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CRTC announces measures to support the creation of content made by Canadians for Canadian and global audiences

From a press release:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced significant changes to ensure Canada’s television system adapts to an audiovisual environment that is in profound evolution. This is the third in a series of announcements related to Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians, and the changes focus on the creation of content made by Canadians for both Canadian and global audiences.

Canadian television supports a thriving industry that employs nearly 60,000 people and invests over $4 billion each year in the creation of content made by Canadians. The television system, however, is undergoing a fundamental shift brought on by broadband Internet and wireless networks. Increasingly, Canadians are bypassing the traditional curators of content, the broadcasters, and watching programs in new ways: on their mobile devices, by binge-viewing multiple episodes of a TV series in one sitting and by accessing vast online libraries of content from around the world. In this age of abundance, the viewer is in control.

To foster the continued success of Canada’s creative talent, the CRTC is removing barriers that stand in the way of innovation and reinventing its approach to content made by Canadians. These measures will ensure the creation and promotion of compelling and high-quality content that audiences in Canada and abroad want to watch.

Promoting and discovering content

For Canadian-made productions to succeed in a sea of digital content, they must be well-promoted and easily discovered by viewers, both within Canada and abroad.

As such, the CRTC will host a Discoverability Summit in the fall of 2015. This Summit will bring together innovators and thought-leaders from the public and private sectors to explore how technology can be used to help viewers find programs made by Canadians. Further details on this summit will be released at a later date.

The CRTC is also providing more flexibility to broadcasters, so that they can better promote original Canadian television programs.

Creating Canadian-made content for global audiences

The CRTC is also launching two pilot projects that provide a more flexible and forward-looking approach to the production and financing of Canadian programs. Under these pilot projects, live-action drama and comedy series that either have a budget of at least $2 million per hour or are based on best-selling novels written by Canadian authors will be considered as being Canadian productions, provided certain additional criteria are met.

These changes are intended to support a production sector that has the financial capacity to develop scripts and concepts, as well as to create and market big-budget productions that can attract global audiences.

The CRTC is calling on other policy makers and funding agencies to follow suit for the benefit of the television system and Canadians. For instance, existing funding models could be updated to provide incentives for international co-productions and co-ventures, promotion and international distribution opportunities, and the creation of online content.

Removing barriers to innovation

The CRTC is confident that content made by Canadians can compete with the best in the world. Certain protections are no longer needed in a world of abundance and choice, and where many Canadians no longer watch shows according to a broadcaster’s schedules. The future of television lies in Canadians’ proven ability to create compelling, high-quality content.

As such, the CRTC is reducing the quotas setting out the amount of Canadian programs that local television stations and specialty channels must broadcast. At the same time, the CRTC is ensuring that the majority of these stations and channels reinvest a portion of their revenues into the creation of content made by Canadians. For certain types of programs, such as drama and documentaries, broadcasters will continue to invest at least 75% of these funds on content created by independent producers.

To foster a more open and competitive market, the CRTC is also eliminating rules under which specialty channels, such as HGTV Canada and MusiquePlus, can only broadcast certain types of programs. As a result, existing channels will be able to acquire or produce shows that better respond to their audiences’ interests and needs. Moreover, new specialty services will be able to enter the Canadian marketplace and compete with existing channels. Both existing and new channels will need to be innovative and creative to succeed.

Finally, the CRTC is allowing video-on-demand services to offer exclusive content to cable and satellite subscribers, as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet without a television subscription. This will enable Canadian services to compete on a more equal footing with online video services.

About Let’s Talk TV

In 2013, the CRTC launched Let’s Talk TV: A Conversation with Canadians on the future of their television system and how it can adapt to evolving technologies and viewing habits. The CRTC received more than 13,000 comments from Canadians during the conversation’s various phases.

Today’s announcement is the third in a series of decisions that will set out a new forward-looking framework that will guide the television system in the coming years. The CRTC previously announced decisions relating to cable and satellite companies’ 30-day cancellation policies, local television and simultaneous substitution.

