CRTC turns down Slice

Cancon and spending requirements will stay as is, Canwest channel told.

The CRTC has turned down a bid by Slice to reduce its annual Cancon requirements to 60% from the current 82.5%. The regulator also rejected the specialty channel’s request to spend just 45% of the previous year’s gross revenues on Canadian content, down from 71%.

Owner Canwest Communications argued that Slice’s programming expenditures and its Canadian content requirements were the highest of all specialty channels, and that the channel had lost $5.5 million in operating income from 2005. The broadcaster’s seven-year projections also showed an operating profit of between -8.3% and 2.2% beginning in 2010.

However, the CRTC ruled that Canwest was well aware of these commitments when it acquired the channel in 2007, and the requirements are a result of a competitive licensing process.

Canwest also stated it was applying for the licence amendment in advance of group-based licensing so that it would not ‘get lost.’ The CRTC ruled, however, the upcoming group licensing is the more appropriate place to deal with the matter.

Creative organizations such as the Writers Guild, Directors Guild, CFTPA and ACTRA intervened, arguing that the application was premature.

From Playback Daily