CRTC adopts measures to encourage French-language drama
OTTAWA-GATINEAU - The CRTC today announced a series of incentives aimed at maintaining a balanced level of original drama broadcast in peak viewing hours on French-language television stations.
While recognizing the substantial contribution of French-language broadcasters to the production and broadcasting of dramas, the commission's aim in introducing incentives is to neutralize the downward trend of hours of original French-language Canadian drama programming, noted especially in the private sector. The commission is also seeking to motivate conventional French-language broadcasters to maintain their significant support for original drama.
Incentive Measures Program
Under the incentive program, broadcasters can earn the right to broadcast from two to three additional minutes of advertising for each hour of original French-language Canadian drama programming that they broadcast during the peak viewing hours. The exact number of additional commercial minutes allowed will depend on production budgets. Furthermore, dramas that have not received funding from the Canadian Television Fund are eligible for a bonus of four minutes of additional advertising time.
Broadcasters will be allowed to accumulate credits towards additional commercial minutes which they can insert into their respective program schedules according to their preference.
Conventional television station licensees that want to take advantage of these incentives must apply to the Commission to add a condition to their licence allowing them to exceed the regulatory 12 minutes of advertising per broadcasting hour, to a maximum of 14 minutes per hour.
The commission has set an eligibility threshold of 65% of the average number of qualifying drama hours broadcast over the past three years by French-language broadcasters. The Commission is enabling broadcasters to earn additional advertising revenues by exceeding this threshold, without affecting the current balance in the French-language advertising market.
The commission will analyze the results of these incentives annually, as well as when French-language broadcasters' licences are renewed.
Today's public notice is part of the process undertaken by the commission to encourage Canadian drama. The process began in May 2003 with the publication of three reports on the status of Canadian and international drama. The Commission then issued a call for comments to assist it in finding ways to encourage Canadian television drama programming, followed by a call for comments on proposed measures to that end. Then, last November, the commission issued a notice on the measures it had adopted to encourage Canadian English-language drama.