What Private TV Broadcasters Spent on Programming, 1995-98 ($ millions)1995199619971998% change 95-98 Total Canadian sources468.7484.3472.0485.93.7Information286.3286.8290.7302.35.6Sports41.755.343.336.8-11.8Drama56.654.658.665.115.0Music/variety28.727.822.625.5-11.1Game shows126.96.36.199.0-74.8Human interest43.254.352.953.223.1Total foreign sources280.9297.7332.5359.828.1Information188.8.131.522.2-19.7Sports4.710.79.74.6-2.1Drama224.3227.5258.6290.129.3Music/variety184.108.40.206.343.2Game shows11.511.512.915.333.0Human interest20.427.331.431.453.9Source: Canadian Culture in Perspective: A Statistical Overview, 2000 Edition; Statistics Canada.Details of Vivendi benefits package expected this monthVivendi Universal is expected later this month to release details of the benefits package it promised Canadian Heritage as part of its acquisition of Seagram Ltd.’s film, television and music operations. Vivendi made mention of the benefits in an appointment notice for Ross Reynolds, who was described as taking on the duty of "overseeing the music portion of funds established by Vivendi Universal as part of the undertakings made to Canadian Heritage…" "We can’t disclose any details of the transaction unilaterally," says Heritage ADM Michael Wernick. "Any undertakings or agreements an investor makes with the government are confidential and they can only be disclosed with the consent of the investor." He adds, "We’re working on the timing and form (of disclosure). There will be some disclosure. The mention in the announcement was a bit premature. Vivendi was supposed to be putting together a comprehensive package of everything because they have a number of businesses - film, television, music, etc. … I expect the disclosure will be this month, but it really is in the company’s hands." Vivendi had not returned numerous phone calls at press time. Star Choice asks CRTCto let it service MUDsStar Choice Television Network Inc has asked the CRTC to amend its licence so it can use fibre to service multiple dwellings, such as condominiums and apartment buildings. Currently, the direct-to-home satellite distributor is prohibited from serving MUDs where distribution facilities cross property lines, public streets or highways. The commission granted Bell ExpressVu a similar licence amendment in September. CRTC wants to go public with information about broadcastersThe CRTC is proposing making more information public about CTV, Global and TVA when their licences come up for renewal later this year. The data include total revenues for 1997 to 2000, actual and potential audience reach, and viewing levels to Canadian and foreign programming by genre from 1997-1999 on the three networks. The genres would include news, sports, drama/comedy, music/dance and variety, and other. Interested parties have until Jan. 29 to file comments on the proposal. Senate review of convergence and new economy on holdThe Senate Subcommittee on Communications’ review of convergence and other issues may be revamped once the group starts sitting again in another month or so. Chaired by Liberal senator Marie-P Poulin, the group has been holding hearings over the past several months to "examine the policy issues for the 2lst century in communications technology, its consequence, competition and the outcome for consumers", including such far-reaching issues as e-commerce, Internet security, Canadian content and the roles of the CRTC, Competition Bureau and Copyright Board. It took a break for the federal election and Christmas, and isn’t expected to resume sitting until mid to late February. "Is it going to be the same members, the same chair, or the exact same study? These are questions we just don’t have an answer to right now," says the sub-committee’s clerk, Catherine Piccinin. Regional offers freedigital boxes in Kirkland LakeRegional Cablesystems Inc is offering free digital cable terminals to all cable customers in Kirkland Lake ON. Its hope is that people who don’t have to pay for the terminal equipment will be more inclined to spend their money on digital packages and pay-per-view movies. Regional will compare penetration rates in Kirkland Lake to cities like Sudbury where subscribers pay for their digital box. Kirkland subscribers will have access to 140 channels with the digital boxes versus the current 47 channels. The experiment is costing Regional $2.1 million, and the company has set aside another $1.4 million for a system upgrade later this year. Cogeco Cable to lay off 150 employees Cogeco Cable Inc is laying off 150 full-time employees and about 25 contract workers in response to lower than anticipated first-quarter financial results. Net income excluding unusual items was $0.4 million, or $0.01 per share, for the first quarter of the 2001 fiscal year ending Nov. 30, compared to $5.2 million, or $0.16 per share, during the same period last year. As of Nov. 20, the company reported having 870,363 basic customers, 81,364 high-speed Internet customers and 97,921 customers for its bundled services. Stornoway dots i’s to seal deal with Cable Systems AllianceStornoway Communications Inc has finalized a deal with the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance, which will see its recently licensed digital specialty channels being carried on CCSA’s 91 member cable companies. The agreement was presented to the CRTC during licensing hearings, but was cemented only after Stornoway won licences for its Category 1 Issues Channel, and three Category 2 channels — The Dance Channel, @work.ca and the Pet Network. Stornoway president Martha Fusca says the CCSA will pay the monthly wholesale asking price of 35 cents per subscriber for Issues and @work.ca, and 30 cents for the dance and pets channels. "The CCSA spent a lot of time going through the programming and the channel concepts so they were obviously sold on the idea that we could get these kinds of subscription rates and we believe that they aren’t untoward," Fusca told CCR. BCE merges broadcast, print and Internet businessesBCE Inc has officially merged its newspaper, broadcasting and Internet businesses under a new company, following a decision by the Competition Bureau to not challenge the acquisitions. The telecom giant closed its media deal Jan. 19 with Thomson Corp to create Bell Globemedia, the assets of which include CTV, its Sympatico/Lycos portal, and The Globe and Mail and related web sites. The new company - which is 70.1% owned by BCE, 20% by Thomson and 9.9% by Woodbridge Co Ltd - will have assets of about $4 billion. Ivan Fecan is its president and CEO. After reviewing BCE ’s acquisition of The Globe, the Competition Bureau concluded it was "not likely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition" since newspapers, the Internet and television, in the bureau’s view, are currently not direct competitors. Rogers applies to drop CTV’s Toronto stationRogers Cablesystems Ontario Ltd and Rogers Cable Inc have asked the CRTC to allow it to drop CTV’s Toronto station CFTO-TV in Guelph and Kitchener/Grand River ON. Rogers says the CTV Kitchener station CKCO-TV, which it is also required to carry under priority carriage rules, offers virtually the same programming as the Toronto station.