CACTUS: Community TV Funding One Sixth of 2010 Levels

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CACTUS: Community TV Funding One Sixth of 2010 Levels

Postby jon » Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:34 am

New CRTC Community and Local TV Policy Deals Crippling Blow to Community Television

CACTUS estimates that the effect of the CRTC's new local and community TV policy will be to slash the budget for community TV to one sixth what it was under its 2010 policy, crippling Canada's forty-year tradition of prioritizing media literacy and public access to the airwaves.

The CRTC's June 15th decision redirects money for community TV to private news production in a handful of mid-sized Canadian cities where local news is no longer profitable for Canada's media giants, such as Rogers, Bell, Shaw, and Videotron.

These horizontally and vertically integrated companies were allowed to buy our last private TV networks—CTV and Global—because they had the deep pockets to subsidize news and drama from highly profitable mobile, Internet, and pay TV services. Many are asking "Why raid community TV?"

The CRTC decision is a giant step backward according to CACTUS Executive Director, Cathy Edwards. “The private sector is supposed to stand on its own, creating mass-market programming. Public funding should be directed to the more difficult mandate of serving niche groups, training the public in media production, and tackling the tough topics that are shaping our communities and our nation. These are the roles of the public and community sectors.”

Representatives of more than 70 anglophone, francophone, and First Nations communities that want TV licenses participated in the February hearings, and demonstrated how they leverage volunteers and partnerships with community organizations to produce content for $500/hour. By contrast, private-sector news costs more than $6000/hour.

CACTUS, which represents many of the groups, proposed that the $150 million spent on cable-administered community TV go to a Community-Access Media Fund to support 250 community-operated media centres offering local content and training in traditional and new media. The proposal won support from a broad coalition of public-interest stakeholders. “Communities would be equipped for the digital economy, with the tools to make effective decisions, celebrate local culture, and ensure the whole community is part of the conversation,” said Shelagh Paterson, executive director of the Ontario Library Association. The Public-Interest Advocacy Centre agreed in its June 16th release that the CRTC decision represents a missed opportunity.

The decision is the latest in a series that downgrades service to small communities. Community broadcasting was recognized as one of three pillars in the 1991 Broadcasting Act (along with public and private), but its funding has been whittled down from 10% of cable revenues in the 1970s and 1980s, to 5% in 1991, to 2% in 1997, to 1.5% in 2010, and less than 0.5% under the new policy.

Almost all communities over 5000 people—wherever there was a cable network—used to have a community TV channel. By contrast, almost all 50-odd cities lucky enough to host a private TV station (which will benefit from the cash transfer) have populations over 100,000.

All parties at the hearing admitted that redirecting the community TV budget to private-sector news would at best offer a bandaid to a long-term structural problem. Meanwhile, the community sector--the only sector with the cost-effective production model that can serve Canada's vastly dispersed and yet astonishly diverse population--has been crippled.

This article, further analysis and details on CACTUS (who wrote this article) can be found at http://cactus.independentmedia.ca/node/686
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Re: CACTUS: Community TV Funding One Sixth of 2010 Levels

Postby Howaboutthat » Thu Jul 21, 2016 3:49 pm

Anyone actually watch community TV? Here in the Okanagan, there's no such thing if you subscribe to Telus Optik because it doesn't carry the Shaw community channel. (Not that I watched it when I had Shaw anyway)
Houston, We're dealing with morons!.
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Re: CACTUS: Community TV Funding One Sixth of 2010 Levels

Postby jon » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:31 pm

To further support your point about lack of local viewer awareness, I thought they were referring to some kind of funding for local private TV stations in smaller markets. Which would make a lot more sense in these days of competition in Cable TV.
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