Tag Archives: AMItv

New AMI TV series explores living in Montreal with a disability

You know AMI, right? It’s that channel that you sometimes stumble on that has TV shows and movies you may be familiar with but quickly learn are being broadcast with open video description.

The channel, which gets 20 cents per TV subscriber per month in English Canada (its French-language sister channel AMI télé gets 28 cents per subscriber per month in French-language markets), is also producing more original programming. Among them is a reality TV series called Montreal Housemates, which began last week.

The premise of the show is simple: Three people with different disabilities and one person who has no limitations at all spend a couple of weeks in a house and go about their day, giving us some insight into what their lives are like.

The half-hour weekly series has 10 episodes, and each episode premieres Wednesdays at 7:30pm. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the episodes are available online yet. UPDATE: Full episodes are now being posted. Here’s Episode 1.

Full disclosure: One of the participants, Chris Kennedy, is a friend of mine. And because AMI doesn’t have the kind of marketing power of Bell Media or Corus Entertainment, I might not have learned about this show if it wasn’t for him.

The series isn’t the most exciting one ever. The first episode is pretty slow going. But if you want to learn a bit about how people deal with physical handicaps, and how inaccessible this city really is, without feeling like you’re in a classroom being lectured to, this is a good resource.

The series might have done better had it been held for six months though. Because it was recorded in January, every outdoor scene is in the freezing snow and cold. It’s a bit jarring to watch that when we’re at the end of June just getting over a heat wave.

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.