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Canada Revives Broadcaster Subsidies To Support Homegrown Music Programming

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TORONTO (CelebrityAccess) — Canada’s broadcasting regulator the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission announced that major television groups including Bell, Rogers, and Corus Entertainment, will be required to provide financial support for Canadian-originated music programs.

Starting in 2019, the broadcasters will be required to allocate an average of $5.5 million per year to support the production of programs by FACTOR and MusicAction. FACTOR is a private non-profit that provides financial support to Canadian recording artists, labels, songwriters, publishers, event producers, and distributors. MusicAction fills a similar role for Francophone music.

The funding requirement is an abrupt reversal for the CRTC, which, in recent years, relaxed requirements that formally ensured the funding of music videos. The English market was affected by the removal of a provision that required Bell Media to fund MuchFACT, as well as the loss of the Video Advantage Program (VAP) previously funded by Corus Entertainment’s Country Music Television (CMT).

According to the Canadian Independent Music Association, the loss of funding represented $6 million, or 87% of available funding in the English market, for the production of Canadian music videos.

In January 2018, CIMA and their French-Canadian counterparts l’ADISQ filed a joint request to the CRTC asking all major television groups to contribute equitably to the financing of Canadian music videos in order to replace the $6 million loss as well as a $1 million loss to the French market.

The renewed funding is part of a larger push to see Canadian broadcasters support homegrown programming. According to the Globe and Mail Bell Media, Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. will be required to provide 7.5%, 8.5% and 5% respectively of their previous year’s revenues on Canadian programming.

Broadcasters had argued that the should not be on the hook for supporting Canadian content as they are engaged in a global market, competing with the likes of Netflix.

“This was an important battle for us and our members to say it should not be a liability or a problem for broadcasters to produce Canadian stories. It should be in their interest,” Elliott Anderson, the director of public policy and communications told the Globe & Mail.

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