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Link: Throwing the book at Canadian television

From Bill Brioux:

Throwing the book at Canadian television
The professionals in the room were still buzzing over a fuse colleague John Doyle lit in the Globe and Mail. John asked a very direct question: Where are Canada’s “Golden Age” TV shows?

Well, you can find them in the pages of this book. It’s a 60-page guide commissioned by the Prime Time team–led by president and CEO Michael Hennessy–at the Canadian Media Production Association. Continue reading.

Let’s Talk TV: CRTC proposes measures to empower Canadian TV viewers

From a media release:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today unveiled a draft code that will help Canadians make informed choices and resolve disputes with their television service providers.

During the Let’s Talk TV conversation, many Canadians said that cable and satellite companies do not always provide enough information about their packaging and pricing. Canadians also said that, in their view, the companies sometimes provide misleading or inaccurate information, as well as poor or inconsistent customer service. The CRTC’s code reflects what it heard from Canadians.

Under the proposed code, cable and satellite companies would be required to provide easy-to-understand agreements to their customers and notify them of changes to their services. The code would also clarify the terms surrounding the addition or cancellation of channels, early cancellation fees and installation appointments, among others. Combined with the CRTC’s previously announced prohibition of 30-day cancellation policies, Canadians will have the freedom and necessary information to switch service providers if they are not satisfied.

To help the CRTC finalize the code, Canadians are invited to share their views on the following questions:

  • What kind of information should cable and satellite providers give subscribers when they sign up?
  • How much notice should cable and satellite providers have to give when they change the price of channels or packages of channels?
  • What would constitute a reasonable timeframe for service calls by cable and satellite providers?

The CRTC is welcoming comments on the draft code until May 25, 2015. Canadians can participate by:

For more information on how to participate in a CRTC consultation, please see: It’s Your CRTC: Here’s How to Have Your Say!

The CRTC will also host an online discussion forum to promote further discussion among Canadians on the proposed code. Details of the discussion forum will be announced shortly.

In addition, Canadians are increasingly obtaining their various communications services from the same company through bundled offerings. For this reason, the CRTC is proposing that Canadians would be able to direct their complaints relating to the code to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services. This industry ombudsman currently works with Canadians to help resolve complaints relating to their wireless, Internet and telephone services, and administers the CRTC’s wireless code.

Improved access for Canadians with disabilities
Canadians with disabilities will have access to more content that has been adapted to their needs and which will provide them with a seamless viewing experience. The CRTC expects that when television programs with closed captioning are made available online and on mobile devices, the closed captioning will be included.

In addition, the CRTC expects broadcasters to increase the amount of programs with described video they offer over the next few years. By September 2019, most broadcasters will have to provide described video for programs aired in prime time, from 7 to 11 p.m.

Finally, the CRTC will require television service providers to make accessible hardware, such as set-top boxes and remote controls, available to subscribers, where they can be obtained from suppliers and are compatible with their networks. This requirement will be implemented by the end of 2015.

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 fifth in a series of decisions that ensure Canada’s television system adapts to a World of Choice, in which Canadians are watching the content they want on different devices and at a time of their choosing.

Over the past few months, the CRTC has introduced significant changes that will foster a more dynamic marketplace in which there are incentives for: (1) television service providers to offer reasonably priced services that meet the diverse needs and interests of Canadians; (2) creators to produce high-quality, original content that is compelling to audiences; and (3) Canadians to switch television service providers without having to give 30-days advance notice if they are not satisfied, to choose over-the-air television as a free, competitive alternative and to make informed decisions about their service providers.

Quick Facts

  • The CRTC has unveiled a draft code that will help Canadians make informed choices about, and resolve disputes with, their television service providers.
  • The code proposes to ensure that Canadians receive easy-to-understand agreements and are notified of changes to their services.
  • The code proposes to clarify the terms surrounding the addition or cancellation of channels, early cancellation fees and installation appointments.
  • Canadians are invited to share their views on the proposed code by May 25, 2015.
  • If they are not satisfied, Canadians can take advantage of a more dynamic marketplace and switch their television service provider without having to give advance notice.
  • Canadians with disabilities will have access to more content that has been adapted to their needs and which will provide them with a seamless viewing experience.
  • Today’s decision concludes the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV conversation, which was launched to ensure that Canada’s television system adapts to an audiovisual environment that is in profound evolution.

Statement by Kevin Crull, President, Bell Media on CTV News

From a media release:

“CTV News is Canada’s leading news organization because of its longstanding commitment to the highest levels of journalistic integrity. With that reality in mind, I would like to explain events around discussion of last week’s CRTC decisions on CTV and other Bell Media news channels.

I reached out to the CTV News leadership team to let them know I felt the focus on the CRTC itself by CTV and other Canadian news organizations would be better placed on a broad and necessary discussion of the impacts of the CRTC’s decisions on consumers, our team members, and our business.

It was wrong of me to be anything but absolutely clear that editorial control always rests with the news team. I have apologized to the team directly for this mistake. Indeed their strong and straightforward reaction to my intrusion only heightens my appreciation of their independence, integrity and professionalism. It is crucial to note that CTV’s coverage of the CRTC’s decisions was fair, balanced and extensive, and stands up in comparison to coverage of the issue by any Canadian news organization.

In short, I’ve re-learned a valuable lesson from the best news team in the business.”

Statement by Chairman and CEO of the CRTC, on journalistic independence

From a media release:

One of the pillars of Canada’s broadcasting system—and, in fact, of our country’s democracy—is that journalists are able to report news stories independently and without undue editorial interference. This principle, along with other fundamental journalistic values, is enshrined in the Code of Ethics that was developed by RTNDA Canada (The Association of Electronic Journalists).

Further to section 2(3) of the Broadcasting Act, the CRTC has been entrusted by Canadians, through Parliament, to defend the principles of fair comment, freedom of expression and journalistic independence.

That a regulated company does not like one of the CRTC’s rulings is one thing. The allegation, however, that the largest communication company in Canada is manipulating news coverage is disturbing. Holding a radio or television licence is a privilege that comes with important obligations that are in the public interest, especially in regards to high-quality news coverage and reporting.

An informed citizenry cannot be sacrificed for a company’s commercial interests. Canadians can only wonder how many times corporate interests may have been placed ahead of the fair and balanced news reporting they expect from their broadcasting system.

The RTNDA Code of Ethics is administered by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Canada’s private broadcasters, including CTV, are members of this independent body and must adhere to its codes of conduct. Complaints about this matter should be directed to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council for investigation.

We expect Canada’s broadcasters to live up to their responsibilities and adhere to a high standard in their news and information programs.

Link: Poll reveals Canadians support CBC and CRTC

From a Angus Reid:

Culture, the CBC & the CRTC: both institutions get good marks, but future relevance seen as a challenge
From Dallas to Downton Abbey, our national sense of culture and identity has long and repeatedly been exposed to outside exposure and influence. In spite of this, most consider Canadian culture to be unique, worthy of, and, critically in need of protection to survive.

Those views go some way to explaining why Canadians also hold generally favourable views towards two major Canadian cultural institutions: the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Continue reading.