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CCR Update

News | 02/07/2005 5:00 am EST

Foreign services should have to apply for changes in licence conditions: CAB
The president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) says that foreign services should have to appear before the CRTC to seek regulatory approval for changes to their channels, just as Canadian services do. Glenn O’Farrell’s comments followed the CRTC’s decision that there was insufficient evidence that Viacom-owned SpikeTV was competitive with any Canadian specialty or pay TV service and could continue to be carried in Canada (CCR, Jan. 28/05). “Take the case of a Canadian service. If it decided to change the nature of its service as spelled out in its licence, it would have to go back to the commission and explain what it proposed to do, how it would do so, and seek commission approval. If the commission is not prepared to do that for non-Canadian services, that certainly creates an imbalance,” O’Farrell told Canadian Communications Reports. “We would argue that imbalance isn’t in the public interest nor is it good public policy. So we suggest that the commission in licensing any new services be very, very diligent in looking at the terms and conditions that that service is operating under, and the possible alterations that could be made. That’s a very difficult and subjective exercise, but nonetheless applying more diligence to the entry phase will give everyone a little more comfort with the process and ultimately what may be approved as new foreign services in Canada because we continue to think it is a good system when we have a good balance between strong Canadian players and strong non-Canadian players and consumer choice is afforded in those circumstances.”

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