A first-of-its-kind independent economic forecast shows regulatory changes espoused by the Harper government and adopted in last year’s CRTC Let’s Talk TV announcements will likely lead to the loss of more than 15,000 Canadian jobs and take $1.4 billion from the Canadian economy annually by 2020.
Co-authored by the economic and media consulting firm Nordicity and Peter H. Miller, the 100-page study – Canadian Television 2020: Technological and Regulatory Impacts – also forecasts the CRTC decisions will likely result in a $400 million annual drop in spending on Canadian programs by 2020 and accelerate the impact of technological change while weakening Canadian broadcasters.
The study’s authors have advanced proposals to reduce the negative economic impact of the CRTC’s decisions by as much as 75%: “This would not, in our view, require ‘turning back the clock’ on all the Let’s Talk TV decisions. It would merely require relatively minor ‘tweaking’ that recognizes Canadians as broadcasting policy has always recognized them – not merely as consumers, but as creators and citizens too.”
“For good reason the new government has abandoned Stephen Harper’s policy of denigrating the CBC. It should take the same approach to the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV decisions. Under pressure from the former government, the Commission placed so-called consumer protection ahead of the cultural and democratic interests of citizens and creators in its decisions. This study offers an indictment of the CRTC’s current leadership, based on solid economic analysis,” says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
The study found the CRTC’s decisions regarding unbundling, over-the-top (OTT) TV and the predominance of Canadian programs are the primary drivers of this erosion. Not yet implemented, these changes are scheduled to take effect starting in March.
“This study shows that recent broadcast policy decisions are likely to create job losses and generate economic damage. The loss of high quality Canadian scripted programming will also result,” said Stephen Waddell, ACTRA National Executive Director. “Implementing the CRTC’s policy proposals could mean thousands of hours of Canadian stories will never be produced. The tremors will be felt throughout the Canadian system from television to film to digital platforms,” Waddell concluded.
Canadian Television 2020: Technological and Regulatory Impacts was commissioned by ACTRA, the Canadian Media Guild, Directors Guild of Canada, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and Unifor.
“Four-hundred million dollars a year would be a huge hit to Canadian TV production,” says Tim Southam, Directors Guild of Canada National President. “Consumers do not benefit from being asked to pay more for fewer Canadian choices. The DGC urges the Government to review these dangerous policies.”
Randy Kitt, Unifor’s Media Council Chair noted that “the war on evidence may be over elsewhere in government, but it seems to be alive and well at the CRTC. The Commission failed to release any economic impact data accompanying its Let’s Talk TV announcements. This study fills a void, and should send a powerful message to the new government.”
“The new government needs to move quickly to ensure funding and access to original Canadian programming, including news and information in French and English everywhere in the country,” says Carmel Smyth, President of the Canadian Media Guild.
Joint statement by CMG, ACTRA, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Directors Guild of Canada and Unifor.