The Local Programming Improvement Fund Review

UPDATE: The CRTC announced on July 18, 2012 that it was discontinuing the Local Programming Improvement Fund, effective September 2014.

Given the well-documented and widely acknowledged successes of the Fund, CBC/Radio-Canada is astonished by the decision. Click here for more.

Canadians love their local TV. It’s part of the fabric of local life. It’s integral to the vitality of Canada’s many regions, communities and cultures. And enhancing service to local communities is one of CBC/Radio-Canada’s top priorities over the next five years.

But providing local TV in smaller Canadian centres involves considerable financial challenges.

In response to these challenges, the CRTC created the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) in 2008.

The LPIF was a great success. It provided financial stability for broadcasters, like CBC/Radio-Canada, operating in smaller Canadian centres. It enabled them to continue offering – and in many cases expand – quality local TV programming during challenging times.

The policy and economic rationale that led to its creation remain very relevant today.

What is the LPIF?

The LPIF is a fund that was established by the CRTC in 2008 to increase the quantity, the quality and the diversity of local programming produced by conventional television stations operating in non-metropolitan markets.

It was created in response to the fact that the financial model for local television production – reliance on advertising revenue – was no longer working, while the cable and satellite companies that distribute the local programming continued to generate record profits.

How does the LPIF work?

The money for the Fund comes from cable and satellite companies, which are required to contribute a small percentage of their gross revenues to the Fund. The money is then distributed by the CRTC to broadcasters based on the average spending on local programming of over 75 eligible TV stations.

What CBC/Radio-Canada stations are eligible?

What did the LPIF accomplish?

The LPIF has been a great success. For CBC/Radio-Canada in particular, it has helped 20 local stations to significantly increase both the quantity and quality of their local programming:

CBC

  • Increase from 1 to 1.5 hours of supper-hour news shows in 7 of 8 eligible markets
  • Addition of new late-night newscasts in all eligible markets
  • Enhanced coverage of local sports, special events, elections, breaking news and weather
  • Increased presence of local news on the national network
  • Enhanced statutory holiday newscasts in 7 out of 8 markets
  • Weekend newscast introduced in one location (Winnipeg) to date, with plans for more locations (St. John's; the Maritimes) before the end of 2012

Radio-Canada

  • Increase of local news programming from 5 days to 7 days a week in most markets
  • Supper hour news show increased from 30 minutes to one hour in Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay, bringing one-hour newscasts to all Radio-Canada stations
  • Reintroduction of local news on statutory holidays in all eligible markets
  • Enhanced coverage of local sports, special events, elections, breaking news and weather
  • Addition of public affairs series, documentaries, cultural magazines, and special programming to highlight important, unifying local events
  • Increased presence of local news on the national network

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