The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved Rogers Broadcasting Limited’s purchase of the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), an educational television service, from Bluepoint Investment Inc.
“The Saskatchewan Communications Network’s educational, cultural and public information programs are an important facet of the province’s broadcasting landscape,” said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s Vice-Chairman of Telecommunications and Chair of the hearing panel. “This transaction will enable SCN to continue to support the local independent production community for years to come.”
The CRTC’s policy for ownership transactions requires the buyer to fund initiatives that will benefit the broadcasting system. In this case, Rogers will have to spend 23 per cent of its gross annual revenues to acquire Canadian programming, including educational programming, from independent producers in Saskatchewan. Rogers will also support the creation of digital media by directing $300,000 to the Rogers Digital Development Fund.
Bluepoint acquired SCN from the Government of Saskatchewan less than two years ago. When it approved this transaction, the CRTC allowed Bluepoint to broadcast commercial programming and advertising. Rogers will continue to benefit from this flexibility. However, to maintain the integrity of its licensing process and properly reflect SCN’s value, the CRTC expects Rogers to invest an additional $1 million on independent production in Saskatchewan over the course of the licence term.
The CRTC has renewed the SCN’s licence until August 31, 2018. This will ensure that the spending commitments made by Rogers benefit the people of Saskatchewan and provide stable funding to the province’s production community.
Today’s decision follows a proceeding that included a public hearing held from May 7 to May 16, 2012.