Canada rebuffs broadcasters on fee-for-carriage

Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:48pm EDT
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Canada's TV regulator on Thursday said no to a proposal that would have forced Canadian cable and satellite TV operators to pay domestic over-the-air broadcasters to carry their signals.

But the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said that it will allow conventional broadcasters to negotiate payments for the retransmission of their signals to other provinces, also known as time-shifting.

The decisions come as part of the CRTC's long-awaited review of the domestic TV industry.

Conventional broadcasters had earlier urged the CRTC to force consumers to begin paying for over-the-air TV signals they currently receive for free.

Canadians may still have to pay more to watch TV, however.

The CRTC said that cable and satellite TV operators should pay 6 percent of their revenue, up from 5 percent, to help pay for the production of local Canadian shows.

The regulator ruled that the added cost to domestic content carriers came about because they would continue to be "sheltered from competition from American undertakings."

The CRTC review also could pave the way for the Canadian debut of ESPN. The regulator proposed minor adjustments to its long-standing genre protection policy, in which a U.S. cable channel that offers similar programing to a Canadian channel can be barred from entry into the market.   Continued...