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Broadcaster Muddies the Waters

July 6, 2017

"Creative groups appeal CRTC funding ruling to cabinet," reads the headline of a recent Globe and Mail article. It's a response to the Cabinet appeals that the WGC and other industry groups filed last week. (View the WGC's Cabinet appeal here.) In it Barbara Williams, CEO of Corus Entertainment, stated that there were "a number of misperceptions around the [CRTC ruling] including the concern that the changes will negatively impact the production sector.” According to the Globe, Williams went on to say that as a result of the decision broadcasters are actually required to spend more money on Canadian content overall, from PNI to national news programming. 
But "more money on Canadian content overall" refers to a larger category of spending called "Canadian programming expenditures." It includes all Canadian programming — i.e., news, unscripted reality, talk shows etc. It's important for all concerned not to allow this kind of argument to muddy the waters. The fact is, the recent CRTC decisions made cuts to broadcasters' expenditure requirements aimed at the heart of Canadian culture on screen: drama, comedy, documentary, scripted children's programming etc. These kinds of programs, called "programs of national interest," (PNI) are at the vanguard of Canada's place in the most popular cultural medium of our time — scripted entertainment.
The truth is that the recent, bad CRTC decisions have created deep concern for good reason: they slash private broadcaster funding to Canadian programs by 40% and could lead to over $200 million in reduced broadcaster spending on Canadian shows over a five-year licence term. Read the Guild's press releases to find out more.

Canadian Screenwriter summer 2017 is on newsstands now. View excerpts, and subscribe here.

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