CCR Update

Cablecos likely to continue calls for relaxed foreign ownership rules today before Parliamentary committee
Canada's major cable operators are expected to continue their call for relaxing foreign ownership restrictions in the cable industry today before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which has resumed its review of the Canadian broadcasting system. Scheduled to appear before the committee are Canadian Cable Television Association president and CEO Janet Yale, Shaw Communications Inc. CEO Jim Shaw, Rogers Cable Inc. president and CEO John Tory, and Cogeco Inc. president and CEO Louis Audet. The cable industry is also eager to participate in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology's upcoming review of foreign ownership restrictions in the telecommunications sector (CCR, Nov. 22/02).

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Radwanski responds to access proposals as “unjustifiable deterioration” of rights

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, George Radwanski, sent the following letter to the Honourable Martin Cauchon, Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Wayne Easter, Solicitor General of Canada, and the Honourable Allan Rock, Minister of Industry, regarding the "Lawful Access" proposals. The following is an edited excerpt.

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CNM Short Takes

Seizing the Digital Future
UCLA researcher Jeffrey Cole was in Ottawa November 6 to address a gathering of Ottawa communications lawyers and other industry representatives on the subject of broadband connectivity. Cole presented unreleased numbers from the school’s latest Internet Report, which he says back up his thesis that the Internet will be "far more significant than television." Always on access, he noted, will be key to consumers’ use of the web for information searching and, increasingly, entertainment downloads. The chart below illustrates that the longer a user has been online, the more likely they are to spend greater time using the Internet.

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Federal reports detail Internet stats and Canadian Heritage spending in 2002

Two recently released reports from Ottawa, the CRTC’s Broadcasting Policy Monitoring Report and Canadian Heritage’s Performance Report, provide a detailed snapshot of Canadian Internet use and government spending in the sector.

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Kodak lecture series online at Ryerson

Staff at Ryerson Polytechnic University is hoping to integrate a new Industry Canada-funded web site into a proposed graduate studies program in film preservation to be launched at the school next year. The site, built around the ongoing Kodak Lecture Series in photography and new media, has just been launched, featuring multimedia clips of speakers and their works, and an extensive database of supplementary information.

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Major record labels change royalty structures in response to sector pressures

Moves by two recording industry giants to overhaul their royalty structures will likely be followed by the three remaining labels, experts suggest, as the sector struggles to make its offerings more attractive to recording artists and the public alike. In recent weeks, both Universal and BMG have announced the elimination of certain charges withheld from artists and higher royalty rates for downloaded music in an apparent effort to reduce bureaucratic overhead and become perceived as more artist friendly.

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Broadcasters seek show properties with online component conceived from start

Independent producers will have to bring fully conceived ideas for converged TV shows/web properties to broadcasters if they want to sell their products, an industry group recently heard at a workshop on marketing web sites. Several broadcasters from around the world made the pitch for more integrated show ideas at the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund’s Driving Traffic, Website Marketing: Online and Offline Strategies workshop November 20 in Toronto.

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BCE puts ComboBox on hold as executives re-think convergence strategy

The much-publicized Bell ExpressVu ComboBox has been quietly put on hold for the foreseeable future putting the long-term plans of a key BCE Inc. convergence initiative in limbo. BCE officials won’t comment beyond a brief response to Canadian NEW MEDIA’s inquiries, but the move to delay the introduction of the ComboBox into the Canadian marketplace is in line with other recent cost-cutting moves by the telecom giant under new president and CEO Michael Sabia. Keith Kocho, president of Extend Media – which had been tapped to deliver new applications for the convergence box – confirms, however, that a Canadian launch has been delayed for at least several quarters.

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