The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings on modernizing the regulatory framework for broadcasters continued Tuesday morning, and it was Bell’s turn to present his position and the issues he faces.
From the start of his appearance, Bell reported a $40 million deficit for his intelligence service alone, underscoring the importance of changing the rules given the difficult context.
Bell is particularly calling for a reduction in the mandatory hours for broadcasting information. This would mean that there would be no daily newscast in certain regions.
Bell also calls for the creation of a special information fund. While there are several Canadian content creation funds, they are primarily used for entertainment programs and series.
The telecommunications giant is also calling on the CRTC to reduce cable operators’ contribution to the Canadian content fund.
Currently only traditional media feeds these funds. Platforms like Netflix do not contribute to this.
“The bad news is that the situation is untenable,” argued Suzanne Landry, vice president of content development, programming and information at Bell Media.
Our democracy is at stake
“The CTV News and Noovo Info businesses represent a loss of $40 million for 2022 alone, and have been for several years,” assured MMe Landry.
The manager also stressed the importance of making regulations more flexible to adapt the program to current events.
“As far as news goes, if there are forest fires in a region, for example, we want to be able to send our personnel there. We report the news, that’s important. It’s important, it’s in one place, it’s relevant. But currently, it is written, we have to work a certain number of hours for each region. “So we are forced to make our editorial decisions according to rules, which limits us enormously,” she explained.
On Monday, it was Pierre Karl Péladeau who opened the hearings by calling on the CRTC to act “swiftly” because “Canadian companies can no longer wait for the end of the long process of implementing the new broadcasting law,” Bill C-11 , adopted earlier this year.
“Our media is exhausted and our democracy is at stake. “We have taken the necessary measures to adapt our business models and try to overcome this crisis.” It is now up to the Commission to act without further delay.”
Reactions in the population
While media cuts will undoubtedly lead to a decline in regional information, the popular message suggests they want the opposite.
“I hear a lot of news on TV,” says one citizen. I would hate to have my airtime taken away from me.”
“It is worrying,” says a second man, “if there is no further information in the regions.” [les gens qui y habitent] will do?”
In addition to declining advertising revenue, media outlets must also contend with Meta’s (Facebook, Instagram) decision to block their content on their social networks in response to the federal government’s Bill C-18. Google is also threatening to follow suit with its famous search engine.
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