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CCR Short Takes

News | 02/10/2006 5:00 am EST

CRTC rules on drama development commitments
After its 2004 call for comments on a new English-language television drama production regime (Broadcasting Public Notice 2005-81), the CRTC has ruled on a formula it believes will increase funding for such productions as well as airtime and viewership. The commission wants to see Canadian broadcasters spend 6% of their gross annual revenues on TV drama production five years from now, while the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, understandably, wanted broadcasters to hit that target sooner – three years from now, to be precise. As for viewership, the commission ruled that separate targets should be set for conventional channels and specialty channels: the former will aim for Canadian drama viewing to account for 16.5% of its total drama audience five years from now, which specialty properties are instead instructed to target a 7.5% increase (1.5% each year) from their current levels – which range from 1% to 44% – over the next five years. The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) noted that for conventional broadcasters, the 16.5% target represents a considerable jump from the 2003-2004 average expenditure on English-language Canadian drama of 9.2%. The commission concurred, but pointed to the variety of production funding incentives available as a possible means of achieving the goal. The CAB approved the commission’s 7.5%-over-five-years target for specialty broadcasters, but opined that those at the lower end of the 1%-to-44% range might find achieving such an increase more difficult.

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