Toronto, Monday, September 8, 2014 – The CRTC hearings on Canadian television policy that begin today in Gatineau, Québec, are too narrowly focused on how much Canadians pay for cable and not on what is available for them to watch. The hearings risk being too focused on our views as consumers and not enough on our needs as citizens, which includes having access to news, analysis and entertainment that is made by and for Canadians.
“CMG was among a number of participants to the CRTC consultation that called for new ways to pay for quality Canadian content on all platforms as the economics of broadcasting shifts,” says Carmel Smyth, National president of the Canadian Media Guild (CMG). “With the cuts to CBC funding and shrinking local TV ad revenue, it’s clear that the existing system is broken. The sources of funding for Canadian programming are declining, and yet this troubling situation is nowhere to be found on the CRTC’s agenda for the next two weeks,” Smyth pointed out. “At the same time, the major Cable and Internet companies are making a lot of money by charging Canadians more and more for streaming programs on the Internet.”
CMG has proposed looking to mobile and Internet revenues as a source of funding for quality, compelling Canadian programming, especially given how much we watch via streaming online and on mobile devices and how much revenue is made on that side of the vertically-integrated broadcasters’ business.
“This is an urgent issue that cannot wait five to seven years for another review of the television system,” says Smyth
The Guild is also opposed to the shutting down of over-the-air transmitters that allow Canadians to watch local channels and news without a cable or satellite subscription, a view that appears to be shared by a large number of Canadians who took the time to write to the CRTC.
CMG leaders Carmel Smyth and Marc-Philippe Laurin, CMG president at CBC will be appearing on September 16. We are also available for comment on the CRTC proceedings and the future of Canadian programming. The CMG written submission to the CRTC can be found here.
We are also at today’s 8 a.m. rally in front of the CRTC hearings at 140 Promenade du Portage (corner of Laval street) in Gatineau (Portage IV) – more info here.