CRTC’s mandatory carriage decisions: Mostly status quo

The CRTC’s long-awaited decision on mandatory carriage came out today. While everyone’s attention was on Sun News Network, which was denied a mandatory carriage order but thrown a bone with a review of rules concerning the distribution of Canadian news channels — see my analysis of that decision here — there were a bunch of decisions here. For the most part, proposals for new services were denied and existing services were renewed, some at slightly higher rates.

The exceptions are these:

  • TV5’s proposal for mandatory distribution across Canada, in exchange for providing a second feed focused on francophone communities outside Quebec, was approved
  • AMItv Français, a French-language described video service that would be a sister network to AMItv, was approved
  • The Nunavut and Northwest Territories’ request for mandatory distribution of their parliamentary channel on Bell and Shaw satellite services was approved
  • ARTV has been awarded an order requiring all digital cable providers offer the service to subscribers, though that can be on a discretionary basis, and at a negotiated rate
  • Avis de recherche was denied renewal of its mandatory distribution order, though it is being given until Aug. 31, 2015, to work out a new business model if it wants to stay alive

Here, in chart form, is what was proposed and what the CRTC decided for each channel:

Channel Description Language Current fee Requested fee Approved fee Conditions Notes
ACCENTS Francophone minority communities French N/A $0.25 Denied Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
All Points Bulletin Police bulletins English N/A $0.06 (E) Denied Licence renewed as non-mandatory service
AMI-audio Readings of news articles English $0.04 (E) $0.04 (E) $0.04 (E) Licence renewed
AMItv Described video English $0.20 (E), $0 (F) $0.20 (E), $0 (F) $0.20 (E), $0 (F) Licence renewed
AMItv Français Described video French N/A $0 (E), $0.30 (F) $0 (E), $0.28 (F) New licence approved
APTN Aboriginal English, French and Aboriginal languages $0.25 $0.40 $0.31 Licence renewed
ARTV Arts and culture French N/A N/A N/A Service has access rights across Canada, but remains discretionary Licence was renewed as part of larger CBC licence renewals
Avis de recherche Police bulletins French $0.06 $0.08 $0.06 Service remains mandatory only in Quebec, only until Aug. 31, 2015 Licence renewed as non-mandatory service until 2020
Canadian Punjabi Network Punjabi programs Punjabi N/A $0 Denied Had requested mandatory distribution only in areas with high Punjabi-speaking population. Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
Canal M Audio reading service French $0.02 (F) $0.04 (F) $0.02 (F) Licence renewed
CPAC House of Commons and other public affairs programming English and French $0.11 $0.12 $0.12 Licence renewed
Described Video Guide Audio service of described video programming information English N/A $0.02 (E) Denied Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
Dolobox User-generated content English N/A $0.06 to $0.08 Denied Service remains licenced but has yet to launch
EqualiTV Programming about people with disabilities English N/A $0.25 Denied Service remains licenced but has yet to launch
FUSION Youth/user-generated content English N/A $0.32 (E), $0.16 (F) Denied Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
IDNR-TV Natural resources English/French N/A $0 Denied Licence renewed as non-mandatory service
Legislative assemblies of Nunavut and NWT Legislative hearings English/other N/A $0 $0 Applies only to satellite services Terrestrial distributors in the territories already carry these channels
Maximum Television Video-on-demand English N/A N/A Denied Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
Starlight Canadian movies English N/A $0.40 Denied Licence denied as it was dependent on mandatory distribution
Sun News Right-wing news English N/A $0.18 (E), $0.09 (F) Denied The CRTC is looking at setting new rules about distribution of Canadian news channels. Will continue as non-mandatory service
TV5 and TV5 UNIS Francophones outside Quebec French N/A $0.30 $0.28 (F), $0.24 (E) Both channels combined must produce at least 50% Canadian content; Order comes into effect only after TV5 UNIS’s launch Dissenting opinion from Candice Molnar saying service does not qualify for distribution order. Licence renewed
Vision TV Faith programming English N/A $0.12 Denied Licence renewed as non-mandatory service
TOTAL $0.60 (E), $0.44 (F) $2.72 (E), $2.47 (F) $0.91 (E), $1.07 (F) New distribution orders in effect until Aug. 31, 2018.

(F) denotes fees in markets with a majority francophone population, and (E) denotes all other markets. For simplicity, I’ve included Quebec-only distribution orders as French-language markets, though the two definitions are not identical.

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of mandatory carriage channels. CBC News Network (in French-language markets), RDI (in English-language markets) and The Weather Network/MétéoMédia also have mandatory distribution at non-zero rates.

UPDATE: L’Express Ottawa speaks to the people behind ACCENTS, who say the CRTC’s decision was flawed and they don’t believe TV5 will properly fulfill the mandate of giving a voice to francophones outside of Quebec.

9 thoughts on “CRTC’s mandatory carriage decisions: Mostly status quo

  1. Marc

    Pretty much what I figured would happen. Very close, but not quite, the giant red X I thought was coming. Time for Michael Coren & co. to start revising their CVs.

    Reply
  2. MacGuffin

    I tried Sun News for a month just out of curiosity. The ideological stuff was exactly what I expected, but the station was just plain bad.

    Someone explain why I am forced to pay for Game TV while we’re at it. A more pointless channel has never existed.

    I don’t think the government should force anything on us anymore regardless.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Someone explain why I am forced to pay for Game TV while we’re at it.

      I believe GameTV is distributed with either no or a very low wholesale rate, so you’re not really paying for it. Nobody forces cable companies to add it to their basic package.

      Reply
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