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Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic

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THE NEW MEDIA: Maximizing Canada’s Online Presence. CRTC Stakeholder Consultations on New Media Broadcasting. Tamir Israel, Staff Lawyer. November 16, 2011. Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic Centre for Law, Technology & Society

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Maximizing Canada’s Online Presence

CRTC Stakeholder Consultations on New Media Broadcasting

Tamir Israel, Staff Lawyer

November 16, 2011

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic

Centre for Law, Technology & Society

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

Tel: (613) 562-5800 ext. 2914




Do Not Regulate Online Content

  • Short term: No evidence of dramatic cord cutting or falling broadcast industry revenue; CMF showing annual increases in revenue
  • Long term: Harm to innovation and service migration

Do Not Regulate Online Content

  • Harm to long term online competitiveness CDN Content
  • Access/Spectrum ‘scarcity’ is non-existent online

For more details on why not to regulate, see CIPPIC’s submission to BTNC CRTC 2011-344, <>


If not content regulation than what?

  • Regulatory options
  • ‘Fact-finding’ options
  • Wholly Un-Regulatory options

What Can CRTC Do To Make Canadian Content More Competitive Online?

(How can we get there 1st)


Obstacles to Competitiveness of Canadian Content online?

  • Demand problems
  • Incentive issues
  • Attention Scarcity

As we shift from a world of scarcity to one of abundance, we are seeing Canadians play an important role. Record labels like Nettwerk Records in British Columbia or Arts & Crafts in Toronto are at the forefront of using the Internet to promote their artists and benefit from its great potential. Notwithstanding some doom and gloom, the Canadian digital music market has grown faster than the U.S. market in each of the past four years.We rank 7th worldwide in digital sales, virtually identical to our 6th place ranking for offline sales.

M. Geist, Testimony before Heritage Committee, March 2010, <>


I. Demand

  • Achieve content objectives through telecom policy
  • ‘If you build it, they may come’
  • Leverage telecom policy to feed demand

SOURCE: OECD, Fixed and wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, Dec 2010: <>


Falling Behind on Fibre

  • FTTH < 1% of Canadian Wired Access


  • OECD average is > 12%



SOURCE: OECD, Fixed and wireless broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, Dec 2010: <>


I. Demand

  • TRP CRTC 2011-291 approaches universal access: 5/1 Mbps by 2015
  • Quality should be ‘adequate’ for any online service; Technologically neutral
  • Wireline v. Wireless

Universal Adoption

  • 5/1 Mbps by 2015
  • Speed targets are reasonable & achievable
  • Objective should be universal adoption not universal access
    • Competition alone does not guarantee affordable access

Universal Adoption

FCC Cheap Internet Program

  • Partnership with Industry (ISPs, PCs)
  • Offers eligible families high speed Internet access + a Computer for $9.95/month


  • Calls for a similar initiative in Canada:

Mark Goldberg, <>


Universal Adoption

  • Empirical Studies in US on importance of community access programs


  • FCC-sponsored study by SSRC in US concludes:

“Our study identifies a range of factors that make broadband services hard to acquire and harder to maintain in such communities. Some of these issues could be addressed relatively easily, such as greater transparency with respect to fees and billing, or better bundling of services to suit the communication needs of low-income groups…But the study also suggests that libraries and other intermediaries will remain central institutions for broadband access in many communities, and consequently for the forms of social and economic participation—from job searches to education—that increasingly take place online.”

SSRC, “Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities”, March 2010, <>


Universal Adoption

  • Digital Literacy also critical to adoption, online competitiveness


  • Coherent approach to spectrum required
  • Open Spectrum facilitated community access initiatives


Digital Strategy? Commission Input? Outreach Mandate?


