Regulatory & Telecom News – CBSC says KiSS FM Ottawa contest violated CAB Code of Ethics

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says a contest broadcast on KiSS FM (CISS-FM) Ottawa in January violated the CAB Code of Ethics for providing misleading information about eligibility for the first of two draws to win a trip to Jamaica. To enter the contest, listeners had to send a text message to the station in response to a question or topic posed by the hosts. Winners were then randomly selected from among those entrants.  According to the contest rules, the draws took place at 6 a.m. in Ottawa on Jan. 11 and 18, off-air and announced later. On Jan. 11, the hosts of the morning show talked about the contest, encouraging listeners to send in texts – even after 6 a.m. – to be entered into the first draw. The winner was not announced until 8:12 a.m. A listener complained that the hosts’ statements were inaccurate and misleading, since, if KiSS had followed the contest rules, the draw had actually already taken place. The station responded that the draw had indeed been done at 6 a.m., but any entrants who either did not win the first draw or submitted texts after the first draw would be entered into the second draw. The CBSC English-Language Panel concluded that the verbal inducements to enter the first draw when it had already taken place were misleading, contrary to the code. 

Peter S. Grant,

Peter S. Grant, the Broadcasting Arbitrator under the Canada Elections Act since 1992, will not be seeking reappointment when his term expires in 2020. Grant is the past chair of the McCarthy Tétrault Technology, Communications and Intellectual Property Group in Toronto and a pioneer in the field of communications law. Grant made the announcement in handing down the revised Allocation of Broadcasting Time, to be made available to registered parties under the Act, ahead of the fall election.

The BBC and CBC/Radio-Canada have announced a commitment to future collaboration across drama, factual, news, current affairs and radio. The agreement was reached, between Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, and Catherine Tait, CBC/Radio-Canada president and CEO, at the 82nd General Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union in Oslo, Norway. In a release, the two public broadcasters say they are coming together in a shared belief that the benefits of modern storytelling, with public service values, are best achieved through greater collaboration. The two organizations have already been sharing ideas around engaging young audiences, fact-checking to help tackle disinformation, content including news coverage, and new technology. The agreement includes a commitment to regular discussions to build on areas of common interest. Read more here.

Videotron intends to challenge a CRTC ruling in court in an attempt to lift conditions of licence related to the sharing of data from set-top boxes. Videotron believes the regulator is overstepping its authority by requiring it to provide data to a third party. In a June 28 decision, the CRTC denied Videotron’s attempt to be exempt from certain licence conditions related to the incoming national set-top box-based audience measurement system. The company walked away from a working group of broadcasters in April. Read more here.

Bell Media is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to review a CRTC decision that made concert tickets distributed for promotional purposes by Bell stations ineligible as Canadian content contributions. Canadian content requirements require licensees to make concert tickets available to the public, except for a minor number to be used for promotional purposes. The case dates back to two concerts in 2014-15 in which 25% of the tickets in question were claimed by Bell for promotions. The commission previously ruled that a quarter of total tickets for promotion is too many and ordered Bell to pay back the more than $188,000 the tickets were worth.

TVA is suing Bell over unpaid wholesale fees for TVA Sports for April. In the suite, Groupe TVA is claiming just over $1.5 million for non-payment of channel distribution royalties.

The CRTC has denied an application from TVA Group to have new described video rules only apply to new programming. Quebecor had asked the commission to amend the condition so that it would apply only to first-run programming broadcast after Sept. 1, 2019, rather than to any repeat programming first broadcast before that date. In its application, Quebecor argued that producing described video for both new programs and those being broadcast for the second time or more, comes with a considerable price tag. It says from 2019-20 to 2021-22, it will spend on average more than $1.8 million per year to produce described video solely for original first-run programming.

The CRTC is asking Freedom Mobile, Rogers and Bell to explain how throttling wireless speeds once a customer has exceeded their data cap doesn’t violate policy on internet traffic management practices (ITMPs). In a June 28 letter, the commission asks for rationale and data on “why these practices should not be considered to amount to blocking the delivery of content or Internet traffic to an end-user.”

PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook predicts Canadians will double their data consumption in the next five years. While the outlook predicts Canada’s total revenue for the industry will remain stable at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% over the next five years – the same as last year – it projects staggering growth for data consumption, internet access, over the top (OTT) services, and esports, with more modest growth in cinema, music, and internet advertising. PwC anticipates total data consumption in Canada doubling to 77.4 trillion in 2023 from 31.9 trillion MB in 2018, increasing at a 19.4% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). With 5G on the horizon, PwC says fixed and mobile internet penetration will increase slightly over the forecast period at a 7.36% CAGR, however the introduction of the new spectrum will shift how people consume data. 5G will enable more streaming of high-quality video, including live events like sports and music, and better use of AI. Read more here.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has published its annual look at the state of the nation’s internet. Canada’s Internet Factbook 2019, based on a survey of more than 2,000 Canadians, found that 85% had not gone “off-the-grid” (spent more than one-week offline) in the last year, and only one in five had even disconnected for eight consecutive hours. Key findings include that: Boomers are embracing smartphones. The percentage of those 55+ who browse the web using mobile devices has increased from 24% in 2015 to 57% in 2019; three-quarters of Canadians surf the internet while watching TV; 46% of Canadians admit to using their mobile device in the bathroom. Nine per cent of Canadians completed their education online, 16% have found a home online; 22% found a job online; and 10%  found their spouse online. Seven in 10 internet users say they would be unlikely to purchase a home in an area that didn’t have high-speed internet. Quebecers are the most likely to seek out Canadian content online with 22% saying they often or always do so. British Columbians are least likely with 39% indicating they never or almost never look for Canadian content online.

Rogers Communications has announced a three-year partnership with Communitech to open a new 5G innovation lab that will advance made-in-Canada 5G technology and commercialize 5G use cases. As part of the partnership, the new lab, opening in Waterloo, ON in September, will accelerate and launch smart city, IoT and enterprise 5G applications. Rogers is preparing for 5G commercial deployment in 2020 and just completed 5G test calls in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. 


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