Cable, satellite fees to drop slightly

July 18, 2012 - All News

Cable and satellite bills will be shrinking a little bit as the CRTC begins to phase out a special fund designed to boost local programming.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission issued a decision Wednesday, saying that the Local Programming Improvement Fund will be phased out over the next two years.
It was introduced during the 2008 recession to help conventional stations operating in non-metropolitan areas.
Many cable and satellite providers passed along the 1.5 per cent fee of the recurring monthly bill to consumers, and the CRTC says they can expect a corresponding reduction in their cable or satellite bills as the fee is phased out.
Beginning Sept. 1, required contributions will be cut to 1 per cent of gross broadcasting revenue, and on Sept. 1, 2013, the fee will be cut to 0.5 per cent of gross broadcasting revenue. By Sept. 1, 2014, the fund will be discontinued.
In 2010, 78 stations received funding totaling $100 million. In 2011, 80 stations received $106 million.
“The fund was created to ensure television stations had the resources to meet Canadians’ needs for local programming. We are satisfied with the support it has provided during a difficult economic period,” said Leonard Katz, CRTC’s vice-chairman of telecommunications and chair of the hearing panel.
The CRTC said the financial situation of these broadcasters has improved due to a recovery in the advertising sector as well as a successful transition to digital television. It said it was confident that these stations will maintain the same quality of programming without support from the fund.
— Torstar News Service