The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced today their plans to review the Local Programming Improvement Fund, which is a fund originally created to improve local television programming, specifically non-metropolitan local news.
The CRTC recognized the need for the fund back in 2009 due to the decline in spending in local television markets. The CRTC deemed the lack of spending to be a direct result of the fragmentation of TV audiences and a decline in ad revenue. The CRTC decided that this lack of funding caused a huge risk in the potential for harm toward the quality and quantity of local programs.
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The Local Programming Improvement Fund is created from contributions from the cable and satellite companies, which give 1.5 per cent of their gross broadcasting revenues. The fund, by the end of 2012, will have given upwards of $300 million to more than 75 local stations throughout Canada.
The fund, in its third year of operation, is going to be reviewed by the CRTC to determine its success and whether it should continue to be maintained, modified or cancelled. The CRTC is looking for comments from Canadians by February 15th 2012 on subjects such as the “evaluation of the fund’s objectives and the performance of recipient stations,” if the fund should require “additional spending on local programming as a condition for receiving funding,” the “eligibility for the fund and the funding allocation formula,” “cable and satellite companies’ contributions to the fund,” and “the relevance of maintaining, modifying or abandoning the fund.”