Quick Facts

  • The CRTC is taking steps to ensure Canada’s television system adapts to an audiovisual environment that is in profound evolution.
  • The CRTC will host a Discoverability Summit in the fall of 2015 to explore how technology can be used to help viewers find content made by Canadians in the digital environment.
  • The CRTC is experimenting with two pilot projects that will allow greater flexibility in the funding of Canadian programs.
  • The CRTC is confident that content made by Canadians can successfully compete with the best in the world and that certain regulatory protections are no longer needed.
  • The CRTC is allowing video-on-demand services to offer exclusive content to cable and satellite subscribers, as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet.

To foster a more open and competitive market, the CRTC is also eliminating rules under which specialty channels, such as HGTV Canada and MusiquePlus, can only broadcast certain types of programs. As a result, existing channels will be able to acquire or produce shows that better respond to their audiences’ interests and needs. Moreover, new specialty services will be able to enter the Canadian marketplace and compete with existing channels. Both existing and new channels will need to be innovative and creative to succeed.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
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9 thoughts on “CRTC announces measures to support the creation of content made by Canadians for Canadian and global audiences”

  1. There was an interesting statement in this article that caught my attention: “Finally, the CRTC is allowing video-on-demand services to offer exclusive content to cable and satellite subscribers, as long as they are available to all Canadians over the Internet without a television subscription.” Does this mean we might see the day services like Crave TV and Shomi will be available without a cable/satellite subscription?

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what it means. That ALSO means the price of CraveTV will not be offered at $4 like it is to Bell subscribers. It will be interesting to see what they will charge, because I might buy.

  2. To me ‘American’ shows done by Canadians is not Canadian content, which is the majority of what we got from the CRTC.

    So now finally CRTC announces “liberation” to create more and better Canadian content by reducing Canadian content requirements to – zero ?

    Sounds more like CRTC has just conceded total defeat and has thrown in the towel, which all conventional old school broadcasters will be doing in the very near future too.

    check out this ‘global independent producers broadcasting’ service just launched in Toronto

    http://www.msmu.me

    will there even be pretense of nation-states 25 years from now ?

    I doubt it.

    1. So let me gets this right a show that night seems American but does use all Canadians and is filmed in Canada is not Canadian but a show that uses very few Canadians and is not filmed in Canada but because it does not look American its better.

      1. I think the point is that Canadians don’t care who produces, acts or writes the shows they watch. One of the most popular shows in Canada right now is written and produced by Americans, acted by Englishmen and shot in Ireland.

  3. There are basically two categories of CanCon:

    Category #1 – Shows made by Canadians in Canada but not necessarily made FOR Canadians (ie. made for selling to U.S. audiences, includes shows like Rookie Blue, Vikings, Orphan Black)
    —Category #2 – Shows made for Canadians telling Canadian stories. (includes shows like Arctic Air, Blackstone, Heartland, Republic of Doyle)

    The industry tends to thinks that Category #2 will not sell to U.S. or international audiences but I’m not so sure. I think the individuality of the culture/setting could be a selling point. Brit shows have embraced their own identities with terrific shows like Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Waterloo Road, Broadchurch, etc. and so have Canadian shows Murdoch Mysteries and Heartland.

    1. I should note that those are not official categories but most arguments/debates/conversations regarding CanCon (and they are both CanCon) tend to separate the two.

  4. I like what the CRTC has done here. Contrary to the US tradition of buying “cheap Canadian exports” in the summer, we do have talent and culture up here that I think should be given support. Fittingly, a show that does well in the ratings for summer here and balances being Canadian with being just plain *good* is The Amazing Race Canada. All of its first season and most of its second took place here and it felt positive for Canada without being overdone. And was just plain fun to watch at times. I had no idea we had a desert right in the middle of the Yukon. But it follows the US format so it attracts all those fans right off the bat, and airs after the US one is done for the season. Honestly, if I were a US network, I’d want that on in summer. It’s just like the US one while appreciating Canada.

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