CIMA Submits Response to CRTC Consultation on a Targeted Policy Review of the Commercial Radio Sector

As you may recall, CIMA submitted an intervention to the CRTC in late January on the Commission’s targeted policy review of the commercial radio sector on behalf of the Canadian independent music industry. The purpose of our intervention was to ensure that the Commercial Radio Policy continued to help broadcasters better develop and showcase independent Canadian content, particularly from emerging artists.

Since then, CIMA has had the opportunity to review the interventions submitted by other stakeholders ranging from broadcasters, a variety of trade associations representing a wide range of players, private citizens and advocacy groups. On April 1, we submitted a response that covered several of the issues raised in these interventions.

Our response was focused on two issues:

  • The need for HD radio to be included within the existing licensing requirements of the Broadcasting Act
  • The need to address systematic non-compliance issues

 

Implementing HD radio 

Several interveners argued that HD radio, and other innovative digital radio services, should be exempted from licensing requirements during their initial development and expansion stages. The argument proposed was that imposing regulatory requirements on HD radio would be premature, tedious and would work to stifle the growth of the technology. However, as the evidence presented in CIMA’s initial intervention demonstrates, there is no evidence to support this argument. CIMA’ s first intervention presented the case of Sirius XM Radio and digital radio as technologies whose growth was not impeded by regulatory requirements.

Therefore, CIMA remains committed to the idea that the Commission already has a regulatory precedent for HD radio at its disposal and following from that, HD radio should not be exempted from the licensing requirement to participate in the CCD regime.

 

The Commission’s approach to non-compliance issues

In CIMA’ s original submission, we presented our own analysis that suggested that 38% of all commercial radio licensees had failed to remit sufficient CCD or CTD funding, resulting in a shortfall of $1,048,100 uncovered during the 2013 license renewal period, $686,000 of which was left unpaid until the renewal of licenses. To combat this, CIMA’s proposal was to implement increased regulatory requirements, in the form of an interest payment of no less than 2% monthly. Not only would this type of measure offer restitution to the content industry for the lost productivity associated with the shortfall, it would also provide the incentive for CCD/CTD funding to be made on time. Furthermore, as CIMA stated in its first intervention, this is similar to the late payment fees that the parent companies of the broadcasters impose on consumers who are delinquent in their payments.

In light of this, CIMA continues to believe that the most effective way for the Commission to encourage greater compliance with CCD regulations would be to increase regulatory requirements in the form of a late payment fee. CIMA does acknowledge, however, that the broadcasters have questioned the Commission’s ability to impose a late payment fee, but CIMA feels that this is an effective tool and one that the Commission needs to implement.

CIMA will continue to monitor the developments of this important consultation as they unfold, please stay tuned to our newsletter for updates.

Read our full response here.

If you’d like to consult our first intervention, please click here.