Digital Home – CRTC forcing CBC to carry CTV’s Olympic broadcasts, 13 May 2009
Note: Article shared here in full for historical record. Original article link is broken, as such, accessed from Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Feb. 2017. Posted with original publication date to place in context.
In a speech to the Standing Committee on Official Languages yesterday in Ottawa, Konrad von Finckenstein, the Chairman of the CRTC informed his audience that government regulators would be forcing the CBC to air CTV’s 2010 Olympic broadcasts in French.
The CBC lost the Canadian rights to broadcast the Olympic Games in February 2005 when Bell Globemedia and Rogers Media outbid the CBC by US $53 million for rights to the 2010 and 2012 games.
In 2005, the CBC bid U.S. $100 million for broadcasting rights while Rogers and Bell bid U.S. $153 million.
Now, four years after the rights were awarded, is now demanding that the CBC cancel its French language programming and broadcast CTV programming instead because CTVGlobemedia and Rogers Media are unable to provide French coverage to a small number of francophones who rely on over-the-air television signals.
It’s unclear why the CRTC is making accessibility an issue less than a year prior to the games when it has known about the problem for over four years. In 2005, accessibility was one of the CBC’s primary selling points in its proposal. At the time, the public broadcaster that awarding the games to the CBC would ensure that approximately 99 per cent of Canadians both English and French would be able to watch the Games.
“In our view, CTVglobemedia has a responsibility, as a private broadcaster using the public spectrum, to make sure that Canadians see national events like the Olympic Games in the official language of their choice.” said Mr. Finckenstein in prepared remarks.
Remarkably, rather than requiring CTV and Rogers to find a solution to a problem which has existed for four years, the commissioner has now mandated that the CBC must air CTV/Rogers coverage in Quebec.