CRTC Eases Canadian Content Spending Rules for Corus Entertainment

The CRTC has granted Corus Entertainment's request to reduce its Canadian content spending requirements from 8.5% to 5% of revenue, effective May 13, 2024. The decision aims to balance supporting Canadian programming with the financial realities faced by broadcasters.

author-image
Bijay Laxmi
New Update
CRTC Eases Canadian Content Spending Rules for Corus Entertainment

CRTC Eases Canadian Content Spending Rules for Corus Entertainment

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has granted Corus Entertainment's request to reduce its Canadian content spending requirements from 8.5% to 5% of revenue, effective May 13, 2024. The decision comes after Corus, a vital source of local news and expression through the Global Television Network, filed an application in October 2023 citing financial struggles.

Why this matters: This decision has broader implications for the Canadian broadcasting industry, as it sets a precedent for other companies facing financial difficulties. It also raises questions about the balance between supporting content, spending and ensuring the financial sustainability of broadcasters.

Corus, the largest provider of independent programming in Canada, requested amendments to certain conditions of service relating to expenditures on programs of national interest (PNI) and Canadian programming expenditure (CPE) under-expenditures for its English language television stations and discretionary services. The CRTC considered Corus' emergency request reasonable from a regulatory perspective, as it is tailored to the company's specific circumstances and is expected to benefit the broadcasting system as a whole.

The CRTC noted that Corus is fundamentally different from other large ownership groups, as it is not part of a vertically integrated company that also has distribution assets. Additionally, Corus' level of spending on PNI is among the highest of all private English language ownership groups.

In approving Corus' request, the Commission stated that any reduction in the company's PNI expenditures will need to be matched by a corresponding increase in expenditures on other types of Canadian programming. The decision will have no impact on Corus' overall expenditures on Canadian programming.

The CRTC's decision is part of its ongoing process to modernize Canada's broadcasting framework, which includes examining other requests for regulatory relief from large Canadian broadcasting groups. Corus Entertainment has not been associated with a broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU) since the 2022 acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc. by Rogers Communications Inc.

The CRTC's approval of Corus Entertainment's request to ease Canadian content spending requirements reflects the regulator's efforts to balance supporting Canadian programming with the financial realities faced by broadcasters. As the media landscape continues to evolve, the CRTC remains committed to modernizing Canada's broadcasting framework to ensure a sustainable and competitive industry.

Key Takeaways

  • CRTC reduces Corus Entertainment's Canadian content spending from 8.5% to 5% of revenue.
  • Decision sets precedent for other financially struggling broadcasters.
  • Corus must increase spending on other Canadian programming to offset reduction.
  • CRTC aims to balance supporting Canadian content with financial realities.
  • Decision part of CRTC's efforts to modernize Canada's broadcasting framework.