THE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued a competitive call for applications for a new television service offering national multilingual and multi-ethnic programming including news and information. If licensed, this service would receive mandatory distribution on the digital basic service starting in 2020.
The CRTC said that it recognizes, however, that there is an exceptional and immediate need for Canada’s ethnically diverse communities to have access to multilingual programming, and in particular news and information programming, made from a Canadian perspective, without having to pay for additional services and packages.
As an interim measure, the CRTC has approved the licensing and mandatory distribution of OMNI Regional, a multilingual, multi-ethnic service, on all digital basic television packages in Canada. The CRTC is concerned, however, that this service as proposed by Rogers Media will not fully meet the needs of Canadians. For this reason, OMNI Regional is receiving mandatory distribution for a three-year period only.
OMNI Regional will not necessarily be renewed after the interim period. An application will have to be submitted in order to be considered in the competitive public process.
But it is clear that television companies are struggling with declining viewership for their channels as more and more viewers opt for streaming services or IP TV.
Moreover many ethnic groups like South Asians get their daily news delivered to them through radio and the internet in their own language. So insisting on television channels to compete in any already crowded marketplace would place them in the bankruptcy zone. – CINEWS