The CRTC dismisses ATN’s complaint against Zee TV Canada

Mumbai / Toronto: Ethnic Channels Group announced it received a favourable decision from the CRTC concerning the complaint alleging that the third-language niche specialty Category B service Zee TV Canada is operating as a general interest service. On 29 July 2013, the Commission received a complaint by ATN against ECGL regarding the niche status of Zee TV Canada. After posting the complaint on its website, the Commission received over 300 interventions.

The vast majority of interventions supported ECGL’s position and opposed the position of ATN. A large proportion stated outright that Zee TV Canada’s programming does target women as a viewing audience. Others voiced general support for the service or characterized Zee TV Canada as family focused.

“The overwhelming support we received from Zee TV Canada viewers has been truly heart-warming,” said Slava Levin, Co-founder and CEO of Ethnic Channels Group.

“The complaint had no basis to start with, and we are glad that justice has prevailed,” added Hari Srinivas, President of Ethnic Channels Group.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this decision and value the continued support of our viewers,” said Sameer Targe, Business Head of Zee TV Americas.

According to ECGL, Zee TV Canada is adhering to its nature of service, and its marketing activities focus on that nature of service. Zee TV Canada adheres to its nature of service definition. ECGL alleged that the complaint filed by ATN is an attempt to entrench the privileged position of SATV. It argued that to reclassify Zee TV Canada as a general interest service would have the effect of significantly expanding the scope and impact of the above-noted buy-through requirement.

The Commission examined the programming offered by Zee TV Canada with a view to determining whether a reasonably frequent viewer, in watching various programs broadcast on the service, would conclude that the service targets women or not. In this regard, and despite the differences in the public policy objectives behind the licensing of Zee TV Canada and W Network, the Commission has considered it appropriate to use W Network as a baseline for comparison in its examination of Zee TV Canada’s programming due to the considerable weight placed by both parties on comparing the two services.

Having examined the programming broadcast on Zee TV Canada the Commission found that the majority of the programs broadcast are consistent with those that one would expect a niche service targeting women to air, and are comparable to those found on W Network.

Hence, in light of the above, the Commission dismissed the complaint filed by Asian Television Network.

For the full report on the CRTC judgment visit the following link:

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2014/2014-218.htm

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