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Abstract

This article examines the financial contribution of private television companies to the development and production of authentic Canadian programmes. Until the beginning of the 1980s, all Canadian television stations were under an obligation to produce as well as broadcast the great majority of their programming. This constituted a distinctive feature of Canadian broadcasting when compared to what had always been the case in the United States, not to mention a fundamental aspect of Canadian broadcasting policy since 1958. (It is important to note, however, that for the past several years private US television stations have been obliged to use Independent producers so as to conform to FCC (Federal Communities Commission) directives aimed at blocking the total monopoly over programme production and sales by large networks). Needless to say, this approach gave rise to heated, and at times acrimonious. debates between supporters of state intervention fostering national unity and the expression of Canadian culture by way of an indigenous audiovisual sector and advocates of laisser-faire economic policies. Thus from 1952 until 1961, the structure of Canadian television was composed of an English language and French-language public service. In 1961, taking inspiration from Great Britain, the state licenced private stations, obligating them to respect the same regulations governing the public service. Beginning in 1968, distribution of television signals by cable underwent considerable growth, eventually becoming an important component of the Canadian broadcasting system. Finally, in 1982, the first pay television services appeared, to be followed six years later by several specialty channels.

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