CBC/Radio-Canada appeared before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today to ask for an end to the free-riding by broadcast distribution undertakings (BDUs) on conventional television services. The system has become so imbalanced that the CRTC acknowledges that it cannot afford to sit idly by, given the threat to the future of high-quality, local Canadian programming.
“The conventional television financial model in Canada is collapsing,” said CBC/Radio-Canada President Hubert T. Lacroix. “Without a major correction that will allow conventional broadcasters to get a fair price for their signals, Canadians will have to start getting used to seeing stations shut down and high-quality programming disappear.”
Conventional broadcasters generate 90 per cent of the viewership for all original Canadian entertainment programming, but receive nothing for their signals – the same signals with which the cable and satellite companies are earning record profits, while charging consumers ever-increasing rates. It’s time for BDUs to start contributing to the survival of the system that has made them rich, without consumers being penalized.
“The broadcasting system needs to recognize what conventional broadcasters bring to the services that cable and satellite companies offer their customers,” added Hubert T. Lacroix. “The only way to do this is for BDUs to compensate conventional broadcasters fairly for the value of their signal.”
CBC/Radio-Canada presented the CRTC with a proposed regulatory framework for correcting the current inequities in the system, thus ensuring the future of conventional broadcasting and the survival of local content for the benefit of all Canadians.
CBC/Radio-Canada warned the CRTC that unless the system is rebalanced, the Corporation could not commit to maintaining its current level of production of local and Canadian content on its two conventional networks, given that they rely on declining advertising revenues for nearly 50 per cent of their funding.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages.