Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The CRTC renews the licences of the majority of French-language private television services

The CRTC renews the licences of the majority of French-language private television services
OTTAWA-GATINEAU, April 26, 2012 — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) renewed the licences of the French-language television services operated by TVA Group, as well as the licences of the services operated by Astral Media. The CRTC also maintained the existing conditions of licence for V.


“The production and broadcast of Canadian programming are essential for the success of the Francophone television market,” said Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting for the CRTC. “We are convinced that TVA and Astral will continue to make significant investments in order to offer their viewers varied and high-quality Canadian programming. For that reason, we have decided to give them more regulatory flexibility.”
The CRTC is satisfied with TVA’s performance. During the last three years, TVA has invested an average of 45 per cent of its gross annual revenues in the production of Canadian programming. Consequently, TVA’s request to remove all requirements related to the type of programming it broadcasts has been approved. The CRTC expects TVA to continue to provide the same quantity of dramas, musicals and documentaries that it currently broadcasts, and will reassess the situation at the end of the three-year term. In addition, TVA must devote 80 per cent of its programming expenditures to Canadian programs, which is 5 per cent more than initially proposed by TVA. This translates to an annual average of more than $110 million.
The Commission also recognizes the importance of TVA for Francophones outside Quebec, including official-language minority communities, and Francophiles. This service will therefore continue to be distributed nationally.
The only changes to TVA’s local programming requirements are for its station in Quebec City. Of the 18 hours of local programming, the station must air 5.5 hours of locally produced news, including two weekend newscasts.
Astral Media
The Astral Media group is composed of English- and French-language pay and specialty services. The CRTC has approved Astral’s request to remove all limits on sharing programming expenditure for the next five years. Astral will have the flexibility to redistribute its financial resources between its television services, regardless of language, to meet its Canadian content spending obligations. Astral Media must devote at least 30 per cent of its gross annual revenues to the production of Canadian programming, including 16 per cent on programs of national interest, which is 4 per cent more than initially proposed by Astral. According to 2012 revenue forecasts, this will mean an injection of more than $150 million into the Canadian broadcasting system over the next year. Astral Media’s licences will expire in 2017.
When the CRTC approved Remstar Diffusion’s acquisition of V (formerly TQS) in 2008, it stated its intention to re-examine its conditions of licence regarding local and priority programming. The CRTC has decided to maintain the same conditions until the next licence renewal in 2015. In addition, Remstar made a commitment to increase by 30 minutes the local newscasts for each of its stations, as well as the length of local news segments in each newscast.
Today’s decisions are pursuant to a proceeding that included a public hearing held from December 5 to 9, 2011.

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