|by:||Feb 5, 2007|
Alberta-based cable giant Shaw Communications' announcement of its withdrawal of $56 million in annual contributions to the troubled Canadian Television Fund on Dec. 20 sparked widespread industry reaction that reached the boiling point when Montreal cabler Videotron followed suit a month later, pulling out its $14 million. Here's what major stakeholders had to say:
Our concern is we've already put in $350 million into the fund, and I would like to know how well that's done for Canadian programming. If you knew you were paying five percent for nothing, what would you say? I think it's time for some accountability.
-Jim Shaw, CEO, Shaw Communications
We're quite willing to help quality Canadian productions, but it's quite different from being a candy store where everyone is coming by and taking whatever they want.
-Luc Lavoie, EVP, Quebecor
Our interpretation is that we're being taken hostage by those two cable distributors, and their attitude is like saying 'our way or no way.'
-Claire Samson, president and CEO, APFTQ, and CTF board member
We think that people who provide money do have the right to have a say. So, we're not averse to that. But what we think is that it should be up at the Big 'P' political level. If the funders all, in their collective wisdom, decided that we should put more emphasis on audience measures [and Heritage so directed us], we're an operational thing, we would be okay with that.
-Doug Barrett, chair, Canadian Television Fund
We've all been frustrated by the CTF at various times, but we've all also been very pleased.
-Laszlo Barna, president and CEO, Barna-Alper Productions
We support the initiative that the fund is designed to do, and of course we remain very involved in ensuring that it is maximized to the highest level.
-Paolo Pasquini, spokesperson, Bell ExpressVu