Michael Scott has been named as executive producer of the National Film Board’s Prairie Centre, based in Winnipeg. He has been Western Centre animation producer since rejoining the NFB in 2002, and he will continue these duties in his new position. He first began working for the NFB in 1966, but left in 1989 to work in the private sector.
CRTC agrees to allow Fox News, NFL Network into Canada
The CRTC on November 18 granted the U.S. cable news network Fox News and the football TV channel NFL Network permission to be distributed in Canada on a digital basis (CCR, April 22/04). The commission determined that the two U.S. services were not partially or totally competitive with any Canadian pay or specialty channels in keeping with current regulatory rules. In comparing Fox News to the Canadian specialty news channels, CBC Newsworld and CTV Newsnet, the commission found, "…While all of these services offer coverage of major world news stories of the day, Fox News offers little or no Canadian coverage. CTV Newsnet and CBC Newsworld, both of which have high Canadian content requirements, provide coverage of many Canadian news events from various parts of the country throughout the day. The commission also notes that Fox News is not a program supplier to either of Canada’s licensed, English-language, specialty news services…" The CRTC also determined "that the programming offered by NFL Network would complement rather than compete with licensed (Canadian) pay and specialty sports services."
Rogers Cable Inc. is lashing out at the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) over its push to treat them differently than direct-to-home satellite TV distributors when it comes to compensation for time-shifted signals. "We are seeking parity with DTH," Rogers Cable VP of regulatory affairs Pamela Dinsmore tells Canadian Communications Reports. "There’s no reason that the CAB should be getting Rogers to pay a monthly rate, the equivalent of $2 per month per subscriber, for its carriage of distant Canadian signals when DTH is paying 30 cents or less."
The CRTC has adopted a modified version of the United States’ WGN criteria to define what interactive television (iTV) content is program-related, but an executive at Pelmorex says there are still many grey areas. Paul Temple, senior VP of corporate development at Pelmorex – which started the CRTC process by applying for a licence amendment in 2001 that would make interactivity an integral part of it’s The Weather Network and MétéoMédia channels (CCR, July 4/01) – says the uncertainty centres not around the definition of what is program-related but rather defining what iTV content distributors must carry.
CBC president and CEO Robert Rabinovitch vowed that the public broadcaster would expand its regional services when he appeared this week before a House of Commons standing committee determining whether he should be granted an extension of his tenure. Rabinovitch appeared November 15 before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage marking the first time that the head of the public broadcaster, or any Crown corporation, required Parliamentary approval for an extension to his term. Rabinovitch came under heavy pressure by the same committee in 2000, though with different members, when he cut regional news programming – something he claimed was fiscally necessary at the time (CCR, July 6/2000). Saying that any cuts by the federal government to the CBC’s budget would ultimately affect programming, Rabinovitch said he would not trim regional shows any further.
Despite a high profile CRTC licensing hearing and extensive media coverage, a small percentage of adult Canadians are aware that domestic satellite radio services may be made available in this country, according to a new survey by Decima Research Inc. This suggests the Canadian groups vying to offer satellite radio services across the country will have their work cut out for them in marketing and selling their services – at least initially.
A Rogers Cable executive contends that a recent CRTC decision on inside wiring will mean that landlords will be forced to wire their own buildings, while rival Bell ExpressVu counters that the decision will knock down barriers for new competitors offering TV services in the multiple unit dwelling (MUD) market.
Wireless association applauds FCC ruling on VoIP
CTIA-The Wireless Association is lauding the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to maintain federal jurisdiction over Voice over IP services. The CTIA says that the FCC’s action recognizes the potential harm that multi-jurisdictional oversight could have of VoIP. Steve Largent, president and CEO of the CTIA, says, "Much like wireless, one of the primary benefits of IP-enabled services is its ability to deliver data to a consumer at anytime, in any place, from any location with broadband access. CTIA strongly agrees that such services should be free to develop under a single, unified regulatory framework, unencumbered by conflicting state public utility regulations. Furthermore, the competitive and innovative forces driving IP-enabled service to the marketplace will – like wireless service – provide consumers with more choices and lower prices."