stats
globeinteractive.com: Making the Business of Life Easier

   Finance globeinvestor   Careers globecareers.workopolis Subscribe to The Globe
The Globe and Mail /globeandmail.com
Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space


Search

space
  This site         Tips

  
space
  The Web Google
space
   space



space

  Where to Find It


Breaking News
  Home Page

  Report on Business

  Sports

  Technology

space
Subscribe to The Globe

Shop at our Globe Store


Print Edition
  Front Page

  Report on Business

  National

  International

  Sports

  Arts & Entertainment

  Editorials

  Columnists

   Headline Index

 Other Sections
  Appointments

  Births & Deaths

  Books

  Classifieds

  Comment

  Education

  Environment

  Facts & Arguments

  Focus

  Health

  Obituaries

  Real Estate

  Review

  Science

  Style

  Technology

  Travel

  Wheels

 Leisure
  Cartoon

  Crosswords

  Food & Dining

  Golf

  Horoscopes

  Movies

  Online Personals

  TV Listings/News

 Specials & Series
  All Reports...

space

Services
   Where to Find It
 A quick guide to what's available on the site

 Newspaper
  Advertise

  Corrections

  Customer Service

  Help & Contact Us

  Reprints

  Subscriptions

 Web Site
  Advertise

  E-Mail Newsletters

  Free Headlines

  Globe Store New

  Help & Contact Us

  Make Us Home

  Mobile New

  Press Room

  Privacy Policy

  Terms & Conditions


GiveLife.ca

    

PRINT EDITION
Rivals to face off against Rogers for must-carry multicultural licence
space
space
By SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON
  
  

Email this article Print this article
Monday, November 26, 2018 – Page B1

A coveted TV licence is up for grabs this week, as industry players line up to challenge Rogers Communications Inc. and its OMNI stations for the right to operate multicultural channels with mandatory placement in every basic cable package in Canada.

Such a licence is relatively rare; other must-carry channels include The Weather Network, CPAC and APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network). Mandatory carriage is highly sought-after because of the guaranteed annual subscriber fees that come with it, which are worth millions of dollars per year even though the number of TV subscribers in Canada is declining.

Canada's national regulator is holding a hearing starting on Monday to consider applications from Rogers - which is asking to hold on to the licence - as well as seven others, including Rogers's biggest competitor, Bell Media Inc.

The must-carry licence was granted to Rogers last year, after the company went to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to ask for a lifeline for its money-losing OMNI stations.

Over-the-air channels such as OMNI broadcast for free and subsist on advertising revenues - unlike specialty channels that also earn subscriber fees. However, OMNI's revenues had been falling steadily and by 2015 Rogers was considering shutting down the money-losing stations.

The company slashed two-thirds of OMNI's costs, cutting jobs and replacing newscasts in four languages with cheaper current affairs shows that relied on on-air conversations rather than news segments produced by reporters.

Community groups protested the cutbacks to multilingual news. Rogers's argument to the regulator was that OMNI constituted an essential service that needed the secure funding of mandatory subscriber fees in order to survive.

While the CRTC granted Rogers's request - providing OMNI with fees of 12 cents for each subscriber a month, starting in September of 2017 - the regulator was not satisfied the application "would fully address and reflect the needs and interests of Canada's diverse ethnic and third-language communities." It granted a three-year interim licence to OMNI, and opened up the licence for a multilingual, multi-ethnic TV service to other applicants.

The CRTC will now consider who will operate the must-carry service when OMNI's licence is up in 2020. Applicants will have to show "the exceptional importance" of their proposed services in order to justify mandatory distribution. Rogers has again made the argument that without the subscriber fees from this licence, OMNI is not likely to remain financially viable.

The other applicants are Bell Media, which wants to launch a new multicultural TV service called OurTV; a proposed joint venture by Canadian multicultural broadcasters Telelatino Network Inc. and Asian Television Network International Ltd.; CorrCan Media Group, which publishes an Italian-language newspaper based in Toronto and is led by former federal Liberal cabinet minister Joe Volpe; Evan Kosiner, who proposes a multilingual programming guide for the visually impaired; Independent Community Television Montreal; Ethnic Channels Group, which also distributes a number of international stations in Canada, including Kremlin-controlled news channel RT; and B.C.-based radio broadcaster Amber Broadcasting Inc.

