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New media not hurting traditional broadcasting: CRTC
New media technologies are not yet having significant impact on traditional radio and television broadcasting, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said in a report released Thursday.
But Canadians are moving toward adopting video and audio streamed over the internet and mobile networks and Canada’s regulatory environment will have to adapt, the federal regulator said.
In the report, titled The Future Environment Facing the Canadian Broadcasting System, it noted that both private broadcasters and the CBC had urged initiatives to regulate new media.
But the CRTC rejected those calls, saying the time was not yet right to create new rules that would force internet and wireless broadcasters to include Canadian content or meet other standards it demands from conventional broadcasters.
Most Canadians continue to listen to conventional AM and FM radio and get most of their TV from conventional broadcasters, the CTRC found.
It estimates it will be another 10 years before a significant number of Canadians want “on-demand” media, such as video downloads and podcasting.
Young people stimulating change
Statistics gathered by the CRTC show younger generations are taking to these technologies in large numbers and the number of hours they spend listening to radio and watching TV is declining.
Canadians aged 12 to 14 and 15 to 19 listened to an average of 13 hours of radio weekly in 2005, but in just one year they had reduced their radio listening by up to three hours.
In 2006, the 12 to 14-year olds were listening to just 10 hours and the 15 to 19-year-olds 12 hours.
Yet average hours spent listening to radio have remained constant since 2000, with FM radio gaining ground against AM radio, which is losing listeners.
Private radio continues to make money, but digital radio seems to be stalled in Canada with Canadians unwilling to buy receivers with little new content and broadcasters unwilling to invest in content without ready listeners, the report said.
While podcasting is available, only eight per cent of Canadians had listened to a podcast within the past month.
Teenagers were watching less TV than they did three years ago and were more likely to have downloaded a TV show from the internet than any other demographic.
Most Canadians still watch traditional television
But the majority of Canadians still watch conventional TV, with half of households receiving cable and 29 per cent getting digital cable.
The CRTC pointed to the financial health of private TV companies and said they did not appear to have been hurt by new media.
Canadians have been slower than Americans to adopt Personal Video Recorders, or PVRs. Their technology allows the downloading of programs. Candians have expressed interest in PVRs, however.
Canada also lags the U.S. in introducing digital TV and high-definition TV.
The CRTC acknowledged in its report that all emerging technologies in broadcasting need close monitoring to determine their long-term impact on the sector and what role public policy might play.
“The Canadian broadcasting system must remain relevant in a global digital environment and must meet the diverse needs of Canadians of all cultures,” said CRTC chairman Charles Dalfen.
The report is just one step in an ongoing review by the CRTC of its regulatory frameworks for radio, television and broadcasting distribution.
A report on high-definition TV is scheduled to come out next February and the regulation throughout the television broadcasting is also under review.