The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released details of the incentive program it is adopting to increase the amount of original English-language Canadian television drama broadcast on Canadian television and to encourage greater viewing and higher expenditures on such programs.
Broadcasters who choose to take advantage of this incentive program will apply for conditions of licence that will allow them to broadcast additional minutes of advertising if they meet the Commission’s criteria as set out below:
1) Incentives to increase the production and broadcast of Canadian drama: Broadcasters will earn the right to broadcast between 30 seconds and 8 minutes of additional advertising for each hour of original Canadian drama they broadcast. The exact amount of additional advertising is dependant upon such factors as the level of Canadian participation in the production, the budget required to produce the drama, the time of broadcast, and the source of the funding.
2) Incentive to increase viewing of Canadian drama: If broadcasters increase their audience share for Canadian drama by a pre-determined amount, they will be entitled to increase the total additional amount of advertising they broadcast by 25%.
3) Incentive to increase expenditures on the production of Canadian drama: If broadcasters increase their spending on Canadian drama by a pre-determined amount, they will be able to increase the additional amount of advertising they broadcast by another 25%.
While there is no limit to the number of additional advertising minutes that may be earned under the incentive program, broadcasters may not air more than 14 minutes of advertising in any given hour.
For the largest English-language broadcasters, the incentives will apply only to qualifying drama in excess of 26 hours per year, except for drama programs that do not receive funding from the Canadian Television Fund. Those programs will also enjoy the greatest additional advertising minutes. This will encourage broadcasters to invest directly in the creation of new independently-produced drama projects.
The Commission estimates that, for the largest broadcasters, each minute of advertising is worth approximately $80,000 when placed in popular U.S. prime time programs. Such programs already contain at least 15 minutes of time available for advertising per hour. Given the 12 minute advertising limit in Canada, these additional minutes are used for public service announcements and the promotion of Canadian programs.
The Commission will be issuing another public notice in which it will explain the measures adopted to maintain the presence of high quality original French-language drama in peak viewing hours.
Today’s public notice completes the process undertaken by the Commission to support Canadian drama. It began in May of 2003 with the publication of three reports on the status of Canadian and international drama. The Commission then issued a call for comments to help it find ways to encourage Canadian television drama, followed by a call for comments on the incentives it proposed for that purpose.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.
For more information, please visit the C.R.T.C.’s website: http://www.crtc.gc.ca.