Canadian Heritage has referred the CRTC’s May decision on PNI and French-language content back for reconsideration

Mélanie Joly

Canadian Heritage, on the advice of Minister Melanie Joly and with the support of Cabinet, has referred the CRTC’s May decision on PNI (programs of national interest) and French-language content back for reconsideration. A statement reads “We are asking the CRTC to reconsider these decisions in order to ensure that we achieve the right balance of investment in content and in the ability to compete.” Joly says the government heard the voices of petitioners from the creative industries community, as well as the province of Quebec.

Mario Mota

TV ‘cord-cutting’ in Canada slowed in the first half of 2017 compared to the previous year, according to new research from Ottawa-based consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services Inc. Publicly-traded television service providers combined lost 22 per cent fewer TV subscribers in the first half of 2017 (101,000), compared to the same period in 2016 (129,000). Boon Dog’s Mario Mota attributes the turnaround to TV subscriber performance at Shaw Cable and the launch of its BlueSky TV service, based on Comcast’s X1 TV platform. Mota notes however, with about 200,000 housing starts in Canada, traditional TV service providers are losing pace with household growth and therefore TV subscription penetration is declining at a greater level than simply cord-cutting numbers suggest.

Netflix Canada is raising its monthly subscription rates, the first increase for Canadian subscribers in nearly two years. A standard Netflix plan, allowing subscribers to watch content on two screens simultaneously, is now a dollar more at $10.99 a month. The basic plan, which doesn’t offer HD quality and only permits streaming on one screen at a time, also goes up a dollar to $8.99. Premium plan subscriptions are $2 more a month to $13.99, offering four simultaneous streams and ultra HD 4K content.

Bell Media is setting prices for next year’s SuperBowl ads, based on the assumption the CRTC’s simultaneous substitution ban will be overturned. BCE Inc. has been fighting the 2015 decision, with the support of the NFL, and took the same sales strategy last year, then downgraded prices 35 per cent when a stay of the simsub ruling failed to come through. The matter is still before the courts. Bell says the ruling led to a loss of $11 million in ad revenue compared to 2016.

Rogers is beefing up OMNI Regional’s multilingual news content with daily newscasts in Mandarin and Cantonese, starting Sept. 1. The 30-minute broadcasts will be produced by Fairchild TV. Approved for a three-year licence in May, the channel will also air national newscasts in Punjabi and Italian. More programming details are expected in the coming weeks.

Bloomberg TV Canada says it’s changing the focus of its programming effective Sept. 1 and is cancelling original series Bloomberg North and Bloomberg Markets: Canada. 22 jobs are impacted. Bloomberg says a new schedule will follow in September.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found speciality service HIFI in breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Violence Code in separate airings of The Mechanic, 10,000 B.C., and The Trailer Park Boys in Nov. 2016. CBSC found HIFI broadcast adult coarse language, violence and sexual activity during daytime hours, failing to mention “sexual activity” in its viewer advisory.  HIFI also rated the program incorrectly and failed to display the rating icon for 15 seconds at the beginning of the first and second hours.

Diana, 7 Days, a two-hour documentary on the week following the 1997 death of Princess Diana will air on CTV Sept. 1 from 8-10 p.m. ET. Produced by Sandpaper Films for the BBC, the film marks the first and only time Prince William and Prince Harry have sat for on-camera interviews about that week. The film also includes interviews with family members, close friends, political figures and journalists, including Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Earl Spencer and Lady Sarah McCorquodale.

Vic Rauter, Russ Howard, and Cheryl Bernard

TSN will provide coverage of the first-of-its-kind Everest Curling Challenge Aug. 25 – 27 from Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, NB. Current women’s and men’s Olympic champions, as well as reigning Scotties, Brier, and World Champions vie for the sport’s largest prize. Teams will compete in a unique mixed format, with each roster consisting of two male and two female curlers selected via draft, excluding players from their regular competition teams. Coverage is available live and on demand to TSN subscribers via TSN.ca/Live and the TSN GO app, and will also be available to U.S. viewer via live stream on ESPN3. TSN’s broadcast team for the event includes play-by-play announcer Vic Rauter, and Olympic medal-winning analysts Russ Howard and Cheryl Bernard.

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