To encourage producers and broadcasters to focus their spending on quality, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is substantially reducing the number of hours each day that must be filled with Canadian content. But it will keep half of the prime time evening schedule earmarked for Canadian programs on local networks.
The national broadcast regulator said Thursday it was cutting the quota for the ratio of Canadian programs that local TV stations must broadcast during the day from 55 per cent to zero. That’s a recognition that stations have sometimes been broadcasting the same program episodes many times over the course of a day, or even over years, simply to satisfy the old Cancon rule.
“Television quotas are an idea that is wholly anachronistic in the age of abundance and in a world of choice,” CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a lunch address to the Canadian Club of Ottawa.
But during weekday prime time — 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. — the requirement that 50 per cent of programming must be Canadian will be maintained.
Broadcasters will still have to spend a certain portion of their revenues on producing Canadian TV content, but will be able to concentrate those dollars on a smaller number of shows if they choose to. The regulator is also scrapping a rule that protected many niche channels from direct competition in a bid to open up competition between channels.
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