No ad money for Only Imagine

It was the third attempt in the past four years by a company hoping to get regulatory approval for selling ads in the local avails of non-Canadian programming. Result? 0 for 3.

The CRTC has denied Toronto-based Only Imagine’s application to start selling ads in the local avails of 10 US satellite programming services – the two minutes per hour of air time broadcasting distributors currently use for their own regionally relevant promos. Only Imagine’s application for a seven-year licence would have given it the power to sell ads on top US nets coming in by satellite, such as CNN, A&E, TBS and Spike – while pumping 50% of its revenue back into the production of Canadian drama.

The application went to the Commission hearings in January, drawing harsh protest from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and other industry players (see MiC‘s Jan. 25 coverage). Overall, the CRTC received 20 interventions in support of the application (from producers and advertisers), 16 against (from Canadian and US distributors and programming services) and a few independent comments. The CRTC said Only Imagine’s proposal would require intrusive and unjustified changes to policy and current licences, and wouldn’t really benefit the Canadian broadcasting system.

It wasn’t the first time the CRTC has turned down an app for access to the local avails. The regulator said no to similar proposals in 2003 and 2005.