At today’s CRTC hearings on the future of the Canadian Television Fund (CTF), actors joined producers, writers and directors to release results from a new poll showing that a strong majority (71%) of Canadians believe it is important to have access to Canadian television programming distinct from American programs. The poll also reveals that an overwhelming majority of Canadians feel the government and cable and satellite TV companies should invest resources to help ensure that Canadians have access to television programs that reflect Canada and its people.
The Harris/Decima poll shows that not only is it important to Canadians to have access to Canadian programming that distinguishes itself from foreign programs, they also want to be able to choose programming that reflects national identity. Over three-quarters of Canadians (78%) say that it is important to them to have a choice of television programs that reflect Canadian society, values, and perspectives.
The CTF plays an important and ongoing role in the funding of Canadian television programming. Respondents were informed via the survey that the “federal government spends a fraction of a percent of its budget on the Canadian Television Fund, which is a national program that helps finance the production of Canadian television programs.” When asked their views after being provided with this information, fully 86% agree that the government should make this investment to help ensure that Canadians have access to Canadian TV programs that reflect Canada and its people. Respondents were also informed that cable and satellite TV providers are required to contribute a small percentage of their revenues to the CTF in return for certain protections and benefits they receive as part of their broadcast licenses. More than three-quarters (82%) of Canadians agree with this policy. These results demonstrate that Canadians strongly support the investment the Government of Canada and cable and satellite TV providers make towards the CTF.
“An overwhelming majority of Canadians want and support Canadian television programming that reflects their lives,” said Guy Mayson, President and CEO, CFTPA. “As producers, we work with Canadian actors, directors and writers to bring to life Canadian stories – stories that would be impossible to be told without the assistance of the Canadian Television Fund.”
“The poll reveals what we’ve always known: given the chance, our industry makes great television that Canadians watch – from Little Mosque on the Prairie, Slings and Arrows and ReGenesis, to Annie et ses Hommes, Les Lavigueur, and Ramdam. Canadians want our stories reflected on their television screens, and with a little help from the CTF they can become huge successes,” said Richard Hardacre ACTRA National President.
“We have our own stories, our own perspectives, and a sense of humour that is world- renowned,” said Maureen Parker, Executive Director, Writers Guild of Canada. “Canadian writers and Canadian programs succeed by telling stories that speak to and captivate our own national audiences. These stories also resonate with audiences internationally. We achieve this with thanks in part to the essential funding support the industry receives from the Canadian Television Fund.”
“Television has great power to communicate meaningfully and directly with Canadians and, as we’ve established here today, that communication runs both ways,” said Alan Goluboff, President, Directors Guild of Canada. “Canadians want to hear their own voices, see their own faces and share in their common experiences. With CTF support and the tremendous talent in our production community we are able to deliver that programming and offer audiences more choice.”
Representatives from the Canadian television production industry are in Ottawa to voice their support for the continuation of the public-private partnership that is the Canadian Television Fund. The CRTC is holding hearings on the future of the Fund. The CTF is funded in part by the Department of Canadian Heritage and in part through a small percentage of revenues from cable and satellite providers. The CTF allocates funding envelopes through a specific funding formula to Canadian broadcasters. Television producers then apply for funding to create and produce their programs.
The Harris/Decima poll was commissioned by DGC, WGC, ACTRA, and CFTPA. It was conducted between January 10 and January 21, 2008 via Harris/Decima’s weekly teleVox omnibus survey. 2,038 people were surveyed across Canada over a two-week period. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.