To the public hearing
April 8, 2014
Check against delivery
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing.
At this hearing, the Commission will consider applications by Rogers to renew the licences of 17 television services. These include its conventional English-language television services, City, and its multilingual ethnic services, OMNI, as well its specialty services: The Biography Channel, G4techTV, Outdoor Life Network, Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet World and Sportsnet. The Commission will also consider Rogers’ applications to amend the conditions of licence for several of its services, including the OMNI television stations.
In particular, the Commission wants to discuss two issues with Rogers. It wants to review the possibility of considering its services as a group, and discuss the role of the OMNI services as conventional multilingual stations in the communities they serve, as well as the importance of their programming choices.
During its last licence renewal in 2011, the Commission decided that, due to its structure, Rogers would not be considered a group as defined in its regulatory policy on the group-based approach. The Commission therefore granted a short-term renewal of three years in order to re-examine whether the group-based approach should be applied to Rogers’ services. As such, we will examine Rogers’ application to consider its City television services and its Category A specialty services The Biography Channel, G4techTV, Outdoor Life Network and Sportsnet 360 as a group.
Licensees whose services are considered as a group have specific conditions of licence with regard to Canadian programming and general interest programming expenditure requirements. These licensees also enjoy greater flexibility since Canadian programming expenditures can be transferred from one service to another.
Last year, Rogers made changes to the programming for its OMNI multilingual ethnic television services. The Commission is concerned that these programming changes could affect the communities served by these stations. The Commission has decided to take the opportunity provided by this hearing to discuss with Rogers the changes already made and those proposed for the next licence term.
As with all public proceedings, the opinions of Canadians are very important in helping us fulfill our legislative responsibilities. We therefore wish to thank all who have agreed to participate in this hearing either by submitting comments or by appearing before us.
The panel for this hearing consists of:
- Candice Molnar, Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan
- Raj Shoan, Regional Commissioner for Ontario
- and myself, Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting. I will preside over this hearing.
The Commission team assisting us includes:
- Caroline Poirier, Hearing Manager and Senior Analyst, English and Third-language Programming
- Jean-Sébastien Gagnon, Legal Counsel, and
- Lynda Roy, Hearing Secretary and Supervisor of Public Hearings.
I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Ms. Roy, to explain the procedures we will be following. Madam Secretary...
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