I. Quality Demand

  • TRP CRTC 2011-291: technologically neutral
  • LTE wireless & High Throughput Satellite (HTS); Both are cheaper in high cost areas
  • Both can achieve high speeds, but have jitter/latency issues & higher marginal usage costs
    • Latency/jitter:
      • LTE:
      • HTS:
    • Higher marginal costs:
      • LTE:
      • HTS:
  • This, in turn, invites Net Neutrality violations, UBB

II. (Counter)Incentives

  • Convergence = Digital Counter Incentives
  • In TPN CRTC 2008-19, Canadian content groups spoke of benefits of P2P
  • Net Neutrality essential to ensure emerging digital platforms can thrive


  • Usage-based billing deters online activity

II. Incentives

  • Some incumbents moving online
  • Empirical research on benefits and scope of online Canadian content needed

Consider New Definitions

  • How do we measure ‘Canadian Content’
  • Broadcasting Act only applies to ‘programming’; uses of Internet platform(s) are diverse
  • But Canadians culture is being spread through many varied online creations
  • New metrics/studies needed to assess these

“The context of this present study, following the publication of federal government’s consultation paper Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage: Strategies for Sustainable Prosperity and the ensuing consultation, is the changing nature of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the way they are being used by Canadians. The proliferation of user-generated content is perhaps the most significant development in the field of digital content creation over the past decade. As noted in Improving Canada’s Digital Advantage, “new and increasingly more affordable technology is putting creative control directly in the hands of consumers and creators” (Canada, 2010, p. 24).

Yet UGC remains underutilized, understudied and, with respect to public policy, greatly misunderstood. One of the main features of UGC is that its creation by non-professionals effectively straddles market and non-market interests. A 2006 OECD study noted that “most user-generated content activity is undertaken without the expectation of remuneration or profit.”

FIMS UGC Research Team, “Mobilizing User-Generated Content for Canada’s Digital Advantage”, Dec 2010, <>


New Value?

  • Cultural & Monetary value of UGC Video
  • Value of new types of ‘Canadian content’?
  • FIMS: growing categories of online creativity:
    • Collaborative content (wikis, open source)
    • Individual content (blogs, online photos, etc)
    • Software modifications/applications (on software platforms)
  • All of these contribute to online Canadian cultural presence in intermingling ways

‘The Power of Open’

Creative Commons, ‘The Power of Open’, <>

Ancillary Monetary Value:

  • TEDTalks; ccMixter; Open University;

More New Value?

  • Consider monetary value of cultural platforms?
  • Platforms/products that rely on fair use of cultural works generated an average annual $4.6 Trillion USD (2008, 2009) in the U.S. Economy

CCIA, “Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use”, <>


II. Incentives

  • How to convince traditional content producers to get online?
    • Already happening; Canadian content obligations may deter
    • Studies demonstrating value of online ‘add-ons’ or transitions;

“In parallel to the technical work necessary to set this up, the NFB developed a very detailed business plan mapping out the commercial potential of the transactional offer. We brought on PriceWaterhouseCooper to validate the assumptions and the results we projected for our business plan. In sum, that work showed there was significant commercial potential in the move to micro-payments and “freemium” (free and premium) transactional system.”

  • CBC: “remains the top ranked Canadian media content site today”
  • Deloitte, Report, “The Economic Impact of the CBC/Radio‐Canada” (June 2011),
  • < >

III. Attention Scarcity

  • How to stimulate Canadian content online visibility?

Drawing Attention to Online Can Content

  • Allowing online platforms to thrive:
    • Over 2,000 films/original interactive works;
    • over 11 million views of NFB films on NFB platform;
  • Do-it-yourself:
    • Consider expanded outreach role for CRTC on new media
    • Expanded direct online presence, interaction with Canadian new media efforts
    • Interaction w/other Gov/stakeholder efforts at providing tools to stimulate online Canadian media
      • Open data initiatives spark mashups, new types of content
      • proposal Convene stakeholders to consider joint initiatives:

“NFB can work with the private sector to develop a “national screening room”—a fully functional OTT service that would welcome all Canadian content. It would be non-exclusive so that producers could make works available on many platforms. It would be controlled and run by the private sector but powered by NFB’s back-end architecture.”