Former OMNI executive Madeline Ziniak, who is chair of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association and part of the Amber Broadcasting team, argues the regulator should not grant the licence to "vertically integrated" companies that own multiple TV channels as well as providing TV, Internet and mobile phone subscriptions.

"It's time to diversify ownership of Canadian media," Ms.

Ziniak said.

"What exists, in our view, is not commensurate to what the needs are of a growing, diverse and complex multicultural society."

Rogers and Bell declined interview requests for this story.

As a condition of the current licence, OMNI must produce half-hour daily newscasts in Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian and Punjabi.

Providing "news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective" will be a key requirement for any applicant for the licence.

Unifor, the union representing workers at OMNI, objected to Rogers subcontracting its Chinese-language newscasts to B.C.based Fairchild TV. The CRTC denied Unifor's request this year that Rogers be required to produce those newscasts in-house, however Unifor is asking the regulator to make that a requirement of the new licence. The union also wants the CRTC to require the licence holder to provide news programming, and not just opinion-based current affairs shows that are cheaper to produce.

"Original news gathering is what we're urging the commission to prioritize," said Howard Law, director of the media sector for Unifor. (The union also represents employees of The Globe and Mail.)

The addition of a new mandatory channel does not increase the price of basic TV packages, which the CRTC has generally capped at $25 a month.

Some TV providers, including Shaw, Telus and Cogeco, have opposed granting another mustcarry licence, arguing such licences should be an exceptional measure.

Associated Graphic

Rogers Communications Inc., whose Toronto building is shown housing a cluster of satellite dishes in 2006, is being challenged for the right to operate mulitcultural channels with mandatory placement in every basic cable package in Canada.

BRIAN KERRIGAN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


Huh? How did I get here?
Return to Main Allan_Maki Page
Subscribe to
The Globe and Mail
 

Email this article Print this article

space  Advertisement
space

Need CPR for your RSP? Check your portfolio’s pulse and lower yours by improving the overall health of your investments. Click here.

Advertisement

7-Day Site Search
    

Breaking News



Today's Weather


Inside

Rick Salutin
Merrily marching
off to war
Roy MacGregor
Duct tape might hold
when panic strikes


Editorial
Where Manley is going with his first budget




space

Columnists



For a columnist's most recent stories, click on their name below.

 National


Roy MacGregor arrow
This Country
space
Jeffrey Simpson arrow
The Nation
space
Margaret Wente arrow
Counterpoint
space
Hugh Winsor  arrow
The Power Game
space
 Business


Rob Carrick arrow
Personal Finance
space
Drew Fagan arrow
The Big Picture
space
Mathew Ingram arrow
space
Brent Jang arrow
Business West
space
Brian Milner arrow
Taking Stock
space
Eric Reguly arrow
To The Point
space
Andrew Willis arrow
Streetwise
space
 Sports


Stephen Brunt arrow
The Game
space
Eric Duhatschek arrow
space
Allan Maki arrow
space
William Houston arrow
Truth & Rumours
space
Lorne Rubenstein arrow
Golf
space
 The Arts


John Doyle arrow
Television
space
John MacLachlan Gray arrow
Gray's Anatomy
space
David Macfarlane arrow
Cheap Seats
space
Johanna Schneller arrow
Moviegoer
space
 Comment


Murray Campbell arrow
Ontario Politics
space
Lysiane Gagnon arrow
Inside Quebec
space
Marcus Gee arrow
The World
space
William Johnson arrow
Pit Bill
space
Paul Knox arrow
Worldbeat
space
Heather Mallick arrow
As If
space
Leah McLaren arrow
Generation Why
space
Rex Murphy arrow
Japes of Wrath
space
Rick Salutin arrow
On The Other Hand
space
Paul Sullivan arrow
The West
space
William Thorsell arrow
space





Home | Business | National | Int'l | Sports | Columnists | The Arts | Tech | Travel | TV | Wheels
space

© 2003 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Help & Contact Us | Back to the top of this page