CTV chief hammers CRTC

One of Canada’s top broadcasters is blaming the federal regulator for contributing to the crisis facing conventional television.

GATINEAU, Que. — One of Canada’s top broadcasters is blaming the federal regulator for contributing to the crisis facing conventional television.

CTVglobemedia Inc. chief executive Ivan Fecan levied sharp criticism at the CRTC on Monday at the commission’s special hearing on the state of the industry.

“Over the years, there has been a series of decisions that have had the effect of compromising the underpinnings of conventional television while favouring the distributors (cable and satellite carriers),” he said.

“What I am saying is that things are seriously out of balance when, for five years running, the system produces continuous growth for one sector and continuous decline for another.”

He said distributors are enjoying record profits while conventional broadcasters are losing money.

Fecan and other broadcasters are demanding the regulator change the funding structure in the broadcasting industry, including a controversial move to allow conventional broadcasters to charge cable and satellite carriers for their signals.

The so-called fee-for-carriage, which the CRTC has twice rejected, is believed to be worth about $300 million a year to broadcasters.

On Monday, the CRTC released its own calculation on what fee-for-carriage would bring, estimating that a 50-cent per customer charge per station would net broadcasters such as CTV, CBC and CanWest Global Communications $352 million.

Under the split, CBC would pick up $92 million, Global TV $72 million, CTV would benefit to the tune of $56 million and $57 million would go to Rogers Communications Inc., owners of the CityTV network.

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