Local broadcasters await Monday's CRTC ruling
Laura Tupper, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Friday, March 19, 2010 5:36PM MDT
Monday will mark an historic day for the Canadian television industry. The Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission is expected to issue a decision on an issue that's pitted the country's conventional television broadcasters against the cable industry.
Broadcasters like CTV have argued a new revenue source is vital in order to protect the local television industry. The broadcasters are calling for the introduction of a fee for carriage system that would mean cable companies would have to pay for the rights to broadcast their programming.
"It's an industry that is in deep trouble and it needs to be fixed if it's to survive," explained CTV Edmonton/Access General Manager Lloyd Lewis.
For the first time conventional broadcasters lost money last year. In 2009, revenue dropped by $116 million before interest and taxes. The latest figures from the CRTC show the profits of cable companies are up by $200 million before interest and taxes.
Cable companies have described the fee for carriage proposal as a tax and that it would force them to pass along that cost to their customers.
Shaw and Rogers declined comment to CTV on Friday.
CTV has said it will not renew its local licenses unless fee for carriage is introduced. Those licenses, including Edmonton's, expire at the end of August.
With files from CTV's Kevin Armstrong.