Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-44, Call for comments on the scope of a future proceeding on Canadian broadcasting in new media

On May 15, 2008, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released its previously announced public notice calling for comments1 on the scope of the issues, and the questions associated with those issues, to be discussed in a future new media broadcasting proceeding. In the Public Notice, the CRTC recognizes that the new media environment has evolved considerably since the CRTC first issued its exemption order for new media broadcasting undertakings in 1999.

As part of this proceeding, the CRTC has published a report titled Perspectives on Canadian Broadcasting in New Media, which contains research, statistics and stakeholder views on the challenges and opportunities that exist in Canada with respect to the production, distribution and promotion of Canadian new media broadcasting content. The report provides an overview of the new media broadcasting landscape and summarizes its supporting technologies, consumer adoption trends, media consumption patterns and business models.

The CRTC believes that it is now appropriate to examine the new media broadcasting environment in Canada to determine whether the exemption orders issued for new media (Public Notice CRTC 1999-197) and mobile television broadcasting (Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2007-13) need to be revised.

The CRTC notes that several circumstances are present that merit a review of its approach to regulating new media. According to data and research highlighted by the CRTC, these circumstances include the following:

  • high-speed residential Internet access is available to 93% of households across the country and has been adopted by more than 60% of Canadian households;
  • consumers have increased access to audio and video broadcasting content in various non-traditional forms, including Internet television, mobisodes, and podcasts;
  • professionally produced broadcasting content is being made available online at an accelerating pace, but the amount of high-value, professionally produced Canadian new media broadcasting content available is lagging, as is Canadian investment in this content;
  • Canadian Internet users are spending more time online, while traditional broadcasting consumption is experiencing little growth overall and a demonstrated decline among younger demographics; and
  • new advertising revenue business models are emerging in the new media broadcasting environment, with a growing number of advertisers indicating support for these new media broadcasting marketing strategies.

The CRTC believes it is necessary to determine if the new media broadcasting environment that exists today is contributing sufficiently to the achievement of the broadcasting policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act and if it will continue to do so. Public discussions encompassing Canadian new media broadcasting content and access to such content are, according to the CRTC, necessary to explore the contribution by new media broadcasting undertakings to the achievement of the broadcasting policy objectives of the Broadcasting Act.

With this in mind, the CRTC is asking interested parties to file comments on four basic issues that will help define the scope of its future new media broadcasting proceeding. Those four issues are as follows:

  • What is the scope of new media broadcasting?
  • Are incentives or regulatory measures required for the creation and promotion of Canadian new media broadcasting content?
  • Are there any barriers to accessing Canadian new media broadcasting content?
  • What other broadcasting policy objectives should be considered within the scope of the proceeding?

The deadline for filing comments is July 11, 2008.

The CRTC has asked parties to identify the issues and questions that need to be discussed in a public hearing.  The CRTC intends to make a determination as to the matters to be dealt with in the public proceeding following the comment period and will issue a Notice of Public Hearing late this summer outlining the details of the new media broadcasting public hearing to be held early in 2009.

If you require further information with respect to Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-84, please contact a member of our Communications Law Group. Fasken Martineau advises on a wide range of regulatory and business issues in the communications industry. For further information on these services, please refer to our website (


1 The Public Notice is available on the CRTC's web-site and can be accessed at:

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