Please wait...
Please wait...

Canada rethinks local spending changes

Canadian media firms have welcomed governmental pressure on regulators to reconsider changes that would allow broadcasters to reduce their investment in domestic programming.

The Canadian TV industry has been widely critical of certain parts of the CRTC’s Group Licence Renewal (GLR) amid concerns it will result in private television broadcasters being allowed to “dramatically” reduce investment in Canadian programming.

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) filed a joint petition against the CRTC’s decisions in June.

It has resulted in portions of the GLR being referred back to the CRTC by Canada’s federal cabinet and the minister of Canadian heritage, Mélanie Joly.

Critics have warned that certain parts of the GLR would decrease the amount Bell Media, Rogers Media and Corus Entertainment are required to spend on Canadian Programs of National Interest (PNI).

An independent analysis submitted to the minister as part of the joint petition estimated that the change in regulation would result in a decrease of more than C$900m (US$707m) in production volume, and a reduction of C$1.15bn in GDP over the five-year term during which the broadcasters’ licences would be in place.

“This is a real victory for the thousands of Canadians who stepped up and spoke out to defend Canadian storytelling,” said Stephen Waddell, national executive director at ACTRA.

“However, there is still work to be done. The CRTC is in dire need of a new mandate that protects Canadian culture and the jobs of cultural workers; understands the challenges of our film and television sector; and ensures Canadian stories can continue to be shared on screens in Canada and around the world.”

The Canadian TV organisations added that other aspects of the GLR that require change include the CRTC’s decision to remove independent production obligations on non-PNI programming.

The coalition of creative groups has expressed its expectation that Joly will address these concerns next month.

In parallel to the cabinet petition, the CMPA, ACTRA, the DGC and the Writers Guild of Canada also launched a House of Commons electronic petition that called on Joly to review the CRTC’s GLR decisions.

This petition has so far received more than 11,000 signatures and is expected to be tabled in the House of Commons in the fall.

Please wait...