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article imageCRTC eases burden on cash-strapped Canadian networks

By Tamara Baluja     Feb 20, 2009 in Business
Canada's broadcast regulator announced a new kind of television license designed to give some of the country's cash-strapped small-market TV stations some relief in an economic downturn.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the nation's broadcast regulator announced a new kind of television license designed to give some of the country's cash-strapped small-market TV stations some relief in an economic downturn.
The move comes in advance of license renewal hearings for Canada's largest broadcasters, including Global and CTV, which have argued to the regulator that small-market TV is struggling.
The licence renewal process would be split into three phases.
Phase 1 will begin in September and determine how to help the conventional television sector get through this economic downturn. Short-term license renewals valid for one year are expected to emerge from these hearings.
Phase 2, beginning in the summer, will begin the process of re-thinking the whole licensing system to reflect the industrial reality. As part of Phase 3, a combined hearing will be held in April 2010 for specialty and conventional television and assign privileges and obligations on that new ownership basis.
The CRTC cited several reasons for the new process, including the global economic crisis and the diminished role of conventional TV. Described in no uncertain terms, the aim of the April hearings are to “ensure the survival of the private conventional sector”, and to see how it can continue to make a valuable contribution.
The CRTC is also considering the possibility of trying to impose Canadian content rules on the movies and videos found online. With 93 per cent of Canadian households having broadband access and anyone being able to watch videos and television shows, play games and listen to music online, the CRTC has decided to revisit the issue.
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