand that to two more roles. So why are the two things different or is that just an omission?
5217 MS. BRINTON: We found that in the conversations and the advocacy that we’ve been doing with the agencies that the critical ones to begin with are writer, producer, director. And it’s very important to go to the next level and also look at key crew because it is really difficult to be a woman writer, director, producer on a set that’s all men. You know, there’s no support structure there for women. And we’re seeing that it’s got to be a process of top-down and bottom-up.
5218 And so we want to be able to monitor what the levels of key crew are and why we want it reported on to see if that’s improving. Because it’s also -- it works in tandem. The more women involved in the creative process, the more female perspectives are bought forward, the more they work and can bring up women, you know, through the production industry, through the crew, as opposed to having to find them outside. Because right now they’re not coming up from the crew because it is vastly, vastly, overwhelmingly male.
5219 Sharon tells the story of taking her students to a production set and they’re shocked that almost every position is male.
5220 MS. McGOWAN: Except for the lead actor -- like a lead actress and a hair and makeup person.
5221 MS. BRINTON: Hair and makeup.
5222 MS. McGOWAN: And we’re talking about 100 people working on a set.
5223 MS. BRINTON: So we want to start at the top and work our way down but we also are working with the funders, actually ---
5224 MS. McGOWAN: And then unions.
5225 MS. BRINTON: --- and the unions to look at the bottom-up as well.
5226 COMMISSIONER LaROCQUE: Very good. Well, I’d like to thank Women in Film and Television from Vancouver. It’s been very helpful to us.
5227 And Mr. Chairman, that concludes my questions.
5228 MS. McGOWAN: Thank you.
5229 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5230 Just to clarify, you seem to suggest that you had to fight to be here. Quite the contrary. Our doors are wide open. Maybe you’re less familiar with our process. Your original submission came in as a support submission and in support submissions we sort of tell broadcasters choose a certain number, right?
5231 And when it became clear that you had another point of view, I think our stall proposed to you that you would appear by Skype through our -- or through our regional office, which we thought might be a cost saving for you. And it’s only after that we realized that you wanted to take a point on something that wasn’t in support in a broadcaster and you wanted to be here physically in the hearing room. That’s the only ---
5232 MS. BRINTON: Okay. Because ---
5233 THE CHAIRPERSON: It wasn’t an attempt to get you -- quite the contrary; if you have something on your mind, chairmanship, the doors are wide open.
5234 MS. BRINTON: That’s what we believed.
5235 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. So it was ---
5236 MS. BRINTON: So it was a big shock when we were not invited to appear. It was like, “What? Why not?
5237 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, it wasn’t an attempt to exclude you and it’s not a mistake on your part. But you know, when we get thousands and thousands of submissions we triage them and support go in one pile. It’s not that we don’t consider them, but when it comes to the appearing part of the hearing we focus on those that have opposing views because the support is well-represented by the original Applicant.
5238 MS. BRINTON: I see.
5239 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that’s the only reason ---
5240 MS. BRINTON: We just wanted to make clear we weren’t opposing any of the licence renewals.
5241 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. And so in a sense ---
5242 MS. BRINTON: But we had an issue we wanted to discuss.
5243 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you have a point of view to share and I hope you’ve had an opportunity to do that today.
5244 MS. BRINTON: Yes.
5245 THE CHAIRPERSON: So we appreciate and try to ---
5246 MS. BRINTON: And your staff was very polite. But it did take a bit of work to get here.
5247 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But it wasn’t an attempt to keep you out just so ---
5248 MS. McGOWAN: We won’t Tweet about that.
5249 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, please. Apparently some people just keep going on. Civility has gone in society but there you go.
5250 MS. McGOWAN: Not with us. We’re very polite.
5251 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yeah. So thank you for -- sorry?
5252 MS. McGOWAN: Thank you.
5253 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry.
5254 MS. McGOWAN: Oh, another question?
5255 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: I was going to say thank you very much for coming to share your point of view and the situation. You’re at 17 percent in BC and Alberta is even worse; it’s 12 percent. So there’s a parallel organization that you should maybe, you know, get some forces joined there. And I’d be glad to give you ---
5256 MS. McGOWAN: That would be great.
5257 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Yeah.
5258 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve been working with a group of 13 women’s organizations in media across the country, representing about 40,000 people, for about two years now.
5259 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good.
5260 MS. McGOWAN: So whatever we do is reported back to them. And if you have another organization ---
5261 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: There’s some power in numbers there and they’re facing the same thing only they’re not even having as much success as you guys are. So you guys, look at me, sexist.
5262 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve been at it a long time. Yeah. I’m a prof; I know.
5263 COMMISSIONER VENNARD: Good luck with the students, too.
5264 MS. McGOWAN: Yes, thank you.
5265 MS. BRINTON: Thank you.
5266 THE CHAIRPERSON: There’s a kinship between professors here, pro forma professors, I guess.
5267 MS. McGOWAN: We have a secret handshake.
5268 THE CHAIRPERSON: No doubt.
5269 So thank you very much for participating in the hearing and I hope you have a safe trip back. And thank you again. And there’s further phases of the hearing that you’ll be able to participate in. Thank you.
5270 MS. McGOWAN: Perfect. Thank you.
5271 MS. BRINTON: Thank you.
5272 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5273 That being the last intervenor for today so we’re adjourned until nine o’clock tomorrow morning. Thank you.
--- Upon adjourning at 5:24 p.m
- Date modified: