The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.
The Independent Members of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (IMCAIP) does not buy arguments by Rogers Cable Inc. that announcements it made about how to convert from its @home service to @rogers were not promos. The group contends the cableco promoted its Internet service in violation of CRTC rules. An excerpt of the group’s response to Rogers’ claims that were filed to the CRTC on January 29 follow.
Former broadcast executive Jim Thompson is the new CEO of the Canadian Olympic Association. He was president of specialty sports channel TSN and NetStar Communications. Prior to that, he worked at the CBC, serving as executive producer of the CBC’s broadcast of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and as the first executive producer of CBC Sports Weekend. He assumes the new position on March 4.
Craig disputes CHUM’s claim it’s not adhering to conditions
Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. disputes allegations by CHUM Ltd. that it breached its licence conditions for its Category 1 digital channel MTV Canada (previously known as Connect) by devoting more than 10% of its air time to music content. CHUM contends that Craig is using its relationship with Viacom Inc. to turn its teen channel into a competitor to MuchMusic. In a response to CHUM’s complaint, Craig tells the CRTC that CHUM is involved in "turf protection" and that it "unrealistically dissected" MTV’s programming, which includes many genres, in filing the grievance. Craig says that it is sticking to its conditions of licence and that CHUM has no concrete evidence to the contrary. In a January 9 filing to the CRTC, Toronto-based CHUM accuses Calgary-based Craig of threatening the "integrity of the commission’s licensing process" by using its licence for Connect to launch MTV. "…Craig Broadcasting has, in CHUM’s submission, breached the very promises and commitments made to the commission that were central to Craig Broadcasting receiving that Category 1 licence," writes Peter Miller, CHUM Television’s VP of business and regulatory affairs.
Liberal Senator Laurier LaPierre says a Senate committee study of ownership concentration in the media would prevent the issue from getting lost in a wide-ranging study by a House of Commons committee. Included in the mandate of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s current review of the relevance of the Broadcasting Act is the effect of media cross ownership.
With the House of Commons committee reviewing the Broadcasting Act set to reconvene hearings January 31, industry players say it is becoming increasingly evident that the committee has neither the expertise nor the focus to effect any substantial changes. While the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is supposed to be hearing concerns of the broadcasting sector, most of the presentations to date have been devoted to educating committee members about basic industry concepts (CCR, Nov. 22/01, Nov. 9/01).
The cable industry wants the CRTC to ensure that Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. (MTS) doesn’t subsidize the rollout of its proposed broadcast distribution service with financing from its utility operations. The Canadian Cable Television Association (CCTA) warns that MTS’ earnings in excess of 16 per cent on its utility segment provide it with the resources to do just that.
Broadcasters are stepping up efforts to convince the federal government to eliminate legislative hurdles that prevent millions in big pharma dollars from flowing into their advertising coffers each year. The president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says his group has made the issue a top priority because it’s important to keep the ball rolling after having made significant progress on the matter under former Health minister Allan Rock.