The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled today its report on the issues and challenges related to local television. The report is an important contribution to the debate on the problems currently facing the television broadcasting industry.
The report firmly underlines the principle that any programs designed to assist local broadcasting should be open to both private and public broadcasters, including CBC/Radio-Canada. It also contains a number of important recommendations that reaffirm the importance of public broadcasting in Canada and the need for adequate funding to ensure that the Corporation can provide the level of service that Canadians have come to expect.
Among the recommendations addressing the challenges facing local programming, CBC/Radio-Canada welcomes the Committee’s proposal for an enhanced Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) that would see the contribution of cable and satellite companies increased from one per cent of gross revenue to 2.5 per cent. Additionally, the Committee recommends that at least 40 per cent of the Fund be set aside for the public broadcaster.
“The LPIF is an important source of revenue that will help maintain and enhance the Corporation’s presence in communities across the country,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “The report leaves to the CRTC the wider issue of the essential role played by conventional broadcasters in ensuring that the broadcasting system, as a whole, delivers an acceptable quantity and quality of Canadian programming. This remains a fundamental weakness in the system, and needs urgently to be resolved. CBC/Radio-Canada believes there is enough margin in the distribution system to provide conventional broadcasters with value for their signal while protecting consumers from undue financial burden.”
The CRTC will be examining the question of value for signal at public hearings this fall. CBC/Radio-Canada will be looking then for a new framework that would allow the conventional broadcasters to negotiate fair market value for the programming they provide.
CBC/Radio-Canada thanks the Committee Members for their work, and looks forward to continued cooperation with them, the Government and the CRTC to address the challenges facing broadcasting in 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.