The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.
Work remains to be done on piracy front
Well done, Bell ExpressVu. You have single-handedly carried the grey market dispute all the way to the Supreme Court and won. It was a long and often lonely fight and you prevailed. You deserve the thanks of everyone in the broadcasting industry.
Alexander Himelfarb has been appointed clerk of the Privy Council, effective May 13. He has over 20 years of experience in the public service, including most recently as deputy minister of Canadian Heritage. He has held that position since June 1999. Judith LaRocque, currently associate deputy minister of Canadian Heritage, has been promoted to fill the position Himelfarb is vacating. As well, Michael Wernick, currently assistant deputy minister of cultural affairs at Canadian Heritage, becomes associate deputy minister at the department.
CCR Short Takes
Fecan says Bell Globemedia hasn’t given up on convergence
Bell Globemedia president and CEO Ivan Fecan says he hasn’t given up on convergence. "In terms of where I see it going is I see a continuum," he told delegates at the New Developments in Communications Law and Policy conference on April 26. He likened convergence to research and development, indicating that it would take a number of applied experiments over time before the convergence applications that really have strength are found. "I think we need to go down that route (toward convergence) and find out," he said. Parent company BCE Inc.’s television, print, and Internet convergence strategy has been questioned recently, particularly following the surprise resignation of Jean Monty, BCE chair and CEO (CCR, April 25/02). Monty was the architect of Bell Globemedia.
Lack of wide distribution of some Category 2s could lead to demise of new broadcasters
Senior CRTC staff question whether the failure of new broadcast players to get wide distribution of their Category 2 channels might lead to their demise. In a paper presented at the New Developments in Communications Law and Policy conference in Ottawa on April 26, Martine Vallée and John Traversy note that with a couple of exceptions, the Category 2s of existing specialty broadcasters have wide distribution, while those operated by companies new to broadcasting tend to have limited distribution.
Local ownership was always an issue in Vancouver ethnic TV process: Multivan
Following the publication of the article below, CCR learned that the federal Cabinet dismissed the appeals calling for a review of the granting of a licence for an over-the-air ethnic station to Multivan Broadcast Corporation. In Order in Council P.C. 2002-779, dated May 8, the government declined to set aside Decision 2002-39 or refer it back to the CRTC. “Multivan can now get down to business,” says Multivan’s counsel Greg Kane. Cabinet considered the petitions but was “not satisfied that that decision derogates from the attainment of the objectives of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1) of the Broadcasting Act”.
CBC, private broadcasters oppose CPAC’s licence renewal proposals
The Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) is facing opposition to its licence renewal application from both the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and private broadcasters as it was appearing at press time at a CRTC public hearing. The CBC and the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) are objecting to CPAC being granted dual status, expanded programming categories, and a wholesale rate.
Quebecor argues its subsidiary is not subject to CRTC rules on inside wiring
A defiant Quebecor Media Inc. appeared before the CRTC last month, continuing to argue that a subsidiary that took over the inside wiring of multi-unit dwellings (MUDs) in Quebec is not subject to commission rules. In an opening statement at a public hearing into the matter, counsel Robert Buchan from the law firm Johnston & Buchan noted that the commission dropped facilities ownership requirements in the new Broadcasting Distribution Regulations that came into force in January 1998. As a result, he argued that Quebecor Media unit Vidéotron ltée could legitimately sell its inside wiring to another subsidiary, Câblage QMI Inc. (CQMI).
Bureau, Asper disagree on need for foreign investment in Canadian broadcast system
Two senior Canadian broadcasting executives are divided on whether or not foreign ownership rules for broadcasting companies should be loosened. At the New Developments in Communications Law and Policy conference in Ottawa on April 27, Astral Media chair André Bureau argued for the status quo, saying that foreign companies would invest with the sole purpose of generating profits at the expense of Canadian content. On the other hand, CanWest Global Communications Corp. president and CEO Leonard Asper said broadcasters need access to foreign dollars to implement new and emerging technologies and to invest in new content.
Radiocommunication Act lacks “teeth”, needs changes, says ExpressVu lawyer
Despite the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision confirming that grey and black market satellite TV are illegal, changes are still needed to the Radiocommunication Act to help combat grey and black market activities, according to the winning lawyer in the case. Bill McKenzie, legal counsel to Bell ExpressVu LP in its fight against grey and black market dealers, points out that under the current legislation, it is cumbersome to apply punishment.