You are on page 1of 2

Ottawa, April 1, 2011

Mr. Konrad Von Finckenstein

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
1 Promenade du Portage
Central Building
Gatineau, Qc
K1A 0N2

Dear Mr. Von Finckenstein:

Re: Over-The-Top Services Working Group

As you may know, on February 18, under the leadership of the Canadian Media Production
Association and its President Norm Bolen, some 35 senior private sector executives from the
distribution, telecommunications, broadcasting, production and creative sectors in Canada met
to discuss foreign over-the-top services.

As a result of this initial meeting, a Working Group of executives representing all sectors of the
Canadian industry gathered on March 23 to start developing an industry strategy around the
following objectives: Ensuring the competitiveness of the Canadian broadcasting industry; And
fostering the creation, production, distribution and promotion of high quality Canadian content
on the new digital platforms. In order to achieve this, the Working Group has put in motion
relevant research to assess the current and potential economic and cultural impact of foreign
over-the-top services in Canada and to identify appropriate market-based and public policy

At the same time, the Working Group wishes to make the following representations to the

First, the Working Group endorses the following recommendation of the May 2011 Report of
the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on "The Impact of Private Ownership Changes
and the Move Towards New Viewing Platforms":

"That the Commission examine the growing emergence of non-Canadian broadcast

players in the new digital realm and initiate a public consultation process to determine
whether and how such non-Canadian companies should support Canadian cultural
The Working Group believes indeed, like the Standing Committee, that foreign over-the-top
services are becoming a significant presence in the domestic market. It is now public knowledge
that a foreign over-the-top service operating in Canada has commissioned new exclusive
dramatic content, including for the Canadian market. It is buying exclusive rights with studios in
the windows of certain linear Canadian programming services. Therefore, the Working Group
submits that the Commission should initiate the public consultation recommended by the
Standing Committee.

Second, one of the important elements in assessing the status of foreign over-the-top services in
Canada would be to obtain sufficient relevant information on their activities in our country. The
Working Group is aware that the Commission has already sought information from new media
broadcasting undertakings that are affiliated with a licensed Canadian broadcaster. While the
Commission's questionnaire would need to be reformulated to be appropriate for foreign over-
the-top services, the relevant Exemption Order permits the Commission to require such
undertakings to provide such information as the Commission may request. In due course, the
Working Group hopes to propose to the Commission what could be an appropriate form of
questionnaire and a list of the foreign over-the-top operators that to our collective knowledge
have a sufficient presence in Canada to warrant receiving a questionnaire.

Finally, we wish to express our appreciation for the quality of the March 24 CRTC Forum on
Shaping Regulatory Approaches for the Future. The discussions were substantive and
productive. On foreign over-the-top services, we believe they generally confirmed our analysis
and support our representations.

Best regards.

Alain Gourd
Over-The-Top Services Working Group

cc: Robert Morin

Secretary General

You might also like