Canadian Government Reintroduces Copyright Modernization Act
Canadian Government Reintroduces Copyright Modernization Act

Canada's leading music television stations have been denied their request to broadcast less music programming, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the public organization that regulates Canada's broadcasting and telecommunications, has ruled.

Canada's longest-running national music video station MuchMusic, which launched in 1984, and its older skewed companion MuchMoreMusic, won't be able to decrease the amount of music or music-related programming it schedules, nor will the channels be able to cut the percentage of gross annual revenues they're required to contribute to MuchFACT, the much relied upon organization that provides grants to eligible Canadian artists to produce music videos.

More than a dozen requests were filed by BellMedia on behalf of MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic and MTV Canada. Most were denied -- six for MuchMoreMusic (one granted); four for MuchMusic (one granted); one for MTV Group (three granted).

In recent years, criticism has been levelled at MuchMusic for increasingly broadcasting non-music, teen-directed TV shows. Current programming includes Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, Degrassi, Pretty Little Liars, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Secret Life, Silent Library, South of Nowhere, Teen Wolf, When I Was 17 and America's Best Dance Crew.

In November 2010, Bell Media (then CTVglobemedia) filed a group-based licence renewal application, requesting numerous changes to its broadcasting licences for various television services. Bell Media owns 28 conventional stations, 29 specialty channels, 33 radio stations and dozens of websites. It is owned by BCE Inc., Canada's largest communications company. The CRTC posted its decision July 27, 2011.

Among the comprehensive report, the Commission renewed the licenses from Sept. 1, 2011 to Aug. 31, 2016.

Where it affects the music industry is in regards to Bell Media's specialty stations MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic and MTV Canada.

Bell Media had requested several changes to the conditions of the licence for MuchMusic and MuchMoreMusic "to allow these services more programming flexibility and permit them to be more competitive."

According to MuchMusic's conditions of license proposal, forwarded to Billboard by Bell Media's communications department, the four denied requests were:

1) A minimum of 75 percent of the programming to be music related. Current requirement of service requires that 100 percent be music or music-related programming; 2) For 25 percent of the broadcast week to be programming from music video clips and music video programs, a reduction of 50 percent from the current requirements; 3) a reduction of 5 percent to 55 percent Canadian programs scheduled over the broadcast year; 4) And, based on proposed 50 percent reduction of music video play, asked to maintain 33 percent Canadian Program Expenditure (CPE) with 3.5 percent contribution to MuchFACT. It currently contributes 7 percent.

The CRTC did grant Bell Inc.'s request to remove the requirement that it broadcasts French-language music videos or performances on MuchMusic. It is now required to air just 5 percent of music videos and video programming, according to BellMedia. Right now, MuchMusic airs a French-language show called French Kiss weekdays at 6 to 6:30 a.m. (ET).

The CRTC received numerous interventions relating to Bell Media's applications. The record for this proceeding can be found at www.crtc.gc.ca under "Public Proceedings."