Yesterday, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) officially launched the public process for renewing all of CBC/Radio-Canada’s broadcasting licences.
In the Corporation’s application, made public by the Commission last Friday, the national public broadcaster is asking the CRTC for three things:
1. Streamlined regulation that will allow CBC/Radio-Canada to adapt to the interests and requirements of its audiences, as well as the constantly changing broadcasting environment;
2. Stable funding under programs like the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) to continue enhancing the local services it has promised Canadians and that Canadians want;
3. Prominent access to all distribution platforms that Canadians are using, critical given the extent of vertical integration in the broadcasting industry.
The public broadcaster makes an essential contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system. By spending more on Canadian programming than all other conventional broadcasters combined – $683 million compared to $640 million – CBC/Radio-Canada provides critical support for Canadian content and the independent production sector that creates it, contributes to a diversity of voices in the media landscape, and provides distinctive programming available nowhere else and which Canadians are tuning into in record numbers.
“Through our new strategic plan and through our application, we’ve committed to improving the service we offer Canadians over the next five years,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “We’ve promised to provide even more Canadian content than we do today, improve and expand our local television and radio service, and double the investment we make in digital platforms. To deliver on that promise, we need a flexible regulatory framework that will enable our progress, not hold it back.”
It’s been 12 years since CBC/Radio-Canada’s licences were last renewed. During this time, broadcasting technology and consumer demand and expectation have changed exponentially. At the same time, significant vertical integration has occurred in the Canadian broadcasting industry, making the stakes for public broadcasting in Canada very high this time around.
“Canadians have a key role to play in this licence renewal process,” stated Lacroix. “Those who care about public broadcasting in Canada need to get involved. We’re urging Canadians to write to the CRTC to tell them that they support our vision for the future of public broadcasting in Canada.”
Interventions in the licence renewal process can be made to the CRTC until July 28. Formal hearings before the CRTC will begin on September 12.
For more information on CBC/Radio-Canada’s application and to participate in the intervention process, please visit: http://cbc.radio-canada.ca/crtclience