CRTC denies immediate relief for A channel stations

A question mark remains over CTV's loss-making A Channel stations after the CRTC said no to reducing their Can-con requirements from 60% of the broadcast year to 55%, in line with the regulator's new 2010 TV policy.
CRTC

A question mark remains over CTV’s loss-making A Channel stations after the CRTC said no to reducing their Can-con requirements from 60% of the broadcast year to 55%, in line with the regulator’s new 2010 TV policy.

The CRTC also turned thumbs down on scrapping exhibition requirements for priority programming, and changing the terms for providing described video.

Paul Sparkes, executive vp of corporate affairs at CTVglobemedia, expressed disappointment with the CRTC ruling, arguing the regulator’s new TV policy doesn’t come into effect until 2012.

“The licence amendments proposed for CTV and A are essential to the stations’ operations,” Sparkes argued.

“The A stations continue to lose significant amounts of money and CTVglobemedia is not in a position to continue to underwrite these losses,” he added.

The regulator evidently didn’t agree, as its ruling indicated the CRTC will introduce its new 2010 TV policy along with group renewals by the major broadcasters, and not “on a piecemeal basis.”

The regulator also signaled it will not consider reducing quotas for Canadian programming without imposing expenditure requirements, as set out in the new TV policy framework.

The CRTC, moreover, will opt for an all-or-none policy when it comes to changing Canadian content requirements for domestic broadcasters.

“It (CRTC) is also of the view that it would be unfair to implement aspects of the policy for some licensees without similar action for competitors,” the regulator said.

The regulator conceded that it had granted earlier regulatory relief to Hamilton-based CHCH-TV and Victoria-based CHEK-TV, which also pleaded economic peril before they secured corporate rescues.

But the CRTC insisted both stations were stand-alone operations, and not part of major broadcast groups.