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March 28, 2019 10:42 am  #1

CRTC Forces New “Digital Media Survey” On All Broadcasters

Nothing makes me more nervous than the CRTC looking into anything new and how it might possibly affect future rules for radio and TV. But so far, this looks benign.
The Commission has announced a new study into how the rapidly advancing digital revolution is causing trouble and/or prosperity for broadcasters in Canada.  
According to the agency, “The data collected through the survey would inform the Commission and stakeholders on the evolution of online business models and their impact on traditional broadcasting services. It would also help ensure the creation of an accurate picture of the digital media activities of licensed Canadian broadcasting undertakings.”
They plan to go ahead with it, despite the fact they know those in the biz aren’t going to be happy to share potentially proprietary information.
“The Commission recognizes that certain broadcasters may be reticent or unwilling to share this commercially sensitive information with the Commission, particularly if the data is published…the Commission… ensured parties that such information would remain confidential.”
But here’s where the web rubber might really meet the digital road: whether a broadcaster’s online activities should count towards their Canadian Content expenditures.
“If the Commission decides to consider digital media programming expenditures as eligible…should eligibility be limited to certain types of content? For example, should eligibility be limited to expenditures made for Canadian programming certified under the existing Canadian content certification rules?”
My real fear is that this is a very subtle way of trying to force CanCon onto the Internet for Canadian broadcasters. I suppose we’ll see if that happens and how stations might try and fight back if it comes to that.
The CRTC has published the kinds of questions they’re asking in this survey. Scroll down and you’ll find them all here.

 Details of the survey itself can be found here.