CRTC releases two reports on new media

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission's reports discuss regulatory policy solutions and Canadian broadcasting.

This week, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission released both an independent report prepared by Eli Noam (professor of economics and finance at the Columbia Business School) and an overview of an online consultation on the new media industry.

The first report TV or Not TV: Three Screens, One Regulation provides an analysis of the Canadian new media broadcasting industry and discusses possible regulatory policy solutions. Noam’s conclusions are that since most next-generation media applications will run over the internet, therefore, the regulatory rules for the internet become the rules for much of the media system as a whole.

Specifically, Noam’s report concludes: Regulatory treatment for television over the three screens should be harmonized, and the rules for television content will be essentially those of film: free in content and diversity, but supported by public funding or direct production and distribution. This public funding would be created by: an excise tax on ISPs and carriers that would be harmonized with the existing levy on cable and satellite TV providers; and the use of spectrum sales revenues into a special trust fund.

The report’s conclusions also state: a system of infrastructure will emerge that operates with common carrier elements or similar but self-regulatory mechanisms to assure the absence of gatekeeping. At the end of this process, television-specific regulation would have largely disappeared in content while that of telecom endures in the conduit.

The second report consists of data taken from an online consultation (held from May 15 to June 15) on Canadian broadcasting in new media, which was compiled by Nanos Research.

Both reports were commissioned to provide background information for the upcoming public hearing on new media.