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CRTC grants Canadian content spending relief for Corus, but says other asks must wait

GATINEAU, Que. — Canada’s broadcasting regulator is granting Corus Entertainment Inc.’s request to ease some of its Canadian content spending requirements after the company warned of an increasingly dire financial situation.

The CRTC released a decision Monday approving Corus’s plea to lower its obligated spending on programs of national interest for its English-language stations to five per cent of revenue from 8.5 per cent. It also granted a request to extend a repayment deadline for under-expenditures of Canadian programming requirements.

The broadcaster asked the regulator to “urgently” make the changes last October, saying the changes would provide “much needed flexibility” amid programming and advertising uncertainty, as well as “severely constrained” finances.

The CRTC says the emergency request was reasonable because it was tailored to Corus’ specific circumstances, noting that company’s spending on programs of national interest is among the highest of all private broadcasters.

But it says requests from other broadcasters for regulatory relief, including those relating to local news and Canadian programming requirements, will be dealt with as part of its ongoing consultation to modernize the Canadian broadcasting framework.

In an application to the CRTC last June, Bell Media asked the commission drop requirements for spending on local news and on the number of hours per week that stations are required to broadcast locally reflective news in major and smaller markets.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CJR.B)

The Canadian Press

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