Contrary to allegations by Vidéotron Ltée and Shaw Communications Inc., not a penny of the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) is paid to CBC/Radio-Canada. The CTF is a critical source of supplementary funding that helps independent producers finance high quality Canadian programs.
Shaw and Vidéotron, two of the largest cable television distributors in Canada, have recently announced they will cease contributions to the CTF. This represents the cable companies' contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system, amounts to less than five per cent of Shaw and Vidéotron's gross revenues, and is mandated by the CRTC.
"Without the CTF, Canadians would receive fewer original high-quality Canadian programs." CBC/Radio-Canada President and CEO Robert Rabinovitch said. "The CTF, and the independent producers funded by the CTF, play a critical role in supporting the distinctively Canadian nature of CBC/Radio-Canada's prime-time English and French schedules."
Both companies cite that one of the primary reasons for their decision is that CBC/Radio-Canada, which already receives public funding, also receives CTF funding.
In the English market, CBC Television is the only Canadian conventional broadcaster dedicated to airing original Canadian content in prime time when the greatest number of Canadians are watching television. It stands to reason that a significant amount of the production subsidized by the CTF will end up on the network that airs the most Canadian programming.
Similarly in the French market, Télévision de Radio-Canada is the single largest investor in original Canadian programming and therefore broadcasts a significant proportion of the programs funded by the CTF. For instance, in the current season, Télévision de Radio-Canada offers 17 original Canadian drama series, including 10 brand new ones.
It is in recognition of this fact that the Government of Canada has set aside 37 per cent of the fund - not for CBC/Radio-Canada - but for independent producers who make programs for broadcast on CBC or Radio-Canada Television.
English-language private tv networks in Canada broadcast American-made programs for the most part, and French private networks devote more and more air time to popular reality shows. Given that, the loss in original Canadian programming, and especially drama, would be considerable if independent producers could not benefit from CTF financing for their projects destined to CBC/Radio-Canada.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and aspiring immigrants to Canada.