Film and TV creators say we’ll see fewer Canadian shows because of renewals approved this week
By Jessica Wong, Senior On-Line Arts Reporter, CBC News May 17, 2017
Critics fear this week’s CRTC decision to set PNI investment at five per cent will ultimately lead to fewer high-quality Canadian programs, like the acclaimed hit series Orphan Black. (Space/Canadian Press)
At issue is funding for “programs of national interest” (PNI), part of the Canadian programming broadcasters are required to fund.
The PNI designation covers drama, scripted series, documentaries and awards shows honouring Canadian culture — areas that have traditionally been difficult to finance, but which the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission had deemed worthy of specific support.
On Monday, as part of the five-year licence renewals of broadcasters Bell, Corus and Rogers, the CRTC set the trio’s minimum PNI expenditure requirement at five per cent of revenue. Currently the broadcasters spend from nine to 10 per cent on PNI.
Unions representing Canadian actors, screenwriters, directors and producers have blasted the decision as a devastating roll back that will lead to dramatically reduced investment in Canadian production.
“The CRTC got it right when they said that, in the digital world, broadcasters need to invest in innovative content that stands out in a global marketplace. So why let broadcasters slash their investments in distinctive, original content by $200 million over five years?” Directors Guild of Canada national president Tim Southam said in a statement.
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