Tag Archives: CRTC

Canada’s Big Media Still Big

I know with the long weekend ahead, you’ve been wondering about the state of media in Canada – now you can rest easy and enjoy that extra day off.

Big Media in Canada is doing just fine.



The CRTC today released its Communications Monitoring Report. In the past the Commission published one report on the state of broadcasting, and one on the telecommunications industry, and this is the first of their ‘converged’ reports – presumably to reflect the state of the industry.

The report makes it clear that the Canadian broadcast sector is doing just fine, despite dire warnings of its impending demise thanks to the internet. The report also shows just how big a role the internet plays in our every day lives and consumption of entertainment.

Here are some facts pulled from the CRTC report.


  • Revenues for private commercial radio stations increased by 6.2%, from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $1.5 billion in 2007.
  • Commercial television revenues increased 4.3%, or $218 million, from $5 billion in 2006 to $5.3 billion in 2007. This was largely due to increased subscriber revenues of $152 million.
  • Revenues for specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services increased by 9%, rising from $2.5 billion in 2006 to $2.7 billion in 2007.
  • Revenues for private conventional television broadcasters went from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 1.3%. During this period, revenues for English-language stations grew by 2% to $1.8 billion, while those for French-language stations fell by 2% to $381 million
  • Online advertising continued to experience growth, with spending rising from $900 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2007.

English Canadian use of…

  • RADIO: 18.3 hours of per week
  • TV: 26.8 hours of per week
  • INTERNET: 13.4 hours per wee


  • The number of Canadians who have watched a video online has more than doubled over the past three years, with user-generated content being more popular than professionally produced programs.
  • Among the more popular online activities in 2007, 36% of Canadians watched a video, 16% listened to a streaming radio station and 17% downloaded music.
  • 11% of Canadians reported downloading and listening to a podcast on either their computer or an MP3 player, an activity that is seen as a complement to conventional broadcasting.

It may just be a case of bad timing, but just a couple of weeks ago, a CBC submission to the CRTC more-or-less argued Canadians aren’t using the Internet for entertainment. (you can read the CBC’s full position here)

Today’s CRTC report shows that we are in fact using the internet for entertainment. One of the most popular online activites happens to be…watching videos. At the end of the day, regardless of the facts, the CBC’s argument in it’s submission seems to be that since it hasn’t figured out how to make money online, online shouldn’t be considered a business opportunity for Canadian broadcasters.

Given that traditional broadcast is still showing yearly increases in revenue, I’m not sure they’re in any hurry to try figure out how to make money online, despite the fact that Canadians are consuming a huge amount of content online. To my mind, that bodes well for smart nimble companies that can jump into this obviously ripe market while the ‘big boys’ sit back and wait for it to be a more predictable business opportunity.

(cross posted here)


I have no idea where EB got the expression, but she’s been using it for years.

Pig-on-Pork is worse than excess – its excessive excess.

Example: putting whipped cream on ice-cream would be Pig-on-Pork.

This article in Broadcaster Magazine about the recent CRTC hearings in Vancouver has a fine example…

One area that did seem to win consensus from many of the private broadcasters was the controversial nature of the CBC’s presentation. They were seeking the 104.1 FM frequency for use in Nanaimo and wanted the commission to reject all of the other applicants on the grounds that Vancouver didn’t need another music format. They also repeatedly discussed the urgent need for CBU-AM690 to flip to FM despite being the current #2 station in terms A 12+ hours tuned. Moreover some of the evidence presented was highly suspect. In all, the CBC wants to use 3 of the last frequencies in BC, despite the fact that it already has more than 20 transmitters on the air in the region.

Hockey Night in Camsack ?


First they brought us the Vancouver/Whistler Olympics, now they want to bring us a 24/7 TV channel about amateur sport.The Canadian Olympic Committee is asking the CRTC to hold a licensing hearing for an English and French digital TV service dedicated to amateur sports of all kinds. From the COC press release:

The Canadian Olympic Committee has long recognized the need for dramatically increased television coverage of Canadian amateur sport on a consistent and regular basis,” said COC Chief Executive Officer Chris Rudge. “These networks would finally bring our athletes into the spotlight and also motivate young people everywhere in Canada to get up out of their seats and engage in sport and a healthy lifestyle.”

The applications were formally submitted by the COC and its partners to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in early December. The proposed national digital television networks would each focus solely on Canadian amateur sport 24 hours a day, seven days a week, allowing Canadians to watch amateur athletes compete in regional, national and international events in both Olympic and non-Olympic sports. read the COC press release


The COC admits that ad revenue alone will not sustain the services, so they want the CRTC, should it even license the services, to make them mandatory carriage. What that means is that the channels would be included in digital TV packages (cable and satellite) which would then give the COC assured subscriber revenue. Channels that are not mandatory ‘must carry’ services rely on subscribers who opt-in and pay extra for the channels. In Canada, the vast majority of those channels are struggling. As a ‘must carry’ the proposed channels ensure a revenue stream – and the COC and it’s partners have already suggested that their cut should be 60 cents per household per month.

The COC’s requirement for the channels to be ‘must carry’ will put them in conflict with more traditional broadcasters and other media companies who would love to get their channels out of the twilight zone and into digital prime time. It’ll be interesting to see how the private sector argues against supporting amateur sport in Canada – but I’m sure they’ll find a way.

The contents of the application will not be made public until the CRTC decides to have a public hearing. Once they do that, they will publicize the application (Gazette) and look for public response. That’s when we’ll see the full application. The COC hopes that will happen this spring, but the timing is entirely dependent upon the CRTC.

The CRTC usually holds a hearing within 55 days of Gazetting, and once they publicize the hearing, other companies interested in making an application for a digital channel will also be able to apply. So, it’s unusual for an applicant to publicize their application prior to Gazetting, usually for fear of giving away too much too soon to potential competitors. Given the nature of this application, it’s doubtful there will be too many others in the same playing field. The COC isn’t just handing out press releases, it has launched a web site for the new channels.

What I want to know is – who will be the Don Cherry of the amateur sport network ?