CBC/Radio-Canada Licence Renewal

On May 28, 2013, the CRTC issued its decision on the Corporation's licence renewals. Here is the CRTC's decision along with our reaction.

CBC/Radio-Canada serves the second largest and one of the most diverse countries in the world. Our five-year strategy, 2015: Everyone, Every way, launched in 2011, recognises that the public broadcaster can't be all things to all people. In its scope, however, it stakes the claim that we can be something for, and mean something to, every Canadian. Whether it's connecting them to this country, to their communities, or to each other as individuals with their own realities and interests, CBC/Radio-Canada plans to be there.

While a recent reduction to the Corporation’s budget and the recent elimination of the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) pose major challenges, the Corporation's direction remains unchanged. But to stay on track, the Corporation needs a regulatory framework that will permit it to achieve its objectives.

LICENCE RENEWAL PRESENTATIONS

What was CBC/Radio-Canada asking for?

CBC/Radio-Canada asked the CRTC for two things. Both are critical to preserving the key elements of the Corporation’s 2015 Strategy:

  • 1. A modern regulatory framework that will enable us to implement our strategy across all of our platforms and allow us to evolve and progress with our audiences, with technology and with our changing environment.
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    Our previous licenses included over 100 "micro" requirements that we were obliged to fulfill. Thirteen years later, many of these conditions bear little or no relationship to the realities we face today. The burden of micro-regulation prevents us from being as nimble and flexible as we need to be to meet the changing needs and demands of our audiences.

    In our application, we requested reduced conditions of licence in a number of different areas. This was not about reducing our commitments to these genres or to the production community that creates them. We are not getting out of these genres. This was about the way in which we can deliver service to Canadians.

    The CRTC has already adopted a streamlined regulatory approach for other broadcasters in recent licence renewal decisions. It implemented streamlined programming requirements through the group-based licence renewals for private English-language television broadcasters in 2011 and granted private French-language television broadcasters programming flexibility in their licence renewal decision earlier this year.

  • 2. Opportunity to generate new revenue to meet the significant financial challengespresented by the Corporation’s current operating environment.
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    Increasing the Corporation’s commercial revenues was one of the key measures of the plan announced by the CBC/Radio-Canada to deal with the $115 million reduction to its parliamentary appropriation, announced in Federal Budget 2012. Without new revenue opportunities, the Corporation would be faced with additional service reductions and further compromise of its 2015 Strategy.

    One of the main ways in which the Corporation intends to increase revenue is by adding advertising and sponsorship to both CBC Radio 2 and Espace musique.

    The decision to add advertising and sponsorship won't change the programming mandate of CBC Radio 2 and Espace musique. Both CBC Radio 2 and Espace musique remain deeply committed to supporting and showcasing the best in Canadian music across a broad range of genres, so that they can continue to be a point of discovery for Canadian music fans – with more multi-platform music content than any other broadcaster in Canada.

What is the licence renewal process all about and why is it so important?

Anyone wanting to broadcast on radio or television in Canada needs a licence from the CRTC to do so. With that licence come terms and conditions to broadcast particular types of programming, with minimum amounts of Canadian content, and stipulations about when and where broadcast content can be used, etc. In the past, licences were typically valid for seven years. They must then be renewed, at which point the CRTC has the opportunity to reviews terms and conditions. It's been 13 years since CBC/Radio-Canada's licences were last renewed.

During this time, broadcasting technology and consumer demand and expectation have exponentially changed. At the same time, significant vertical integration has occurred in the Canadian broadcasting industry, making the stakes for public broadcasting in Canada very high this time around.

Given the rapid changes occurring in the broadcasting environment, the CRTC has moved towards licence terms of 5 years.

What licences are up for renewal?

Tables with CBC and Radio-Canada application numbers and links to service sites.

CBC

CBC Television
(application number 2011-0276-4)
CBC News Network
(application number 2011-0281-3)
CBC Radio One
(application number 2011-0287-1)
CBC Radio 2
(application number 2011-0288-9)
Documentary
(application number 2011-0283-9)
bold
(application number 2011-0282-1)

Radio-Canada

Télévision de Radio-Canada
(application number 2011-0276-4)
Le RDI
(application number 2011--0277-2)
La Première Chaîne
(application number 2011-0285-5)
Espace Musique
(application number 2011-0286-3)
ARTV
(application number 2011-0278-0)
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