AMPIA Welcomes CRTC Group Licence Renewals

On July 27th the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) renewed the licences of all English-language television services operated by Rogers Media until 2014, and the licences of the services operated by Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Media until 2016.

In renewing the licenses for almost all English-language television services in Canada, the CRTC estimates Canadian content requirements will spark billions in domestic programming investment over the five- and three-year license terms.

In the next five years, Bell Media, Corus Entertainment and Shaw Media must allocate at least 30 per cent of their gross annual revenues to the production of Canadian programs. They must also direct at least 5 per cent of these expenditures to finance Programs of National Interest (formerly referred to as Priority Programming), with the exception of Corus Entertainment who will be required to allocate at least 9 per cent of their gross annual revenues.

Along with other intervenors, AMPIA appeared at the CRTC Group Licence renewal hearing this past April during which we submitted to the Commission a copy of a report that we and AAMPTU jointly commissioned from Nordicity, in which it was detailed that a number of tangible benefits for regional programming resulting from previous changes in ownership transactions as well as certain previous license renewals remained unexpended at the end of 2009. The report also detailed that the level of investment in regional programming by private broadcasters in Alberta as well as the prairie provinces overall had significantly diminished between 2003 and 2009.

AMPIA is pleased to note that one of the key conditions of these licence renewals requires specific and annual reporting of regional spending and, where applicable, a plan to disburse any existing unexpended tangible benefits for independent production.

The ruling also requires regular visits to the regions by Broadcaster programming executives. Overall, this is a significant CRTC decision both for independent production across Canada and more specifically for independent production in the regions.

Thank you to the AMPIA Broadcast Committee, the AMPIA Board and AAMPTU for their help in putting our intervention together, and thank you to the CRTC for their strong support for regional independent production.

To read the complete decision, please click here.